J J The Jet Plane - Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (Gr1)
(Photos : Hong Kong Jockey Club)
J J THE JET PLANE
CATHAY PACIFIC HONG KONG SPRINT (Gr1)
It was good to be South African on Sunday, particularly if you’re into racehorses. Twice a champion back home, J J The Jet Planetook the form of his most recent domestic Gr1victories in the Golden Horse Casino Sprintand the Mercury Sprint to Hong Kong for the HK$14million Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint Gr1yesterday, where his adversaries included numerous international Gr1 winners, as well as the Hong Kong and Singapore champions, Sacred KingdomandRocket Man. Displaying the characteristic guts of Jet Master’sprogeny, “JJ” lived up to his name as he took off and swamped the appropriately named Rocket Man in literally the last stride of a desperate contest, becoming the second South African-bred Gr1 winner in a week, following Gypsey’s Warning’ssurge in America’s Milady Handicap. Just ¾ of a length separated the three champions, and this victory catapults “JJ”right into the reckoning for the title of the world’s best sprinter. A great piece of training by an underestimated force, Lucky Houdalakis, and a fairytale for a grand team of owners, who paid only R70,000 for JJas a yearling.
Our hero’s pedigree is littered with Summerhill connections, but before you jump to any hasty conclusions, let me explain. His sire Jet Master is one of, if not the greatest stallion we’ve known, dominating the local championship at a time of formidable opposition. Both his grandmother and his great grandmother were bred and raised at Summerhill, while “JJ’s” mother, bred at Summerhill by the late Gordon Ball, is a Stakes-winning daughter of our own champion, Northern Guest. Both his next two dams were bred at the old Hartford, now part of Summerhill.
Spare a thought here for Jet Master’sbreeder Hugh Jonsson, whose little stud, which never comprised more than two or three mares at a time, produced Jet Master and sold him for a meagre R15,000 as a weanling. Hugh, whose family were one-time owners of Hartford, parted the next year with his mother at the old broodmare sale on Summerhill for a paltry R10,000, the beneficiary of this transaction being another “poor” man, Chris Saunders, chairman at the time of Tongaat Huletts! It’s these stories that keep us interested, as it’s the best proof, if ever it was needed, that there’s room for everyone in this game.
Fortunately, the family is in great hands, as Chris’ magnificent Invermooi Studhas an enviable history of association with fine thoroughbreds.