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ÂŁ4.95 | April 2014 | Issue 116

Classic charge Plus

Young guns primed for Guineas battle

• George Margarson’s Group 1 dream with Lucky Kristale • Life’s a breeze-up: Malcolm Bastard’s two-year-old hopes • Exclusive pictures from a dramatic Cheltenham Festival


9 771745 435006


GEORGE VANCOUVER....2012 BC Juvenile Turf Gr.1 PEDRO THE GREAT...........2012 Phoenix Stakes Gr.1 SUDIRMAN........................2013 Phoenix Stakes Gr.1

SUDIRMAN wins the Phoenix Stakes-Gr.1 from Big Time and War Command



Yearlings in 2013 sold for

€340,000, €280,000, €225,000 etc.

and are now in training with AIDAN O’BRIEN, WILLIAM JARVIS, WILLIAM HAGGAS, TOM DASCOMBE, SIR MICHAEL STOUTE, SIR MARK PRESCOTT, ROGER VARIAN, NICOLAS CLEMENT, DAVID WACHMAN, MARCO BOTTI, KARL BURKE, JOHN GOSDEN, JEAN-CLAUDE ROUGET, JOHN HILLS, GARY MOORE, DAVID SIMCOCK, DAVID LANIGAN, CHARLES HILLS etc. Leading breeders who supported him in 2013 include Airlie Stud, Ballylinch Stud, Eric Puerari (x2), HH The Aga Khan (x4), Hesmonds Stud (x2), Lanwades Stud, Marquesa de Moratalla (x3), Meon Valley Stud (x2), Moyglare Stud, D.J. Deer (x2), George Strawbridge, Newsells Park Stud, Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar, Sir Edmund Loder, Sir Robert Ogden, Wertheimer & Frere, Whisperview Trading Ltd. (x4), Woodcote Stud etc.










Fee €20,000 Contact: Coolmore Stud, Fethard, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. Tel: 353-52-6131298. Fax: 353-52-6131382. Christy Grassick, David O’Loughlin, Eddie Fitzpatrick, Tim Corballis, Maurice Moloney, Gerry Aherne, Mathieu Legars or Jason Walsh. Tom Gaffney, David Magnier, Joe Hernon, Cathal Murphy or Jim Carey: 353-25-31966/31689. Kevin Buckley (UK Rep.) 44-7827-795156. E-mail: Web site: All stallions nominated to EBF.



Phenomenal Sale

An astonishing auction of yearlings ended at Tattersalls in Newmarket yesterday when Book 1 of the October Sale completed its three-day term. It generated a European record for turnover of 70,343,000gns, despite a smaller catalogue compared to last year, and achieved similar highs for average, 207,501gns, up 27% on last year and - median, 130,000gns, a rise of 30%. EBN - Friday, 11th October 2013



B. F. Galileo/Alluring Park sold in 2013 for 5,000,000gns

B. C. Galileo/Shastye sold in 2013 for 3,600,000gns

Tattersalls October Yearling Sale 2014 Europe’s Premier Yearling Sale BOOK 1 October 7th – 10th featuring the Tattersalls Millions BOOK 2 October 12th – 15th, BOOK 3 October 16th – 17th, BOOK 4 October 30th – 31st

Entries Close: Thursday 10th April enter online at

Tel: +44 1638 665931,,



WELCOME FROM THE EDITOR Publisher: Michael Harris Editor: Edward Rosenthal Bloodstock Editor: Emma Berry Designed by: Thoroughbred Group


Editorial: First Floor, 75 High Holborn, London WC1V 6LS Tel: 020 7152 0209 Fax: 020 7152 0213 Advertising: Giles Anderson Tel: 01380 816 777 USA: 1 888 218 4430 Fax: 01380 816 778 Subscriptions: Keely Brewer Tel: 020 7152 0212 Fax: 020 7152 0213 Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder incorporating Pacemaker can be purchased by non-members at the following rates: 1 Year 2 Year UK £55 £90 Europe £85 £135 RoW £99 £154 Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder incorporating Pacemaker is published by a Mutual Trading Company owned jointly by the Racehorse Owners Association and Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association is a registered charity No. 1134293 Editorial views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the ROA or TBA ABC Audited Our proven average monthly circulation is certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulation at 9,423* *Based on the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.

Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stanstead House, The Avenue, Newmarket CB8 9AA Tel: 01638 661 321 Fax: 01638 665621 •


Classic charge Plus

Young guns primed for Guineas battle

• George Margarson’s Group 1 dream with Lucky Kristale • Life’s a breeze-up: Malcolm Bastard’s two-year-old hopes • Exclusive pictures from a dramatic Cheltenham Festival

here were plenty of talking points following this year’s Cheltenham Festival, sadly many of them were not what you could call good news stories. Shocking injuries to Ruby Walsh, Daryl Jacob and Bryan Cooper cast an unfortunate shadow over the showcase fixture in the jumping calendar, highlighting the risks jockeys take every time they walk out into the paddock. The ultra-competitive nature of Festival racing was exhibited unequivocally when Our Conor took a fatal fall in the Champion Hurdle. He will be a big loss to the National Hunt scene and my thoughts are with all those connected with the horse, whose victory in the 2013 Triumph Hurdle marked him out as a future star. Of course, there were some magical moments (Big Picture, pages 16-25), three of which were enjoyed by Davy Russell on the final day, as his treble was spearheaded by the victory of Lord Windermere in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Russell had not been having the best of seasons, losing his job as number one rider for Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, and, up until the final day, had endured a miserable Cheltenham, hitting the deck three times. But a remarkable 24 hours saw Russell go from zero to hero and provide owner Dr Ronan Lambe and trainer Jim Culloty, the man who steered Best Mate to three Gold Cups, with jump racing’s blue riband. The race itself may not have been a vintage renewal yet it was hardly dull, with at least five horses in with a chance jumping the final fence. The drive for the line saw Lord Windermere impede runner-up On His Own, ridden by David Casey, and connections of the former had to endure an anxious wait as the stewards reviewed the messiest finish to a Gold Cup in recent memory. Whether or not Lord Windermere should have kept the race – Channel 4 Racing missed the live announcement of the result by showing a delayed broadcast of the enquiry – is a moot point. Nobody can say for sure if the second would have prevailed with a

clear run but had the same finish occurred in a lesser race, I feel certain the placings would have been reversed. The outcome left a feeling that the best horse on the day may not have won the best race, which is a shame and does the Festival, and the sport as a whole, no favours. Regardless of your view, it seems the only certainty with the current interference rules is that they breed uncertainty. A comprehensive review is long overdue and the BHA would do well to kick on and address the issue sooner rather than later. Another matter to arise from the Gold Cup result surrounds the lack of top-class staying chasers in Britain and Ireland. This year’s winner was awarded the lowest Timeform rating since 1980 and the fact that so many runners finished in a heap suggests the division is weak, albeit the likes of Sir Des Champs and Cue Card are currently out injured. The need for outstanding performers that engage the public is discussed in the first of a two-part series on racing in the media. Richard Griffiths looks at the coverage our sport receives in mainstream newspapers (pages 52-55) and hears why including racecards is such a divisive issue. Perhaps one of the youngsters featured in our Flat season preview (pages 46-50) can become the next superstar on which racing can conquer more column inches. The Guineas meeting in May is fast approaching and we talk to the connections of five promising three-year-olds set to line up at Newmarket. George Margarson is also targeting Classic glory with his exciting filly Lucky Kristale. The Newmarket handler is yet to win a Group 1 race but is hopeful of putting that right this season. “I remember sitting on [2,000 Guineas third] Barathea Guest and it was like being on a Rolls-Royce,� Margarson tells Tim Richards (Talking To, pages 40-44). “Lucky Kristale is similar and I just wish I was younger so I could ride her. Her style of racing is so effortless. Quite simply, she’s got the gears.�

“The only certainty

Racehorse Owners Association Ltd First Floor, 75 High Holborn, London WC1V 6LS Tel: 020 7152 0200 Fax: 020 7152 0213

ÂŁ4.95 | April 2014 | Issue 116

Gold Cup result interferes with our sport’s reputation T


9 771745 435006

Cover: 2,000 Guineas entry Berkshire wins the 2013 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket Photo: George Selwyn


with the rules is they breed uncertainty; BHA must address the issue urgently






ROA Leader


TBA Leader



Breeding industry in fragile state

COVER STORY Classics Preview


The three-year-olds gunning for Guineas glory


News in a nutshell


Tony Morris




Racing in the Media


Howard Wright New venture looks shaky


View From Ireland More apprentices needed


Continental Tales Klampenborg reborn


Around The Globe Wesley Ward’s European assault


Sales Circuit Brightwells breaks new ground


Caulfield Files Look beyond the freshman year


Part one: newspapers

Tackling the Triple Crown


Breeders’ Digest Appreciating Midnight Legend

Trainer George Margarson

Economic Impact Study report


Talking To...

Malcolm Bastard Britain’s longest-serving breeze-up consignor

The Big Picture Cheltenham Festival action

Levy news boost



Cheltenham Gold Cup joy for Lord Windermere’s team of Jim Culloty, Dr Ronan Lambe and Davy Russell

24 Hours With... Jenny Pitman


4:53 pm

Page 3

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TBA Forum Gerry Meehan stars at Godolphin Awards


Breeder of the Month Fiona Evans, for Seeyouatmidnight


Next Generation Club Behind the scenes at Newsells Park Stud


Vet Forum Cause of sudden collapse in the racehorse

National Hunt Grade Ones Victors in the top grade






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RACHEL HOOD President Racehorse Owners Association

Budget statement signals funding system overhaul Extending the levy to offshore and creation of ‘racing right’ are now in sight


he momentous budget statement by George Osborne on levy reform, which followed an unexpected amendment to the Gambling Bill, was the best news British horseracing has received for some time. Not only did the Chancellor make it clear that he intends to extend the levy to offshore betting but he also signalled there would wider levy reform which would include looking at a ‘racing right’ as the means by which racing will fund the sport. To my mind, the ÂŁ20 million that levy income on offshore horseracing bets is said to be worth is an underestimate. It is a growing pot because nearly all online betting goes offshore, along with most telephone betting. As business in betting shops (except on machines) stagnates, so the online market continues to show consistent growth, but racing does not receive one penny from it. When the government decided to start the process for establishing a point-ofconsumption tax on offshore betting – meaning that betting operators would no longer be able to escape paying tax on those online and telephone bets made by punters based in this country – there was a general assumption that, as a first step, the levy could not be part of this. But then, last year, the French enhanced their reputation for being resourceful with European law by getting approval for a similar system to our levy, and we all began to start considering various possibilities. The betting industry has been very successful in peddling the line that we tamper with levy legislation at our peril. The racing authorities, including the levy leadership, appeared to swallow the line that the statute underpinning the levy exists in the modern world only because it pre-dates European law. They had been reluctant to rock the boat, fearful that any fundamental alteration to levy legislation would cause the scheme to fall foul of state aid law.

These concerns may still exist, but the government is clearly putting its weight behind racing in creating an instrument that will allow the levy system to undergo a fundamental change. So-called levy replacement schemes have been on the BHA’s table since, more than a decade ago, we all thought racing had cracked it by introducing what turned out to be an ill-fated system for funding based on pre-race data rights. Now, for the first time since those days, we can feel positive about the prospect of racing finding a funding system that not only delivers substantially more money but one that is both enforceable and sustainable. A levy that includes offshore bets on horseracing will provide our sport with a higher income during the period it takes to establish an entirely new funding system. As we have frequently mentioned in the past, the creation of a horseracing betting right would be the ultimate goal. It would necessitate anybody taking a bet on British horseracing to pay a percentage of that bet to the sport. As it is, racing has become increasingly dependent on income flowing into racecourses for media rights, based on payments for pictures in betting shops. The annual revenue from this source now exceeds the total amount coming from the levy. However, it depends on the deals agreed between racecourse-owned media rights companies and bookmakers and is therefore a fragile platform on which to place racing’s future – especially as we now look towards 2017, when the current deals are set to be re-negotiated. The recent surprise announcement in the House of Lords, followed by the Chancellor ‘s statement, shows that our pleas to government are being heeded. The racing industry is a huge employer and economic contributor to UK plc. And for those of us who believe that establishing a racing right through law must be the long-term goal, his words have provided much encouragement.

“Government is

putting its weight behind racing in this fundamental change to the levy




Protecting a heritage, representing a future.

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RICHARD LANCASTER Chairman Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association

Tackling fragility of our industry a big priority Economic Impact Survey reveals need to help small breeders and jumps sector


ast year we commissioned Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP to produce an authoritative and independent study into the British thoroughbred breeding industry, to establish the facts regarding the current condition of thoroughbred breeding in Great Britain. We now have a robust and informative database of facts, allowing us to make an assessment of the health of the industry, and determine the most urgent challenges facing it. In addition to this, we are also able to confirm that the thoroughbred breeding industry contributes an estimated ÂŁ281 million to the UK economy, and in particular the rural community, whilst identifying both current and potential future risks and opportunities. The report is a valuable route map for the TBA’s future direction and strategy, and on March 25 we shared the findings and results with our members, the industry and the media. It has confirmed much that the TBA already knew, but it has also identified some potentially critical areas of concern, the most pressing of which we have prioritised as crucially important areas of work. One of the most important issues highlighted by the report is that 34% of the annual production of foals is in the hands of small breeders. Small breeders, those owning one or two mares, make up 2,500 of the 3,100 thoroughbred breeders in Great Britain. They are working to very tight margins and, in many cases, losing money on their breeding operation. There must be a significant risk that a number of these small breeders could decide to leave the industry. Secondly, and just as importantly, the statistics show that National Hunt breeding in Britain can be described as ‘fragile’. The racing programme depends upon significant numbers of imports from Ireland and France to fulfil its daily delivery, which is an unhealthy

and unsustainable strategy for any industry. Urgent steps need to be taken to incentivise and encourage both small breeders and National Hunt breeding in the UK. This is of great importance not only for the future of the British-bred thoroughbred, but also the future of the British racing programme. Since the results of the study have been presented to us, we have been working hard with other stakeholders in the industry to identify the best way to address these challenges. We have decided to concentrate on developing a number of practical and realistic initiatives, to be undertaken in addition to the TBA’s ongoing work in the areas of veterinary research and advice, education and training. We will be commissioning an independent review into comparative tax regimes in Britain, France and Ireland, in order to achieve a level taxation playing field. We will also be looking to form a Small Breeders’ Group to bring forward practical ideas to support members and breeders. The TBA already has a number of advantageous incentive schemes for small breeders in place, but we shall be investigating further options, as well as direct financial support for National Hunt breeders. We shall also be vigorously lobbying the government to recognise what is at stake, and provide practical support for the breeding industry. The TBA is committed to finding solutions to these concerns, not just for its members and the rural community – as important as those are – but for the 85,000 people who rely upon racing for their livelihoods. The TBA will work with breeders, the wider racing industry and with the government in order to create a more favourable climate for the breeding industry in Britain. See News, pages 10-11

“Small breeders, those

owning one or two mares, make up 2,500 of the 3,100 thoroughbred breeders in Britain





NEWS Stories from the racing world

TBA study outlines ‘fragile’ state of breeding industry


National Hunt division said to be in critical condition as supply base dwindles

TBA Chairman fears further drop in foal crop numbers will harm the racing industry


he British breeding industry is in a fragile state, with the National Hunt sector in “criticalâ€? condition, according to the findings of an Economic Impact Study (EIS) commissioned by the TBA. With around 10,000 people employed directly or in subsidiary roles within the breeding industry, which is estimated to be worth ÂŁ281 million annually to the British economy, the TBA is calling on the government to ensure that Britain’s 3,000-plus breeders receive the investment and support needed to help sustain their businesses. Stating that the report had “confirmed our worst fearsâ€?, TBA Chairman Richard Lancaster pointed to the contraction of the British foal crop, which has been reduced by more than 25% over the last five years, as one of the most important issues facing the industry. He said: “It has identified some alarming and potentially critical issues, the most serious of which is the supply base and production of foals, which are vital to fulfil Britain’s racing fixture list. “Any further drop in foal numbers will


result in a contraction of the programme and the further marginalisation of racing as a sporting product.� Lancaster also believes that the report, which states that a third of Flat breeders are losing money, reveals that indicators such as big crowds at Britain’s major race meetings do not reflect the true state of British racing. He added: “Despite seeing packed stands at flagship meetings like the Derby, Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival, the findings suggest that this is nothing more than an illusion, masking a serious underlying problem and the stark truth that our industry is in a fragile state.� It is activity within the British National Hunt breeding sector which most concerns the sub-committee tasked with implicating an action plan to overcome problems highlighted in the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report. Despite the popularity of jump racing in Britain, with National Hunt races accounting for around 40% of the sport’s annual betting turnover, only 647 purpose-bred jumps foals were born in the country last year, compared

to 2,400 in Ireland. “The racing programme depends on significant numbers of imports from Ireland and France to fulfil its daily delivery,� said TBA Board member Philip Newton, who is also Chairman of the EIS sub-committee. “This is neither a healthy nor sustainable strategy for any industry and urgent steps need to be taken to incentivise and encourage National Hunt breeding in Britain.� With the introduction of initiatives such as the Elite National Hunt Mares Incentive Scheme and the National Hunt Foal Show, which is set to become an annual fixture, the TBA is already addressing the need to stimulate the dwindling jumps breeding fraternity and it is currently in discussion over new proposals for a further incentive scheme and direct financial support for National Hunt and dual-purpose breeders. Newton added: “We’re shocked at the fragility of our supply base. National Hunt is a major issue and we have a number of serious proposals in the pipeline. We expect to have a detailed proposal in front of the BHA and Levy Board by the summer. “We need to encourage owners to have more mares in training and then retain them for breeding purposes. It’s disappointing that so many people go off to Ireland and France to buy horses but we’ve been left behind.� It’s not solely National Hunt breeding which the sub-committee aims to boost. Other plans include the commissioning of an independent tax review which will look at the situation in Ireland and France with a view to the TBA being able to lobby the government for a more advantageous regime for British breeders. An enhancement of the TBA-backed fillies-only race series, with the aim of quality fillies and mares being retained in the country through increased financial support, is also on the cards. “We needed a route map for the breeding industry and the TBA’s blueprint and strategy will evolve from this. The study has identified both the fragilities and the opportunities and we’ve produced the facts for the racing industry to digest,� said Newton. THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER


vast majority of breeders are doing it as part of their owning activities. “The members of the Horsemen’s Group will be working with the TBA. Countries which have a thriving racing industry without a thriving breeding industry, such as Hong Kong, are based on a very different business model. Elsewhere, it’s hard to see how you can have a healthy racing industry without a strong breeding industry to support it. It is in the interests of all horsemen to service the fixture list at its current size, otherwise our levy income will drop.�

The British breeding industry in numbers


annual economic contribution

The TBA is keen to highlight to the government the vital role played by British breeders in supporting a racing industry with 86,000 employees

With around 75 larger, or commercial, operators, a significant number of the 3,124 breeders in Britain have only one or two mares but are responsible for 34% of the foal crop. The PwC report notes the “significant� contribution of these participants, many of whom are operating at a loss financially: “The industry includes circa 2,500 breeders with one or two broodmares operating on a

“Urgent steps need to

be taken to incentivise and encourage National Hunt breeding in Britain� recreational rather than commercial basis. We estimate that between them they produce around 1,500 (34%) of the total foal crop each year and as a result are an important part of both the breeding and wider racing programme.� Newton acknowledged the need to support this sector, with the formation of a small breeders’ group being one of the planned responses. THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER

He said: “We’re not trying to separate the interests of small breeders and larger breeders, but to highlight how sensitively balanced the supply base is. We can ill afford to lose even 50 breeders who produce one or two foals a year. “We have clear ideas on how we need to start addressing the problems surrounding the UK breeding industry. Racing as a whole is a really important industry in Britain and we as breeders help to support the racing industry, which employs around 86,000 people. “The TBA has three responsibilities – to the industry, to our members and to the country. Our message is simple: no breeders, no horses, no racing. “That doesn’t mean we’re assuming a greater importance in the industry than anyone else, but it’s stating a fact. We have to be able to sustain a viable Flat and National Hunt breeding industry in this country.� In its bid to improve breeders’ prospects, the TBA intends to work closely with other industry stakeholders, including the Levy Board, British Horseracing Authority and the Horsemen’s Group. Philip Freedman, an owner/breeder who is also Chairman of the Horsemen’s Group, said: “Only a very small part of the breeding industry can be regarded as commercially viable. There’s the impression, particularly from some of the higher yearling sales prices, that breeding is a profitable activity but the


British breeders in 2013

4,366 foals born in 2013


breeders with 10+ mares


breeders with 1 or 2 mares

ÂŁ150m+ overseas investment in British-bred horses


breeding industry jobs

34,000 acres used for breeding




The risks jockeys take were underlined in jump racing’s highest-profile meeting when Bryan Cooper, Ruby Walsh and Daryl Jacob all suffered bad injuries. In 21-year-old Cooper’s case, his broken right tibia and fibula were described by experienced Turf Club medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick as the worst lower limb injuries he had ever seen. He likened them to a victim of a motor cycle accident, and it is understood that Cooper may miss the rest of the year due to his fall on day two of the Cheltenham Festival. Having this season been appointed to one of the best jockey jobs there is, first rider to Gigginstown House Stud – who had an amazing four winners on the final day of the Festival, as if to illustrate what Cooper will be missing – the young jockey’s fortunes took a massive dive when Clarcam fell in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at the second last. McGoldrick reported: “It’s what we call a compound fracture, a combination of the bone coming through the skin, but there were multiple fragments too, which is the nature of a fall at that speed. “It’s very much like you see with motorcyclists who come off motorbikes at high speed.� Walsh’s fall from Abbyssial in the other hurdle race for four-year-olds, the Triumph, started a frenetic Festival Friday. The multiple champion jockey suffered a broken right arm and will be out of action until late spring/early summer. Walsh had enjoyed a decent week up to that point, his three winners highlighted by the most impressive scorer of the Festival, Vautour, in the opening race, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Daryl Jacob had a topsy-turvy Festival. His gutted reaction to a nose defeat on Southfield Theatre in the Pertemps Final on the


Festival takes its toll on three leading riders

Ruby Walsh takes a crunching fall from Abbyssial in the Triumph Hurdle

Wednesday was one of the defining images of the week, while, like Walsh, he will not look back on the Triumph Hurdle with any fondness, as his stirrup leather broke on favourite Calipto. He did get off the mark in the following race, the County Hurdle, partnering Lac Fontana for boss Paul Nicholls, but no sooner had that deserved winner arrived than he was literally back to down to earth with a bump. In a rather bizarre episode, Port Melon crashed through a rail before the start of the Albert Bartlett Hurdle and deposited his rider

onto concrete. Jacob suffered a broken elbow, knee and leg, and will be out for months. One leading rider who did not even make it to the Festival was Jason Maguire, who forfeited any chance he had of finishing runner-up to AP McCoy in the jockeys’ title race when fracturing his sternum and having part of his liver removed after a terrible fall at Stratford on the eve of the big meeting. On the Flat, up-and-coming jockey Martin Harley will miss the first half of the season after breaking a bone in his neck following a fall at Lingfield on March 19.

Levy boost as offshore loophole is closed The racing industry was left celebrating Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget statement after he announced that the levy scheme will be extended to include bookmakers based offshore. It is believed that the levy is missing out on around £20 million per year as a result of the likes of William Hill and Ladbrokes

basing their mobile and telephone betting businesses outside of the UK. In a further blow to bookmakers’ profits, it was revealed that duty on fixed odds betting terminals would be raised by 5% to 25%. The Chancellor also announced that he would look at wider levy reform and the introduction of a ‘racing right’.

