Igugu wins the SA Fillies Classic
Igugu wins the SA Fillies Classic

Igugu - SA Fillies Classic (Gr1)

(Photo : JC Photos / Summerhill Stud)


26 March 2011

Internationally, the limelight was in Dubai, but if you were looking for the weekend’s best Group One performance world-wide, you should’ve been at the big “T” otherwise known as Turffontein. Yes, Dancewiththedevil ran like the devil possessed in the Horse Chestnut (Gr1), and yes, Mike Bass pulled of a remarkable training feat with English Garden in the SA Classic (Gr1), but nothing came remotely close to Igugu’s stunner in the SA Fillies Classic (Gr1).

Before we get to Igugu, English Garden’s swamping of the Gauteng Three-Year-Old males, (his fellow Capetonian, Top Seller, was second), was a reminder of the loss of  the stallion Camden Park and where the dominance rests with this year’s Classic colts. Besides his own sire, A.P. Indy, there was little to recommend this fellow when he arrived in South Africa, yet, in a lamentably short career, he’s demonstrated the value of his sire line time and again, in the first instance with South Africa’s greatest ever Stakes earner, Jay Peg, the Grade One winning filly Consensual, and now English Garden. If racing performance matters in this game, South Africa is pretty well endowed now with representatives of the A.P. Indy tribe, and there’s none more qualified than our own AP Arrow.

Back to Igugu, the 10¼ length margin was hardly an expression of the ease with which she tore her field apart, and if Anthony Delpech had pushed at all, you’d have needed the width of two TV screens to see the second horse. Galileo was the world’s leading sire by Group One winners last year (with 7,) and Igugu’s annihilation Saturday ensures he gets off to another flyer in 2011. A R1 million purchase from the Summerhill draft at the 2009 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale, Igugu was recording the 12th Stakes win for Summerhill Ready To Run graduates this season, and was joined in that rarefied world at the same meeting on Saturday by the former Gauteng Fillies Guineas (Gr2) heroine, Fisani.

The latter has just returned to the races after an extended rest at the nursery of her upbringing, and on Saturday’s evidence, she looks better than ever. Shouldering the third top impost in the event, Fisani cruised to the head of affairs with 400metres to go in the Jacaranda Handicap (Gr3), and ran the field off their feet in the closing stages, a daylight gap of 3,5 lengths separating her from Group One winner and stable companion, Alderry. This was another triumph for her sire, Kahal, and another chapter in the illustrious history of her family, remembered for the fact that in a single season in Europe, it produced the English Derby winner, Teenoso, the Irish Oaks victress Give Thanks, and the Derby Italiano ace, Old Country. Fisani is a half-sister to the millionaire, Catmandu, and being from the Coastal mare, Gypsey Spirit, she should not be short of the stamina needed when the gates crash open for the most famous 2200 metres in racing. At Greyville on the first Saturday in July.

This was a serendipitous outcome for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum as both Igugu and Fisani are part owned by him, and here we must commend his right-hand-man, Mohammed Khaleel for his enthusiasm for the Ready To Run, and his encouragement for the Sheikh’s investment in that sale.