Igugu was the princess of Greyville yesterday when converting favouritism to win the Vodacom Durban July and stamp herself as one of the best three-year-old fillies ever seen in this country, but the race was marred by tragedy as the 2009 winner Big City Life had to be euthanized after breaking down past the post.
Igugu means “jewel” in Zulu and she was thus an appropriate winner in the year of two Royal Weddings and with the big day’s theme being “A Right Royal Affair”.
Delpech joined Harold “Tiger” Wright and Anton Marcus as the only jockey to ever ride four July winners, while de Kock is fast on his way to matching the race’s training greats, Syd Laird (seven winners) and Terrance Millard (six).
It was an especially wonderful day for Andre and Joyce Macdonald, who splashed out R1 million to buy Igugu.
It was a double triumph for Mick Goss’ Summerhill Stud and their brainchild the Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Sale.
Igugu is by one of the world’s top stallions, Galileo, and was purchased in Australia by Mick Goss’ Summerhill Stud, who then put her on the Ready To Run Sale.
The second horse over the line, the Gary Alexander-trained Piere Jourdan, was bred by Summerhill and was also sold on the Ready To Run Sale, for a mere R60,000.
Sheik Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Mike de Kock’s chief client, later came into Igugu as a partner with Macdonald and she now runs in his colours.
The de Kock yard delivered a sucker punch when the horse that everybody thought would set the pace, Safwan, missed the break and was dropped out to last.
The race was very rough in the early stages and Black Wing appeared to be the chief sufferer.
Igugu was soon prominent and sat in second place the whole way after Happy Landing had gone to the front.
Emerald Cove, Bravura and the 2009 winner, Big City Life, were right there, while Piere Jourdan was in midfield.
In the straight Igugu delivered her famous kick to claim the advantage.
Pierre Jourdan, known around the country as “the People’s Horse”, emerged as the danger and put up a gallant effort to catch her, while all of the Glen Kotzen-trained Big City Life, the Mike Bass-trained English Garden and the Gavin van Zyl pair of The Apache and Bulsara were also putting up tremendous fights.
However, the superstar filly kept going superbly with her giant stride and won by a length from Pierre Jourdan, with English Garden a length further back in third.
The Apache was a further 0,15 lengths back, a shorthead in front of the surprise package of the race Bulsara.
Big City Life was courageous to the last and finished a shorthead further back in sixth.
The places paid out to the first six for the first time.
Delpech revealed that de Kock had told him that Safwan would not set the pace, but that he shouldn’t worry.
“He said to me ‘one will lead and you sit second’.”, he said, “I was so happy when I got a good position for free. I will never ride a filly as good this.”
De Kock said, “She has a culture of winning, she always wants to win. She has heart and things have gone so well into the race, we had to be quietly confident. Yebo Igugu!”
De Kock then took a swipe at South Africa’s trading partners, who make import, export and travel so difficult for our thoroughbreds due to African Horse Sickness, which is not a contagious disease and the chances of passing it to an overseas destination are practically nil.
“They should hang their heads in shame,” said de Kock.
An ecstatic Andre Macdonald said, “I can’t think straight and can’t tell u how I feel. They were coming at her and I thought they were going to catch her but everybody screamed and I think we all pushed her over the line.”
This was the tenth year of the Vodacom Sponsorship and in it’s first year the race was also won by a Mike de Kock-trained three-year-old filly, the great Ipi Tombe.