Kilrain in Zim’s flagship

MIKE de Kock-trained Kilrain has settled in well at Borrowdale Park ahead of the Castle Tankard on Saturday, and is all set to race in the 2000m event, Africa’s oldest sponsored race and Zimbabwe’s only Gr1 contest.

This year’s Castle Tankard has attracted a field of nine. There are no Zimbabwean-bred horses in the line-up and hard-knocking six-year-old Kilrain is likely to start on top of the boards after his eye catching recent third in the Listed Drum Star Handicap at Turffontein.

Kilrain in Harare.


Kilrain will be ridden by MJ Byleveld and along with Master Switch is the highest-rated runner in the field.

Mike has never won a race in Zimbabwe, having raided on one previous occasion in the mid-1990s when Stride Ahead failed to land the prize.

He said about Sunday’s race: “I’ve always wanted to win a race in Zimbabwe and this is a good opportunity for us to break the ice. We’ve stabled Kiltrain with Penny Fisher, thanks to her for the help and well done to all involved in Zimbabwe racing for keeping going in these testing times. We can only hope things get better and their industry can make a recovery.

“It’s quite an occasion for our assistant trainer Vengesai Masawi, who is a Zimbabwean himself and will be proud to be doing duties on Saturday. Thanks also to owners Robert Bloomberg and Robin Hamilton for agreeing to support the race. We look forward to it!”