where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2009-04-28 14:53:13  

He’s been called a “giant killer” and now imposing bay Jay Peg is returning to South Africa to pass his stunning good looks and formidable ability on to future generations.

The Thoroughbred Group announced in Cape Town today that Jay Peg, a son of Camden Park out of Al Mufti mare Laptop Lady, will be syndicated for stud duties at Klawervlei Stud near Bonnievale in the Western Cape.

Thoroughbred Group’s John Freeman and Klawervlei’s John Koster successfully syndicated and manage the stud career of locally bred hero Captain Al, and have been appointed by Marsh Shirtliff, Etienne Braun, Selwyn Marcus and Paul Loomes to handle Jay Peg’s stud career.

South Africa’s all-time record stakes-earning racehorse has an official International Timeform Rating of 126, the highest-rated racehorse bred in SA to date – in fact, one of the highest-rated stallions in history to stand in SA.

Said Freeman: “With career earnings of R40 million, no other horse bred or raced from this country comes close. His Timeform rating confirms that he is a really smart horse in international terms. Timeform have listed him as the 2nd highest horse rated in Dubai last year. The return to Singapore on 17 May 2009 can’t affect his stud value but a successful result will be the cherry on the top. He’s a great looking animal and has massive claims to stud duties anywhere in the world. We’re so lucky that he is owned by a team of men who love SA racing and want to see him stand here.”

John Koster said: “Klawervlei is delighted to have the honour of standing one of South Africa’s favourite sons. Jay Peg has all of the attributes any stallion needs to succeed. He is an imposing grandson of A P Indy out of an Al Mufti mare and gives breeders a host of different mating possibilities. He proved he could handle tough conditions at home (a major advantage) and able to beat the best overseas. His toughness and courage were never in doubt, he never, just never gave up in a fight. Dashing good looks, racing class, pedigree and courage, Jay Peg is the complete package. We applaud Marsh, Etienne, Selwyn and Paul for bringing Jay Peg back to South Africa, I know they had other overseas options to consider”.

Marsh Shirtliff in who colours he raced, said “Peg is certainly my kind of horse. He was hugely athletic as a youngster and proved himself as tough as teak. He hated being headed in any race – a greater and more determined fighter will not be easy to find. I am delighted that he is going to Klawervlei as I have had a few mares there for some time and it’s a privilege to have Peg there now”.

Jay Peg started his racing career in South Africa winning 3 of his 5 starts at 2. In the care of Anton Marcus’ brother, Basil, he won 8 of 13 starts here at 2 and 3, including a string of successive victories. Among them were two classic events, the Gr1 Cape Guineas and Gr1 Investec Derby.

He was then sent to Dubai where he finished 2nd in the Gr2 Nayef Jebel Hatta before setting a course record for the Nad Al Sheba 1 777m in the Duty Free. He beat 7 other international Gr1 winners from post 14 – in itself a remarkable feat! The success was made even more noteworthy because he took the lead by design and stayed in front until the saddle started to slip at the 300m mark. As Jay Peg drifted out, with Marcus trying to maintain his balance, horses passed them on the inside and on the outside and then he dug deep to regain the lead. Marcus came completely out of the stirrups at the wire.

“I was more concerned about falling off than I was about the opposition,” remarked the jockey later. “It suited me when they came at me from both sides because he enjoys a fight.”

It’s history now that Jay Peg’s smooth ground-saving action saved the day as he balanced himself up as best he could and flew up to snatch an incredible victory.

Then sent to Singapore for the Singapore Airlines International Cup, he franked the Duty Free form decisively. The highest-rated horse in the field, he put in another dazzling display in Singapore’s showpiece. Drawn at No 7, Jay Peg took the lead early, racing wide, but conceded the lead in a fast-run race to coast along in the box position. He effortlessly overhauled a tiring pacemaker over 300m from the line and powered away to win in a time that was just a fraction off the track record.

Dubai’s Racing Magazine “Circle” featured him on the cover and proclaimed him “one of the best middle-distance horses in the world”.

Marcus heaped praise on his mount: “I was exhausted at the furlong but the horse was still going strong. Of all of the horses I have ridden he is the gutsiest. You can put him anywhere in a race, he’s a real fighter”.

The big bay’s international conditioner Herman Brown remarked that “when it comes to toughness, you can put him in the ring with anything”.

Seven-time Hong Kong champion jockey Basil Marcus said: “I felt from the time that he won the Cape Guineas that he was good enough for the world stage, He was SA Champion 3yo and the only 3yo in history to win the Classic quartet of the Cape Classic, Selangor Trophy, the Guineas and the Derby. I loved him from the time I started working with him. A classy horse to work with, he always gives his best.”

Alan Porter wrote in the authoritative “Bloodhorse” magazine on-line: “... the weekend saw an impressive victory for a classic winner whose pedigree has Danzig close up, and has been upgraded by some clever inbreeding. We’re talking about Big Brown, right? Wrong! Although Big Brown fits the bill, the horse we have in mind is Jay Peg, the South African-bred star who landed the Gr1 Singapore Airlines Cup and distinguished himself for having captured international Gr1 events in three different countries.”

The item goes on to say that Jay Peg is rated A++ by TrueNicks on the basis of the AP Indy/Roberto cross that has also produced Gradepoint and Parade Queen. It also notes that Jay Peg’s pedigree is also upgraded by some clever inbreeding because his broodmare sire, Al Mufti, is a half-brother to the dam of AP Indy which gives Jay Peg a 4x3 cross of their dam, Lassie Dear. “It’s not the first time that inbreeding to this family has produced outstanding runners,” the article continues.

The Timeform Annual “Racehorses of 2008” reports: “Jay Peg TFR 126, high-class performer … winner of Dubai Duty Free in March by 0.50 lengths from Darjina, Archipenko, Vodka and Finsceal Beo, rallying despite slipping saddle after looking held: races prominently: genuine.”

As if he needs another big prize to add to his already impressive credentials, it has been confirmed that Jay Peg will defend his title in the Singapore Airlines International Cup on the 17th May. He will return to quarantine at the Cape en-route to his stud duties and it is expected that he will be out of quarantine in time to be shown at the Klawervlei stallion day in July.

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