Two Snaith champions who were arch-rivals for the SA Horse Of The Year crown in the 2021/22 season will meet in the breeding paddock in what has been popularly termed a ‘marriage made in heaven’.
It was speculation for some time, but we can announce that outgoing SA Horse Of The Year Captain’s Ransom will be covered by former stablemate Jet Dark this season.
Suzette and Basie Viljoen welcomed their superstar Captain’s Ransom home to their Hopes And Dreams Stud on the old Arc En Ciel property last week, and really do have a powerhouse to kickstart their new breeding operation.
Speaking to the Sporting Post after the Drakenstein stallion day last Friday, a visibly emotional Jonathan Snaith, who is filling the role of Stallion Manager to new sire Jet Dark, beamed with pride.
“We purchased both Jet Dark and Captain’s Ransom off the 2019 BSA National Yearling sale and we never in our wildest dreams would have imagined they’d compete, neck and neck, for the Horse of the Year in 2022! To see them visit each other in their first year at stud is a dream come true, not only for their connections, but for the racing public and fans too,” he added, confirming that he believed that the exceptional pair of equine athletes ‘are sure to produce something very special’.
The mating of the star duo will certainly produce some interesting in-breeding.
Roberto is on the top line of both Captain Ransom’s sire Captain Al and her dam Cinnas Ransom.
Roberto’s full-sister Glorious Spring is the dam of Rollins, the damsire of Jet Master, who is damsire of Jet Dark.
Captain’s Ransom was a winner of six Gr1 races from 1200m to 1800m in a distinguished career that saw her register 13 wins and 5 places from just 19 starts which earned R3,5m in stakes.
Her dam, Cinnas Ransom by Red Ransom and out of a Seattle Slew mare, is a half sister to French Gr3 winner Black Rock Desert, and this is the family of sire Slew City Slew.
Bred by Moutonshoek, Captain’s Ransom sold at the 2019 National Yearling Sale for R225 000.
In addition to nine wins from his nineteen career starts, the Drakenstein-bred Jet Dark boasts the distinction of being named 2020/21 Equus Champion three-year-old colt, 2020/21 and 2021/22 Equus Champion Miler, 2021/22 Equus Champion Older Male and 2021/22 Equus Champion Middle Distance Horse.
A group winner at two, three, four and five, the son of Trippi accumulated no fewer than five Gr1 wins, beating 2021 Horse Of The Year Rainbow Bridge in the 2021 Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and Gr1 Champions Cup.
He repeated the feat in 2022, beating Kommetdieding in both the 2022 Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and Gr1 Champions Cup and put the final seal on his glittering career with victory in the 2023 Gr1 WSB Cape Met.
In his only attempt at the Hollywoodbets Durban July over 2200m, he flew home under top weight to run a fast finishing second.
He also has the unique distinction of being the only two time L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate-winning colt since his maternal grand sire Jet Master, in 1999 & 2000.
Jet Dark not only combines all the best attributes of Drakenstein stalwart and Champion Sire Trippi, and seven time Champion Sire and four time Champion Broodmare Sire Jet Master, his impressive pedigree also boasts 1997 French Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner, Peintre Celebre.