Click above to remember Igugu’s courageous performance in the 2012 J&B Met
(Photo : Gold Circle - Footage : SABC Sport)
(Galileo - Zarinia)
News from Mike de Kock’s yard is that Igugu has been retired. One of the bravest fillies to depart this farm, she was also as talented a racehorse as this country’s known. It was odds against though, (and we get little satisfaction in recalling that we said so at the time), that she would make a successful return to the form that took her to a Triple Tiara, a resounding victory in the Vodacom Durban July and as courageous an effort as we’ve known in the J&B Met, given the pain that preceded her Cape Town performance. That day, her mind was making appointments her body kept telling her she couldn’t meet, and there was always going to be a question mark as to whether she was going to have the will, let alone the physical capacity, to scale the heights she’d previously known.
As a daughter of the world’s pre-eminent stallion of the modern era, Galileo, she goes to the paddocks as one of the most valuable breeding commodities on the planet. Her heritage though, mitigates against her visiting her own father, which means the search is already on to find a compatible alternative of sufficient standing to warrant a date with one of racing’s most accomplished mares. There was a time when she and Black Caviar were considered by many astute students of the game, as being the best middle distance and sprinting fillies anywhere.
It’s anybody’s guess as to whose court she’ll visit, remembering that Fastnet Rock, for example, represents the cross (albeit Danehill on Galileo, as opposed to the other way round) that produced the immortal Frankel. Knowing her trainer and bloodstocker, Jehan Malherbe’s marked preference these days for the progeny of High Chaparral, he would ordinarily be a leading candidate for a mare of this calibre, but you wonder whether the line-breeding to Sadler’s Wells might send them in other directions. While he’s on the verge of becoming a pensioner, and seems to be entering the twilight zone that almost inevitably seems to afflict aging stallions, a Group One winner last weekend reminded us of the considerable impact Pivotal once had on the international racing scene, and if only because he would be expected to make a pretty decent physical contribution to the outcome, he would certainly be among our contenders.
Oasis Dream, were it not for his lack of inches, would be an obvious proposition, but we fancy, with the bit of “inside track” we have, that there is a special spot in the heart of her part-owner Sheikh Mohammed, for Dubawi. If only because he’s at the other side of the Atlantic, Giant’s Causeway may not come into the equation, though his highly-performed son Shamardal and the Irish National Stud’s Invincible Spirit, would be worthy outsiders in any field of this class. Any thoughts from our readers? And what about the preferences of the man that made it all happen when he raised his catalogue at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale in 2009, Andre Macdonald, and has stuck with Igugu like a bee around the honey pot?