Thoroughbred Owner Breeder

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Back to the future

Could Mohaather be another Green Desert for Shadwell?


Dai Walters

Home is where the horse is

Shared ownership

First in a new series: the pioneers

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2015 b h Acclamation - Exemplify (Dansili)

All eyes on the future TIMEFORM RATING




Dark Angel




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Dark Angel




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The only Gr.1 winning miler by sire of sires Acclamation Contact Shane Horan, Claire Curry or Henry Bletsoe +44 (0)1638 731115

2021 Fee £12,500

1st Oct, Special Live Foal

Welcome Editor: Edward Rosenthal Bloodstock Editor: Nancy Sexton Design/production: Thoroughbred Group Editorial: 12 Forbury Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 1SB Twitter: @OwnerBreeder Instagram: ownerbreeder Equine Advertising: Giles Anderson/Anna Alcock UK: 01380 816777 IRE: 041 971 2000 USA: 1 888 218 4430 Subscriptions: Keely Brewer 01183 385 686 The Owner Breeder can be purchased by non-members at the following rates: 1 Year 2 Year UK £60 £100 Europe £90 £150 RoW £120 £195 The Owner Breeder is published by a Mutual Trading Company owned jointly by the Racehorse Owners Association and Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association is a registered charity No. 1134293 Editorial views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the ROA or TBA Our monthly average readership is 20,000 Racehorse Owners Association Ltd 12 Forbury Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 1SB Tel: 01183 385680 •


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£6.95 JANUARY 2021 ISSUE 197

Back to the future

Could Mohaather be another Green Desert for Shadwell?


Dai Walters

Home is where the horse is

Shared ownership

First in a new series: the pioneers

Cover: Former top-class miler Mohaather settles into life at his new home of Nunnery Stud in Thetford Photo: George Selwyn

Edward Rosenthal Editor

Revenue and crowds the biggest issues in 2021 I

think it’s fair to say that we are all glad to see the back of 2020, a year in which coronavirus wreaked havoc around Britain, as it did all over the world. What will 2021 bring? From racing’s perspective, the return of crowds to the racecourse is essential if the sport is to claw back some of the money lost during a devastating period for businesses. The Levy Board stepped up admirably, as did other organisations such as the British European Breeders’ Fund, to pump much-needed money into the lower levels – I’ll avoid the word tiers – of the sport and ensure grassroots races were run at close to minimum values. It was actually at the top end, in races like the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and the Cesarewitch at Newmarket, that the drop in prize-money was most noticeable. One of the words most associated with the events of 2020 has been ‘unprecedented’, as people across myriad industries attempted to overcome the hurdles that Covid threw in their path. The challenge facing racing is how to rebuild once the pandemic subsides, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later now that vaccines are in widespread use amongst the population. Prize-money levels must not only get back to where they were pre-Covid, but rise significantly if the sport hopes to retain its current numbers of owners and breeders and also attract new participants. The levy system remains in place and could be enhanced if the collection mechanism changes to turnover rather than gross profits and is extended to include bets placed in Britain on overseas racing. More media rights money could also find its way into prize funds if commercial deals can be agreed between racecourses and horsemen. It’s in everyone’s interest to navigate a way through this particular puzzle. Dai Walters knows a thing or two about prize-money and racecourses. The man who gave us Ffos Las in Wales – he sold the track to Arena Racing Company in 2018 – is also a major owner

of jumpers, the majority of which are now based with up-and-coming trainer Sam Thomas on the outskirts of Cardiff. Walters is perfectly placed to offer a view on the prize-money situation from both sides and sympathises with the racecourses, as customer bases have been all but wiped out by Covid. “I always tried to keep prize-money up because I am also an owner,” he tells Julian Muscat (The Big Interview, pages 22-25). “But in these Covid times you couldn’t do it because you were taking nothing at the gate. You’re losing money already; you have no revenue at all. “I’m glad I don’t own Ffos Las any more with the way the rules are in Wales, which is killing small businesses. If I did, I think I’d have mothballed it.”

“The challenge for racing is how to rebuild once Covid subsides” He continues: “I doubt [levy reform] will come to much. I don’t think some people realise that economically, the effects of Covid have been like World War III. It’s going to take a long time for things to return to normal. Entire industries, like hospitality, have been brought to their knees. “So the question is: where is the money going to come from? It just isn’t there, although I do say there are too many people having a good time on the back of racing.” Walters may be right but as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. We should be thankful that racing has continued and that the core product remains the best in the world. I would like to wish all our readers a Happy New Year and a safe and prosperous 2021.




