Igugu, the koh-I-Noor, winner of the South African Triple Tiara
Igugu, the koh-I-Noor, winner of the South African Triple Tiara

Igugu - The Koh-I-Noor

(Photo : JC Photos / Summerhill Stud)

“The Koh-I-Noor”

No jewel has been more fiercely fought over than the Koh-I-Noor, a 105 carat diamond which has passed through the hands of Hindu, Mughal, Persian, Afghan, Sikh and British rulers. Seized time and again as a spoil of war, it was finally seized by the British East India Company in 1877, and now forms part of the Crown Jewels.

In Zulu, the word Igugu means a “treasure”, and in the context of South African racing, she (the racehorse) is the female equivalent of the Koh-I-Noor, after her smashing triumph in Saturday’s Woolavington 2000 (Gr1). A million Rand graduate of the Summerhill draft at the 2009 edition of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale, she left that vendue as the joint property of Mr and Mrs Andre Macdonald and a consortium described as the Summerhill Stud Syndicate. It’s a well documented fact that we sold our interest to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum when the daughter of Galileo was a three-time winner, and while you’d always want to be on board when the real glory sets in, if selling is your business, you need to let these things happen as part of the commercial process, and wish your successors the best with everything that happens thereafter.

Sheikh Mohammed has been a keen supporter of the Summerhill Ready To Run draft, and nobody deserves his success more than he does. Igugu has been more than a jewel to him, undefeated since the day he bought her, and becoming the first filly in history to win the Triple Tiara and the R1 million bonus that goes with it.

Saturday’s victory cements her place as the ruling favourite for Africa’s biggest horserace, the Vodacom Durban July, and while no horse can count itself a “shoe-in” for a race of this magnitude, it’s going to take a very good one to beat her.

In the words of her champion rider, Anthony Delpech, “I doubt I’ll ever get to ride a filly this good again”. End of inquest.