The news that Ridgemont Highlands triple Gr1-winning sire Jackson will be transferring to Heversham Park Stud on the Highveld has been welcomed by Advocate Nigel Riley as a great opportunity and a boost for the Northern region.
“The move provides our customers and all local breeders with the opportunity to breed to a Triple Gr1 winner with movie star good looks, and who is a proven sire of group winning progeny, at a low price on a live foal basis. We at Heversham Park will also be supporting Jackson with our own mares,” added Nigel Riley.
The 350 acre Heversham Farm is currently home to two resident stallions in Moofeed (AUS) and Wings Of Desire (IRE).
The beautiful property is located in the scenic unspoilt Daleside Valley, just south of Johannesbuburg, and is overlooked by the majestic Paardekop.
Their water supply is sourced from a natural spring, which is high in calcium and other minerals, ensuring that all residents that are raised on the farm are healthy. The property traces its origins back to the turn of the previous century and has an ethos of raising animals slowly and naturally.
A charismatic seasoned horseman and legal eagle, Riley told the Sporting Post that on one of his earliest trips to Ireland he proudly announced that he had just purchased shares in a newly imported stallion with Gr1 credentials and a great dam line.
“I was congratulated on my purchase, but after a few pints of Guinness the comment was made to me: “Pity he is not by a sire of sires”. The observation proved to be correct and has resonated with me ever since.”
When purchasing Wings Of Desire Nigel tells that it was a major consideration that his sire Pivotal was an outstanding Sire of Sires.
“Similarly, and based upon the same reasoning, we have been looking for a son of Dynasty for the past few seasons. Ridgemont Highlands have now generously and kindly made Jackson available to breeders on the Highveld at Heversham Park.”
Ridgemont’s Craig Kieswetter said that his team was always dynamically assessing the need to utilise resources where they would achieve optimum potential.
“Jackson is a favourite on the farm and we are really sorry to see him go. He possesses the handsome athletic physique, the race record and the blood – in fact everything required to make it as a stallion – and we wish Nigel and his team everything of the very best. It’s a privilege to assist them in raising their profile and doing our bit for racing in that region while the ownership of Jackson remains with the syndicate and Ridgemont Highlands,” added Kieswetter.
The smashingly handsome Jackson was trained by Brett Crawford in a distinguished track career that saw him crowned SA Champion 3yo of his year.
Jackson won the Gr1 Champions Cup, Gr1 Cape Derby, Gr1 Daily News 2000 and was placed second twice in the Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate – South Africa’s most prestigious weight-for-age mile.
His regular jockey Karis Teetan is making waves in Hong Kong this season again.
“He proved himself the best when he beat Variety Club. You can’t describe the feeling – he flies when he runs,” added Teetan.
Nigel Riley observed that in the Cape, Jackson appeared to have lost favour with the commercial breeders and buyers, due to his progeny taking a little longer to mature and not being readily raceable as 2yo’s.
“On the Highveld – and paradoxically like good wines – there is no doubt that our horses take a little longer to mature. Therefore, the requirement of the 2yo runner is not as essential to our stallion customers. On the Highveld, as almost a type of ‘default position’, Jackson’s progeny will get the time they require in order to reach maturity, and their full ability,” he added.
And he is excited that things are happening up North.
“Unlike the rest of the country the breeding industry on the Highveld is expanding. As an example of this expansion, at the last National Yearling Sales there were three Highveld-based stud farms represented. Five years ago there were none. Notwithstanding this there are also many owner-breeder enthusiasts that either board their mares or have them on their own properties. It is primarily to this owner-breeder market that we intend to offer Jackson,” he enthused.
Nigel is categorical when he says that the resurgence of the Highveld Breeding Industry is mainly due to the enthusiasm of the local owner-breeders and the excitement that the birth of a new foal brings.
“Almost every proud new ‘parent’ has visions of leading their latest arrival into the winner’s circle at Hollywoodbets Greyville on the first Saturday in July.”
But he adds soberly that it is unfortunately this type of enthusiasm and excitement that is being ignored by the operators and has now created a situation where generally horseracing has become dull, bland and irrelevant.
“All the stake holders in the industry, including breeders, need urgently to go back to the basic reason that we all initially became owners which was (whether we admit it or not) for purposes of fun, ego, prestige, and excitement. There is absolutely no fun, excitement, or prestige in attending any racemeeting in this country at the current time, and until this situation is remedied, the horse racing industry will continue to suffer the slow life-threatening suffocation that it is currently experiencing.”
Heversham Park welcome visitors and anybody wishing to visit them and view all of their stallions including Jackson is invited to call Kat at 071 133 8133 or Japhta at 081 480 9854 or Terry at 083 406 3281. You can also follow them and the stallions on Instagram heversham01 and visit their website hevershampark.co.za