KZN-bred Jet Master Flies High

KZN-bred Jet Master Flies High 5 September, 2012
– Lisa Barrett

Jet Master. Image: Google Images

The recent publication of the top sires of worldwide Group One races by UK’s Racing Post is a proud achievement for not only for South African breeding and racing but for Kwa-Zulu Natal. In second spot on the list, shaded only by the immortal Galileo, is our very own “home-grown” stallion the late great Jet Master.

The list measures the winners and runners of sires, and the percentage of their progeny that achieve Group victories and their total amount of prize money per win. What catapults Jet Master into second place on the list, is his remarkable 4-13 (31%) winner/runner ratio, just short of Galileo’s 8-25 (32%).

Jet Master is one of South Africa’s greatest sires of all-time, with R16,571,611 in stakes earnings alone this past season, and leading South African sires for six consecutive years. Jet Master has produced some of the best horses to race both here and overseas: the mighty Group One-winning multiple Horse of the Year, Pocket Power; Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (Gr.1) hero, JJ The Jet Plane (who has retired to Marc and Nicola Coppez’ pre-training facility Balmoral Stud in the KZN Midlands); Balanchine Stakes (Gr.2) heroine, River Jetez; the brilliant Team Valor owned Group One winning mare, Ebony Flyer; this year’s Vodacom Durban July winner Pomodoro, and the multiple Group winners Mythical Flight and Stratos.

Jet Master’s story is an interesting one, sired by the unfashionable son of the great Northern Dancer, Rakeen, and daughter of the American stallion Rollins, Jet Lightning, Jet Master came into the world in 1994 on the farm of Hugh & Margaret Jonsson just outside of Mooi River in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. A big rangy but otherwise quite ordinary colt at birth, he didn’t exactly set the scene alight, and consequently he was sent with his mother to the famous and now defunct Natal Mare and Weanling Sale.

It was here that he met the lady who was to change the course not only of his life, but of equine history forever, Pat Devine. She fell in love with him immediately, and begged her husband Henry to buy him. His now famous words were “Fine, but no more than ten thousand”. Thankfully fate had other plans, and the bidding kept rising much to Henry’s horror. When it reached R12 000, Henry decided to call it a day, but Pat had other ideas, and pushed his hand up as high as she could, the auctioneer responded accordingly, and the colt was sold for R15 000 to the Devine’s, the story of the legend that would become Jet Master had begun.

Initially trained by Tony Millard before he went overseas for a highly successful career as a trainer in Hong Kong, he was then taken on by champion South African trainer Geoff Woodruff. Despite have numerous problems with his breathing (he was eventually successful operated on), Jet Master went onto have an astonishing racing career with 24 starts, 17 wins, 8 of which were Grade One victories, including twice in the Queen’s Plate (Gr.1).

Thanks to his remarkable racing performances, he was twice voted South African Horse of the Year. When he was finally retired to stud in 2001, his initial covering fee was only R12 000, but once people saw just how much class he was able to stamp on his progeny his fee jumped to R200 000, but economic considerations saw it dropped to R150 000. To date his progeny have won 34 Grade One races and Jet Master has had 42 Stakes Winners in total.

Jet Master. Image: Google Images

Jet Master was also famous for having a sheep named David as a companion, named apparently after the well known trainer, David Ferraris, who had his stables near Geoff Woodruff, the sheep and Jet Master could be seen by everyone grazing contently together in his paddock.

Thankfully for South African breeding and racing Jet Master has two sons at stud here in South Africa, the first being Royal Airforce, a winner of four, including the Greyville 1900 (Gr.2) at four, who stands in the Cape. The second son whom KZN is fortunate enough to have is Ravishing, who stands at Mick Goss’ Summerhill Stud just outside Mooi River. A Grade One winner of the S.A.Derby, Ravishing is starting to slowly cook as a sire, his son Kishimoto caused an upset at Clairwood recently by beating a quality field on his first start, and he also has a top quality filly in Zimbabwe, Little Chikikita, who made a successful debut at Borrowdale Park over 1100m.

For a country that has battled to import its horses to race overseas, due to prohibitive AHS restrictions, the mere fact that an esteemed racing publication such Racing Post has included one of South Africa’s own home and KZN bred stallions among its stellar sires, like Fastnet Rock, Deep Impact, Tapit, High Chaparral, Speightstown and Medicean is a testament to the abilities of its talented horse people, and the foresight of a passionate woman who wouldn’t take no for an answer!

Lisa Barrett
– Guest Writer

“Lisa Barrett”, her psuedonym, currently works at a stud farm in the KZN Midlands. She is absolutely and totally crazy about horses and every aspect of them. She is fascinated by every aspect of the racehorse business, especially pedigrees and would like to one day write a book on her favourite sire!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *