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Gee I Jane storms the fortress at Doomben

It's been a long wait for this season's first New Zealand-bred, -owned and –trained Group One winner* in Australia, but on Saturday Gee I Jane (Jahafil-Miss Distinction by Bletchencore) delivered a performance worth waiting for.

Brilliant dual Group One winner
GEE I JANE
PHOTO: NZ Thoroughbred Marketing
The five-year-old mare, raced by her breeder Kieran McCarthy with L.J. Mackie, stormed home along the rail to take out the first running of the 1200-metre BTC Cup at Group One level. And she did it in a manner that, for a moment or two, summoned the memory of another Kiwi sprinter who came from impossible positions to win big sprints in Queensland. Gee I Jane isn't in the same class as the champion Rough Habit, but she has put herself in contention for at least a category title in this year's Mercedes-sponsored national awards.

In only her second season of racing Gee I Jane has started eight times for two outstanding wins (the other coming in the WRC Telegraph H. G1 in January), and three placings, two of them at Group One level. These came after three unplaced starts in Melbourne during a spring campaign where little went right for the mare. Her record now reads six wins (all at 1200 metres), seven placings and more than $500,000 from 21 starts.

Gee I Jane is one of four stakeswinners by Jahafil and the only one whose aptitude is for sprinting, although he's also left two stakes-placed sprinters, Javelot (from a Straight Strike mare) and Pourquoi (from a mare by So Vain). Not unexpectedly for a son of Rainbow Quest from a Mill Reef mare, Jahafil himself won up to a mile-and-three-quarters in England, before some success at shorter distances in California.

Miss Distinction, owned by Trevor Hurley who leased her to Kieran McCarthy for three seasons, has done a fine job at stud, leaving four winners, including Gee I Jane and Group 3 winner Miss Jessie Jay (by Spectacularphantom) from four foals to race. Miss Distinction foaled a filly to Spectatorial in 2005 for the Baker family of Hallmark Stud and is now in foal to Pins.

Further back this is the family of the outstanding multiple Group One winner Sir Dane (15 wins incl. the Cox Plate and MacKinnon Stakes), Sydney Cup winner Azawary (eight wins) and the very good Group 2-winning mare Millefleurs (ten wins). The New Zealand-based taproot mare is Pebble II (GB), herself a fifth-generation descendant of the marvellous foundation mare Paradigm.

*New Zealand-bred and -owned Glamour Puss and De Beers have both won Australian Group One races this season, but they are trained in Australia by Danny O'Brien and David Hayes respectively. Gee I Jane is trained by Neville Couchman at Cambridge.


- Susan Archer