nicola hayward
The significance of the retirement to stud of Ravishing is not just the fact that he is the first son of Jet Master to do so, but also because he takes to stud the genes of the very successful Lily family.
— Nicola Hayward / Thoroughbred Internet

Lily, foaled in 1961, was a daughter of the Herald mare Peerless and Goodasgold (GB) a son of Nearco. She won five races and finished third in the Listed TVL Breeders Plate before being retired to the paddocks. She has, over the past four-and-a-half decades, had an enormous impact on South African tracks and studs.

One has to go back to 1871 and a British-bred mare Lancashire Lass to find the imported dam in the pedigree of Lily. David Southey of Culmstock Stud in Middleberg in the Great Karoo imported a number of good mares from England in the 1870s, including some from the Cobham Stud. From these he produced some top-class horses, making him one of the leading breeders of that era. He bred the filly Pauline by Paul (Hermit) out of Lancashire Lass. Pauline produced both Apollo – winner of the Durban July in 1901 – and the filly Peerless (Pearl Diver) who won the race in 1903. In 1902, the outsider Chaos won the Durban July he too was out of Pauline, and although not the same mare, records vary as to her breeding. Peerless went on to produce Nobleman (a son of Greatorex) who was winner of the Durban July in 1911 as a 2YO.

Six generations separate Lily from Pauline, but each generation was enriched, both as a result of the added genes and the local conditions that demand a certain toughness of stock that calls Africa home. Lily produced nine foals; eight ran resulting in six winners. Her first foal was the grey daughter of Jamaico, Run For Lily. She was acquired as a yearling by Mr Graham Beck and won 12 times including the G1 Garden Province Stakes. Maico Lily, a full sister to Run For Lily, was also a Group One winner in South Africa and Rhodesia for owner/trainer George Connolly before dying of colic. The colts Grey Tiger (Lords) and Cracker Lily (Palm Beach) both earned black type.

In 1976, Lily produced Miss Lily, while only a minor winner, she went on to produce Lily’s Felice (Gay Fandango) who is the dam of Equus Champion Stayer in 2005 Saddlewood. She also produced Special Felice (Golden Thatch) who gave the Group Two winners Golden Man and Prince Of War and the Group One-winning sprinter Bold Thatch (National Assembly). Another daughter of Miss Lily was Lily Of The Guard, who is the dam of the Group One winner Fort Defiance (Fort Wood) and his full-sister the Listed winner Strelitzia. Miss Lily’s last foal was the sprinter Noble Thatch (Golden Thatch), who was retired to Klipdrift Stud where Jet Master stands today. He had limited success, the most notable performer being the Group Two winner Greek Warrior.

Run For Lily had raced in the Beckcolours and she retired to stud at Mr Beck’s Maine Chance Farms (now owned by Dr Andreas Jacobs). To this day, both Highlands and Maine Chance have mares from the family. The farms have tried to keep the Lily theme in naming the fillies in particular; Mrs Beckand her chauffeur have taken special pride in maintaining this aspect of the family.

Run For Lily produced six foals, only one was a Group winner (the colt Royal Messenger by Royal Prerogative) but there were four fillies, three of whom have been fine producers. Lily Gray, produced the Listed winner Glowing Thatch and Painted Glory, who was a Group Three winner herself while her daughters, St Georges Lily, Lily Lane and Tritonia have all produced Graded winners. Crimson Lily produced Red Badge, a multiple Stakes-winning son of Badger Land, as well as Ravishing, by Jet Master, who won the G1 SA Derby. Venetian Lily, a daughter of Argosy, produced the Group One-winning sprinter Vega (Jallad).

The family spans nearly 140 years and remains fruitful. It started with an imported mare and the vision of David Southey of Middleberg (decendants of whom still breed horses near Colesberg in the Karoo). Today, the female descendants of Lily are to be found at Highlands Farm, Maine Chance, Ascot Stud, Avontuur Estate, Gary Player Stud and Milkwood Stud.

The arrival of Ravishing at Summerhill begins a new chapter for the family, one that is sure to go from strength to strength.