Team Valor Returns to South Africa for Crimson Palace

Team Valor, which formed a partnership last summer with WinStar Farm and Sunmark Partners to campaign South African hotshot filly Ipi Tombe in Dubai, has decided to take the same route with Crimson Palace.

Mike de Kock, who developed Ipi Tombe, will take over the training of Crimson Palace this week and prepare her for summer racing in Durban. In the fall, the 3-year-old filly will join de Kock's string of horses headed to the United Arab Emirates for the 2004 winter racing season.

Team Valor's new acquisition originally had been programmed to spend 2 months in England preparing for a California campaign with Jenine Sahadi, who will now receive the filly one year from now.

"The more I thought about it, the more the idea of trying the Ipi Tombe thing again with Mike appealed to me," said Barry Irwin, head of the Team Valor syndicate. "I have a lot of faith in Mike."

Crimson Palace has won 4 of her 6 outings in South Africa, her most notable victory coming in the Group 1 Cape of Good Hope Paddock Stakes, in which she beat older fillies and mares in course-record time at Kenilworth.

"This filly is no slouch," insisted Irwin. "At the same point in their careers, Crimson Palace was rated a pound superior to Ipi Tombe. When she won her Group 1, it was the equivalent of a filly in May of her 3-year-old season beating older horses and smashing a course record in the bargain."