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THE £6.95 FEBRUARY 2021 ISSUE 198

Prince of the Turf

Khalid Abdullah, 1937 - 2021

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£6.95 FEBRUARY 2021 ISSUE 198

Prince of the Turf

Khalid Abdullah, 1937 - 2021

Cover: The late Prince Khalid Abdullah with three of the best horses to race in his famous silks: Dancing Brave, Frankel and Enable Photos: George Selwyn

Edward Rosenthal Editor

Farewell to Juddmonte’s Commander In Chief I

remember the 1993 Derby well. Mostly because I had one of my first bets – 25 pence each-way – on a horse called Blues Traveller, a rank outsider at 150-1, who managed to finish third under Darryll Holland. Quite a thrill for a 12-year-old sat at home watching on the telly. The winner that day was Commander In Chief, bred and owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, trained by Henry Cecil, and ridden by Michael Kinane. Despite being unbeaten coming into the race, he wasn’t favourite; that honour went to his stable companion, Tenby, another homebred for the Prince. Tenby was thought of as a potential superstar before the Classic, his perfect race record encompassing five victories, including the top trial for the Derby, the Dante Stakes at York, on his previous outing. He won all three starts as a juvenile, including the Group 1 Grand Criterium, and if memory serves me correctly he went into the winter as the warm ante-post favourite for Epsom. By contrast, Commander In Chief started the year as an unknown quantity, at least to those outside the Cecil stable and Juddmonte operation, having not raced at two. This beautifully bred son of Dancing Brave and Slightly Dangerous made rapid progress after making his debut that April, winning his first three starts – a maiden and conditions stakes, both at Newmarket, then the Glasgow Stakes at York – before a decisive victory in the Derby, completing the journey from unraced colt to Classic winner in under seven weeks. Not bad going, is it? Commander In Chief followed up in the Irish Derby, defeating French Derby victor Hernando, before taking on his elders for the first and only time in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. The three-year-old wasn’t able to cope with high-class duo Opera House and White Muzzle that afternoon but still finished a fine third. My racecard from ‘Diamond Day’ 28 years ago – July 24, 1993 – remains one of my favourite possessions. (Incidentally, the ten-runner field for that year’s Ascot showpiece was outstanding, also

featuring the likes of Drum Taps, Environment Friend, Jeune, Platini and User Friendly. What the organisers would give for that kind of turnout these days.) Anyone who has followed Flat racing in the last 40 years will have their own favourite horse owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, who passed away in January aged 83. From Dancing Brave, bought at auction in America, to homebred stars such as Frankel and Enable, or dirt sensation Arrogate, those green, pink and white silks will conjure up dazzling memories to racing fans of all ages. It’s impossible to sum up an operation like Juddmonte in a single word but if I had to choose one, it would be class. Seeing the colours in a racecard suggests the promise of quality,

“If I had to choose one word to sum up his operation it would be class” associated as they are with any number of outstanding thoroughbreds over the years. The news that the Juddmonte Farms breeding operation will continue as normal, under direction from Prince Khalid’s family, is a huge boost to the British bloodstock industry, especially during these difficult times. It’s also a fillip for racing generally, with Prince Khalid’s sporting side giving stars like Enable an extended racecourse career when by far the safest option would have been an earlier retirement. Perhaps Logician, who stays in training with John Gosden as a five-year-old, can reward this bold strategy by winning this year’s Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, one of the few British Group 1 races to have eluded his late owner-breeder.




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18/01/2021 15:03


February 2021


News & Views ROA Leader

Gambling reviews could hit racing hard

TBA Leader

Supporting the domestic market is vital


Death of David Thompson


News in a nutshell

Howard Wright

The changing face of racing reporting

Features continued 7 9 18

The man behind Juddmonte Farms

The Big Picture

From Kempton and Chepstow

Elusive Bloodstock

James and Amelia Gray's Lincolnshire outfit

Value sires

Superb selection of stallions on offer

Shared ownership

Part two: regulation around the globe



David Thompson was a great British breeder

Sales Circuit Quality horses in demand

Dr Statz Mares in foal to Blue Point prove popular


The Finish Line With owner Professor Caroline Tisdall


Features Khalid Abdullah tribute

Breeders' Digest

Owner Sponsorship Scheme in lights

24 30

Great British Bonus Latest winners

TBA Forum Godolphin and Dubawi win awards

Breeder of the Month 36 46

54 68 88

Forum ROA Forum



Henry Cole for Mister Malarky

Vet Forum Factors affecting fertility in mares

70 77 78 83 84




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ROA Leader

Charlie Parker President

All bets are off if regulation is increased A

s early 2021 repeats the difficulties of 2020, racing must be attuned to the challenges it faces and tackle them quickly. Top of the list is the sport’s relationship with gambling. With a government review of the Gambling Act in motion, our partnership needs to be protected and expanded. While owners provide the bulk of investment in racing, betting is the second largest revenue stream. People up and down the country enjoying the races and having a bet contribute a significant amount to the sport. The gambling levy, bookmakers’ media rights payments, sponsorship and corporate hospitality all provide revenue for racing. The relationship is symbiotic: better and more racing with responsible gambling is good for racing and betting firms, while effective redistribution models allow racing to better share in the revenue created and grow the product. Racing and betting firms can support each other to grow. While the relationship is not always straightforward, it is important to the sport. Having a bet and getting involved in a race is a brilliant addition to a day at the races. I have always been a believer in mutual interest and clearly there is a way forward of our sport that grows the product, the sport and the potential revenue to both betting firms, owners and other stakeholders. This relationship, revenue and mutual interest is under threat from ongoing reviews of gambling regulation by the government and the regulator, the Gambling Commission. After the pandemic, the reviews present potentially the biggest cloud on the horizon for British racing. Responsible gambling is and must continue to be a priority for the industry and should continue to be promoted by racing and by the gambling industry. The recent expansion of self-help tools is a huge step forward and shows extensive and impressive progress in and commitment to this area. Gambling regulation in the UK is more advanced than anywhere else in the world. We lead the way on responsible gambling. As plans for regulation are assessed there are clearly egregious areas which are not based on clear evidence and that unduly contradict the value of personal responsibility and common sense while hugely impacting revenue. Affordability is one of those. It is not for government or regulators to take it upon themselves to tell me where I can and cannot spend my money. The next time I visit the supermarket, will I be asked for a liver function test certificate or my P60 if I add a second box of wine to the trolley? When I ask the Lambourn butcher for an extra 12 sausages, will I be asked to produce my latest BMI score? The original call for evidence included a suggestion that strict monthly spend limits that could only be increased by the production of personal tax records, bank records or pay slips. I do not know of

any other pastime that requires this personal information. The proposals are an infringement on civil liberties. Furthermore, they do not work to protect those most at risk. British racing’s working group is making good progress on our submission to the Gambling Commission, which firmly rebuffs both the practical and philosophical aspects of the proposed limits. Despite it feeling like a fait accompli, the industry is determined to push hard on the pitfalls of this potential regulation. Consumer protection exists, works well and can continue to progress without costing the government and racing – which is the second most watched sport in the UK – valuable revenue in these challenging times. Proposals such as affordability caps have the potential to ruin racing’s revenues and send the sport back

“It is not for government or regulators to tell me where I can and cannot spend my money” decades. We cannot allow one-size-fits-all regulation to prevent people from having a casual flutter and enjoying a day at the races. Over-regulation risks a lot of the progress the government has already made to boost racing’s revenue streams. Looking at 2021 and the immediate challenges, racing needs to work harder than ever before. We need to ensure the government understands the risks of its policies, be they the movement of goods across borders, the return of spectators or gambling regulation. The government should look to grow Britain’s second most popular sport, not stifle it. There is a strong collaborative effort to make racing’s views clear that gives me cause for optimism in these challenging times.











Including Trueshan, winner of the Gr.2 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Prize money earnings of over £2.2m.

Fee: £3,000 1st October LFFR

52% winners to runners.





SIRE OF TOP 2YO FILLY MRS DANVERS And many other high-class winning sprinters including La Rioja, Bonnie Grey, Hells Babe, Quench Dolly, Wrenthorpe, etc.

CONSISTENT 5F STAKES WINNER Won 3 Stakes races and Gr.1 placed 3x from 3 to 6 years, all over 5f.



Fee: £2,500 1st October LFFR

Fee: £3,000 1st October

Chapel Stud Ltd Chapel Lane, Bransford, Worcestershire WR6 5JQ 01452 717 342

Roisin Close 07738 279 071

Planteur Tina Dawson 07776 165854 @Planteur07

Pearl Secret Daniel Creighton 07597 945 219

TBA Leader

Julian Richmond-Watson Chairman

Solution to filling races is on our doorstep B

ritain’s eventual, and eventful, departure from the European Union (EU) and its predecessor the European Communities (EC) is complete, after 47 years’ membership. Even though a trade deal was put together at the last minute to ensure tariff-free trading, this has had little effect on issues affecting the transport of bloodstock between Britain and the now 27 countries of the EU. Had no deal prevailed on December 31, Britain’s trading status with the EU would have been dealt with by World Trade Organisation regulations, but under WTO rules there were never going to be tariffs on breeding stock, only geldings. So, the idea that this would do anything for our bloodstock industry other than change the atmosphere between the parties was always wishful thinking. As the industry-wide Brexit Steering Group, of which I am Chairman, has advised all along, moving horses between Britain and EU countries will involve more paperwork, more checks and a greater degree of frustration than has been experienced for many years under the old system and in particular the Tripartite Agreement with Ireland and France. In the early days of the New Year, stories emerged of how the new regime was causing delays and consternation for bloodstock transporters, which was exactly why the steering group advised against travelling for at least two weeks, and possibly longer. It is to be hoped that, in time, common sense will prevail over some of the nonsensical scenarios that have not been thought through. The outcome of the Brexit referendum in June 2016 was engendered by many difficult strands, one of which was definitely ‘nationalism.’ As the world in general recovers from Covid-19, as hopefully it will in the coming months, there is every chance that similar expressions of nationalism will become evident, not only in Britain but in many other countries as they try to rebuild their economies. I don’t imagine that racing will be immune from this attitude. Indeed, the principle of Global Britain, delivering on a strong international ambition, has to be a virtue that the British racing and breeding industries embrace. We are already world leaders and aligning ourselves with the government’s ambitions must make sense. Even before the devastation of coronavirus, foal crops around the world were declining and this trend will continue at an even faster pace after the pandemic has subsided. This will make each racing nation even keener to hold on to their homebred horses, and the introduction of extra incentive schemes can be expected, as countries fight to keep horses racing in their home jurisdiction, so that racecourse operators

can maintain numbers to fill their programmes and aspirations. France has already started an advertising campaign aimed at enticing British breeders, and owners, to relocate to their country, where lucrative breeders’ prizes and premiums are available. Even though there has been an integrated breeding agreement between the tripartite countries of Britain, Ireland and France, it is clear that Britain can expect no favours from those who see an advantage to promoting their own bloodstock. The US magazine the BloodHorse recently reported how the New York Racing Association has been able to add $15 million annually to the state breeding fund, which has staved off the kind of fall in numbers of owners and breeders of around 40 per cent that other states have experienced.

“Our best hope of keeping numbers up is to retain the homebred stock and to look after our own” This is as a direct result of commercial decisions whereby racecourses can see the value in ensuring there are enough homebred horses available to fulfil their commercial aspirations. With this kind of intervention, it is no surprise that the number of US yearlings imported to race in Britain has dropped from 1,500 in 2009 to 400 in 2019. Britain does not have a prize-money regime guaranteed to encourage large numbers of runners from overseas, so the solution to finding the horses we need is not to look elsewhere. It is time the industry as a whole, and racecourses in particular, recognised that breeders need much more support and incentives, even if it is ‘nationalistic’ to say so. Our best hope of keeping numbers up is to retain and enhance the homebred stock and to look after our own.




Prince Khalid Abdullah at Royal Ascot in 2013



Prince Khalid Abdullah

‘He has left an indelible mark on racing and breeding’ Prince Khalid Abdullah’s legacy will be felt for generations to come through Juddmonte Farms, which continues to set the benchmark for producing high-class thoroughbreds globally Words: Nancy Sexton • Photos: George Selwyn


is Highness Prince Khalid Abdullah, who died in January at the age of 83, was quite simply one of the greatest owner-breeders in the history of horseracing. Born in 1937 in Saudi Arabia, Abdullah was a member of the House Of Saud, the Saudi Royal family. His father Abdullah bin Abdul-Rahman was a younger half-brother to King Abdulaziz, the first monarch of Saudi Arabia. A man who preferred to let his horses do the talking, Abdullah’s interest in racing was sparked by a visit to Longchamp as a young man during the 1950s. Two decades later, he set a plan in motion to launch a racing stable of his own, purchasing his first yearlings in 1977, and his first broodmare, Metair, in 1979. Over the next 40 years, Abdullah and his tightly knit team would cultivate one of those rare entities that was self-sufficient. A group of early, significant purchases, many of them made through Humphrey Cottrill and James Delahooke, laid the foundations for the success that was to come and as various families came to take root, so the need to dip into the market and bolster the operation with outside purchases

waned. On one of the rare recent occasions that they did return to the market, Juddmonte came away with a horse of iconic stature in the shape of US champion Arrogate. In all, Juddmonte Farms can boast to have bred 113 individual Group or Grade 1 winners, including 28 European Classic winners. In September 2020, it celebrated the success of its first sixth generation homebred, Lucid Dreamer. The Juddmonte name will always be indelibly linked with Frankel and Enable. But there were plenty of other brilliant performers, notably Dancing Brave, Zafonic, Warning, Kingman, Commander In Chief, Workforce and Twice Over in addition to the American stars Arrogate, Empire Maker, Sightseek and Tinners Way. Indeed, Abdullah’s silks have been carried to victory in every British Classic. Currently, the operation consists of five stallions, approximately 250 horses in training spread across 17 trainers, and around 200 broodmares. It employs a staff of 250 people. Thankfully, as outlined by the group’s CEO Douglas Erskine-Crum in a broadcast to ITV Racing in the days




Tribute ›› following Abdullah’s death, Juddmonte will

continue to operate as normal. “Juddmonte will continue. Continuity is key for any breeding and racing operation,” he said. “The [Abdullah] family has been for some time and still is very committed to keeping Juddmonte as it is, focusing on the broodmare band, focusing on the homebred operation. “One of the last decisions in which the Prince was involved was the matings for this year – whether they are going to go to Frankel, Kingman or some of the great stallions across the world. “And those horses will be born next year and will race as three-year-olds in 2025, so if we have a champion in 2025, you will be able to say the Prince was actually involved directly in the decisionmaking.” It has been revealed that Enable will visit Kingman this season. Erskine-Crum added: “Of course things change and indeed the Prince made some fairly substantial changes in the number of broodmares six or seven years ago, but those changes are necessary to keep the

business running and also necessary to make sure that essential continuity of the broodmare is enhanced.” One of the beauties of Juddmonte is that a family today is instantly recognisable. Enable is the crowning achievement of the Fleet Girl family that joined the fold with the purchase of Ferrans Stud in Ireland from Dr Herbert Schnapka in 1982. Frankel, produced on a foal sharing agreement with Coolmore, hails from the John ‘Jock’ Hay Whitney stock bought on the advice of Jeremy Tree in 1983, as does the Peace family that is responsible for Byword, Proviso and Zambezi Sun. Then there is the remarkable success of Hasili, the dam of Dansili, Cacique, Champs Elysees, Heat Haze and Banks Hill. Her granddam, Sookera, was purchased from Robert Sangster. Another matriarch, Slightly Dangerous, left behind the likes of Commander In Chief, Warning and Yashmak.



There have been many more – those descending from Bahamian, Mofida, Razyana, Monroe, Lost Virtue, Populi, Image Of Reality and her daughter Toussaud to name but a few – that have contributed to Juddmonte’s standing as a titan of its era. In turn, it has become a brand that is sought after all over the world; in many cases, buyers are willing to pay a premium to secure access. Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony was among those to pay tribute to the owner. “Prince Khalid has left an indelible mark on the sport of racing and the world of thoroughbred breeding,” he said. “His Juddmonte racing and breeding empire has long set standards to which all aspire but few attain and he leaves a lasting legacy embodied, amongst so many others, by true legends of the turf in Frankel and Enable.” Breeders have also long patronised its stallions in the knowledge that they will

be supported by the powerful Juddmonte brand; Juddmonte can be credited with breeding the first Group or Grade 1 winner by ten of their past and current inmates. Much of the initial success can be credited to Humphrey Cottrill, in whom Abdullah placed his trust, and former Beckhampton trainer Jeremy Tree. Tree was entrusted with Abdullah’s early string and in May 1979 sent out his first winner when Charming Native scored under Lester Piggott in a Windsor maiden. Not long after, yearling purchase Abeer became his first Group winner when successful under Willie Carson in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot. Waiting in the wings at Beckhampton was a son of In Reality purchased by Cottrill as a yearling for $225,000. Abdullah christened the near black youngster Known Fact and after capturing the 1979 Middle Park Stakes, he provided the owner with a first Classic winner the

Prince Khalid Abdullah 2,000 Guineas, Eclipse Stakes and King George, not to mention that unlucky second in the Derby, sealed his place as a modern great and arguably the best to carry the pink, green and white colours prior to Frankel. In his Arc victory, Dancing Brave emulated Rainbow Quest’s success for

“Enable is the crowning achievement of the Fleet Girl family”

Prince Khalid in the Newmarket parade ring in September 1983, pictured with (from l-r) Steve Cauthen, Roger Charlton, Pat Eddery, Jeremy Tree and Grant Pritchard-Gordon

following May in the 2,000 Guineas, albeit on the disqualification of Nureyev. Known Fact later denied Kris in a thrilling finish to the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes to end 1980 as one of the year’s top milers. Known Fact went on to provide Abdullah with a first Group 1-winning homebred in Warning, which subsequently allowed him to become an important conduit for the Godolphin Arabian sire line. He also heralded the beginning of an incredible association between Juddmonte and the turf top table. With the assistance of bloodstock agent James Delahooke, such stars as Dancing Brave and Rainbow Quest swiftly followed. Delahooke signed at just $200,000 for Dancing Brave at the 1984 FasigTipton July Sale. Sent to Guy Harwood, the Lyphard colt was the star turn of the 1986 season, his brilliance defined by that outstanding winning kick in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Easy victories in the

Jeremy Tree the year before. Rainbow Quest was awarded the 1985 renewal on the disqualification of Sagace, having previously won the Coronation Cup in imperious fashion. Dancing Brave and Rainbow Quest both retired to stud in Britain – Dancing Brave stood at Dalham Hall Stud while Rainbow Quest headed to Wargrave prior to making Banstead Manor Stud a permanent home – and were joined in due course by Warning. An excellent miler for Harwood, his victories included the 1988 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Sussex Stakes and 1989 Queen Anne Stakes. In an illustration of how quickly Juddmonte developed into a powerful

Dancing Brave produces a devastating turn of foot under Pat Eddery to take the 1986 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while far left, Quest For Fame gives his ownerbreeder a first Derby victory in 1990




Tribute ›› breeding force, Rainbow Quest’s first

crop contained the homebred Derby winner Quest For Fame, whose dam Aryenne had been purchased out of France. It was a landmark result for Tree’s successor Roger Charlton, who had sent out fellow homebred Sanglamore – out of Juddmonte’s first homebred Group winner Ballinderry – to win the Prix du Jockey Club just days before. “I was very lucky that my coming here [Beckhampton] in 1978 coincided with Prince Khalid sending horses to Jeremy Tree the following year,” said Charlton, whose other major winners for the owner included Cityscape, Bated Breath and more recently Quadrilateral. “To begin with there were only two or three and then obviously it multiplied. Quest For Fame’s Derby victory was pretty surreal, as I had probably had a licence for about two and a half months. “To have two [horses] winning an English Derby and a French Derby in the space of a few days was pretty unreal. It

wasn’t expected and how lucky am I to have had that opportunity. It’s thanks to his loyalty – he didn’t have to leave the horses with me when Jeremy packed up – and I’ve respected that ever since. “The racing and breeding industries have a huge amount of respect for Juddmonte and it’s all due to Prince Khalid. He had a huge passion for the horse; an understanding for the horse, which of course is important. You only have to look at Juddmonte and the stallions for a start to see how he has outperformed most other owner-breeders.” As with Quest For Fame, Abdullah’s second Derby winner, the 1993 hero Commander In Chief, was also the product of two Juddmonte-owned parents, in his case Dancing Brave and Slightly Dangerous. The colt, trained by Sir Henry Cecil, capped an annus mirabilis for the owner that also featured the Andre Fabre-trained Classic winners Zafonic, an outstanding winner of the 2,000 Guineas, and Wemyss Bight, successful in the Irish

Prince Khalid enjoys Frankel’s 2,000 Guineas triumph with trainer Sir Henry Cecil, jockey Tom Queally and groom Sandeep Gauvaram


Frankel: the peak of homebred perfection The field is deep and vast but if one had to identify a crowning achievement of Prince Khalid Abdullah’s breeding operation, it is surely Frankel, writes Andrew Scutts of the Racing Post. There may yet, of course, be another of similarly unblemished ability – that is the beauty of an immensely strong breeding foundation that is continuous; there is always the excitement that in the next crop of foals could lie another champion – but for now it’s Frankel that sets the standard as far as Juddmonte homebreds go. It’s fair to say that his pedigree gave him a headstart in life. Frankel is by Galileo, the world’s pre-eminent sire, and out of an excellent Juddmonte mare in Kind, winner of six races herself and a daughter of Danehill, whose haul of 84 top-level winners is bettered only by, yes, Galileo. However, it’s one thing to have the pedigree, quite another to put one foot in front of the other as quickly as Frankel did during his illustrious career. The taste of what was to come arrived on his very first start, a mile maiden on a soggy British summer’s evening at the July course in his home town of Newmarket. Tom Queally moved up



stylishly to collar leader Nathaniel – who didn’t turn out too badly himself – and then went on to score snugly by half a length. No rival would ever get as close to Frankel again in 13 subsequent races over three wonderful seasons, and never again would Frankel start at odds-against. Further wins at two came along as his master trainer Sir Henry Cecil laid the foundations by gradually stepping up his emerging stable star. After easy victories in a conditions race and the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, Frankel contested, and of course won, his first Group 1, the Dewhurst, ending the year as joint-champion two-year-old with Dream Ahead. Abdullah and his team at Juddmonte, along with Cecil and his staff at Warren Place, would have been doing plenty of dreaming ahead themselves in the winter of 2010, though rarely do dreams convert into glorious reality quite like they did with Frankel. Asked to highlight just one racing recollection, surely right at the top of any survey would be the memory of him blitzing away from the front in the 2,000 Guineas. Not even a pacemaker would be ten lengths clear at halfway in a Guineas,

but Frankel was, and while the winning margin was ‘only’ six lengths, the die had been cast. He would go on to receive higher ratings than he posted that spring day on the Rowley Mile, but the freegoing force of nature success doesn’t half stick in the mind. One would run out of superlatives before his three-year-old career was over, with his Greenham and Guineas victories built on with further triumphs in the St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes, in which the so-called Duel on the Downs with Canford Cliffs was more dud than

Prince Khalid Abdullah

duel, with Frankel going five lengths clear, and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at the first British Champions Day – how lucky were the organisers to have such a poster boy? Frankel scooped the ROA and Cartier Horse of the Year awards for 2011, and he was to do the same the following year. By this point Cecil was quite seriously ill. Having a stunning horse like Frankel must have been both a huge comfort and encouragement, and it’s probably no exaggeration to say that Frankel was a life sustainer. He also sustained his excellence on the racetrack, dishing out two further defeats

to poor old Excelebration, who would have been a worthy champion in another era, in the Lockinge and Queen Anne, before winning the Sussex Stakes again and taking a belated step up to a mile and a quarter in his stride in the Juddmonte International, sponsored by his ownerbreeder. By now his official rating had soared to 140, but those hoping his swansong in the Champion Stakes in October 2012 would elevate him enough to draw level or even exceed an Abdullah great of yesteryear, Dancing Brave, who retired with an official rating of 141, had to be content with a

length and three-quarters defeat of that fine old soldier Cirrus Des Aigles. Fast-forward to 2021 and Frankel commands a fee of £175,000 at Banstead Manor Stud, the beating heart of his late owner-breeder’s awesome operation. He has sired 12 Group/Grade 1 winners and reached 40 northern hemisphere Group winners faster than any other European stallion in the history of the Pattern. At 13, he has time on his side to build on a hugely successful start at stud. In Frankel, Prince Khalid Abdullah set himself, and others, a standard virtually impossible to match.