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APRIL 2014

Makfi juveniles to make a splash on the flat The race for the first-season sires’ title is about to get underway, with Makfi among a group of front-line stallions who will be pitching for the award. Having covered more than 140 mares in his initial crop, the Tweenhills Farm & Stud resident has every chance of making his mark. He won his only race at two, while his sire, Dubawi, was unbeaten in

Mary McPhee, an early prospect

Mar athon Looms The Qatar Racing team are ready for the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, April 13. Sheikh Fahad, David Redvers and trainers Andrew Balding, Robert Cowell, Richard

Try these five for starters Qatar Racing’s ‘8-to-Follow’ competition – with a ÂŁ10,000 first prize – starts during the QIPCO Guineas Festival on May 3 & 4. All proceeds go to the charity Racing Welfare, and entry can now be made on-line via Simply pick eight horses from the list of those in training.

three runs at that age and landed the Gr.1 National Stakes. Among trainers who have been sent members of his first crop are Mikel Delzangles, who saddled Makfi to win the Gr.1 2,000 Guineas and Gr.1 Prix Jacques Le Marois, in which he beat the great filly Goldikova. Delzangles has several juveniles by the sire in his care, and says: “They all know their job and are genuine in their work. Physically they are strong, and have good temperaments.� Charlie Hills trains a daughter named Mary McPhee, who is out of the winning mare Aunty Mary, a half-sister to champion Attraction. She is expected to run early in the season, and Hills says: “She is thriving in her work, has a great attitude and looks to be fairly useful. She is only a couple of bits of work off a run, and I’m considering a fillies’ maiden for her at the Craven Meeting.�

Another early prospect, this one trained by Kevin Ryan, is Songye, a colt out of the Listed-placed mare Liberty Chery. Ryan says: “He’s been very straightforward from day one, and we hope he will be out fairly early in the season. A good winter helped, and he has always taken his work very well. We are just asking him to do a bit more now and he’s proving willing.�

Songye, who is pleasing trainer Kevin Ryan

Hannon Jr, Charlie Hills, David Simcock and Olly Stevens are raising money for Racing Welfare, which helps members of the racing and breeding industries in need.


To make a contribution, go to: Qatarracingteam

Crikey (Kodiac-Callanish). One of a number of smart two-yearolds with Kevin Ryan, this fellow cost 90,000Gns and looks very strong and forward.â€? Fruity (Camacho-Belle Of The Blues). “Bought for â‚Ź40,000 at Fairyhouse and now trained by Clive Cox, this filly has the profile of a smart two-year-old performer.â€?

Sinead Carroll Foaling Unit

You’ve come a long way . . . From Tasmania, an island with a wonderful climate, 240 miles off the coast of Australia. Why would anyone want to leave? I love travelling and horses, so decided to use the qualifications I gained at college in Victoria and worked at Eliza Park and Bellerive Stud in Australia, and at Haunui Stud in New Zealand. Along the way I met my boyfriend, Sebastien Domange, who is French.

For anyone looking for clues, David’s ‘five two-year-olds to follow’ could all win races. Here are his suggestions:

Malice (Makfi- Shemriyna). “Purchased as a foal for 80,000gns, this filly is finding everything easy at Pete Chapple-Hyam’s at present and is expected to debut second half of the season.�

Stud farms, but not racing? At 16 I got a job at a small racing yard in Tasmania, but I find breeding and pedigrees interesting. Sebastien and I started work at Tweenhills on January 1 and it has been fun and educational.

Brutus (Desert Style-Belle Alicia). “Trained by Richard Hannon Jr and owned by Al Shaqab and Qatar Racing, this colt cost â‚Ź220,000 at Arqana. One of my nap selections.â€?

Mary McPhee (Makfi-Aunty Mary). “A gorgeous filly, bred at Tweenhills and sold to BBA Ireland at DBS for ÂŁ155,000. Trained by Charlie Hills and held in high regard.â€?

What’s on your to-do list? Visit the sales at Keeneland, and tour Vietnam. Keeneland because it’s so important to the industry I work in, Vietnam because it’s a different culture.

Tweenhills Farm & Stud Hartpury, Gloucestershire, GL19 3BG W: T: + 44 (0) 1452 700177 / 700545 M: + 44 (0) 7767 436373 E:



in association with

Racing’s news in a nutshell PEOPLE AND BUSINESS Ascot racecourse Announces plan to overhaul running order of its headline Group 1 races at the royal meeting in bid to halt a 50% slump in viewing figures.

Pat Cosgrave Jockey is handed six-month ban by the Emirates Racing Authority for improper riding at Meydan.

Irish St Leger Curragh contest receives â‚Ź100,000 boost and will be worth â‚Ź300,000 in 2014, when it is sponsored for the first time by the Comer Group.

Felix Coetzee Leading South African jockey retires aged 54; he is best known for his association with Hong Kong sprinter Silent Witness (see pages 38-39).

Eddie Ahern Rider banned for ten years by the BHA after race-fixing investigation is cleared to work in a racing yard in Ireland.

Political lobbying BHA hires public relations firm Bell Pottinger to lobby the government on racing’s behalf in six-figure deal.

Simon Crisford Resigns as manager of Godolphin after 22 years; his departure follows a report by Lord Stevens into failings within Shiekh Mohammed’s organisation.

e n i t i n L-Car



Johnny Murtagh Outstanding big-race jockey quits the saddle aged 43 to concentrate on his training career (see page 32).

More people and business... Ladbrokes’ 2013 performance shows twothirds fall in pre-tax profits to £67.6m, while digital operating profits fell 74.2% to £8.2m. Flemington, home of the Melbourne Cup, will be refurbished in £65 million facelift, including a new grandstand. Grand Nationalwinning jockey Jason Maguire is set for spell on the sidelines after damaging his liver in a fall at Stratford. Les Eyre, former Yorkshirebased trainer, moves to a new yard near Beverley following 11-year spell in Spain. Bryan Cooper breaks his right leg in a fall from Clarcam at the Cheltenham Festival and will miss the rest of the season, while Ruby Walsh is set for three months on the sidelines after injuring right arm in Triumph Hurdle fall. Up-and-coming French auction house Osarus joins promotional body the French Racing & Breeding Committee (FRBC). Jump jockey Christian Williams quits the saddle aged 31 due to repeated injury problems.

22 Riversdale Court, Newburn Haugh Industrial Estate, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 8SG. Tel: +44 (0)191 264 5536




Kasbah Bliss

Supreme staying hurdler, four-time winner of the World Hurdle for owner Andy Stewart and trainer Paul Nicholls, is retired aged 11.

Francois Doumen-trained dual-purpose performer is retired aged 12; he won 16 races and scored a top-level success in the 2011 Prix du Cadran.

Dubday Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing buys four-year-old son of Dubawi before his success in the Emir’s Trophy, Qatar’s richest thoroughbred race.

Purr Along Group 3-winning daughter of Mount Nelson, a 1,000,000 guineas purchase at Tattersalls by Sheikh Joaan Al Thani, will be trained by Johnny Murtagh.

Last Instalment Gigginstown House-owned chaser, winner of three Grade 1s including the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup in February, is retired due to recurrence of leg injury.

Recital Coolmore’s jumps stallion, a Group 1winning son of Montjeu, will shuttle to Haras la Pesadilla in Argentina.


Bred and owned top-class hurdling mare Asian Maze (left), trained by Tom Mullins to win four Grade 1 races including the 2006 Aintree Hurdle by 17 lengths from Hardy Eustace.

Otto Gervai 72

Born in Budapest, he was one of the most successful jockeys in Germany during the 1970s, winning the 1980 Preis von Europa on Pawiment.

Ryan Cusack 17

Amateur jockey dies in freak tree-cutting incident at his boss Enda Bolger’s Howardstown House in County Limerick.

John Beasty 91 Epsom-based jump jockey who served his apprenticeship with Peter Purcell-Gilpin in Newmarket.

John Martin 63

Irish greyhound and racing journalist who worked for the Irish Independent, Evening Herald and The Sporting Life.

Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon 103 Widow of Mill Reef’s owner Paul Mellon, she was a keen landscape gardener and designer.

Ted Moss 94

Chauffeur to trainer Fulke Walwyn who was well-known in the Lambourn racing community.

Stewart Aitken 93 Scottish-born gambler who owned horses with Reg Akehurst, including Group 3 winner Urgent Request and Ebor victor Sarawat.

Roy Higgins 75 Legendary jockey in Australia, winner of 11 Melbourne jockeys’ championships and 2,312 races in total, including two Melbourne Cups and 108 Group 1s.

Richard Bomze 76 Owner/breeder of Fourstars AllStar, the first American-trained horse to win a European Classic with victory in the 1991 Irish 2,000 Guineas.


Stack The Deck 5

Talented hurdler/chaser for owner Barry Connell and trainer Dessie Hughes, winner of the 2011 Irish Cesarewitch for John Oxx’s stable.

Promising Beneficial gelding for the Pat Fahy stable loses his life in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

Akdam 4

Kabool 19

Group 2-winning son of Groom Dancer, bred and raced by Sheikh Mohammed, who sired Group 3 winner Kandidate.

Our Conor 5

Last season’s best juvenile hurdler is killed in the Champion Hurdle. THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER

Salut Flo 9

David Pipe-trained chaser who won the Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012 for owner Allan Stennett.

Talented juvenile hurdler for owner Stephen Louch and trainer Tony Carroll.

Raya Star 8

Simon Munir’s high-class hurdler/chaser trained by Alan King, winner of seven races including the 2011 Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at Ascot.




MY RIDE OR YOURS AP McCoy faced a difficult choice between My Tent Or Yours and Jezki in the Champion Hurdle, the highlight on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. Unfortunately for the 18-times champion, he picked the wrong horse, with the Jessica Harrington-trained Jezki and Barry Geraghty (leading over the last) prevailing by a neck from My Tent Or Yours, giving owner JP McManus a one-two Photos George Selwyn




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QUEEN QUEVEGA The Willie Mullins-trained Quevega made history at the Festival by notching her sixth win in the mares’ hurdle, but she was made to dig deep under Ruby Walsh to defeat stablemate Glens Melody (left, yellow silks). The winning duo returned to a rapturous reception from the huge crowd




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SIRE SIMPLY DE BEST Sire De Grugy has looked imperious this season and the eight-year-old confirmed his status as an outstanding two-mile chaser with a thrilling six-length victory over Somersby in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The result was a real family affair for trainer Gary Moore and his jockey son Jamie (far left, being congratulated by fellow rider Aidan Coleman), and a fairytale success for owner Steve Preston (pictured left receiving his trophy from the Duchess of Cornwall), who bought his star after family and friends had contributed towards his 50th birthday present





NEW WORLD ORDER The World Hurdle pitched four-time winner Big Buck’s against unbeaten mare Annie Power but it was More Of That (far side), on only his fifth career start, who came out on top. JP McManus’s hurdler, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by Barry Geraghty, outstayed Annie Power to score by a length and a half after the pair had jumped the last together. It was another wrong call by AP McCoy, who passed up the ride on the winner in favour of At Fishers Cross, who finished third




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Groom Rose Loxton cannot hold back the tears after the news that Big Buck’s has been retired aged 11 following his fifth-placed effort in the World Hurdle





DAVY’S ALL GOLD Coming into the final day of Cheltenham, Davy Russell, replaced as Gigginstown’s first jockey earlier this year, had endured three falls and three pulled-up mounts. He ended the Festival with three wins, all gained on the Friday, headed by the dramatic Gold Cup triumph of Lord Windermere. Dr Ronan Lambe’s eight-year-old had to survive a stewards’ enquiry after hampering runner-up On His Own (above, gold and black) on the run-in. Lord Windermere gave trainer Jim Culloty (below, right) another blue riband after his three wins on Best Mate


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Tony Morris The Triple Crown concept took a hit when speed replaced stamina in European pedigrees but its recent resurgence is welcomed and 2014 could see a lively candidate from Ireland




or some with memories stretching back to 1953 the events that stand out will always be the Coronation and the conquest of Everest. I have ready recollections of both, particularly everyone in my street piling into the sitting room of the one house that boasted the wonder of the age, a television set. But I remember that year better for introducing me to sport, which had previously passed me by. I don’t suppose I was the only impressionable young kid who became hooked for life over those wonderful few months in which Stanley Matthews finally earned an FA Cup winner’s medal, Pinza ended Gordon Richards’s long quest for a Derby victory, and England at last reclaimed the Ashes. Those events turned me into the sportobsessed person I have remained. I began to play games, particularly soccer and cricket, and had the excuse of being a weedy asthmatic for never playing them well. When I wasn’t playing games I was reading about them, becoming immersed in all manner of what many would regard as trivia but what seemed frightfully important to me. I haunted second-hand bookshops and once I’d acquired a paper round my new-found riches were invested in items generally decades out of date – Jimmy Wilde on boxing was one I remember. I depended on birthdays and Christmas to bring me recently published sporting material. Of all the football facts I assimilated at the time, the one that struck me as most peculiar was that no team had won both the First Division and FA Cup in the same season since Aston Villa in 1896-97. Why wouldn’t the best team over a whole campaign not also triumph in the Cup? It hadn’t happened for so long it seemed there had to be an Act of Parliament preventing it. Of course, what, in defiance of all logic, had come to seem impossible subsequently became anything but. Spurs ended the barren sequence in 1960-61, and the feat has been achieved eight times since then, including three each by Arsenal and Manchester United.

Exciting colt Australia races for Coolmore, who have embraced the Triple Crown

When I came to make a serious study of racing, from the age of 11, I found it had its own counterpart of a ‘holy grail’ in the Triple Crown – one about as elusive as football’s League-Cup double. Between 1853 and 1903 ten colts – West Australian, Gladiateur, Lord Lyon, Ormonde, Common, Isinglass, Galtee More, Flying Fox, Diamond Jubilee and Rock Sand – had achieved the treble. On average, it was something that happened every five years. During World War One, a period of restricted racing, Pommern, Gay Crusader and Gainsborough all won the three substitute events staged on Newmarket’s July Course, but only Bahram, in 1935, had notched the treble that displayed his dominance over his generation on the traditional – and very different – Rowley Mile, Epsom and Doncaster courses. Why had the feat become so much more difficult? Okay, so there were reasons that became clearly identifiable many years later, but they were not applicable in the 1950s when nothing much had changed for a century in terms of how the Triple Crown was perceived. Entries for the Classic were made at the yearling stage, and most colts would be engaged in all three events open to them. It seemed reasonable, as

it always had, that a three-year-old would develop more strength and stamina as the season progressed, allowing hopes he would be competitive over all three distances.

No cause for concern There were no reasons why the Triple Crown should have become unattainable, and the long hiatus since Bahram did not appear especially significant, given nobody doubted that Blue Peter would have completed the treble in 1939 but for the cancellation of the St Leger on the outbreak of World War Two. Similarly, Crepello would surely have joined the elite group if he had remained sound enough to contest the St Leger – won by his immediate Derby victim Ballymoss – in 1957. And so it continued throughout the 1960s. The Triple Crown remained a reasonable aspiration, and there would have been a winner in 1967 if Royal Palace had not emulated Crepello by being unfit to take his chance at Doncaster. In a carbon copy of the final Classic from a decade earlier, Derby runner-up Ribocco profited from the absence of the Warren Place-trained Guineas and Derby hero. In 1968 the Newmarket and Epsom Classics both fell to Sir Ivor, who had a St Leger entry, THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER


but there was never much chance he would turn up. A mile and a half was patently the upper limit of his stamina, and his trainer always felt ten furlongs represented his optimum distance. Two years later we finally found a colt to emulate Bahram, and it was not something we expected after the first two jewels in the crown had been secured. Like Sir Ivor, Nijinsky was by a horse with stamina limitations, and Sir Ivor’s trainer seemed highly unlikely to submit his new star performer to the Doncaster test. The Irish Derby and King George provided Nijinsky with two more simple victories, and then it was all about finding a suitable race as his prep for the Arc, his main objective. A severe bout of ringworm, contracted in August, meant plans needed to be revised, and when that problem was cleared up the St Leger appeared to be the most timely target. On all known form the unbeaten Nijinsky, already hailed in some quarters as the Horse of the Century, was a class above anything that would oppose him at Doncaster. If he stayed – which couldn’t be guaranteed – he’d win. Nijinsky stayed, and he won, not with the authority he had shown in some of his earlier races, but he had done what a true champion three-year-old was supposed to do, dominating his contemporaries in the historic series of demanding tests over different courses and distances. He proved the feat was still achievable, but his success came at a time when pedigrees were changing, and before long we were calling Nijinsky the last, rather than the latest, Triple Crown hero. The ranks of British owner/breeders were becoming depleted, and horses from American – largely non-staying – backgrounds were achieving remarkable success here. The wholly European pedigrees that had previously delivered champions on a regular basis were proving inadequate. That Nijinsky lost both his starts after the St Leger meant, however illogically, that running in it had harmed him. The breeding industry took against the Leger. Its standing, and therefore that of the Triple Crown, suffered what appeared a fatal blow. By 1989, when Nashwan’s connections declined the opportunity of a third Classic victory, it seemed to represent not just an insult to the St Leger but the end of the Triple Crown as a viable concept. The game had changed and it seemed that what for well over a century had stood for almost a definition of true greatness no longer mattered. It was the history and the traditions of the sport that drew me into a fascination with racing nearly 60 years ago, the Triple Crown very much a major factor in the appeal. Nijinsky’s success as a sire on both sides of the Atlantic should have meant that victory in the St Leger did not have to represent a drawback to a horse’s prospects at stud. I may be an old fogey now but rejoice in the fact that the concept of the Triple Crown has been revived. The Ballydoyle/Coolmore team wanted it with Camelot two years ago, coming up agonisingly short, but they don’t give up easily and have undoubtedly embraced the traditional concept. Word has it that one of the team has already struck substantial wagers on the impeccably-bred – Galileo ex Ouija Board – Australia, and if that colt succeeds at Newmarket and Epsom we won’t have to wonder where he will be on September 13.

“That Nijinsky lost

both races after the St Leger meant that running in it had harmed him�





Europe’s bloodstock giants may have joined forces, yet when it comes to sourcing business from lucrative quarters, partnerships go out the window

Neighbours are a breed apart


BRI – a set of initials to get the heart pumping faster and the pulse racing a little more quickly. Perhaps. Now another bunch of capital letters has been added to the European bloodstock promotional push, with Great British Racing International joining, in the words of a PR statement, “a ground-breaking enterprise� alongside Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM) and the French Racing & Breeding Committee (FRBC). Make what you will of the ITMGBRIFRBC acronym; it adds up to three countries, three equine cultures but, apparently, a common aim “to promote Europe as the premier region in which to both source and race top-class horses.� Will it work? If it does, it will be a first, given the dog-eat-dog mentality that seems to have set the super powers apart whenever they have assembled around the European Pattern table in recent years. Out in the field the impression of every man, woman and bloodstock agent for himself becomes even more apparent. Take a gathering in Qatar in February, for example, when the country’s Racing & Equestrian Club hosted international personalities to the highlight of its racing season, a three-day festival that drew the country’s best Arabians and thoroughbreds. The French, including France-Galop President Bertrand Belinguier, hotfoot from a board meeting in Paris, were there, protecting close links that have been cemented by an amazingly long-term contract for Qatar to support, among others, the Arc. The Irish, headed by HRI Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh and his one-time Chairman Denis Brosnan, were there, and so were the Americans. The Brits were also out in force. Yet with the notable exception of ROA President Rachel Hood, the recognisable but disparate squad comprised trainers, agents, racecourses and the sales company Tattersalls, which appears to have sold 75% of the horses in training in Qatar, all with an eye for business, nervously looking over their shoulders in case they missed a trick among potential owners and sponsors. The highest-ranked representative of the BHA was one of its raceday starters, on holiday


leave to accompany his Arabian-horsecommitted wife. There was no sign of GBRI’s four-strong team of International Executive Carter Carnegie. Maybe GBRI was beavering away on better means of spending the £750,000 annual budget it has been granted jointly by the BHA, Racing Enterprises Ltd and the Levy Board.

“Will it work?

Out in the field it’s every man, woman and bloodstock agent for himself� In any event, as well as casting evidential doubt on the effectiveness of a tripartite strategic alliance on marketing, the Qatar experience highlighted an inevitable truth. High net worth investors in bloodstock are more likely to be drawn in by the individual approaches of close friends, agents and sales

companies than an arm round the shoulder from an administrative organisation or a website packed full of fancy phrases but bereft of facts. Yet GBRI, which celebrates its first anniversary this month and can be expected shortly to reveal its performance as part of the annual review published by its parent body Great British Racing, seems to have cast off the direct contact in this area that its predecessor British Bloodstock Marketing used to effect. BBM worked closely with the sales houses; GBRI acknowledges on its website that “there is no more electrifying venue than a British bloodstock auction� and gives a name check to Tattersalls, DBS and Brightwells, but individual involvement with those operating at the sharp end of investment in thoroughbreds appears to belong to the past, as far as policy and strategy is concerned. Even the most obvious success for GBRI in 2013, a packed-house, eve of Royal Ascot party hosted with Asprey, has been ditched. Instead, GBRI wants to hang on to the coat tails of a boutique auction being held simultaneously at Kempton and Kensington Palace on the equivalent day. For the record, the sale is being staged by Goffs – an Irish company.

Qatar’s international event attracted high-profile figures from Britain and beyond

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Where is the next Johnny Murtagh? Sharp fall in number of Irish apprentices prompts action from industry bodies

“What Johnny’s

retirement brings to mind is that we need to plan for the future� Keith Rowe, boss at RACE, said: “Johnny retiring is the end of a cycle. He’s now a trainer and he’s taking on trainees. From everything we’ve seen, he’ll be a really good, positive influence for any youngster that comes under his wing. “He’s got a very good attitude but what his retirement really brings to mind is that we need to plan for the future. About 20 years ago all the riders who came to us were aspiring Flat apprentices, but the profile has now changed for a number of reasons. “Part of the broader issue is to do with the lack of opportunities for apprentices. I think conditionals are finding it tough as well, but it seems most dramatic on the apprentice side and I think that tracks back to the 2006 rise in minimum weights.� Upping the minimum weights meant senior riders could ride the bottom weights,


giving them far more opportunities and taking them away from the younger, lightweight apprentices, who used to thrive on riding horses at the lower end of the handicap in the early part of their careers. Rowe adds: “It’s not really been looked at in a joined up way. The pilot programme of introducing minimum weights for apprentice jockeys last year, based on their hydration levels, was reviewed and with luck new legislation will be in place by the start of the season with some tweaks. “Hopefully the discussions we have had over the winter in connection with this will lead to action and people will start taking a more multi-dimensional approach in these areas in future.� Andrew Coonan, Chief Executive of the jockeys’ body, explained where the tweaks in the original framework needed to be made. He said: “The review of the pilot scheme has highlighted the need for continual professional development. They don’t just need proper dietary advice; they also then need proper dietary requirements available at racecourses so they can live what they are being taught. “We need that, together with an ongoing education system about their health, helping them right up to the age of about 22, when it’s identified medically that your bone mass has fully developed. “I’m excited about it as I think it’s really going to help the kids here.� On his home front, Rowe is working to improve RACE’s trainee jockey programme and its post-graduation systems. Up to 32 students are taken in at the start of each year and the aim is that they graduate in June and join yards that will progress their riding towards gaining an apprentice licence and becoming a jockey. He said: “We have to think hard about what we can do to offer development opportunities for young riders so they don’t drop out of the industry or we don’t lose them to other countries where things are that bit easier on them. “There is some good thinking emerging around a jockey

pathway system, similar to what has been established in other sports like rugby; it’s a clear path for athletes to get from grassroots to elite, if they are good enough. “I think it’s something we could put together quite effectively. Hopefully RACE can be at the heart of this system.�



ack of opportunities in a light racing schedule has forced would-be Flat jockeys away from Ireland – and sometimes the whole sport. Turf Club statistics released earlier this year showed that in 2013 only 44 apprentices were licensed. It was the lowest number in ten years and is seen as a major issue by Turf Club Chief Executive Denis Egan. The reason this is such a problem is that it stops the wheels of progress; if the number of young riders climbing the ladder decreases, then so will the level of professionals. With fewer professionals there are then fewer new tutors for apprentices and the decline continues. When Johnny Murtagh, one of the finest graduates from the Curragh’s Racing Academy, retired from riding at the end of February, it signalled the end of the cycle for him and brought the dilemma the school faces to the fore.

