The eagerly awaited rematch between Igugu and Hollywoodboulevard in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas turned into a one-horse parade as Igugu comprehensively wreaked her revenge on her fellow Australian import and ran out the most emphatic of winners. The two had famously met in the Ready To Run Cup over 1400m in early November, where Hollywoodboulevard sprang a 25/1 upset by capsizing 7/20 favourite Igugu, but nearly four months later it was a wholly different story, writes Matthew Lips.
Punters were undecided about which of the two to go for in Saturday’s showdown over 1600m on the Turffontein standside course, to the extent that Igugu went off as the 14/10 favourite with bookmakers but Hollywoodboulevard (17/10) was returned as the Tote favourite. Thrown into the mix as a possible spanner in the works was English-bred Welwitschia, a stable companion to Igugu who had run out the very easy winner of an ordinary Vaal 1200m maiden in her solitary racecourse appearance. She had plenty of followers here and was supported into 28/10 from an opening call of 9/2.
Chances Are had treated racegoers to an unscheduled display of rodeo riding as she gave jockey Francois Naude a torrid time in the canter-past, forcing her rider to learn a few tricks they probably don’t teach at the Academy, but in the race itself she was on full alert and immediately made off to set a decent pace. She showed the way ahead of Igugu, who was perfectly placed in second and who was already setting alarm bells ringing in the heads of those who had invested their money elsewhere. Princess Of Light, Fair Rosalind and Running Rivulet were next best as Hollywoodboulevard and Welwitschia were waited with further back.
Chances Are proved to be full of heart for all her bad manners, but it was soon obvious that Igugu had matters under control. Hollywoodboulevard began to make progress from off the pace, as did Welwitschia, but the race was over a long way from home as Igugu stormed to a four length success under Anthony Delpech. Hollywoodboulevard came out second best, suffering her first defeat from five starts with Willie Figueroa aboard, while Welwitschia was 1.75 lengths further away in third. Chances Are finished fourth, another neck away.
Igugu paid a huge compliment here to Ebony Flyer, who had comfortably beaten her in the Gr 1 Cape Fillies Guineas in December. This was Igugu’s first start in the 12 weeks since that race, and who’s to say that she won’t even come on from this run. Her ability to race handy made a huge difference as perennial hold-up horse Hollywoodboulevard had no real choice but to concede plenty of start to her arch-rival, and in the end there was no way that Charles Laird’s filly could bridge the gap with the Mike de Kock-trained winner. Igugu’s stable companion Welwitschia showed considerable promise for so inexperienced a filly by finishing third, especially as she was bred to northern hemisphere time. She was an early foal with a January birth date by northern standards, but even so she was beaten by two fillies who were variously four and five months older than she and who were both already Graded Stakes winners going into this contest.
Igugu should have precious little difficulty staying the 1800m of the Gr 1 SA Fillies Classic on March 26th, which will mark the second leg of the fillies’ Triple Tiara, and the daughter of Galileo has every chance of coping also with the 2450m of the Gr 2 Oaks in late April should connections opt to go that route ahead of the KZN season which starts soon afterwards. Igugu is the second foal of the unraced Intikhab mare Zarinia from one of the Aga Khan’s good families, and is (very) distantly related to champion filly and 2008 Arc winner Zarkava. Igugu was acquired for a nice round one million rands at the 2009 Ready To Run Sale and has won four of her six starts for stakes of R955 625. She races in the now very familiar silks of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, who races her in partnership with Andre MacDonald, and barring mishaps one images we shall be seeing Igugu in action at the 2012 Dubai carnival.
Gauteng Fillies Guineas (SAf-G2) (2/26)
Turffontein, South Africa, February 26, R500.000, 1600m, turf, good, 1.37.98 (CR 1.35.44).
IGUGU (AUS), 58.0, b f 3, Galileo (IRE) – Zarinia (IRE) by Intikhab. Owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum and A J MacDonald; breeder Kia Ora Stud (AUS); trainer M F de Kock; jockey A Delpech (312.500)
Hollywoodboulevard (AUS), 58.0, b f 3, Street Cry – Soneria (AUS) by Filante (NZ)
Welwitschia (GB), 58.0, b f 3, Oasis Dream (GB) – Maid For Romance (GB) by Pursuit Of Love (GB)
Margins: 4, 1¾, nk
Also ran: Chances Are (SAF) 58.0, Princess Of Light (SAF) 58.0, Running Rivulet (SAF) 58.0, Fair Rosalind (SAF) 58.0, Happy Archer (AUS) 58.0, Stormy Coast (SAF) 58.0