Tribute ›› Oaks. The previous year had seen two Known Fact: the first Juddmonte stallion commenced stud duties in 1981

Farms vital to the Juddmonte machine At its peak, the Juddmonte portfolio of land consisted of eight farms, each with an important role to play. The wheel was set in motion back in 1980 with the purchases of Cayton Park Stud and Pudders Farm in Berkshire. They collectively became known as Wargrave Farms and in 1981 the property welcomed its first stallion, Known Fact. Wargrave was sold in 2017. Today, the operation’s European headquarters are based at Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket. Purchased in November 1987, the 379-acre farm also acts as the European stallion base. Its purchase complemented the Newmarket-based Eagle Lane Farm, which had been bought in 1986 and for a time acted as a secondary stallion division. Juddmonte was bolstered in 1996 with the acquisition of the picturesque Estcourt Estate, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Comprising of 1,571 acres, 132 of which are parkland, the stud houses the majority of the broodmare band in addition to foster and retired mares. Side Hill Stud in Newmarket was added in 2004 and is where the majority of Juddmonte’s European mares are sent to foal. In Ireland, the Kildare-based New Abbey Farm has fulfilled a range



of roles since its purchase in 1990, notably as grazing for weanlings and a base for mares visiting Irish stallions. Then there is the pre-training arm of Ferrans Stud in County Meath. The farm has had an array of champions through its doors in the years following its purchase from Dr Schnapka in 1982, initially under the eye of Manager Rory Mahon and now his son, Barry. Rory Mahon vividly remembers an early meeting with Khalid Abdullah, as recalled in the publication Juddmonte. “He seemed to me a very quiet man,” he says. “Absolutely brilliant on pedigrees and loved his homebreds. He wanted to build an empire of top-class horses from family lines that Juddmonte would create.” A package with Dr Schnapka also included the sale of Juddmonte’s Kentucky base in 1982. Overseen by Garrett O’Rourke, the property encompasses two farms of just under 2,000 acres within four miles of each other. Another important aspect of Juddmonte is the sponsorship portfolio. Currently it consists of six Group or Grade 1 races, namely the Juddmonte International, Irish Oaks, Grand Prix de Paris, Middle Park Stakes, Cheveley Park Stakes and Spinster Stakes, and a Group 2, the Royal Lodge Stakes.

Cecil-trained Group 1 performers in Tenby and Armiger, the latter a six-length winner of the Racing Post Trophy. That level of success pays tremendous tribute to the depth of the Juddmonte broodmare band even then. Alongside that, the stallion roster has never swelled to large numbers, instead generally holding steady at a select level in both Britain and Kentucky in line with the primary objective of standing a horse that could complement the broodmare band while offering appeal to outside breeders. Commander In Chief, Workforce and Armiger were each sold to stand in Japan at the end of their racing days in transactions that looked to work out for the best. Siskin was also sold to stand in Japan. Danehill, on the other hand, was the one that got away; sold to Arrowfield and Coolmore at the end of his racing career, he went on become a breed-shaping stallion. However, plenty of those that were retained for stud duty did become important influences. Banstead Manor Stud, purchased from the Morriss family in 1987, housed an early success story in Rainbow Quest, the sire of 20 Group/Grade 1 winners. The son of Blushing Groom remains influential, particularly through his daughters. Zafonic provided Abdullah with champion two-year-old Xaar in his first crop and remains very relevant today via Iffraaj and his son, Wootton Bassett. Dansili is the sire of 21 winners at the top level, boasts high-class sire sons such as Harbinger and Zoffany, and is a successful broodmare sire. July Cup winner Oasis Dream remains an integral part of the roster with 17 Group/Grade 1 winners to his credit. His Group 2-winning son Showcasing is also a successful sire but Oasis Dream’s real legacy is likely to be through his daughters; only last year, he featured as the damsire of Group 1 winners Twilight Payment, Siskin, Sir Dragonet and Tawkeel. However, the presence of both Frankel and Kingman at Banstead Manor means that Juddmonte heads into the next few years on a very strong footing. Frankel exhausted all superlatives during his sublime career for Sir Henry Cecil and is now forging a reputation as a world-class sire at stud, primarily as the sire of 12 Group/Grade 1 winners. He cuts a striking profile by the figures as well, not only as the fastest stallion to reach 40 Pattern winners in history but in relation to a running statistic of 14% black-type winners to runners. Meanwhile, Kingman is the son of a homebred Classic winner in Zenda, herself

Prince Khalid Abdullah

Golden girl Enable won three King Georges, two Arcs, and over £10.7 million during her illustrious career

a Zamindar half-sister to Oasis Dream from the famed Bahamian family. Kingman was a brilliant miler for John Gosden – it is striking how many of his better runners, such as Palace Pier, Persian King and Calyx, possess a similarly strong kick. Like Frankel, his stock are keenly sought after all over the world and as such, his fee has risen from £55,000 to £150,000 in recent years. Sadly, the American arm was dealt a major blow last year with the death of champion Arrogate, the biggest-earning racehorse in American history. A rare yearling purchase, Arrogate swept the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup for Bob Baffert and leaves behind three crops, the oldest of whom have just turned two. His death leaves veteran Mizzen Mast, a proven Grade 1 sire in his own right, as the sole stallion on the Kentucky roster. Juddmonte Farm’s long-serving Kentucky President Dr John Chandler has been a vital cog in the operation for the best part of four decades, and as such has witnessed the ascent of the operation into a global force. “I began vetting horses for him in 1981,” he recalls. “In those days, he loved going to the sales. It didn’t matter whether it was Newmarket, Ireland, Deauville or Saratoga – he went to every one. And we bought a lot of good horses. “I remember most of them well because I vetted them all. Dancing Brave was obviously one – he had a parrot mouth and

wall eye but he was a really nice looking horse and a super mover. “The Prince spent a lot of time in Kentucky. He loved coming to the farm, he would stay here, relax and spend a lot of time walking in the fields with the horses.” One particularly special memory is the day that Zafonic won the Prix Morny at Deauville. The colt was a son of Gone West, then a young stallion standing at Mill Ridge Farm for Chandler’s wife, Alice.

“Prince Khalid has been the guiding light for what has been achieved” “We were at Deauville having lunch with the Prince,” says Chandler. “And Zafonic won – he was the first big winner for Gone West – and Alice was so excited she jumped up and gave the Prince a big kiss, to his amusement.” He adds: “He was a man with a good heart, a delightful man to be around and charitable as well. He loved his horses and he loved watching them race – it didn’t matter whether it was Royal Ascot or a small race in Louisiana, he loved it.

“It’s been 40 years and we have some wonderful memories. They were marvellous times.” Juddmonte’s success can be summed up by the fact that to date it has received 24 Cartier Awards, 27 ROA Awards and 16 Eclipse Awards. It has also been particularly successful at the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) Awards, having received the Queen’s Silver Cup as the leading British-based Flat breeder by earnings on 11 occasions; the TBA Silver Rose Bowl as Flat breeder of the year on five occasions; the BBA Silver Cigar Box for the leading British-based stallion by earnings on four occasions; and the Barleythorpe Silver Cup for the leading British-based stallion by winners on four occasions. “In my eyes, Prince Khalid is what Juddmonte is,” explains Stud Director Simon Mockridge in Juddmonte, a publication celebrating the farm’s 40 years of success. “He was passionate about racing and breeding. He has been the guiding light for what has been achieved at Juddmonte.” Juddmonte heads into its next chapter with 40 years of excellence behind it, during which time it has drawn on the insight of a loyal team and that early fruitful investment in land and stock. Yet underneath it all, it was driven by the passion of one man, Prince Khalid Abdullah. Juddmonte was his creation and something for which he deserved to take immense pride.




Tributes paid to ‘inspirational’ David Thompson of Cheveley Park Stud

David Thompson built Cheveley Park Stud into a giant of British breeding, producing horses such as top-class miler and sire Medicean


avid Thompson, joint-owner of the famed Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket, died in late December aged 84. Cheveley Park’s patriotic racing silks of red, white and blue are among the best known on the racecourse, with a recent focus on jumping having given the Thompsons – David and his wife Patricia – much pleasure, though Flat racing is the core business of the stud, whose best known stallion, Pivotal, continues to serve a select book or mares aged 28. The Thompsons purchased Cheveley Park Stud in 1975 and the pair’s success in bloodstock and racing has seen them reach the pinnacle of the sport. Pivotal himself provided plenty of highlights on the track, winning the King’s Stand and Nunthorpe Stakes, while numerous other homebred Group 1 winners have followed suit, including Medicean, Nannina, Echelon, Integral and Queen’s Trust to name but a few. The Thompsons have also proven shrewd buyers of talent, Russian Rhythm being the prime but not only example, others including Gay Gallanta, Allegretto, Kingsgate Native and Twilight Son, who all likewise dined at



the Group 1 table. The couple’s eye also extended to National Hunt, their purchase of Party Politics in the General Election year of 1992 coming just days before he won the Grand National. In recent years, the Thompsons have renewed their interest in National Hunt racing, with the Cheveley Park silks carried to Cheltenham Festival glory by A Plus Tard, Ferny Hollow and the unbeaten Envoi Allen, and Gordon Elliott being the recipient of some bigmoney buys. A Plus Tard and Envoi Allen are on course for the Festival again next month, and victory would be a nice lead into the spring and the start of the Flat season for the Cheveley Park team. A statement released by the family revealed that Thompson had died of renal failure the day after A Plus Tard’s victory in the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown on December 28. Cheveley Park’s Managing Director Chris Richardson said: “David Thompson was a very generous, meticulous, sometimes unpredictable man, who always had a certain charm. “He inspired everyone with his insatiable enthusiasm for business

which, thankfully, included a love of racing and breeding, alongside his wife, Patricia and their family. He had tremendous foresight and would often ask a question, knowing full well the answer. “I always tried to be prepared, as one never knew when the thrill and challenge of another equine adventure would catch his imagination. His latest venture into National Hunt racing proved a huge success and gave him so much pleasure. “DBT’s recent visit to the Cheltenham Sale held in Newmarket, and to the stud, gave him and all here so much joy. He certainly enriched the lives of all those he met and who knew him. He will be much missed.” David and Patricia Thompson were recognised for their philanthropic work last year by each being awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. The Thompson Family Charitable Trust, meanwhile, has become one of the largest charitable foundations in Britain, having already donated more than £70 million to a variety of medical, educational, social, artistic and other charities, whilst maintaining an endowment for future donations of

Stories from the racing world more than £100m. As well as his wife, Thompson is survived by three children, Richard, Rosalind and Katie, and seven grandchildren. Richardson is supported in running the stud by a senior management team that includes John Marsh, Andrew

Snell and Matthew Sigsworth, while in addition to Pivotal and aforementioned Twilight Son, the 2021 stallion roster features Mayson, Dutch Art, Ulysses and Unfortunately, who stands at Springfield House Stud in County Tipperary. Nancy Sexton’s tribute, page 53

Who Dares Wins takes the 2020 Queen Alexandra Stakes, which will continue as the meeting’s closing race

Seven up for Royal Ascot Royal Ascot is to stage seven-race cards on each of its five days of action from this summer, the racecourse revealed last month. The Royal meeting added extra races to its schedule last year as a result of Covid-19 and the consequent need to provide horsemen with more opportunities after the two-and-a-halfmonth shutdown, and have decided that seven-race cards should be made permanent. The Queen’s approval was needed to extend the meeting to 35 races, and after it was granted the track unveiled its new-look programme. Last year the Copper Horse Stakes, the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes and the Golden Gates Stakes were added, and the Buckingham Palace Stakes reinstated to widespread approval. The four handicaps have all been retained, while the Queen approved the naming of the Kensington Palace Stakes, a new handicap to be run over the Old Mile for fillies and mares aged four and upwards. Kensington Palace, set in Kensington Gardens in London, has been a residence for members of the Royal family since the 17th century. The Silver versions of the Royal Hunt Cup and Wokingham that were run last summer have not been retained, and there will not be eight races on the

Saturday as in 2020. Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot, said: “The concept of extended cards last year was well received, and we are very pleased to be able to offer additional opportunities to the horsemen community, the public, broadcasters and media going forward. “At this time, more than ever, the increased opportunity to win prizemoney and generate more levy and domestic and overseas betting income is crucial. “Following consultation with the BHA, we decided to remove the two reserve races and bring in another high-quality handicap, as we are actually reducing the number of races run by one from last year, where eight races were staged on the Saturday. It occurred to us that the Old (round) Mile course is used only twice during Royal Ascot and another race on this track would add to the variety on offer.” He added: “Last year’s extended cards were possible only by reducing some field sizes slightly, and because no overnight stabling was allowed under Covid protocols. In order that field sizes can go up to their maximums again and with overnight stabling extremely important, we have commissioned extra temporary stabling to be built to the required BHA standards.”

Moving horses to Europe in 2021 The movement of horses between Britain and the rest of Europe has become more complex following Britain’s departure from the European Union on December 31. The Tripartite Agreement, which allowed free movement of horses between countries, has ended and the UK now comes under ‘Third Country’ status, which has already made the transport of horses between Britain and the EU more laborious and costly. The TBA strongly advises that breeders wishing to travel mares to Ireland, France and Germany for the covering season appoint a professional transporter and customs agent, as failure to provide correct documentation and follow specified procedures could mean that stock are turned away at Border Control Posts. All horses travelling between the UK and the EU must have an Export Health Certificate (EHC). Two blood tests, one for equine viral arteritis and another for equine infectious anaemia, are required. The analysis must be undertaken by the Animal, Plant and Heath Agency (APHA) laboratory. Certain residency requirements must also be fulfilled in the 40 days prior to travel. The temporary movement of broodmares for covering also requires a Breeding Clearance Notification (BCN) from Weatherbys. There remains a lack of clarity as to whether foals will be considered a separate epidemiological unit from their dams and thereby be classified as ‘unregistered’, necessitating their own EHC and 30 days quarantine from their date of birth prior to travel. It can also take up to five days for an EHC to be issued, which could cause further complications for stock travelling to the EU out of a public auction. An additional complication is that the EU Animal Health Law, which is due to be implemented in April, could prompt further change to requirements. See and regulation/brexit/ for the latest updates on this evolving situation.




Racing’s news in a nutshell

People and business

Bob Champion Charles Byrnes

Irish trainer handed six-month ban after Viking Hoard tests positive for a sedative in a race at Tramore in which he was laid heavily to lose.

Vaccination centres

Nick Rust

Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden

Racecourse Association Chair is awarded a CBE while former Professional Jockeys Association Chairman Nigel Payne is made an MBE.

British racecourses sign up to help in the battle against Covid, with Newbury, Epsom, Beverley, Taunton, Newcastle and Leicester all on board.

Grand National winner on Numbersixvalverde in 2006 retires from riding aged 35. He enjoyed Grade 1 wins on Jazz Messenger and Nickname.

Former BHA Chief Executive is made an OBE in the New Year’s honours list for his service to horseracing.

Maggie Carver

ITV Racing

Paddy Power becomes title sponsor of the programme in two-year deal; Betfair will back The Opening Show as part of the agreement.

Ladbrokes Coral

Shares in bookmakers’ owner Entain fall sharply after casino giant MGM Resorts International pulls out of takeover bid.

David Mullins

Charlie Boss

The Jockey Club appoints new Chief Commercial Officer, currently Disney’s Commercial Director for Sports across Europe and Africa.

People obituaries Khalid Abdullah 83

Owner-breeder whose Juddmonte Farms produced superstars Frankel and Enable among a plethora of outstanding runners.

David Thompson 84

Irish jockey who enjoyed Grand National glory with Rule The World in 2016 quits the saddle aged 24.

With wife Patricia he built Cheveley Park Stud into a nursery of champions while owning top-class performers under both codes.

Dave Crosse

Zoe Davison 60

Jockey, 38, retires after 22-year career that yielded 207 winners from more than 3,600 rides, including the 2002 Kim Muir on The Bushkeeper.


Ex-jockey who recovered from cancer to win the 1981 Grand National on Aldaniti is made a CBE for his extensive charitable work.

Popular West Sussex trainer whose yard sent out two winners at Plumpton on the afternoon she passed away in January.

An eye for success

visit studlife online:

February 2021

LOOK AT HIS BOOK! It’s that time of year again, when love is in the air! Dual Gr.1 winner Kameko will soon begin covering an elite book of mares at Tweenhills – his list so far includes over 60% Stakes performers or Stakes producers. Qatar Racing and Tweenhills alone are sending him over 45 high-quality mares. They include dual Gr.1 winner Con Te Partiro (bought for $1.6m), Gr.2 winner Now Or Never, Gr.3 winners Ainippe, Dark Reckoning, Kiyoshi and Purr Along, and dam of three Group winners, Common Knowledge.


Kameko in mid-January

STAFF PROFILE Kath Pennels Office Assistant

Congratulations to our Foaling Manager Sammy Griesel and Stallion Groom Charles Purtill who got engaged over Christmas. South African Sammy met Irishman Charles at Coolmore Ireland in 2018 and have become an integral part of Team Tweenhills since joining us a year ago.


Tell us about growing up… I was born in Bristol but raised in Cheltenham. My dad had an interest in horses – he grew up on a farm. I used to go racing with him and always had ponies, doing a bit of Pony Club etc. What about before Tweenhills? I did International Business Management at the Royal Agricultural University. I worked on an event/ livery yard in my gap year and did polo grooming too. I did a work placement at Three Counties Equine Hospital during uni and then joined them again after I graduated. I spent the best part of 18 months with Three Counties before joining Tweenhills on the last day of November 2020. And away from work? Shall we pretend Covid-19 doesn’t exist? I do a little bit of eventing with my own horse, Trin. I’ve had her four years. I live in Bishops Cleeve and she’s nearby. I would like to go Australia and New Zealand at some point. Also, I used to play hockey so wouldn’t mind getting back into that. Apart from that I’d say I just enjoy the usual stuff like pub, friends and gym!

IT’S A GIRL! FIRST FOAL OF 2021 Sammy and her team welcomed the first foal of 2021 on January 12, a bouncing filly by Zoustar out of An Ghalanta.

Zoustar – taken by his groom Xander Brown

Zoustar returned to Tweenhills just before Christmas ahead of standing his third Northern Hemisphere breeding season at Tweenhills, having been oversubscribed in the first two.

Two-year-old Listed sprint winner An Ghalanta is a much-loved member of the broodmare band at Tweenhills; she’s the dam of Stakes performers Time Scale and Bletchley, and also produced a Roaring Lion colt last January. An Ghalanta will visit Kameko this year.

Zoustar once again showed how highly regarded he is when 11 of his yearlings sold for A$500,000+ each at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. Top of the pops was a A$1,000,000 colt whose buyers included our own David Redvers. Get in touch now to discuss a nomination for your mare to Kameko, Zoustar, Havana Gold or Lightning Spear.

Home schooling of a different kin


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


Racehorse and stallion

Movements and retirements

Don Poli

RSA Chase and Lexus Chase winner for Gigginstown House Stud in 2015 is retired aged 11 after failing to show his old sparkle this season.

Mucho Gusto

Training injury sees the retirement of the son of Mucho Macho Man, winner of the Pegasus World Cup in January 2020.


Coolmore recruits son of Monsun from Tally-Ho Stud to stand at its National Hunt arm at Grange Stud. His fee is set at €6,000.

Son Of Rest

Pivotal’s talented sprinting son will stand alongside Flash Gordon, a useful performer by Kodiac, at new venture Meelin Stud in County Cork.

Lemon Drop Kid

Stalwart of the Kentucky breeding scene, sire of high-class duo Cannock Chase and Beach Patrol, is pensioned at Lane’s End Farm aged 25.

Might Bite

Top-class three-mile chaser for The Knot Again Partnership, winner of four Grade 1s including the King George VI Chase, is retired aged 12.


Coolmore’s dual Irish Champion Stakes heroine, successful seven times in all at the top level, is retired to the paddocks aged five.


Yorton Farm Stud welcomes son of Shirocco, a half-brother to Germany’s top sire Adlerflug, to its roster for 2021. His fee is £1,300.

Horse obituaries Mohaayed 8

Talented hurdler for owner June Watts and trainer Dan Skelton, winner of the County Hurdle and Betfair Exchange Trophy in 2018.

Dalakhani 21

Winner of the French Derby and Arc for his breeder the Aga Khan, his progeny includes Classic winners Conduit and Reliable Man.

Zoffany 13

Goldikova 16

Brilliant mare for the Wertheimers and Freddy Head, winner of 14 races at the top level including three Breeders’ Cup Miles.


High-class miler gave Frankel a scare in the 2011 St James’s Palace Stakes. His Group 1 winners at stud include Albigna.

Easywork 6

Promising novice chaser for Gigginstown and Gordon Elliott suffers a heart attack on the gallops.

Showcasing - Roodeye (Inchinor)

He clearly has many attributes breeders should want to replicate and it is a well-worn cliché that a prospective stallion ticks all the boxes but in the case of Mohaather, it would be hard to disagree. - Martin Stevens, Thoroughbred Stallion Guide

Won a vintage renewal of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes in a faster time than Kingman 3-time Gr.1 winner CIRCUS MAXIMUS ↴

Irish 2,000 Guineas winner SISKIN ↴

← 2,000 Guineas winner KAMEKO Dual Group winner and Gr.1-placed WICHITA →

His sire’s best son OR: 123 | TF: 129 Also standing

Fee: £20,000

Jan 1st, SLF

Eqtidaar (£5,000), Muhaarar (£10,000) & Tasleet (£5,000)

Get in touch for the best terms Contact Tom Pennington on +44 (0)7736 019914 | or Ellen Bishop on +44 (0)7826 205155 | Discover the Shadwell stallions:

The Big Picture


King George VI Chase

Frodon and Frost fabulous The usual post-Christmas crowd was missing from Kempton’s King George VI Chase meeting but that didn’t stop Frodon and Bryony Frost recording an emphatic success in the three-mile contest. Allowed to set the tempo, Frost soon had Frodon in a fabulous rhythm out in front as their eight rivals seemed content to bide their time. Turning for home the pair were still in the lead and while Waiting Patiently stayed on stoutly from the back, a superb jump at the final fence secured matters for the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon, racing for owner Paul Vogt. Photos Edward Whitaker and Bill Selwyn


The Big Picture The Secret’s out now Trainer Evan Williams achieved his ambition to win the Welsh Grand National when improving seven-year-old Secret Reprieve obliged in the rescheduled Chepstow marathon under stable jockey Adam Wedge. Secret Reprieve, who defeated The Two Amigos by three lengths despite suffering a broken girth in the latter stages of the contest, races in the famous silks of William and Angela Rucker. The Flemensfirth gelding could now try to enhance his owners’ superb completion record in the Randox Grand National, having hit the frame repeatedly with State Of Play, Cappa Bleu and Alvarado. Photo Bill Selwyn


Welsh Grand National


No country for oldfashioned reporting N

Covid has put paid to the press pack at the track with most racing journalists confined to home

Age-old question proves divisive Do You Want to Know a Secret? Pop-pickers of a certain age will remember Lennon and McCartney writing the song in 1963 for the Beatles’ album Please Please Me, and Billy J Kramer taking his version to the top of the NME charts the following year. However, those of more tender years have a new incarnation for the theme in the unlikely surroundings of the Racing Post’s daily Birthdays listing. When the original senior editorial team got together in late-1985 to plan content for the new racing daily, the idea was to replicate everything in the Sporting Life at least to the same standard, with the exception of point-to-point coverage, which would have needed a huge network of correspondents to emulate. In addition, innovative ideas to make the Post stand out were floated, and the Birthdays column came into being. Maybe not the biggest hook for potential readers of a specialist daily, but it’s amazing how popular the feature became, and still is, no doubt, given the amount of interest that follows a personal entry. There is, however, a fascinating flipside to the daily diet


viewers with the wherewithal and inclination to pay for a subscription service. Lockdown has badly affected racecourse attendance among the written media. A maximum of four places are available on any one racecourse, with fewer at some meetings, and all are allocated to RCA-accredited media by application on passing the BHA Covid-19 protocol test. The Racing Post and Press Association are given preference, but not all slots are taken up. In fact, in relation to the number available, the turnout at many courses is minimal, hence reliance on pictures and interviews provided by the broadcasters. As with most sports and leisure activities devastated by lack of live audiences, racing has experienced a growth in podcasts. To the regulars of Betfair, the Racing Post and Sporting Life can be added the eponymous offering from the hard-working Nick Luck, among whose acknowledged backers Fitzdares, once trumpeted in the introduction as “the world’s finest bookmaker,” has gently morphed into “the Fitzdares Club”. Welcome to the Establishment. Luck’s ubiquitous presence, bulging contacts’ book and weekday availability on the airwaves enables him to pick up on that morning’s news stories for longer discussion with the principals and commentors than might normally be available in print. The programme is also open to breaking fresh stories at a time of day that reflects convenience and urgency, which might not always be there for website warriors. The breadth of experience among guests on Luck’s podcast has been invaluable in building its credibility. It contrasts sharply with the lack of meaningful contact evident

of dates, which concerns those personalities who would prefer that their annual turn of age remains a secret. The list of people who have directly approached the Post with a request – sometimes of a very forceful nature – that their names should not appear is wide-ranging, and interesting, although it must perforce remain confidential, to protect their innocence.


ot Going Out, which started a new series on BBC1 last month, is a programme of our times. Its title could also be a slogan for the status of racing reporting for the best part of the last year. Not going out, relying largely on broadcasters or the occasional Zoom transmission: they have become the norm for most reporters who would usually be on the road, following the circus that is the daily schedule in Britain and Ireland. Thankfully, the broadcasters have stepped up to the mark. ITV has proved its worth in the terrestrial space, although a recent leaning towards over-chumminess among some members of its ever-expanding team needs correcting, while Racing TV and Sky Sports Racing have maintained a high level of professionalism and consistency for more regular



The Howard Wright Column

It’s my birthday and I’ll keep schtum if I want to – some jockeys have never been keen to divulge their age in print

“Organisations that need what was loosely once described as the press must adapt” writer award, was contested by a shortlist of four, one from the mainstream media, a second from the pan-American Thoroughbred Daily News website, a contributor to geegeez., which offers a suite of news, racecards and results, and the fourth representing, which is predominantly a US website. The emphasis in racing reporting has changed over the last decade, as greater importance attaches to the internet, and the impact will only continue to grow in this direction, whether the coronavirus loosens its grip or not. Individuals and organisations that need what was loosely once described as the press must be aware of the changes and adapt, lest they get left behind in the rush.

