Click above to watch JJ The Jet Plane’s last run in South Africa; The Mercury Sprint (Gr1) in July 2010
(Photo : Gold Circle - Footage : Tellytrack)
CAPE FLYING CHAMPIONSHIP (Grade 1)
Kenilworth, Turf, 1000m
21 January 2012
For as long as we can remember, the time-honoured Cape Flying Championship (Gr1) has been one of the better subscribed sprints in the land. That there are only six competitors for Saturday’s renewal would’ve been remarkable if it weren’t for the fact the line-up includes three current champions, the emerging rocket, What A Winter, the amazing filly Val Da Ra, and it marks the return of the globe-trotting international Group One hero, J J The Jet Plane. He hasn’t been seen on a South African course since July 2010, and that was at the end of an unbroken sequence of seven consecutive victories.
JJ of course, has a strong genetic connection with Summerhill and Hartford. His mother was a Stakes-winning daughter of the world record equalling broodmare sire, Northern Guest, our most famous resident, and she was bred here by Gordon Sigcau, brother to the reigning King of Pondoland, Mpondimbini Sigcau. The family traces to an old Hartford taproot, so this man’s prowess, up there with the best sprinters the country has known, is not surprising.
Equally unsurprising is the size of the field. Champions have always got something to prove when pitted together, but when at best, all the others are doing in the line-up is running for fourth place money, you may as well reserve your talents for other fish. Whatever the outcome though, the presence of these three champions guarantees purists one helluva contest.
For the record, Summerhill’s recent history in the event surpasses all-comers. In the course of the first decade of this millennium, graduates of these paddocks took the laurels three times (Nhlavini in 2005 and 2006, and Rebel King in 2009) while each of them were runners up in other years.
J J THE JET PLANE
WHAT A WINTER
VAL DE RA