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POCKET POWER GUNNING FOR GROUP 1 WORLD RECORD

pocket power
pocket power

Pocket Power

(Image : Gold Circle / Summerhill Stud)

“PP” PICKS PRESTIGE PRIZE

FOR WORLD PERFORMANCE

The most stately event on the South African racing calendar is also the oldest. Saturday’s renewal for the 150th time of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, the “mile” weight-for-age championship of the African continent, is staged at Kenilworth in Cape Town. The legend Pocket Powerlines up in an attempt at a fifth consecutive victory. With earnings already well in excess of R10million, the son of Jet Masternow only has records to break in a lifetime stashed with achievement. Victory here will make him a joint world record holder, the only other horse in history to have achieved a similar feat at Group 1 level in the same race being the American weight-carrying champion of the 1950’s, Kelso. The difference is that Pocket Powerwill have done it consecutively, whereas Kelso established his record over a six year span.

Famed for their association with the international prestige brands Cartier, Mont Blanc, Dunhill, Rothmans etc, the Rupert family’s embrace of the Queen’s Plate as a sponsorship project is a fitting extension to their involvement in one of the country’s most prestigious wineries and what is arguably the most breathtaking stud farm in the world, Drakenstein, home to the fabled Horse Chestnutand the very successful American “transplant”, Trippi.

The Rupert’s association with the Goss family goes back to university days at Stellenbosch, and they have been customers and friends of Summerhill virtually since the gates opened. Mick and Cheryl Goss will be winging their way for Cape Town on Friday to the stately Fleur du Cap, the Rupert guesthouse in Somerset West. Who knows, they might witness new history, though that would not be the plan of the connections of Ebony Flyer, the sensational three old filly in the Team Valor stable. Another Summerhill client, Barry Irwin, heads up Team Valor International, and with a handy pull at the weights, they will be doing everything they can to lower Pocket Power’s colours. Nobody wants to see a champion thwarted in his quest for a world record, but in the end, that’s what racing’s about : competition. And in the case of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, at the very highest level.

This could be one for the ages.

L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 1600m

8 January 2011

FINAL FIELD

#

Horse

Kg

MR

Dr

Jockey

Trainer

1

POCKET POWER

60.0

117

2

B Fayd’Herbe

Mike Bass

2

PAST MASTER

60.0

114

6

G Schlechter

Darryl Hodgson

3

TROPICAL EMPIRE (AUS)

60.0

114

15

G Hatt

Duncan Howells

4

TALES OF BRAVERY

60.0

111

9

M Byleveld

Vaughan Marshall

5

BLUE TIGER

60.0

109

14

A Domeyer

Mike Bass

6

CAPTAIN’S SECRET

60.0

107

8

R Fourie

Mike Bass

7

CASEY COOL

60.0

107

3

F Anthony

Darryl Hodgson

8

CELTIC FIRE

60.0

107

7

K Teetan

Yvette Bremner

9

FABIANI

60.0

105

5

R Danielson

Glen Kotzen

10

RUSHING WIND

60.0

104

12

K Neisius

Mike Bass

11

TIME AND LOVE

60.0

104

4

M Odendaal

SJ van Rensburg

12

SUPER STORM

60.0

99

10

P Strydom

Mike Bass

13

AMERICAN MAN (AUS)

60.0

91

11

S Veale

Mitchell Wiese

14

MOTHER RUSSIA

57.5

111

1

A Marcus

Mike de Kock

15

EBONY FLYER

52.5

97

13

F Coetzee

Justin Snaith

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JET PLANES ARE FASTER THAN ROCKETS!!

j j the jet plane winning the hong kong sprint
j j the jet plane winning the hong kong sprint

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint

(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)

J J THE JET PLANE RANKED

“WORLD TOP MALE SPRINTER”

Timeform has rated J J THE JET PLANE as the top male sprinter in the world (TFR 122), an unbelievable achievement for this homegrown hero who has flown to stardom from humble beginnings. He shares the honour with the two illustrious gallopers who ran behind him in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (Gr1), Rocket Man and Sacred Kingdom. Coolmore’s Starspangledbanner is rated behind the trio (TFR 121) followed by Equiano.

TIMEFORM TOP MALE SPRINTER

#

Horse

Trainer

TFR

1

J J THE JET PLANE

Lucky Houdalakis

122

1

ROCKET MAN

Patrick Shaw

122

1

SACRED KINGDOM

Ricky Yiu

122

4

STARSPANGLEDBANNER

Aidan O’Brien

121

5

EQUIANO

Barry Hills

120

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JJ JET'S HOME

j j the jet plane wins hong kong sprint
j j the jet plane wins hong kong sprint
j j the jet plane winning hong kong sprint trophy presentation
j j the jet plane winning hong kong sprint trophy presentation

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.

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Tales of Jet Master, Guinness Records and Gymkhanas

mick goss and benjy jonsson
mick goss and benjy jonsson

Mick Goss enjoys a moment with Ben Jonsson

(Photo : Hartford House)

“IT’S A SMALL WORLD INDEED”

Among many anecdotes to have emerged from the Jonsson 80th birthday celebrations, were these two. According to the Guinness Book of Records, there is only one other set of living triplets who are slightly ahead of the Jonssons, the threesome having chalked up 93 years. The Jonssons trail by just 13 years, but knowing their history of longevity, it’s a good bet our “triplets” still have a good bit of wind in their sails. Either way, it’s a remarkable story of triumph against the odds, and it’s our bet the Guinness Book is in danger of having its pages rewritten. For the record, an elder sibling Hugh, was the breeder of Jet Master greatest South African stallion of all time, who’s just recorded his third consecutive Sires championship.

The second anecdote worth repeating is the connectivity in racing between Ben and the Goss family. As a young man recently out of school, Ben made his first investment in a racehorse, acquiring a colt from Mick Goss’s grandfather, Pat Goss Snr, in the mid 1940’s for the princely sum of £50, quite a bit of money in those days.

Legend has it that Ben had only £35 from his savings to spend, and had to borrow the remaining £15 from his employer, which he redeemed at £2 a month. Unable to afford the training fees, Ben leased the colt to the grandfather of David Pianel, famous for his association with the studs of the Rowles family (Ivanhoe) and Sydney Press’ Coromandel Stud.

For what its worth, Ben’s colt won two heats on the same day at the Lions River gymkhana, and then promptly suffered a heart attack which put him down. Prior to that he hadn’t been able to pull off a win at the major courses, hence his dispatch to a gymkhana meeting, though we shouldn’t demean gymkhanas too much, because they were quite competitive affairs in those days.

Either way, we’d like to think we’ve moved on at Summerhill!

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Mike de Kock armed for Golden Jubilee Dogfight

j j the jet plane ascotJ J The Jet Plane, Ascot
(Photo : Daily Mail)

Mike de Kock and J J The Jet Plane have captivated the interest of the UK racing media in the buildup to Saturday’s Golden Jubilee Stakes where they will challenge for South African glory in the final Group 1 trophy of Royal Ascot 2009.

Following is an extract from yesterday’s edition of the UK’s Mirror, written by David Yates :

Royal Ascot
Saturday 20 June 2009, Race 3
The Golden Jubilee Stakes

“I feel the need… the need for speed…”

Australia plundered Saturday’s Golden Jubilee Stakes in 2003 with King’s Stand Stakes hero Choisir.

Two years later, the six furlong sprint - run at York while Ascot was being rebuilt - went to Hong Kong raider Cape Of Good Hope.

Now J J The Jet Plane is the bookies’ favourite to make racing history by taking the prize to South Africa.

But victory for the five-year-old would mark just the latest overseas plunder for Mike De Kock, the trainer who has made his name dispatching runners from his Johannesburg base to capture some of the biggest races on the planet.

A decade ago Mike de Kock came to Ascot with a view to sending his stable star Horse Chestnut for a clash with Europe’s top middle-distance cream in the King George.

The plan to run didn’t come off, but a sortie to America saw Horse Chestnut demolish his rivals in Gulfstream Park’s prestigious Broward Handicap - and Mike de Kock was bitten by the travel bug.

“In any sport, you want to pitch yourself against your peers abroad,” explains the 45 year-old Mike de Kock, who as a boy became fascinated by the goings-on at Johannesburg’s Newmarket racecourse, a couple of furlongs from his family home.

After a couple of years in the Equestrian Unit of the SA Defence Force, Mike de Kock learned his trade in the training ranks of his native city before taking out a licence in his own name in 1989.

“The ambition to run Horse Chestnut in the King George didn’t take place, but it was his win in America that whet my appetite for international competition.

“I came across to Ascot and I thought, ‘This is what I want.’ But you’ve got to have the horses to be competitive.

“Sitting in South Africa, you’re looking abroad and everything in America and England looks so big, and you’re almost nervous to have a crack at it.” The exploits of the ex-Zimbabwean mare Ipi Tombe, which included a track-record win in Dubai’s Group 1 Dubai Duty Free on World Cup night in 2003, established Mike de Kock as a force on the international scene.

“I felt Ipi Tombe was good enough to race abroad,” he recalls. “I felt, ‘If there’s a better horse, then I want to see it.” “We didn’t really know how competitive we would be until we took our horses abroad.”

“We thought she would be competitive, but I didn’t imagine she would win in Dubai like she did.”

Ipi Tombe was crowned Dubai Horse of the Year for 2003, while Mike de Kock topped the trainers’ list at its spring meeting five years running from 2004.

Last year he even improved Aidan O’Brien cast-offs Archipenko and Eagle Mountain to score at the highest level in Hong Kong last year.

