After enduring a long trip, and an even more cumbersome quarantine procedure, Igugu, the winner of the 2011 Vodacom Durban July (G1), continued her great run with a heartstopping win in the J&B Met at Kenilworth under regular rider Anthony Delpech. Igugu’s majority owner is Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum.
“She almost had no right to win,” said trainer Mike de Kock. ”I feel she was 90 percent today, I’m humbled by this performance. It’s been a great performance. I feel if she wasn’t here today, it wouldn’t have been the same.”
“We had to travel 18 hours to get down here. These champions seem to get over it, lesser horses wouldn’t. She didn’t have that early gate speed, but what she’s been through, locked up in quarantine from dawn until dusk, it hasn’t been easy. With the slow pace, I was expecting to see us in front. It probably shows she wasn’t at her best. It’s not easy when you train horses like this, but fortunately, the people who own her, everyone has faith in the team, trust in the team.”
While she might not have been at her best, it makes the gutty late stretch heroics even more thrilling. De Kock indicates Igugu would stay in South Africa and aim for defence of her title in the Vodacom Durban July if she couldn’t get to Dubai for next year’s season.