IF Igugu does not get the Horse Of The Year Award when the Equus Awards for the 2010-11 racing season are handed out on Thursday next week, racing fans will probably demand a recount, reports NICCI GARNER.
Igugu, who had not seen a racecourse at the start of the campaign, ended the season as the joint highest-rated horse in the country. A credit to the skill of her trainer, Mike de Kock (who retained his Champion Trainer status), she raced at all three major racing centres – something even the legendary Terrance Millard avoided!
After the game daughter of Galileo put her age and sex to route in the Triple Tiara, becoming the first filly in history to win all three of the races in that series, the Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic, G2 SA Oaks and Gauteng Fillies Guineas, and then went on to trounce the best of her age and sex in the country in the G1 Woolavington 2000, some pundits believed she would have her limitations exposed in the country’s toughest race, the Vodacom Durban July. They ended up eating crow as Igugu took command at the top of the straight and then found another gear when Pierre Jourdan moved up to challenge, winning more easily than the one-length verdict.
Little wonder, then, that she is nominated for two of the nine other awards to honour great equine achievement – Three-Year-Old Filly and Middle-Distance Horse.
Her rival for Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, Ebony Flyer, beat De Kock’s “Jewel’’ in the Cape Fillies Guineas back in December, but has only been seen on a racecourse once this year. There is little doubt that Igugu’s contribution to the season far exceeded that of Justin Snaith’s charge.
Her competition in the Champion Middle-Distance Horse category is stiffer because she comes up against Dancewiththedevil, the only other horse in the country to have won three G1 races, as well as her former stablemate Mother Russia (won the Queen’s Plate), J&B Met hero Past Master and fellow three-year-old The Apache, who capped a great season in winning the Daily News 2000 and the Champions Cup, with a fourth in the July sandwiched between those runs. The nominees for Equus Awards:
Amanee/Hidden Beauty/Princess Victoria/Trinity House
Delago Deluxe/ Fighting Warrior/Potala Palace
English Garden/ Shea Shea/Solo Traveller/The Apache/What a Winter
Older Filly/Mare (four+):
Dancewiththedevil/Mother Russia/Val de Ra
Older Male (four+):
Past Master/Happy Landing
August Rush/Shea Shea/ Val de Ra/ What a Winter
Middle-Distance Horse (1400m-2200m):
Dancewiththedevil/ Igugu/ Mother Russia/ Past Master/The Apache
Aslan/Grey Cossack/ Ilsanpietro/ Sangria Girl/Seal/ Vertical Take-off
Other accolades that will be given include awards for the leading work riders (Gauteng and Cape Town), apprentice, jockey, trainer and owner, plus a special achievement award. Six breeders’ awards will also be presented.