Galileo Chrome is easily one of the best I’ve trained, and he’s a beautiful looking individual. Joseph O’Brien, trainer

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January 2021


News & Views ROA Leader

Opportunities to grow in 2021

TBA Leader

Challenges to overcome


ROA targets step change for owners


News in a nutshell

Howard Wright Nick Rust bows out

Features continued 7

Breeders' Digest


Sales Circuit Prices hold up for quality bloodstock

10 14 20

Vieux Lion Rouge at Aintree

The Big Interview

With jumps owner Dai Walters

Shared ownership

Part one of a new series: the pioneers


High hopes for Shadwell's latest recruit

New stallions

Pinatubo features among the 2021 intake





The Finish Line With Scottish trainer Sandy Thomson


Forum ROA Forum

Features The Big Picture

A rollercoaster year in the ring

Latest guidance for owners


Great British Bonus The biggest winners in 2020




TBA Forum Report from the online AGM




Breeder of the Month Overbury Stallions for Thyme Hill


Vet Forum 38

Muscle strain injuries in racehorses





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ROA Leader

Charlie Parker President

Let’s view 2021 as an opportunity to grow L

ast year was a big year for racing but 2021 is bigger. After everything we endured and rebuilt in 2020, the real test and opportunity is ahead of us. This is a massive year for racing and all of its participants and there is so much to be achieved by us all working together for the sport’s future. When the news started breaking in March last year of a global pandemic, swiftly followed by the closure of racecourses and the sport, it was hard to know where to look. Racing was pilloried in some sections of the press as the last sport open and its participants and fans up and down the country had their day-to-day racing ripped away. Yet that would not stop what racing could achieve in the confined circumstances of 2020; even the bleak background of the pandemic did not prevent some astounding work from the sport’s leaders and employees to get the show back on the road. We have gone from no racing in March to being the first sport back on, piloting crowds and with limited spectators able to attend. We have worked hard to keep owners on courses where possible, liaising with racecourses to improve the experience for owners in these Covid times. All that fantastic and collaborative work by the ROA, British Horseracing Authority, Racecourse Association and Horsemen’s Group amongst others was vital. We should not forget the fantastic work of the Levy Board in the midst of the pandemic to keep minimum values at the levels they are, which has immeasurably supported owners, trainers and others in the sport’s time of need. I took up the positions of ROA President and Chair of the Horsemen’s Group in July and have been flat out ever since. Juggling the joys of being an owner-breeder with the responsibilities of my roles has been enlightening, to say the least. Certainly I am proud, having only been here for a short while, of what the ROA is doing for our sport. We shouldn’t forget that only a few years ago there was little understanding of what owners did for horseracing and why they were so important. The ROA has done an immeasurable amount to bring owner priorities to the forefront of racing’s consciousness and that has shown throughout the last year and before. All of the hard work put in on enhancing the raceday experience, improving prize-money levels, and increasing shared ownership has supported the resilience of owners despite the dual threats of Covid and Brexit.

People want to go racing and people want to own racehorses – as an industry we can, and must, make it far easier to do both. It can be easy to get distracted by the multitude of issues, challenges and opportunities racing consistently presents but moving into this year, we are laser-focused on the task in hand: getting racing back in all its glory. In my first column as ROA President, I said I wanted to grow the sport of racing. That remains my unbending priority, even off the back of 2020. Our sport has done so much this year to work together and I know that taking those lessons into 2021, racing has an unbelievable opportunity to grow.

“Moving into this year we are laser-focused on the task in hand: getting racing back in all its glory” As the pandemic fades with the vaccine, we will still be here working on the structural challenges in racing to grow prize-money, increase racing’s revenue streams and keep improving the ownership experience. Currently on the menu are new commercial agreements around prize-money, proposed levy reforms, an affordability and gambling commission review, and promotion of syndicates and accreditation, as we welcome a new CEO at the BHA. It’s going to be a busy start to 2021. To all the owners, breeders and horsemen and women, I wish you good luck for the New Year and many new winners and adventures with your horses in the season ahead.



