Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al MaktoumSheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum ( expertise of jockeys with Hong Kong experience, where the environment is ultra competitive and sectional timing is in place in both training and racing, was proved once more in the Grade 2 R375 000 Guineas for three-year-olds , when recently returned former champion jockey Anthony Delpech rode a finely judged race to get the Mike de Kock-trained chestnut gelding Imbongi, home.

This was the second success for Imbongi’s dam, Garden Verse(Foveros), within a month, as another of her daughters, the Gary Alexander-trained Spring Garland, won the Grade 3 Acacia Handicap about a month ago over 1600m on the Turffontein inside track.

Buyers will now be showing a lot of interest in the mare’s yearling by National Emblem who is on the National Yearling Sales in April.

Mick Goss of Summerhill Stud, who bred and also owns a share in Imbongi, watched the race from his hotel room in Melbourne Australia, where he is attending the Melbourne Premier Sale.

Another of Imbongi’s owners, Barry Clements, was staying in the same hotel.

A thrilled Mick Goss spoke telephonically of the memory of the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum who died in January 2006.

Sheikh Maktoum owned Imbongi’s sire, Russian Revival, and it was agreed, while the Sheikh was still alive, that Russian Revival would be leased for a nominal fee to Kenya, to boost that country’s breeding.

That is consequently where the former Dubai Duty Free son of Nureyev now stands.

Mick Goss mentioned another African legacy of Sheikh Maktoum’s being the soon to be opened School Of Excellence at Summerhill Stud, which will upgrade the skills of grooms and other personnel in the breeding environment.

Besides jockeyship, another secret to Imbongi’s success was that the professional Mike de Kock yard have managed to cure him of his previous habit of dwelling at the start, and this time he bounced out very well from his number one draw and sat comfortably throughout in a handy position.

Extract by David Thiselton from The RaceGoer - Sunday Tribune