THE 27th edition of the OK Grand Challenge is delicately poised to be an epic contest after Castle Tankard surprise winner Yer-Maan and his closest rivals Lucky Sam, Warcraft as well as defending champion Equina made the final field for the race set for June 6 at Borrowdale Race Course.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
A total of 14 horses made the final acceptances list that was unveiled at a glittering ceremony organised by the Mashonaland Turf Club (MTC) in conjunction with the sponsors at the race venue yesterday.
Ridden by Quinton Riddle, Yer-Maan made a majestic final stretch gallop a few weeks ago to steal the Tankard from Lucky Sam and favourite Warcraft and will be looking to complete a double at the $40 000 OK Grand Challenge meet next weekend.
Speaking at the ceremony, MTC chairman Brain Black hailed the Ok Grand Challenge as one of the most celebrated family events in the history of horse racing in Zimbabwe.
“It is one of the most celebrated family events in the history of horse racing in Zimbabwe, indeed one of Zimbabwe’s major retail success stories in the past three decades,” he said.
“Today’s meeting is confirmation that the race day is fast approaching and it’s promising to be a bigger and better event. We therefore as the partners promise to keep the momentum with our preparation to ensure the 2015 OK Grand Challenge is a memorable one.
“There are 14 runners accepted this morning for the 2015 OK Grand Challenge setting the stage for the running of this race. Once again thank you to all those who have made this event possible,” added Black.
Also on the list is Super Trouper, Merhaba, Rock The Country and Got A Hold On Me from the Gokhan Terzi stable while Thriller In Manilla and Say So Tiger join Equina from Amy Bronkhorst’s yard. Bridget Stido also fielded Menancing to add to Lucky Sam with Norgay joining Yermaan to represent St John Gray stable as Kirk Swanson and D’Aquino have just one representative each in Madigan and Two Gun Kid.
The winner of the race will walk away $24 000 richer while the second-placed horse will carry home $8 000 with the third, fourth and fifth getting $4 800, $2 400 and $8 00 respectively.
OK Zimbabwe chief operations officer Albert Katsande expressed his company’s pleasure to have partnered the MTC for staging of the OK Grand Challenge for the past 27 years.
“ It’s been 27 years, but it only seems like a year ago when we came out here and gave away a Nissan Sunny, a 29 inch television set and a bicycle. It’s been a real journey for us because this year we are giving away 43 handsome vehicles which shows the growth of the event. We are looking forwards to great racing next weekend. We hope our punters and our supporters are going to have great fun,” he said.
“We as an organisation are committed to horse racing in the country and I can announce that we will continue to sponsor horse racing for the foreseeable future. I therefore wish everybody a great race and may the best horse and the best trainer win.”
1. 1 Yer-Maan
2. 6 Lucky Sam
3. 14 Equina
4. 13 Super Trouper
5. 12 Two Gun Kid
6. 2 War Craft
7. 8 Norgay
8. 5 Merhaba
9. 3 Rock The Country
10. 11 Madigan
11. 7 menacing
12. 4 Thriller In Manilla
13. 10 Got A Hold On me
14. 9 Say So Tiger