Riddle confident of Grand Challenge win

HARARE - Veteran jockey Quinton Riddle believes dark horses have surprised many in the last 26 editions of the OK Grand Challenge and reckons this year’s race may not be an exception.

Riddle will be part of several top rated jockeys that will line up their horses at Borrowdale Race Park starting stalls on Saturday for the $40 000 stakes Grade two race.

For Riddle, who started riding on August 12 1994, this race will have added value following his triumph at the Castle Tankard last month with Yer-maan.

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

But Yer-maan rode against the tide to clinch the biggest price.

Yer-maan will again team up with Riddle as they bid win the double and this time bookmakers have cast the pair amongst the favourites, opening betting on odds of 7-2.

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 gate number 2 and will enter the race with a weight of 53.5kg on his shoulders.

Yer-maan, a six-year-old gelding will start the race with a rating of 103.

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.

“My expectations for the OK Grand Challenge are high, my ride Yer-maan has come through from his win in the Castle Tankard very well and he is working very well in the mornings,” Riddle told the Daily News.

“Even though his weight has gone up to 61.5kg I am confident he can carry the weight. I am very happy with drawing the pole position of draw one.

“We are hoping for a decent pace up front and luck in the straight so Yer-maan can use his powerful turn of speed and pass his rivals as did in the Castle Tankard.

“I do think we are the favourites, it’s just that our confidence is high coming off the last win. The OK Grand Challenge is an amazing race to win and is massive sentimental value as a local Zimbabwean Jockey.

“The atmosphere on the day is electrifying with the massive crowds. I am really looking forward to the day and the challenge of fighting to win the OK.”

Giving his prediction of the biggest contenders to the OK Grand Challenge crown, Riddle said:

“I see the horses that ran second and third being Lucky Sam and Warcraft as the same two dangers to Yer-maan.”

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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