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Bingwa retains his crown in last year’s Gr 2 Allied Steelrode On A Mission Charity Mile (JC Photos).


The now six-year-old Pathfork gelding Bingwa was a 10/1 chance last year to defend his Gr 2 Allied Steelrode On A Mission Mile crown and from pole position he made a mockery of that price, sauntering home by 2,50 lengths from subsequent twice Gr 1-winning Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained stablemate Puerto Manzano.

In his first win in 2021 he was trained by Dorrie Sham and jumped from a wide draw but Chase Maujean converted it into a low draw with a sublime early move which saw him claim the rail in a handy spot.

Sham said afterwards about Bingwa, “He has a huge stride. It is so big you don’t really notice him quickening because he just gets flatter and longer. He doesn’t get uptight and is very easy to train.”

That is why this horse is so hard to catch if it pans out well for him.

He is once again drawn in pole and he has S’Manga Khumalo up, so there is every chance of it panning out well for him again.

Furthermore, he is merit rated just one point higher than last year’s race, so on paper has a fine chance of repeating the feat, considering how easily he won it back then.

He comes in off the identical prep, taking in a Pinnacle on the second weekend of September over 1450m on Turffontein Inside followed by the Gr 2 Betway Jo’Burg Spring Challenge in early October.

On the downside, he finished a 3,75 length third in the Spring Challenge last year and this year was beaten 11,15 lengths into sixth.

An interesting point though is that he finished 3,75 lengths behind William Robertson in last year’s Spring Challenge and this year was only 1,65 lengths behind him.

Gavin Lerena, who won on Bingwa last year, is the first choice jockey for Janse van Vuuren and has opted for Puerto Manzano. However, that might be a long term decision as the latter will be defending his Betway Summer Cup crown next month.

Bingwa has only had two Graded wins in his career, both in the same event, and put in Gr 1-like performances on both occasions.

Horses for courses is true but what about horses for races?

Will owners Colin and Lyn Stonebridge be celebrating their homebred stalwart for the third year in succession? 

Dorrie Sham trained Bingwa‘s mother Marauding Lady for about a month in Port Elizabeth before the mare’s retirement and believes Bingwa inherited his big stride from both her and his father Pathfork. The Stonebridges are Zimbabweans and Marauding Lady won the Fillies Classic over 1600m at Borrowdale for them just over 12 years ago.Marauding Lady is by Century Stand, famous for finishing second to Clifton King in the race in which the great Horse Chestnut suffered his only defeat.

The Stonebridges live in Tanzania these days and if they are not on course they will likely be tuning in online.