BRIDGET STIDOLPH knows she has very big stirrups to fill after taking over the training of Castle Tankard defending champion Comanche Brave.
The oldest sponsored horse race in Southern Africa is on this Saturday at Borrowdale Racecourse with a field of 10 horses going for the $50 000 prize money.
Stidolph says having the defending champion in her stable has come with its pressures. The two have been together for just two months after Stidolph took over from the horse’s previous trainer, Amy Bronkhorst, who closed her stable.
“It is very big shoes to fill, it’s always the case when you get a big horse. There is a lot of pressure on you there are expectations for you to do well,” said the trainer, whose stable also boasts big names like Mathematician, Leven Point, Roman Discent and Simona.
Stidolph is confident Comanche Brave will come to the party on Saturday. “Obviously your fitness is a build-up; you can’t just go into a Castle Tankard. It’s a really hard race and you have got to build up three to four months in advance . . . there’s a lot that goes into it,” she said.
“But when you get a top horse like this, he won the Castle Tankard last year, there are a lot of expectations to win it again. We have covered some ground and I can safely say he is ready for the Tankard.”
Stidolph has a proud history of training winners and no one bets against her giving the world more champions from her 60-horse stable.“We are happy with the results we have been getting.
Three years ago Mathematician ran second in the Castle Tankard, Mathematician also won the Republic Cup, and last year Royal Owner won the OK (Grand Challenge).
She continued: “I love horses, at the moment I have got about 60 of them. It’s all about being able to judge a horse . . . to see when they’re happy or when something is not right.”
“The biggest secret is keeping your horse happy, keeping them fit and giving them everything that you possibly can.”
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