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Raffles gives rivals galloping lessons

The winning combination, jockey Gavin Lerena and trainer Bridget Stidolph

FOUR-YEAR-OLD Raffles gave his rivals a galloping lesson to win the 2 000-metre Castle Tankard at Borrowdale Racecourse yesterday.

The Bridget Stidolg trained brown gelding which was ridden by Gavin Lerena was in no mood for jokes as he romped home ahead of Majestic Warriord and Wantage to win the oldest sponsored horse racing event in Africa.

Although his previous success came over shorter distances, it was evident as the race reached the halfway stage that he would be a comfortable winner of the longer Castle Tankard.

However, Lerena had to leave it for last as Holy Land took an early lead until the 1 400-metre mark.

Ideal View, Wantage, and Brianna battled for the lead.

At the home straight, it was Majestic Warrior who took control.

Lerena asked Raffles for a response which he did in style to win comfortably the US$50 000 sponsored race.

The win pushes Raffles' record to two wins in his last six starts with his career statistics reaching four wins, and 12 placings in 21 starts.

In fact, his connections are smiling all the way to the bank after he handed them the US$25 000 reserved for the winner from the total US$50 000 stake money.

Trainer Bridget Stidolph was elated with Raffles' splendid show. "Its unbelievable. I knew, he would give a good show, but did not expect him to win as he was not anong the favourites," said Stidolph.

Second-placed Majestic Warrior is also from the Stidolph stable.

For coming second, Majestic Warrior took home US$12 000 with Wantage taking home US$7 000 for coming third. There was reward too for Ideal View who finished fourth.

It was at least an appreciative show by Ideal View, who had opened betting as the overwhelming favourite that time at 5/2 although he later on dropped to 3/1.

Two more races among the big three at Borrowdale Racecourse — the OK Grand Challenge and the Republic Cup — are still to come.

No horse in history has won the treble, the Castle Tankard, the OK Grand Challenge, and the Republic Cup, although Equina came close in 2014 after winning the Tankard and the Challenge before finishing second in the Republic Cup.

The OK Grand Challenge, which is over 1 900 metres will take place on June 8 at the same Borrowdale Park Racecourse.


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