TBA Leader

Julian Richmond-Watson Chairman

‘Tis the season to be jolly hopeful C

oronavirus overshadowed everything in 2020, even keeping Brexit off the front pages for most of the year. Yet despite the various lockdowns and local tiering, careful planning and industry-wide cooperation meant that racing and breeding were extremely fortunate to be able keep the show on the road, both on the racecourse and at the sales. While everything else has felt very different, breeders and owners have at least been able to test the breed on the racetrack, to trade, and to avoid most of the potentially debilitating welfare issues that might have arisen. The last independent Economic Impact Study carried out for the TBA in 2018 and recent evidence from a number of breeders had already exposed the lack of profitability in breeding thoroughbreds. The situation inevitably deteriorated again in 2020 and I can only expect this year to be worse. We will get a better view of how the land lies when the TBA’s second survey to discover how Covid-19 is affecting breeders has been completed. The deadline for responses is January 11 and I urge all members to spend the 15 minutes or so required to fill out the questionnaire on the website. How long we can expect 60-70% of breeders to continue to sustain losses is a question no-one can answer with certainty but contraction in the industry is inevitable, with all the consequences that entails. However, hopes springs eternal and the New Year is a time to look forward. By the very nature of the activity, every breeder or owner has to be an optimist even to be involved in our thoroughbred world, as Overbury Manager Simon Sweeting makes clear in our Breeder of the Month feature. So, let’s look into the TBA’s crystal ball and see what could go well in 2021, if only to encourage us to remain optimistic and keep up our breeding numbers: • Covid-19 will be sorted with the aid of multiple vaccines quickly rolled out across the country, and by Royal Ascot substantive crowds and the buzz of the racecourse will have returned; • Brexit will be sorted and horse movements between Britain and Ireland will be carried out smoothly, so that minimum paperwork is required under the new regime outside the EU; • The Chancellor of the Exchequer and other government ministers and officials will listen to racing’s case for reform of the levy, and the betting industry will agree to move to a basis that more readily reflects the value it extracts from the sport and its punters. We will then be able to work with bookmakers, retail and online, to “grow the cake”; • Along with sponsors returning to racing, the increased levy will help to boost prize-money, in particular for Britain’s top races,

making it less attractive to race or sell abroad; • The government’s gambling review will accept that betting on horseracing is a leisure activity and part of the entertainment of the industry, and so the sport will be allowed to continue its responsible relationship with the bookmaking industry; • Stallion fees, which have been generally adjusted downwards for the coming covering season, will continue to become more realistic, better reflecting a market where currently so many foals and yearlings sell for little more than their covering fee; • The demand for British bloodstock will continue to increase and sales prices will reflect the value of the quality horses bred and raced in Britain;

“Every breeder or owner has to be an optimist even to be involved in our thoroughbred world” • The Great British Bonus scheme will grow and gain further traction, and more small breeders will win meaningful prizes. British breeders will keep more fillies and mares in training in 2021 and form syndicates and partnerships to keep hold of their bloodlines that can be brought back to their studs; • The enhanced programme for fillies and mares over jumps, including the new mares’ chase to be run on Gold Cup day at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, will continue to gain support; • And last but not least, we all stay healthy, meet in person again and have a smile on our faces. Let’s hope as many of these as possible come true in 2021. They are all attainable and what a difference they would make to everyone. Happy New Year to you all.




Stories from the racing world

ROA leadership targets step change for owners in 2021 B ritish racing’s diminishing prizemoney pool could receive an injection of much-needed capital this year if the cards fall the right way according to Racehorse Owners Association President Charlie Parker. The Covid era has seen a significant reduction in purses for many races, including at the top level, as racecourses struggle to balance the books without regular paying crowds, forcing the Levy Board to dig deep into its coffers to bolster the sport. Parker, who represents the ROA on the Horsemen’s Group, is currently in negotiations with the UK’s racecourses on commercial agreements that would enhance their contribution to prizemoney, linked to the generation of betting turnover on races. With the government having announced recently that it will look at the timetable for reviewing the levy this year (see following page), which could in future see both the collection method changed from a system based on gross profits to turnover and extended to cover bets on overseas racing, the sport has two possible avenues to secure extra funding. Each would provide a major stimulus to the ownership ranks in Britain. Parker explained: “There is a path in 2021 to get to a place where prizemoney can grow. There is a lot in the pipeline if we can navigate some headwinds. “We are working with the racecourses towards commercial agreements and that will of course be subject to the return of crowds. “In addition, there are ongoing discussions with government and bookmakers about levy reform, which could really get prize-money up to decent levels. We are looking at everything from moving to a turnover model and including overseas racing. “With the proviso we can protect racing and bookmakers in the current review and get crowds back as soon as possible, this could all mean a significant change in money trickling down to the grassroots. It would be a figure we haven’t seen before and it would be fantastic for racing in this country.”



Charlie Parker: ‘a lot in the pipeline’

Aside from working with stakeholders to address the big issues affecting the sport like poor prizemoney, the ROA is also focused on improving the raceday experience for its members with a view to both retaining current owners and attracting new ones into the fold.

