In breaking news, the R1 million Gr1 TBA Paddock Stakes to be run over 1800m at Kenilworth on Saturday 7 January has been thrown wide open by the shock withdrawal of the 2011 Vodacom Durban July winner and SA Horse Of The Year, Igugu.
The daughter of world champion stallion Gallileo was withdrawn by trainer Mike De Kock earlier today as she is coughing.
Besides proving a dampner on the spectacle of seeing one of our greatest ever fillies in the flesh on one of our premier racedays, the challenge facing punters in selecting a winner from the remaining six runners has escalated with any of the contestants in with a realistic chance of lifting the mouthwatering first cheque.
Igugu was to have been ridden by her regular pilot Anthony Delpech and would have jumped from a perfect draw in the small field. She would have been a popular exotic banker and is likely to have started a red hot odds-on favourite for this wonderful race.
The owners and trainers that may have decided to have avoided the race because of the champion’s presence, will no doubt be kicking themselves now and high-riding Dennis Drier’s Dynasty filly Beach Beauty is likely to be installed favourite.
Well done to the likes of local trainers Piet Steyn, Justin Snaith and Brett Crawford who came to the party. In Igugu’s absence, the winner’s cheque is there for the taking by the best lady on the day!
Specific news is awaited on Igugu and further reports will follow on the July winner’s future programme, which includes a likely tilt at the R2,5 million Gr1 J&B Met to be run on 28 January 2012.