Oddly enough, my attention was drawn to this quirk of human nature last month, when a similar column in The Daily Telegraph recorded the 45th birthday of a ‘Flat race jockey and former National Hunt jockey.’ There was no reference to the event in the Racing Post, because, it turns out, the rider in question demands to be deleted from the list every year. And yet as well as being referenced in a national daily that sells just a few more copies than the Racing Post, he has a Wikipedia entry that includes a birth date, albeit a slightly different one from the Telegraph’s. Presumably he has not spotted that and only reads the Post. Women – perhaps not surprisingly – and Irishmen appear to be vastly over-represented on the list of refuseniks, and as a group of individuals jockeys outnumber the rest, possibly on the grounds that divulging their age might deter some trainers from employing them, despite all the barriers to ageism that should be in place nowadays. But what to make of the international Classic-winning trainer – he’s not British is as much as I will reveal – who refuses to acknowledge his actual Leap Year Day 1948 birthday, as evidenced by his birth certificate, for a date towards the end of July? Maybe, like the Queen, he has two birthdays a year, or maybe his birth certificate reveals something he would rather keep a secret.

in many other areas of modern racing coverage, which was slipping away even before lockdown provided a defining shove. The reporter’s opening search for a telephone number is so old fashioned nowadays, replaced by the scurry to follow a Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter page. Even the mobile is as likely to be the deliverer of a text as the means of a meaningful conversation. Hence the Horserace Writers & Photographers Association’s annual media awards have recently been expanded to include a category for emerging talent, which in 2020 went to a journalist from the new tipping website A second recent addition, the specialist





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22/04/20 11:32

Elusive Bloodstock


The recent additions of Falco and Axxos have helped James and Amelia Gray of Elusive Bloodstock lay the foundations of a quality operation Words: Martin Stevens • Photos: Hannah Ali


incolnshire might be Britain’s second largest county and overwhelmingly agricultural in nature, but it doesn’t boast a rich variety of thoroughbred studs. Limestone Stud near Gainsborough bred the Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Wassl and Queen Mary Stakes winner On Tiptoes in the 1980s, and was once where Gunner B plied his trade as a stallion, while more recently Bumble Mitchell has done most to fly the county flag from her base in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds. But overall there are hardly any such establishments in Lincolnshire and even fewer further south in the county, among the patchwork fields of tulips, cabbages and rape that grow beneath the endless


skies created by the flat Fenland countryside. One operation that has bucked the trend is James and Amelia Gray’s Elusive Bloodstock, based at Hundred Acre Farm on a former Lincolnshire Councilowned farm situated south of Boston and just inland from the North Sea. The young couple have developed a thriving business, standing three stallions — Falco, Axxos and Sun Central — and breeding from 25 mares of their own while boarding another dozen on behalf of clients. Although born and raised in Hampshire and having worked at studs in Britain and New Zealand, James Gray has been converted to the delights of Lincolnshire.

“I think being here helps us as certain things are cheaper to buy, like straw for instance,” he says. “I’ve spoken to friends in other parts of the country and they said they were paying £140 to £150 per tonne for straw, but here in the east there are a lot of cereal farms and not many livestock farms so we’re getting it for £15 or £20 a tonne. “I’m quite value conscious like that,” he continues. “In the autumn I’ll spend a day or two driving around farms looking for hay, going back to places I’ve bought from before, so we pay less as we’re buying direct and there’s no need to go through merchants. “Up until a few years ago I also used to go off for eight weeks each summer for the vining pea harvest and leave


With the assistance of emerging jumps sire Falco, James and Amelia Gray are striving to develop Elusive Bloodstock into a leader of its kind



Elusive Bloodstock

Axxos (left), a proven son of Monsun, is a new recruit for the stud, which owns 25 broodmares alongside their youngstock

›› Amelia to look after the stud, as you can

earn a fair bit of money for a job that takes little brain power. But obviously Elusive Bloodstock has become too big for me to do that now.” The fact Lincolnshire grows so much of the country’s food (12% of England’s total according to government stats) speaks to the high quality of the land and the region’s benign climate. “We’re on reclaimed land and our neighbour is the sea,” says Gray. “We’re on a lot of silt land, which is good for growing and you could almost say it’s a bit wasted having it out to grass for horses. “In fact the grass is so good and there’s so much of it here that you’d be tempted to think you could stock the horses more tightly, but I’m a believer in letting horses have plenty of space to stretch their limbs and grow. “Another advantage to being in Lincolnshire is that a lot of the farmers are now out of stock where they might have had a couple of cattle 40 or 50 years ago, so there are plenty of empty barns around which we’ve been able to use. Our neighbour has one we’re using for hay and straw and there’s another one half a mile away that we’re thinking of taking on for stabling horses in the winter.” But all those advantages come at a price, as Gray explains. “Our biggest problem is the cost of ground rent here is huge,” he says. “We’re competing with all the vegetable and flower growers, and things like potatoes and bulbs are high value crops so those farmers can pay a lot of money. I recently told someone else in the bloodstock industry what we pay per acre for land and they were shocked.”


“I was able to buy nice mares for £500 as people were getting out” So how have the Grays managed to fund the operation and keep it going for ten years? James — still only 31 — smiles and says: “I wonder that myself sometimes.” He is not living up to the company name by being elusive when he says that; it is just that there was no one clear path to Lincolnshire, but rather a jumble of bold moves and smart trades, a little good luck and a heck of a lot of hard graft, with James and Amelia carrying out almost all farm duties by themselves while bringing up two young children, employing help only on a seasonal basis. “I started gambling when I worked at Whitsbury and was quite successful at it,” says Gray. “It was before I’d met Amelia and I didn’t have much of a life then, so I was able to watch racing 24/7. I saved up all my winnings and wages and bought mares with them. “By chance, it was the perfect time to buy mares as it was just after the economic downturn and they were much cheaper. I was able to buy nice mares for around £500 as people were getting out of the game, whereas mares at that price generally aren’t worth bothering with nowadays as there’s a good reason they’re that cheap.”

The contacts made at Whitsbury Manor came in useful when Gray was later working in New Zealand, specifically when news of a certain stallion retirement piqued his interest. “I’d been following Showcasing closely as I loved Oasis Dream, and it had just been announced he would be retiring to Whitsbury, which is a fantastic place for making sprint stallions,” he says. “So I emailed Charlie Oakshott, who was managing the stud at the time, and asked him if the horse was being syndicated. “Charlie said he was, and that he’d put me down for a share, which was great apart from one thing — I didn’t have any money to pay for it. So I contacted Nationwide building society in the UK and told them I was coming back to England and needed to buy a car, and asked if they could lend me £10,000. They agreed, and I used the money to buy the breeding right. “Having arrived home I had no money to repay the loan and was really struggling. I’d only just met Amelia while in New Zealand but she was having to pay for all our food shopping and living costs.” The investment might have been reckless but it paid off spectacularly when Showcasing blossomed into an elite sire. Gray sold his breeding right to a leading stud several years ago for a handsome profit, which was sunk back into improving the facilities and stock in Lincolnshire. A foal resulting from the breeding right and one of Gray’s bargain mare buys also contributed a considerable sum to the pot. Azita, a Tiger Hill halfsister to the useful pair Danadana and Semeen purchased privately for just


Al Kazeem TOB-February 2021:Oakgrove Stud

LEADING SIRES IN EUROPE IN 2020 by % of black type W/R




Page 1

Al Kazeem


2 GALILEO 12.5 PRIDE OF DUBAI 12.5 4 AMERICAN PHAROAH 11.11 GALIWAY 11.11 6 SHAMARDAL 8.54 7 NIGHT OF THUNDER 8.33 8 CLODOVIL 7.69 9 BELARDO 7.55 10 KINGMAN 7.37 11 AREION 7.22 12 SEA THE STARS 7.08 13 SOLDIER HOLLOW 6.96 14 DUBAWI 6.87 15 SEA THE MOON 6.72 16 LILBOURNE LAD 6.52 17 FRANKEL 6.15 18 TEOFILO 5.77 19 WOOTTON BASSETT 5.71 20 ADLERFLUG 5.41 Min. 25 runners Hyperion Promotions Ltd. Results to 31/12

bay 2008, 16.1hh by Dubawi - Kazeem (Darshaan) N Four-time Gr.1 winner by DUBAWI Won Gr.1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, 2015, Gr.1 Coral-Eclipse, 2013, Gr.1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes, 2013, & Gr.1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, 2013 N Joint Champion Older Horse in Europe in 2013 (9.5f-10.5f ) N Timeform rated 128 in three consecutive seasons N Sire of Group 1 winner ASPETAR N Sire of 4 individual stakes winners from only 28 European runners in 2020, inc. Group 2 winning ASPETAR, stakes-winning 3yo miler USAK, and stakes-winning 2yos HARPER and SAINT LAWRENCE N 13.3% Stakes winners to runners in 2020 - the best in Europe

2020 colt by Al Kazeem x Affluent, half-brother to DAAHYEH and own-brother to SAINT LAWRENCE

Group 1 Sire! 2021 FEE PRIVATE Call David Hilton 07595 951248

100% mares tested in foal in 2020 STANDING AT OAKGROVE STUD Oakgrove Estate, St Arvans, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, NP16 6EH For Nominations Contact: David Hilton: 07595 951248 G Email:

Elusive Bloodstock “If we were going to make it, we needed to get a topdrawer stallion” ›› £100, produced a Showcasing filly sold

as a foal for 55,000gns. She is still in production for the stud. Money has also been spent on the stud’s three stallions, all of whom are wholly owned by Elusive Bloodstock. Sun Central, a Listed-winning Galileo half-brother to George Washington, was the first on board in 2015 and he was followed by Falco, the Classic-winning son of Pivotal who has supplied toplevel winners on the Flat (Odeliz) and over jumps (Peace And Co), after his purchase from France in 2019. Axxos is new to the Elusive Bloodstock roster in 2021. A Group 2-winning son of Monsun, he has sired useful jumpers Calett Mad, Dame Du Soir and Earlofthecotswolds from his earlier stint at stud in France. “We bought Falco because we wanted to raise our profile,” says Gray. “If we were going to make it, we needed to get a top-drawer stallion so that’s what I asked Richard Venn to source for us. He found Falco, a horse everyone had heard of, and when I looked further into his stats I saw he had loads of good horses coming through the system in France. Hitman and Hudson De Grugy have borne that out.” Hitman has won a Ffos Las beginners’ chase by 30 lengths and finished a close second to Allmankind in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase this season after joining Paul Nicholls from Guillaume Macaire, while Hudson De Grugy eased to victory in a Sandown juvenile hurdle for Gary Moore early in the new year. “We also felt that everyone at the National Hunt sales wants big, bay produce and Falco really offered that from what we had seen of his foals,” Gray says of the stallion, who won the Poule d’Essai des Poulains by three lengths for his owner-breeders the Wertheimer brothers. On the subject of Axxos, he adds: “He has a slightly different profile to Falco as he doesn’t have the same number of horses coming through in France. But I liked the idea of having a Monsun and


Ambition runs high at Elusive Bloodstock to build a reputation as a source of quality stock

I just felt he’s well capable of getting a good horse, and from only three runners over fences in the UK all have won. “He’s 16.1 hands, good-looking, black and has never sired a chestnut. At a fee of £1,500, he offers breeders on a budget a great opportunity. “We’ve been offered a lot of stallions over the years but I wouldn’t stand one I wouldn’t use on our own mares. I always ask myself: even if no one else supported him, would I still use him myself? The answer has to be yes; if you’re going to try to convince breeders to use the stallion, you’ve got to believe in him yourself.” Elusive Bloodstock has gone from a share in Showcasing to those three National Hunt stallions, but the move from Flat towards jumps breeding was organic. “We never had a blueprint, we’ve just gone with what’s worked,” says Gray. “Jumps breeding is often more attractive because you’re working from a lower cost base to produce the horse. Stallion fees and some sales fees are a lot cheaper, and so a price as low as £5,000 for a foal can be your break-even point at the sales. “On the Flat it’s probably more like £20,000 because of the higher cost of nominations, and at the point at which we’re playing in that market — at around the £7,500 to £15,000 mark for a fee — there’s not that many stallions to choose from in the UK. “On the other hand, I think we have a good range of £2,500 to £5,000 jumps sires standing in Britain, so there’s plenty of choice.” Gray says that Elusive Bloodstock’s broodmare band is split between 16 for jumps and nine for the Flat, but adds: “We might go even more strongly

National Hunt in future, as it just makes sense with the stallions we stand. “The only thing with the Flat, though, is you just always have that dream of paying off the mortgage with one spectacular yearling sale or a big update on a broodmare.” Gray was along the right lines to achieving just that when purchasing the Librettist mare Little Book for a mere 7,000gns at Tattersalls in 2011, but traded her on long before her son Roger Barows won the Japanese Derby in 2019. Dreams of selling a Derby winner’s dam aside, Gray is keeping his feet firmly on the ground with his ambitions for Elusive Bloodstock as it enters its second decade of operation. “I want to keep going the way we are, while adding to and upgrading the facilities on the farm so we’re continually improving what we offer our clients,” he says. “Jumps breeding is a slow game and our oldest homebred crop are only five-years-old, so in another ten years’ time I’d hope to be able to say that we’ve bred some good horses and have attracted a reputation in the industry for doing so.” But don’t go thinking that if Elusive Bloodstock continues to flourish, the operation might decamp to one of Britain’s more conventional centres of National Hunt breeding. “We see our future here,” says Gray. “There are personal reasons, as it’s where our children are growing up and we wouldn’t want to separate them from their grandparents, but it also makes good business sense. If we were next door to one of the big jumps studs in the west country we’d be struggling to compete. “But in Lincolnshire, we’re in no one’s shadow.”


FALCO AXXOS B. 2005, 16.3HH (1.70M), P I V O TA L E X I C E L I P S ( U N B R I D L E D )

FEE: £3,500 OCT 1ST SLF

A proven Group 1 sire of both flat and National Hunt horses

Stakes sire again under both codes in 2020 including Gr.1 placed Chaser Hitman Sire of Gr.1 Cheltenham Festival Winner Peace And Co

51% lifetime winners to runners and progeny earnings of over £7.7 million in prize money

Stock in 2020 made up to £110,000 to astute judges including Gordon Elliot, Anthony Bromley and Monbeg Stables


A proven Sire of Top Class National Hunt Horses including Stakes performers Calett Mad, Earlofthecotswolds and Regaxos Gr.2 winning son of Leading NH Sire Monsun

FEE: £1,500


A complete outcross to Northern Dancer and ideal cross for Sadler’s Wells line mares

First Season in UK in 2021

Never sired a chesnut foal

Also Standing Exceptionally well-bred dual Stakes winning


half-brother to multiple Group 1 scorers GRANDERA and GEORGE WASHINGTON


Value sires

Opportunity ABOUNDS

From proven Group 1 sires to top-class runners, there is something across the board for those hunting for value within the British and Irish stallion ranks Words: Nancy Sexton


ith the persistent dark cloud of Covid hanging over us and the pressures of a selective market, it can be argued that the hunt for a value sire has never been so important. Thankfully, breeders in Britain and Ireland are faced with ample choice, with an array of approximately 90 stallions who are advertised for the 2021 season at up to £8,000/€8,000, ranging from proven Group 1 sires to talented new additions.

The gold standard in this British-based category belongs to Derby winner Sir Percy (Lanwades Stud). At a fee of £7,000, British breeders have access to a proven Group 1 sire who operates at a clip of 41% when it comes to winners to foals of racing age, is responsible for 49 stakes horses and boasted a pair of 150,000gns yearlings in 2020. In fact, he ended the season with a yearling average close to 50,000gns to bolster a profile that epitomises value. A similar sentiment also applies to Sixties Icon (Norman Court Stud) at his new fee of £1,000. Here is another proven Group 1 sire who is enjoying success under both codes and boasts 32% winners to foals of racing age. Like Sir Percy, he appeals as an inexpensive option to get a young mare going, as does Mayson (Cheveley Park Stud: £4,000), who fires in plenty of winners (33% winners to foals of racing age) alongside quality, last year’s July Cup hero Oxted being a fine example. Of the other proven sires in this bracket, Sharpen Up’s grandson Cityscape (Overbury Stud: £4,000) is another Group 1 sire with eye-catching figures (7% Group winners to first-crop runners) while the first crop of Outstrip (Dalham Hall Stud: £4,000) offered encouragement, given it contains the


Sir Percy: Derby winner is a proven Group 1 sire with a high ratio of winners to foals

likes of Gold Trip, the Prix Greffulhe winner who ran fourth in the Arc, and Grade 3 winner Outburst. For several of these horses, there is the enticing prospect of possessing larger crops to come. For instance, Havana Gold (Tweenhills Farm and Stud: £7,500) has 145 two-year-olds to run for him bred in the aftermath of a first crop that included Group 1 winner Havana Grey. Those youngsters, which sold for up to 150,000gns as yearlings, are now housed in some of the country’s leading yards and it will be disappointing if they do not enhance their sire’s profile. Highclere Stud’s Cable Bay, available for £8,000 in 2021, covered 100 mares last season thanks to a swift start highlighted by the Group 1 filly Liberty Beach. Another with a respectable commercial following, his yearlings sold for up to 150,000gns in 2020. Similar comments apply to Due Diligence (Whitsbury Manor Stud: £6,000), whose feat of supplying three


Group 1 sires aplenty

“Havana Gold has 145 twoyear-olds to run for him this year” first-crop stakes winners saw his 2020 book rise to 100. Of the older horses, it’s worth noting that Pastoral Pursuits (Norton Grove Stud: £2,000) boasts a lifetime winners to foals of racing age figure of 38%. A fee of £2,500, meanwhile, is commanded by proven stakes sire Heeraat (Mickley Stud), Swiss Spirit (Batsford Stud), who offers access to the Invincible Spirit sire line, and Music Master (Throckmorton Court Stud), a high-class half-brother to




Val Royal x Factice (Known Fact)

Alhaarth x Al Bahathri (Blushing Groom)

Fee: £1,000

Fee: £2,000

1st Oct. Terms (LF)

1st Oct. Terms (LF)

A Dual Classic Winner

A Consistent Sire of Stakes winners under both codes

Successful Stakes Sire from 2-year-olds to Jumpers The very best blood at excellent value

40% Lifetime Winners/Runners on the Flat




Lawman x Abunai (Pivotal)

Polar Falcon x Spurned (Robellino)

Invincible Spirit x Swiss Lake (Indian Ridge)

Classic Champion 3yo Stayer By LAWMAN a Multiple Classic Sire

65% Win or Placed runners on the flat

85% Runners to Foals of first 3 crops

63% Won or placed from NH Runners

50% winrs to rnrs, from 1st crop at 2 & 3



Already Sire of over 40 2yo winners, rated up to 102

Fee: £2,000 1st Oct. Terms (LF)

Fee: £3,000 1st Oct. Terms (LFFR)

Fee: £2,500 1st Oct. Terms (SLF)

Batsford Stud, Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 9QF T: 01608 651890 • M: 07899 957355 • E:

Value sires ›› Twilight Son. For £1,750, breeders also

have the option of talented sprinter Intrinsic (Hedgeholme Stud: £1,750), whose early runners include Topper Bill, a recent winner in smart company in Dubai.

Rathasker Stud’s Clodovil again hit Group 1 heights in 2020 as the sire of top juvenile Tiger Tanaka and went on to end the year as one of Europe’s leading sires in terms of black-type winners to runners – a figure of 7.41 places him ahead of some high-profile contemporaries. He also continues to bat at 51% winners to foals of racing age. All in all, it’s quite an impressive profile for a horse who stands for €5,000, the same figure commanded by his hard-knocking son and stud-mate Gregorian, for whom 2020 was highlighted by the excellent French two-year-old Plainchant. Also nestling within this bracket at Rathasker is Bungle Inthejungle (€8,000). This fast son of Exceed And Excel was a leading first-crop sire in 2018 and has since maintained that momentum, notably in 2020 as the sire


Impressive profile for Irish stalwart

Twilight Son: top sprinter has made a bright start as the sire of 22 first-crop winners

of Cornwallis Stakes heroine Winter Power. He has a pair of €12,000 crops in the pipeline, so it’s reasonable to hope that better is to come. In terms of figures, few also come close to Raven’s Pass (Kildangan Stud: €7,500). A six per cent black-type winners to foals of racing age underlines

his reputation as a source of quality, an aspect that again came to the fore last year via Group 1 winner Matterhorn. Not far behind on five per cent is Coolmore’s Rock Of Gibraltar, a brilliant racehorse and the sire of 16 Group/Grade 1 winners who can be used at €5,000. Fellow proven Group 1 sire Tamayuz (Derrinstown Stud: €8,000) boasts a figure of four per cent and had yearlings sell for up to 170,000gns in 2020. Another veteran, Canford Cliffs’ sire Tagula, is ‘private’ for 2021 but remains in service for his 25th season at Rathbarry Stud. Haatef, also a proven stakes sire, remains at Derrinstown Stud at a fee of €2,000. 2020, meanwhile, marked a breakthrough for Elzaam (Ballyhane Stud: €5,000) as the sire of Matron Stakes heroine Champers Elysees and Group 3 scorer Waitingfortheday. One who can be relied upon to throw a fine type, he is another to have several good-sized books to come as does Camacho (Yeomanstown Stud: €5,000), who hit the Group 1 club several seasons ago via Classic-winning miler Teppal. A friend of the commercial market,

CLODOVIL TIGER TANAKA Gr.1 Prix Marcel Boussac Jt. Top rated 2yo filly in France, 2020



COULSTY SANTOSHA Gr.3 Princess Margaret Stakes


GREGORIAN PLAINCHANT Gr.2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte Jt. Top rated 2yo filly in France, 2020




Fees 2021: Bungle Inthejungle €8,000 • Clodovil €5,000 • Gregorian €5,000 • Coulsty €4,000 MAURICE OR MADELINE BURNS Rathasker Stud, Kilcullen Road, Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland. T 00 353 (0)45 876940 M 00 353 (0)86 2500687 or 00 353 (0)86 3774430 E W


Camacho’s three-year-olds include the Group performer Aunt Bridy, who sold for 410,000gns in December. Derby runner-up Khalifa Sat was a notable first-crop highlight for Free Eagle (€8,000), whose base of the Irish National Stud also includes a pair of proven speed options in Dragon Pulse (€2,000) and Equiano (€3,000), The Tin Man’s sire who shifts from Newsells Park Stud. The latter offers an interesting route into the Acclamation sire line, something that is also represented by Alhebayeb (Tara Stud: €5,000), the sire of recent Californian stakes winner Cathkin Peak, and the Group 1-placed Tough As Nails (Blackrath Stud: €1,500).

Winners flowing for Adaay

To sire over 20 winners in a first-crop is a laudable achievement and Britain is home to two such stallions, both of whom are available for £5,000. Whitsbury Manor Stud’s Adaay was among Europe’s leading first-crop sires, second to only Mehmas, with a haul of 23 winners that included three stakes-placed runners. Not far behind on 22 winners for the year is Twilight Son (Cheveley Park Stud: £5,000), whose tally is led by the Group 3 scorer Aria Importante. Both stallions were successful two-year-olds who trained on into accomplished performers, in particular Twilight Son who hit Group 1 heights in the September of his three-year-old season. Similar comments apply to Bobby’s Kitten (Lanwades Stud: £7,000), a high-class juvenile whose career peaked with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at three. Bobby’s Kitten offers something a bit different as one of only two British-based sons of Kitten’s Joy and his dozen first-crop winners includes a live Classic candidate in Monaasib. Middle Park Stakes winner Charming Thought (Dalham Hall Stud: £4,000) fired in eight winners, good for a winners to runners strike-rate of 35%, while new to Hedgeholme Stud is fellow Middle Park hero The Last Lion (£4,000), whose early winners include the highly-tried Kraken Power. There also remains an interesting member of the Indian Ridge sire line in Pearl Secret (Chapel Stud: £3,000), off the mark with his first runners in 2020.

INVINCIBLE ARMY Invincible Spirit - Rajeem



Kodiac’s developing legacy

2020 was a turning point in the legacy of Kodiac, being the year that sons of the record-breaking Tally-Ho Stud stallion were represented by their first runners. As outlined above, the British-based Adaay didn’t disappoint and nor did the Irish trio of Coulsty, Kodi Bear and Prince Of Lir. Each returned a winners to runners strike-rate during 2020 of 35% or above led by Rathasker Stud’s Coulsty (39%), whose record of three stakes winners, highlighted by the Princess Margaret Stakes heroine Santosha, amid five stakes horses makes him a highly interesting play at €5,000 for 2021. Ballyhane Stud’s Prince Of Lir (37%) drops to €3,500 despite firing in Norfolk Stakes winner The Lir Jet among three black-type horses while Rathbarry Stud’s Kodi Bear (35%) holds steady at €6,000 as the sire of five stakes horses. The latter’s yearlings sold for up to £110,000 in 2020. Others on the stakes scoresheet with their first two-yearolds were Classic-winning miler The Gurkha (Coolmore: €5,000), sire of the high-class German colt Best Of Lips, and Estidhkaar (Tara Stud: €5,000), the sire of two stakes horses. The latter shares his sire, Dark Angel, with Markaz (Derrinstown Stud: €3,000), whose clutch of winners include the highly-rated Mark Of The Man. The early winners by high-class two-year-old Buratino (Kildangan Stud: €5,000) included the Group 2-placed


Fee: €7,500 1st October

Visit YEOMANSTOWN.IE for stallion videos Standing alongside: CAMACHO, DARK ANGEL, EL KABEIR and SHAMAN

Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland • T: +353 (0)45 897314 E: •


Value sires Dancer has another sizeable crop of juveniles on the ground for 2021. Meanwhile, it almost goes without saying that the Epsom and Irish Derby hero Harzand (Gilltown Stud: €8,000) is another sleeper going forward; for starters, the interesting maiden winners French Fusion and Port Sunlight promise to represent this well-bred son of Sea The Stars with credit in 2021. Fascinating Rock (Ballylinch Stud: €5,000) was another who came into his own as an older horse and possesses the backing of a powerful ownership.

