Castle Tankard returns to Borrowdale

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The Castle Tankard — the oldest sponsored horse race in Africa — will make a comeback at Borrowdale Park on May 21 with $50 000 at stake after a three-year hiatus.

The race, which is bankrolled by Delta Beverages under their Castle brand, was last held in 2007.

Muscat Express won the last race. Nominations for the 49th edition of the race are due on May 3.

The Castle Tankard is the oldest sponsored horse race in Africa. The Tankard was one of the country’s premier and most prestigious horse-racing events on the Zimbabwe calendar before it went off the turf in 2007.

The race was characterised by a pedigree of race horses and jockeys of the highest calibre.

The Castle Tankard remains one of the oldest sponsored races in Africa having run 48 editions.

Racing in Harare begun on January 4 1892 with the formation of the Mashonaland Turf Club when Dr Jameson was elected as its first president.

The racing land was divided into two portions, the original having been granted to the Mashonaland Turf Club on February 17 1894 and the remainder on November 7 1899.

The land was consolidated and the British South Africa Company granted a new title to the club on March 11 1914. The first recorded race meeting under the auspices of the new club was held on December 26 1892.

For 66 years this tract of land was the venue for staging local race meetings, but with post-war developments “the old racecourse” which once lay on the outskirts of a small town now stood in the midst of a rapidly developing area and stretched as a barrier within a mile of the city centre, barring the western approaches leading into Harare.

Meanwhile, the next race meeting at Borrowdale features the Independence Trophy, 4th leg of the Open Series, over 1 600m.