It’s one thing talking about a bullfight, it’s another being in the ring with the bull, and this time it’s the real thing. But IMBONGI has more than earned his place in this Grade One Gold Challenge blockbuster courtesy of two Guineas victories and his giant-killing performance in the Drill Hall, and there’s little doubt he’s up to it.
Qualifying for a Grade One is an unfailingly accurate gauge of exceptional ability. You need it to get there, and you refine it by staying there. Besides, as a son of the rather maligned Russian Revival, and coming from the other side of the tracks as it were IMBONGI, is developing something of a “cult hero” following among those die-hard racing fans who can identify with his origins. The memory of that Saturday evening a few weeks back at Greyville is still very much in their memories.
Three Year Olds don’t beat their elders very often at weight-for-age these days. At least, not in South Africa, and certainly not in the Drill Hall Stakes. You’d have to rewind 30 years to Bold Tropic to find one. And he made it to the top of the pile in the USA after that.
It’s a good thing nobody told IMBONGI the history. His turn in the race came in its strongest ever renewal, against four individual champions. And by the end of the evening, it was a case of history rewritten.
The great thing about our sport, is there’s new history being written most days. Perhaps Saturday could see another one for the ages.