(Photo : Greig Muir)
JET MASTER (SAF) - CRIMSON LILY (SAF)
If you’d been an insider at the 2005 National Yearling Sale, you’d have been gobsmacked at the gulf between what Geoff Woodruff had to pay to secure a son of Jet Master, and the next most expensive offspring from that stallion’s first offering. Chestnut and flaxen-maned in the manner of Roy Rogers’ Trigger, Ravishing was the point of perfection the thoroughbred has reached after more than 300 years of meticulous selection. For that, he had to shell out R1,1 million, a tidy sum in those days.
Beautifully proportioned, regally bred with the presence of a prince, the money Robert Muir outlayed to get his man seemed at the time, a light year away from reality. When you look back at what the Jet Masters from that crop did, you wonder what distinguished this fellow from the herd, yet it wasn’t terribly long before the question was answered. In no uncertain terms.
Whatever the credentials of the rest, when Ravishing sliced a sizeable chunk off the class record on debut, when he first flashed the long elegant stride of a future Classic winner at the shortest of trips, Robert Muir and Geoff Woodruff knew that they had the goods.
Woodruff will tell you that Ravishing was as gifted a thoroughbred as he’s had through his hands, but he’ll also tell you he expected it of him. We know now, because his father’s done it, that he was the son of the greatest South African-bred stallion of all-time. We knew then, that he was a brother to the Durban July contender, Red Badge, that he descended from the family of Run For Lily, Fort Defiance and Prince of War. Yes, Woodruff believed in him, empathetically. But he also knew that he was as frustrating a horse as he’d ever trained, plagued as he was with every ailment imaginable. In the end, his was a distinguished career, in which he hit the boards as a three-year-old in the Gauteng Guineas and romped away with the South African Derby (Gr.1). There are not too many with the speed to set class records at 1000 metres, and to show such class at 2450 metres.
When his first two runners came home with cheques, the team at Summerhill was suitably impressed. They’ll tell you they expected them to come later, to take time to find their feet, and like their sire, to be at their best at three. That Little Chikikita spun home on debut at 1100 metres at Borrowdale Park on Sunday, was just a belated Christmas bonus. We now know they can run, it’s just a matter of how soon, and how far.