“There is a path to get to a place where prize-money can grow” The organisation recently concluded a three-year project, the Industry Ownership Strategy (IOS), which was funded by the Levy Board and centred on how the industry’s stakeholders can work together to protect and grow its ownership base. Despite the current challenging climate, new owner registrations and

horses in training numbers – two of the key performance indicators (KPIs) agreed at the outset of the IOS – actually grew between June and October last year, while average field sizes also increased across all codes between 2019 and 2020. “The real story is how well the industry is coping with Covid,” said ROA Chief Executive Charlie Liverton. “The KPIs were agreed three years ago and, thanks to the collaboration between industry stakeholders, all look healthy. “While the IOS has come to an end, the promotion and growth of ownership as well as the retention of owners is an ongoing project and will be forever thus. What we’ve done over the last three years is imbed a platform with much greater cross-industry understanding as to what the needs of owners are and how we can build for the future and grow ownership numbers. “The deep dive research the ROA carried out at the outset of the IOS is encapsulated in seven goals: to provide differentiated membership packages; sustain provision for syndicates; improve guidance to and representation of small owner-breeders; proactively recruit potential owners; improve and develop the raceday experience; support trainers; and support syndicate managers to increase owners’ involvement. “Those seven goals were picked up and worked through over the last three years and we now need to take that vision forward into 2021.” Charlie Parker added: “The numbers paint a picture of resilience. I think without the work that the industry carried out on ownership the situation would have worsened. “Covid may have wrecked the economy and wrecked people’s lives yet named registrations and new owner registrations in September, October and November were ahead of 2019. “So much of what we have done has been about education. As an industry we have a much better idea of how we can support and look after owners in a way that builds on their ownership and encourages them to invest more.”

An eye for success

visit studlife online:

January 2021

ZOU-FOALS STAR AT TATTERSALLS The first foals offered at public auction from the debut Northern Hemisphere crop of Tweenhills’ international Gr.1 sire sensation Zoustar were extremely well received at the Tattersalls December Foal Sale. 15 Zoustars sold for an average of 63,400gns. He will return to a fee of £25,000 for the 2021 breeding season.

Three of the Zoustars sold for six figures. Top price was the colt out of dual Gr.1 winner La Collina who sold for 150,000gns. Another colt out of Rue Cambon sold for 110,000gns to Yeomanstown Stud and the Tweenhills consigned colt out of Betwitchment (pictured) sold for 100,000gns.



Also, during the December Sales, Tweenhills’ stallions Kameko, Havana Gold and Lightning Spear had a very busy five days as they paraded for breeders and bloodstock agents at Longholes. Lots of people asked about Zoustar, who returns to Tweenhills just before Christmas. Contact us now to discuss a nomination for your mare.

Professional poser Havana Gold

credit: John Berry

The Tweenhills Team were out in force during the December sales – a big thank you to everyone involved for keeping the show on the road during difficult times.

credit: Jason Bax

s! morning at Tweenhill is th on ed ed ne r te esel There was no fil anager Sammy Gri m g in al fo r ou by Photo

credit: Jason Bax

Alice Thurtle and new stall af ter a busy week show ion Kameko sign off ing in Newmarket

The Tweenhills Aberdeen Angus burgers went down a storm at Tattersalls during the December Sales. Proceeds from both vans went to Racing Welfare.

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


Government agrees to levy review British racing has welcomed the unexpected news that the government will look at the timetable for reviewing the levy system this year. The levy had not been due for review until 2024 under legislation passed in 2017, however, the racing industry’s Covid-19 recovery plan called for an urgent review as part of a wider initiative to restore industry finances. The government has now agreed to consider the timetable earlier than it may have done but for the industry’s efforts along with that of MPs with racing interests within their constituencies. Nick Rust, outgoing Chief Executive of the BHA, said: “We welcome the announcement from the Minister [Nigel Huddleston] that DCMS will examine in 2021 the timetable for reviewing the levy. “Racing industry leaders agreed that there was an urgent case for reform as part of our plans to recover from Covid-19 and have presented a united front to government. “As the minister outlined in the House, there are ongoing conversations between the BHA and government on levy reform. We look forward to working with DCMS officials and ministers in 2021 to ensure that the levy is sustainable and fit for the digital age.” Racing’s hopes around levy reform are

