(Photo : Gold Circle)
J&B MET 2010
Filly winners of the J&B Met (Gr.1) are few and far between. Reaching down into the memory bank, we can only recall Renounce,Imperious Sue (a daughter of our resident sire, Northern Guest) and Empress Club, an illustrious assembly by any standards.
For a filly that’d never won at the top level, including contests against her own sex, River Jetez’s grand victory in Saturday’s renewal (sponsored by J&B for the 34th time) was quite outstanding, particularly given the weight conditions of the race.
The breeding fraternity quickly had their calculators out after the event, in an attempt to calculate her new value, as the own sister to the many-times Champion, Pocket Power, whom she vanquished in the process. The conjecture started with the recent acquisition by Mary Slack of her runner-up, Mother Russia, who reputedly changed hands a short while back for R4 million plus, and the talk at Kenilworth that evening ranged between R6 and R8 million. And then of course, there was the inevitable “can anyone afford to keep her in South Africa?”.
Speaking of Mother Russia, she looked like a lot of money when Mary Slack wrote the cheque, but a victory in the Paddock Stakes (Gr.1) and a second in the Met, tells us Mary has more than money among her attributes. And while there are obviously other examples, moments like these evoke memories of Festive Season, who chased home the legend, Politician, in one of his two victories in the great race, while our own Icy Air went down just a neck in her final visit to the racecourse in the colours of Mike Rattray of Lammerskraal Stud. Like Mary, he’d been bold enough to pay top dollar in those days, when acquiring the Champion Three Year Old of her year.
Whatever, it was a fine day’s racing, as competitive as you could wish for, with all three Group Ones yielding the tightest of finishes, and displaying some exceptional horsemanship from the pilots. Ride of the day (possibly of the year) went to Anton Marcus for his handling of Bravura in the Investec Derby (Gr.1), where he led from start to finish and repelled the boldest of bids from Guineas hero, Noordhoek Flyer. What’s encouraging for Joey Ramdsen going forward, is that his winning charge still looks like he has plenty of improvement in him, and he could just grow in stature from here. He’s another feather in the already bulging cap of the relatively small breeder, Veronica Foulkes, who not only co-owns him, but has sent forth any number of decent horses this season.