MAURITIUS – South Africa’s Horse Of The Year Igugu has arrived in Mauritius on the second leg of a journey intended to take her to next year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival via Newmarket.
The daughter of Galileo was among 14 blue-blooded thoroughbreds who made the five-hour flight from Cape Town following 20 days of quarantine and are housed at the secluded site overseen by the local Ministry Of Agriculture at Poste Lafayette on the east coast of the Indian Ocean island.
Strict conditions imposed by protocols relating to African horse sickness, which is endemic in South Africa, mean the group will undergo 90 days’ quarantine before being shipped to England for a further 30 days’ isolation.
Around the end of October 12 members of the touring party will form the backbone of trainer Mike de Kock’s squad for the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival. The other two are top sprinter Val De Ra, who is destined for stud and a possible first date with Galileo, and Grade 1 Horse Chestnut Stakes winner Dancewiththedevil, for whom a Newmarket-based trainer is being sought.
De Kock’s displeasure with the lengthy and complicated travel arrangements imposed by quarantine restrictions prompted him to reduce the number of top horses he took from his native South Africa to Dubai for this year’s festival. Instead, Igugu remained on home soil and in January won the J&B Met in Cape Town to give De Kock his third success in the Grade 1 race.
Now, though, expediency has triumphed over principle and with Igugu shortly turning six to southern hemisphere time, De Kock has decided he cannot afford to wait another year.
Before the squad went into quarantine he said: “For Igugu and others to be able to compete internationally, we have no choice but to make early arrangements to get them out as soon as we can. It’s ridiculous, but we can’t take the chance of waiting until after the Durban July.”
De Kock will still have a clutch of runners in the Durban July, including Ilha Bela and Vettel, who will vie for second choice in the betting behind hot favourite Jackson.
Igugu was not entered for SA’s biggest race of the year and she has been joined in Mauritius by last season’s dual Grade 1 winner The Apache, who ran sixth in this year’s J&B Met and could have an engagement in Hong Kong where one his part-owners lives in December.
As well as a number of good winners owned by Sheikh Hamdan, including smart two-year-old Soft Falling Rain and Mushreq, De Kock’s Dubai team will include Shea Shea, who he took over from Geoff Woodruff. – Racing Post.