Age is no barrier to success in sport.
By Michael Kariati
That is exactly what seven-year- old gelden Super Trouper proved at Borrowdale Race Course, the Zimbabwean home of horse racing, last weekend.
The South African-bred brown gelden which is trained by Ghokan Terzi and groomed by George Chenje in Zimbabwe has been one of the most consistent short distance runners at the course, galloping his younger rivals off their hooves in races of between 1 200 to 1 400 metres. It can be argued that the son of West Man and Queen of Dance is not the best horse at Borrowdale Race Course right now, but it cannot be disputed that right now — even at his age — he rates among the best the race course has to offer.
Most punters at the Zimbabwean course will tell you that they have made good monies this period as Super Trouper has rewarded their faith in him by winning races in which they backed him all the way.
So far, Super Trouper has beaten all the top sprinters in the country and has had the honour of winning the Zimbabwe Challenge which is the third leg of the Sprinter Series.
That is not all. On January 25, the super gelden came out roses ahead of the new and younger crop of Zimbabwean racing heroes.
Although by only 0.10 lens, Super Trouper beat both Thriller In Manila and On This Rock in the 1 300 metre Merit Rated Handicap 89 in which he gave punters a totalisator win of $4,80 for every dollar placed.
Admittedly, that was a very close win over Amy Bronkhorst’ Thriller in Manila, but this is not the first time that Super Trouper has prevailed over the impressive Thriller in Manila which is regularly piloted by Karl Zechner.
It should also be noted that the Merit Rated 89 Handicap also featured some of the country’s top sprinters in the form of Count The Music and Alula Borealis.
Prior to that, on December 14, Super Trouper had won the Zimbabwe Challenge, just ahead of Thriller In Manila and this time not On this Rock was in third position, but Alula Borealis, another of the older horses now aged six years.
The Zimbabwe Challenge also featured the likes of Borrowdale Race Course favourite Gentle Brook who could only manage a fourth place finish. Also on November 2, Super Trouper, ridden by champion jockey Quinton Riddle, beat HIRB Gold Cup winner, On This Rock in the 1 300 metre MR Handicap which also had Menacing in attendance.
This means those who backed him before the year-end break got a perfect Christmas present while those who placed their bets on him, in the New Year, had something meaningful in their hands.
All this came after the seven-year-old had won the 1 400 Breeders Sprint ahead of Count The Music and Alula Borealis and for that matter at level weights.
He also beat Thriller In Manila, Marumbala, Gentle Brook, Count The Music, and King Halal over 1 200 metres in what has been a memorable period for the seven-year-old.
Although the major races at Borrowdale Race Course — like the Castle Tankard, the OK Grand Challenge and the Republic Cup — are still to come, these are between 1 800 and 2 000 metres, which are not his favourable distances.
However, they will give him the chance to prove that he too can equally compete in longer distances.
He will also rub shoulders with some of the horses of his generation such as eight-year-old Captain’s Tiger and Orbit War, and A King Is Born which is of the same age, as well as six-year-olds Madigan, Rock The Country, Star Dance, and the Argentina bred Ginepri.
Although Super Trouper has faced some of them in shorter races, it is in the longer races where the older horses race regularly.
The chances are that these older horses will be on the course as early as February 8 as there are doubts over the Ipi Tombi Stakes which is usually staged during this time of the season and the Breeders Champions Cup will take over instead.