Each year Zimbabwe’s racing fraternity honours Borrowdale Park’s most illustrious graduate with the running of the Ipi Tombe Stakes (L). Worth US$ 12 000, the race will be run over 1600m on March 8, and the 2014 event is sponsored by Zimoco.
The great racing filly, Ipi Tombe, was born in 1998 at Peter J. Moor’s Golden Acres Farm in Marondera, Zimbabwe. She was sold to the Sunmark Racing Syndicate for Z$50 000 (not expensive at that time) on the TBA Premier National Yearling Sales 2000.
Ipi Tombe by Manshood (GB) is bred in the purple. Manshood’s sire, Mr Prospector, is one of the most influential sires worldwide and his dam, Indian Skimmer, was the champion filly in Europe. Ipi Tombe’s dam, Carnet De Danse (GB) was sired by Dance In Time(CAN), by Northern Dancer. Dance In Time was Canada’s Two-Year-Old Champion Race Horse.
While racing at Borrowdale Park, Harare, Ipi Tombe was trained by Noelene Peech, won four of her five starts and was always ridden by Dewi Williams. Noelene recalls Ipi Tombe as being “more loving, considerate, generous, humble and joyous than any human could understand”. She also referred to a comment made later on by another Zimbabwe-based trainer, Lisa Harris..”Ipi got where she has got, because she had been where she has been”…
Former Zimbabwean Champion Jockey Dewi Williams describes Ipi Tombe as “ a fantastic filly with a very high cruising speed. Probably the best I ever sat on.”
Ipi Tombe then moved to Mike De Kock and made her South African debut in March, 2002, finishing second at Turffontein. Ipi Tombe never lost another race, going on to win SA Fillies Classic (Gr1), the S.A. Fillies Guineas (Gr1), the Woolavington Stakes (Gr2) and the 2002 July Handicap (Gr1).
Ridden by Kevin Shea, Ipi Tombe won from a number 18 draw in the “July”, her driving finish making her the first three-year-old filly to win the race in 50 years.
Team Valor then entered the picture and Ipi Tombe campaigned in Dubai, winning three races including the Haafhd Jebel Handicap (Gr 2) and the Dubai Duty Free Stakes (Gr 1) – performances that earned her the 2003 Dubai Horse of the Year award.
After relocating to the United States of America she won her only start in the Locust Grove Handicap (Gr3) on 28 June, 2003, the only Zimbabwe-bred horse to win at the historic Churchill Downs track.
Soon afterwards Ipi Tombe retired to stud due to an injury, with an impressive record of 12 wins and 2 seconds from 14 starts, and earnings of US$1,529,799. Now owned by Denali Stud in Kentucky, she has produced six foals and is currently in foal to Scat Daddy (USA). Three of her four runners are winners, Monastic Spring, Pin Turn and Go For Two. Her daughter Pin Turn (by Pivotal) was purchased for export to South Africa.
When he heard Ipi Tombe had retired former trainer Mike de Kock said: “We will go to our graves with great memories of her. She was the Horse Chestnut of fillies, and we unquestionably had the best of her. She left us on a high and that’s the way we’ll remember her”.
And we do.
Every year the 1600m Ipi Tombe Stakes is run at Borrowdale Park and organised by the Mashonaland Owners & Trainers Association.
13 horses have been nominated for the 2014 Zimoco Ipi Tombe Stakes, including Madigan who won this race in 2014; Equina, winner of the 2014 Castle Tankard and OK Grand Challenge; Lucky Sam who won the 2014 Republic Cup, and Captain’s Tiger, winner of the Ipi Tombe Stakes in 2013. A King Is Born, winner of the 2013 Castle Tankard, Alula Borealis, Gentle Brook, Glorious Jet, Menacing, Orbit War, Super Trouper, Thriller In Manila and Two Gun Kid have also been nominated.