Yer-maan clinches Castle Tankard

HARARE - South African trained Yer-maan broke the hearts of many after a galloping all the way to clinch the 53rd running of the Castle Tankard horse race here yesterday.

With five horses tipped ahead of it and carrying a big weight in 59,5 kilograms on its shoulders, not many gave the six-year -old gelding a chance to land Africa’s oldest race horse.

But with veteran Quinton Riddle aboard the St John Gray horse produced a late surge to come from behind and edge pre-race favourites Lucky Sam and Warcraft who settled for second and third respectively.

Warcraft was brimming with confidence off the back of a victory in May at Greyville in a MR78 Handicap and looked to maintain that momentum as it was the first out of the starting stalls with Lucky Sam also in the leading pack.

The Alyson Wright-trained four-year-old gelding and Bridget Stidolph’s Lucky Sam however, was beaten to the finish line by Yer-maan.

The win for Yer-maan was its ninth win in 35 runs that have also yielded 10 places.

Gorkhan Terzi’s Rock The Country settled for fourth, having also been tipped as a pre-race favourite and major contender.

Riddle was naturally elated with the win, his second Castle Tankard win in his career.

“I’m very privileged to have ridden a horse that gives its heart.  I understood how this horse is best ridden I did my homework and it paid off. Today we are in the winner’s box,” he told reporters.

“I have won this race before on a horse called Moon horse (in 2008) so this is the second time. I came strong on the finish. We knew there will be a lot of pace upfront so it worked out perfectly for us.

“I m a proud Castle drinker, I’m gonna (sic) be even a prouder Castle drinker tonight. There will be a lot of them taken.

“You know this horse has only come up from South Africa. This was its first race here. From here we are not looking up to the Okay Grand Challenge and then the republic cup at the end of the season.”

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