Johnny Murtagh came through the RACE academy in Ireland


In Brief


Richest weekend

Martin Brassil and Niall Madden enjoy the 2006 Grand National triumph of Numbersixvalverde – this year’s Aintree contender is Double Seven (below)

Brassil out to score again


From amidst a small string in County Kildare comes a second major Crabbie’s Grand National player in just eight years. Martin Brassil keeps an average of only 12 horses in training at his base in Dunmurray, yet eight years ago took his first horse to Aintree and brought home the Grand National. That was Numbersixvalverde and three years after he signed off from Aintree duty in 2007 in walked this year’s contender Double Seven. Brassil could hardly tell that the son of Milan he saw before him would one day be a


promising National candidate, but he did see something in the four-year-old. He said: “The key ingredient to success is getting the horse with ability in the first place. A horse with ability can be trained ten different ways and probably still be as good. “Double Seven was fourth on his first run over hurdles at Listowel and then won his second, so we could see straight away that he was decent. There was always a spark of ability in him and that’s just grown.� Last summer, given his preferred fast ground, the JP McManus-owned chaser really took off, racking up five wins on the bounce including the Midlands National at Kilbeggan and the Munster National at Cork. Having started the season rated 111, he went into his latest run at Leopardstown last month with a handicap mark of 146, 2lb lower than the British rating which gives him 10st 11lb to carry at Aintree. Everything is stacking nicely into place for Brassil and he holds comfort in that whilst harbouring a niggling worry. “I was certain that the further Numbersix went, the better it would suit him,� he said. “Stamina was never an issue at all with him. This horse has a bit more pace and you’d have in the back of your mind that he might not stay. “He has won the only time he has run over

Prize-money levels for Irish Champions Weekend are set to exceed â‚Ź3.5 million, making it the richest weekend in the Irish racing calendar. The final line-up, headed by the now â‚Ź1m Irish Champion Stakes, was revealed last month and includes five Group 1s and four â‚Ź150,000 premier handicaps. Every distance and age group is catered for on the marathon 16-race programme, spread over two days at Leopardstown and the Curragh in September.

New anti-doping rules The Turf Club will roll out new rules to ramp up anti-doping policies from January next year. The governing body last month revealed a schedule that will bring almost every thoroughbred in Ireland under its jurisdiction from as early as birth from the start of 2016. This will give the Turf Club the ability to test any horse, whether in training or not and at any premises. These changes come in response to Britain’s Mahmood Al Zarooni case and the recent revelation from the Department of Agriculture that products containing anabolic steroids were seized from Philip Fenton’s training yard more than two years ago.

Irish Awards The Irish Stud and Stable Staff award winners will be revealed at a ceremony at the Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge, County Kildare on Saturday, April 7. Previous winners include Hurricane Fly’s long-serving groom Gail Carlisle, Gordon Elliott’s hard-working travelling head girl Karen Morgan and the Irish National Stud’s senior stallion handler Michael ‘Daffer’ Kelly.

three miles and he’s won a couple of shorter Nationals, but the Grand National trip is totally unknown.� It’s a major question for many first-timers, but can be overcome and Brassil is willing to take a chance with one caveat. “There are other avenues open to him, like the Irish Grand National and Punchestown,� he said. “He won’t be going to Aintree if it’s in any way soft ground.�





Klampenborg in cracking shape


New wealthy owners invest on the back of rising crowds and betting turnover


he future of Klampenborg racecourse in Copenhagen – far and away Denmark’s premier course and the only one in the country to stage nothing but Flat racing – looks bright following a change of ownership. The sale of the course took place at the end of January and its new owners – the Norwegian brother and sister combination of Wibecke and Einar Nagell-Erichsen, another Norwegian, Nils Peter Gill, and two locals, Nils Jansson and Carsten Baagoe Schou – are fervent in their belief that, granted redevelopment, it can thrive both as a racing venue and as a home to numerous other events. The quintet are all wealthy individuals with business backgrounds. For example, a NagellErichsen family ancestor founded the Oslo-based Schibsted Media Group, which now has over 11,000 employees and operates in 29 countries. And all have impeccable racing credentials. Einar Nagell-Erichsen is the proprietor of Norway’s biggest stud, Meridian Stutteri, while Gill currently has horses in Dubai trained by Niels Petersen, and Baagoe Schou is a major owner in France. Klampenborg was doing alright before they came on board. As Tom Christensen, who has worked at the track for over 20 years and will continue in his previous capacity of Director,


Klampenborg, popular with the public, has been called Scandinavia’s “most beautiful racecourse�




explained: “We have experienced growth every year but one since 2008 and last year was a particularly good one, with crowds up by over a fifth and on-track betting increasing by 14%.� This upward trend had been helped by a change in marketing strategy and a concentration upon the use of social media, meaning that the course has begun to attract a good proportion of the much sought-after 22-35 age group. What the new consortium has brought is overdue investment to a venue that is 104 years old. “The whole public area is being renovated,� Christensen related, “and the main restaurant, which seats 225, has been completely stripped and new furnishings and flat screen televisions installed.

“There is also a new paddock restaurant, with around the same capacity, and a new owners’ and trainers’ bar. “The stables both at the course and close by are completely full at present with some 200 horses in training, and I have a waiting list of between 50 and 60 horses, plus some trainer applications from abroad. “Now there are plans for anything up to 150 new boxes and I can foresee filling them very quickly. “The course is pretty much a building site and, within the first six months of the new owners’ tenure, more development will have taken place than in the whole of the last 35 years.� As Klampenborg prepares to open its doors on April 26 for the first of its 21 annual meetings, fans of our sport in Copenhagen and far beyond must be heartened by the words of one of the new owners, Einar Nagell-Erichsen. “Klampenborg is unique and remains Scandinavia’s most beautiful racecourse,� he explained. “With our investment here we want to strengthen the standing of racing not just in Denmark but across the whole of Scandinavia.�


Weather wreaks havoc at St Moritz

Only one of the three White Turf Racing Festival days was able to be completed


They may pall into insignificance compared to the misery of those living on the Somerset Levels, but Europe’s warm, wet winter also caused problems atop the mountain peaks of Switzerland. The 2014 White Turf Racing Festival – run on the frozen lake racecourse of St Moritz over three Sundays in February – was badly disrupted. Two of its three fixtures were abandoned halfway through and only 50% of the festival’s ten thoroughbred Flat races took place, leaving a number of owners, trainers and jockeys, some of whom had travelled from Britain and Ireland, facing the long journey home without even having had the chance to take part. St Moritz experienced its heaviest snowfall since 1951 and, as Elisabeth Zindel, the racecourse’s Director of Administration, Sales and Support, explains, it was the wrong kind of snow. “The ice on the lake was the perfect depth of 60cm,� she said. “But the snow on top of it was too wet because it was too warm, not the powder snow we are after. First it started to melt,


leaving water on top of the snow, then we had a metre’s worth of fresh snow “We had machines working on the course 24 hours a day but it was not cold enough, it couldn’t freeze, and so the going became too deep.â€? The very first thoroughbred race of the meeting was transformed from its usual Christmas fairytale panorama into scenes reminiscent of The Charge Of The Light Brigade as five horses fell victim to a patch of false ground shortly after the winning post. Fortunately, no horses or jockeys were injured, but the rest of the card had to be cancelled. One week later and the racing went off without incident, though whiteout conditions made the meeting less than enjoyable for equines and humans alike. Then came the big race itself, the Grosser Preis von St Moritz, with its recently inflated first prize of ÂŁ42,568. Another warm day made conditions for racing treacherous, prompting five of the intended runners (including the

Tommy Stack-trained Croi An Or) to withdraw, and the field was further reduced when three contestants either pulled up or unseated having slipped in the early stages. The only sensible course of action was a further abandonment. Trainer George Baker, who hit the headlines 12 months earlier when three White Turf contests went the way of his Ancient Greece (last of seven finishers in the Grosser Preis this time), was quick to stress the authorities were not at fault. “Nobody can be blamed for the weather,â€? Baker said. “Last year we were dealing with temperatures of around -30 yet this time it was barely below freezing. It’s such a shame for the organisers and must be deeply disappointing for them. St Moritz remains a fantastic place to go racing and huge fun.â€? And, while voicing particular sympathy for Julian and Sue Head, new owners to his stable and whose Secular Society was denied a run on the festival’s opening day, Baker admitted it was ‘debatable’ if he would have runners in 2015. One Brit perfectly happy with White Turf 2014 was former trainer Milton Harris, who now works for Buckinghamshire handler Tony Middleton. A bouncing cheque meant he was left as the owner of Future Security, a horse he acquired for ÂŁ15,000 from Godolphin at Ascot Sales in August. He managed to engineer new owners, and a switch to Christian von der Recke’s yard, just before the Grosser Preis, which Future Security won by a distance. Now back at Middleton’s yard to embark on a hurdling career, Future Security, for one, will return to St Moritz next February – unless he proves so good over the sticks that Cheltenham intervenes.

Brandt loving life in Dubai with late bloomer

The European star of the 2014 Dubai International Racing Carnival has been a beautiful grey mare from France who, despite being born in America, boasts an equally beautiful French name – L’Amour De Ma Vie, which translates to ‘The Love Of My Life’. No offence to her husband, Joakim, but L’Amour De Ma Vie is fast living up to her name for Chantilly handler Pia Brandt, as in the Group 2 Balanchine Stakes at Meydan on February 20 she gave her trainer an inaugural Pattern race victory after 14 years with a licence. “It’s a dream come true,� Brandt admitted, “and shows that if you never give up it can happen.� The most remarkable thing about L’Amour


De Ma Vie is that she never saw a racecourse until the April of her four-year-old season and, as recently as last October, was still a maiden who well merited her status as a 16-1 outsider in a run-of-the-mill Deauville handicap. “She is a big, galloping type who in 2012 was not mature enough to go to the track,� Brandt said. “She came to me early last year and even then was acting like a two-year-old. “But she ended up winning the last Listed race of the season and it was only when I got to Dubai in January and realised that there were some nice fillies races at the Carnival – and not many horses to fill them – that I thought about bringing her. I was just hoping that she might sneak a place in one of the Group races!�






L’Amour De Ma Vie gave Pia Brandt her first Pattern success at Meydan



Emperors Pala

Shea Shea South African Champion Sprinter 2011 Gr1 performer in Dubai & UK For the second year wins Meydan Sprint


Vercingetorix South African Champion 3YO Colt 2013 Gr1 Jebel Hatta winner - unbeaten Now In Dubai

Emperors Palace NATIONAL YEARLING SALE - The Sale that stops the Nation 27th - 28th April 2014 Tom Callaghan:




by Steve Andersen

English lesson learnt the hard way




very year American trainer Wesley Ward is discovering more about European racing – and winning in more of Europe. In 2009, Ward became the first American trainer to win at Royal Ascot, with Jealous Again in the Queen Mary Stakes and Strike The Tiger in the Windsor Castle Stakes. In 2011, he won with four of six juvenile starters in early-season races in France and England, but had no victories at Royal Ascot that season. Last year, Ward won the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot with No Nay Never and then raced at the Deauville August meeting for the first time, winning the Group 1 Prix Morny with the same horse. Florida-based Ward, 46, plans to be back at Royal Ascot with No Nay Never for the Jersey Stakes and with a group of two-year-olds who will have their initial starts in the United States in April and May. In the summer, Ward plans to extend his reach to Newmarket’s July meeting, hoping to run No Nay Never in the July Cup. The key to Ward’s success at Royal Ascot is precocious two-year-olds with blazing, American speed. The Ward runners will not be threatening to storm up the hill at Epsom on a Saturday in June any time soon, but they can blaze down the Ascot straight early in their careers. He did the same thing when training in southern California in the 1990s, winning with early-season two-year-olds. “I found a little bit of a niche in southern California when I started training,� Ward said in early March. “I could get the jump on [fellow leading trainer Bob] Baffert and some of the guys that had better two-year-olds. I could have mine more focused and catch them early.� Ward, who had a career-best 107 wins in the United States in 2013, won the Eclipse Award as the outstanding apprentice jockey of 1988, switching to training in 1993. His philosophy towards juvenile racing is unchanged: find sprint-oriented runners who will be ready to run by April and be in peak form in June. “Southern California is similar to Florida,� he said. “We never miss days of training. You can get them ready fast.� Ward admits his first trip to Royal Ascot

Wesley Ward (right) is aiming star colt No Nay Never at a European campaign

was a gamble. “I always thought I could go there,� he said. “But it was a long way to go and unchartered waters.� There have been lessons learned along the way. Aside from going winless at Royal Ascot in 2011 and withdrawing several runners that

“Our horses have a distinct advantage on firm ground but they flounder when it rains�

year, Ward abandoned plans to have runners at Royal Ascot in 2012 when the ground was less than firm. “It’s got to be hard, firm ground where we have a distinct advantage where we can get a hold of it,� he said. “When it rains, their

horses are mud skippers. They fly over it while our horses flounder on it.� No Nay Never, a Scat Daddy colt, did not run again in 2013 after winning the Prix Morny. Owned by Icy Wine Stable and Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Susan Magnier, No Nay Never was second on his seasonal return in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 1. The loss led Ward to alter plans for Royal Ascot. Out went the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes in favour of the Jersey Stakes. “I might just train him into the race,� he said. “We’ve got a lot of big things happening after that race. He could run in the July Cup, then come back to Saratoga for the King’s Bishop.� The two-year-old team for Royal Ascot will be better known in coming weeks. “We’ll have to see how Keeneland unfolds,“ he said. “It’s at the end of the meeting that I decide if they are good enough to go for Royal Ascot. Everyone thinks their two-year-olds are great. Mine are training fantastic. I’m looking forward to a great spring.�






by Nicola Hayward

Coetzee bows out after four decades at When Felix Coetzee announced his retirement from race-riding in February, it signified the end of a long and illustrious career. Statistics show that over almost four decades Coetzee rode 3,508 winners, won 75 Group/Grade 1 races around the world and was South African champion jockey on three occasions. But the statistics tell only part of the story: they give no indication of what a wonderful ambassador Coetzee has been both for his profession and his country, and they certainly give no idea of the great gap that his leaving will mean to all those involved in racing. Born into a racing family in Durban in 1959, Coetzee won his first Graded race aged 16, aboard Kentford in the 1975 Grade 2 Clairwood Winter Handicap. In the early 1980s he went to work for champion trainer Terrance Millard. He says that it was there that he learnt the work ethic that has been

champion Silent Witness. They put together a 17-race winning streak before being narrowly beaten by Bullish Luck at Sha Tin in 2005. Silent Witness has retired to Living

“The statistics don’t

indicate what a great ambassador he has been for his profession and country� Legends in Victoria, Australia, where Coetzee has visited him. While in Hong Kong he also partnered, amongst others, Bullish Luck, Oriental

by Danny Power

It’s A Dundeel It’s A Dundeel will represent Australia at Royal Ascot

English trainers of sprinters may be able to rest a bit easier at Royal Ascot this year with the best Australian speedsters set to stay at home. The winners of Melbourne’s feature Group 1 autumn sprints, the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap, won’t be heading overseas, which is against the trend of the last ten years. Exciting three-year-old colt Zoustar, dominant against his own age but yet to prove himself against older sprinters, has a trip to England on the agenda, though he finished lame in the Canterbury Stakes last time out. A trip to Britain will depend on how he competes during the Sydney carnival when he takes on the best of the seasoned sprinters, including Irish star Gordon Lord Byron. Brilliant mare Snitzerland, part-owned by Neil Werrett, who is the main owner of Black Caviar, won the Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February, but Werrett and trainer Gerald Ryan have no plans to campaign her outside Australia. The same can be said for THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER



his hallmark ever since. While with Millard he won the Durban July three times: in 1984 aboard Devon Air, a mare imported from England as a five-year-old maiden by the Scott Brothers, and again in 1988 and 1990. He won five editions of the J&B Metropolitan Stakes and also partnered the remarkable filly Sunera. Imported from England, the filly won 11 of 13 starts in South Africa before being retired after winning the 1986 Grade 1 Natal Flying Championships. She died of colic soon afterwards. Coetzee recalls how she would duck left once she hit the front so he learnt to produce her late – such was her turn of foot that he knew there was always enough to win. But it was in Hong Kong that Coetzee reached his zenith. He moved there in 1992. His first seven years were lean by his high standards but then in 1999 he teamed up with trainer Tony Cruz. It was with Cruz that he partnered the three-time world sprint



Express and Lucky Owners. In 2008 he returned to South Africa and then rode the Fred Crabia-owned, Singapore-trained Rocket Man to victory in the 2011 Golden Shaheen in Dubai. In 2012, he won his seventh Grade 1 Gold Cup aboard In Writing at Greyville, but after that had problems with a hip, which finally led to his retirement. Talking to the man affectionately known as ‘The Cat’, it becomes quite clear that his passion for the horse is as strong as ever. His career might have been honed by great horsemen like Terrance Millard, Tony Cruz and the legendary Monty Roberts, but Coetzee himself is a horseman of some note. There is no doubt that in the months to come he will find a niche for himself within the industry that he has served with such distinction and, when he does, he will continue to enjoy the horses for whom he has such genuine affection.


the summit

Felix Coetzee on Rocket Man, one of the many stars he rode during his career

has the chance to be Ascot prince Newmarket Handicap winner Lankan Rupee, who has emerged as the surprise package of the Australian sprinters this year – a dud when a colt, but an emerging star of the highest class since trainer Mick Price convinced the owners of the son of Redoute’s Choice to geld him. Lankan Rupee confirmed himself the sprint star of Victoria’s autumn carnival with exceptional wins in the two feature Group 1 handicaps – the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield on February 8 and the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on March 8. Price was posed the inevitable ‘Royal Ascot question’ after Lankan Rupee dominated the Newmarket Handicap, a race won in recent years by sprint heavyweights and Royal Ascot stars Black Caviar, Scenic Blast, Miss Andretti and Takeover Target, as well as the star stallion Exceed And Excel. “I doubt there is much value in taking a gelding to Europe,� he said. “There is a $2.5 million race [T J Smith Stakes at Randwick] in Sydney in five weeks, I don’t think there are too many $2.5 million sprint races in England.� THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER

Royal Ascot is on the agenda for Fiorente, who stormed home to beat Green Moon to win the Group 1 Darley Australian Cup and in doing so became only the third horse to win the Australian Cup after winning the Melbourne Cup the previous year. Trainer Gai Waterhouse gushed that her new star will almost certainly be on the “prodigal shuttle� home in search of a middle-distance race at Royal Ascot, likely the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. “It is such a privilege to train this horse,� she enthused. For Waterhouse, a win at Royal Ascot will be a tick off the ‘bucket list’, but for It’s A Dundeel’s laconic trainer Murray Baker, the trip fulfils a dream forged when he was a young man playing professional cricket in England’s minor counties almost 40 years ago. Baker, a sports nut, has a deep affection for Europe and its wonderful sporting events. He said he wouldn’t have imagined when he was “sending down my straight leg breaks� in the villages of England that he could one day return as a participant at Royal Ascot.

However, if It’s A Dundeel reaches the heights Baker predicts in Sydney this autumn, then the world is the oyster for this neat colt who has already won five Group 1s. It’s A Dundeel was beaten into second in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm on March 8, but Baker wasn’t perturbed. “He needed the run; he’s never at his best first up and the winner was having his third run from a spell,� he said. It’s A Dundeel is set to run on April 19 in the $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick, the richest race of the revamped Sydney carnival which culminates in two Saturdays of ten feature races that have been grouped under the name ‘The Championships’. Arrowfield Stud principal, and head man of Racing NSW, John Messara, said a decision on a trip to Europe for It’s A Dundeel will be made after his Sydney campaign. Messara said: “It is not cut in stone that he will retire at the end of this season. He might go on for another tilt at the Cox Plate, or the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe might be on the agenda.�



George Margarson and Lucky Kristale, the Newmarket trainer’s leading contender for the 1,000 Guineas



George gets


Newmarket trainer George Margarson has come agonisingly close to Group 1 glory before and in Lucky Kristale he might have the filly to propel him into the Classic big time By Tim Richards • Photos George Selwyn


s the son of a Grimsby fisherman, did you ever consider following in your father’s footsteps and going to sea? Dad was a skipper, but sadly he was murdered when I was 12. Everything had been in place for us to move to Cape Town, where Dad had been offered a job as a senior fisherman, but of course we never made it. Otherwise, I’d have probably been the next Mike de Kock! Instead I looked after ponies and donkeys on the beach at Cleethorpes. We used to take donkeys on the ferry across to Hull and race them. No one knows this, but I went through the card before Frankie Dettori, riding six winners in one night at Hull‌ all on donkeys! How did you end up working in racing? Times were very hard after we lost Dad and one of my cousins wrote round trying to get me a job. I eventually started work with Harry Wharton, who was private trainer for Clifford Nicholson at Willoughton, where James Given is now. I wasn’t getting any rides so I went to Geoff Toft at Beverley, where I ended up as head lad at the time he trained the high class Gunner B, who I broke in. It was a sad day when Gunner B left the yard to join Henry Cecil and that was when I decided to join John Bingham, near Doncaster, where I rode four winners from about 100 rides.

You were travelling head lad to Mick Ryan during the days of the brilliant filly Katies. What did you learn during your time with Mick? I joined Mick in 1980 and soon realised I would learn a lot from him. Mick wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but you wouldn’t get a better horseman or a more astute placer of horses. He was also very good with injuries and there wasn’t a lot he didn’t know; when he got it all right with horses like Katies in the Irish Guineas and when she beat Pebbles in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in 1984, you realised he was a very clever man. He was somebody I looked up to professionally. I ended up as travelling head lad, assistant trainer and general dog’s body. In the role of travelling head lad you learnt so much about each individual; some horses needed an extra hour on the box, others needed to go overnight, some didn’t drink once they got to the races, others who were happy at home would fret when they were away. I picked up on so many little things that really matter. Katies was owned by the notorious gambler Terry Ramsden. Was he a difficult man to deal with? I got on well with Terry, a self-made man. He was very exuberant, a bit of a dreamer who wore his heart on his sleeve. If he thought a horse would win he’d back it accordingly, you





From l-r: Margarson and his hack lead Ryan Powell on Lucky Kristale past Newmarket’s St Mary’s Church; with wife Gaye and daughter Katie in the kitchen at Graham Lodge; Katies defeats Pebbles in the 1984 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot


couldn’t tell him any differently; he’d win a lot of money and lose a lot of money. It was a bad day for him when his Katies was beaten by Teleprompter in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. To have him as an owner would be a bit like trying to control a teenager, but I’d love to train for him, though his horses are now with Tony Carroll. I follow Terry on twitter, which is quite entertaining. Your website keeps telling us that you “add the fun factor to racing�. How do you go about that? Racing can be a hard business, but for most owners it is a hobby. The problem is when their horse is not performing for whatever reason it can be quite tough to ride through that bad patch. If the horse turns out to be no good it can be very difficult for them, so we try and take them off to the races even if they haven’t got a runner. We entertain them here in our corporate hospitality room, built by John Guest, whose family owns the yard, and they can walk round the stables at their leisure. We like them to be part of the show however good or bad their horse might be. My daughter Katie deals with the owners a lot. Your stable in Newmarket is very much a family operation? How are they all involved? Because it’s family, can it be more difficult at times, or


do you all get on well? Gaye, my wife, rides out first lot and then takes charge of the office, sorting out the bills and all the paperwork. She is very hands on and walks round the yard and, to my annoyance, points out things I am already aware of. She doesn’t let me miss much. My daughters Katie and Rosie are involved. Katie rides as an amateur as well as riding out a lot and is a very keen runner, raising a lot of money for cancer with her marathon running. She often represents the stable at the

races and is very good with the owners. Rosie, who is 19, is my PA – ‘personal annoyance!’ She is a good rider and brings owners up to the gallops. She has made a film and is trying to get into the media; she is also a spotter for Tattersalls at the sales. I am very vocal if I’m not happy. But we all agree that what happens in the yard stays in the yard. Sometimes things explode a little but by lunchtime we’re all happy. Of course we will always have disagreements but the final say-so comes from me. THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER


GEORGE MARGARSON taking on staff I wouldn’t necessarily employ because they have to find the numbers to look after 150-plus horses. I know I can knock on the door of Sir Michael Stoute or Sir Mark Prescott any time to ask them for advice. We have 54 boxes, 32 are filled, and for the first time we have five new Arabowned horses.

“If an owner of mine owes more than two months’ training fees then the horse leaves the yard�

In your view is there anything the authorities can do to help the small trainer in these straitened times? Is more prize-money the only answer? Perhaps a training fee set for each region would help. Say for example, a £40 a day training fee for Newmarket would have to be deposited with Weatherbys each month. If the stipulated fee wasn’t in the account by the end of the month, the person concerned would be banned from owning horses. Any bills over and above the official fee would be invoiced by the trainer. I don’t think there is much more that can be done, but I am a firm believer in having a business plan. If an owner of mine owes more than two months’ training fees then the horse leaves the yard. A smaller trainer just starting out would probably ignore the debt for a while longer because he or she thinks they need that horse to keep them going. Unfortunately, that’s how they get skint.

