IGUGU, the international favourite for Saturday’s Gr1 Jebel Hatta over 1800m on turf at Meydan, disappointed her legion of followers again when failing to make the frame behind the winner, Sajjhaa.
Setting aside the fact that Igugu looked well on parade, ran a promising race up to a point and actually improved significantly at the turnaround in weights with Sajjhaa (she was only beaten three lengths), Mike has chosen to put matters in perspective for Igugu’s swell of supporters without going into academic race detail.
Igugu: Don’t discard our proud mare, she’s expected to turn the corner soon. (Andrew Watkins)
He said after the race on Saturday evening: “There have already been a few armchair critics who have written Igugu off, but I want to note that I am not concerned about what we’ve seen from her in her two races here in Dubai. I want to set the troubled minds to rest.
“There are factors which have contributed to Igugu’s below-par runs, they are things we all have to keep firmly in mind. She’s most certainly not a lost case. Far from it!
“To start with, Igugu hasn’t settled down in her new surroundings like most of her stablemates have done and her condition hasn’t been what it should be. She’s a young mare, a filly you like. Any trainer who has worked with fillies will tell you that they are sensitive and temperamental creatures. Even the very good ones like Igugu can literally go off the boil overnight and then take time to recover their composure.
“Igugu’s difficulty to adapt here is evidenced by her most unusual cycles experienced since her arrival last December. I’m referring to her female cycle, her oestrus cycle is the correct veterinary term. She’s been in season literally four times in the last couple of months, something I haven’t seen in my 25 years of training.
“When fillies go through this cycle they invariably have behavioural problems. They can be nervous or lacklustre in their work and often have an increased interest in the colts and geldings around them which distracts attention and focus.
“Igugu has been through this ordeal a few times now, things haven’t been easy for her . Her world has been turned upside down, she has been subject to massive changes and unfortunately she was affected a whole lot more than we expected her to be. She has suffered.
“Another issue to mention is the training schedules we are subject to here at the Carnival. The annual racing festival stretches over only a few months and on top of our imported runners arriving late due to the export protocols we are forced to condense our work programmes, for example by squeezing a month’s vital track work into the space of two weeks. We’re not able do what we normally do and that has obvious ramifications.
“Igugu simply hasn’t coped with it all so far, but I am totally convinced that in the weeks leading up to Dubai World Cup night she will make drastic improvement. The Jebel Hatta will bring her on a ton and I believe next time you will see a different mare.
“I don’t want people to tell me she’s running below her best or not herself or that she’s been disappointing. I fully well know that. I am with her every day and it is my job to get her right. Don’t discard Igugu, she will turn the corner.
“We are sticking to our plans with Igugu. She will be prepared for the Dubai Duty Free on World Cup night and I’m looking forward to seeing her progress in the next three weeks.”