Crunch time looming

Overbury Stud stallion Ardad captures the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot. A son of emerging sire of sires Kodiac, Ardad has over 90 two-year-olds to run for him this year

who looks to add to Invincible Spirit’s legacy as a sire of sires. It also promises to be another interesting year for Tally-Ho Stud, with attention turning to the first crops belonging to 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes hero Galileo Gold (€5,000) and high-class sprinter Cotai Glory (€5,000), whose first crop made up to 180,000gns. Both have over 100 two-year-olds to run for them this year as does the Scat Daddy horse El Kabeir (Yeomanstown Stud: €6,000). Interestingly, he has caught the attention of prominent owner Peter Brant, who paid 180,000gns and 125,000gns through Demi O’Byrne for a pair of first-crop yearlings by the Grade 2 winner last year. Meanwhile, Kodiac’s eye-catching start as a sire of sires must bode well for the prospects of Flying Childers Stakes victor Ardad (£4,000). Also winner of the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot, he boasts over 90 two-year-olds, plenty of them in the care of leading trainers. Ardad stands at Overbury Stud, whose diverse roster also includes Irish Derby hero Jack Hobbs (£4,000). While that son of Halling sits under the dual-purpose banner, hopefully he will be represented in due course by some Flat runners as well.


Multiple Group 1 winners Postponed, Decorated Knight and Galileo Gold are among the quality horses with first two-year-olds on offer to breeders within this bracket. Each boasts the support of strong connections and possess representation in some of Europe’s leading yards. First yearlings by Postponed (Dalham Hall Stud: £7,500), who shares his sire Dubawi with Night Of Thunder and New Bay among others, were well received, selling for up to 145,000gns. Of course, Postponed was one of his sire’s best performers, with victories in the Juddmonte International, Coronation Cup, King George and Dubai Sheema Classic to his credit. Decorated Knight (€7,500), whose first foals sold for up to 190,000gns, is a triple Group 1 winner with the additional allure of being a Galileo relation to champion sire Giant’s Causeway. Strongly supported by his owner Imad Al Sagar of Blue Diamond Stud, who has sent him plenty of high-performing mares, he stands alongside the Group 1-winning two-year-old National Defense (€5,000),


›› Snapraeterea and this relation to Danehill

Cotai Glory: his first yearlings sold for up to 180,000gns in 2020


Similar comments apply to Group 3 winner Mahsoob (Meiklehaugh Stud: private), a well-related son of Dansili.

Grey another commercial success story for Whitsbury

The first foals by Group 1-winning sprinter Havana Grey (Whitsbury Manor Stud: £6,000), billed as the fastest horse from the Galileo sire line, were swift to gain approval at last year’s sales. In all, 35 sold for an average of 24,029gns, among them colts who were knocked down to Japan’s Paca Paca Farm and Shadwell Estate Company for 130,000gns and €135,000 respectively. Another quick horse, Coventry Stakes winner Rajasinghe (The National Stud), was also well received as a foal average of 29,500gns attests. The sextet of youngsters in question includes colts who made 50,000gns, 47,000gns and 37,000gns – not bad for a stallion standing for £3,000. Two-year-old Royal Ascot form is also on show via Washington DC (Bearstone Stud: £4,500), the 2015 Windsor Castle Stakes winner who trained on into a Group 1 sprinter. The only son at stud in Britain and Ireland by the much-missed Zoffany, his first foals sold for up to 58,000gns. Tasleet (Nunnery Stud: £5,000), a high-class sprinter built in the mould of his sire Showcasing, also emerged out of the sales season with credit, hitting a high of 60,000gns, as did Mill Reef Stakes winner Kessaar (Tally-Ho Stud: €5,000), another son of emerging sire of sires Kodiac whose representatives included a €55,000 colt. Each of the above were talented two-year-olds but for €4,500 breeders can also access a juvenile of the calibre of French champion Unfortunately (Oak Lodge Stud). The Prix Morny hero is based in Ireland but also has the backing of Cheveley Park Stud, which will stand him in good stead. Similarly, Sussex Stakes winner Lightning Spear (Tweenhills Farm and Stud) stands for just £5,000. An


DERBY THE AGA KHAN STUDS Success Breeds Success

HARZAND Dual Group 1 winning son of Sea The Stars


of his 26 2yo runners have either won or placed

First crop winners in 2020 include:

French Fusion

Port Sunlight

Breeder: Kilcarn Stud

Breeder: Moyglare Stud

Lady Joanna


Breeder: Airlie Stud

Breeder: Niarchos Family

First crop 3yos in 2021

Value sires Group 1-placed at three while Master Carpenter, by Mastercraftsman, was a hard-knocking Group 3 winner. Finally, St Leger winner Harbour Law (Batsford Stud: £2,000) represents the enticing combination of Classic form and deep family, being a member of the Hascombe and Valiant Studs line of successful sire Inchinor. GEORGE SELWYN

Plenty to entice among second-season horses

Havana Grey wins the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood. First foals by the Whitsbury Manor Stud stallion have been well received at auction

›› admirable campaigner who made 27

starts and filled the frame in eight Group 1 races, he is one of only two Flatorientated sons of Pivotal standing in Britain alongside Farhh. Massaat (Mickley Stud: £4,000), meanwhile, possessed the talent to run second in both the Dewhurst Stakes and 2,000 Guineas. He’s also well-related, being a Teofilo half-brother to Group 1-winning sprinter Eqtidaar.

Pedigree power could also be a key to Gustav Klimt (Coolmore: €4,000), James Garfield (Rathbarry Stud: €4,000) and Master Carpenter (March Hare Stud: £1,000) given that each descends from the Eljazzi family responsible for Invincible Spirit, Kodiac and Pride Of Dubai. Gustav Klimt, by Galileo, and James Garfield, by Exceed And Excel, were both Group 2-winning two-year-olds that were

Inns Of Court (Tally-Ho Stud: €6,000) was the most popular stallion of 2020 within this bracket as the recipient of 218 mares. A good-looking son of Invincible Spirit who won a Group 2 over five furlongs yet fell only a short-head shy of victory in the Prix de la Foret, it’s easy to see how he has caught the imagination of breeders. Richmond Stakes winner Land Force (Highclere Stud: £5,000), the first son of No Nay Never to stud, was also popular, covering 155 mares. Crucially, several went on to sell extremely well at the breeding stock sales, among them Zain Art, who topped the Goffs November Sale at €390,000, and Kalagia, who

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jointly topped the Tattersalls July Sale at 130,000gns. Land Force wasn’t the only young sire to receive an eyecatching book. Flying Childers Stakes winner Soldier’s Call (Ballyhane Stud: €7,500) ended the Tattersalls December Sale with a covering average of 155,000gns boosted by the sixfigure sales of current stakes producers Princess Guest and Rush. In all, the son of Showcasing covered 164 mares. A total of 135 mares headed the way of fellow Group 1-placed sprinter Invincible Army (Yeomanstown Stud: €7,500), a Group 2-winning and well-related son of Invincible Spirit. Of his debut book, 42% were stakes performers and/or producers. The increasingly powerful Invincible Spirit sire line is also represented by Eqtidaar (Nunnery Stud: £5,000), the winner of a competitive renewal of the Commonwealth Cup. A halfbrother to Massaat, he benefits from the support of Shadwell. Breeders also have the option of a fast grandson of Invincible Spirit in Richmond Stakes winner Barraquero (Claremount Stud: €2,500). At the other end of the spectrum, the National Stud’s Flag Of Honour (£3,000) appeals as a fine dual-purpose prospect as an Irish St Leger-winning Galileo son of multiple stakes producer Hawala. Pedigree is also a key selling point behind Portamento (Hedgeholme Stud: £1,500), a Group 3-placed Shamardal son of Grade 1 winner Octave, Sogann (Norton Grove Stud: £2,000), a Frankel half-brother to proven sire Dabirsim, and Wusool (Lilling Hall Stud: £2,000), a Group 3-winning son of Speightstown and Classic winner Torrestrella.


Group 1 winners among new names

Breeders looking for a new yet inexpensive horse have an array of Group 1 winners to choose from. They include tough sprinter Sands Of Mali (Ballyhane Stud: €6,500), the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes winner who also landed the Gimcrack Stakes at two. River Boyne, another hardy campaigner, was a top-class miler in the US whose nine wins were highlighted by the Grade 1 Frank E Kilroe Mile. The $1.23 million earner retires to Tara Stud at a fee of €5,000. Derrinstown Stud’s King Of Change (€7,000) was also an excellent miler who concluded his career by defeating seven Group 1 winners to take the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Prior to that, he had also run second in the 2,000 Guineas. In Grand Prix de Paris hero Way To Paris (Coolagown Stud: €3,500), breeders also have the option of a seven-time winner who fell only a head short of Sottsass in the Prix Ganay. Group 2 winner Shaman (Yeomanstown Stud: €6,000) was one who consistently held his own among the best of his generation, as placings in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and


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Value sires ›› Prix Jacques les Marois attest, as did

Coventry Stakes winner Arizona (Coolmore: €7,000), a No Nay Never relation to Dabirsim who also ran second in the Dewhurst Stakes. Nor are there any shortage of true speed options. Far Above (Starfield Stud: €6,000) is one such horse, having capped his career with an easy win in the Palace House Stakes. Rumble Inthejungle (Norman Court Stud: £3,500) captured the Molecomb Stakes while Sergei

Prokofiev (Whitsbury Manor Stud: £6,500), a $1.1 million yearling, posted his career highlight in the Cornwallis Stakes. Sergei Prokofiev is one of several new sons of Scat Daddy to stud in Europe this year. Another is the Grade 3-winning sprinter Legends Of War (£5,000), a 900,000gns breezer who is new to the LM Stallions banner this season alongside Windsor Castle Stakes winner Southern Hills (£3,000), Diplomat (£2,000), whose eight wins range from a Group 2

over a mile on the Flat to a jumps race at Auteuil, and 2,000 Guineas runner-up Tip Two Win (£3,500), one of the highestrated sons of Dark Angel at stud. Speaking of Dark Angel, Mickley Stud welcomes his Shamardal half-brother, four-time winner Almanaara, to its roster at a fee of £3,000. Clongiffen Stud has also added Royal Lytham (€4,000), a well-related son of Gleneagles who won the July Stakes as a two-year-old.

Oasis Dream: Juddmonte stalwart stands for £20,000

“Oasis Dream was a brilliant racehorse and is still a brilliant sire and broodmare sire. “He has 17 Group 1 winners to his name and is a top five sire by stakes winners. He produces smart performers every year, and had his 200th black-type performer last year with our own Erasmo winning the Prix Saraca. He represents excellent value for a proven sire at £20,000 and we will use him again. Class is permanent. “With a Group-winning colt and filly in his first crop, New Bay made a very impressive start and could be in for a better 2021. He has a beautiful pedigree and is backing that up with some really impressive statistics. A very exciting stallion and at €20,000 you might be getting him on the up. We’re very happy to use him this year. “Pinatubo is a very exciting addition to the stallion ranks with serious credentials. A phenomenal two-year-old and a Group 1-winning three-year-old, he is by the brilliant Shamardal, a sire of sires. At £35,000, he will be extremely popular. We’re very excited to be sending a mare to him this season. The best value first-season sire for sure.” Jonathan Smithers, Car Colston Hall Stud

“He represents excellent value for a proven sire at £20,000 - class is permanent” 44 THE OWNER BREEDER


Industry participants offer their view on which stallions look value for 2021 “Shaman (€6,000) is an imposing physical with Classic form and a terrific pedigree. He has a similar profile to Lope De Vega and is standing at a farm, Yeomanstown Stud, where he will gain good support and a good book of mares. He has to be considered. “Havana Grey (£6,000), a Group 1 winner with top two-year-old form, had really good foals and good books of mares. Whitsbury Manor is a consistent source of speed stallions and they know how to make commercial stallions work. “Ribchester (Kildangan Stud: €17,500) is a stallion I have always liked. He was a top performer and explosive two-year-old. By the same sire as Wootton Bassett and with a very good pedigree, he makes a lot of sense. He could be standing at a much higher fee next year. “Starspangledbanner (Coolmore: €22,500) is a good source of proven speed. He has the ability to produce very fast horses and other stallions within his bracket are considerably more expensive. He has a great habit of producing hardy and fast two-year-olds.” Barry Lynch, agent

“You’d always be safe buying a Bated Breath (Banstead Manor Stud: £12,500). He’s a consistent horse, you’d almost be certain of getting a winner and perhaps a good horse. Footstepsinthesand (Coolmore: €12,500) is the same – he can get you a really good horse yet is reasonably priced.” Charlie Gordon-Watson, agent

“Sixties Icon is appealing at his new fee of £1,000 as a proven source of quality, tough runners under both codes. Among the younger British-based horses, I like the idea of Masar (Dalham Hall Stud) at £14,000. A goodlooking relation to Galileo and Sea The Stars, he is best remembered for his Derby win yet was sharp enough to beat Invincible Army in the May of his two-year-old year. “There was a good word for the first crop of Belardo (Kildangan Stud: €10,000) as early as last spring and that later came to fruition by the emergence of four stakes winners. There should be more to come from him alongside Mishriff’s sire Make Believe (Ballylinch Stud: €15,000), another on the ascent.” Nancy Sexton, Bloodstock Editor

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Shared ownership

Global PHENOMENON In the second part of our series on shared ownership we look at how the regulation of this booming sector differs throughout the world’s major racing nations


orseracing leaders around the globe view the shared ownership of racehorses as one of the best ways to grow the sport’s appeal and attract both new devotees and future investors. Following an industry-wide consultation last year, the British Horseracing Authority is preparing to reveal its own recommendations for strengthening regulation of shared ownership later this month, with the aims of promoting growth and increasing consumer confidence in syndicates and racing clubs. In March 2020, the Racehorse Owners Association called for the mandatory licensing of syndicate managers to enhance regulation in this sector, after a number of instances of fraudulent activity in recent years, which has led to negative headlines for the sport of horseracing. In terms of regulating shared ownership, unlike in Britain, the racing authorities in the USA and Australia – the biggest importers of UK thoroughbreds – are assisted by financial bodies when it comes to assessing the suitability of such groups, which may be defined as collective or managed investment schemes.

An Authentic experience

When the Bob Baffert-trained Authentic captured the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2020, he did so for a team of owners that included B Wayne Hughes’s Spendthrift Farm, Madaket Stable, Starlight Racing


and Established in 2018, MyRacehorse. com offers low-cost entry to racehorse ownership throughout the United States, with shares available from as little as $31. So successful has the venture been in stimulating interest in the American racing product that plans to launch stables in Britain and Australia in 2021. In June 2020, bought a 12.5% share in Authentic – a $350,000 yearling purchase – and sold shares for $206 to more than 5,000 investors. Each share was worth .001% of the colt. Michael Behrens, 44, the founder and Chief Executive of, is a former marketing and advertising executive who was a frequent visitor to Santa Anita before relocating with his family from southern California to Lexington, Kentucky. It was during one of his visits with friends to the ‘The Great Race Place’ that he formed the idea for a stable of ‘micro owners’ investing tiny sums, far removed from the numbers normally required to own a share in a thoroughbred. The project was helped by the involvement and advice of Spendthrift Farm owner B Wayne Hughes. Behrens worked for an advertising company that listed Public Storage, a US self-storage company founded by Hughes, as a leading client. Hughes supported Behrens and the MyRacehorse concept from the start.


Words: Edward Rosenthal and Steve Andersen

“He holds us accountable to a level of integrity that is very high,” Behrens explained. In addition, there is also legal oversight from the federal government. is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which enforces security laws in the United States. Horses must not be offered to the public until the SEC, the same body that oversees the banking giants in Wall Street, reviews technical terms. The SEC is focused on matters pertaining only to investment rules, including financial audits. Once approved, is allowed to begin selling shares, which Behrens says can sell out rapidly, sometimes within a day. Financial terms displayed on detail how investors’ money is spent, such as acquisition, training, veterinarian fees, administrative and management costs. Some horses are leased for a 12-month period with as many

Authentic and John Velazquez win the Kentucky Derby in September in the silks of

as 10,000 shares available. While Behrens admits he is selling the dream of owning a successful racehorse, the website is full of disclaimers about the risks involved. He says: “I do try and temper expectations and how people may not make money. If the horse doesn’t make it, we make a loss. We’ve lost on many horses.” One of’s biggest fans is Duncan Taylor, President, CEO and driving force behind Kentucky-based consigning powerhouse Taylor Made Farm. He is also one of the most influential horsemen in the United States. “We were dying on the vine before came along,” Taylor explains. “It takes a fairly wealthy person to put $25,000 into a horse. This is a way to give people a sports ownership interest for little money. “ is enabling people to get immersed in the horse business and they can enjoy some of the benefits of

ownership. There were over 5,000 people that owned Authentic when he won the Derby and Classic. Now you have all those ‘songbirds’ out there talking about the

“We were dying on the vine before MyRacehorse came along” thoroughbred business. “In the future, if these people make some money, they might buy their own horses outright. As a business we have never had a customer path. MyRacehorse. com does.

“I hope is the catalyst whereby in 20 years’ time, the guy who bought a micro share aged 18 because he enjoyed going to Keeneland is now killing it with his business in the marketplace and thinks he’d now like to buy some racehorses.” Taylor is pleased the SEC has oversight into the financial affairs of clubs like with the protection of the thoroughbred industry’s integrity in mind. He says: “For micro shares the regulation needs to be pretty tough. You must know they are legitimate operators because if someone with low morality got in there and ripped a bunch of people off it would be bad news for our industry. “Every horse deal they do must be sent to the SEC to have it looked at. The SEC grants the licence to sell the shares as a security, ensuring it’s not a scam. “Groups like Eclipse or West Point with under 50 people fall under a different category and don’t have to go




Shared ownership

Duncan Taylor of Taylor Made Farm believes micro ownership is a positive development

›› through the SEC.

“These smaller syndicates are happening but they have never gained traction like, which has become a brand that’s marketing, advertising and bringing in a lot of new people. This is the bright spot in our thoroughbred business.

“Any way to expand ownership and entry into the sport is good” “I give a lot of credit to B Wayne Hughes. He’s not a greedy guy. He’s a long-term thinker. He’s helping get the right kind of horses with the right kind of publicity. He’s doing it where it’s a fair deal for all the micro share investors. He’s not trying to rip anybody off. “It’s a beautiful thing to see a guy who is 90 years old and still as driven as he is. It’s a real testament to the man.” Dan Metzger, President of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, is another to sing the praises of B Wayne Hughes.


“Spendthrift Farm is very involved in and you have to give huge credit to B Wayne Hughes,” Metzger says. “He’s innovative and puts his money where his mouth is. One thing about Wayne Hughes is he’s not afraid to take chances and he’s not afraid to think outside the box.” On the matter of regulation, Metzger says: “Every state in the US has different regulations, including who needs to be licensed in a racing partnership or ownership group, whether it’s everyone who owns an interest in a horse or sometimes those who own over a certain percentage in a horse. “But there are no obstacles from a governmental regulatory perspective for partnerships and racing clubs. “Obviously, is a different model entirely. We encourage groups like this and the Churchill Downs Racing Club because we think they are the future of racing. “They reduce the barrier to entry and give people a small taste. The majority of people will probably stay at that level but the hope is that some of them might graduate into bigger investors. “Any way to expand ownership and entry into the sport is a good thing.” Aside from the emergence of micro ownership in the US, the last 20 years has seen a considerable growth in limited partnerships that involve a dozen owners or fewer. Since 2017, three of the last four

Kentucky Derby winners have been coowned by groups of various sizes – as well as the aforementioned Authentic, West Point Thoroughbreds owned a share of 2017 winner Always Dreaming while China Horse Club was a co-owner of 2018 victor Justify. West Point Thoroughbreds, launched in the 1990s, bought 16 yearlings in 2020 and immediately formed limited partnerships for those prospects. It would take a five- or six-figure sum to become an investor with West Point. The trend of partnerships and syndicates taking a more active role in prominent horses is probably here to stay, according to West Point President Terry Finley. He cites the capital needed to acquire horses capable of racing at the highest level as a driving force for shared ownership. West Point Thoroughbreds co-owned Always Dreaming with a large group of partners – Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Teresa Viola Racing Stable, Siena Farm, MeB Racing Stables and St Elias Stables. “Eight or ten years ago, there were plenty of people that thought, ‘I don’t want to be involved in groups that have too many people’,” Finley said. “I think they are becoming a minority of owners. “People know if you’re in it to compete at the highest echelon, which is the most fun and intriguing part of our game, you have to be open to partners, or you have to have a lot of money.” For West Point investors, the initial subscription covers a portion of the acquisition and costs through the horse’s two-year-old season. Ideally, a runner has generated revenue as a juvenile that will pay for continued costs. In some cases, shareholders are asked to spend additional funds. West Point investors are required to conform to a ‘suitability standard’ conducted by the organisation’s attorney that allows a better understanding of the backgrounds of the people who want to be involved. “I’d like to think over 30 years we know the warning signs of people that might not be a good fit for us,” Finley added.

The Australian approach

Australia is lauded as a nation that loves its horseracing. Exceptional mare Winx, the most famous female to come out of the country since Kylie Minogue, was owned in a partnership consisting of Peter and Patty Tighe’s Magic Bloodstock Racing, Debbie and Paul Kepitis, and Richard Treweeke. There are few people anywhere in the world better qualified to talk about shared






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Shared ownership

Debbie Kepitis greets Winx after the mare’s victory in the 2017 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington

›› ownership than Sydney-based lawyer

Tony Fleiter. He runs the biggest syndicate legal advisory practice in Australia and counts John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud, home to leading sire Snitzel, plus the likes of Newgate Stud, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing and MiRunners/The Racing League among his clients. He is also advising regarding its entrance into the Australian market. Specialising in stallions and racehorses, Fleiter has seen at first hand the growth and development of shared ownership over the past 25 years. Fleiter says: “Syndication is big business in Australia and continues to grow as a market segment. I estimate that more than A$50 million worth of yearlings will be acquired at the sales from January to June 2021 specifically for syndication by professional syndicators, trainers, studmasters and other participants. Our prize-money levels are sensational and our leading breeders typically breed for the commercial market. “In Australia, the regulatory regime governing the syndication of thoroughbred racehorses and stallions by professional syndicators and studmasters is embedded in the managed investments scheme provisions of the Corporations Act. It is a set of compliance rules for unincorporated arrangements involving collective investment, regardless of whether the legal form is a co-ownership, partnership or unit trust-based arrangement. “The regime is administered by the


Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which maintains a co-regulatory arrangement with the various state racing authorities in relation to horseracing schemes considered small in scale [currently limited to no more than 50 participants and a total cumulative value of all scheme interests not exceeding A$500,000]. “This co-regulatory arrangement is not new. It has evolved since the first

“The Rules of Racing should not attempt to replace federal and state laws” policy guide issued in 1992 and includes less onerous ASIC licensing conditions for syndicators who are restricted to promoting and managing small-scale horse racing schemes. “ASIC has done a good job overall interacting with the thoroughbred industry and with implementing a set of workable compliance rules for small-scale schemes, which were last revised in 2016. “However, the continuing problem is that some state racing authorities interpret the rules differently to others and are inconsistent in their approach to surveillance and enforcement, which has

eroded the overall effectiveness of the regulations nationally.” External regulation may not be popular with everyone in the Australian thoroughbred industry yet Fleiter believes it is essential. “While some state racing authorities have indicated a desire to explore the possibility of industry self-regulation of racehorse syndication, I am strongly of the view this would be unworkable,” he explains. “The Rules of Racing should not attempt to exclude or replace the numerous federal and state laws that apply to the commercial dealings between industry participants when buying and selling, and owning, interests in racehorses. “The Rules of Racing have evolved relatively informally over the years compared to legislation and are simply not suitable for that purpose. Furthermore, the state racing tribunals simply do not have the power of courts to determine competing claims, or to award compensation if a claim for damages is proven. “Despite Australia having an established regulatory regime, we have still experienced some rogue operators like Melbourne-based Bill Vlahos and BC3. “While most of the adverse publicity has focused on his Ponzi betting scheme and investors losing a reported $17.5 million, his high-profile BC3 racehorse syndication business also operated illegally and unlicensed for five years in full view of Racing Victoria before also imploding.

“Though he has been charged, tried and convicted for fraud offences relating to the betting scheme, and is currently incarcerated, he has never been charged by either the Crown or Racing Victoria in relation to the illegal syndication activities.” Fleiter continues: “In relation to the current review of racehorse shared ownership in the UK being undertaken by the BHA, it is worth noting that the definition of a managed investment scheme in our Corporations Act is similar in meaning to the definition of a collective investment scheme in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (UK). “I will therefore be surprised if the future regulation of horseracing schemes does not involve interaction between the BHA and Financial Conduct Authority. My recommendation would be for the BHA to embrace such a relationship rather than to seek to avoid it, because the law will apply in any event.”

