Who is Rajj? The answer to the question on everyone's lips
Martin Stevens talks to Homer Scott about his little-known sire
Even the best informed breeding experts are likely to have been bewildered as they consulted the pedigree of I'm So Fancy after she ran away with the Listed Silver Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.
The reason being the Jessica Harrington-trained filly is by the enigmatic Rajj, who despite being 15 years old has been represented by only eight runners and three winners in Britain and Ireland. She is not the first talented performer for the sire, though, as Insayshable won two races and finished fourth in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial for Ger Lyons last year before being sold to Hong Kong.
The man behind Rajj is Homer Scott, who in the 1980s and 90s sent out Omerta and Rhythm Section to win at the Cheltenham Festival and The Committee to finish placed three times at the meeting. He stands the stallion at his Lisheen Stud in County Kildare and bred both I'm So Fancy and Insayshable, who formerly carried his silks. I'm So Fancy is owned with friend Jim Nicholson.
Scott explained: “Rajj is exceptionally well bred as a son of Danehill out of a daughter of Sadler's Wells and champion Filia Ardross, but he got injured as a two-year-old and didn't run.
“That's when I got him, and I decided that as there was no way of making a go of him as a racehorse and because he had such a fantastic pedigree – with two of the most influential sires of all time on either side – I might as well use him as a stallion.”
“He usually covers around 25 of our own mares," said Scott, who still holds a licence but has few runners as a trainer nowadays. "Last year he covered 40 in total as other people sent him 15 extras, and this season he's had 50 as a few more people came on board.
“He wouldn't have had many offspring get to the track, but what has raced seems to be doing well. I'm happy enough to keep going as he's getting some fantastic horses like I'm So Fancy and Insayshable.”
“I don't want mares who cannot breed winners at any price,” he said. “I'd only be insulting my own stallion. There are some who couldn't get a winner if they were sent to Galileo, and it's not worth entertaining those.”
Those breeders who do have eligible mares and are considering using Rajj after his rags-to-riches success might be further tempted by Scott's description of the stallion as “a smashing big horse, standing 17 hands and with great bone”.
Scott is also confident I'm So Fancy will continue to fly the flag for Rajj.
“She had the form in the book over seven furlongs and a mile, as last year she was second in a Group 3 to a mare [Laganore] who went on to win a Group 1,” he said.
“But I think it was the step up to ten furlongs on Saturday that made all the difference. The further she went, the further she won and I think there's more improvement in her over that trip.”
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