In the run up to Clairwood’s 7 June 2014 Gr1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge, a lot of the pre-race hype had been focussed on Yorker and whether champion filly Beach Beauty would be able to overcome her 13 draw. However, the race delivered drama of a very different kind.
Mr & Mrs Devine’s homebred gelding Jet Explorer (Jet Master-Polar Star) was an established member of the Snaith Racing string with a win in the 2013 Betting World 1900 and places in the 2013 Vodacom Durban July, Champions Cup and 2014 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate to his credit.
In the Gold Challenge, he had an 8 draw and Richard Fourie in the saddle. At the jump, Sean Cormack made an early move on Beach Beauty in an effort to overcome her outside draw, bringing her right across the field towards the rail. The pace slowing into the first bend, caused scrimmaging towards the rear of the pack. Jet Explorer was lying towards the back of the field and briefly brushed Ice Machine to his left. As Richard shifted his mount out, Astro News shifted in from the right, causing Jet Explorer to clip heels and come down in a horror fall at the 1200m mark.
Jet Explorer came down hard on his face, shattering his jaw and Richard Fourie suffered serious injuries to his shoulder.
A three-week rest and some serious medical attention got Richard back in the saddle for the last two months of the season and, most crucially, his winning ride on Legislate in the 2014 Vodacom Durban July.
Jet Explorer suffered severe injuries to his jaw and the Snaith Racing team credit Dr Ralph Katzwinkel of Summerveld Equine Hospital with saving the horse. “They had to wire up both the upper and lower jaw. I don’t think too many guys would have been able to put that right,” said Jono Snaith. “Obviously the main concern with any injured horse is to get it eating again and considering the extent of the Jet Explorer’s injuries, we had our concerns whether he would make it or not. But he’s a real fighter and has made what is probably nothing short of a miraculous recovery.”
Jet Explorer’s jaws have healed remarkably well. With all the wiring removed, he had a bit in his mouth again for the first time about a month ago and showing no ill effects, he has slowly been brought back into work.
Richard Fourie managed to see out the 2013/14 season, but has taken a break since the end of July to allow his shoulder to heal. He has only just returned to riding work and nearly 4 months after the accident, the two campaigners were reunited when Richard was boosted into the saddle to ease Jet Explorer through his first bit of fast work on Tuesday, 23 September 2014.
Jono said “I think Richard’s shoulder was a lot worse than most of us realised and it’s just great to have him back. It’s amazing how the two of them have come right at the same time. It was Jet Explorer’s first piece of fast work and pretty much Richard’s first time back in the saddle and, well with everything that’s happened, it was quite an emotional morning for all of us.”
Better yet, Jet Explorer will be given a prep run in either the Pocket Power Stakes or the Green Point Stakes and will then be aimed at the 2015 Queen’s Plate.
Dr Ralph Katzwinkel explains the extent of Jet Explorer’s injuries and how they treated him:-