Regulations in Ireland

The demise of Supreme Horse Racing Club was a shock to jump racing fans, its familiar silks carried by a number of highclass runners over the years, none more so than top chaser Kemboy, trained by Willie Mullins. Supreme’s collapse, just months before Kemboy ran in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, came after claims that the group had oversold shares in its string of racehorses. In November 2019, Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) disqualified Supreme from being owners and part owners of all racehorses registered in the country, having not received information requested regarding its membership. HRI said it was “unable to stand over the shareholding of each horse – a fundamental aspect of any owner registration.” In reference to the increasing popularity of shared ownership in Ireland, Aidan McGarry, HRI’s Owner Relations Manager, said: “In 2019, HRI reported a 34% increase in the number of active syndicates in Ireland over the previous five years. The growth in the number of syndicates has been a real positive for Irish racing, with the vast majority of these being formed amongst friends and family. “To maintain and manage this growth, in July 2019 HRI introduced a new directive along with a syndicate agreement/ code of conduct. HRI Directive 15 provides additional controls for HRI to manage the various ownership formats, including syndicates, more effectively. “The requirement for a written syndicate agreement/code of conduct between each syndicate member and the syndicate agent was also introduced. This agreement outlines how the syndicate will be managed from the fundamentals of syndication, such as prize-money distribution and general communications, to some of the less common happenings that arise such as the syndicate exit clause or the potential sale of the member’s share.” Other countries take a more stringent line over shared ownership arrangements. In Japan, racing clubs are very popular and recognised as commodity funds in the eyes of the law, supervised by the Financial Services Agency. In Hong Kong, only members of the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) may own racehorses. There are three types of owners: sole owners, partnerships (two to four partners) and syndicates (five to 50 members). Andrew Harding, HKJC Executive Director of Racing, says: “Before an owner, a partnership or a syndicate can import a horse, they must take part in the annual horse ballot to obtain a horse import permit. “The composition of partnerships and syndicates and the identity of each partner or member must be disclosed to the HKJC at the time of the ballot. Only the spouse or children of sole owners or partnership owners, who must also be HKJC members,

can be added to solely-owned or partnership-owned horses, and only HKJC members can be added to syndicate-owned horses. “As partners and syndicate members must be HKJC members, approval for the establishment or changes in partnerships and syndicates are entirely a matter for the HKJC. Involvement of external agencies just isn’t relevant. There are no promoters and the public is not allowed to acquire shares in racehorses.” Whether or not a licensing system is introduced for shared ownership groups in Britain, with increased financial oversight, remains to be seen. Harry Herbert’s Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, established in 1992, has raced a string of champions, including Petrushka, who in 2000 became the first syndicate-owned Classic winner in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh, and Harbinger, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes hero sold for a princely sum to Japan. Highclere has diversified into the National Hunt sector and also has a string or horses in Australia. So would Herbert, who runs what Highclere calls “the most successful multiple ownership company in Europe”, advocate a move towards the Australian model, and see the BHA partnering with the Financial Conduct Authority to licence syndicators and increase regulation? “I’m not sure that’s necessary,” he says. “It’s going to add a lot of expense and it could put people off. But I do think the rules could be tightened. “People have to know what they are getting into; transparency is vital. Whether or not you need financial regulation I don’t know. It stopped me doing anything in America. “At Highclere, we say this is not an investment – it’s about enjoying the horses.”

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Breeders’ Digest

Nancy Sexton Bloodstock Editor

Farewell to David Thompson, a great British breeder



t has been a sad start to 2021. For starters, the death of Prince Khalid Abdullah robbed racing of one of its greatest patrons, one whose staunch support has done much to help the sport flourish. The first week of the year also brought with it the sad news that David Thompson, owner of Cheveley Park Stud with his wife Patricia, had passed away shortly before the New Year aged 84. David and Patricia Thompson purchased the Newmarket-based stud in 1975 and developed it into an operation of great international significance. From early stallions such as Music Boy and Primo Dominie, now perhaps best remembered as the damsire of Wootton Bassett, to the outstanding Pivotal, Cheveley Park Stud’s stallion roster has long had a valuable role to play in the calculations of breeders. Thompson’s enthusiasm for racing has also been to the major advantage of the sport, with those famous red, white and blue colours carried by the likes of Russian Rhythm, Queen’s Trust, Confidential Lady and Pivotal himself. Over jumps, Party Politics’ victory in the 1992 Grand National was a wonderful highlight. In recent years, a rekindled interest in jump racing had led to the purchases of high-profile chasers Envoi Allen, who remains unbeaten in 11 runs under Rules for Gordon Elliott, and A Plus Tard, who won the Savills Chase at Leopardstown just a day before Thompson’s death. A glance at the recent history of Cheveley Park Stud paints a picture of a man who stood by his convictions. For that, the retirement of Gimcrack Stakes winner Music Boy is a fine example. “Music Boy gave his purchase of Cheveley Park Stud in 1975 a purpose and although he was advised against standing him at stud, he proved to be leading first-season sire with only 17 runners,” recalls Managing Director Chris Richardson. “He loved going to any sale. I remember once going to a wine sale with him at Tattersalls, where we ended up buying 47 cases, most of which was sold on for a tidy profit some years later. “He came to the sales one day in my early years at Cheveley Park Stud. He

David Thompson (right): developed Cheveley Park Stud with wife Patricia

was sitting in the seats and was getting bored, complaining the sale was going too slowly, so he decided to put every lot on the market and he bid with his usual grin and a giggle. He walked out, handed me three yellow slips and chuckled all the way back to the stud.” Richardson nominates Russian Rhythm’s victory in the 2003 1,000 Guineas as a particularly special moment as well as Persuasive’s defeat of the colts in the 2017 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He adds: “The purchase of Polar Falcon also gave him great pleasure. The resulting legacy sees Pivotal leave an indelible mark on the industry around the world. Pivotal’s success is something both Mr and Mrs Thompson were so proud of, as he was their first homebred in the stud’s colours to win a Group 1 [in the Nunthorpe Stakes]. “Queen’s Trust’s win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf was another amazing day which firmly put Cheveley Park Stud on the international stage. I remember Mr T saying why did we go all that way, as she had no chance. Mrs Thompson sighed with relief when she won. “Party Politics also gave him a huge amount of pleasure and satisfaction, having had David Minton buy the horse before the race. I think he was surprised that he won - so surprised that both Mr and Mrs Thompson felt somewhat guilty, as for most it is a dream of a lifetime to have a runner in such a race let alone win, which rarely happens.”

Outside of Cheveley Park Stud’s ownership, there was also the victory of Entrepreneur in the 1997 2,000 Guineas to savour. The son of Sadler’s Wells had sold for 600,000gns to jointly top the 1995 Tattersalls Houghton Sale with fellow Cheveley Park-bred Happy Valentine. “Entrepreneur winning the 2,000 Guineas was also something he did not expect,” says Richardson. “Whilst delighted, he said to me quietly afterwards, ‘Next time in our colours please…’” He adds: “His last visit to Newmarket saw him attend the Tattersalls Cheltenham Sale where he purchased two horses, Grangeclare West and Guily Billy, having the following week also secured Classic Getaway, for a joint equalling record price of £570,000. “When David Thompson set his mind to do something he just made it happen, and what a success the National Hunt horses are becoming, with the likes of Envoi Allen and A Plus Tard, to name but two. I believe it is now nine National Hunt Grade 1 wins, which is quite an achievement.” Today’s Cheveley Park Stud roster numbers five Newmarket-based stallions including Pivotal, who remains in fine fettle at the age of 28. Among the younger brigade, anticipation runs high for the first crop of Ulysses. The son of Galileo won the Eclipse Stakes and Juddmonte International and has been strongly supported at stud by connections, including the Niarchos family. It would be a very fitting tribute to Thompson were the horse to become a success at stud. As it is, he will be given every chance, with two-year-olds in the care of his former trainer Sir Michael Stoute, John Gosden and Roger Varian among others. “It was David Thompson’s decision to buy into Ulysses and knowing his amazing touch for things turning to gold, it would not surprise us if he made a big impression,” says Richardson. “His young stock were well received and there are most encouraging reports of some of his two year-olds already, so fingers crossed. “It is such a shame that he will not witness the result of this particular purchase.”


Sales Circuit • By Carl Evans

Hunger for high-end stock underpins winter season Santa Claus was preparing to set off on his rounds when this four-day sale took place just before Christmas, a month after the date that was initially set. That meant it was staged at the end of Europe’s traditional foal and breeding stock sales, and when factoring in Covid-related travel restrictions and numerous uncertainties which were a feature of 2020 – take your pick from Brexit, the US presidential election, stock market ups and downs, lockdowns, racing behind closed doors and economic uncertainty – it was no surprise there were downturns in the figures. On the plus side a markedly smaller catalogue of fillies and mares did result in an improved clearance rate of 88%, up six points. Of the 199 lots offered in that section of the sale – 96 fewer than in 2019 – 174

Blackstar Bloodstock went to €440,000 for this Frankel filly out of Marvada


Goffs November Foal & Breeding Stock Sales

Brenda Shortt took to the ring as Mrs Claus to raise money for mental health charities

found a new home, turning over €5,490,600, a drop of 31%. The average price lost five per cent at €31,674, but the median was unchanged at €14,000. Turnover across three days of foal selling achieved €17,578,600, down 32%, the average price was clipped 25% to €36,470 while the median was down a third at €20,000. The clearance rate was 76%, a drop of five points. Tally-Ho Stud was the leading buyer, gaining 16 foals for €870,500. The Monopolies & Mergers Commission might have been obliged to take an interest in the key final session of foals which offered the cream of the sale and was dominated by one horse. Then again Frankel was never beaten on the racecourse, so he is used to being top

TALKING POINT • There was a hint of hard done by in the closing statement of Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby, who described 2020 as “a sales year like no other and for all the wrong reasons”. He added: “Whilst we recognise that we are better off than so many, it has seemed that Irish sales have had to deal with some issues and barriers to trade that others have not had to face,” a reference to the need to move some Irish sales to Britain, and the requirement for people entering Ireland to undergo up to 14 days of self-isolation when such measures were not being enforced across the Irish Sea.


dog, and at this auction that meant filling the top four places with foals he sired. Three shared headline billing when making €440,000, including a colt and

Frankel was also sire of this €440,000 half-brother to Group 3 winner Dinozzo

Reflecting on the year, Beeby took pleasure in recording two record-breaking prices for point-to-pointers sold by Goffs UK at Yorton Stud, in the €530,000 transaction involving jumping mare Apple’s Jade, and the success of online sales, a method which Goffs is relying on for its opening 2021 auctions. However, he conceded “our yearling sales proved a massive disappointment, most particularly our flagship Orby Sale, which we had to move to the UK”. He added: “We were faced with some difficult choices in the midst of the pandemic and got some of them right, but undoubtedly made some mistakes.” That honesty will have been appreciated by vendors, most of whom are in the industry for the long haul, and recognise that a healthy Goffs is good for the game.

Goffs November Foal Sale Top lots Sex/breeding


Price (€)


F Frankel – Marvada

Swordlestown Little


Blackstar Bloodstock

C Frankel – Nisriyna

Swordlestown Little


Juddmonte Farms

C Frankel – Lily’s Angel

Paca Paca Farm


Castlebridge Consignment

C Frankel – Noyelles

Neilstown Stud



C Footstepsinthesand - Queen Of Carthage

Baroda Stud


Filip Zwicky

C No Nay Never - Lady Ederle

Ballintry Stud


Stauffenberg Bloodstock

C Camelot – Coppertop

Oghill House Stud


JC Bloodstock

C Invincible Spirit – Jakonda

Irish National Stud


Big Red Farm

C Acclamation - Big Boned

The Castlebridge Consignment


JC Bloodstock

C Kodiac - An Cailin Orga

Al Eile Stud


Tally-Ho Stud

F Camelot - Stealth Missile

Oaklawn Stud


Highbank Stud

Figures Year


Agg (€)

Average (€)

2020 2019 2018

Median (€)

Top price (€)

















filly from Des Leadon and Mariann Klay’s Swordlestown Little. The colt, out of the mare Nisriyna, was bought by Barry Mahon on behalf of Frankel’s owner Khalid Abdullah, who sadly had but a few weeks to live. Swordlestown Little’s Frankel filly out of Marvada fell to Blackstar Bloodstock, while the third leg of this starspangled trio was a colt out of Lily’s Angel, who was offered by The Castlebridge Consignment and bought by Harry Sweeney’s Paca Paca Farm in Japan. Ger Lowry of Oneliner Stables was underbidder for the Nisriyna colt, but he too grabbed one of the stallion’s offspring – this one a colt consigned from Neilstown Stud – with a bid of €360,000. Bought as a pinhook, he will be reoffered

Zain Art, dam of smart two-year-old Aloha Star, headed the Goffs November Mares Sale

Stakes producer Sindiyma was bought to join Ballylinch Stud on a bid of €315,000

as a yearling, which should make for an interesting ten months for the Oneliner team. Also returning to the ring this year will be a Footstepsinthesand half-brother to Classic prospect Lucky Vega, who took the 2020 running of the Phoenix Stakes. Goffs Scandinavian agent Filip Zwicky signed for this Baroda Stud-consigned colt following a bid of €300,000. Third place in the aforementioned Phoenix Stakes was Aloha Star, whose

dam Zain Art headed the fillies’ and mares’ session at €390,000. The eight-year-old Excellent Art mare, who was offered by Collegelands Stud with a Land Force cover, was knocked down to Timmy Hyde of Camas Park Stud. Next best on price was 13-year-old Sindiyma, who is due to produce a Footstepsinthesand foal very soon off a late February cover. Consigned by Airlie Stud, the daughter of Kalanisi was sold to Ballylinch Stud for €315,000.



Sales Circuit Goffs November Breeding Stock Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (€)


Zain Art 8 m Excellent Art – Zigarra

Collegelands Stud


Camas Park Stud

Sindiyma 13 m Kalanisi – Sinndiya

Airlie Stud


Varamini 4 m Siyouni - Persian Belle



Margaret O’Toole

Bitter Lake 8 m Halling – Suez



Airlie Stud

Second Glance 3 m Galileo - Rosdhu Queen

The Castlebridge Consignment


Rabbah Bloodstock

Assurance 3 f Teofilo – Gearanai

Glebe House Stables


Clifton Farm

Eshtiya 3 f Dark Angel – Eshera

HH Aga Khan Studs


Ballygallon Stud

Criticism 16 m Machiavellian – Innuendo



Tinnakill Bloodstock

Opal Heart 3 f Invincible Spirit - Sea Of Heartbreak

Jockey Hall Stud


BBA Ireland

Haughtily 9 m Invincible Spirit - Hoity Toity



De Burgh Equine

Always Gold 5 m New Approach – Tamazirte

Newtown Stud


Rabbah Bloodstock

Ballylinch Stud

Figures Year


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Another Goffs UK sale at Yorton Stud in North Wales, another record price for a point-to-pointer. This one, the £570,000 given for fouryear-old, once-raced Classic Getaway, equalled the sum given for Douvan’s brother Jonbon at the same venue the previous month. The buyer for Jonbon was JP McManus, while Classic Getaway was knocked down to bloodstock agent Tom Malone who was working in partnership with trainer Gordon Elliott – on each occasion the underbidder was racehorse owner Tony Barney, who runs one of Britain’s largest caravan and park home businesses. Malone was unable to reveal the new


Goffs UK December P2P Sale

Classic Getaway: knocked down to Tom Malone for a record-equalling £570,000

TALKING POINT • County Carlow-based Scobie Fitzgerald enjoyed a superb pinhook when trading the filly Queens River for £330,000. He had bought her for just €20,000 as a store, but a win at Boulta just ahead of the sale underlined her potential for bigger things under Rules, and JP McManus duly snapped her up. If every sale could be that profitable the job would be easy – and lucrative – but there can be many pitfalls between the date a store is bought and the day it is returned to the ring, not least because it might prove slow. Covid was another factor for pinhookers in 2020, but


Fitzgerald found some good in the shutdown which befell his trade in March last year. He said: “It’s not been an easy year with Covid, but it did mean the horses had a good long summer and they all came back in stronger and better.” Ever the optimist, he added: “We bought the same amount of stores in the summer, because without them we have nothing to sell.” Hopefully Fitzgerald was able to call upon that optimism when, in early January, Irish point-to-pointing joined its British counterpart in being shut down due to increased cases of Covid. With luck the ‘pause’ will be short-lived. Hundreds of pinhookers will have crossed fingers.

owner of Classic Getaway, but it later came to light that he was acting for David Thompson of Cheveley Park Stud, whose passion for buying exciting young jumping stock had been epitomised at Tattersalls Cheltenham’s December Sale in Newmarket, where he bought the top two lots for a sum approaching £750,000. How sad that this thrust to secure gorgeous-looking, athletic young jumpers who had shown a wealth of potential was to be ended so abruptly by Thompson’s death in late December. His passing bears comparison with that of Alan Potts, who was on a similar mission

to secure the best of young jumping stock when he died in November 2017. Classic Getaway became another successful pinhook for Donnchadh Doyle of Monbeg Stables. Doyle bought the four-year-old son of Getaway for £65,000 at Goffs UK’s Spring Store Sale in May 2019 and trained him to win on debut at Borris House two weeks before his appearance at Yorton Stud. Another notable sale centred on the four-year-old filly Queens River, a daughter of Kayf Tara who was knocked down to McManus for £330,000, a substantial sum for a female pointer. Trainer Scobie Fitzgerald of Cobajay

Stables bought her for just €20,000 as a store, trained her to win a maiden pointto-point at the first time of asking, and then returned her to the ring. Goffs UK’s Managing Director Tim Kent was delighted with the day’s figures, which showed sales for 26 of the 31 horses offered at an average price of £90,346. Turnover of £2,349,000 was a welcome fillip for the company, which at the start of the year had no intention to hold the sale, let alone stage it at a stud farm in North Wales. It was another example of the curate’s egg that businesses experienced during the Covid-hit year of 2020.

Goffs UK December P2P Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (£)


Classic Getaway 4 g Getaway - Classic Magic

Monbeg Stables (Donnchadh Doyle)


Tom Malone/G Elliott

Queens River 4 f Kayf Tara - Follow My Leader

Cobajay Stables (Aidan Fitzgerald)


Kieran McManus


Gerry Hogan

Here Comes The Man 5 g Flemensfirth - Nifty Nuala

Milestone Stables (Colin Bowe)

My Mate Mozzie 4 g Born To Sea - Leo’s Spirit

Canterbrook Stud (Margaret Mullins)


Gavin Cromwell

Tango Tara 4 g Kayf Tara - Bling Noir

Baltimore House Stables (James Doyle)


Tom Malone/Paul Nicholls

Figures Year 2020


Agg (£)

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Median (£)

Top price (£)






This sale of jumping stock was postponed for a month, but that delay seemed only to whet the appetites of buyers who tucked in for some highquality foals and potential broodmares. It was further evidence that while Covid has put a dampener on all things racing, it has not crushed demand for jump racing gems, and whether a sale offers foals, yearlings or young jumpers with a bit of form, there are buyers waiting. This might be because they have great faith in a successful programme of Covid vaccinations, or because restrictions on our lives have focussed attention on luxuries we can buy – rather than those we cannot – but good-looking young horses with tasty pedigrees or classy form were as popular as ever in 2020. That translated into a wonderful set of figures at this three-day auction, which kicked off with two days of foals and a smattering of yearlings, before a final day of foals plus fillies and mares in or out of training. Turnover of just over €10 million was down 17%, yet 204 fewer lots were offered. The


Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale

Laurina: top hurdler will visit Jet Away after selling for €290,000 to Ridgewood Stud

clearance rate rose nine points to 78%, the average price gained 15% to reach €19,008 while the median of €13,000 was up eight per cent. Demand for good-looking foals – particularly those by Walk In The Park and others of his standing – was the

chief talking point, although it was a fabulous racemare who walked away with top-lot honours. Laurina, a seven-year-old daughter of Spanish Moon, came to the ring with a CV which included a victory in the Grade 2 mares’ novices’ hurdle at the



Sales Circuit the stable of Willie Mullins. A month later she added a Grade 1 win at the Punchestown Festival for owner Jared Sullivan, although a beginners’ chase win the following season – in which she beat high-class Minella Indo – was to prove her final win and further efforts made it clear she was ready for a new career. Breeder Douglas Taylor of Ridgewood Stud brought the hammer down for Laurina with a bid of €290,000, a record for this sale, and then said she would visit his stallion Jet Away, who stands in Wexford at Eoin Banville’s Arctic Tack Stud. Other mares who made a mark on the day included seven-year-old grey Moskovite, a Graded-placed hurdler who was sold to Robert McCarthy of Coolmore’s The Beeches Stud for €160,000. Bred and


›› Cheltenham Festival in March 2018 from

This Walk In The Park colt out of The Crown Jewel was among the highlights for his sire

raced by Robert Hennelly, she was offered in foal to Crystal Ocean, who last year stood his first season at The Beeches Stud. Walk In The Park also stands under

the Coolmore banner, although he is based at Grange Stud. The sire of Douvan and his exciting brother Jonbon, plus top-class Min among others, Walk In The Park dominated the second session of this sale when three of his colt foals headed trade. All three were consigned by the Motherway family’s Yelllowford Farm, including two who made €100,000, with one heading the way of agents Mags O’Toole and Aiden Murphy, and the other falling to Ciaran Conroy of Glenvale Stud. O’Toole and Murphy also teamed up to gain a €95,000 son of the sire from Yellowford, and they topped up a busy day with a €90,000 investment in a colt from the first crop of Order Of St George. He too is a Coolmore sire, but standing at Castle Hyde Stud.

Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (€)


Laurina 7 m Spanish Moon – Lamboghina

Ballincurrig House Stud


Ridgewood Stud

Moskovite 7 m Flemensfirth – Moskova

Boherna Stables


The Beeches Stud

Posh Trish 7 m Stowaway - Moscow Demon

W H Bloodstock


Oliver Loughlin

C Walk In The Park – Quiritis

Yellowford Farm


Glenvale Stud

C Walk In The Park - The Crown Jewel

Yellowford Farm


Mags O’Toole/Aiden Murphy

C Walk In The Park – Mardale

Yellowford Farm


Mags O’Toole/Aiden Murphy

C Order Of St George – Tetou

Ballyreddin Stud


Mags O’Toole/Aiden Murphy

C Kapgarde - Credo Star

Ballincurrig House Stud


Oak Tree Farm

C Getaway - Princess Mairead

Spikle Stud


Timmy Hillman

Jelan 8 m Milan - La Noire

Ballintry Stud


Jayne McGivern

Figures Year


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Tattersalls Ireland November Flat Foal & Breeding Stock Sale This single-session sale took place at Fairyhouse and retained its traditional title, but was boosted by the inclusion of a group of yearlings. Their presence helped, but withdrawals from across the catalogue was no aid to the figures and the event proved a low-key occasion. Of the 190 horses catalogued, 137 walked the ring and 72 found a buyer, equivalent to 53%. Clare Manning of Boherguy Stud has good reason to remember 2020 with fondness for she made a mark at several


auctions. At this sale she consigned the top lot, a Dawn Approach yearling filly who was sold for €45,000 to Clongan House’s John Sharry. At Tattersalls Ireland’s September Yearling Sale held in Newmarket, Manning sold the top lot, a £325,000 son of Teofilo, and the following day she traded a session-topping New Approach colt for £190,000. Taking second spot in terms of valuation at this event was a €33,000 Belardo filly from Paddy and Peter Kelly’s County Meath-based Ballybin Stud. Patrick Cooper bought the hammer down for this one and said

she would be joining trainer Jessica Harrington. Heading foals was a €25,000 colt by Unfortunately, the Cheveley Park Stud stallion now standing at Springfield House Stud in County Tipperary, and who was himself sold at Fairyhouse as a yearling. Ivor Andray Bloodstock signed for this colt, while Michael Glynn’s €6,000 purchase of the four-year-old Oasis Dream mare Campaign Quest – complete with a Free Eagle cover – was the pick of the breeding stock. Turnover was down 19%, the average price was clipped seven per cent, but the median held steady.



• This sale completed a sales year that will not be forgotten by Tattersalls Ireland staff, and one described by CEO Matt Mitchell as “one of the most challenging to date for all of us”. He was able to take plenty of positivity out of “the resilience of the bloodstock market” which he said was a testament to the industry. High-value sales had been a

feature he said, and included a €300,000 half-sister to Altior at the Derby Sale, a record £325,000 Teofilo colt top lot at the September Yearling Sale, and a €290,000 record for the mare Laurina at the November NH Sale. Clear signs that quality horses retain appeal, even in a year of enormous upheaval.

Tattersalls Ireland November Flat Foal & Breeding Stock Sale Top lots Sex/breeding


Price (€)


F Dawn Approach - My Fere Lady

Boherguy Stud


Clongan House

F Belardo - Fashion Line

Ballybin Stud


BBA Ireland

C Unfortunately - Celestial Dream

Kilmore Stud


Ivor Andray Bloodstock

C Mehmas - Midnight Destiny

Collegelands Stud


Con Marnane

F No Nay Never – Annamanamoux

Al Eile Stud


BBA Ireland

C Mastercraftsman – Brambleberry



Edward Lynam

Figures Year


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Little entices buyers more than the dispersals of major breeders and with three such groups, namely those hailing from Sam-Son Farm, the late Paul P. Pompa and the Spry Family, underpinning the Keeneland January Sale in Kentucky, there was a buoyant opening to the North American sales season, writes Nancy Sexton. The Samuel family’s Sam-Son Farm is winding down after 50 years in operation in Canada. Founded by Ernie Samuel in 1972, it boasts a history of four Eclipse Awards, 84 Sovereign Awards, 37 Canadian Classic wins and 14 Grade 1 winners. Along the way, noted Sam-Son families have been developed and it was hunger for this stock, which consisted of 21 mares, that helped drive trade during the second day of the auction by turning over $6,733,000. Six of the draft sold for $400,000 or more led by Danceforthecause, a member of the farm’s noted Dance Smartly family who was bought in foal to Twirling Candy by Gainesway Farm for $925,000. The unraced daughter of Giant’s Causeway has made a swift start at stud, her first two foals being Canadian Grade 1 winner Say The Word and Grade 2 scorer Rideforthecause. John Sikura of Hill ’n’ Dale Farm also



Keeneland January Sale

Grade 2 winner Regal Glory was the highlight of the Pompa dispersal at $925,000

made a determined move to invest in the blood, paying $900,000 for Grade 2 winner Deceptive Vision, in foal to War Front, and $500,000 for stakes producer Fun In The Desert, in foal to Candy Ride. Both are daughters of

Canadian champion Eye Of The Sphinx. “There is pressure to do things right for the [Samuel] family,” said Dave Whitford, manager of Sam-Son Farm. “They have been doing this for 50 years, and we don’t want to mess that up.




