IN 2002 a new sponsor of Africa’s Greatest Horse Racing Event – Vodacom – came on board, making the official name of the race the Vodacom Durban July.
In spite of her impressive record in her build-up races to the inaugural Vodacom Durban July, few gave the three-year-old Zimbabwean-bred filly Ipi Tombe a realistic chance of winning.
But, while her stablemate Flight Alert was installed as favourite, bookmakers were taking no chances with the Mike de Kock inmate and Ipi Tombe was priced up as joint second favourite with J&B Met winner, Angus.
From her outside draw she raced near the back of the field under Kevin Shea. As the front-runners began to tire Ipi Tombe was weaving her way through the traffic. In the very final strides she burst through to snatch the honours from Angus and the fast-finishing Tytola.
Mike de Kock during the week passed a comment that should Ipi Tombe win he would get on her at the finish. All who know Mike will tell you that he is a man of his word and when she won he jumped on her back, raising his arms in celebration for his first Durban July win.
Ipi Tombe, by Manshood from Carnet De Danse, was owned for this win by Messrs Dave Coleman, Henk Leyenaar, Steve Tomlinson & the Sunmark Racing Syndicate.