But success at Royal Ascot represents uncharted territory for Mike de Kock, who recruited dual Group 1 winner J J The Jet Plane to race at the Dubai Carnival this spring.

A Group 3 winner at Nad Al Sheba in February, the gelded son of champion South African speedster Jet Master arrived at his summer base in Newmarket last month, before warming up for Ascot in a Listed sprint at Windsor.

J J The Jet Plane lived up to his odds of 4-7 by four lengths from Intrepid Jack, and Mike de Kock admits: “I would have been very disappointed if he’d got beat or struggled to win.”

“People have said it wasn’t a very accomplished field, but I’ve gone back on the form and the other horses have some pretty good form.”

“The second is rated 107 and we’ve given him 7lbs and a four-length beating, so J J’s got to be running very close to his mark and I thought it was a good win.”

“He’s a very straightforward horse. He’s got exceptional speed and he’s also got that kick, that stamina with his speed, that I think makes him a horse that is going to be competitive on the world stage.”

The nomadic life travelling from one major racing carnival to another suits Mike de Kock, who has no plans for permanent settlement in Britain, adding: “I’m very happy to follow the sun - it would be difficult for me to make a base because in the winter I don’t want to be here!” Weather-wise a British summer comes with no guarantees, but Mike de Kock is already an enthusiastic convert to the domestic racing programme.

“You get some unbelievable meetings here and some of the best horses in the world to race.”

The Derby is followed by Royal Ascot, which gets followed up by the July meetings, which gets followed up by York - Jesus, it doesn’t stop!”

“If I’ve got a top horse then I don’t believe there’s a place in the world that gives you the same value as England does - as a stallion or broodmare prospect.”

“You really, really are spoilt for really good racing at the top end.”

J J THE JET PLANE WINS AT WINDSOR

JJ The Jet Plane
(Photo : Gold Circle)

 

The much anticipated British debut of leading South African sprint star, J J The Jet Plane, took place yesterday in the Listed Leisure Stakes at Windsor.

 

Making all the racing near the rail early on, J J The Jet Plane had his rivals in trouble by the furlong marker. The Mike de Kock-trained four-year-old drew away late for an impressive four-length victory under jockey Ryan Moore.

 

The son of Jet Master was racing for the first time since his win in the Gr.3 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai at the end of February, and Mike de Kock was pleased to be able to get a run into his charge before Royal Ascot.

 

“I’m relieved to win. It was lucky there was a race at Windsor for him. I thought it was a good win in a fairly competitive field. I’m very happy with him; he’s not had a big blow but this will certainly do him the world of good,” said Mike de Kock following the race.

 

J J The Jet Plane has now laid down his credentials for sprint success in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and, if all goes well, he may have a crack at the Gr.1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket.

DEVON AIR’S Group 1 winning relative comes to Stud

She’s On Fire arrives at Summerhill Stud
(Photo : Leigh Wilson)

 “MEMORIES OF THE 1983 DURBAN JULY”

Durban July watchers will remember with great affection the escapades of the fine mare, Devon Air, who took Africa’s greatest horse race end-to-end, and then proceeded to pulverize a quality field in the Canon Gold Cup (Gr.1) over the marathon two mile trip at the Greyville circuit a month later. Toiling behind Devon Air on the first Saturday in July was a Summerhill-bred, Versailles, so for us, there was added significance in this grand dame’s victory.

This week, a Group One winning granddaughter (by Jet Master out of Cream Of The Crop, by Concertino out of Devon Air) arrived back for her new career at stud. 6:30pm Sunday evening, to be precise.

We need to be precise about these things, because these are momentous events on stud farms. There are precious few horses in the world that carry the title of “Group One winner”, and She’s On Fire is one of those, having distinguished herself not only at that level among her own sex, but having put up Grade One performances against the colts as well, notably in last year’s renewal of Africa’s richest race, the Gomma Gomma Challenge (Gr.1).

We’ve written about Team Valor’s Barry Irwin and his “picking” talents before and anyone looking at the photograph of She’s On Fire on arrival, will know what we ‘re talking about. And when they come from Ormond Ferraris you can see the hand of a maestro.

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Summerhill Sires excel with their Three Year Old Runners of the past season

 

A very interesting statistic to emerge from last week’s Sporting Post, is the ranking of South Africa’s Sires by Three Year Old earnings. Quite remarkably, three of the top four share a common address: Box 430, Mooi River. In case that isn’t apparent enough, the web address is www.summerhill.co.za. The leading Three Year Old Sire is Jet Master, second is Rambo Dancer, third Kahal and fourth Muhtafal, and in their immediate wake are Jallad, Fort Wood, Count Dubois, Al Mufti and National Emblem (who also made it here at Summerhill). The top ten Sires in this category are listed in the table above.

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