A split second apparent lapse of concentration in the dying stages of the Fairview Friday feature almost ruined a good day at the office for Cape jockey Grant van Niekerk.
Mother Nature continued to play havoc with the South African horseracing programme in a forgettable week and the Fairview meeting didn’t escape her wrath – with races switched from the turf to the polytrack.
Despite a higher than average number of withdrawals, the meeting went ahead as planned with results playing ball – although two favourites withdrawn at the start caused delays and uncertainty for punters.
Trainer Justin Snaith and jockey Grant van Niekerk were the day’s most successful combination with a well taken double – the second of which was the non black-type feature, where Van Niekerk picked up a replacement ride after veteran Andrew Fortune cried off sick.
The R100 000 Friendly City Stakes saw a decent field of ten line up at the 1800m with Snaith holding a strong three cornered Jet Master hand, including the top two in the betting in the ‘miracle horse’ Jet Explorer, and the decent-on-his-day, True Master.
The race was run at a good gallop and when Van Niekerk produced Jet Explorer at the 250m marker it looked to be race over.
The Gr2 winner hit the front with ease and was going on well when Van Niekerk put his hands down.
The gelding stalled and his rider had to get animated to keep him there.
Things panned out well though as Jet Explorer was just too strong and went on well to win by 0,25 lengths in a time of 108,56 secs.
The 3yo King Of Chaos ran a cracker after a ten week break to grab second, ahead of the consistent Rahvar.
The winner’s stablemate Masterly was back in fourth, only 0,55 lengths off in a blanket finish.
Jet Explorer has won three of his last six starts at Fairview and took his win tally to 7 from 39 starts with 18 places, for total stakes of R1 063 600.
Jet Explorer is a son of the late champion sire Jet Master out of the one-time winning Icelander mare, Polar Star.
He was bred by Patricia Devine and runs in her and her husband Henry’s silks, which were also carried by the great Jet Master..