How tough do you find running a small yard in Newmarket, when you are rubbing shoulders every day with the big battalions of Stoute, Gosden and Godolphin? How are your stable numbers holding up? I don’t find it tough and have never looked at it like that. I don’t run my business like a corner shop, I run it like a Tesco. I do everything the big trainers do and surround myself with the best possible staff. I feel more privileged because they have the difficulty of THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER







Guiltiest pleasure‌ malt whisky My hobby is‌ photography

My racing hero‌ AP McCoy and Jonjo O’Neill

Favourite film‌ Snow White and the Huntsman

Best part of training is‌ winning any race

I am annoyed by‌ journalists who don’t do their homework

My ambition is‌ to do better each year

Four guests for dinner‌ Kylie Minogue, John Egan, Harry Herbert and Simon Cowell


I understand why they try to survive as long as possible in such a situation, but inevitably it will spell the end of their business. You feed the horses yourself. How early are you in the yard each morning and how much time does this involve? I wake up naturally at 4.30 every morning and I go down, feed the horses and come back and have a coffee before going out first lot. The horses are fed four times a day, at five o’clock, 11 o’clock, 5.30pm and then I go round at 8.30pm to see if certain horses need feeding. I usually do the first and last feeds, but if I can’t then the head lad takes over. You enjoyed your best season last year with 24 winners, earning over £260,000. What do you put that down to? We had a poor season the year before and we found we had several well-handicapped horses. I knew I had a nice bunch and I raced a lot of them on the all-weather, which worked out well. And of course we had Lucky Kristale. Lucky Kristale won two of the top races for two-year-old fillies, the Cherry Hinton and Lowther Stakes, before she was forced to miss the Cheveley Park. Is she heading straight for the 1,000 Guineas? She’ll probably go straight for the Guineas, though I have been dithering over the possibility of running in the Free Handicap at the Craven meeting simply because of the rating given to her at the end of the season. I was surprised at her mark of 108, as I have had horses rated 104 and 105 that wouldn’t eat breakfast with her. Barathea Guest was 117 and finished third behind King’s Best and Giant’s Causeway in


the 2,000 Guineas and, believe me, Lucky Kristale would be different gear. Realistically, the chances of her running in the Free Handicap are pretty slim and I’ll probably give her a racecourse gallop at the Craven meeting. How has she come through the winter and what does she show you at home that other horses don’t? I started on her quite early, trotting for six weeks through November and cantering away

“Lucky Kristale is

similar to Barathea Guest and I just wish I was younger so I could ride her� since December. When she started cantering I fed her more and she has filled out well and grown about a couple of inches. I remember sitting on Barathea Guest and it was like being on a Rolls-Royce. Lucky Kristale is similar and I just wish I was younger so I could ride her. Watching her pick up the pace you see a different action, all so effortless. Quite simply, she’s got the gears. Have there been some big offers for her during the close season? Have the Graham Lodge Partnership been tempted to sell? Lucky Kristale runs in the name of the Graham Lodge Partnership 1, which consists of Elaine and Mick Hook and myself, and I only own a hair of the filly. There have been offers for her to stay in the yard. Elaine and Mick Hook are not megawealthy but, fair play to them, they have turned down big money. These horses come along once in a lifetime and they want to enjoy Lucky Kristale. The Hooks have had

Best advice I’ve been given‌ tomorrow is a new beginning I handle defeat by‌ trying to turn it round next time

horses for years but never one like this. What do you consider to be the most successful and satisfying moment of your training career? Producing Young Mick to win in Dubai in 2009 after he had missed nearly a whole season through injury. He had a fantastic year in 2006 [winning ten races] and then his injury kept him out for most of 2007. He could be a difficult horse to handle mentally and it was a question of knowing the horse wasn’t finished. We persevered with him and it was a great moment when he peaked that February in Dubai. And what has been the most disappointing moment so far? Barathea Guest being disqualified after finishing first in the Group 1 Grand Criterium at Longchamp in 1999. The following year he was stopped three times after Tattenham Corner in Sinndar’s Derby and never got back into the race. Lucky Kristale was bought for 22,000gns but Elusive Guest, owned by John Guest Racing, cost ₏190,000. Do you feel the pressure when spending so much money? No, I love it. I feel very privileged that the Guest family entrust me with a budget. I often go over the budget in a bid to find a nice horse. The late John Guest’s attitude was that he’d rather I’d pay more for a horse I liked than, say, £15,000 for one I wasn’t happy with. I rang his son Robert Guest, who handles the finances, when I saw Elusive Guest because I fell in love with the horse. I’d have gone to a quarter of a million for him. It certainly wouldn’t bother me if I was training a million-pound horse. Can you give us a dark horse to look out for this season? I’ll give you two: Speedfit Rules, a two-yearold, and Tamayuz Star, a four-year-old I got from Richard Hannon who could win a race like the Wokingham.


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Last shares available in Rip Van Winkle colt


Inner Circle Thoroughbreds, run by Channel 4 racing presenter Jim McGrath, has a few shares available in Loom Of Life, a handsome colt from the first crop of Rip Van Winkle, whose yearling colts made up to 400,000 guineas in 2013.

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Synonym is a big imposing filly by Haatef who is expected to make up into a very nice three-yearold this year. A few shares are still available in this lease partnership and her trainer, John Hills, has been very impressed with her so far.

n A 1/20th share in Synonym is just ÂŁ1,344 (inc VAT).

Lovely National Hunt prospect by Darnay


This 2009 gelding by Darnay was broken professionally at three, then turned away and given time to develop. His dam is by Kris is from the family of Sweetheart. He is lovely to handle and has the size and scope to make a chaser in time – an ideal National Hunt prospect.

n Visit for details on this horse.

Sharp two-year-old colt with Brian Meehan


Decadent Racing is offering shares in this juvenile Excellent Art colt in training with Brian Meehan. He is the first foal out of an unraced Zafeen mare who is the half-sister to dual Group 3 winner Confuchias. He looks to be an early type and is very promising for the season ahead.

n This colt is available for ÂŁ2,700 per 10% share.

Unraced bumper prospect to run in spring

ODCPY n This filly is priced at ÂŁ3,500 for a 1/6th share.

This unraced four-year-old filly is currently in full work with Anthony Honeyball and is due to run in a bumper in the spring. Her work to date has been very pleasing and she is an absolute natural over obstacles in the indoor school.




MODELS Cheltenham is over, spring is in the air and for the trainers of last year’s top two-year-olds, Newmarket’s Guineas meeting on May 3-4 is just around the corner Photos George Selwyn


Invincible Spirit – Zenda (Zamindar) Owner: Khalid Abdullah Trainer: John Gosden Story so far: Kingman is second favourite for the 2,000 Guineas on the back of his two juvenile wins, in a Newmarket maiden and Sandown Group 3. His season was curtailed by a minor injury but surgery to remove a chip in his joint was successful. Kingman is beautifully bred; his dam, Zenda, won the French 1,000 Guineas and is a half-sister to champion sprinter Oasis Dream.

Lord Grimthorpe, Racing Manager to Khalid Abdullah Kingman has wintered very well and grown into a strong, powerful horse. Physically we couldn’t be more pleased with him – but that doesn’t make him a champion! In truth, we’re as much in the dark about his true ability as everyone else. We missed races at the end of last season, which would have put us in a better position to assess him. He is Khalid Abdullah’s primary hope for the Classics, in terms of the colts at least. Ideally John [Gosden] would like to run him in the Greenham before the Guineas although that’s not set in stone. It very much depends on how he progresses from now on. We also have France as an option. We’ve always thought on pedigree and looks as if a mile would be his optimum trip – I couldn’t see him getting much further although it would be a bonus if he stayed ten furlongs.


Lord Grimthorpe: Kingman in top form

He wouldn’t want the going too firm and I think he’ll be better with a bit of cut, but the ground is not an overbearing issue, it’s just a part of the jigsaw. I think everyone was taken by his debut win at Newmarket and of course we were very pleased with the manner in which he won. The form of his Group 3 win has been franked a bit in Dubai also. Kingman is promising but we do not know if he has Group 1 ability. He’s short in the Guineas betting for a Group 3 winner and I wouldn’t encourage backing him at 4-1 but punters can make up their own minds. >>


Kingman and James Doyle take the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown; the son of Invincible Spirit is second favourite for the 2,000 Guineas



BERKSHIRE (IRE) Mount Nelson – Kinnaird (Dr Devious)

Owner: Sultan Ahmad Shah Trainer: Paul Cole Story so far: An imposing son of Mount Nelson, Berkshire followed his debut third with victory in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, showing a fine change of gear to score by two and a half lengths. A hardfought neck success in the Royal Lodge Stakes on his final start didn’t impress everyone yet his battling qualities will stand him in good stead this year. Berkshire’s dam, Kinnaird, was a Group 1 winner over 10f and it remains to be seen if her son has the pace for top mile races.

Paul Cole Berkshire has done very well from two to three. He’s rather tall – not bulky – and I think he’s finished growing. We’ve had no hold-ups with him. He doesn’t need to have a run before the Guineas but I might possibly send him to the Greenham. It’s a flat course and local. But he’s a big, powerful colt and I want to keep the lid on him. The problem last year was that he had big gaps between his races. On his first two starts he was badly drawn so the jockey had to take a pull, then when he ran in the Royal Lodge he was still quite green and was looking around

Berkshire’s preparation has gone well – he may return in the Greenham Stakes according to trainer Paul Cole (right)

– that’s why he wasn’t impressive, but he was still good enough to win. Berkshire has a rather stout pedigree but he shows lots of speed, which the good horses have, and at the moment I’d say he’s more of a mile, mile-and-a-quarter horse. Time will tell if he wants a trip. It’s a new chapter from two to three. It’s nice to have such a good horse and he’s one to look forward to. Jim Crowley is very keen to ride him again this season.

RIZEENA (IRE) Iffraaj – Serena’s Storm (Statue Of Liberty)

Owner: Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum Trainer: Clive Brittain Story so far: Rizeena had a busy juvenile campaign, running eight times, but her improvement throughout the season suggests there is plenty more to come. Quick enough to win the 5f Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, Rizeena produced two placed efforts over 6f, including behind No Nay Never in the Prix Morny, before taking the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes. Her season finished with an excellent second behind the ill-fated Chriselliam in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile.

Clive Brittain Clive Brittain (inset) says Rizeena is “up there with the best� he has trained


I’ve been delighted with how Rizeena has wintered. She’s about 505 kilos – her racing weight last year was 464 kilos but she’s




KINGSTON HILL (GB) Mastercraftsman – Audacieuse (Rainbow Quest)

Owner: Paul Smith Trainer: Roger Varian Story so far: From unraced colt to Group 1 winner in just over a month, Kingston Hill was the standout performer for last year’s champion first-season sire Mastercraftsman. He scored easily on his debut at Newbury before a decisive win in a Newmarket Group 3. Stepping up into the top grade in the Racing Post Trophy, Kingston Hill produced his most taking performance, scoring by four and a half lengths. His three wins have been on soft ground – will he handle a quicker surface?

Roger Varian Kingston Hill has made the physical development I’d hoped for. He’s really filled his frame. In terms of his training, he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s striding on with purpose. There’s still a way to go but I’m pleased where we are. Everything about him, both physically and on pedigree, suggests he should be better at three than two, so it’s very exciting when you consider what he achieved last year. The way he galloped to the line in the Racing Post Trophy says he will be suited by a mile and a half. He’s not in the Derby at the moment but will be entered at the next stage. But he’s no slouch. He’s put his races to bed

coming back down now. She’s grown and is a good 16 hands now. Her development has been a big plus. She’s entered in both the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas and where she turns up depends on the final fields – it would take a good colt to give her 3lb, so that’s at the back of my mind. The way she relaxes into her stride tells me she could stay further, and she is in the Oaks. She also has a turn of foot – all the good horses I’ve trained have had the ability to gallop and quicken. Ryan Moore has worked her on grass. He was very pleased with her. I’m not sure who will ride her because both Ryan and James Doyle [first jockey to Kingman’s owner Khalid Abdullah] have retainers but the most important thing is that we have the horse – we’ll worry about jockeys later. I’ve trained lots of good fillies and Rizeena is up there with them; she has the Group 1 form to prove it. Pebbles stands out, Sayyedati stands out, and this filly stands out.


Kingston Hill was a clear-cut winner of the Racing Post Trophy on his last outing; Roger Varian (below) says his colt “hasn’t missed a beat� in his training schedule

very quickly with his turn of foot. He’s very relaxed in his races. Kingston Hill is a Group 1 winner and will go straight to the Guineas as long as he’s straight enough at home. He has the cruising speed to hold his own in a Guineas. He hasn’t been out of his comfort zone yet. Although he’s only raced on soft going, his action says he’ll be better on better ground. I’m looking forward to seeing him on a quicker surface. The only question with fast ground is that it would change the dynamic of the race and bring the real speed horses to the fore.

Andrea Atzeni rides out here every morning and will get plenty of rides this season. There’s no contract in place but I’m a big fan of his. Of my other Guineas entries, Mushir is a fast horse – both his wins were at 6f – so there must be a doubt about the mile. But if he won the Free Handicap you would be encouraged to run. We think a lot of Mushir. Baarez is a different type. He’s unexposed and very promising. I think he’ll get better with age but I’m sweet on him. Princess Noor will go straight to the 1,000 providing she’s cherry ripe. She’s a good filly, won a Group 3 and was second in the Cheveley Park. She’s pleasing me and although she’s stepping up in trip we’ll ask the question.





TOORMORE (IRE) Arakan – Danetime Out (Danetime)

Owner: Middleham Park Racing IX and James Pak Trainer: Richard Hannon Story so far: He may not be as fashionably bred as some of his rivals in the 2,000 Guineas betting but Toormore is a serious contender based on an unbeaten juvenile campaign. His victories included the Group 2 Vintage Stakes and Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh.

Richard Hannon Toormore was champion two-year-old last year and is our number one Guineas contender. I haven’t decided yet if he’ll go straight to the race or have a run beforehand. He could go for the Craven or Greenham. He’s been cantering since January and will start doing some fast work shortly. He’s a lovely mover. I think a mile is as far as Toormore will want to go – it should be ideal. We’ve also got other Guineas contenders:

Toormore is the main Classic hope for first-season trainer Richard Hannon

Anjaal is very well and will have a prep run where the ground is quick. Shifting Power is very talented and we have Night Of Thunder. Of the older horses, Sky Lantern, Toronado and Olympic Glory are all in great form. We can’t rest on what we did last year, when we had plenty of Group 1 winners, so of course there is pressure.

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PRESSURE In the first of a two-part series on racing’s coverage in the media, we look at how newspapers treat the sport and discuss what can be done to improve its appeal Words Richard Griffiths • Photos George Selwyn


he Mahmood Al Zarooni scandal. AP McCoy’s 4,000th jumps winner. Frankel’s first foal. The aim here is not to identify the odd one out but establish what they have in common. Answer: they all appeared on the front pages of national newspapers. They offer evidence that the sport can transcend the perimeters of its devoted followers. The implication is that something extraordinary needs to happen before it does so. Grand National bomb scares, equine fatalities, race-fixing and arrests or promiscuous jockeys and trainers would be other examples. Can racing’s popularity ever exceed the rarity of feel-good stories like those involving McCoy and Frankel or the scandal of drugs and corruption? Perhaps more importantly, is racing getting a fair deal from British newspapers? Promoters of racing frequently bang the


drum that it is the second biggest spectator sport in Britain, behind only the roaring beast that is football. Yet Sunday and Monday newspapers in particular prioritise football and, increasingly, rugby union. The Sunday Times of October 13 seized on the England football team’s break between two key World Cup qualifiers to plant rugby union coverage across its feature pages. Only a very greedy racing person would, however, complain about the newspaper’s coverage, which included a Future Champions’ Day report, an assessment of the Qatari racing influence and an interview with Ryan Moore – plus a piece on Sue Smith in its Sportswoman of the Year section. Racing is traditionally pegged at the back of newspaper sports coverage, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. People always know where to find it. And just like any other sport, the really big events – especially the Derby and

Grand National – are virtually guaranteed star billing. But many newspapers do not carry racecards on a day-to-day basis and neither are they employing as many racing correspondents as before. The Evening Standard, once essential reading for any Londoner wanting to know the following day’s runners and riders, has pretty much given up on racing altogether. The racecard conundrum is unique to racing, as highlighted by Chris McGrath, the award-winning journalist who left The Independent, which meant the paper no long has a permanent racing correspondent. McGrath, who left by mutual consent to take on a book-writing option, says: “At the best of times – a distant memory for the newspaper industry – constraints of space made it impossible for a daily paper to record everything on the trade agenda; a correspondent had to make constant editorial THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER


Journalist Chris McGrath (right), seen here talking to Aidan O’Brien, left The Independent last year; he was not replaced

decisions about the stories that most merit elaboration. Yet many papers still persist in applying a different logic to racecards, which consume appalling quantities of precious space. “The fact is an all-weather meeting at Southwell devours as much space as a card from Cheltenham or Ascot. No sports editor would dream of accommodating as much detail about a Conference-level football match as one in the Premier League. But that is exactly what is happening every day in many papers. “There would be complaints, inevitably, if cards disappeared, but far more readers view the racecard, rather like those grids of City prices, as a picket fence to discourage amateurs from straying into a specialist field. They pass straight onto the next page.�

John Cobb: too much poor racing


A sample of papers taken from Tuesday, March 18 – The Sun, Daily Mail, Independent, Guardian, Telegraph and Times – demonstrate what a divisive issue carrying racecards is.

The good, the bad and the ugly The Sun carried cards from all three meetings: Exeter, Wetherby and Southwell. Exeter and Wetherby had ‘Sunform’ comments for half of their races, while there was a story from columnist Claude Duval about Chelmsford City racecourse, previously known as Great Leighs. All told a moderate day’s racing took up the best part of two pages in Britain’s bestselling paper. The Mail squeezed its contents, racecards and the previous day’s results, into a single page, still a decent amount of space given the quality of racing. The Independent, somewhat confusingly, ran a pot pourri of five races – three from Exeter and one each from Wetherby and Southwell – all with a Timeform view and a 1-2-3 prediction, occupying under half a page. The Daily Telegraph, with its 20-page sports supplement, devoted a page to racing, including all thee cards (without form), results and a story on Champion Chase winner Sire De Grugy. The Times also carried three cards plus a news story over a page. The Guardian has followed its own path and while it ran a story on Grand National contender Tidal Bay and selections for all three meetings, only two races were included, both from Exeter. (It does have an extremely detailed cards and results section online – convenient dumping ground, or sign of the future?) Should any newspaper, not just The

Guardian, be obliged to carry such low-grade information? John Cobb, another former Independent employee who worked as its racing editor for 23 years and is now associate editor at the Racing Post, thinks not. Asked how he viewed the dilemma of carrying racecards for low-grade meetings, Cobb answers: “With despair – especially on the big days. Royal Ascot would once have been allowed the stage to itself. But on Gold Cup day this year there were another five meetings. The more cards you carry, the less information you can provide that makes them useful.� Over a decade ago, British racing tried to make newspapers pay for the privilege of carrying racecards under the leadership of Peter Savill, then Chairman of the British Horseracing Board. It did not work. The fact that Racecourse Data Company, recently created to sell pre-race data and generate income for the sport, will only charge specialist media (like the Racing Post) for carrying details on races, signifies a realisation that racing cannot risk jeopardising its relationship with the mainstream press. It is not a specious argument that British racing has caused resentment among sports editors because of its bloated fixture list. Cobb describes the reaction to racing’s fixture list as one of “anger� among sports editors, saying: “The long-running argument from them was, ‘Why should we carry cards that are Conference League status, yet each takes up space that would go to a middivision Premier League match – surely serious fans buy the Racing Post?’





“Everything else in sports pages is decided by level of interest – sometimes sports editors’ interest as much as readers’ – but racecards never had to earn their place.�

The dilemma over space It would be tempting to think a reduction in racecards could lead to more stimulating coverage, but McGrath says: “There is one huge problem: if you agree to forfeit the space previously squandered on fifth-rate racecards, experience shows you will be very lucky to retain it for extra racing copy. Once you have surrendered the space, its fate is out of your hands, and it might be that a well-disposed sports editor is succeeded by one with zero interest in racing. “This is where racing needs to stand up for itself, with the help of people like Nick Attenborough [charged by the BHA to increase the sport’s media profile]. Otherwise you can rest assured sports editors will soon pull rank on a correspondent, alone on the burning deck, whining in his ear every morning.� Attenborough believes racecards will continue to be a part of newspaper coverage, saying: “While the broadsheets might encourage people to go online, to the tabloids, racecards are very important. If they left one out it would really upset readers, many of whom keep lists of horses to follow and look out for the ABC of runners.� Arguing racing does “extremely well� in terms of coverage, he adds: “Every newspaper covers racing. A lot have had to come down in the number of pages they can run sport over, so all sports have suffered.� A combination of advertising declines and high paper costs have indeed reduced space in

“Hugh McIlvanney

identified boxing and racing as the best sports to throw up absorbing characters� newspapers but it is questionable whether every sport has suffered. One only needs to look at the amount of coverage given to the Heineken Cup to see rugby union kicks the backside of racing. Ex-Observer sports editor Brian Oliver makes a valid point that racing interest is often eclipsed by success in other sports: the explosion of football; England winning the 2003 Rugby World Cup; the previous resurgence of the England cricket team; various Ryder Cup triumphs and the rise of Rory


Former Observer sports editor Brian Oliver (inset) says horses like Sea The Stars (pictured) disappear all too soon and fail to connect with the wider public

McIlroy; the awesome Grand Slam triumphs of Andy Murray; the Olympics. Racing has had equivalent heroes in such as Frankel and Sea The Stars, but as Oliver argues: “A big problem has always been that the horses would be around for a year or two and then disappear. The public could never engage with horses, those in Flat racing anyway, because they were commodities and went off to make money. Even if you get a horse like Sea The Stars, what happens? It’s off to stud at three.� Jumping produces exceptions like Desert Orchid and, more recently, Kauto Star, but on the whole it is the human rather than the equine heroes that fuel the interest of sports editors. “Even a horse as captivating as Frankel did not necessarily intrigue the layman as much as the man who trained him,� says McGrath. “From newspaper to newspaper, of course, much can depend on the tastes of the top brass.

The most lavish sports supplement of the week is the one in The Sunday Times – where racing frequently receives little or no attention.� Last year’s St Leger received muted coverage in that publication. A small report on Leading Light’s victory, run without a photo, was dwarfed by coverage of a minor golf tournament in Chicago and the result of a triathlon on the same page.

All is not lost Yet, as McGrath adds: “When someone like David Walsh has the time and the theme, The Sunday Times will house the sort of exemplary racing feature you can’t find elsewhere. Racing needs to accept there’s a happy medium.� McGrath is right. A September article by Walsh with Lady Cecil was as good an interview as you are likely to read. You just hoped that the general sports fan read it; if so, they would have been captivated by her recollections of her late husband, Sir Henry. THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER



People matter. Oliver recalls a conversation with the legendary Hugh McIlvanney in which the writer identified horseracing and boxing as by some way the best sports to throw up absorbing characters. Oliver also believes a marginalising of TV coverage – from BBC to Channel 4 – reduces the impact of racing to the wider public, and thus newspaper interest. John Cobb says: “Good stories sell, but first you have to sell them to sports editors. There are enough characters in racing, mainly human but some equine, to add the sort of colour and vibrancy that even anti-racing sports editors can comprehend. “Racing journalists on national dailies seem wearied by the struggle but they should not give up.� Cobb describes racing coverage, not just racecards, as “under real pressure�. He says: “This is particularly so with the serious papers. When they were all broadsheets it made sense to leave a page for the racing editor to decide content, but now they have to share coverage with all sorts, and The THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER

Independent and The Guardian have downsized dramatically. “Arguably, though, racing has had a very fair deal in national dailies for a long time. As the fixture list increased the amount given over to racing increased. It has fared better than many sports in holding on to column inches from the assault of football.� Racing would seem an ideal sport for online expansion, something only The Guardian has seriously taken on. For all the opprobrium racing fans might feel for the lack of cards in that newspaper, there is a serious and innovative online alternative. And it’s free. Otherwise, Cobb has a point when he says: “In fairness to the dailies, perhaps it’s because the Racing Post provides such comprehensive coverage on its digital platforms that they don’t strive harder to compete.� Besides, racing should not limit itself to the daily sport sections in promoting itself, something Attenborough has taken on by successfully pitching ideas to lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo and, at the other

end of the scale, the Radio Times. Describing betting as “not an essential part of what we do�, he tries to “engage the casual reader� by approaching publications with ideas and possible interviewees. “One of the toughest jobs is to make sure connections of the best horses are willing to talk to newspapers,� Attenborough says. From his days at The Observer, Oliver recalls: “Racing’s got fantastic stories. But even though jockeys were a source of good publicity, they couldn’t care less about that. They were bad about doing interviews. If they were strong characters, that didn’t come across and they didn’t seem to like to talk to people who didn’t know about racing, which is silly. “Any sport that has got its brains in gear wants to be in Cosmopolitan or on cookery programmes on the telly, or all sorts of lifestyle magazines.� Racing may sometimes struggle to capture the interest of sports editors. But, as Oliver points out, it’s not the only publicity option. Time to think outside the parade ring.