Nick Rust: ‘urgent case for levy reform’

that the system is changed to one based on betting turnover rather than ten per cent of bookmakers’ gross profits and that wagering by UK-based punters on foreign racing is captured – this is likely to have increased as bettors sought opportunities in overseas jurisdictions that carried on racing behind closed doors during Covid-19, such as Australia, the US, Hong Kong and Japan. In October, the BHA, Jockey Club and the Horsemen’s Group launched a Levy Steering Group that aimed to define a single set of levy reform proposals to take

to the government. The levy’s beneficiaries include racecourses, whose incomes have been severely hit by the two-and-a-half-month shutdown from mid-March and by the ongoing cap on the number of spectators, or complete ban in some tiers. The Levy Steering Group is chaired by BHA Independent Director Joe SaumarezSmith, who said: “The group will carry out a rapid assessment of levy options as the government considers how best to help sports threatened by a further six months without spectators.”

Truesdale’s Jockey Club role made permanent Nevin Truesdale’s position as Acting Group Chief Executive of the Jockey Club has been made permanent, the organisation announced last month. The promotion of the 46-year-old to the position he had been performing in a caretaker capacity should, the Jockey Club will hope, draw a line under a period of instability following the acrimonious departure of Delia Bushell. Truesdale has steered the ship since the end of August, during which time the Jockey Club has delivered its largest internal reorganisation in a decade as part of introducing a new strategy for the future and in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. A senior executive at the Jockey Club for the last seven years, Truesdale joined as Group Finance Director in 2013 from Centrica plc, where he was Finance Director for British Gas’ £9 billion residential energy division. He



Nevin Truesdale: promoted

previously worked at the AA and Ernst & Young, and is a graduate of the University of Cambridge. A racing fan and racehorse owner, he is also a Board Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, the National Stud, Jockey Club Catering, the Racecourse Association and Racecourse Media Group.

Truesdale said: “Over the past few months I’ve enjoyed strengthening working relationships and making significant progress for the industry with our diverse range of stakeholders and commercial partners. “Collaboration and strong relationships are so important to delivering success, as is listening to your customers, providing fantastic experiences for all, and constantly embracing change and innovation. We’ll be working hard to continue our success in these areas in the years to come.” Sandy Dudgeon, Senior Steward of the Jockey Club, said: “The board is delighted to appoint Nevin as our Group Chief Executive. He has demonstrated excellent leadership of the whole business over the last few months and first-class performance as a senior executive over several years.”

ew 21 N 20 r fo


Champion 11-time Gr.1 winner


Gr.1, Gr.2 & Gr.3x2 winner

162 6 38


Classic Gr.1 Prix de Diane winner

Gr.1/Gr.2 horses from his first 3 crops of 3yos... Classic winners Gr.1/Gr.2 winners Stakes horses inc 28 Group winners/ performers

The fastest son of Frankel His highest rated miler and only Gr.1 winning miler son at stud in Europe Won Gr.1 St James’s Palace Stakes in the 2nd fastest time ever Faster than Frankel, Kingman, Azamour, Circus Maximus, Palace Pier, etc.

2020 yearlings realised 280,000gns, 200,000gns, 140,000gns, 120,000gns, 115,000gns, £100,000, 90,000gns, etc. Averaged £61,000*

3 Gr.1 placings inc 3rd Gr.1 Breeders’ Cup Mile Dam has produced 2 Gr.1 winning milers

Galileo ex Magnificient Style

Frankel ex Without You Babe

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11/12/2020 15:36


Racing’s news in a nutshell

People and business

Ed Vaughan Andrew Lynch

Irish jockey associated with brilliant chaser Sizing Europe, on whom he won 15 races including seven Grade 1s, retires aged 36 due to injury.

Nathan Evans

Jockey, 23, is banned for six months after a positive test for cocaine at York in August.

Sean Woods

Trainer, 55, who spent two decades in Hong Kong returns to Newmarket and will be based at Shalfleet Stables with a team of 30 horses.

Jonathan Burke

Jockey breaks his collarbone in a schooling fall in Lambourn in early December. The 24-year-old will be out of action for around four weeks.


Decides not to renew its sponsorship of the Cheltenham Gold Cup – its threeyear contract will end after the 2021 renewal on March 19.

Seamus Mullins

Trainer becomes the Horsemen’s Group’s representative on the Horse Welfare Board, taking over from James Given.

Rob Hornby

Shoulder injury sustained in a fall at Wolverhampton will keep the rider out of action for a number of weeks.

Warren Greatrex

Oisin Murphy

Dual champion jockey receives three-month disqualification from France Galop following a positive test for metabolites of cocaine.



