ON 29 March, 2003, the sensational Ipi Tombe won the then $US2-million Dubai Duty Free over 1777m on turf at Nad Al Sheba from Paolini, Royal Tryst and Eventuail, opening the door to the formidable success Mike de Kock has enjoyed in the UAE and elsewhere on the globe since.
Ipi Tombe (Kevin Shea) raced in the silks of Barry Irwin’s Team Valor and on this Andrew Watkins photo below joint-owner Henk Leyenaar leads the filly into the winner’s enclosure along with then assistant trainer Frikkie Greyling, Mike de Kock and groom Patrick Ndlebe.
Umgiyo represents the stable in the same race this Saturday. Now known as the Dubai Turf and staged for $US6-million over 1800m, he’s a four-year-old gelding by Danehill Dancer owned by a partnership consisting of Wayne and Wendy Rippon, Chris Haynes, Gary Grant, Mohammed Khaleel, Arun Chadha, Dr John McVeigh and Noeline Malherbe.
Umgiyo has a few lengths to find in this famous race’s customary power-packed field, but Right Approach was only given an outside chance when he dead-heated for the stable here in 2004 and Mike commented: “Umgiyo is in good form and he’s had an excellent prep. He’s a game, hard-running horse, suited to the trip and must have some sort of chance.”
Wayne and Wendy Rippon were on course to witness their and Lionel Cohen’s filly Sun Classique win the Sheema Classic in 2008 under Kevin Shea, beating Viva Pataca by 2.75-lengths. “We have a ticket, so we have a chance,” said Warne on Thursday.
Wendy and Warne Rippon with Umgiyo.