Who is Igugu?
Some have called her Africa’s Zenyatta. That’s great, but what does it really mean?
Let’s take a look at some of her basic stats; Igugu, owned by a partnership that includes Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, and trained by Mike de Kock, is a 4-year-old Australian bred daughter of Galileo out of Zarinia, by Intikhab. She has won 10 of her 12 starts, while finishing 2nd in her only two losses. Both of those defeats came back in 2010, by the way. Igugu is also the reigning Horse of the Year in South Africa.
Out of arguably the finest sire in the world, and with a record like that, you can begin to see why she is a dominant figure in South African racing. And for those of you who might not know, South Africa is a nation with excellent racing. It is not unusual to see top horses, usually from the de Kock barn, come from South Africa to prove their class on a world stage.
I first became familiar with Igugu last April when she became the first horse in history to sweep her current nation’s Triple Tiara. The capper of the series came in the South African Oaks.
Not to rest on her laurels against her own age and gender, Igugu took on the best older males in South Africa two races later when she lined up in the country’s most important race, the Group 1 Durban July at the demanding distance of approximately 1 3/8 miles.
Given a rest after that huge win, Igugu came back in December in the one-mile, Group 2 Ipi Tombe Challenge. As you are about to see, the race proved no contest.
Starting off 2012 by continuing her winning ways would not be easy. After the Durban July, the Group 1 J & B Met is South Africa’s most important race. In the past 75 years, only four horses had been able to sweep the pair of prestigious races, and Igugu was not coming into the race in the best of ways. After missing a work due to a respiratory problem, she travelled 18 hours just to get to Kenilworth and then had to go through a difficult quarantine process. Her trainer did not think she was, or could be 100% for the race. As you are about to see, this filly is not only brilliant, she is also brave as can be. Wherever she runs in the future, I hope you join me in watching.