Trainer fined £3,000 and jockey Gavin Sheehan banned for 14 days after 250-1 chance Beaufort was deemed a nontrier at Newbury.

David Carr

Racing Post journalist named Racing Writer of the Year at the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association Derby Awards.

Kentucky is the new base of the Irishman who relinquished his training licence in Britain in 2020 citing poor prize-money levels in the sport.

Bridget Guerin

Succeeds Lord Grimthorpe as Chairman of the York Race Committee.


Horse Racing Ireland responds to trainers’ requests for more fixtures and sanctions four extra meetings at the track in January and February.

People obituaries Lady Vestey 71

Owner-breeder of 1997 Stayers’ Hurdle victor Karshi; she was the younger sister of former trainer Henrietta Knight.

Robert Hess Sr 86

US trainer who enjoyed plenty of success in northern California, winning 1,592 races in his career, dies after contracting Covid-19.

Malcolm Hanover 87

Former boxing correspondent and sub-editor of The Sporting Life who was a season-ticket holder at his beloved Tottenham.



A C C L A M AT I O N – A R I S ( DA N R O A D ) £ 9 , 5 0 0


Outstanding Gr.1 Forêt winner - First crop realised up to 145,000gns, £130,000, €120,000 etc.


S H O W C A S I N G – F U R B E L O W ( P I V O TA L ) £ 2 5 , 0 0 0

1 ST O C T S L F

Triple Gr.1 winner at two and three in Ireland, France and UK, and the fastest winner of the Royal Ascot Gr.1 Commonwealth Cup



GA L I L E O – H AWA L A ( WA R N I N G ) £ 3 , 0 0 0


Four-time Group winner including Gr.1 Classic Irish St Leger at three & Gr.3 Eyrefield Stakes at two



C H O I S I R – B U N D I T T E N ( S O V I E T S TA R ) £ 3 , 0 0 0

1 ST O C T S L F

Fastest ever winner of the Gr.2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot First Foals averaged over £30,000 – ten times his stud fee



D U B AW I – PA S S A G E O F T I M E ( D A N S I L I ) £ 8 , 5 0 0

1 ST O C T S L F

Outstanding son of leading sire of sires DUBAWI First yearlings realised up to 150,000gns, 120,000gns, £100,000 etc.

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


Racehorse and stallion

Movements and retirements



Grade 1 scorer and brilliant winner at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018 is retired aged seven, later selling for €290,000 at Tattersalls Ireland.


Top-class hurdler for the late Alan and Ann Potts is retired aged ten; his three Grade 1 wins include the 2019 Aintree Hurdle.


Sire of top-class jumpers The Storyteller, Death Duty and Briar Hill is retired from covering aged 27 at Burgage Stud in County Carlow.

Horse obituaries Awesome Again 26

Winner of the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic for ownerbreeder Frank Stronach, he sired four Breeders’ Cup winners from his base at Adena Springs.

Whisper 12

High-class performer for Dai Walters and Nicky Henderson was a dual winner of the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle at Aintree.

Tapizar 12

Sire of brilliant distaffer Monomoy Girl dies in an accident at the Gainesway quarantine barn before he could be shipped to Japan.



Son of Dawn Approach, runner-up to Anthony Van Dyck in the 2019 Derby, is retired to take up stud duties at Haras du Saz in France.


Lack Stallion Station in Poland recruits son of Galileo, a Group 2 winner in Australia and runner-up in the 2016 Vertem Futurity Trophy.

Showcasing - Roodeye (Inchinor)

Group winner at two, three and four Won a vintage renewal of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes (BELOW) in a faster time than Kingman

His sire’s best son OR: 123 | TF: 129

3-time Gr.1 winner CIRCUS MAXIMUS ↴

Irish 2,000 Guineas winner SISKIN ↴


At 4 Sussex Stakes, (1m), Goodwood, Gr.1


Summer Mile Stakes, (1m), Ascot, Gr.2


At 3 Greenham Stakes, (7f), Newbury, Gr.3


At 2 Horris Hill Stakes, (7f), Newbury, Gr.3


EBF Novice Stakes, (6f), Nottingham Total prize money: £287,756

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

Fee: £20,000 Also standing

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

Lion lights up Liverpool Owners Professor Caroline Tisdall and John Gent have enjoyed the ride of a lifetime with their favourite horse Vieux Lion Rouge. Successful on his debut aged three in a bumper at Ffos Las in December 2012, the chestnut gelding is still gracing the winner’s enclosure eight years later, having captured his second Becher Chase at Aintree last month under Conor O’Farrell. That performance made it nine completions from nine runs over the famous National course, in the process successfully negotiating some 223 fences, surely a modern-day record. A fifth assault on the Grand National in April is now on the cards for the popular 12-year-old, trained throughout his career by David Pipe, who said his stable star “lights up” when he races at the Liverpool track. Photo George Selwyn






