Famous Fillies | Silver Darling

The third in our series at Kuda where we honour the fairer sex. Here we look at Silver Darling and her mother Jet Belle, after the running of the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000.

Normally ever so bullish, trainer Justin Snaith commented before the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 that while he was expecting a big run from Silver Darling “she wasn’t value at 12-5 in the betting”. Consequently, the Drakenstein Stud-bred and owned three-year-old filly drifted to start at 4-1 but came home like an odds-on champion.

Silver Darling has always shown plenty of class and was winning for a fourth time in nine starts. However, this was by far her most impressive victory and the R468 750 winner’s cheque took her earnings to R633 600. More importantly, it stamped her as a potential broodmare of priceless value.

Silver Darling is beautifully bred. She is by Silvano, himself champion sire in Germany and five times in South Africa. The magnificent stallion was at Maine Chance Farms when he succumbed to a bout of colic last year aged 25. Silver Darling is yet another of his progeny to win at Grade 1 level.

Her mother is Jet Belle, who was also a talented racehorse with wins at Grade 2 and Grade 3 level, and she was placed a number of times in Grade 1 company. But, it’s as a mare that she has really hit the heights.

Jet Belle was covered for the first time in 2015 by Trippi and the result was an eye-catching filly called Aspen Colorado. “Aspen Colorado was one of our best yearlings of her year, but unfortunately she incurred an injury that kept her off the racetrack,” recalled Drakenstein’s Kevin Somerville.

The same mating a year later returned a barren result and on 11 November 2017 she visited Silvano. The result was Silver Darling, born on 31 August 2018 and who later went into training with the powerful Snaith Racing team. Her victory in the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 is a wonderful tale of things going perfectly for Jet Belle, who admittedly hasn’t always had the best of luck with her progeny.

Six weeks after producing Silver Darling, Jet Belle went to another Equus champion stallion, Dynasty, and the result of that mating was Jet Dynasty, born 20 September 2019 and who was sold for R1.2-million at the 2021 National Yearling Sale. The yearling was bought by Sally Arundel and will race in KwaZulu-Natal with Wendy Whitehead.

There was therefore plenty of expectation around Jet Belle’s next produce, a colt by Silvano, making him a full brother to Silver Darling. The well-named Groovejet was catalogued as Lot 442 at this year’s National Yearling Sale but didn’t go through the ring.

Her sixth mating was with Lancaster Bomber at Drakenstein Stud, in December 2020. Sadly, there was no return this time.

Jet Belle’s breeding results:
2016: Aspen Colorado (never raced, injured)
2017: Barren
2018 Silver Darling (Grade 1 winner)
2019 Jet Dynasty (R1.2m yearling, unraced)
2020 Groovejet (yearling)
2021 No return

Images courtesy of Chase Liebenberg

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