Click above to watch Sajjhaa winning the Balanchine (Group 2)
(Image and footage : Dubai Racing Meydan)
US$200,000 BALANCHINE (Group 2)
Meydan, Turf, 1800m
21 February 2013
“Igugu will be back to do us proud,” said Mike de Kock after South Africa’s champion mare proved to be well in need of her first run in 13 months at Meydan on Thursday night. She finished third in the Group 2 Balanchine over 1800m on turf; beaten 4,25-lengths by Godolphin’s smart filly, Sajjhaa.
Igugu’s failure to win after all the hype around her was a disappointment to some of her followers, but Mike did advise pre-race that she was short of her peak and that a victory on her international debut would be no foregone conclusion. For the stable, this was a more than satisfactory return for the mare, who hadn’t seen a racetrack since winning Cape Town’s J&B Met (Grade 1) in January 2012 and had to travel halfway around the world to reach her destination in the UAE.
The race was run at a cracking pace and Mike assessed: “They went at breakneck speed and Igugu was fresh and pulling some to go with them. She got involved in a duel of speed with Godolphin’s pacemaker, Dark Orchid, the fractions were very fast. Igugu got tired in the stretch, but she stayed to the line and she wasn’t disgraced at all considering the factors involved. The fact that Dark Orchid faded right out - she was beaten almost 20 lengths, shows just how fast the clip was.”
Mike said that Igugu would be aimed next at the Jebel Hatta over 1800m on Super Saturday, 9 March. “She will improve many lengths in the next two weeks and we hope to have her near her best on the day.”
Igugu’s part-owner Andre Macdonald flew to Dubai to support the mare he races in partnership with Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and Mike said: “Mr Mac is a real sport and he took it on the chin, it was nice to have him here. He understands racing. Horses can’t go on winning and winning and Igugu faced a hard task tonight.”
Extract from Mike de Kock Racing