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One man and his dog (AND QUITE A FEW HORSES) Malcolm Bastard has been on the breeze-up scene longer than most and combines a thriving consigning and pre-training business with a passion for sheepdog trials Words and photos Emma Berry

Malcolm Bastard enjoys watching a classy collection of breezers warm down after morning exercise in company with Jim Guest


he watersplash in the middle of Aldbourne is a new feature courtesy of the recent flooding but by the time Baydon Hill is climbed, up out of the village to the sun-speckled fiefdom of Malcolm Bastard, it’s easy to forget the drudgery of the long, wet winter. Here, on a bright morning at the end of February, the longest-serving British breezeup consignor is celebrating his 59th birthday with his own private view of plump Wiltshire hills, one of which serves as a testing sixfurlong canter for his young equine protÊgÊs, who appear, two by two, in steady procession. Bastard’s slightly shuffling gait as he beetles about the yard organising the twoyear-olds has little to do with his age, one suspects. It is, however, very much in THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER

keeping with his determinedly understated manner. “I’m pretty quiet and boring,� he claims

Bob the Border Collie undergoes a different type of training at the farm

later over coffee and a hot cross bun. This particular brand of negative self-promotion is refreshing in the loudmouth days of social media and has clearly done Bastard no harm in the years between giving up his hairraising life as a journeyman jump jockey in the late 1980s to concentrate on the then relatively new arena of breeze-up sales. It’s a profession allied to a different type of risk. “I’ve been around a bit I guess but not as long as Willie [Browne] – he’s outstanding,� says Bastard of his Irish counterpart who is responsible for the successful Mocklershill operation. While Browne has recently started training a few horses alongside breeze-up consigning, Bastard augments his sales commitments with a thriving breaking and pre-training business. “We’ve been doing the breeze-ups for 26





Malcolm Bastard, right, is assisted in the breaking and pre-training by his friend of 40 years, fellow former jockey Jim Guest

>> years now. I was still at the tail-end of my

riding career when I started to do a bit of it. I was lucky early on that I did fairly well so I packed in riding as I wasn’t really getting any rides. For 14 years that’s all we did – pinhooking – then people sent a few yearlings to be broken in and that side of the business has built up from there. It helps to pay for the breezers if things go wrong. It’s a pretty tricky job to do on its own.� The “we� refers to Bastard’s long-term partner Fiona Plummer, who is responsible for the office work connected to the significant number of equine residents and

their owners, and also to Jim Guest, a fellow former jump jockey who worked at Fred Winter’s with Bastard and is now very much his right-hand man at Baydon Hill Grange. “Jim and I have been friends for 40 years and he does all the breaking,� adds Bastard. The yard’s list of pre-training clients reads like a who’s who of major owner/breeders. George Strawbridge, Lady Rothschild, James and Anita Wigan, Lady Howard de Walden, Anthony Oppenheimer, Lady Bamford, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, Highclere Stud and the Duke of Roxburghe are all patrons, not to mention the Queen.

“We have some nice horses coming through here,� says Bastard, again the master of understatement. While the homebreds are being put through their paces prior to going into full training, at the forefront of the operation in these early spring months are the 30-odd breeze-up horses with a more pressing engagement. In a swinging canter, around 16 of them make their way up the deceptively taxing woodchip gallop which weaves around the hill back up towards the yard. Bastard and Guest are happy with what they see – content-looking horses coping

Just weeks off their intended sales date, the two-year-olds canter professionally in pairs up the testing six-furlong gallop




MALCOLM BASTARD well at this early stage of their careers, their trace-clipped winter coats slowly being surrendered to reveal a promising gleam beneath. Of the 13 youngsters heading to Tattersalls’ Craven Sale in mid-April, a broadblazed New Approach colt is particularly pleasing his handler, while a substantial son of Raven’s Pass is another to take the eye. Content for now, the consignor says: “The closer you get to a sale the more difficult it is to sort out any problems but I’m pleased with how things are going at the moment. The horses are forward enough as the weather hasn’t been too bad but we’ll see when we get there whether we make any money or not. “You never know going into a sale. It’s the same at every sale now – everyone wants the top 25% to 30% but after that you go into freefall a little bit.� While the strength of last season’s yearling and foal sales could imply a potential

of it to pass the vet. You certainly want to be doing a pretty tidy time, there’s no question about that, and if you’re lucky enough to do a very fast time and be in one piece then you’ll do even better, but in my opinion it would be a bad thing to bring in timing like in America. I think it could lead to a fair bit of wastage.� He adds: “When we first started you could have your horses going up in a pair, nice and neatly with a good action, sensibly on the bridle, and you’d get them sold but that’s a very rare thing to see a pair now.�

His opinion that timing isn’t everything is borne out by one of his 2012 Craven Sale graduates, the subsequent Dante Stakes winner and Derby runner-up Libertarian, who changed hands for 40,000gns. Bastard recalls: “I think Libertarian did a time of about 30 seconds, which is seriously slow when the quick ones that year were doing about 22.5 seconds. But he was a big, backward, weak horse and the way he runs his races is steady early on and picking up at the end.� Libertarian is one of two Classic-placed

“Sire power opens doors and makes people come and look, but they still have to perform�

bonanza for this year’s two-year-old sales, it must be remembered that the inflated yearling prices means a greater risk for the breeze-up consignors who invested last autumn. The market can still be fickle and patchy. “You need a bit of everything really,� he continues. “Sire power opens doors and makes people come to look at them, but they still have to perform up to a certain level. It’s not always the fastest horses that are the best, but they have to perform. Obviously people like horses by fashionable sires – they’re fashionable for a reason: because they’ve been doing well.� Over the years, Bastard has seen plenty of changes to the breeze-up scene, most significantly perhaps the emphasis on timing, which he believes is not necessarily a positive development. “It’s much more competitive now than when I first started as there are so many more people doing it,� he says. “There are a lot of good customers for a certain number of the horses but it’s difficult to get them all sold. “I’m dead against the idea of bringing in formal timing. It’s been mooted but it’s not the be-all and end-all for horses to do an outstanding time. People do like it but you’ve got to have the horse in one piece at the end THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER

Trials and tributaries Formerly a farm which had fallen into disuse, Baydon Hill Grange was built ten years ago from scratch to house the burgeoning breeze-up and pre-training operation, and the hilltop setting is now home for Malcolm Bastard, Fiona Plummer and their two children, Ted and Millie. Just to keep things simple, the family’s dog and cat are also named Ted and Millie, but there’s another ‘child’ currently vying for favouritism and that’s 14-month old Border Collie Bob, who plays a major part in his master’s ‘getting away from it all’ strategy. He says: “I’m mad on salmon fishing. I go to Norway every year and I have a rod on the Wye every other Friday through the season, but I also have 120 ewes which make money and I like my sheepdogs. I have a couple of dogs but I’m not very good with them. “Bob’s only young and he’s going quite well. I think I’m doing okay until I go for a few lessons with a pal, Dick Roper, and

I come home with my tail between my legs. The dog’s alright, it’s just me!� With no real persuasion needed, the would-be shepherd and his dog hop aboard the quad bike and speed to the bottom of the gallop, where the enclosed sheep provide an interesting sideshow for the horses, and set to work. Bob is nothing if not keen and yields to the commands of his master. Eventually. “I’m not firm enough with him,� says Bastard, who admits to spending two evenings a week watching the Gaelic version of One Man And His Dog on Sky. “It’s my hobby and I probably let him mess around too much. I never let the horses mess around but I know what I’m doing with them. With the dogs I get into a situation and I don’t quite know how to stop them doing it wrong.� And just in case he hasn’t got enough on his plate, he adds: “I’m hoping to go to the nursery trials with Bob next winter if I can get him up to that standard.�





The flashy New Approach colt powers up the hill; Jim Guest follows the two-year-olds back to the yard after exercise, below

>> Baydon Hill Grange graduates in the last four

years as Native Khan, “a proper horse who went from day one at homeâ€?, was transformed from a â‚Ź70,000 yearling into a 180,000gns breezer before going on to finish third to Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas, as well as winning the Solario and Craven Stakes. Putting the finishing touches to this year’s breeze-up team is peppered with a couple of whistle-stop visits to Hong Kong, where six

“I’m dead against

the idea of bringing in formal timing; it’s not the be-all and end-all� European-bought horses he has prepared for the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) have recently touched down, with another larger batch to follow. His renewed connection with the HKJC comes about through another old weighing-room friend, Mark Richards, now the principal buyer for the organisation. With plenty on his plate at this time of the year, Bastard could be forgiven if nerves start to fray as the clock ticks ever closer to sales time but on this sunny morning he certainly


exudes the impression of a man with very few worries. “Go and ask them in the yard and see what they say,� he grins. “I can be pretty feisty at times – I like things done the way I like them. Yes, there are worries coming up to sales time and you have to be realistic about whether a horse will make it ot not, but I have a few shares with other lads [consignors] and they have a few shares with me. We try to mix it up a little bit so we’re not too exposed. “We get a little bit quieter here through July, August and September but I love being busy. I love being out on the gallops every morning. What else would I be doing?�

European breeze-up sale dates Brightwells Breeze-up Sale, Ascot, April 2 Tattersalls Craven Breeze-up Sale, Newmarket, April 15-17 DBS Breeze-up Sale, Doncaster, April 23-24 Osarus Breeze-up Sale, Pornichet, April 29 Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-up Sale, Newmarket, May 1-2 Arqana Breeze-up Sale, Saint-Cloud, May 9-10 Goresbridge Breeze-up Sale, Gowran Park, May 22-23 Goffs London Sale, The Orangery, Kensington Palace, June 16



Sire of 5 Stakes winning or placed 2YO’s in 2013 19 individual 2YO winners and a winners/runners strike rate of 37% (European 2YOs of 2013) 2013 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale average of 57,654gns £8,500 (1st Oct SLF)


Dual Gr.1 winning son of ARAKAN

2013 Tattersalls December Foal Sale average of 20,755gns Top 5 Lots in 2013 selling for 70,000gns, 30,000gns, 28,000gns, 24,000gns, €22,000 FIRST YEARLINGS 2014 £4,000 (1st Oct SLF)


24 individual 2YO winners and a winners/runners strike rate of 41% (European 2YOs of 2013) Top yearlings in 2013 selling for over 10 times his 2011 stud fee £4,500 (1st Oct SLF)

Call Brian O’Rourke on 07789 508157 or email National Stud Ltd., Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 0XE | Managing Director: Brian O’Rourke


CAPTAIN GERRARD b. 2005 Oasis Dream – Delphinus (Soviet Star)

“Rapidly rising through the ranksâ€? CAPTAIN GERRARD is the leading English based 1st season sire. Now sired 21 winners of 30 races. Yearlings in 2013 made up to ÂŁ48,000. 22 winners from 69 runners – 35% strike rate including multiple winners. Dual Group Winning Sprinter by OASIS DREAM. Won 6 races at 2 and 3 years, ÂŁ145,408, and was placed 7 times. Won or placed in 9 of 10 starts at 2. Winner of TATTERSALLS SILVER SALVER for the leading first season sire in 2013. Fee for 2014 is ÂŁ4,000, special live foal. Richard Kent at: MICKLEY STUD, Tern Hill, Market Drayton, Shropshire, TF9 3QW Tel: 01630 638840 • Mobile: 07973 315722 • Email:


Stephen Hillen Bloodstock Stephen will be in attendance at all upcoming breeze-up sales. Recent breeze-up purchases include Group 1 Middle Park Stakes & Gimcrack winner,

ASTAIRE trained by Kevin Ryan.

Following Gimcrack success from 2012 with Kevin Ryan trained BLAINE.

Contact me on: 07775 598531 Email: 62




Our bloodstock coverage this month includes:

• Sales Circuit: Brightwells’ Cheltenham Festival Sale hailed a success – pages 64 to 67 • The Caulfield Files: Lack of support for young sires after first-season rush – pages 68 to 69

Jumping Legend of the breeze-ups A

pril finds us on the seasonal cusp, the Flat having got off to a faltering start at Doncaster with the all the drama from Aintree yet to come. On the bloodstock sales side, this time of year is very much about the breeze-ups, with the European season starting slightly later in 2014 owing to the absence of the Goffs Sale at Kempton. Labelling these types of auction as ‘ready to run’ sales can be misleading, and horses that emanate from the breeze-ups can go on to be so much more than just an early two-year-old, as indeed many of the pedigrees at the Craven Sale in particular would suggest. One horse who should be the poster boy for breeze-up sales, certainly as regards his talent and durability if not precocity, is Midnight Legend. Bought back as a yearling by his breeder Limestone Stud, the son of Night Shift fetched 32,000gns at the following season’s Craven Sale. Having been sent into training with Luca Cumani, Midnight Legend won once at two, through not until September over the Rowley Mile. A further six Flat wins ensued, including a trio of Listed victories, before he was switched to Jackdaws Castle to the care of David Nicholson as a six-year-old. Under the winter code, his ten starts over hurdles in three subsequent seasons yielded another four successes, with Grade 2 strikes on both sides of the Irish Sea, at Aintree and Punchestown. Midnight Legend’s final racecourse appearance saw him finish an honourable third to the great Istabraq in the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle of 1999. With more than 54 racing miles notched during seven seasons in training, Midnight Legend embarked on his stud career the hard way, covering smallish books of moderate mares but nevertheless finding his niche as one of the most reliable jumps sires in Britain, first at Conkwell Grange and, since 2006, with David and Kathleen Holmes at Pitchall Farm Stud. Now 23, he has never stood for more than his current ‘high’ of ÂŁ4,000. As Alan Yuill Walker highlights on page 82, Midnight Legend is the sire of the last two horses to have won their breeders the TBA’s


monthly award – Wychwoods Brook and Seeyouatmidnight – and enjoyed a winner at the Cheltenham Festival courtesy of Midnight Prayer. Furthermore, the record of many of his daughters on the track, such as Molly’s A Diva, My Petra, Sparky May and recent Grade 3 BetBright Chase winner Bally Legend, points towards future success as a broodmare sire. Admittedly, a future leading National Hunt stallion is not what most buyers would have in mind when heading to this season’s breezeup sales, but who wouldn’t love to own a horse as versatile as Midnight Legend?

Moyglare’s global reach In a little over a week in mid-March, two Moyglare Stud-bred sons of Holy Roman Emperor excelled on the world stage for their new Hong Kong connections. Rich Tapestry, a six-year-old out of Refuse To Bend’s sister Genuine Charm, won the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal at Meydan and, at the time of writing, was all set for the Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup night. Eight days later, four-year-old Designs On Rome followed up his Hong Kong Classic Cup win with victory in the Hong Kong Derby. The three-parts brother to American Derby winner Simple Exchange and a half to dual Group 3 winner Sights On Gold is out of Summer Trysting, who died foaling last year but will be succeeded by two of her daughters at Moyglare, including Designs On Rome’s three-

year-old full-sister Antique Platinum, currently in training with Dermot Weld. Walter Haefner first became involved with the family in 1977 when purchashing Summer Trysting’s grandam Bubinka at Keeneland as a yearling. A subsequent Group 3 winner, Bubinka is herself a daughter of Best In Show’s half-sister Stolen Date and she has established her own significant branch of this high-flying family as the ancestress of such as Grey Swallow and Australian Group 2 winner Rekindled Interest. Described by Moyglare’s Fiona Craig as “a tall backward mare, very typical of her sire Allegedâ€?, Summer Trysting’s offspring have reportedly emulated their dam and, despite the mare having been sent to Holy Roman Emperor for his neatness and precocity, her resultant foal, later named Designs On Rome, was also on the big and backward side and was offered for sale as a yearling at Goffs. The records show that no buyer came forward for him in the ring. Trainer Pat Flynn subsequently bought him privately for â‚Ź10,500 and won with him in the August of his two-year-old season before guiding him to a runner-up finish in the Group 1 National Stakes behind Dawn Approach. Now in Hong Kong having been sold privately through SackvilleDonald, Designs On Rome is proving the perfect advertisement for the years of nurturing of top-class families carried out by the Haefner family.

The versatile Midnight Legend: a multiple stakes winner on the Flat and over hurdles




Inaugural Festival Sale success silences doubters Brightwells cheered by support for new auction as average price hits six figures

Brightwells Cheltenham Festival Sale



Richard Botterill at the helm on the podium as darkness descends on the parade ring

Sandown’s Imperial Cup, and Goulanes in the Midlands Grand National) sandwiching a success in the Festival’s Arkle Challenge Trophy (Western Warhorse). Back in his office the following week, Brightwells’ Head of Bloodstock, Matt Mitchell, confirmed the intention of repeating the auction, and keeping the size of catalogue the


ncertainty and speculation followed Brightwells’ inaugural Cheltenham Festival Sale into the ring, yet it walked out head high with a big fat ‘sold’ notice on its bottom. In just under an hour it offered 22 horses, of which 16 (73%) changed hands at a remarkable average price of ÂŁ105,500. That was good news for vendors, while Brightwells could celebrate turnover of ÂŁ1,688,000, and begin making plans to hold the event in 2015. It does so with confidence gained not only from a successful event, but also some uplifting results at the Festival, where six winners owed their current residences to passage through a Brightwells’ Cheltenham sale. Most satisfying was a one-two in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a blue-riband result craved by every auction house of jumpers. It was also pleasing for vendors and the sales company that racehorse owner Roger Brookhouse, a free-spender at its Cheltenham auctions and a man close to the action who does his own bidding, should have a memorable week, with two feature-race Saturday winners (Baltimore Rock in

A decent crowd of both bidders and spectators enjoyed the post-racing fixture


“Most satisfying was a one-two in the Gold Cup, a blue riband result craved by every auction house�

same. “People stayed on to watch the sale, but given that it was completed in just under an hour no one was inconvenienced,� he said. Looking at the logistics, he added: “We realise we need extra lighting, particularly for the twilight period before it gets dark, and we will look again at the bidders’ area. A confined space is preferable, but we heard a comment that an elevated area might be better.� So why were traders, in particular bloodstock agents, so guardedly pessimistic when asked in advance for their view of the sale? After all, Goffs staged one at Punchestown’s Festival in April last year that was hailed a success, and has plans in place to THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER



JP McManus and Frank Berry were active participants

do so again 12 months later. The problem for agents is timing. All their racehorse-owning clients want new stock, but getting them in the mood to buy when a horse to suit their requirements comes along can prove challenging. Agents felt the Festival’s demanding social (and business) scene would leave no time for owners to get their heads around the business of buying. As Highflyer Bloodstock’s Anthony Bromley put it: “You have a 30runner race, and only four horses can get into the winner’s enclosure – that leaves an awful lot of disappointed people. Is this a good time to be talking to them about buying new horses?� Buyer Gearoid Costelloe was also unsure, but said: “You cannot blame them [Brightwells] for giving it a try. It can’t do any harm.� Other agents were concerned a March sale would impact on Brightwells’ April event, although Mitchell said later: “It does not take place until the 25th of the month, leaving a convenient gap, and the trend is for shorter lead times between a horse winning a race and going to a sale. You don’t want to have too many sales, but we think the balance is right.� On the morning of the auction Brightwells appeared to have narrowly missed a couple of its targets – a field of 22 was four or five more than it intended offering, for the auction house was mindful that an outdoor sale after a long day at the races could not have any saggy periods. In that respect it got lucky, for the weather, which had been superb all day, led to a relatively balmy evening and encouraged a good crowd of onlookers and potential buyers to linger until the final horse had been sold. The other missing ingredient was a high-profile lot to generate even greater interest in the event – a runner who had performed well in the

DICK TURPIN by Arakan - Merrily

ÂŁ4,000 (1st Oct SLF)

By ARAKAN, sire of Gr.1 winning 2yo TOORMORE, Gr.3 winning 3yo SRUTHAN, and multiple Gr.2 and Gr.3 winner TRUMPET MAJOR. 2013 Tattersalls December Foal Sale average of 20,755gns. TOP 5 LOTS IN 2013 SELLING FOR Lot 910: ex Imperialistic, sold for 70,000gns Lot 771: ex Presto Levanter, sold for 30,000gns Lot 507: ex Whirly Dancer, sold for 28,000gns Lot 629: ex Heckle, sold for 24,000gns Lot 809: ex Adaria, sold for ₏22,000 Some of the industry’s shrewdest judges were among the purchasers of his first foals.



Peter & Ross Doyle

Johnny McKeever

Stephen Hillen

Call Brian O’Rourke on 07789 508157 or email National Stud Ltd., Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 0XE Managing Director: Brian O’Rourke

Barry Fenton and Emma Lavelle in the bidders’ enclosure





Brightwells Cheltenham Festival Sale Top lots

>> previous day’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper,

or a candidate for the following day’s JCB Triumph Hurdle come to mind. Given the results achieved, that sort of horse might well be attracted in future to add glamour and enhance publicity, although the novelty of the inaugural sale ensured it did not go under the media radar. In the final analysis, almost everyone that Brightwells would have wanted to attend did so. JP McManus had already landed two of the Festival’s championship races with Jezki and More Of That, and while it is hard to believe a man of his wealth was buoyed by their winnings to invest in more stock, he was a major player on the night, taking the top lot, Minella Rocco, for £260,000, and Blackthorn Prince, via Highflyer Bloodstock, for £200,000. Both are four-year-olds who had won an Irish point-to-point just before their sales-ring engagement, and the top lot had a notably good page, being by in-vogue Shirocco out of a sister to top broodmare Eva Luna, the dam of Brian Boru and Sea Moon, and grandam of Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Workforce. McManus, whose son Kieran signed for this exciting prospect, may well have been involved in other transactions, too, while the powerful Gigginstown House team were also present. They did not make an apparent investment, but were noted bidding on at least one occasion. Had the sale been held 24 hours later they might have been more adventurous, for Michael O’Leary was to step onto the Festival’s winner’s podium no fewer than four times on the final day. Gearoid Costelloe, whose partner, Rebecca Curtis, includes McManus among her owners, bought three horses, while happy vendors included Colin Bowe of Milestone Stables, who brought four Irish pointers to the ring, and sold them all. No less pleased was Tom Lacey, the only vendor offering British pointers and happy to part with both for £55,000 and £140,000. Lacey is doing more than anyone to ensure



Price (ÂŁ)


Minella Rocco (Shirocco-Petralona (Alleged))

John Nallen


Scorpiancer (Scorpion-Janebailey (Silver Patriarch))

Millwood Stables


Gearoid Costelloe

Blackthorn Prince (Black Sam Bellamy-Quark Top (Perrault))

Milestone Stables


Highflyer Bloodstock

King’s Odyssey (King’s Theatre-Ma Furie (Balleroy))

Keeper’s Stables


Evan Williams

Saint Charles (Manduro-Tropical Barth (Peintre Celebre))

Cottage Field Stables


Highflyer Bloodstock

Westend Star (Old Vic-Camlin Rose (Roselier))

Towerview Stables


Donald McCain

Ballagh (Shantou-Go Along (Saddlers’ Hall))

Camas Park Stud


Vintage Vinnie (Vinnie Roe-Bobby’s Jet (Bob’s Return))

Milestone Stables


Kieran McManus

Kevin Ross Bloodstock Gearoid Costelloe

Veripek (Robin Des Champs-Attualita (Master Thatch))

Milestone Stables


Gearoid Costelloe

Gold Man (Presenting-Mama Jaffa (In The Wings))

Ballyboy Stables


Aiden Murphy

Figures Year






Agg (ÂŁ)

Avg (ÂŁ)

Mdn (ÂŁ)

Top Price (ÂŁ)





Barretts Select Sale of Two-Year-Olds Top lots Sex/Name/Breeding



Price ($)

C Giant’s Causeway-Dixie Dreamer

SGV Thoroughbreds

Demi O’Byrne


F Malibu Moon-In the Ghetto

Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds Todd Pletcher


F Galileo-Adoration

Wavertree Stables Inc

Diamond 100 Racing


C Malibu Moon-Rosy Humor

Kings Equine

Todd Pletcher


F Malibu Moon-Necessary Evil

Wavertree Stables Inc

Demi O’Byrne


F Pioneerof The Nile-Lady Lapuma

Kings Equine

Gary S Board


C Pulpit-Patti O’Rahy

Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds T B Bloodstock

C War Front-Remember The Keg

Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds West Point Thoroughbreds 300,000

F Dunkirk-Flirtatious Miss

SGV Thoroughbreds

Narvick International


C Into Mischief-Preludes Of War

Wavertree Stables Inc

Dennis R O’Neill


C Curlin-Upcoing Story

Sequel Bloodstock

Stonestreet Stables




David Minton had his bidding boots on


Inspections of the 22 lots on offer were carried out in the pre-parade ring



SALES CIRCUIT British pointers are not completely overwhelmed by their Irish counterparts at select sales of young jumpers, although a glance at the Festival’s sires’ table shows total dominance by Ireland-based sires, with some success for their French counterparts, and a single success for Britain’s Midnight Legend. Lacey is proof that while he has to cross the seas to source his youngsters, running them in British points is not a barrier to their ring success. How much more pleasing it would be for everyone involved in breeding jumpers in Britain if he could buy and sell stock sourced from his homeland, knowing it would get results in the ring.

