Imbongi led home a Summerhill one-two
as he grabbed the Gold from Bold Ellinore

(Gold Circle)

It’s not unusual at this time of the year for racing fans to be conjecturing about who the likely Champions will be, come season’s end. Certainly, among the older brigade, Pocket Power has looked like taking his second Horse Of The Year title, but the Three Year Old colt’s division, after looking a little suspect in the spring and early summer, is beginning to reflect a formidable assembly of youngsters, with at least of four or five in the shake up.

Going back to the spring and the lead up to the Cape Guineas, it was Pointing North who set the pace, but things have swung dramatically since then, with all of Eddington (the Gomma Gomma Challenge Gr.1) J.J. The Jet Plane (Computaform Sprint Gr.1) and Imbongi (the Drill Hall Stakes Gr.2) posting more than impressive victories over their elders, and there is hardly an older horse among those you’d call aspirant champions of 2008, that hasn’t been knocked off in recent weeks by one of these three year olds. Throw in Kings Gambit whose taken two Grade Ones in a row against his own age, and we have at least five horses from this generation who look well above average, and each capable of making the podium at the Equus Awards in August.

Eddington’s victims in the Gomma Gomma included just about all the decent Gauteng middle distance horses of the older generation, (with the exclusion of the ill-fated Emperor Napoleon) J.J The Jet Plane took out the “mythical” sprinter,” Mythical Flight in the Computaform, and this weekend, Imbongi’s emphathic win in the Drill Hall counted no fewer than four national and regional Champions behind him, including Horse Of The Year, Pocket Power, Champion Filly Bold Ellinore, Floatyourboat, and Champion KZN Sprinter, Rebel King.

Yet it wasn’t just the mere fact that he beat them, it was the manner with which Imbongi dispatched the opposition that really matters here, and we guess he’s finally put to rest the question of whether he’s a giant or a giant killer. Certainly, if ratings count at all, he’s now gone to the top of the three year old class period.

In the after- race interview, Mike de Kock declared his next target the Gold Challenge (Gr.1) at Clairwood on the 14th June, where he’ll no doubt once again be up against Pocket Power, Bold Ellinore and Floatyourboat, and that, we guess, will be instructive in the context of his future career. Mike de Kock is already entertaining thoughts about a repeat of the “Jay Peg” strategy of taking him to the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (Gr.1) in March next year, and for as long as it lasts, we can dream on…

Imbongi, incidentally is co-owned by the farm, and our good mates, Dr. Barry Clements from Perth, Ronnie Napier, Michael Fleischer and Owen Liebbrandt. He was unsold at the Ready To Run in 2006, and is well on his way to becoming a millionaire. His sister, Spring Garland, recently became a Graded Stakes winner herself, and we have a brother in the Ready To Run draft for November.