It’s goodbye from him and hello from her I t would be insensitive to call up EJ Thribb, 171/2, to do the honours. After all, no-one has died. But the Private Eye obituarist’s famous opening phrase is more than apposite, for it really is a matter of “So, Farewell then Nick Rust,” as the BHA Chief Executive rides off into the sunset, a year, all bar a few days, since he first signaled his intention to step down. And what a year it has been, for everyone, but most particularly for Rust. Which other senior British racing figure has been told to sling his hook at the most crucial moment in the sport’s negotiations with government? Other administrators have deserved a word in their ear advising them to seek alternative employment in double-quick time, but Rust was not one of them, and certainly not at a time when a calm, publicly unifying approach was the best course of action while the debate for a return to work after the first Covid-19 lockdown went on. There have been bumps in the road, not least when the Doncaster Director of Public Health took it upon himself to squeeze the life out of the remaining three days of the St Leger meeting Julie Harrington’s knowledge of sports regulation and running racecourses will prove invaluable in her new role

Hong Kong’s loss is Britain’s gain Picking up on the 1940s Churchillian sentiment about never letting a good crisis go to waste, which Julian RichmondWatson raised in last month’s TBA Chairman’s Leader, it may be worth Britain’s Flat-race trainers examining an aspect of the fallout from two particular crises that have befallen one country. The undercurrent of unrest that exploded to the surface in Hong Kong a little over a year ago has continued in 2020, as brutal local government opposition – backed by the authorities in Beijing – to pro-democracy demonstrations has escalated. Stringent lockdown measures associated with the Covid-19 pandemic have added hugely to the disruption of normal life. The British government’s reaction to what it regards as the violation of Hong Kong’s freedoms by a new security law was to offer its citizens sanctuary in the UK. Eligible Hong Kong citizens can now bypass jobs, skills and income tests that other migrants face in order to obtain a five-year visa, after which they will be able to apply for settled status.


and the First Minister of Wales decided that supporting outdoor sports was a no-go area. However, the fact that British racing has been able to run a fixture list since the beginning of June – only narrowly short of what was published in August 2019 – is huge credit to those who planned the restart, led by Rust. When Rust was being castigated, in a few corners, it must be admitted, for not being vocal or outwardly active enough, I wrote in this column that he deserved a medal round his neck, not a noose. I stand by that observation. One measure of a departing Chief Executive’s success is whether he or she leaves behind a better organisation than they joined. The expectations of the Strategy For Growth that Rust took on were so high that he was almost certain to fall short. No harm in having the aspirations, but achievement was always going to be a hard task. The devastating circumstances of 2020, which no-one could have forecast even a year ago, turned it into an impossibility. And So, Welcome then Julie Harrington, whose arrival as BHA Chief Executive has been almost five months in the making. Long enough, for anyone else, to avoid that oft-used observation when someone starts a

When the offer was first made in July, the Foreign Office estimated that 200,000 people would move from Hong Kong to the UK. By August, twice that number had obtained passports, and the figures have continued to grow. The Home Office has put the ‘net positive impact’ of the influx at around £2.5 billion over five years, of which a proportion could come into horseracing, if trainers and



The Howard Wright Column

Horseracing remains incredibly popular in Hong Kong and may prove a fertile source of new owners for the UK

“None of Harrington’s predecessors had the all-round experience that she brings to the table” organisation has recently suffered. She was previously Group Operations Director at the FA, responsible for running Wembley and the St George’s Park centre of excellence, so knows all about a sport that has a multitude of stakeholders, each manoeuvring for a slice of the pie. She was Operations Director for Northern Racing, so knows about running racecourses and had a first-rate tutor in commercial acumen in Sir Stanley Clarke, and was a BHA director for five years, so knows who the crooks and nannies are without having to be told. Harrington does not need a settling in period. All she needs is to identify her friends and her enemies, if she hasn’t done so already.