Barretts Select Sale of Two-Year-Olds The Barretts March Select Sale of two-year-olds in training on March 3 produced its first seven-figure juvenile purchase in seven years. A colt by Giant’s Causeway sold for $1,150,000 to Demi O’Byrne, who attended the sale with Michael Tabor and Paul Shanahan of Coolmore, and leading American trainer Todd Pletcher. The Coolmore group, working with Pletcher, dominated the top end of the sale, purchasing four of the five leading lots. The one-day sale in Southern California, the first major juvenile sale of the year in the United States, showed growth over 2013, with 60 horses selling for a gross of $10,665,000 and an average of $177,750. The median price reached $112,500. The gross rose 22%, while the average increased 24%. The median rose 13%. Of the 94 horses that went through the ring, 34 were listed as not sold, or 36.1%. In 2013, 92 horses went through the ring, and 31 were listed as not sold, or 33.6%. The sale topper was the first horse to sell in excess of a million dollars at the Barretts March sale since John Ferguson paid $1.4m for an Officer colt in 2007. This year, O’Byrne also bought a Malibu Moon filly for $450,000, who will be trained at Santa Anita by former Newmarket trainer Simon Callaghan. Pletcher, acting as agent on behalf of Coolmore, bought two prospects by Malibu Moon that he will train in his eastern stable – a filly for $950,000 and a colt for $550,000. Southern California businessman Kin Hui paid $625,000 for a Galileo colt out of Adoration, the winner of the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Hui, who races as Diamond 100 Racing, was accompanied to the sale by trainer Patrick Biancone. Last September, Biancone acquired the Galileo colt, as agent, for $250,000 at Keeneland. Hui said that he was part of the group that bought the colt as a yearling, but that different partners were part of the group that purchased the colt as a juvenile at Barretts. The sale topper is out of Dixie Dreamer, by Mutakddim, an 11-yearold mare who won stakes races during her racing career at River Downs in Ohio and Calder in Miami. The colt breezed a furlong in 9.8 seconds on February 27 at a training preview, equaling the fastest time for the distance. The colt was consigned by Steven Venosa’s SGV Thoroughbreds of Ocala, Florida, acting as agent for JJ Crupi of Florida. Crupi bought the Giant’s Causeway colt for $150,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling sale last August. Venosa’s consignment was part of a group of 80 juveniles based in Florida over the winter who were flown to Barretts. The three Malibu Moon juveniles acquired for Coolmore were also yearling pinhooks. The $950,000 filly was consigned by HartleyDeRenzo Thoroughbreds, and purchased by them for $160,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The $550,000 Malibu Moon colt was purchased for $120,000 by Dona Licha Stable at Keeneland. The $450,000 filly was bought back at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga for $225,000, but had sold as a weanling for $190,000 to Glencrest Farm at the 2012 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER

PASTORAL PURSUITS by Bahamian Bounty - Star ÂŁ4,500 (1st Oct SLF)

2013 Doncaster Premier Sale yearling averages of over 5 times his 2011 stud fee, and sire of 3 Lots selling for more than 10 times his 2011 stud fee: Lot 201: ex Sheer Indulgence, sold for ÂŁ100,000 Lot 340: ex Ashes, sold for ÂŁ100,000 Lot 248: ex Talampaya, sold for ÂŁ80,000

“We’ve been lucky with the sire – Lilbourne Lass has won 3 this year and Auld Burns won the Tattersalls Sales Race for us; and this colt is the best physical specimen we’ve seen all day�. Ross Doyle, EBN 28.08.13, purchaser of Lot 201

SIRE OF 24 INDIVIDUAL TWO YEAR OLD WINNERS IN 2013 AND A WINNERS/RUNNERS STRIKE RATE OF 41% WITH HIS EUROPEAN 2YO’S OF 2013. 23.12.13 VENTURA MIST Won Totepool 2yo Trophy, L.; 3rd Firth of Clyde Stakes, Gr.3; 2nd Bet365 Empress Stakes, L. LILBOURNE LASS 3rd St Hugh’s Stakes, L., and winner of over £68,000 AL MUTHANA 2nd Prix de Cabourg Jockey Club de Turquie Gr.3

Call Brian O’Rourke on 07789 508157 or email National Stud Ltd., Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 0XE Managing Director: Brian O’Rourke




The difficult second book Freshmen are all the rage but can suffer from dwindling support in subsequent years

British & Irish stallions who covered their first mares in 2010 2010 2011 2012 2013

Archipenko Art Connoisseur Bushranger Captain Gerrard Champs Elysees Dandy Man Intense Focus Major Cadeaux Mastercraftsman Sea The Stars Virtual


60 64 70 64 54 41 40 49 184 155 210 150 99 62 50 64 105 86 112 51 103 52 71 144 153 92 84 128 48 40 31 15 165 132 113 187 136 83 138 96 67 27 15 1



here is no shortage of evidence on both sides of the Atlantic that breeders suffer from what could be described as Dwindling Faith Syndrome where unproven stallions are concerned. While many are more than happy to flock to first-season stallions, their support frequently ebbs over the next few years. This can have a long-term effect both on the stallion’s career, effectively sentencing him to recurring peaks and troughs, and can also have an adverse effect on the breeders’ bank balance. This syndrome was perfectly illustrated by the early years of Dark Angel’s stallion career. Fresh from his victory in the 2007 Middle Park Stakes, the son of Acclamation covered 114 mares in his first season. Memories had begun to fade 12 months later, when Dark Angel’s book rose no higher than 79 and his third season saw him cover 60 mares, for 38 foals. By the time those relatively scarce third-crop youngsters were old enough to go to the yearling sales, Dark Angel had established himself as Ireland’s leading first-crop sire of 2011 and was also well on his way to a top-15 finish on the general sires’ list of 2012. The market-place response was dramatic, with Dark Angel’s third-crop youngsters, sired at a fee of ₏7,000, selling for up to 200,000gns. The unwillingness of some breeders to support second- and third-season stallions can be much more pronounced in the US, with the consequent fall in numbers making it very hard for a stallion to maintain any initial success. Dabirsim, France’s champion two-year-old of 2011, is by Hat Trick, a leading Japanese miler whose first crop numbered 69 foals. In addition

Hat Trick sired Dabirsim in his first crop

to Dabirsim, these 69 included the smart American performers King David (Grade 1), Bright Thought (Grade 2) and Howe Great (Grade 3), so Hat Trick started very brightly. Unfortunately his next three crops contained 43, 20 and 19 foals, making it difficult for Hat Trick to add to his reputation. However, one of

British & Irish stallions who covered their first mares in 2011 Alfred Nobel Approve Arabian Gleam Arcano Equiano Fast Company Hellvelyn Le Cadre Noir Lope De Vega Lord Shanakill Makfi Mawatheeq Mullionmileanhour Paco Boy Rip Van Winkle Showcasing Stimulation Vale Of York Vocalised Zebedee




92 118 18 119 124 115 69 39 127 107 135 40 24 130 143 116 78 109 36 154

86 114 26 122 141 102 74 28 90 69 131 21 32 115 127 116 48 55 54 158

37 58 23 110 123 119 63 27 120 51 100 37 26 120 153 68 35 59 33 141

those third-crop yearlings sold for $190,000, off a $7,500 fee. With a 2013 crop of 108 foals, he has every chance to make up for lost time. Another exciting American colt to flaunt his ability in Europe is No Nay Never, a son of Scat Daddy. Although Scat Daddy was a Grade 1 winner at two and three, breeders were quick to move on after sending him 162 mares in his first year. The second-year total stood at 100 mares and he is credited with only 53 live foals in his third year, with No Nay Never being one of those 53. Those third-crop yearlings averaged $77,940 in 2012, off a $15,000 fee, and five sold for between $150,000 and $250,000. Breeders were quick to see their error. With his fee set at only $10,000 in his fourth season, Scat Daddy’s popularity was fully restored and he sired 131 foals from 191 mares. Demand rose to 217 mares in 2012, after the first crop by the Ashford stallion had consistently highlighted his merits, and 2013’s total was 171 mares at a fee of $30,000, so Scat Daddy appears to have come through unscathed. Scat Daddy is based at Ashford, Coolmore’s sister stud in Kentucky. It is interesting that even an operation as powerful as Coolmore isn’t always able to buck the trend where Dwindling Faith Syndrome is concerned. Although Lookin At Lucky led his generation at two and three, his first three years saw his book go from 156 to 104 and then to 94. Galileo’s son Cape Blanco joined the Ashford team a year later and was initially so popular that he covered more mares – 220 – than any other American stallion. Year two, though, saw support fall to 141. Uncle Mo, another recruit to Ashford in 2012, was also in great demand in his first year, with a book of

British & Irish stallions who covered their first mares in 2012 Canford Cliffs Dick Turpin Dream Ahead Elusive Pimpernel Frozen Power Lilbourne Lad Poet’s Voice Pour Moi Roderic O’Connor Zoffany



179 82 125 76 153 123 134 134 128 174

117 54 113 54 81 80 139 100 90 116



211, but he then received 129 in 2013. The figures suggest that the second year can be more difficult than the third for a young American stallion. With many breeders deciding their mating plans before a stallion’s first foals are born, they have no added incentive to use a second-year stallion. However, it isn’t uncommon for a stallion to restore his popularity with some good prices at the weanling sales. Uncle Mo is likely to come into this category in 2014, as he was the leading firstcrop sire at the 2013 weanling sales. There were two striking examples of this among the new Kentucky stallions in 2011. Quality Road, a top-class son of Elusive Quality, covered 91 mares in his second season, after an initial book of 149, but an average price of

“Fast Company was based at Rathasker, a stud with a reputation for ‘making’ stallions�

$122,857 for his first weanlings was enough to boost his third-year figure to 136. Majesticperfection, a very fast son of Harlan’s Holiday, went from 128 mares in his first year to 63 in his second. Then his first weanlings averaged $55,000, with a top price of $145,000, off a $10,000 fee and his book soared back to 130 in 2013. Majesticperfection also illustrates how outside influences also play their part. His sire Harlan’s Holiday had ended 2012 as North America’s champion sire of two-year-olds.

Sireline is important It also helps if a young stallion has a sire who is making his name as a sire of sires. No-one is currently doing better in that department than Galileo, following the bright starts made by New Approach and Teofilo. It is no surprise, then, that the third book of his accomplished son Rip Van Winkle is also his biggest at 153. Coolmore must be hoping that results at the 2013 foal sales will also provide a shot in the arm to three stallions who joined the team in 2012. Canford Cliffs, Pour Moi and Zoffany all experienced quite significant falls in the size of their books in their second year. Fortunately Canford Cliffs’s foals sold for up to 180,000gns, with an average of nearly 50,000gns, so he should be back in favour. Pour Moi’s fee is down to ₏12,500 and he should benefit from his first foals selling for up to 140,000gns, with an average of 52,470gns. The fact that he’s a DerbyTHOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER

winning son of Montjeu should work in his favour as Montjeu’s first two Derby winners were responsible for three Group 1 winners in Europe in 2013, including the brilliant Treve. Similarly, Zoffany should benefit from being arguably the most accomplished two-year-old sired by Dansili, and three other sons of Dansili were represented by Group winners in 2013. Off course a stallion’s first yearlings can also boost their sire in the sales ring, as last year’s leading freshman sire Mastercraftsman demonstrated. A healthy total of six-figure yearlings resulted in his biggest book in his first four seasons, with a total of 187. Sea The Stars illustrated that even brilliant performers aren’t immune to fluctuations in demand. The difficult second season saw him cover only 83 mares, compared to 136 the year before, but his first foals created quite a stir at the sales and, hey presto, Sea The Stars’s book was back up to 138 mares in his third year. Lope de Vega also suffered a second-season dip, but his first foals sold for up to 150,000gns, ensuring greater interest in year three. A fast start by a stallion with his first runners can also yield immediate results. For example, Dandy Man was very quickly out of the blocks in 2013 and was instantly rewarded with his biggest book of 144 mares. I don’t mean to be disrespectful by referring to Dandy Man as ‘cheap speed’, but he conforms to a pattern which is clearly popular with breeders (and presumably with buyers too). Dandy Man was a good two-year-old who later proved best at sprint distances, before retiring to stud at a reasonable four-figure fee. There are numerous other examples in recent years. Who would have thought that a son of Danetime – even one who won a pair of Group 1s – would cover nearly 700 mares in his first four seasons? But that is what Bushranger did. This year will see the first runners by Zebedee, who has averaged more than 150 mares in each of his first three seasons even though his brief racing career didn’t feature a Group 1 success. Clearly breeders are hoping he could be the next Dark Angel, another stallion who raced only at two. Another possible contender for that title is Equiano, especially as he shares the same sire, Acclamation, as Dark Angel. He has been given every chance, with books in excess of 120 mares in each of his first three seasons. Keep an eye out too for Fast Company. In the bloodstock world, absence rarely makes the heart grow fonder, so he could have struggled when he went to stud in 2011. He hadn’t raced in 2008, 2009 or 2010 and his excellent juvenile form was becoming a distant memory. However, Fast Company had a couple of things in his favour. For a start, other sons of Danehill Dancer had been responsible for the

Kentucky stallions who covered their first mares in 2011 Afleet Express Blame Concord Point Discreetly Mine Eskendereya Hold Me Back Line Of David Lookin At Lucky Majesticperfection Midshipman Munnings Quality Road Super Saver Tale Of Ekati Temple City Tizdejavu Warrior’s Reward




54 109 72 130 137 100 78 156 128 104 142 149 145 116 137 80 152

19 104 68 110 110 112 70 104 63 73 91 91 128 83 104 77 100

9 108 53 104 96 87 53 94 130 94 82 136 97 67 86 62 166

Kentucky stallions who covered their first mares in 2012 Albertus Maximus American Lion Archarcharch Cape Blanco Drosselmeyer General Quarters Giant Oak Gio Ponti Girolamo Haynesfield Ice Box Misremembered Paddy O’Prado Regal Ransom Sidney’s Candy Tizway Trappe Shot Twirling Candy Uncle Mo Wilburn



87 111 160 220 132 67 83 148 117 106 101 56 143 68 116 125 121 118 211 170

70 90 187 141 119 66 44 113 85 87 103 27 171 127 104 175 120 72 129 160

2010 winners of the Golden Jubilee, July Cup and Prix de l’Abbaye. Arguably more importantly, Fast Company was based at Rathasker, a stud with a reputation for ‘making’ stallions, thanks to such as Clodovil, Mujadil and Titus Livius. This has helped him attract more than 100 mares in each of his first three seasons and it is a safe bet that he will make that four out of four in 2014, following the excellent returns achieved by his first sales yearlings.



ROA FORUM The special section for ROA members

From very first steps to the final fence Richard Wayman says BHA anabolic steroids policy must cover a horse’s racing career Yet another big issue on the BHA Board’s current agenda is its consideration of the findings of a review into the policy on the use of anabolic steroids. Last November, the BHA set up a group to look at this area under the leadership of Sandy Love, the professor of equine clinical studies at Glasgow University, and, having consulted widely, their recommendations are expected soon. The ROA has an unequivocal position: anabolic steroids have no place in our sport and should not be permitted in or out of competition. Quite simply, British racing must take all necessary steps to retain the confidence of its followers, including owners. Other sports have suffered from observers questioning whether an exceptional performance is too good to be true and we must ensure that thought never begins to enter any owner’s mind when they see their horse left trailing by another. Racing is nothing without integrity and it is our view that the BHA must adopt a zero tolerance approach, taking the strongest of stands against anybody who thinks it is acceptable to administer anabolic steroids.

One of the issues that the group will have considered is at what age a racehorse becomes subject to policy. At present, the Rules of Racing refer specifically to horses that are ‘in the care or control of a trainer’. Our position is that there must be an outright ban on any use of anabolic steroids from the earliest possible stage in a horse’s life until its racing career has ended, which in practice means that prohibition would begin from when the

“We must send a very clear message to anyone who is prepared to jeopardise racing’s future�

foal is registered. We recognise that the BHA could face some practical issues in testing horses that are not in the control of a licensed person but it is our view that, as with other sports, the refusal to provide access to an out-of-competition horse for testing should be treated as a positive test. Some have suggested that the exceptional use of anabolic steroids for therapeutic purposes should be permitted. While equine

welfare remains paramount, there is no scientific evidence to support the need for such an exemption and we believe that the BHA should not create a potential loophole that somebody could seek to exploit. In addition, with recent studies involving other animals showing that anabolic steroids might have long-lasting performance enhancing effects, the period of suspension from racing for any horse that has been administered these substances clearly needs to be longer than the six months applied last year. Once our own rules are where they need to be, Britain should take the lead in attempting to ensure that all other major racing jurisdictions adopt the same stringent policy. This won’t be achieved overnight and so the situation involving horses running in Britain that have been raised or trained in countries with a less robust approach will need to be addressed. Standard testing would normally only detect these substances if they had been administered in the previous four weeks, and this partly explains the importance of further developing the technology associated with testing hair samples, which is widely used in the regulation of other sports and can detect substances for much longer periods. It is no exaggeration to say that the sport’s reputation is at stake and the BHA must step up to the plate by sending a very clear message to anybody anywhere who is prepared to jeopardise racing’s future.

Restaurants offer at Royal Ascot ROA members can benefit from a 20% discount in three restaurants at Royal Ascot, June 17-21. The restaurants are situated in the Royal Ascot Marquee, which is placed on the curve of the track after the winning post, within the Grandstand admission enclosure. The Balmoral Restaurant is situated on the top floor of the marquee, with a balcony providing views down the home straight. Includes champagne and canapes reception, five-course lunch, selection of fine wines and liqueurs, full afternoon tea and complimentary bar throughout the day. Price: ÂŁ555 per person (Tues/Wed/Fri) and ÂŁ650 per person (Thurs). The Carriages Restaurant (not available on Thursday) is on the top level of the marquee. Includes champagne reception, four-


course luncheon, selected wines, full afternoon tea and complimentary bar throughout the day including champagne. Price: £395 per person. The Sandringham Restaurant (not available on Thurs/Fri) is on the ground floor of the double decker marquee. Includes Pimm’s reception, three course-lunch, light afternoon tea, complimentary beers, wines and soft drinks throughout the day (excluding champagne). Price: £285 per person. Please note these prices include VAT but exclude admission badges, which must be purchased separately. Packages include one car parking label per couple and racecards. Bookings can be made online at or by calling Sarah Holton at the ROA on 020 7152 0200.




Five ROA members share latest ÂŁ10,000 jackpot at Wincanton

Council member Paul Duffy (left) and ROA Chief Executive Richard Wayman with the victorious Culm Valley Partnership

It is sometimes tough for names to live up to expectations, but on February 26 it really was a ‘Winning Wednesday’ at Wincanton for five ROA members, thanks to the ROA Owners Jackpot in association with the Racing Post. At the Somerset course another ÂŁ10,000 in bonus funds was applied across all the races on the card, and with five of the six winning horses eligible for their share of the jackpot, each of their owners took home an extra ÂŁ2,000. Along with the Culm Valley Partnership (pictured), who won their share of the

jackpot when Thedeboftheyear was first past the post in the two-mile-six-furlong hurdle, Jonathan Cole saw his winnings more than trebled by the ROA after Double Bank landed the hunter chase. Richard Whitehead, who was narrowly denied a bonus cheque at Leicester, was thrilled after another of his horses, Keel Haul, prevailed at Wincanton. “After being placed second at the Leicester jackpot meeting, it’s fantastic to go one better,� he said. “I knew we had a chance of winning the bonus when I made the entry, and it’s certainly a welcome initiative.�

Other bonus-winning owners on the day were Robert Geffen and The Oak Syndicate, thanks to Fairytale Theatre and Be Bop Boru. There will be an Owners Jackpot fixture each month this year, when ROA members have a chance to win a share of ÂŁ10,000 in addition to prize-money. The next Owners Jackpot fixture is on Tuesday, April 29 at Nottingham. Details of the races at Nottingham can be found on the ROA website at, along with future fixtures and a gallery of previous jackpot winners.


BHA Chairman speech at AGM

Steve Harman: one year in the role


We hope that many members will be able to attend the ROA Annual General Meeting, which will be held on the morning of Tuesday, July 1 at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London. The AGM includes an address by the ROA President Rachel Hood, and an Owners’ Forum where members are invited to ask the Council questions about industry issues, all aspects of racehorse ownership and the ROA’s work. Members who cannot attend may submit questions by email via the ROA office. The results of the ROA Council election will be announced, and an industry speech will be

given by BHA Chairman Steve Harman, one year into his role. Members can book places for a champagne reception and members’ and guests’ lunch. We expect the serious matters of the morning to be lightened as fabled Newmarket trainer Sir Mark Prescott will be making the after lunch speech. Places for the lunch, which includes a champagne reception and three courses with wine, must be booked in advance. Tickets are priced at £90 per person, and tables of ten are £825. Book online now at or call 020 7152 0200.







Ascot extends lunch offer This National Hunt season, owners with a runner at Ascot have been treated to six complimentary lunches per ownership, and the scheme has been so well received that it will now be extended to the Flat season (with the exception of Royal Ascot). Owners of runners on the Flat will also be treated to a half bottle of complimentary wine per person. Owners will be asked to reserve places in advance and collect tickets from the Owners’ & Trainers’ desk

ROA Benefit In Focus: Members Discount Scheme Owners who are ROA members receive a welcome 20% discount on most BHA registration fees. The discount is applied to owners’ racing accounts automatically, as long as the registered ownership and ROA membership are in the same name. Racing partnerships receive the full discounts provided that 51% or more of the nominated partners are members of the ROA.  Savings can be made on initial registrations and re-registration fees. The savings for registering as an owner, partnership or company are particularly significant, as are long-term registration of colours, e.g. for ten years, where a saving of £97.20 would apply.   The saving for an owner who is re-registering their colours and authority to act is £21.27 (including VAT). A table showing the level of discounts for each BHA registration fee can be found on the ROA website at


upon arrival. Further information, if required, can be obtained by contacting Kirsty O’Rourke on 01344 878529 or

now offers a terrace overlooking the parade ring, within which owners can enjoy their choice of hot meal, as well as a selection of cookies and pastries. 

DVDs all round at Rasen

Perth’s £15,000 guarantee

Winning connections are used to receiving a DVD of their horses’ exploits to keep for posterity. Popular National Hunt track Market Rasen has taken this a step further. Since February, all placed connections receive a DVD, and are being entertained in a new purpose-built venue. This is already proving a popular development.

This summer’s National Hunt season will receive a welcome boost in Scotland. The ROA are pleased to reveal that Gold Standard Award holder Perth will be guaranteeing a £15,000 race per meeting throughout the summer, with their opening three-day meeting scheduled to take place from April 23-25.

Improvements at Kempton

We want to hear from you!

Kempton Park plays host to a significant number of fixtures throughout the year.  With that in mind the ROA are delighted to announce that all owners with a runner at Kempton will now be entitled to a free food offering, as well as improved facilities. The newly refurbished Owners’ and Trainers’ bar has been extended and

We are asking members to rate their experience of racecourse visits as an owner with a runner via an online Racecourse Feedback form available on the ROA website. Feedback will help the ROA and its Raceday Committee in its liaison with racecourses to help enhance the raceday experience for owners with runners.