N O M I N AT I O N E N Q U I R I E S T I M L A N E 07738 496141

J O E C A L L A N 07872 058295





Sire of 12 individual first crop 2yo winners of 18 races including Gr.2 Beresford Stakes runner-up MONAASIB

Sire of 25 Black-type horses including Gr.1 winnner ALPINE STAR in 2020

First stallion son of KITTEN’S JOY in England and Ireland

Ten yearlings sold at the 2020 Tattersalls October Sales Book 1& 2 made 480,000 gns, 210,000 gns, 200,000 gns, etc.,

ONLY 3YO EVER to win the Gr.1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

averaging £154,975

Specialist Miler who could also Sprint

– over 10 times his 2018 fee




STUDY OF MAN First Foals 2021



Sire of 49 Black-type horses including 2 Gr.1 winners and 84 individual 2yo winners

Winner of 3 races at 2 & 3, including the ‘Stallion Making’ Gr.1 French Derby, and £1,033,142.

Yearlings sold at the 2020 Tattersalls October Sales Book 2 made 150,000 gns (x2), 80,000 gns & 50,000 gns,

The only son of DEEP IMPACT (Japanese Super Sire & multiple Champion) at stud in England

averaging £112,875 – over 16 times his 2018 fee

Supported by Europe’s leading breeders in his first season


£12,500 All nominations on 1st October Special Live Foal terms

i n fo @ l a n w a d e s . c o m • w w w. l a n w a d e s . c o m • Te l : + 4 4 ( 0 ) 1 6 3 8 7 5 0 2 2 2


The independent option


Sales Circuit that pressure. It is bittersweet, for sure. “With the business of the game and trying to get everything ready – we have worked so hard to do this. We haven’t really given ourselves time to absorb it all.” The dispersal of stock belonging to Paul Pompa was another bittersweet enhancement to the sale. Pompa, who campaigned Kentucky Derby hero Big Brown and more recently top miler Connect, died in October last year and the decision was taken to sell all his stock through Lane’s End Farm. The 39-strong group went on to record sales of $6,790,200, with the most desirable offerings boasting the additional allure of immediate action. Peter Brant of White Birch Farm, bidding via phone, went to $925,000 to secure Grade 2 winner Regal Glory. The five-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom won the 2019 Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes and Grade 3 Lake George Stakes for Chad Brown and is set to return to her former trainer. She also boasts an active family as a daughter of Grade 2 winner Mary’s Follies, also the dam of current Japanese standout Cafe Pharoah. Mary’s Follies herself was picked up by the BBA Ireland for $500,000. The Pompa dispersal also included the highly promising colt Carillo, who sold for $875,000 to agent Lauren Carlisle having broken his maiden at Aqueduct the previous week. He has joined the New Orleans barn of Tom Amoss on behalf of an undisclosed owner while the American Pharoah


›› There is a great legacy, and we have felt

Danceforthecause headed a bittersweet dispersal of mares from Sam-Son Farm

colt Turned Aside, a Grade 3 winner at Saratoga last summer, headed to Mark Casse after selling to West Point Thoroughbreds and DJ Stable for $725,000. The Irish-based Moyglare Stud Farm also took the opportunity to invest, going to $650,000 for Pompa’s minor stakes winner Beautiful Lover. A Grade 2-placed daughter of Arch, Beautiful Lover has resumed her career with Christophe Clement en route to joining the Moyglare broodmare band. Another 41 horses from the dispersal of Spry Family Farm realised $1,405,900 through Hill ’n’ Dale Sales Agency. Overall, total sales for the four-day

auction hit $46,482,600 for an average of $46,576, a rise of 21% from 2020 when five sessions were held. The median rose by 7% to $15,000. Away from the dispersals, however, consignors spoke of a selective market for which there was little depth for anything below the most commercial. Muted activity from areas such as Saudi Arabia and Korea undoubtedly didn’t help. Nevertheless, it was a successful sale that offered encouragement for the year ahead. It also further underlined the growing popularity of online trading, with Keeneland reporting the sale of 109 horses worth over $3 million via its online platform.

Keeneland January Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price ($)


Danceforthecause 10 m Giant’s Causeway - Dancethruthestorm

Sam-Son Dispersal


Gainesway Farm

Regal Glory 5 m Animal Kingdom - Mary’s Follies

Lane’s End, agent


White Birch Farm

Deceptive Vision 11 m A.P. Indy - Eye Of The Sphinx

Sam-Son Dispersal


Hill ’n’ Dale at Xalapa

Southern Ring 9 m Speightstown - Seeking The Ring

Sam-Son Dispersal


Phil Schoenthal, agent

Carillo 3 c Union Rags - Proper Mad

Lane’s End, agent


Lauren Carlisle, agent

Figures Year


Agg ($)

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Median ($)

Top price ($)






















€ 1 7 , 50 0

THE MOST PRECOCIOUS ARC WINNER AT STUD IN EUROPE Winner of the Gr.1 Critérium de Saint-Cloud beating 4 Gr.1 winners at 2 No Arc winner at stud had a higher 2yo rating; 25 lbs+ higher than Golden Horn and Sottsass

Winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, 2019, beating Gr.1 winners Enable, Sottsass, Ghaiyyath and Magical.


Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland • Tel: +353 (0)56 7724217 • •

Sales Circuit

Against the odds this sale delivered record figures and no fewer than 12 seven-figure yearlings, two more than last year. Covid meant there were no overseas visitors or buyers from Sydney and nearby Brisbane – where local lockdowns were in force – yet the five-day Book 1 catalogue turned over almost A$200m with an 88% clearance rate as buyers latched on to top-quality stock by a cluster of enviable stallions. The average price gained one per cent at just over a quarter of a million dollars, the median held steady at A$180,000, while a larger catalogue containing 884 offered lots (up 73) helped turnover gain 11%. With the possibility of further lockdowns, smart and energetic trainers and agents had done their homework in advance, touring the country to see yearlings on the farm, which also gave them time in advance of the sale to put together syndicates for purchasing power. That these syndicates were willing to put down the money at a time of so much uncertainty says plenty about the health of Australia’s racing industry,


Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale (Book 1)

This Snitzel colt was snapped up by Tom Magnier of Coolmore for A$1.9 million

which has managed to keep going behind closed doors despite Covid. That has enabled punters to bet and generate the all-important income which is the bedrock of the industry.

The opening session started slowly but eventually engaged burners, and hit full speed when Lot 115, a son of Snitzel, walked into the ring from Antony Thompson’s Widden Stud draft. Minutes

Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale (Book 1) Top lots Sex/breeding


Price (A$)


C Snitzel - Bonny O’Reilly

Widden Stud


Tom Magnier

C Kingman - Florentina

Segenhoe Stud


Tom Magnier

C Not a Single Doubt - One More Honey

Emirates Park Pty Ltd


Tony Fung Investments/Phoenix Thoroughbreds

C Not a Single Doubt - Soleil Brulant

Sledmere Stud


Tom Magnier

F I Am Invincible - Maastricht Kia

Ora Stud


Ciaron Maher Bloodstock/Next Level Syndications

C Written Tycoon - Taqaseem

Emirates Park Pty Ltd


Spendthrift Australia Pty Ltd

C Shalaa (IRE) - Honesty Prevails

Arrowfield Stud


James Harron Bloodstock

C Not a Single Doubt - Denmagic

Torryburn Stud


Tony Fung Investments/Phoenix Thoroughbreds

C Snitzel - Supara

Newhaven Park


Kitchwin Hills

C Zoustar - Fuddle Dee Duddle

Widden Stud


Victorian Alliance/Suman Hedge/David Redvers

C Not A Single Doubt – Medaglia Valore

Baramul Stud


Tony Fung Investments/Phoenix Thoroughbreds

C I Am Invincible - Villa Verde

Kia Ora Stud


Annabel Neasham/Brian McGuire




Agg (A$)

Average (A$)

Median (A$)

Top price (A$)





















Sales Circuit ›› later he exited with a valuation of A$1.9m

and the honour of being the 2021 sale-topper. Coolmore’s Tom Magnier signed the buyers’ sheet. The colt had been bought inside his dam, Bonnie O’Reilly, for A$1.2m by Widden investors at the Gold Coast National Broodmare sale in 2019. Day two was headed by a A$1.8m colt conceived in Britain at Juddmonte Farm by stallion Kingman, whose owner, Khalid Abdullah, had died the previous day. European stallions have to work hard to gain Antipodean approval, but the colt in question was another on the shopping list of Magnier, who would have needed no introduction to the sire. Winx’s breeder John Camilleri bred the colt out of Florentina and offered him for sale through Segenhoe Stud. The colt will trace Winx’s footsteps to Chris Waller’s Sydney-based stable. Four horses made a seven-figure sum during the second session, including colts by European shuttlers Shalaa and Zoustar. The Zoustar, who made an even million dollars, became one of six yearlings sold across the catalogue by a

group involving Qatar Racing’s David Redvers, while the Shalaa was sold to agent James Harron for A$1,150,000. A few days later Shalaa’s son Shaquero won the A$1.1m Magic Millions 2yo Classic, a sales race linked to this auction and held at the racecourse just across from the sales complex. Judging by results on day three, Amer Abdulaziz’s Phoenix Thoroughbreds is living up to its name. Banned from racing horses in Britain and France, Phoenix continues to ply its trade down under, and forming a partnership with Aquis Farm Chairman Tony Fung it lifted two millionaire horses from the ring, paying A$1.8m and A$1m for colts by pensioned sire Not A Single Doubt. Both were knocked down to online bids believed to have been made from Dubai by Abdulaziz. Arrowfield Stud’s Not A Single Doubt was also responsible for the session topper on the fourth day, this one a A$1.5m colt who also joined Magnier’s Coolmore purchases, while at the short, 82-lot, evening session after racing on the Saturday, an I Am Invincible colt was sold for A$1m to fledgling Sydney trainer

Annabel Neasham, whose education included spells in Europe at the Royal Studs and with Voute Sales. Fung and Phoenix bought 19 lots during Book 1 to head the list of buyers when spending A$11,645,000, slightly more than trainer Ciaron Maher invested on 37 lots. Arrowfield Stud, which is based in New South Wales, was the leading consignor, trading 45 horses for A$14,665,000 at an average of A$325,889. Yarraman Park stallion I Am Invincible, a 16-year-old son of Invincible Spirit, proved the leading sire with sales of 44 yearlings at an average of A$544,545. His reduced fee in 2020, A$209,000, still kept him in the top spot as Australia’s most expensive stallion. Another sire worth a mention was Not A Single Doubt, the Arrowfield Stud-owned son of Redoute’s Choice who was retired early last year. With his offspring remaining in potent form after that announcement, all 17 of his penultimate crop of yearlings at this auction found a buyer at an average price of just under A$600,000, almost six times his final fee.





















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Dr Statz

Broodmare market paints a cautious picture



The first mares in foal to top sprinter Blue Point sold for an average of £413,185

922 to 775 mares sold at the three auctions would support this view. Selling mares at such an unfavourable time is particularly tough given that the investments made in covering fees were undertaken in a bull market. In normal circumstances a mare ought to make three or four times the conception fee of her covering sire and whilst there was no real deviation from 2019 in the percentage of mares reaching this


he nature of breeding stock sales may have changed over the decades with traders playing a greater role in recent times. But many investors still harbour the hope of finding a blue hen, a mare good enough to sustain a breeding operation for years to come. Time will tell whether one such gem emerges for the 2020 class of in-foal mares and other breeding stock prospects. The harsh reality, though, of altered market behaviour due to the Covid pandemic will in all probability diminish those odds still further. Predictably, the 2020 market for pregnant mares shrank. One millionaire compared to three 12 months ago, five £500,000-plus mares compared to 22 in 2019 and 41 £200,000-plus versus 71 a year ago, are just some of the headline figures that paint a picture of nervousness among breeders and buyers about market conditions last November and December. The average price for an in-foal mare at Tattersalls, Goffs and Arqana stood at £53,412, a hefty 17% below the £64,139 posted in 2019. However, unlike the vast majority of yearling producers – who must sell their wares – broodmare sellers have other options and it is no surprise that some chose to hold fire with planned disposals or even potential purchases. The reduction from

Churchill: “There is clearly a groundswell of belief behind the dual Guineas winner”


standard – 22% down from 23% – it’s significant that the fees employed for the 2020 in-foal mares amounted to the equivalent of 37% of purchase prices, up from 32% a year ago. As is usual at most breeding stock sales, the percentage of mares sold for prices that don’t even cover the advertised covering fees for in-uteros was significant at 35% but no higher than it was in 2019. Of the three main breeding stock auctions, Arqana suffered the severest decline, its average falling by 26% to just over €40,000. Tattersalls’ December Sale also had a sizeable reverse, its average price for in-foal mares declining by 23% to £71,746 and profits subdued to the point that advertised covering fees made up 33% of purchase prices, a six-point increase on the same sale a year earlier. Goffs, meanwhile, posted an average price for in-foal mares of €37,930, only 1.6% behind last year’s effort. The standout mare at Europe’s breeding stock sales in 2020 was of course Beach Frolic, the unraced daughter of Nayef who produced Europe’s top-rated miler Palace Pier in 2020. Her Highland Reel yearling colt brought 320,000gns at Tattersalls Book 1 earlier in the year and – with her 2,200,000gns purchase price tag – there



(2+ sold) Price £

Max £

Min £

*Blue Point















Lope De Vega





No Nay Never










Invincible Spirit Churchill *Soldier's Call Wootton Bassett

















Le Havre





Dark Angel













Night Of Thunder *Ten Sovereigns *Magna Grecia

























*Best Solution




















Expert Eye










Exceed And Excel















Bated Breath





Golden Horn





*First-season sire

is no doubt she helped freshman sire Blue Point to top the list of covering stallions assessed by average price. The son of Shamardal had eight mares sell for an average of £413,185, including three other six-figure lots. No surprise really when you consider that since 2006 only five other Irish stallions have ever covered a better first book of mares. Fellow freshman Ten Sovereigns had 16 mares average £101,414 and included several, most notably mares by Pivotal, Galileo (2) and Australia, that brought six-figure sums from a €25,000 first service fee. Another Coolmore firsttimer Calyx had 16 mares sell for an average of £77,940, but most of them, including four for £100,000 or more, achieved prices over three times his fee

of €20,000, so could be considered well sold. Other newcomers to make a significant splash with their first in-foal mares include Solder’s Call, Magna Grecia and Advertise, all of whom had really nice mares come up for sale. There’s no surprise that mares in foal to the Juddmonte pair of Frankel and Kingman would always be popular, so much more so given that neither Dubawi nor Galileo had an in-foal mare at the sales last year. Their numbers were small which guaranteed keen demand for the likes of the young Frankel mare Time Saver, in foal to Kingman, who sold for 850,000gns, and the 400,000gns paid by Katsumi Yoshida for the War Front mare, Calming Effect, in foal to Frankel. The top two proven Irish sires at the sales by average price were Lope De

“Plenty saw an opportunity to cash in with Wootton Bassett” Vega and No Nay Never. The four by Lope De Vega all made serious money, but with a service fee of €100,000, big returns were sought and indeed achieved. The same held true for No Nay Never, whose fee climbed to €175,000 in 2020. In the event, he didn’t disappoint with four of his eight in-foal mares bringing in excess of £300,000. The addition of an Arc winner and Dewhurst Stakes scorer to his resume certainly helped Siyouni truly come of age in 2020 and the commercial market has responded in kind, his seven mares averaging £313,800. Pride of place among his in-foal mares went to the Arqana top lot, the young Galileo mare Truth, purchased by Minster Stud for €580,000. The cross, of course, replicates that of both Arc winner Sottsass and Dewhurst Stakes hero St Mark’s Basilica. Another star of Arqana was Wootton Bassett, who, after his purchase by Coolmore, has taken on a brand new commercial aura. And at his last low fee of €40,000, plenty saw an opportunity to cash in, with six of his ten mares making six figures and a top price of €430,000. There’s no doubt that selling a Wootton Bassett yearling in two years’ time, produced off a €40,000 fee, looks all the more attractive now given the Coolmore stamp of approval. Speaking of Coolmore, perhaps the only other sire with high demand of his in-foal mares during 2020 was Churchill. Selling a 2022 yearling by the son of Galileo may have its risks given that his first crop race next year. But there is clearly a groundswell of belief behind the dual Guineas winner as is evidenced by three very strong books of mares. That belief was also there at the breeding stock sales with his ten in-foal mares averaging £181,027. A 525,000gns top price for the Pivotal mare Dulkashe was supplemented by purchases for €500,000, 230,000gns and 220,000gns – excellent returns for a €30,000 stallion.


ROA Forum

The special section for ROA members

Secret strikes for Tote-backed Owner Sponsorship Scheme



e were delighted to see Secret Reprieve’s success in the Coral Welsh Grand National as one of the horses covered by the ROA’s Owner Sponsorship Scheme, sponsored by the Tote. The Evan Williams-trained gelding survived his girth breaking in the home straight to run out an impressive winner of the Chepstow marathon, leaving his owners William and Angela Rucker dreaming of adding to their amazing Grand National record. It is a race in which they have owned a horse placed in the first four on seven consecutive occasions with the grand trio of Alvarado, Cappa Bleu and State Of Play. The Tote continues to partner with the ROA’s Owner Sponsorship Scheme, for which we are extremely grateful. Since its inception in 2004, over 60,000 horses owned by ROA members have raced under the Owner Sponsorship Scheme. The benefit is highly valued by members as it enables them to register for UK VAT and reclaim the VAT incurred on the purchase price of their horse and associated expenditure. This can represent an annual recovery of over £4,000 per horse. In reviewing the Tote’s support for the scheme for 2021, Alex Frost, Chief Executive of the UK Tote Group, said: “In what has been a challenging period for everyone in British racing we are delighted to renew our support for the ROA’s Owner Sponsorship Scheme.

Welsh Grand National hero Secret Reprieve, owned by William and Angela Rucker

“We hope this scheme will continue to be an important benefit to owners at all levels of the sport and we look forward to continuing to see the Tote brand worn across owners’ silks throughout 2021.” Applications are currently open for the scheme. To qualify, each horse must be owned outright by an ROA member. In the case of a racing club or syndicate, the club/syndicate managers must be ROA members in order for the horse to be eligible for the scheme. William Rucker said: “We were delighted with Secret Reprieve’s win,

Deadline approaching for Great British Bonus The Great British Bonus (GBB) is a prize scheme for the breeders and owners of British-bred Flat and jumps horses that successfully race in Great Britain. Owners, breeders and the winning connections of each horse can win up to £20,000 per eligible race. The scheme is open to GB-bred fillies and mares on both the Flat and over the jumps who qualify under the following categories: • 100% GBB: up to £20,000 bonus. Foals born in GB, sired by stallions standing in GB. • 50% GBB: up to £10,000 bonus. Foals born in GB, sired by stallions standing abroad. The next stage for registration for Flat fillies bred in 2019 is February 28. For more information or to register go to


particularly as we brought him through from a store. It’s a race that means a lot to Evan and to us with most of our horses trained in Wales. “We should also say a very big thank you to the Tote for its sponsorship. Alex very kindly sent us a picture afterwards and it is great to see all that Alex and his team are doing with the Tote, which has a really exciting future under their leadership for the benefit of all in racing.” For more information or to apply, visit: sponsorship.html

Superb TV coverage for members with runners Watching your horse race is a highlight of the ownership experience. Unfortunately this has not been possible for owners in recent weeks due to national lockdown restrictions. To help support members whilst racing is behind closed doors, we have partnered with Racing TV to bring ROA members free day passes, which can be used on days when you have a runner. You can either access the main Racing TV channel or dedicated live feed from the track your horse is running at with Racing TV Extra. As well as the race itself, you can watch coverage of the build-up from the paddock and down at the start and continue after the race with expert analysis from Racing TV’s pundits and presenters. The free day pass can be used online or through your Sky TV, website, mobile or TV apps. Unfortunately the free day pass cannot be used on Virgin TV. Racing TV provides live coverage from the following UK courses: Aintree, Ayr, Beverley, Carlisle, Cartmel, Catterick Bridge, Chelmsford City, Cheltenham, Epsom, Exeter, Goodwood, Hamilton Park, Haydock Park, Huntingdon, Kelso, Kempton Park, Leicester, Ludlow, Market Rasen, Musselburgh, Newbury, Newmarket, Nottingham, Perth, Pontefract, Redcar,

Frodon and Bryony Frost capture the King George VI Chase at Kempton, one of the tracks covered by Racing TV

Salisbury, Sandown Park, Stratford On Avon, Taunton, Thirsk, Warwick, Wetherby, Wincanton and York.

How to claim a free day pass

Once your horse is declared, complete the form at the link in our Inside Track daily email, or contact the ROA on 01183 385680. We will send an email to you with your free day pass code and instructions of how to register to use it. This code can only be used once.

Daily news and discounts

Our daily ebulletin Inside Track includes links to digital racecards, news and updates for owners. This is our fastest direct communication channel with members so please let us know at

CHARITY ENDEAVOURS High-class hurdler Buzz has done sterling work in earning prize-money for his owners, Thurloe Thoroughbreds, who contribute 25% of their winning proceeds to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The seven-year-old son of Motivator holds entries in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 13 and also the Champion Hurdle. Cheers will be heartfelt if he can boost the charity coffers at this time. Sport has been a source of so many inspirational stories during the past year, and none more so than that of the efforts of Rugby League legend Rob Burrow and the rugby family to promote the Fight Back Fund, raising funds for

the MND Association. The Burrow 7 Racing Club was set up last year to help raise the profile of the charity, with the blessing of Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed with MND in December 2019. The club owns fouryear-old Burrow Seven, named after the shirt Rob played in for 16 years. We wish them well. The Jessica Bethell Charitable Foundation is planning to hold a fundraising dinner in the Dante Suite at York racecourse on May 11. Tables of ten for the event can be reserved by contacting office@ if you’d like to receive emails to ensure you don’t miss out on news or offers. Members can also enjoy discounts on the following: • A monthly Racing TV subscription, and with Racing TV Anywhere you can enjoy the best racing coverage on your TV, tablet and mobile for no extra cost. • Racing Post’s Members’ Club Ultimate subscription • A monthly plan for the digital edition of the Racing Post, available from 3am daily. To find out more about these and other benefits login to the members’ area at or call the ROA on 01183 385680.

Buzz: raising money for Royal Marsden Cancer Charity



ROA Forum

Programme changes in 2021

• ‘Standard’ to be removed and replaced with (Category 1 Elimination) • ‘Intermediate’ to be removed and replaced with (Category 2 Elimination) An example race title will therefore appear as: The Racing Group Open National Hunt Flat Race (Class 5) (Category 1 Elimination) For maiden races, the elimination sequence (Category 3 Elimination) will be added to the title, but ‘maiden’ will not be removed. In addition, the elimination sequence for maiden (Category 3 Elimination) NHF races will be adjusted so that horses that have been placed second, third and fourth are protected ahead of horses that have run and been unplaced twice. This provides greater consistency with the elimination sequence for maiden hurdle races, where horses that have previously been placed receive protection from elimination.

Two-year-old novice and maiden programme

As announced in September, the beginning of the upcoming Flat turf season will see changes made to the two-year-old novice and


Changes to the Race Administration Code (paras 31-33) will be effective from the start of the new NH season, commencing April 25. They seek to clarify the elimination sequences for National Hunt Flat races and help ensure that connections do not miss suitable entry opportunities for their horses. Race titles will be amended to help distinguish between different race types:

Bumpers will be subject to new elimination criteria from April 25

maiden programme, with restricted races merged into one race type. This aims to increase the number of races available for each horse to run in, whilst also providing a suitable balance of opportunities across the race programme for different types of horses. Horses can qualify for these races through their auction value, or, if they have no auction value, their median auction value. This means that there will no longer be two-year-old auction or median auction races, but instead five categories of novice or maiden race as shown in the table below: Following a review of the autumn sales, these value thresholds for the restricted race bands have now been finalised. To highlight an example, the race conditions for a Band C restricted novice or maiden race would be as follows: Open to two-year-old novice horses which: • Sold at auction for no more than £30,000; • Or, if they were not sold at auction, whose sire has a median price of no more than £25,000. Furthermore, any horse running in a Band A-D restricted race will receive a 2lb weight allowance for each band it runs in above that which it is qualified



Auction value

Median auction value






Band A Restricted





Band A Restricted





Band A Restricted





Band A Restricted





Races 565

for. For example, a horse that was sold for a value of £10,000 would receive a 4lb allowance when running in a Band B restricted race. Similarly, a horse that had no auction value but with a median value of £33,000 would receive a 2lb allowance when running in a Band A restricted race because it qualifies for a Band B restricted race. No weight allowances would be given in open novice and maiden races on account of banding. The auction value will always be used for qualification purposes where a horse was sold under the hammer. So, a horse with a higher auction value than median auction will qualify on its auction value.

Flat classifications

From February 1, all races aimed specifically at horses rated 50 and below will be run as 0-50 Classified races and staged as Class 6 races. Class 7 handicaps (45-50) will no longer be staged.

