Ipi Tombe Owns Big Edge in Dubai Duty Free

Drawn perfectly in post 3 and gaining the weight advantage while taking on males, the outstanding mare Ipi Tombe should be the strongest favorite in the history of the $2 million Group I Dubai Duty Free, over 1,777 meters, at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday night.

There is no doubt that Ipi Tombe is a class act and a win would see her emulate the outstanding French mare Terre A Terre, winner of last year's Dubai Duty Free.

Since arriving in Dubai Ipi Tombe has been nothing short of outstanding. She created a huge impression when dominating the Listed Al Fahidi Fort, before handling the rise on her last start with an equally powerful display in the Group III Jebel Hatta over the course and distance.

After conceding weight to all her rivals in those two events, Ipi Tombe now receives the benefit of having weight given to her by five of her rivals.

Bred in Zimbabwe, Ipi Tombe had a four-run two-year-old season in Zimbabwe, winning three and being second on the other occasion. After a first-out win in her next campaign she went to South Africa. Her first run there in the Group II Triple Tiara in March 2002 saw her beaten a half length by Kournikova.

That would be the last time she tasted defeat.

Since then she has won the Group II South African Fillies Classic, the Group I South African Fillies Guineas, the Group I Woolavington Stakes before proving herself against the older horses when winning the Group I Durban July at Greyville.

Ipi Tombe galloped impressively on the turf during the week at Nad Al Sheba and trainer Mike de Kock is pleased with her progress.

To be ridden by regular rider Kevin Shea, Ipi Tombe is versatile enough to overcome any difficulties in running. She can drop out or go forward depending on the speed of the race; however from her ideal draw she would be expected to be up just behind the leaders.

The rail has been moved back into its normal position for the Dubai World Cup meeting so there is seven meters of fresh grass that hasn't been used since December.

Imtiyaz is the interesting runner for Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor. The horse expected to run in the $1 million Godolphin Mile after his impressive performance to win the Burj Nahaar over the 1,600-meter dirt course on March 8.

However, despite the ease of that win, Imtiyaz was returned to the turf and he will oppose Ipi Tombe in the Dubai Duty Free, and he does appear to be the likely leader.

Imtiyaz showed his class last season as a 3-year-old in England when, after easily winning the Glasgow Stakes at York, he was second in the Group I Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained King Of Happiness, a winner of the Craven Stakes at Newmarket last season, has thrived since arriving in Dubai, impressing clockers. The South African Eventuail, a winner of five of his last seven starts, appears to have settled in well also.

The German representative Paolini continues an amazing sequence in the Dubai Duty Free, the horse running in his 16th successive Group I event and his ninth different country.

He is a triple Group I winner and has been placed in seven others.