New enquiry service for aspiring owners An initiative has been launched to provide impartial advice and practical help to individuals interested in becoming racehorse owners. The enquiry service has been set up by Great British Racing, with the support of the ROA, and is being promoted through the website. The concierge service is being managed by ownership advisor Matt Budden, who has nearly 20 years’ experience of racehorse ownership as a syndicates and racing clubs manager. Potential owners who need assistance or advice can call or email the enquiry line. Matt Budden will act as an intermediary between potential owners and racehorse trainers or syndicate managers, providing introductions and facilitating meetings. The free service, which is part of a wider campaign to promote racehorse ownership, is being part-funded by the British Horseracing Grant Scheme, in conjunction with the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. Richard Wayman, ROA Chief Executive, said: “Racehorse ownership can be the ultimate thrill our sport has to offer but it can seem an intimidating journey for those who are considering it for the first time.

Matt Budden: advising on ownership

“This new service aims to provide expert assistance and impartial advice about the full range of ownership options, whilst suggesting suitable solutions to suit different pockets.� Aspiring owners or those who want to learn more about ownership options should either email or call Matt Budden (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) on 07884 866607. THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER


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Richard Ramsey – leading show producer and rider for over 30 years “A show horse needs to be 15hh or over and must move freely and straight. Though small splints can be tolerated, lumps, bumps and curbs are a no-no! A good front is essential and a sensible temperament too, with the modern big show an even more electric place than a racecourse. “Colour is immaterial and a horse with quite a lot of white markings is acceptable. A plain head is okay provided the rest is correct: you can bridle a head but not a bad hindleg.�

o your horse is reaching the end of their racing days and, following consultation with your trainer, you think retraining might be an option. For the first of our monthly features on the retraining of racehorses, we ask three experts what they look for in a thoroughbred that will make it suitable to compete in other equestrian disciplines. Yogi Breisner – Chef d’Equipe to British Eventing Team and World Class Performance Manager “The majority of racehorses, whether from the Flat or National Hunt, can be re-schooled to compete in eventing, dressage and showjumping.  “Within these disciplines the level a horse can reach depends on their basic talent. This is not always apparent whilst the horse is in training as a racehorse, but once out of training the majority of racehorses settle down, show a calmer temperament and adapt well. “Success in dressage largely depends on the horse’s basic movement. In racing one often looks for a good walk and gallop, but for the dressage an excellent loose trot with cadence and rhythm is also important. The horse must also not have any problems with its mouth e.g. sticking the tongue out or grinding the teeth. “From a showjumping point of view it is not enough that the horse has a big jump; it must also show that it is reasonably

David Morley – Chairman of Polo Pony Welfare “Polo ponies need to ideally measure 15hh to 15.2hh, but anything between 14.2hh and 16hh is acceptable. “A nice athletic type is required with a stride that is not too long so that it is easier to extend to gallop and shorten to one’s natural gait to slow down. “We look for a nice head that is not too big and reasonable conformation with a good hind leg. Given the demands of polo on the hooves and legs we try to avoid long cannons and long pasterns.�

Contact RoR Owner Ian Murray’s Inishmor is now eventing following his racing career

careful and can tuck its legs up and use its neck and back.�

If you and your trainer consider your horse suitable for any of these disciplines or you have any questions, please contact Retraining of Racehorses on 01488 648998 or email

In Brief Weatherbys visit

Weatherbys have kindly extended an invitation to ROA members to visit their offices in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, on the morning of Tuesday, May 13 for a tour of the organisation followed by lunch. The tour will give an opportunity for members to see behind the scenes of the organisation, and an insight into the key role that Weatherbys fulfils within the racing industry. There are a few spaces left, which will be allocated on a first come, first served basis to members and a guest. If you would like to book a place, please email Amy Haxby on, stating whether you would like to attend on your own or with a guest.


Open Days

The ROA will be represented at the Lambourn and Middleham Open Days on the morning of Good Friday, April 18. Betfair’s Lambourn Open Day offers a full programme of events, with more than 30 trainers opening their gates to the racing public from 8.30am to 1pm. See for details on tickets and timings. Middleham’s Open Day is also sponsored by Betfair. Events begin at 9.15am in the Market Square, and there will be 15 trainers’ yards opening in Middleham and the surrounding area. A free park and ride service will be operating. Details at Arena Racing Company will be providing

big television screens, so racing fans will be able to watch the afternoon’s racing action while enjoying the open day events. Members who introduce themselves to ROA staff members in attendance at both open days will be assured a warm welcome and a special ROA giveaway.

York fixtures in May

We would ask members to kindly note the following amendment to the Racecourse Badge Scheme for Owners, since the publication of the fixture booklet. York’s fixture on Saturday, May 31 will not be a participating fixture but Tattersalls Musidora Stakes day, on Wednesday, May 14 is included as a participating fixture.




Leanne Masterton crowned Employee of the Year Leanne Masterton, travelling head girl for Andrew Balding, was named Employee of the Year 2014 at the tenth Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards. She was awarded the perpetual Godolphin trophy by presenter Clare Balding and 18-time champion jump jockey AP McCoy. Leanne was presented with a cheque totalling a staggering ÂŁ40,000, of which ÂŁ20,000 will be shared amongst the staff at the historic Park House Stables in Kingsclere. Having joined Park House at the age of 16, Leanne has developed into one of the most respected travelling grooms on the international circuit. She rode seven winners as an apprentice and her riding ability is one of the key reasons she has since been chosen to represent the yard on various high-profile overseas excursions, including to Canada, America, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong and the UAE. Last year she played an instrumental role in travelling the Pearl Bloodstock-owned Side Glance to Australia, where he went on to win the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington. She was nominated for the award by Andrew and Anna Lisa Balding. Generously sponsored by Godolphin and run by the BHA in conjunction with the Racing Post, the awards offer ÂŁ120,000 in prize-money across the six categories. On behalf of all owners, the ROA offers it congratulations to all of the winners, runnersup and the many others nominated by their employer for an award.

AP McCoy presents Leanne Masterton with her Employee of the Year trophy

Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards 2014 RIDER/GROOM AWARD

Winner: Leanne Masterton, Travelling Head Girl – Andrew Balding Runners-up: Tony Garth, Travelling Supervisor – Saeed bin Suroor Alfie Mills, Rider/Groom – Mark Johnston


Winner: Gerry Meehan, Yearling Manager – Newsells Park Stud Runners-up: Jayne Bushby, Stud Groom – Upton Viva Stud Becky Stebbing, Manager of Yearlings – New England Stud


Winner: Tony Gorman, Head Lad – Richard Hannon Runners-up: Adam Kite, Head Man/ Assistant Trainer – Ralph Beckett Rory O’Dowd, Assistant Trainer – Brian Meehan



Winner: Maxine Ledger, Head Girl – Richard Hannon Runners-up: Michael Ashley, Head Lad – John Hills Stuart Jackson, Travelling Head Lad – David Simcock


Winner: Ben James, Stable Lad – William Haggas Runners-up: Emma Dwyer, Assistant Yard Manager – Mark Johnston Scott Sainsbury, Stable Lad – Andrew Balding


Winner: Marbeth Blair, Office Manager – Brian Meehan THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER


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Diary dates and reminders

with ROA member Chris Butler


ROA Owners Jackpot day At Nottingham.


Free admission to opening day of Punchestown festival Free admission for ROA members to Champion Chase Day at the Punchestown Festival, on production of a valid ROA Horseracing Privilege Photocard at the allocated visitors’ turnstile. The Association of Irish Racehorse Owners have kindly extended an invitation to ROA members to join them in their facility on the day.


Visit to Weatherbys

Balthazar King (left) en route to victory at this year’s Cheltenham Festival


here were several thrilling climaxes at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, and while the cross country chase was not quite the closest of the close finishes, it was memorable not just for there being almost nothing in it, but for the throw-racecard-onthe-floor reaction of the runner-up’s trainer Martin Keighley. Winning owner Chris Butler also thought that Any Currency had prevailed over Balthazar King in the twisting and turning handicap over nearly four miles, but it was the ten-year-old he shares with David Rees who was called the short-head winner. “I was watching from the owners’ and trainers’ stand, which is a bit off from the finishing line and had forgotten my binoculars,� says Butler, an ROA member for 15 years. “I thought we were second but it was announced as I walked back to the winner’s enclosure. “It seemed a very popular win judging by the roars from the crowd, and I don’t agree with those who think the race should not be part of the Festival. Loads of people like to watch it from the centre of the course.� Butler continues: “Every race he has won for us has been a highlight. The first real highlight was when he won the cross country chase at the Festival two years ago, and another was in France in September, when he won the Crystal Cup at Craon. The French had not heard of us and it was brilliant to go there and win.� It was of course also brilliant to win for a second time at the Festival – and the seventh time in all at Cheltenham. THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER

A tour of the offices in Wellingborough followed by lunch. See page 73.

MAY 29

Regional Meeting and ROA Owners Jackpot day At Haydock Park.

“It’s everybody’s dream to win a race at the Festival, and we’ve done it twice,� says Butler. “I can’t believe it really. The ground was softer than ideal this year, and he was giving 18lb to the runner-up, so it was fantastic.� Butler’s journey to the most hallowed winner’s circle in jump racing began with Isitoff – a pre-Betfair era name that these days might not clear the censor! – who after winning and finishing runner-up on his first two outings over hurdles with Richard Dunwoody in the plate then suffered a leg problem and was retired. Upham Lord and Tamango were others Butler was involved in with Rees and another partner, Geoffrey Stevenson, before Balthazar King came along, and Hobbs also has Roalco de Farges for The Brushmakers. Butler is also in the Highclere syndicate which owns Emma Lavelle-trained Penny Max, a promising eight-year-old but sidelined with injury. Butler lives in Hampshire, some way from Hobbs’s Somerset yet, though he says: “I am a retired farmer, while David Rees still farms in a big way near Winchester, and Balthazar King and Realco both go to his place during the close season to relax and switch off. I don’t get to Philip’s yard much, but I must say he and wife Sarah are a wonderful, successful couple with a great team. “Richard Johnson gels so well with Balthazar King, and of course were it not for AP McCoy he would have won about 14 titles! He says Balthazar King is the cleverest horse he has ever


ROA Owners Jackpot day At Salisbury.


ROA AGM and members’ & guests’ lunch For details see page 71. Bookings for all ROA events can be made online at or by calling the ROA on 020 7152 0200.

ridden and that he puts himself right. He has a wonderful temperament too.� The success is, perhaps, all the more pleasurable given Balthazar King might not have survived a serious condition incurred after his 2012 Festival victory. “They said he might not come out of the vets in Bristol, but he did, and we’ve been so lucky to have him,� continues Butler. “He’s given us so much fun and goes from strength to strength. Philip summed it up when describing him as an ‘improving ten-year-old’.� Next, ground permitting, could be a second crack at the Grand National. “It’s a very different feeling having a runner in the National,� Butler admits. “I felt a bit sick last year before the race, but he got round and the plan is to have another go, if it’s not too soft.� There could be a million reasons, then, to hope the sun keeps shining.




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Flat Racecourse League Table Ptn Racecourse

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Ascot York Epsom Downs Newmarket Goodwood Chester Doncaster Sandown Park Newbury Haydock Park Musselburgh Ayr Pontefract Salisbury Ripon Ffos Las Carlisle Thirsk Newcastle Kempton Park Windsor Leicester Beverley Lingfield Park Hamilton Park Nottingham Warwick Catterick Bridge Redcar Bath Wolverhampton Yarmouth Chepstow Southwell Brighton Total

Figures for period March 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014


Avg racecourse spend per fixture (ÂŁ)

Avg HBLB spend per fixture (ÂŁ)

Avg owner spend per fixture (ÂŁ)

Avg prizemoney per fixture (ÂŁ)

Total no. of fixtures

Total prize-money (ÂŁ)

Avg racecourse spend per fixture 2012 (ÂŁ)


349,480 160,032 120,544 91,698 84,714 77,393 54,738 53,586 46,673 41,800 31,993 29,569 28,935 27,239 27,030 23,461 21,280 20,943 20,782 20,686 20,262 18,719 17,864 17,317 17,024 16,842 15,897 15,840 15,226 14,678 13,873 12,327 10,464 9,243 8,671 36,876

132,552 105,147 71,576 80,576 75,890 44,521 59,046 54,329 63,275 49,022 24,856 39,428 32,701 28,193 27,349 9,820 16,458 22,797 21,439 17,419 19,189 19,612 21,001 22,285 22,944 24,029 21,236 18,099 18,507 14,970 17,529 19,900 14,790 20,271 18,577 33,189

178,627 84,648 81,087 76,304 27,928 8,364 36,978 17,531 27,912 15,671 5,055 10,820 3,804 5,408 4,510 3,081 4,489 5,650 6,615 3,632 4,735 4,932 3,108 3,232 3,448 5,815 3,926 2,733 13,843 2,853 2,540 3,089 2,761 2,027 2,392 15,595

660,659 349,827 273,207 249,275 188,532 130,278 151,711 126,246 140,910 107,681 63,375 81,138 66,440 63,389 59,671 36,762 43,591 51,757 51,103 41,749 45,080 44,564 43,988 42,834 43,750 49,491 41,469 39,172 49,877 32,951 33,942 35,605 29,016 31,541 30,483 85,661

18 17 12 38 19 15 25 18 17 24 17 14 16 15 16 8 11 15 18 85 26 20 20 92 18 18 11 17 15 20 110 26 15 51 19 894

11,891,857 5,947,060 3,278,480 9,472,447 3,582,104 1,954,165 3,792,783 2,209,306 2,395,467 2,538,203 1,077,375 1,135,937 1,063,035 950,842 954,732 275,712 479,500 776,350 919,850 3,548,670 1,172,086 891,280 879,760 3,928,476 787,500 890,845 456,158 665,925 748,150 659,018 3,733,666 925,725 435,235 1,608,605 579,168 76,605,470

376,146 157,927 115,897 84,383 87,914 70,940 57,572 48,039 45,320 35,090 26,483 20,344 18,755 25,109 25,580 22,021 15,448 22,834 26,320 16,479 16,451 14,628 13,214 12,341 20,764 13,222 22,120 13,267 13,484 18,037 11,020 11,967 9,452 10,991 10,900 34,998

Up/ down

â–ź â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–ź â–˛ â–ź â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–ź â–ź â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–ź â–˛ â–ź â–˛ â–˛ â–ź â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–ź â–ź â–˛

Jumps Racecourse League Table Ptn Racecourse

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40


Aintree Cheltenham Sandown Park Ascot Haydock Park Kempton Park Ayr Newbury Perth Cartmel Chepstow Newcastle Ludlow Musselburgh Market Rasen Doncaster Wincanton Wetherby Newton Abbot Huntingdon Kelso Stratford-on-Avon Exeter Warwick Fakenham Carlisle Plumpton Taunton Catterick Bridge Lingfield Park Bangor-on-Dee Ffos Las Hexham Fontwell Park Southwell Worcester Leicester Towcester Uttoxeter Sedgefield Total


Avg racecourse spend per fixture (ÂŁ)

Avg HBLB spend per fixture (ÂŁ)

Avg owner spend per fixture (ÂŁ)

Avg prizemoney per fixture (ÂŁ)

Total no. of fixtures

Total prize-money (ÂŁ)

Avg racecourse spend per fixture 2012 (ÂŁ)


232,451 219,787 103,791 94,949 84,951 49,186 47,033 37,905 28,814 24,931 23,281 23,170 22,117 21,859 21,629 21,608 21,453 21,172 20,588 19,518 19,347 18,614 16,958 15,851 15,376 15,023 14,785 14,569 14,470 13,805 13,649 13,452 12,838 12,685 12,423 12,278 11,409 10,702 10,698 7,031 30,986

126,319 108,596 68,730 96,294 84,339 60,889 33,118 70,038 23,250 19,059 33,091 32,233 32,101 34,379 25,764 42,805 36,859 27,983 27,466 22,151 33,899 22,934 31,128 42,149 22,340 31,914 24,464 28,906 27,369 21,240 20,695 26,399 14,654 23,155 17,672 19,750 26,729 14,805 24,740 23,416 34,455

66,206 57,138 18,370 17,056 17,288 9,131 12,844 13,703 1,521 4,982 7,730 4,533 4,574 4,298 4,654 6,619 5,033 4,571 0 3,793 3,232 4,451 4,586 5,887 0 4,364 3,908 4,704 2,463 2,026 3,125 3,620 2,277 3,175 2,680 3,655 4,086 3,033 4,667 2,668 7,329

424,977 385,521 191,506 208,299 186,578 119,475 92,995 121,647 53,586 48,971 64,102 60,636 58,791 61,236 52,046 71,033 63,345 54,114 48,054 45,462 57,023 45,998 52,671 63,887 37,716 51,535 43,158 48,178 44,302 37,071 37,469 43,471 29,769 39,016 32,776 35,683 42,223 28,540 40,105 33,115 72,839

8 16 7 8 8 13 9 11 15 7 13 10 14 10 20 11 17 18 19 17 11 16 16 10 10 12 14 12 10 5 13 17 13 21 22 21 10 15 23 17 539

3,399,812 6,168,343 1,244,790 1,666,389 1,572,585 1,553,180 836,959 1,338,114 803,785 342,800 833,331 606,358 823,080 612,358 1,040,927 781,361 1,076,861 974,061 913,034 772,859 627,252 735,966 842,741 638,866 377,165 618,414 604,206 578,141 443,015 195,948 487,100 717,271 387,000 819,332 721,068 749,347 422,232 428,100 922,406 562,962 39,239,517

231,612 227,211 64,581 112,402 86,498 46,886 29,736 46,352 28,788 25,659 28,957 17,958 18,230 24,399 18,240 13,558 22,377 24,590 24,493 9,054 21,970 21,077 13,974 24,130 20,143 14,758 12,565 14,527 5,038 9,543 11,316 19,710 11,954 14,580 15,348 9,210 9,830 9,008 12,946 8,786 30,810

Up/ down

â–˛ â–ź â–˛ â–ź â–ź â–˛ â–˛ â–ź â–˛ â–ź â–ź â–˛ â–˛ â–ź â–˛ â–˛ â–ź â–ź â–ź â–˛ â–ź â–ź â–˛ â–ź â–ź â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–ź â–˛ â–ź â–ź â–˛ â–˛ â–˛ â–ź â–ź â–˛

EXPLANATION The tables set out the average prize-money at each fixture staged by a racecourse over the last 12 months. They show how this is made up of the three sources of prizemoney: 1. Racecourses’ contribution 2. Levy Board (HBLB) 3. Owners The tables also confirm the number of fixtures staged and the total amount of prize-money paid out by each racecourse throughout this period. The racecourses are ordered by the average amount of their own contribution to prizemoney at each fixture. This contribution originates from various sources including media rights, admission revenues and racecourse sponsors. If a racecourse has increased its average contribution at each fixture compared with the previous 12 months, it receives a green ‘up’ arrow. If its average contribution has fallen, however, it receives a red ‘down’ arrow. As these tables are based on the prize-money paid out by each racecourse, the abandonment of a major fixture could distort a racecourse’s performance.

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TBA FORUM The special section for TBA members

Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards The tenth anniversary of the Godolphin Awards was celebrated on Tuesday, February 25 at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel, when 16 finalists joined a specially invited audience to celebrate the vital role played by stud and stable staff in the industry. The Stud Staff category was won by Gerry Meehan, yearling manager at Newsells Park who was also celebrating his 45th birthday the same day. Meehan has played a key role in helping Newsells Park to become a leading consignor at the October yearling sales, with this year’s European record-breaking colt sold at Tattersalls for 3.6 million guineas showcasing his talents as a highly skilled producer of topclass yearlings. His commitment, passion, horsemanship and high standards were all cited by his employers as outstanding, and during his interview with Clare Balding his love of the job and dedication shone through as he described his appreciation for his role in which he sees the development of future stars from foaling to the racetrack. Meehan received a trophy, £5,000 as his prize, with a further £5,000 going to the team at Newsells Park Stud. Runners-up were Stud Groom Jayne Bushby

Godolphin Stud Staff Award winner Gerry Meehan receives his trophy from AP McCoy

from Upton Viva Stud, described by employer Robert Waley-Cohen as dedicated, hardworking and conscientious, and Becky Stebbings, manager of yearlings at New England Stud, whose unflappable personality, dedication and skilful handling of yearlings was praised by employer Peter Stanley. Both received ÂŁ2,000,

Proud to support the

RoR/TBA Retrained Racehorse Challenge 2014

with a further ÂŁ2,000 going to each stud. The Employee of the Year accolade went to Leanne Masterton, travelling head girl to Andrew Balding, who was presented with her perpetual trophy by Tony McCoy and who collected a cheque for ÂŁ40,000, of which ÂŁ20,000 will be shared amongst the staff at Park House Stables.

EBF/TBA Mares’ Novices’ Chase Series at Wetherby and Plumpton

Presentforyou Winner 2013

Nicola Naylor and her son Joss presenting the prize to the winning connections of Legendary Hop

There will be over 30 qualifiers nationwide, culminating in a final. A full list of qualifiers can be found at

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Felicity Veasey makes the presentation to the connections of the Donald McCain-trained She Ranks Me at Plumpton



Behind the scenes at the TBA With a membership in excess of 2,000 and six people in the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association office, the small team sails a big ship on a daily basis. We wanted to give you the chance to put a face to a name and tell you a bit more about the people you email or speak to at the TBA. This month we are focusing on PAULINE STODDART, whose title is PA to the Chief Executive but who does far more than that! In a nutshell, what do you do for the TBA? I am PA to the Chief Executive, providing administrative and secretarial support, as well as overseeing specific events during the year, such as the NH and Flat stallion parades, the NH foal show and AGM. I also produce the minutes for the Board meetings and six of the sub-committees, as well as those for the British Horse Industry Confederation, of which the CEO is presently Chairman. If your colleagues were writing your biography, what would the title be? Straight Talking. What did you do before you joined the TBA? I come from a show jumping/hunting background and my parents also stood thoroughbred stallions under the Hunters Improvement Scheme. Upon leaving school I took a two-year secretarial course, followed by three years in Australia, where I married Martin – we celebrated our ruby wedding anniversary last month. After returning to England I busied myself being a typical Pony Club mum to our children, Erin and Saul. In 1988, I began work as secretary to John Warren, with whom I remained for 17 happy years based for most of that time at Side Hill Stud in Newmarket, then owned by the Marquess of Hartington, where I was also Stud Secretary. Talk us through a typical week for Pauline Stoddart? The working week invariably includes one meeting, either at Stanstead House or further afield, so attending meetings and producing minutes consumes quite a chunk of my working hours. In some respects there’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ week, because invariably an issue will crop up which affects either a member personally or the industry, and the work that might have been planned has to be temporarily put aside. It’s certainly a very busy office – by Friday you know you’ve worked the week! At weekends I’m frequently off at some ridiculously early hour to watch our two granddaughters compete at shows – both girls are ponymad and I get as much enjoyment from watching them ride now as I used to in competing myself. What do you love about working for the TBA? The variety of the work, contact with like-minded members and the friendly team at Stanstead House. If you could swap places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be and why? My hero is Sir Mark Todd, he’s such an amazing horseman and always looks so relaxed; I still vividly remember the time he went around the cross-country course at Badminton minus a stirrup. If I had a week being Sir Mark, I’m sure I’d pick up enough tips to make a comeback myself. Well, perhaps not... Which is your favourite racecourse? Villeneuve-sur-Lot, south-west France. We have a home nearby and readers are welcome to contact me for a holiday deal – well, you can’t blame me for trying...!


Pauline with her granddaughters Lily, right, and Ruby

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? A showjumper, which is pretty much what I did, courtesy of my parents’ generous ‘sponsorship’! If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? Tidiness is not one of my strong points, either in the office or home – I do not enjoy housework. However, I am very organised and within the piles of paperwork and debris I know exactly where everything is. What are you looking forward to doing with the TBA this year? I’m really looking forward to the TBA ‘Stars of Tomorrow NH Foal Show’ at Bangor-on-Dee racecourse on Sunday, July 27. Last year was great and this, its second year, will be even bigger! Definitely a ‘not to be missed’ event.




March TBA Stud Staff Award

TBA diary dates SATURDAY, MARCH 29

TBA Mares’ Only Point-to-Point Race At Marks Tey (rescheduled).


TBA Mares-only Point-to-Point Race At Llanvapley.


TBA Mares-only Point-to-Point Race At Mollington.


TBA Mares-only Point-to-Point Race At Lydstep.


EBF/TBA Mares’ Novices’ Chase Series At Towcester.


TBA Mares-only Point-to-Point Race At Cothelstone.