Amateur riders

Amateur riders ceased to be able to take part in races under the Rules of racing from January 16. This is in line with government restrictions around the definition of elite sport and the associated suspension of grassroots sport. Existing races have had their conditions changed to allow for professional riders only until further notice.

Hunter chases

Hunter chases will continue to be programmed but, in line with the restrictions outlined above, will be open to professional riders only. This includes conditional riders. The base weights for these races will be reduced in line with other professional races and the associated race conditions will be updated accordingly.

Kelso upgrades Morebattle Hurdle meeting The £75,000 bet365 Morebattle Hurdle has moved from mid-February to become the headline event on a bumper £209,000 programme at Kelso on March 6. The seven-race card features the bet365 Premier Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) and the bet365 Premier Chase (Listed Race). In addition to the increased prize fund, the winner of the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle will be eligible for a bonus of £100,000 if going on to win any race at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. Four of the seven races scheduled on March 6, all of which will be sponsored for the first time by bet365, will be broadcast live on ITV1. Managing Director Jonathan Garratt said: “The Morebattle reverted to being a handicap hurdle last season and this development has been a long time in the planning. We are indebted to our sponsor bet365 for their generous support, which has helped to bring the idea to fruition. Our intention is to create a flagship day that will become a major feature of the National Hunt season in 2021 and for many years to come.” Commenting on 2020, a year in

We Have A Dream wins the 2019 Morebattle Hurdle, staged this year on March 6

which the racecourse was forced to abandon 40% of its fixtures and run all but two racedays behind closed doors, Garratt said: “While it has been difficult for all businesses, in all sectors, we have been determined to maintain prize-money and as much business activity as possible because we know how vital it is to the wider racing industry, the rural economy and our local supply chain. “We remain optimistic that we will

be able to get some spectators back in the first half of 2021, even if the number is very restricted at first. In the meantime, we are really grateful for the financial underpinning provided by the Levy Board during the last few months and we will continue to do everything we can to keep the ball rolling. It’s essential that we keep owners and trainers in the game so that we have horses to enjoy when racegoers return to the track.”

Catterick’s new facility for owners

The new owners’ facility overlooks the track and parade ring

Visitors to Catterick racecourse at the close of 2020 were able to view the course’s new facility for owners, in what was the Amber Zone at the time. The two-storey trackside building has a bar on the ground floor and restaurant

facility on the first floor, in addition to a new Winning Connections room. The Winning Streak restaurant and ground floor of the new O&T building give access to viewing from outside the parade ring and the main grandstand area.

This is the final stage of the threephase development works at Catterick, which started with the new entrance and office complex in 2018. Terry Davis, owner and manager of the Sam England Racing Club, visited the track on December 28 and enthused: “Catterick have really pushed the boat out with their new facility. The racecourse team gave a really warm welcome, while at the same time ensuring Covid protocols were managed to the letter. The whole experience was really positive. “The new facility offers much more space. It was all very safely managed with hand sanitising points, table service and an excellent lunch. Owners can view the racecourse and also the parade ring from the other side of the building and there are ample TV screens. The experience couldn’t have been any better.”


ROA Forum

MAGICAL MOMENTS Metier sends Gary Stevens into orbit with Grade 1 success

First, slow steps

John The Greek was Stevens’ first horse, though he did not provide his owner with a flying start, mustering only a novice hurdle success at Plumpton. “Mark said he had the body of a Ferrari but the engine of a Skoda,” relays Stevens. “Which was, I think, doing Skodas a disservice!” The period 1999-2004 is fondly recalled by Stevens, with Pitman moving to Weathercock House with a bigger team and mopping up some major races. “It was exciting to be involved with at the time and was really my introduction to owning horses,” he says. Stevens would not be alone among




hen Metier was an impressive winner at Ascot in November, owner Gary Stevens was a lone spectator in the area of the stands he chose to watch from. But at least he was there. There was no such enjoyment to be had when one of Britain’s most promising young hurdlers followed up in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown last month, with owners again barred from attending and reduced to watching on TV. Hopefully there are better times ahead in 2021. Stevens has been an owner for more than 20 years, and it was actually watching racing on television that was the catalyst. He explains: “It was 1999 when I first got involved in ownership outright. I was watching TV and Mark Pitman was being interviewed. He had only about 17 horses then but I remember him saying he ‘hoped to get a winner for each of his owners’. I liked that.” So much so that Stevens sold a wine collection to raise the funds to buy a racehorse. He says: “I rang Mark up. He’s a lovely guy and we had a good chat. I went to Saxon House for evening stables and we ended up going over to see Tom Costello in Ireland, who bought proper National Hunt horses. We drove around five farms and it was a fabulous day. I fell in love with it all.”

Metier romps home in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown under Sean Bowen

owners in preferring not to think too much about how many horses he has owned over the years, and especially about how much he has spent, but would definitely not be alone in his sentiments. “You don’t get into horseracing to make money,” he says, “you get into it for the absolute buzz.” He continues: “I have had some great horses and some not so great horses, and there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it; cheap horses with no pedigree can sometimes turn out brilliantly, and vice-versa.” He shares the thrills and spills with wife Jan, and adds: “Jan enjoys it all as much as me, we go racing together, and she’s incredibly good when it comes to pedigrees, conformations and also remembering horses’ names, what they have done and who they’re with, more so than me. It’s good we enjoy ownership together.” The current string is eight-strong,

with five owned outright, including Suns Up Guns Up, who had won at Kempton literally five minutes before the interview with Owner Breeder. “Sorry you couldn’t get through just now,” said Stevens, “I was speaking to the jockey.” Suns Up Guns Cup is with Amanda Perrett, Metier with Harry Fry, Goring and Temple Lock with Eve Johnson Houghton, and Commit No Nuisance with William Knight. Stevens also owns 50 per cent of the Johnson Houghton-trained Et Tu Brute and the Fry-trained Captain Drake, and 25 per cent of a two-yearold by Cotai Glory with Knight. Stevens, Executive Chairman of cleaning company BBCS, lives near Marlow and is not local to any of his four trainers but says: “They are all completely different in approach but all very good operators, and always at the end of a phone call or email. I leave it to them; they tell me when a horse is ready. Being patient pays off.”

One element of a horse’s career Stevens does very much enjoy working on with his trainers is race planning. “I find plotting the right route to take fascinating – I love that,” he says. “Harry has chosen the right path with Metier but we’ve a big decision to make now as regards the Betfair Hurdle – do we go there off a 7lb higher mark, or wait for the Supreme Novices’?” Picking and choosing races brings the conversation around to magical moments the owner has enjoyed, and to say the decision to run Alfie Noakes and Beaver Patrol on Derby day 2006 paid off is something of an understatement. “They were in the two races after the Derby and incredibly both won,” says Stevens. “How many owners can say they’ve had a double on Derby day at Epsom? Probably not too many.” The vast majority of readers will remember Beaver Patrol, a grand sprinter and regular in the big handicaps, often with Mick Kinane in the saddle. “Fulke Johnson Houghton bought him from Ireland, he was relatively cheap as he didn’t have much of a pedigree, though he was a nice physical.” says Stevens. “Fulke is a lovely bloke, no ego whatsoever, and not one for exaggeration. “He said to me, ‘He looks early, hard as nails and if he doesn’t win first time I’ll eat my hat!’ Well, his first start was in the April of his two-year-old year, at Windsor. When we legged up the jockey he was 16-1. It takes four minutes to get to the bookmakers from the parade ring, but by the time I got there he was 9-2! I did still back him – and he won. “Four days later I got a big offer for him but turned it down. I don’t sell. He won the thick end of £125,000 that year, and of course went on to win several more races, including on Derby day at Epsom and at Nad Al Sheba, and to regularly contest the Wokingham, Stewards’ Cup and Ayr Gold Cup – they were his three big targets, and he was runner-up in the Wokingham.

“Mark said he had the body of a Ferrari but the engine of a Skoda” “He was a great horse. He won me £345,000 in his career, plus a pot of sparkling jam, which I was delighted to get when he had what turned out to be his final victory at Brighton!”

Old favourite still flying

Goring has been another fine servant for Stevens and yard favourite at Johnson Houghton’s, with the nineyear-old having developed a liking for Lingfield, especially whizzing round the bend into the home straight. The last six of his 11 wins have all come at the Surrey circuit. “We were wondering what to do with him in the autumn of 2017,” admits Stevens. “We ran him at Kempton, where he was sixth, then went to Lingfield and he won four in a row! He’s also won the apprentice race there under Georgia Dobie at the AllWeather Championships. That is a day I’d thoroughly recommend; the prizemoney is great and it’s good fun.” Goring is on the comeback trail after being injured at Royal Ascot last summer but very much in peak form is Captain Drake, who a week after Metier’s Tolworth triumph gave Stevens more to shout about when a fine fourth in the Welsh National. “He’s won a bumper, over hurdles and fences, and been a lot of fun to own with Brian Lambert,” says Stevens. “We were very pleased with his run at Chepstow.” A bumper, hurdles, fences and Flat winner for Stevens was Golden Birthday, though there was ultimately also sorrow as well as joy with the ten-time winner, who was poised to make it 11 at Cheltenham’s 2019 April

meeting when disaster struck at the last flight in a handicap hurdle. “I was bowled over by the number of people who attended to him and tried to help him,” recalls Stevens. “There were at least two vets and I’d say maybe 15 to 20 people in all assisting in the process. “Whether it was the adrenaline or not I don’t know, but they got him up, he trotted off and the crowd applauded. Sadly, I then got a call a bit later to say he’d taken a turn for the worse. He was found to have suffered multiple fractures and had to be put down. But I can’t praise highly enough the care and attention he received, it was fantastic.” As if to highlight that owning racehorses is a mix of tragedy and triumph, losing Golden Birthday ultimately led to Metier. “Out of negatives come positives,” says Stevens. “I said to Harry I’d be back, and in the October he and Kevin Ross bought one at the Tattersalls horses in training sale. Mind you, he cost Harry 150,000gns plus the agent’s fee, so I thought that I’d better do some research and didn’t end up buying him until the November. “I rang Andrew Slattery, who had him in Ireland, and he told me he was raw but strong and would improve, and I also watched all of his races online before deciding to buy him outright. “We had planned to run him on the Flat and go for the Chester Cup consolation race, but Covid struck and in any case Harry felt he needed a bit more time, so we took the opportunity to do a wind op and ended up saving him for novice hurdling.” Metier has so far proven well worth the wait, winning all three starts over hurdles at the time of writing. Stevens adds: “I thought the Tolworth looked a strong race but he won by 12 lengths – what can you say?” Having backed him at 25s for the Supreme, the owner might well have a few more things to say come next month, thanks to a horse that has truly found his metier.


ROA Forum

News in brief

Trainer Seamus Mullins represents the horsemen on the Horse Welfare Board

Seamus Mullins and Horse Welfare Board

British racing’s independently chaired Horse Welfare Board confirmed Seamus Mullins as the new member representing the Horsemen’s Group from 2021. Seamus replaced James Given, who took up his post as the BHA’s Director of Equine Health and Welfare at the start of the year. James will remain on the Horse Welfare Board in his new capacity, replacing David Sykes. Having held a trainer’s licence for over 25 years, Seamus has always been a passionate advocate for horse welfare and has held positions on a number of industry groups in that time, including serving as President of the National Trainers Federation from 2016-2018.

appreciated the efforts of trainers and syndicate managers in honing their digital skills to provide clips and images, which are providing a ray of light during these challenging times. The ROA team has arranged some virtual tours to allow members to peek behind the scenes at yards around the country and also overseas. Tours are circulated via ebulletins, so please check your preferences if you’d like to receive details. Past tours can be found on the ROA’s YouTube channel, which is free to subscribe to.

Winning at home

The living room has become the winner’s enclosure and scene of celebrations for many owners over the past year. Jessica Murrills, pictured below, toasts the success of Empire De Maulde, owned with husband Steve, following his victory at Kelso on December 29.

National Stud Evening Lecture Programme

The National Stud Evening Lecture Programme, presented by Edmondson Hall, started on January 26 and will run until June 10. The programme, which will be hosted via video link, will feature 40 lectures, covering everything from the reproductive cycle of the mare and neonatal foal disease to an introduction to pedigrees and the role of the bloodstock agent. The cost to attend the full programme is £360 per delegate or £20 per single lecture. There are two lectures per week and the link to join will be circulated on Wednesday and Friday afternoons with notes attached. Each lecture lasts approximately one hour and the link will be available for 48 hours. For more information or to book a place call 01638 663464 or email

ROA calendar

As we have communicated to members, ROA-branded desk calendars will not be circulated to the membership this year. We have instead replicated the calendar as pages that can be downloaded and viewed or printed month by month and for the year. The links will be circulated to members via email in due course and the PDFs will be available at – search under ‘Fixture List’.

Virtual tours

Car-parking labels

We know how much members have missed seeing their horses racing and visiting their trainers’ yards during national lockdown restrictions. Trainers have been keeping owners connected with video clips, photos, voice messages, emails and WhatsApp groups. Owners have

Members will be updated on this benefit when the current restrictions have been lifted. In the meantime, please retain your 2020 car-parking label and holder.

Diary dates TUESDAY, JUNE 29 ROA AGM at York racecourse

Jessica Murrills celebrates the success of Empire De Maulde at Kelso


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9 ROA Horseracing Awards at the Royal Lancaster, London

The GBB record The Magnificent Seven ANYTHINGFORLOVE



The bonus payments alone have covered all costs for the syndicate for next season. Dan Abraham, syndicate manager of Foxtrot Racing

I’ve never won so much in all my years in racing. This ensures that we can keep breeding from this wonderful family for a few more years.

My owner also has horses in France. These amazing bonuses from the GBB scheme have certainly refocused her attention on British jumping!

Richard Vines, owner/breeder

Michael Scudamore, trainer

(Bonus payments: £40,000)

(Bonus payments: £40,000)

(Bonus payments: £30,000)

MARADA The GBB scheme is a great boost for National Hunt breeders. The clearance rate at the ‘Derby Sale’ with Goffs showed that people now wanted British-bred jumping fillies. Robert Chugg, owner/breeder


(Bonus payments: £20,000)



The Great British Bonus scheme is a huge benefit to jumping owners and breeders in such difficult times.

The GBB scheme gives a fantastic uplift to prize money. I encourage all breeders to register.

Alan King, trainer

Lucy Wadham, trainer

(Bonus payments: £20,000)

(Bonus payments: £12,000)

Overall bonus payments to date:

Whether you are an owner or breeder, be sure to make your fillies eligible to the GBB scheme. These fantastic bonuses make an unbelievable difference to financing your involvement in Jump racing. Harry Fry, trainer

(Bonus payments: £10,000)


Trainers making the most of GBB Jumping to it

Bonuses won

Jumping to it

Bonuses won

Harry Fry


Dan Skelton


Alan King


Lucy Wadham


Fergal O’Brien


Jamie Snowden


Henry Daly


Jimmy Moffatt


Neil King


Make sure you register your 2019 Flat fillies before stage 3 registration closes on Sunday 28th February 2021! For more information on eligibility, visit TBA GBB TOB Mailers A4_February K.indd 1

Information correct at time of going to press

15/01/2021 11:21

TBA Forum

The special section for TBA members

Godolphin and Dubawi lead the way


Dubawi: outstanding sire is a linchpin of the Godolphin stallion operation


GODOLPHIN Leading British-based Flat breeders (Flat earnings) Godolphin retained the British breeders’ title for an eighth consecutive year in 2020. The size of the operation, formerly known as Darley, makes it very difficult for others to accumulate more prizemoney during a season, but even so there was no shortage of quality among the hundreds of runners bred by Sheikh Mohammed to race in Britain and Ireland and nowhere was this more evident than at Royal Ascot. Lord North made the leap from handicaps to Group 1 company when he became the first Cambridgeshire winner since former Darley stallion Halling to go on to success at the highest level in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Later in the week, Fanny Logan beat


the colts in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and there were also Group 1 places for Cross Counter (Gold Cup), Pinatubo (St James’s Palace Stakes) and Sceptical (Diamond Jubilee Stakes). Sheikh Mohammed has won this award a further six times under his own name and that of Dalham Hall Stud.



Leading British-based stallion (Flat earnings) and Leading British-based stallion (individual Flat winners) Dubawi confirmed his status as Britain’s leading stallion by topping the prizemoney list for an eighth consecutive season and the individual winners list for a fourth consecutive time. His standard-bearer was undoubtedly Ghaiyyath, who fulfilled

his potential by completing the Coronation Cup-Eclipse-Juddmonte International treble in a stellar season that has earned him a place at stud. There will be no stud career, however, for Dubawi’s other two domestic Group 1 winners in 2020 because both were gelded at the age of three. Godolphin homebred Lord North won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Ascot and the French-trained The Revenant was successful at the same course later in the season when winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Perhaps the most striking feature of Dubawi’s stud record is his versatility. He has sired Group 1 winners of every age between two and eight years and at distances from six furlongs to a mile and a half. His legacy already looks assured with an increasing number of top-class sons at stud. Night Of Thunder, in particular, has made an impressive start. Although still waiting for his first Group 1 winner, the 2,000 Guineas winner has



Leading British-based first-season sire (Flat earnings) Whitsbury Manor Stud prevented a clean sweep of the statistical awards by Godolphin when Adaay clinched a second Tattersalls’ Silver Salver in six years for the Hampshire operation. The award goes to the first-season sire that has accumulated the most prize-money in Britain and Ireland and Adaay, who stands at Whitsbury in partnership with Shadwell Stud, ran out a decisive winner by more than £100,000 from the Dalham Hall-based Territories. Domestic earnings of more than £266,000 were boosted to over £400,000 by Adaay's overseas runners and by the end of the year his winners tally stood at 24, the best by a Britishbased stallion and second only to Mehmas on the European first-crop sires’ list. Those winners were produced at a strike-rate not far short of 40 per cent, again the best by a British-based firstseason sire, and included three blacktype horses. The son of Kodiac raced in the colours of Hamdan Al Maktoum and the highlights of a three-year career were victories in a pair of Group 2 races, the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury and the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock. Adaay follows in the footsteps of his stud mate Showcasing, winner of this award in 2014. He has quickly become one of the most in-demand stallions in Europe. His Sussex Stakes-winning son Mohaather will begin his own stallion career at Shadwell Stud this year. Very few sires make a lasting impact at stud, but with the likes of Cadeaux Genereux (leading Britishbased stallion in 2003), Compton Place and Showcasing, the Harper family has consistently achieved better results than most and that can only bode well for the prospects of more recent recruits Havana Grey and Sergei Prokofiev. Adaay’s stud fee remains at £5,000 in 2021. •T he Statistical Awards cover the calendar year 2020 and relate to racing in GB and Ireland only

Meet the regional reps Every TBA member belongs in one of seven regions, each of which is headed up by a group of volunteer regional representatives who work tirelessly to help us promote British breeding. Over the past six months the TBA has secured a number of new regional representatives. Regional representatives are on hand to offer support and guidance to members at a local level.


sired eight Group winners from his first crop.


A new regional representative for the north, Andrew says: “I started Hedgeholme Stud, initially as Cliffords Farm, in 1986, having previously ‘learnt my trade’ working for Tommy Stack at Longfield Stud under the Coolmore banner. Before moving to Highclere I spent a season as pupil assistant to Nicky Vigors in Lambourn and was then assistant to Graham Thorner. I then worked for James Delahooke, where I was involved in the transformation of Fair Winter Farm from a dairy farm to stud farm. “When I moved back to Yorkshire I developed Hedgeholme from scratch, initially being based at the family farm just up the road. “I’ve stood stallions from the outset, starting through the generosity of Sir Mark Prescott who allowed me to stand Marching On. Every season I have introduced a fresh horse, sometimes a new stallion, but have also been very lucky to have been sent proven stallions from the likes of Chris Harper [Daring March] as well as Juddmonte, Rathbarry, Tally-Ho, and more recently Kildangan, who this season have placed The Last Lion at Hedgeholme. “Over the years we have produced Miracle Of Medinah, winner of the Group 3 Somerville Tattersall Stakes as a two year old. Others include Boldly Goes, a Listed two-year-old winner, as well as raising Blue Iris for Barry Howl and many other winners, and a lot of multiple winners. “We currently board mares for

several clients and alongside The Last Lion stand Intrinsic and Portamento on behalf of Malih Al Basti.


“I competed as a young girl in showjumping and then I spent a few years without horses,” says Julie, a new regional representative for the south-east region and who owns Broadwell Stud. “I then met my now late husband who had a permit to train point-topointers and I began riding out and qualifying them with the local hunt. “In the early 80s we bought a farm in Berkshire where I still live now. On half of the farm we – me, my daughter and son-in-law – run a large equestrian retail store and on the other half we run my small stud. Here we foal our mares and have the racemares home on holiday. “I currently have three active broodmares, three mares in training and five youngsters, three of which are homebreds to continue the dam lines. The colts we breed are generally sold through Ballincurrig House Stud in Ireland. I also occasionally buy filly foals concentrating on a good race pedigree. “I feel very fortunate to work every day with the horses whom I adore. The strange year of 2020 also convinced me to get back out riding. I now ride most days with my daughter, son-in-law and twin grandchildren, who all share the passion.”


TBA Forum

Allmankind jumps to success


Mogul the master in Hong Kong Vase


Allmankind and Harry Skelton capture the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase

There was plenty of action around the world on the level and the final big international fixture of 2020 was at Sha Tin on December 13. There were four Group 1s and the first, the Hong Kong Vase, went to Mogul. The Newsells Park Stud-bred bay, a son of their great producer Shastye, raced midfield and, having taken the lead after the twomarker, strode clear to defeat reigning Hong Kong Horse of the Year Exultant by three lengths. On Boxing Day at Randwick in Sydney, the Mark Newnham-trained

Listed double for Sly-bred mares Pam Sly has been training horses since the mid-60s, starting out with pointers, followed by a permit licence for 13 years, before taking out a full licence and has no plans on stopping, saying: “I’ve still got the appetite for it, I get up at 5.30am each morning to feed.” Her training exploits are well known, having picked up Classic heroine Speciosa for just 30,000gns at the breeze-up sales. Yet it is her breeding operation that this jumps season is bearing fruit. “I went over with my father to Ireland in the late 60s to look at cattle and we came back with an Arctic Slave mare [Arctic Festival] from Tom Costello,” says Sly of how it all started. ”Ever since we've kept a couple of fillies and have bred 34 winners of 125 races. We’ve had black-type horses from the line including Vertical Bloom [third in the EBF Mares’ Final] and Actinpieces [third in Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle] – I am now training the fifth/sixth generations.” At Huntingdon before Christmas, in the rearranged Listed Henrietta Knight Mares’ bumper, the Sly-bred Rainyday Woman won in handsome style. A daughter of Kayf Tara and the three-time winner Wistow (Sir Harry Lewis), who was bought as a foal at Doncaster, she had been placed on both her starts last term for her breeder. “It is my son’s fault that I sold her,” said Sly with a laugh. “She was a very nice mare, who had showed promise, but my son [Michael]


Winner of the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle last season, Allmankind’s attentions were turned to fences this term and the four-year-old (now five) jumped the Sandown Park fences with aplomb to gain a Grade 1 over fences in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase early in the month for Bill and Tim Gredley. On the same card, the Netherfield House Stud-bred Benson made a mockery of his handicap mark in the Listed December Handicap Hurdle. He was turned out two weeks later in the Grade 3 Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle at Ascot and finished fourth. The race was won for the second consecutive year by Not So Sleepy, who was bred by Lord Blyth. The same day and Mister Malarky, bred by Henry Cole out of a daughter of his 1995 Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Dubacilla, proved game in the closing stages to win the Listed Silver Cup Handicap Chase. The previous day at the Berkshire track My Drogo, a homebred of Richard and Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes, defeated fellow British-bred Llandinabo Lad in the Grade 2 Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle, looking every inch a future star in the making. Third in the Grade 3 EBF Final last March, Hurricane Harvey’s attentions have swiftly been set to fences and the then six-year-old, who was bred by Joseph Skinner, gained a maiden black type win in the Grade 2 December Novices’ Chase at Doncaster. Having seen her handicap mark shoot up 18lb after her win at Ludlow in November, the Mick Channonbred Talking About You made most to land the Listed fillies’ juvenile hurdle at Aintree on Becher Chase day. Reappearing at Taunton after Christmas, the daughter of Sixties Icon defied a penalty and won the Listed Byerley Stud Mares’ Hurdle against older horses in game style. She wasn’t the only decent Britishbred mare to score in black-type company in December. Kayf Tara’s daughter Nada To Prada put up a smart performance to win the Listed Abram Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle the weekend

before Christmas, while another daughter of the pensioned Overbury Stud stallion, Rainyday Woman, took the Listed Henrietta Knight Mares’ bumper at Huntingdon.

Pam Sly bred Listed bumper winner Rainyday Woman

said we had too many and we agreed to sell one each. I sold Rainyday on to Tom Malone last summer, and my son decided to keep his one that he was going to sell!” However, all was not lost, for Sly has in her care the exciting Eileendover. A granddaughter of Speciosa, she won both her junior bumpers by an aggregate of 45 lengths, but was denied the opportunity of black type when the Listed junior bumper at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day was washed out.

