MIKE de Kock has denied that Igugu and her old rival Ebony Flyer could meet in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth in January, writes JACK MILNER.
In a discussion on the programme “Inside Racing’’ on Tellytrack on Monday night, it was mentioned that Igugu would be going for the Queen’s Plate followed by the J&B Met.
“I don’t know where the information came from but whoever is spreading it, is ill-informed,’’ said Mike. “The plan is to race her in the TBA Paddock Stakes over 1800m on the same day as the Queen’s Plate – and then the Met.’’
Igugu in her stable. (freeracer.co.za).
The Queen’s Plate and Paddock Stakes are both Grade 1 races and carry stakes of R1 million each.
Originally Igugu was scheduled to make her way to Dubai but those plans were shelved because the export protocol prohibited Mike from taking his runners straight into Dubai. “She’s a very robust filly and she can be a handful. There was no way I was going to take the route via Mauritius.
“However, I’m confident we will clear it all up. If all goes well Igugu will stay in Cape Town after the Met and go directly into quarantine. From there she can go to Europe. That would be first prize. There are indications that things will change.’’
Mike is of the opinion that someone needs to sit down with members of the South African Government and explain the advantages of sorting out the export protocol. “Getting it right can help with both revenue and employment. Those are two departments in which the government is letting themselves down. We need someone to explain the benefits.’’
Meanwhile, before Igugu goes to the Cape she will first have a warm-up race in Gauteng. “She’s had a complete break. She did not go into quarantine and I turned her out in the paddock. She has just started cantering again and the plan is to either race her in the Ipi Tombe Challenge or a Pinnacle Stakes a couple of weeks later,’’ he said. “I didn’t want to wind her up for the Sansui Summer Cup and it also makes sense to stick to weight-for-age races right now. She’s done enough at handicap level. Joburg also has a fantastic Autumn season and then there’s Durban.
“I can tell you that if she’s still around in South Africa in July, I will have another crack at the Vodacom Durban July.’’
Mike is delighted at the way the daughter of Galileo has blossomed during the break. “She’s filled out and she’s behaving like a colt. She’s totally mad!’’
The Grade 2 Ipi Tombe Challenge will be run over 1600m on Sunday 4 December with the Pinnacle Stakes set for Tuesday night 20 December over the same distance. Whenever she does race one can expect a decent crowd at Turffontein to cheer her on.
Speaking about some of his other runners, Mike said Amanee would be out of action until next year. “She had a fetlock chip and she’s had an operation. She will be staying in Joburg and will probably go the same route as Igugu and run in the Triple Tiara races (Gauteng Fillies Guineas, SA Fillies Classic and SA Oaks).
“I gave all my horses a really good break and rested them longer than normal. I was fairly hard on them last season and we’ve also got some unraced horses who need to get out. They seem to be fairly decent but you never know until they are exposed.
“Of the older horses I feel Link Man is doing exceptionally well and we’ll probably line him up for the Queen’s Plate. Kavanagh has come back well from the rest. He’s is completely different horse but he has let me down before and we will have to see how he goes once he starts racing again before getting too excited.’’