Yer-maan guns for OK Grand Challenge

HARARE - Yer-maan will attempt to win the double when he teams-up again with jockey Quinton Riddle for the 27th running of the OK Grand Challenge early next month.

The South African-trained horse, who won the Castle Tankard earlier this month, was among the 14 horses accepted yesterday to take part in the Grade Two race that will be run over 1 800m with a total purse of $40 000 at stake  at Borrowdale Race Park on June 6.

The six-year-old gelding will start the race with a rating of 103 while Riddle, who was aboard for the Tankard, will ride the horse again.

The horse from the St John Gray stable will, however, carry a top weight of 61.5kg and was handed a draw at number 1.

Since arriving in the country earlier this month, Yer-maan has been under local trainer Gokhan Terzi’s stable.

Terzi will have four runners in the field on the big day; Super Trouper, Got A Hold On Me, Rock The Country and Merhaba but was in awe when he spoke Yer-maan.  

“Yer-maan is jumping out of his skin. When I watch him in the morning, I think to myself that it is going to be very hard to beat him,” he said.

“So he’s going to be the horse to beat. If someone does beat him, I hope it’s going to be one of my horses.”

The bookmakers have opened the odds at 7-2 for Yer-maan to win the race while another South African horse Warcraft has been placed as the favourite with odds of 3-1.

With a rating of 86, the four-year-old gelding was drawn next to Yer-maan at number 2 and will enter the race with a weight of 53.5kg.

During the Tankard, Warcraft led from the starting stalls up until the three quarter mark before allowing Luck Sam to take the lead.

The horse from Alyson Wright’s eventually finished the race in third place but will again be another strong runner at the OK Grand Challenge.

Another horse the betting market will have faith in on the day is four-year-old gelding Lucky Sam from Bridget Stidolph’s stable while Amy Bronkhorst’s top-rated filly Equina is another strong contender.

Meanwhile, OK Zimbabwe Chief Operating Officer, Albert Katsande said the retail giant will continue to support local horse.

“Twenty-seven years is an interesting feat but it looks like it was only yesterday when we came out here and gave away a Nissan Sunny for the first prize, a 29 inch colour television and a bicycle,” he said.

“It’s a real journey because today we are going t give away 43 healthy vehicles. It shows the growth the promotion itself and I think this could not have happened with the support of the horse racing fraternity.

“We as an organisation, we are committed to horse racing in Zimbabwe and can announce that we will continue to sponsor this race for the foreseeable future.”     

Final Field: Yer-maan (1), Lucky Sam (6), Equina (14), Super Trouper (13), Two Gun Kid (12), Warcraft (2), Norgay (8), Merhaba (5), Rock The Country (3), Madigan (11), Menacing (7), Thriller In Manila (4), Got A Hold On Me (10), Say So Tiger (9)

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