Spirit Ridge defeated fellow Britishbred Best Of Days in the Summer Cup, a 2000m handicap. This was a second, but the biggest, antipodean victory for the son of Nathaniel, bred by Juddmonte Farms Ltd. The late Prince Khalid Abdullah’s operation were successful on the final day of the year with homebred Set Piece, formerly in the care of Hugo Palmer but now with Brad Cox, who took the Prairie Bayou Stakes on the allweather at Turfway Park by over three lengths. Closer to home, at Lingfield Park, Sangarius returned to winning ways in the Listed Quebec Stakes. Juddmonte’s homebred is a son of its resident stallion Kingman. At the start of the month in the Middle East, Firnas, a son of Dubawi, who was bred by Watership Down Stud out of its Fillies’ Mile Stakes scorer

“She didn’t run before Huntingdon because she was backwards and I didn’t want to run her on the all-weather,” says Sly. “She had never shown anything at home and I couldn’t believe it when she won [by 29 lengths]. At Wetherby I told Gina [Andrews] to wait until two out. Well, she got to the front, changed gear and off she went." The chance to obtain black type came at Market Rasen in January in the Listed contest run in memory of Alan Swinbank. Stepped up to two miles for the first time, she zipped away from her rivals for an emphatic win. “It was unbelievable,” said Sly. “I had told Paul [O’Brien] to try and get black type with her, and away she went in the final stages. We will give Cheltenham a swerve, I am not keen on the idea with the big field, and head to Aintree [Grade 2 Nickel Coin] before running her on the Flat in the summer. She could get some black type there.” Eileendover’s dam Speciality (Oasis Dream) is booked into Bated Breath and is one of just eight broodmares, split half Flat and half jumps, which Sly has. Speciosa and Speciality are two of the Flat brigade, while Asteroidea (Sea The Stars) and Vernatti (Teofilo), winning daughters of the Classic heroine, complete the Flat quartet. Amongst the jumps division, alongside Wistow, who has not had a foal for a couple of years, and Actinpieces, is the Most Welcome mare Circus Rose, a half-sister to Vertical Bloom, whose sons Fransham and Takeit Easy have won this NH season.

Crystal Music, took the Listed Entisar. A day later at Abu Dhabi, Boerhan landed the spoils in the Listed National Day Cup. The then four-year-old was bred by Stonethorn Stud Farms Ltd and came out best in a tight finish. Later in the month at Doha, the Chasemore Farm-bred Soldierpoy took the valuable Al Rayyan Stakes for juveniles by over four lengths. Back in Europe and there was a British-bred double at Pisa in early December. Making his first Italian start, Cable Bay’s son Collinsbay, who was bred by The Queen, took the Listed Criterium di Pisa, while the Mukhadram colt Badram won the Listed Premio Pisa, eight months after it had been scheduled to have been run. The then three-year-old outclassed the field and brought up a 25th win in the race for breeders Razza Dormello Olgiata. Well thought of, having made his seasonal debut in the 2,000 Guineas, the Biddestone Stud Ltd-bred Cepheus ended his three-year-old campaign with a maiden stakes win in the Listed Prix Arcangues on the all-weather at Deauville the week before Christmas.

Codes of Practice released online The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has published the 43rd edition of the Codes of Practice on equine disease, in preparation for the 2021 equine breeding season. These are available online only at The updated free app, EquiBioSafe, which covers both breeding and horses in training, will be released on iOS and Android later this year. For each disease there are sections that describe transmission and clinical signs, as well as advice on prevention, diagnosis and control of infection. The Codes explain the notification requirements that apply for the four diseases that are notifiable by law: CEM, EVA, EIA and dourine.

MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT – Publications Alongside the very popular Owner Breeder magazine, TBA members have access to a range of books, leaflets and documents, which are offered free of charge. The Thoroughbred Stallion Guide Members living in the UK receive a free copy of the glossy Thoroughbred Stallion Guide annually in January, copies sent overseas incur a postage charge. As well as featuring adverts for stallions across Europe, the publication includes stallion tables and analysis. National Hunt Yearbook Sent out to National Hunt breeders and available to all in a digital format, the National Hunt Yearbook showcases the TBA’s National Hunt activities, and has a range of articles produced by various members of the NH Committee. For a digital version of the yearbook, contact European Bloodstock News (EBN) This leading online publication is dedicated to breeding industry

news. TBA members are able to access an extended no obligation free trial by emailing Claire Taylor on claire@bloodstocknews. eu providing your name and membership number. Fact sheets The exclusive members’ area of our website hosts a wealth of downloadable fact sheets, templates, contracts and guides. These online resources are invaluable in assisting with key issues and setting good standards of practice within the industry. The TBA library The TBA office also houses a reference library home to key publications such as: The Weatherbys Fact Book, Horses in Training, Return of Mares, Bloodstock Reviews and various Stallion Directories. When the current situation allows the library is open to members during the week between 9am and 4pm. Please call in advance if you wish to visit the library.



TBA Forum

Covid-19 protocols for thoroughbred breeders The TBA Protocols for Thoroughbred Breeders that were produced last year remain valid for the upcoming breeding season. These protocols underpin the continuation of breeding farm activity and necessary travel by prioritising human health for activity which is essential and cannot be carried out at home. These protocols are based on government guidance and instructions, and will be updated if this changes. For the latest guidance, the TBA’s website has a dedicated Covid-19 hub.


2. The standard of care should be focused primarily on upholding the welfare of the horses in their care. Any non-essential activity beyond this must be carefully considered and, where possible, avoided; 3. Studs must close to visitors, other than those that are essential for the welfare of the horses in their care. These visits are permitted, but any appointments must be made in advance of travel and any associated paperwork must be exchanged electronically; 4. Staff and any visitors must follow all government advice on social distancing at all times. Staff and any visitors must remain at least two metres apart and wear face coverings as required by law, and also if the two-metre rule cannot be adhered to; 5. Gatherings of people not from the same household should be avoided except where absolutely essential for horse welfare. In these instances, numbers and time should be limited, social distancing should be maintained wherever possible, and activities be performed outdoors as much as possible; 6. At the stud farm, facilities must be provided for robust disinfection processes for people and equipment on arrival and departure; 7. Staff and any visitors must follow all government advice relating to good hygiene and virus transmission, and



1. Only staff who are essential to the care of horses, and who cannot work from home, should continue to travel to work during the period of these restrictions; The breeding season has continued due to the protocols implemented by the TBA

carry out proscribed hand washing and sanitising procedures including any surfaces/handles/equipment. Staff and any visitors must avoid sharing vehicles or any equipment; 8. Hygiene is vitally important when handling new equine arrivals. Staff and any visitors must use hand wipes, gels, disinfectants to clean any related equipment both before and after handling; 9. Veterinary advice by phone and emails should be sought on ensuring effective sanitisation and isolation; 10. Local procedures must be recorded and displayed as appropriate and there must be records that staff have been fully trained.

TRANSPORT 1. Any appointments must be made in advance of travel (also see item 8); 2. Associated paperwork must be completed and sent electronically in advance, including passport information and the completion of the NSFA’s Freedom from Infection form; 3. The vehicle used for transport must be disinfected before and after every visit including any handles, the ramp or other areas where stud staff may have had, or will have, contact; 4. Staff travelling in the horsebox must comply with government advice.

Multiple occupancy vehicles should be avoided unless those occupying it are members of the same household. If another person from outside the same household must be in the vehicle, if it is not possible to keep a two-metre distance in that vehicle then consider additional safety measures; 5. Unless there is an emergency or human or animal welfare requirement related to the animal being transported or the driver, it is prohibited to stop on the journey; 6. At the destination, the unloading and re-loading of the horse must be conducted by the staff at the destination with no contact with the travelling staff. Hygiene precautions must be followed at every stage of this loading process, using robust disinfection processes of the horsebox handles and any equipment, and hand washing; 7. Staff travelling in the horsebox should only exit the horsebox at the location they are visiting to use welfare facilities, using all sanitary precautions. There must be no direct contact with the staff on the site. All these movements between premises must be recorded online using the digital equine movement system at Correct as of January 22

Breeder of the Month Words Howard Wright

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Wanted: good home for jumps broodmare whose half-brother could be leading fancy for Grand National in April. Sensible offer to HT Cole, Taunton, Somerset. Former dairy farmer Henry Cole, the TBA’s Breeder of the Month for December 2020 for the Ascot Listed chase success of Mister Malarky, has not exactly pinned a notice to that effect to his gate, but the intention is there. Having reached the age of 80 last October, he has finally decided that the time has come to retire from breeding. “I said I was going to give up at 70, but carried on,” he recalls. “Now, though, I really am going to give up. If you don’t stop some time, you never will. So, any young person who would like a nice mare should contact me. They can have her, for a small charge, to go to a good home.” Drucilla is the mare in question. A 12-year-old by Scorpion, she is the last of a line that Cole has nurtured since 1979, following the deaths of her half-sister Chilla Cilla last year and their dam Priscilla – who also bred Mister Malarky – in 2015. Cole will not be left without vestiges of the family when Drucilla does move on, for the legacy that began with his purchase of Lot 1 at Newmarket in midOctober 1969, a yearling filly out of the staying chaser Princess Camilla, lives on. Cole casts his experienced eye down the list: “Chilla Cilla has a beautiful fouryear-old gelding by Kayf Tara, whom we sent up to the Doncaster May Sale last year. He looked fantastic, a star. Then, the day before he was due to be sold, he trod on a stone and went lame. He was

Mister Malarky wins at Ascot in December

sound again the day after the sale, but by then it was too late, so I’ve still got him. He’s been broken and ridden out by Matt Griffiths, who likes him, so I’ve got to find a trainer to buy him. “Then, Chilla Cilla has a three-year-old Telescope filly, who’ll go to Doncaster in May, and there’s a very nice Black Sam Bellamy filly two-year-old. “My favourite, though, is the Affinisea yearling filly out of Drucilla, who also has a lovely three-year-old filly by Clovis Du Berlais. Drucilla isn’t in foal this time, but she’s from a prolific family and it will be worth persevering with her.” Just as Cole speaks of Drucilla’s youngest offspring with obvious fondness, so his eyes light up when he mentions her dam Priscilla, a daughter of his fine staying-chase mare Dubacilla, who was out of his original yearling purchase Just Camilla and ran second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. “Dubacilla had three fillies, and I liked Priscilla the best by far,” he says. “I loved her. She was a beautiful mare,

outstanding. I used to ride her round the farm and decided to breed from her before she ran.” Priscilla produced Chilla Cilla and the prolific West Country point-to-point winner Hameldown Tor as a five- and six-year-old, and after she finished racing in 2006, Desert Queen, the winner of point-to-points, over hurdles and two Listed mares’ chases, was easily her best produce until Mister Malarky came along in 2013. “It’s a prolific family,” Cole says, “and a good one keeps cropping up every now and again. Mister Malarky was a nice foal who did well. He went up to the Doncaster May Sale in 2016 and Colin Tizzard showed most interest. Colin has been one of my best supporters over the years – he said he loved Dubacilla – and he bought him for £20,000. “It was great that he won the Listed Silver Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot. I thought perhaps he’d lost his way a bit after last season, and the rest of Colin’s horses weren’t running well at the time, but he ran like a good ‘un and was back to his best. “They were talking about Mister Malarky being a Grand National horse a couple of years ago. Well, of course, Just Camilla’s dam Princess Camilla was one of the favourites for the Grand National in 1973, when Red Rum beat Crisp, and she got round the following year. “Then Just So, who was out of Just Camilla, was second in the Grand National, beaten a length and a quarter by Miinnehoma, in 1994 and Dubacilla was fourth to Royal Athlete the following year. “MIster Malarky might just go and win the race this year. That would be good, wouldn’t it?”




The Foundation for Future Success



Vet Forum: The Expert View

Factors affecting fertility in mares

The ideal outcome of every pregnancy is a happy and healthy foal and mare


ne dictionary definition of fertility is ‘the ability to produce offspring’ and there are many factors that might influence fertility in mares – some affecting their ability to conceive and others affecting their

ability to carry a foal to full term. It is important to take a view of the whole animal and not just focus on the reproductive tract, although it is the latter that can be the problem.

General condition and management

Any condition that causes pain or debility, such as laminitis or systemic disease, can affect fertility. Dental irregularities and pain, diseases such as PPID (‘Cushing’s’) or other chronic symptoms of ill thrift should be assessed by a vet and treated as required to ensure the mare is able to eat, digest and utilise her food, maintain or increase weight (if necessary) and exercise normally.

conformation or body condition or a result of age, previous pregnancies, foaling or other injury. Defects or abnormalities of the vulva can result in a poor vulval seal (Figure 1) allowing air and/or faeces to enter and contaminate the reproductive tract. Furthermore, weakening of the vestibular seal, created by the walls of the vagina lying in close apposition to each other, can exacerbate this problem. In many mares, treatment with a

Figure 1 Poor vulval seal


A very small proportion of mares have a chromosomal abnormality that means their reproductive tract does not develop properly and they are subsequently unfertile. This may not be diagnosed until several matings have proven unsuccessful and a specific blood test is performed. The more common anatomical problems can be due to the mare’s



Anatomical problems

Figure 2 Uterine cyst on ultrasound scan

Figure 3 Granulosa theca cell tumour

caslicks procedure – where the upper portion of the vulva is sewn closed – can go a long way to correcting minor abnormalities. In some mares, however, vulval conformation is so poor that more invasive procedures such as a Pouret procedure or perineal reconstruction is required. Mares may suffer significant trauma to the perineum during foaling, for example rectovaginal tear or fistula, and require surgical repair, which may be only partially effective in restoring fertility. In some mares after foaling and in most mares after several pregnancies, the tissues of the reproductive tract become stretched and weakened. As a result, the uterus will hang lower in the abdomen pulling with it the cervix and cranial/anterior vagina. This can result in a number of problems. One problem that is immediately obvious on examination with a speculum is pooling of urine in the anterior (front) of the vagina, as the urine flows ‘downhill’ forward rather than freely backwards. If the cervix is open, as during oestrus and after foaling, urine can enter the uterus triggering an inflammatory response. The condition might correct itself once the uterus has involuted (shrunken) after foaling or as uterine tone increases when the mare is not in season (in dioestrus), when (if) she conceives or when any underlying condition has resolved. In these mares, pregnancy might be possible with veterinary treatment to suppress any uterine contamination or inflammation. Recalcitrant cases might require surgery to redirect the flow of urine backwards by creating a fold of vaginal tissue in front of the urethra opening. Abnormalities of the cervix are often the result of foaling trauma. Birth

of a large foal or manipulation of a malpresented foal can cause tearing of the cervix and thus compromise the seal the cervix would normally provide between the vagina and uterus. Even a straightforward foaling can result in damage to the cervix. Scarring and fibrosis can also affect the way the cervix relaxes during oestrus, inhibiting normal uterine clearance mechanisms and encouraging the accumulation of fluid – whether sterile or infected – in the uterus. Uterine abnormalities include fluid filled cysts (Figure 2) which, if large or multiple, might obstruct fixation of the conceptus to the uterine wall. They can also mimic twins and make accurate diagnosis of a single pregnancy difficult. Poor uterine tone and uterine dilatation, usually but not always the consequence of multiple pregnancies, can allow accumulation of fluid and inhibit its clearance. Fluid in the uterus creates a hostile environment for sperm cells, ova (eggs) and the conceptus, and considerable efforts are made by vets to try to reduce or remove any fluid in the uterus at the time of and after mating. Abnormalities of the ovaries can also affect fertility. Immaturity can prevent ‘normal’ ovarian function. Tumours of the ovaries are uncommon but the one most frequently seen in mares is a granulosa theca cell tumour (Figure 3). These usually only involve one ovary but can cause the other ovary to stop functioning normally. Surgical removal of the affected ovary usually results in restoration of function in the other ovary. During the transitional stage of the breeding season, it is common for follicles to develop to a certain stage but fail to ovulate. After ovulation it is essential for the corpus luteum to produce adequate levels of progesterone in the early stages of pregnancy for that pregnancy to be maintained. If ovulation does not occur or progesterone levels are inadequate, conception does not occur or early pregnancy is not maintained.

Hormonal/functional problems Some mares don’t show external signs of oestrus either occasionally or much of the time. This is known as ‘silent oestrus’ and can significantly reduce opportunities to mate. Maiden mares and mares with foals at foot who are particularly foal proud can fall into this group. There is a proportion of mares that fail to cycle normally while



Deidre Carson BVSc(Syd) MRCVS

Figure 4 HAF on ultrasound scan

they have a foal at foot – these are said to be in lactational anoetrus, and a few are noted as ‘every other year’ breeders for this reason. During the transitional period, as mentioned above, mares may fail to ovulate and their behaviour can be unpredictable and irregular. This transitional period can last many weeks and time, money and coverings may be wasted trying to mate these mares before they are cycling properly. Even once a mare is cycling apparently normally, events can occur that interfere with her fertility. Sometimes a follicle will regress, i.e. get smaller rather than larger and will not ovulate. In other cases, a follicle will fill with blood – these are called haemorrhagic anovulatory follicles (Figure 4) – and these not only fail to ovulate but their presence can delay the mare coming back into season. Some mares appear to be predisposed to this condition and it is more common in older mares and mares treated with hormones to induce oestrus and ovulation. Older mares also have an increased likelihood of ovulatory failure.

Pathological conditions of the reproductive tract Infection and degeneration are two of the main factors affecting fertility in mares. As mentioned, poor vulval conformation and/or damage to the cervix can leave the uterus liable to



Vet Forum: The Expert View ›› infection. Mating itself introduces


opening of the fallopian tube at the tip of the uterine horn.

During later pregnancy


bacteria into the uterus but in a healthy uterus the normal clearance mechanisms remove all foreign material leaving a welcoming environment for the conceptus. Infection can also enter after foaling when the vulva is bruised and the cervix remains open until the first oestrus (foal heat). In most mares the process of involution aided by exercise and the release of oxytocin during suckling by the foal help the uterus to recover. As mares age and have more foals, their uterine clearance mechanisms can become less effective and they are more prone to infection. Also, with age and parity, as the uterus becomes more pendulous, accumulated fluids create a hostile environment for deposited semen and any fertilised egg. Infection is more common. Treatment involves flushing the uterus with sterile fluid to clear fluid and debris (Figure 5) and using medication – usually oxytocin – to stimulate uterine contractions. Antibiotics, antifungal agents and other medications might also be used, depending on the presence or not of infection or other underlying factors. In mares with a history of recurrent or severe uterine infection, or who are old and/or have had a number of foals, the tissues of the uterus begin to degenerate. This can affect the glands lining the lumen so they become fewer or less able to function normally. The surrounding uterine tissues can also demonstrate inflammation and/or fibroses, damage to blood vessels, scarring and adhesions that can significantly affect fertility. This might be because the early embryo is not nourished adequately or the

Figure 5 Fluid following uterine flush demonstrating abnormal colour of flush fluid and sediment

placenta cannot adhere properly over a large enough area to the uterine wall. Treatment for some of these degenerative conditions can be attempted, for example using physical or chemical irritation of the lining of the uterus to try to stimulate an inflammatory response and the production of ‘fresher’ lining tissues. Some mares will experience failure of the egg (ova) released from the ovary at ovulation to actually enter the fallopian tube. This appears to be associated with obstruction of the opening or lumen of the duct. Successful treatment has been achieved in some mares by laparoscopically treating the fallopian tube with topical prostaglandin. In other mares, attempts can be made to achieve the same result using an endoscope via the cervix (hysteroscopically) and locating the



Abortion can occur as a result of general ill health of the mare or a variety of issues that might affect either the placenta or the developing foetus. A healthy placenta is essential to the growth and development of the unborn foal. Infection of the placenta (placentitis) might be the result of poor vulval conformation but can also occur as a result of infection spread via the mare’s own circulation. This can cause separation of the placenta from the uterine wall and significantly affect the development of the foetus, and might even cause infection in the foetus as well. Abortion might result or the foal might be born small and weak. Some affected foals might themselves have become infected via the placenta and be born with life-threatening septicaemia. In addition to bacterial placentitis as described above, there are viral infections that can also cause abortion. Equine herpes Viruses (EHV 1 and 4) are a well-recognised cause of abortion and still birth – particularly EHV-1. EHV-1 is highly contagious, capable of causing outbreaks of abortion in groups of mares, so called ‘abortion storms’ and therefore many mares are vaccinated for it during pregnancy. Equine viral arteritis (EVA), which is considered exotic to the UK, can also cause abortion. In accordance with the HBLB International Codes of Practice, thoroughbred mares are tested for it each year and stallions and teasers are vaccinated.


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Speak to your vet about using GastroGard® to treat and prevent EGUS. References: 1. Sykes BW, et al. ECEIM Consensus Statement – EGUS in Adult Horses. J Vet Intern Med 2015; 29: 1288-1299. GastroGard® 370 mg/g oral paste contains omeprazole. UK: POM-V IE: POM. Advice should be sought from the prescriber. Further information available in the SPC or from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd., RG12 8YS, UK. Tel: 01344 746957. GastroGard® is a registered the Boehringer Ingelheim Group. ©2020 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: Oct 2020. EQU-0200-2020. Use Medicines Responsibly.

GastroGard_racing_a4_TRAINER version.indd 1

26/10/2020 20:35

The Finish Line with Professor Caroline Tisdall Professor Caroline Tisdall’s love of horses began as a child when she would sneak into nearby Sandown Park, but it is only in the last decade that she has indulged her passion, joking that “life, work, men and lack of money got in the way”. Her extensive CV includes art critic for The Guardian, photographer, author, collaborator with artist Joseph Beuys, ecological campaigner, conservationist in Africa and even war reporter. Her current string includes Aintree specialist Vieux Lion Rouge and rising juvenile hurdle star Adagio. Interview: Graham Dench


y first real purchase after bits of syndicates and shares was Vieux Lion Rouge, who was bought at the Arqana Sale. I think everyone was at lunch, as we got him for only €42,000, and if I’d only ever had the one horse it would have been good enough as he’s been amazing. Then Dell’ Arca came along, also from Arqana, but he was a bit different. I was sailing off the coast of Libya at the time, while David [Pipe] was at the sale, and while he was saying ‘he’s too much, he’s too much’ I still had one more figure in my head. With my last bid we lost radio contact, but we’d got him for €280,000 and he gave me my first big win in the 2013 Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham. Vieux Lion Rouge was the first horse at David’s to be given a big atmospheric photo on the back wall of his box. It’s a beautiful photo of a forest, which gives him the sense of air and space, and the first thing he did was eat the grass in the photo! He’s the most extraordinary horse and very clever. He’s a total Houdini, so can get out of anything, and he’s very exuberant, so loves to roll. He’s also quick to suss people out, and he’ll notice if anything is moved. He wants to go racing all the time, but it’s Aintree where he comes alive. He’s won two Becher Chasers and jumped 223 fences without falling, whereas at Chepstow in the Welsh National he was only half there. The Grand National is the race I most want to win, and he’ll have


Adagio and Tom Scudamore hit the right notes in the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow


another go, but I don’t think he’ll be winning it. He’ll stay at the yard when he retires, as he’s so happy there with Julie Bellamy, who has looked after him throughout. They have a very deep relationship. While I enjoy watching Flat racing it’s not a patch on the jumps in my book. I’ve had a couple of horses on the Flat, including Celestial Path with my very good friend Sir Mark Prescott. He wasn’t an easy horse – or a lovable horse – but he was fifth in the 2,000 Guineas despite having cracked his pelvis beforehand. I also had a total no-hoper with Dave Evans. What I love about National Hunt is the bravery, the heroics and the generosity of it all. It’s a very quixotic sport and you write off the whole economic thing as soon as you get into it, and then just enjoy it, as you can’t make your money back. I went to Cheltenham for all four days last March, and then to Kempton at the end of that week, but I felt at the end of it that I’d got away with it and had better toe the line. I haven’t been racing since but I’m happy enough yelling at the telly. I’m shielding, but I have managed the odd careful trip to Pond House when the circumstances have allowed. I love the Pipe family, the jockeys, the work riders and the staff – to me that’s more important than winning. I’ve never looked anywhere else. People who have horses with a lot of different trainers seem to be chasing the grass that always looks greener. When you have all of your eggs in one basket you risk being hit by a virus, but for me it’s about the whole spirit of the place and the mutual trust between David and myself. I’ve never been

tempted to have horses in Ireland and wouldn’t unless I lived there. Racing is in for a tricky time and we have to expand the ownership base. I’ve had some horses solely in my own name and others in partnership with friends like Bryan Drew, but I’m also trying to do a little bit to broaden ownership. For instance, we are sharing ownership of Adagio with eight friends of Bryan’s who are having their first experience of ownership – and they love it! I’ve also introduced a Sudanese friend called Hadeel to ownership and we share a young horse called Red Lion Lad, who we hope to win the Grand National with one day. A third way I’m trying to help is by lending horses to David’s racing club, and Little Red Lion is one of those. I’m enjoying a very good season, with Vieux Lion Rouge, Dell’ Arca, Adagio and others all doing well, but it’s not always like this. Last season was tough, particularly losing Mr Big Shot and Warthog, who broke his leg the time after winning the Caspian Caviar. We obviously aim to retire horses sound, and last season we retired Champers On Ice, Moon Racer and Un Temps Pour Tout. They are now having the time of their lives pretending to be dressage horses in Gloucestershire with Clare Poole. Racing is obviously a big part of my life nowadays, but I have plenty to look forward to in the art world this year through my black and white photography. It’s the centenary of the birth of Joseph Beuys, an artist I photographed a lot and wrote eight books about, and very pleasingly the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin have asked for my works for their collection and an exhibition in May, after which there are exhibitions planned in Germany. I also still do quite a lot for conservation, having co-founded African Parks, which trains locals to run their own parks.

Masar: It’s a great year use it’s a to great year to use Masar... him...

G1 winner Lady Marian, dam of a G2 winner by New Approach

G3 winner Military March, out of G1 winner Punctilious

Teofilo: his G3-winning Dubawi half-sister is also in foal to Masar

Masar’s first foals come from an all-star book: four G1 winners, the dams of two more and sisters of 25 G1 winners. Godolphin sent him 16 mares.

£14,000 Oct 1, SLF. Dalham Hall Stud, UK


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