Click above to watch Pierre Jourdan winning the Charity Mile in November 2011
(Image : JC Photos - Footage : Tellytrack)
“The People’s Horse”
There’s little dignity in a great racehorse being put through an auction ring at the end of a race meeting, particularly for a champion. Pierre Jourdan grabbed the imagination of racing fans countrywide with some spectacular performances commencing in the spring of 2009 through the summer of 2011, yet such are the attachments and emotions of racehorse ownership, that even a horse of his stature had to face the auctioneers’ hammer at Turffontein Sunday evening.
He’d come out of last month’s Horse Chestnut (Gr.1) with a bit of a jar and some filling in his joints, and there must’ve been a few misgivings as to whether or not he’d come back to his former self. Let’s not forget, it was just a few months back that he made mincemeat of a high quality field in the Peermont Charity Mile (one of South Africa’s best endowed 1600m events), and he did so giving chunks of weight away to some of the nation’s best talents. Pierre Jourdan made his mark in the vintage of some of the best three-year-old colts we’ve seen in decades, and besides his sparkling performances in his classic year, he very nearly upset Igugu’s party in last year’s Vodacom Durban July (Gr.1). He was South Africa’s biggest earner in 2010, and he impressed his July rider, Dougie Whyte, to the degree that the multiple Hong Kong champion suggested he would more than hold his own in the best company out East.
Emilio Baserio is nothing if not a passionate racing man, and his lifetime obsession to own a champion, eventually manifested itself in the R60,000 purchase of “PJ” at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run. He’s been on the greatest ride of his life, thanks to some grand handling by Team Alexander, who’ve managed his career like it belonged to their own child. It happens in racing, because we’re all emotional about our horses, but in the end the partners decided that what was best for the horse, was they should dissolve their venture, hence Sunday’s sale. In the end, we’re told Emilio gave it a good old crack, courtesy of Alec Laird, who’s long been in the saddle for him, while the Alexanders put together a bit of a team themselves. We believe Weiho Mawing had a big punter in the fray at one point, and while it’s nothing compared with what he might’ve fetched after he’d whipped the cream in the R2million Premiers Classic (Gr.1) in 2010, the R1,6million winning bid was probably a respectable price for a five-year-old gelding who’d come out of his last start feeling a few things. Emilio’s got the cash, and he’ll be back investing a bit of it in his favourite sport, while Gary Alexander and his team have walked away with the spoils.
For their sakes, and ours, we hope PJ will be back soon, thrilling the crowds as only he could, this winter.