Blueridge Mountain (Arg)
(Photo : Gold Circle)
“Blueridge Mountain and FlyFirstClass”
If you were at Clairwood Park Sunday, you couldn’t help but be blown away by the finish to the Juvenile Fillies event, and especially by the stature and the pedigree of the winner. Firstly, Blueridge Mountain is a daughter of the dual American champion sire, Giant’s Causeway, and she comes from one hell of an American family. Secondly, she’s as good looking a filly and as much like her father as a physical specimen, as you could wish for. That’s why, when we took her to the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale last April, she made R2 million, the second top filly of the sale.
It was Markus Jooste’s day, as he’d missed the first two days of the sale, and after an all-night party, he gathered his troops on the Steinhoff jet, and blasted his way into the Gosforth Park bullring. Like something of a whirlwind, he caused more than a stir in the dying hours of the sale, but his biggest prize it seems, was Blueridge Mountain. As something of a last minute gesture, he summoned Gary and Julie Alexander to his side, and asked them for their picks of the sale. Gary was unhesitating: it was the Giant’s Causeway filly in the Summerhill draft, at Block A.
From then on, Markus Jooste never blinked, the bidding went up in increments of R100,000 at a time, and every time Mary Slack raised her catalogue, the Mayfair Speculators entourage charged back. “Mayfair”, by the way, is Jooste’s horse trading and investment arm, and they claimed the spoils at the second million.
So much for Blueridge Mountain. On Wednesday at Clairwood, we witnessed another auspicious debut, this time from a graduate of the second Summerhill Ready To Run Sale (the Summer version) which took place in our School of Excellence at the end of February. Remember, this was a sale of those that were left over, those that hadn’t made their reserves at previous sales, the late sorts, the lame and the lazy, and those whom the good Lord had not endowed with the best of engineering. FlyFirstClass was among them; a big, strapping colt who’d had his share of issues which had forced his withdrawal from the Emperors Palace Ready To Run in November. He went into the sale with less than a month’s preparation, and we weren’t able to ask him for a serious effort at the gallops. Keith and Pauline Young obviously have an eye for a good sort, and Craig Eudey has done a miraculous job with this fellow, getting him to the races as soon as he has.
The field was littered with good form, not the least of which belonged to Shimmer And Shine, who’d run Abercrombie to less than half a length in his previous start. You might ask what the significance of that form is, and it lies in the fact that Abercrombie is now a Stakes horse, and there were others in the field sporting winning credentials on their previous visits to the racecourse. Champion jockey Anton Marcus was aboard, and he was clearly impressed at the raw talent beneath him. FlyFirstClass was as “green” as the green, green grass of Summerhill, all over the track, yet he grabbed the lead with 100 to go and only surrendered it veering left in the dying strides.