EBF/TBA Mares’ Novices’ Chase Finale Steven is pictured receiving his certificate of achievement from Caroline Turnbull

The TBA’s March Stud Staff Award goes to Steven Golding, second man at Hascombe Stud near Newmarket, where he has worked for 28 years. During the season, Steven is in charge of the foaling unit at Hascombe, where each year the majority of the stud’s foals are delivered. According to his employer, Anthony Oppenheimer, Steven demonstrates infinite dedication to the job as throughout the season there are many times when personal life takes a backseat if he has to spend extra time in the foaling unit to nurse a sick foal or mare, in addition to normal foaling duties. Steven also acts as an example to all members of staff, demonstrating high standards, a pride in his work and a passion for, and dedication to, the horse. He is a great

educator of students, ensuring that they both learn and enjoy their time at the stud, and his skill in handling difficult horses and ability to bring out the best in them is exceptional. He also takes a keen interest in following the fortunes of Hascombe and Valiant runners, following the progress of foals through to the racecourse and taking great pleasure in the winners that have been bred there over the years. Mr Oppenheimer describes Steven as “one of the best in the industry� and he is a very deserving winner of this award. If you have a member of staff you feel deserves recognition for their work, please nominate them for the Stud Staff Award. Forms can be downloaded from or call 01638 661321.

At Cheltenham.


TBA Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Listed) At Cheltenham.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23 South West Regional Day

At David Pipe’s Pond House and Ashbrittle Stud, Somerset.


TBA Mares’ Hunter Chase Final At Cheltenham.


Clairemont Stud, Hampshire; Ms M Cook, Warwickshire; Miss R Flynn, Suffolk; W Goldie, Ayrshire; Dr G W Guy, Dorset; Mrs V Hasdell, Carmarthenshire; D Tomkins, Suffolk; J Trotter, Suffolk; and World Racing Network, Suffolk.


Share Your Stories We really enjoy hearing news from our members so if you have any photographs or stories of your horses that you can share with us please send them to Stanstead House and we will include as many as we can in forthcoming issues. Please email:


Forthcoming Events Mark your diaries with the following events in July. Our annual awards dinner will be taking place on the evening of July 8 in Newmarket and our seminar will be taking place on July 23 at Tattersalls. Further information on timings will be announced in the coming weeks but we wanted to ensure these dates are shared with you now.

Hannah Butler, Gloucestershire; Wendy Coon, Hertfordshire; Frazer Hood, Suffolk; Kelly Marie Parker, Staffordshire; and Charlie Pinkham, West Sussex.


Last month saw the introduction of our new TBA Twitter platform. If you are on Twitter follow us on @TheTBA_GB for news on forthcoming events and offers, as well as industry information and updates. If tweeting photos of foals, use the hashtag #2014thoroughbreds so we can follow and share your news throughout the season.



w w w. t h e t b a . c o . u k

Breeders’ Prizes for TBA members Breeder






Harwoods Racing Club

Prize (ÂŁ)


Harwoods Volante




Lingfield Park

Strawberry Fields Stud


Basil Berry


Dolly Coughdrop


Kempton Park

Stratford Place Stud &




Pivotal Drive




Fuel Injection

Pastoral Pursuits

Smart Hostess




Major Crispies

Pastoral Pursuits

Nellie Melba


Lingfield Park

Watership Down Stud Whitsbury Manor Stud & Pigeon House Stud The Countess Of Lonsdale

Prizes subject to confirmation of qualification with Weatherbys

Breeders’ Prizes National Hunt HBLB Breeders’ Prizes worth Breeder

Prize (ÂŁ)

A A ÂŁ1,000

or more

Based on date money was paid







The Round Oak Partnership


Harry Topper

Sir Harry Lewis

Indeed To Goodness 08/02/2014

Mrs N. A. Ward


Melodic Rendezvous

Where Or When

Vic Melody



V. Thorne, B. Derrick and P. R Rodford


Bally Legend

Midnight Legend

Bally Lira


Kempton Park

Mrs Vashti Hasdell


Kayf Moss

Kayf Tara

Madam Mosso


Fontwell Park

Stewart Pike


Splash Of Ginge


Land Of Honour



Mrs J. A. Niven


Clever Cookie

Primo Valentino

Mystic Memory



Mrs H. I. S. Calzini






Haydock Park

R. J. Francome


Restless Harry

Sir Harry Lewis

Restless Native



Wood Farm Stud


Poole Master


Juste Belle



Mr W. Goldie







Mrs Isobel Phipps Coltman


Kaylif Aramis

Kayf Tara




Chesters Stud


Runswick Royal

Excellent Art




R. D. Chugg and the late J. R. H. Fowler


Mountain King

Definite Article

Belle Magello



Juddmonte Farms Ltd




New Abbey



John P. L. Reynolds


Midnight Prayer

Midnight Legend

Onawing Andaprayer 08/02/2014


Direct Sales (UK) Ltd


Dare To Endeavour


Miss Chinchilla



Mr W. Goldie






Catterick Bridge

Wendy Robinson


Woodford County





Mrs R. M. Wilson


Royal Player

King's Theatre

Kaydee Queen



Goldford Stud


The Ramblin Kid





Mrs C. Davis


Spencer Lea





See breeders' prizes table effective from January 1 on TBA website, Prizes subject to confirmation of qualification with Weatherbys THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER





Words Alan Yuill Walker Sponsored by

Manufacturers of



Fiona Evans The two latest monthly breeders’ awards have been determined by Grade 2 winners for Midnight Legend at Haydock. In January, Wychwoods Brook won the Peter Marsh Chase and in February, Seeyouatmidnight captured the Rendlesham Hurdle. Just for good measure their sire had yet another high-profile winner in February, with Bally Legend in Kempton’s BetBright Chase. Geographically speaking, Seeyouatmidnight embraces two extremes as he was bred in Devon by Fiona Evans (who wins a supply of TRM’s world-famous Calphormin plus a bottle of premium Irish whiskey) at her Whiddon Farm, Abbotskerswell, and is trained at Greenlaw in Berwickshire by former Scottish rugby international Sandy Thomson for his wife. Thomson bought Seeyouatmidnight privately for £20,000 at the DBS Spring Sales last May, the five-year-old having won a maiden point-topoint in Ireland after the catalogue was printed. He had originally been purchased from his breeder as a two-year-old at Doncaster in January 2010 for £6,000. The son of Midnight Legend has proved a revelation since going north of the border and is now unbeaten in three starts over hurdles, ridden by last season’s Grand National-winning jockey Ryan Mania. Although Seeyouatmidnight is related to Oscar Whisky, the first two generations of his pedigree unimpressive. He is the last of only three progeny of his homebred dam Morsky Baloo (by Morpeth) and she died in the same year that he was foaled. Unraced, she was a daughter of Sky Baloo (by Skyliner), who was placed in a bumper and had just two winning hurdlers to show for a stud career spanning 18 seasons. Those two winners are Jaguar Claw and Morsky Baloo’s brother, Haloo Baloo. Their sire Morpeth was a Sadler’s Wells horse who stood with the Frost family, just down the road from Evans in Buckfastleigh, where they trained him. Seeyouatmidnight’s pedigree has an unexpected historical duplication. Sire Midnight Legend was bred by Graham Rowles Nicholson’s Limestone Stud in Lincolnshire (for some inexplicable reason none of Weatherbys’ otherwise excellent stallion publications ever record the breeder), while his third dam Lane Baloo (unraced) was by Lucky Brief, a horse whom Clifford Nicholson, a great supporter of jumping during the 1950s, stood at Limestone. With an extraordinary ability to improve his mares, Midnight Legend, who is now 23 years of age and has spent all but his first four

Seeyouatmidnight, foaled in Devon but trained in Scotland

covering seasons with David and Kathleen Holmes at their Pitchall Farm Stud, seems to have two other attributes not normally associated with a National Hunt stallion. First, he was a proven performer under National Hunt rules himself and second he seems to get a good proportion of daughters who excel on the racecourse. When he first retired to stand in 1998 at Don and Liz Harrington’s Conkwell Grange Stud, she remarked somewhat prophetically: “I think he is just the horse to carry us through to our retirement.� Although fate intervened so far as the Harringtons were concerned, that legacy still lives on. One of Midnight Legend’s additional winners during February was Barton Rose and the homebred mare carries the colours of Lady Clarke, whose late husband raced her sire and retired him to stud under the Barton Stallion Partnership banner. Furthermore, Barton Rose is trained at Conkwell Grange by Neil Mulholland, who must have handled as many Midnight Legend winners as anyone.


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By Katherine Fidler

Mingling with the stars at Newsells Park

The visitors are treated to a close-up glimpse of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream and her Frankel filly foal


t’s hard to believe it’s April already. Cheltenham has been and gone, Newmarket’s Craven meeting is just around the corner, and once again the baton is ready to be handed from the winter game to the summer. Behind the scenes, stud staff are still in a whirlwind as new arrivals appear left, right and centre, and like the foaling season, the NGC year is well underway too. Our current calendar of events – with more to be confirmed – is online now at and we hope all will be as popular as the first, a morning stud visit kindly hosted by Newsells Park Stud. Fresh from success at the Darley Stud and Stable Staff Awards, where yearling manager Gerry Meehan won the Stud Staff accolade, the Newsells team kindly gave up their morning to show 32 NGC members around the Hertfordshire operation. Not only were visitors treated to a showing of the stud’s three stallions, Equiano, Mount Nelson and Nathaniel, but also making a popular appearance was Arc heroine Danedream, accompanied by her now-famous Frankel filly. Hosting the morning was Newsells Park’s General Manager and TBA board member Julian Dollar, whose entertaining and informative narrative during the tour ensured visitors left with everything they needed to know about the operation – which hit the headlines last year when selling the thenrecord breaking Galileo brother to dual Classic runner-up Secret Gesture for


3,600,000gns at the Tattersalls Book 1 Yearling Sale in October. After enjoying a sneak peek of a potential future champion or two, NGC members headed to Huntingdon to catch some runners in action – albeit under a different code than that intended for those on show at Newsells. The meeting proved much more of a success for racegoers than the bookies after the first six favourites all hit the mark, the layers recouping some of their losses after Ordo Ab Chao –

meaning order to chaos – won the last at 6-1. The NGC could not operate without the generosity of all of the stud owners and staff, trainers and racecourses who have hosted events so far, and those who are already signed up to the 2014 calendar. With an array of events held in years gone by and an exciting year to come, the committee would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the ongoing support from the industry in ensuring the NGC continues to thrive.

Equiano has an exciting year ahead as his first runners are set to hit the racecourse




Death in the afternoon The cause and prevention of sudden collapse of racehorses on the racecourse

Why do apparently fit athletes collapse and die? It seems inconceivable that ‘super-fit’ elite athletes should be susceptible to sudden death during competition, either in the human field or in horseracing but sadly this is just the case. In 2013, Fabrice Muamba famously collapsed and technically ‘died’ during a Premier League football match at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane ground. Rapid attention by paramedics and the medical team in attendance allowed him eventually to make a full recovery. In the same year, an Italian footballer Piermario Morosini, who was only 25, collapsed during an Italian football match and died. Both of these players suffered heart attacks, despite being supremely fit, lean and young. So do all of our unexpected equine fatalities fit into the same category? To answer this, Lyle and her team collated data from six racing jurisdictions around the world. These included horses from California and Pennsylvania in the USA, Victoria and Sydney in Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. Because unexpected death in the racehorse is a


rare event, it was necessary to collate data from so many training centres in order to get statistically reliable information. Pulling together data from so many different sources allowed the team to examine a total of 268 fatalities and find out why they died.

Cause of death The first interesting finding was that the definitive diagnosis of the cause of death was only made in just over half of the cases. A presumptive cause of death was established in a further 25% but this left nearly a quarter of the horses investigated lacking any evidence at all to explain why they died. The most frequent reason for fatal collapse was failure of the heart, or lungs, or both and these comprised over half of the definitively diagnosed cases. Of these cases of heart/lung failure, the majority involved massive pulmonary haemorrhage (bleeding into the lungs) and only a fifth to primary heart failure. Interestingly, in the horses that died of acute lung ‘bleeds’, when the lung tissues themselves were examined in depth under the microscope, the type of cell which indicates an on-going history of ‘bleeding’, the haemosiderophage, was rarely encountered. This seems to indicate that when lung bleeding occurs to the degree of severity to cause death, it is probably for different reasons than the low-grade lung bleeding commonly encountered in training and racing. The horses that died of pulmonary haemorrhage in this study do not appear to have been long-standing ‘bleeders’.

Blood loss which we can’t see The second biggest group of horses with a definitive cause of death comprised cases of haemorrhagic shock. These made up just over a quarter of the positively identified cases. This haemorrhagic shock usually occurred as a result of profuse bleeding, either from a blood vessel which had spontaneously ruptured, or from laceration to large blood vessels in the hind legs by the sharp edges created in a displaced fracture of the pelvis, a relatively common athletic injury. Unfortunately, because the bleeding takes place internally, these horses give no clue to the existence of a serious problem until the blood pressure drops below a minimum threshold at which point the horse collapses. By then any chance of saving the horse’s life with transfusion or intravenous fluid therapy is unfortunately long-gone. In nearly half of the cases subjected to post-mortem in which there was a large amount of blood free in the abdomen, the exact site of the ruptured blood vessel was never found. Interestingly, rupture of the aorta, the massive vessel leading from the heart, (the socalled ‘ruptured aortic aneurysm’) which is often anecdotally suspected to be the cause of sudden death during or immediately after racing, was only found in two horses in the whole study. Just over a tenth of the cases with a defined cause of mortality were attributed to trauma to the central nervous system. These included cases of spontaneous fracture of the vertebrae that resulted in spinal cord trauma or skull fracture with associated brain trauma. While



he loss of a racehorse through injury or death is always a bitter blow. Thankfully, unexpected death during competition is a rare event, but it does happen regularly enough to be of concern to those involved in the industry, and importantly impacts on the public’s perception of racehorse welfare. Events like the collapse and death of the 11-year-old Battlefront in the Foxhunter Chase at last year’s Grand National meeting lives on in the mind of the viewing public, despite the fact that 95 other horses racing on the same day finished in one piece. Fatalities like this have a disproportionate impact on the public’s perception of racing so how common are they, what causes them, and is there anything we can do about them? These questions have recently been addressed by a large research effort, funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board, and involving workers from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Glasgow, with collaboration from the British Horseracing Authority. Catriona Lyle has been the lead research worker coordinating studies both in the UK and internationally on the causes and frequency of unexpected sudden death in the equine athlete.

The great Persian Punch collapsed during the running of the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot



rare, starting-stall incidents have on occasion led to the sudden collapse and death of a horse and this may well be the site where the horses with skull and brain trauma initiated their injury.

No diagnosis made So what caused the remaining cases of death where no definitive diagnosis could be established at post-mortem? As noted earlier, despite the meticulous post-mortem examination of all the tissues of the body in these horses, half of the cases of death did not receive a definitive post-mortem diagnosis. A presumptive diagnosis was made in a further quarter of the study population and in most cases this involved heart failure but this failure was not provable. One of the problems is that gross abnormalities of heart rhythm can occur during or after racing sufficient to cause the collapse and death of the animal but these disturbances in heart rhythm are ‘hit and run’ agents and leave no lasting trace. When the hearts of these unexplained deaths were examined in detail, gross structural abnormalities were only found in a few of them. This contrasts markedly with the situation in man where, in many cases following the collapse and death of a young athlete, structural heart abnormalities such as abnormal arrangement of the blood vessels or enlargement of the heart are found at postmortem. So if the heart was to blame, it wasn’t the structure of the heart that was at fault, but the electric activity and rhythmicity.

Equine Science and Welfare of the BHA, all unexplained sudden deaths from the period 2000 to 2007 were subjected to detailed analysis in comparison to the control cases (i.e. the horses which raced in the same period but which did not die). During the study period more than 63,000 horses started races of which 201 collapsed and died. The majority of these fatalities happened during the race but around a third of them occurred just after pulling up. The overall risk of sudden death during a race was established at 0.3 per 1000 ‘starts’, or one death for every 3000 ‘starters’.

Which horses are most at risk? The risk of death varied with the race type and was significantly lower in Flat racing than in National Hunt racing. Within National Hunt racing, the risk doubled when moving from hurdle races to steeple-chases. The risk factors identified by the study included age and increasing race distance. Racing in summer was also associated with an increase in death rate

“The risk factors

identified by the study included age and increasing race distance�

Diagnosing rhythmicity defects In man, when there is a suspicion that abnormal nervous conduction pathways or abnormal levels of electrical transmitters were the cause of death, even though the athlete is no longer available for testing, it’s possible to screen close relatives for the presence of genetically associated defects. This so-called ‘molecular autopsy’ (establishing the presence of conduction abnormalities in the hearts of relatives) gives the medical team a significant hint as to the cause of death in the athlete. For various reasons this is not possible in the horse but it is highly likely that similar cardiac irregularities do take place and that these are responsible for many of the observed fatalities. In man, these are often genetic in origin, but in the horse this may not be the case.

What can we do about it? In another part of this wide-ranging study, Lyle and her team went on to look at risk factors for race-associated sudden death in the thoroughbred, to see if there was a pattern emerging which would describe these unfortunate events. In conjunction with the Department of THOROUGHBRED OWNER & BREEDER INC PACEMAKER

when compared with racing in spring, winter or autumn. Given the electrical basis for heart function, rate, and rhythm, and the disturbances in the blood electrolyte levels that occur following profuse sweating, this is not surprising.

The effects of distance The risk of sudden death increased 1.3 fold for every kilometre increase in race length. In both this study and the previously described postmortem survey, around a third of deaths occurred in the immediate aftermath of the race. Studies of race-videos in which collapse and death of one horse occurs have shown an association with the event occurring towards the end of the race, when fatigue is setting in. This may explain the effect of increased distance on death rate, as clearly horses will be more fatigued the further they go. This fatigue may contribute to the metabolic derangements that are the basis for fatal cardiac arrhythmias. Such arrhythmias are often noted immediately following the race in apparently healthy horses, as ventricular premature complexes, and these are rarely fatal. Most of these pass-off very

rapidly as the horse recovers, but similar events could be responsible for initiating fatal ventricular fibrillation. Here the heart muscle contracts in a disorganised and chaotic manner and this can result in fatality.

Age matters too The other major risk factor exposed by the study was that of age and the odds ratio of a sudden death increase 1.3 fold with every year of increasing age. It was not possible to tease apart whether this was a straightforward age effect or reflected an effect of the time in training as obviously the two go hand in hand. Lung bleeding, which, as we saw earlier, is responsible for a significant number of otherwise unexplained fatalities has been shown to increase in frequency with increasing age and this may also explain the increase in risk in the older horse. Blood vessels also become fibrosed with age, and in the broodmare rupture of the uterine artery following foaling is associated with increasing age. Presumably, degenerative changes occur in other blood vessels and as we saw earlier in the article, massive internal haemorrhage and resultant shock is responsible for a high number of these deaths.

So can we do anything about it? Unfortunately, practical steps to reduce the number of unexplained fatalities in these fit athletes are hard to recommend. This is partly because the number of fatalities of this sort is so very low to begin with. On an individual horse risk basis, owners and trainers may want to take on board the increased risk for an older horse running over a longer distance in the summer months but given that the overall incidence of sudden death is only 1 in 3000 ‘starts’, even this risk may be deemed to be acceptable. For the owner of an older horse, running over fences over a longer trip in the summer, the risk enhancement may be enough to think twice. Where this study may allow pro-active intervention is in the monitoring of heart rate and rhythm during racing. Modern miniaturisation of electronics allows electrocardiogram (ECG) recording on a free galloping horse with equipment that weighs only a few grams, and data stored continuously during a gallop or race. If enough horses were fitted with these simple ECG recording devices as a matter of routine pre-race, then eventually data would accumulate on these tragic cases which end in a fatality to tell us exactly what cardiac irregularity was responsible for the death, admittedly in hindsight. Although these events are rare, over time a picture may build up of features of the ECG which could be used pro-actively to screen out horses particularly at risk before they race.




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Captain Chris: perhaps best trip is shy of three miles

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Leading National Hunt sires 2013/14 by earnings .AME























Midnight Legend and Oscar on rise Five sires had topped the £1 million mark even before Cheltenham, with Flemensfirth on the brink. Oscar did best in February, with more than £250,000 added to his tally thanks principally to Splash Of Ginge’s victory in the Betfair Hurdle. The biggest jump among the leading dozen was by Midnight Legend, from 18th to 11th. He has never had a mass of runners – his total this season is only 93 – but he has been a model of consistency and Bally Legend’s win in the BetBright Chase was another fillip.





’m not an early riser these days. I pull the blinds up, draw the curtains, look at the weather and think there’s no point rushing this morning. It’s usually raining. My husband, David, brings me a cup of tea in bed, though on occasions if I’m really thirsty I’ll get up at seven and make him one. That’s a special treat. I read the Daily Mail and the local Newbury Weekly News, but no racing paper. Though Luke Harvey does a column in the Newbury paper, which can be quite amusing. If I want to catch up on the gossip somebody usually rings me and says: “Did you hear about so and so‌?â€? I always watch the television news and keep an eye on how the financial markets are doing, and quite often feel‌ aaarrh, oh no! When I was training there were young horses to look after and they would get you out of bed whatever the weather. You were always keen to go up on to the gallops to see what lay ahead. My son, Paul, who lives in Dubai with his wife and daughter, was with us for Christmas during all that bad weather and the power cuts, and I’ll never forget him saying: “Mother, I don’t know how you stuck training all those years. You must have been mental.â€? David keeps loads of rare breeds of hens and their eggs are just divine for breakfast. Some lay blue eggs, some dark brown and others white. If it’s not eggs I’ll have porridge, a bacon sarnie or just plain toast for breakfast. We rarely go away these days, and my relaxation is chilling out in the garden where I do the planning and David does the digging. I do watch Coronation Street all the time and if I’m out I’ll record it. I never miss it. I was invited to join the local bridge club but the only cards I ever played was snap with the kids. I enjoy judging at shows. I judged at the Birmingham Horse of the Year last year and I have quite a few shows to do this year. One of the things I like about it is being among people who love horses and I get a great kick out of encouraging the kids. We have a horsebox that’s hardly ever had a horse in it and is ideal for our overnight stays at the shows; quite luxurious with a shower, toilet, heating, a cooker and even Sky TV. We have a 15 hands Connemara that David and I bought when our nephew Jack Bowlby was showing, but, sadly, we lost Jack 18 months ago. Now his dad Michael hunts him and my sister Mandy


‘Retirement has helped me mellow’

It was all about the horses for Jenny Pitman during her training days but now the dual Grand National winner is happiest in the company of her grandchildren rides him. That’s a delight for us. My motto is ‘the horse comes first’. When I gave someone a bollocking in the yard I used to say I don’t mind if it’s Christmas Day, Boxing Day or if Jesus Christ is coming back to earth, these horses come first. They really did. And the lads knew it. Lunch can be a sandwich, or sometimes we have nothing. We don’t drink; we’ve never been drinkers. And we hardly ever go on holiday, but spending time with the grandchildren is a joy. For years I was unable to be what I should have been as a mother and family member because of the job. There comes a time when you think this is the time for the family. I’ve learnt a lot about life in retirement and I’ve certainly mellowed. When I had thyroid cancer I never discussed it with my sons, Mark and Paul. I didn’t dwell on it because I had to go to work and work is good therapy for illness. I am a patron of the Thyroid Foundation

and people do come up to me wanting to know how I’ve dealt with the disease. I have published five novels and was offered a three-book deal, but that was when my Dad went into hospital, never came home and I couldn’t carry on with the writing. He wasn’t just my Dad, he was my mate. I often cook steak or lamb for the evening meal. I occasionally make a giant pot and take it over to Mandy’s. We enjoy a good stew. These days I take a cup tea to bed after the 10 o’clock news and sometimes watch ‘A League Of Their Own’ in bed. Generally I’m a good sleeper. When I was writing I could be roaming the house half the night. If I got an idea I had to get up, sit by the Aga in the kitchen and write for three or four hours. David would say: “Are you coming back to bed or are you walking around all night?�


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The Invincible Spirit with an invincible spirit

Vale Of York: the best two-year-old colt by Invincible Spirit and winner of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile defeating five G1 winners. His exciting first-crop two-year-olds, in the hands of all the right trainers, are set for future stardom.


Invincible Spirit – Red Vale (Halling) ₏3,000 Oct 1, SLF. Stands at Kildangan Stud, Ireland. +353 (0)45 527600 +44 (0)1638 730070


Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder April 2014