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February 02, 2010

J&B Met glory for trainer

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River Jetez, photo courtesy Golden Circle

The Bass family, their team and the three horses they trained which placed first, third and fourth in Cape Town’s J&B Met on the weekend, are prancing on air after their spectacular achievements.

The Cape’s premier horse race was won by River Jetez, a six-year-old filly who ran the race of her life to beat her famous brother Pocket Power, and clinch the ultimate prize in racing.

Mark Bass, son of trainer Mike Bass and head of marketing for the family business, told Cape Town Tourism, “It’s a fantastic training achievement to have had these wins. River was on her toes, she was perfect on the day. It’s like training an Olympic athlete – the secret of training is get the horses to be at their absolute peak at exactly the right time. You can’t over or under-train – they need to be spot-on on the day.” 

Pocket Power’s trophy shelf includes three previous J&B Met wins, as well as the last four L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate events held at Kenilworth. This year he came in third, beaten by his little sister and the only other filly on the course, Mother Russia, trained by Mike de Kock. On Pocket Power’s heels in fourth place was yet another Bass-trained horse, Fort Vogue.

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J&B Met fashion, photo Deon Gurling

Mike Bass is one of the master trainers in South African racing. For some, River Jetez’s win came as a surprise, but Mike was confident about her race-day condition.

“She had put up inspiring work in the preceding weeks and she had a perfect preparation,” said Mike Bass. “She had a lot in her favour and she had been showing me signs at home that she may run the race of her career, ” he said.

In the weeks building up to the J&B Met, Mike was adamant that if there would be an heir to Pocket Power’s throne, River Jetez would be it. Under his tutelage, this proved true. 

Mark Bass confirmed reports that her jockey, Glen Hatt, sensed a special energy in River Jetez as he rode her to the start on Saturday. “The jockeys spend so much time with their horses, so they definitely know when the horse is on top form.”

As for Pocket Power, his racing days are far from over. There is some disappointment that he didn’t pull off a fourth J&B Met win, but Mark says, “He is an outstanding horse and for as long as he continues to enjoy racing, we’ll continue to let him run. The day he stops enjoying it, we’ll send him to a lovely home but not until then. He ran his heart out and we’re proud of him.”

What the future holds for the siblings remains to be seen. The Bass team will “play it by ear”.  Fans may see River Jetez running in the Empress Club Stakes at Turffontein in March and some other races, but whether she continues her career on the track or retires to the quieter life of a broodmare, there’s no question that this racing bloodline will continue to thrive. The J&B Met has not seen the last of this family.

See photos of the fashion at the 2010 J&B Met: J&B Met in full colour: Photos

For more on the celebrities who were there: Famous faces at the 2010 J&B Met

For the story about how River Jetez narrowly took the title at the 2010 J&B Met: River Jetez wins 2010 J&B Met thriller

Read racehorse owner Marsh Shirtliff’s thoughts on the race here.

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Models in full colour at the J&B Met


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