Updated on 09/17/2011 10:14AM

Ipi Tombe: $1,000 buy, $2 million win


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Ipi Tombe's three-length victory in last weekend's $2 million, Group 2 Dubai Duty Free was the mare's fourth consecutive victory against colts, and her emphatic success, racing nine furlongs in 1:47.61, showed beyond a doubt that she is a star of international racing. In addition to her ability, Ipi Tombe has the background and personality to catch public appeal.

Going through the sales ring for only $50,000 (that's Zimbabwe dollars, which amounts to about $1,000 in U.S. currency), Ipi Tombe sold to a 22-man syndicate that campaigned her through her first 10 starts. She won eight of those races, including the Group 1 South African Fillies Guineas, Natal Fillies Guineas, and Durban July Handicap. In the latter, she defeated colts with an exceptional last-minute acceleration, and shortly thereafter was purchased by American interests.

With her previous owners retaining a quarter-interest, Team Valor (purchasing a quarter) and WinStar (purchasing a half-interest) secured her for $750,000. Ipi Tombe has made her last three starts for this new ownership.

Now with 11 victories from 13 starts and earnings of more than $1.4 million, she will provide excitement and color for fans when she comes to compete for top prizes in America.

In terms of pedigree, Ipi Tombe also provides significant points of interest. Although her sire and dam will not be immediately recognizable, Ipi Tombe's sire, Manshood, is particularly well-pedigreed, and elements of his heritage play a significant role in assessing his daughter.

Manshood is an English-bred son of Mr. Prospector out of European highweight Indian Skimmer, by Storm Bird. In fact, Manshood is the first foal out of the top-class Indian Skimmer, who won Group 1 races at 3, 4, and 5. Her best victories came in the Prix de Diane and Prix d'Ispahan in France and in the Champion Stakes at Phoenix Park, and at Newmarket.

A foal of 1991, Ipi Tombe's sire is the "other" Manshood, as a 1984 half-brother to champions Devil's Bag, Glorious Song, and leading sire Saint Ballado also bears that name. A son of Northern Dancer, the elder Manshood sold for $2.2 million as a yearling, won three small races in France, and eventually ended up at stud in Australia.

As a son of the great sire Mr. Prospector and a great racemare, the younger Manshood had excellent qualifications as a racehorse, but a tendon problem prevented him from having a racing career. Exported to Africa as a stallion prospect, Manshood was purchased by Peter Moor and stood at his Golden Acres Farm near Marondera.

"Manshood was the most valuable stallion ever purchased to stand at stud in Zimbabwe," according to John Freeman, who manages the syndicate that now owns Manshood.

A 16-hand chestnut, he distinguished himself early, becoming the leading sire of 2-year-olds in Zimbabwe, and as the political tensions in Zimbabwe became increasingly extreme, Moor found himself with a dangerously valuable commodity in his young sire.

Freeman said, "Manshood came on the market last year as a result of the farm invasions in Zimbabwe, and Gary Player picked up on the fact that he was so well bred and instructed me to secure the horse for him."

Shortly before the Southern Hemisphere breeding season last year, Player bought the horse, syndicated him, and brought him to Gary Player Stud Farm near Colesberg, South Africa. Shortly after his arrival in South Africa, Manshood, already a successful sire, received the sort of local endorsement that only a champion can provide. Ipi Tombe became the first Zimbabwe-bred horse to win the Durban July Handicap, as well as the first 3-year-old filly to win the race since 1957. Manshood stood for 15,000 rand last season and his fee will rise to 20,000 rand this year.

Ipi Tombe's dam, Carnet de Danse, is by Northern Dancer's son Dance in Time and out of the Charlottown mare Yorktown. Carnet de Danse won three races in England, showing her best form at distances past 12 furlongs,

and as her maternal grandsire (Charlottown) and great-grandsire (Pinza) are both winners of the English Derby, Carnet de Danse's pedigree is fairly riddled with classic-level stayers.

Carnet de Danse, described as small and rather lightly made, sold for 19,500 guineas at the 1984 Tattersalls December sales and was exported to Africa. There she made little name for herself until her daughter Ipi Tombe came along. Now 22, the mare is at Gary Player Stud Farm to be covered by Manshood in hopes of producing another marvel of the turf.