Wicklow Town after winning the Sportsbet Gold Nugget at Sportsbet-Ballarat Racecourse on September 19, 2021 in Ballarat, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

The home town victory of Wicklow Town in the Gold Nugget (1600m) at Ballarat on Sunday was a reminder for Steve and Ceri Jostlear of the stallion Super Jet which they imported from America to stand at their Ampulla Lodge stud at Bunyip.
Super Jet (Dayjur x Amelia Bearhart) sired Afterburn (out of Afters) which is the dam of Wicklow Town (Canford Cliffs), trained at Ballarat by Julie Scott.
While being known as excellent pinhookers, the Jostlears sold their property several months ago and have relocated to Swan Reach, where they enjoy the company of a couple of retired racehorses.
At one stage they also stood the Swettenham Stud bred Brackenbury (Danehill x Jullene) which they credit for funding their property.
Steve said that Super Jet had developed into a good sort of a broodmare sire.
“Super Jet was a character of a horse and he had some ability too. He was favourite for the Kentucky Derby at one stage and he won races in Kentucky by huge margins and then he did a tendon.
“He just broke down and they said put him to stud.”
Jostlear recalls that they went to America where they met up will well-known bloodstock agent Ed Price who specialised in selling stallions all around the world.
“Frank Stronach, the aficionado over there, owned racecourses, and we bought the horse from him. I think from memory we paid forty thousand US for him, but the Aussie dollar was around 49 cents so I was looking after the wallet all the time.
“It wasn’t too bad at the time because there were a lot dearer horses around, especially in Australia. We paid $120,000 for Brackenbury and he did quite well for himself and actually paid for the farm.”
Super Jet served 65 mares in his first season at Ampulla Lodge in 2001 and the following year had his biggest book, 91 mares which produced 65 live foals when his fertility rate was 93 per cent.
Jostlear said breeders tried Super Jet’s progeny as two-year-olds, but they weren’t early runners and could get a bit nasty.
“He was quite a dag of a horse,” he said.
“Most stallions would be waiting at the gate to serve a mare and you would go to get him and he’d take off and you’d have to chase him around the paddock – he just loved the farm.
“What we used to do was put him in his box when we were teasing or had the vet there so he couldn’t nick off.
“He was that fertile it was unreal.”
Jostlear owned 50 per cent of Super Jet with a friend and the 50 per cent was sold in shares to clients.
After the initial flurry of interest in the stallion, bookings began to taper off so they decided to sell Super Jet who made a modest $10,000 at auction and resumed his stud career in New South Wales where he served a single number of mares before his death in 2013, five months after Brackenbury died.
“I had him teed off to go to Queensland and was going to lease him to a man, and he got to the stage where he got right down to doing it,” Jostlear said.
“Unfortunately it was the time of the equine flu and we got locked down and he was ready to go the week later. He would have got 80 to 100 mares up there, and it was all lined up, and it was going to be a good financial move for all the owners.”
The Jostlears bred The Pentagon (Super Jet x Wicked Way), which won the 2010 Grand National Hurdle (4530m), and the 19-year-old is one of their retired horses they look after at Swan Reach.
“Another horse we have up here is Le Capitaine (Captain Sonador x Pyramisa’s Lass) which raced in Hong Kong as Seasons Bloom,” he said.
“We pinhooked him and he won his second start at Pakenham and we sold him to Hong Kong where he won a Group 1 and $5.2 million in prize money and was rated equal 11th or 12th in the word behind Winx.
“The fellow sent him back to us and asked if we could look after him so they paid him to come back and gave us a bit of money to look after him.”
He said they paid $26,000 for Le Capitaine at Magic Millions, but he was too small to get ready for a yearling sale, so they kept him to race themselves.
Jostlear admits they miss the pinhooking and said the pandemic played havoc with their business.
Super Jet’s best performed horse was the mare Skyerush which fell just short of $1 million in prize money after winning the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1600m) in successive years, the Group 2 Doncaster Prelude (1600m) and Liverpool City Cup (1300m) and the listed Belle of the Turf Stakes (1600m). The mare finished second, beaten a short neck, in the Group 1 Tatts Tiara in 2012.
And Julie Scott said she sent her mare Afterburn to Super Jet after being successful in a tender for a nicely priced service fee to the stallion.
“It was when the stallion tender scheme was going, and he was quite a smart horse overseas and she was pretty tough and I thought it might be a good cross,” she said.
“So that’s why we went there and we got a cheap tender.
“Afterburn was very tough and won in won four in a row in Melbourne, and although she won seven races, she had 11 seconds, so she was a good horse to me and finished with $253,000.”
She bred Afterburn, the dam of Canford Cliffs’ Wicklow Town, after buying Afters (Snippets x Translantic) when she was training at Bairnsdale, but the mare was retired after just two starts when it was apparent she wasn’t going to make it on the track.
Afters produced seven foals, but Afterburn was clearly the mare’s best.
Scott, who admits she is getting a bit older, said her son Michael Matthews and his wife Lisa, decided to breed from Afterburn after she bred the first two foals from the mare. Air Space (Hardspun) was unraced, while Strike Action (Street Boss) won four races.
Wicklow Town was the third foal Michael and Lisa bred from Afterburn.
“My son at the time worked at Blue Gum Farm, where Canford Cliffs stood, and my daughter in law was one of the foremen at Lindsay Park at Creightons Creek,” Scott said.
“So I said if you want to take Minty, which is Afterburn, than you can because I’m not going to do it anymore and they took her over and she went to Canford Cliffs twice.”
Canford Cliffs stood at Blue Gum Farm from 2012 and until 2016 but didn’t return from Ireland for another season because of lack of support.
“I have been trying to talk the kids into having a go at Cliff’s Edge because he is by Canford Cliffs, but they don’t want to do that, but that’s their business.
“The mare is 19 now so she might have one more go at it. She has two-year-old by Sepoy and a yearling by National Defense and she is in foal to Harry Angel.
“And she might be going to Hanseatic this year.”
Afterburn also has a three-year-old unraced filly – Brittas Bay – by Ready For Victory which returns to Scott’s stables this week for another preparation.
Scott trained Afterburn at the same time she had the talented sprinter Tesbury Jack (Armidale x Clear Money), a Group 2 and three-time listed winner.
And she is hoping that Wicklow Town will also win a big race.
“All going well we are going to try to run him in the Seymour Cup which is going to be held here at Ballarat because Seymour is undergoing a renovation,” Scott said.
“It’s going to be another step up because it’s a listed, $200,000 race but he is going well and he tries hard and he is tough.”
Scott said Wicklow Town would probably have one more run after the Seymour Cup and then go out for a spell to avoid the hard summer tracks.