agents get their skates on. The attraction of racing in Hong Kong is well known, with a waiting list among locals anxious to gain valuable membership of the Jockey Club that bestows the right to ownership. A handful of Hong Kongers already have horses in training in the UK. Perhaps the best known is Ronnie Arculli, the former Hong Kong Jockey Club Chairman, whose squad of Reds, from Cadeaux to Verdon, has most recently been trained by Ed Dunlop. Then there’s Robert Ng, a Singaporean by birth but Chairman of the Hong Kong property development conglomerate the Sino Group, who has had horses with a variety of British trainers over the years, including eight in 2020. Dr Johnny Hon, who has successfully shrugged off a lop-sided investigation by the Daily Mail into his business connections with Zara Tindall, had runners from four individual yards last year, while PK Siu, whose family is among the most prolific owners in Hong Kong, has followed Ed Walker’s cross-country move, most notably with Stormy Antarctic. It would be strange if their passion for and involvement with British racing could not be replicated among even just a few of their fellow countrymen finding solace in the UK.

new, high-profile job – the steep learning curve. It’s happened in British racing many times over recent decades, but not on this occasion. Harrington is the seventh permanent Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Board and British Horseracing Authority since the Jockey Club relinquished control of governance in June 1993. It goes without saying that she is the first woman to occupy the role, so it’s not worth saying. The major point is that none of her seven predecessors had the all-round experience that she brings to the boardroom table. She comes in from British Cycling, so running a major sporting governing body and its regulation will be second nature to her, given the trials and tribulations that





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21 22/04/20 11:32

The Big Interview


Dai Walters


Dai Walters in pre-Covid times with his talented performer Al Dancer at Ascot in 2019


He’s never been afraid to make difficult decisions and having sold Ffos Las, the racecourse he built and ran until 2018, Dai Walters is now hoping to reap the rewards of a flourishing association with trainer Sam Thomas at his Cardiff stable Words: Julian Muscat



n hour in the company of Dai Walters reveals a man of many parts. In his teens he worked as a labourer and greengrocer who also planted trees for the local forestry commission until he started as an apprentice fitter at the opencast coal mine in Maesgwyn. He worked his way up until he struck out on his own in 1982, buying plant machinery and hiring it out to mining companies, initially in south Wales. Now his Walters Group, which built Ffos Las racecourse over six years from 2003, turns over more than £150 million annually. Walters, whose Christian name is actually Gweirydd, is proud of his Welsh heritage. His success enabled him to embrace racehorse ownership 25 years ago, when two of his Irish employees persuaded him to buy a share in a horse. Since then he became besotted by the game but there are signs the love affair may be waning. How much of that is down to the Covid pandemic even he is unsure. The 75-year-old resolved not to go racing in its present guise after a visit to Chepstow. “I didn’t enjoy it,” he says. “I couldn’t speak to my trainer or jockey face to face. You like to go racing to meet people and have a chat. When things get back to normal you hope the buzz will come back, but you just don’t know. Covid is a part of it, but not all.”

Like many owners, Walters is disenchanted by meagre prize-money levels, left further depressed by the pandemic. He understands that racecourses are under acute financial pressure but struggles to see a way out of the predicament even when a sense of normality returns. Walters’ sense of ambivalence almost certainly dates back to when Ffos Las, which opened in the summer of 2009, was trying to build up its fixture list. Having staged 29 fixtures in 2011, it faced a reduction to just 16 in 2012 as the British Horseracing Authority sought reductions in tandem with a falling horse population. In the event Ffos Las would host 26 fixtures but the experience left Walters feeling perplexed. He’d spent £25 million on building Britain’s first new National Hunt track in more than 80 years and was affronted that the rug could suddenly be pulled from under his feet. Walters then spent the next five years trying to mould Ffos Las’ fixture list into one that worked for west Wales, where the racecourse was situated in Carmarthenshire. His frustration reached its apogee in 2018 when he sold Ffos Las to Arena Racing Company (ARC). “The BHA never really supported Ffos Las,” Walters says from the conservatory of his imposing home on the northern fringe of Cardiff. “It



The Big Interview ›› was daft: they’d always give you the

wrong days [for fixtures], like Monday afternoons. “Ffos Las is a working area,” he continues. “You need Friday afternoon and weekend fixtures but they were so much more expensive to buy. We had to bid for them – how could we compete against the likes of Cheltenham and Ascot, which have sizeable populations nearby? If you’re a small track that has been going for a while, you’re fine. But for a new independent track that’s not part of a big group like ARC, you haven’t got a chance.” Walters accepts that ARC’s purchase of Ffos Las made perfect sense. The Reuben brothers’ company owns or manages 16 racetracks and can transfer existing fixtures around them as it sees fit. But the experience left Walters feeling empty inside, even though it bequeathed some happy memories. He didn’t just build Ffos Las; he breathed its very existence every day. He gave connections of runners a free lunch if they’d travelled more than two hours to get there. His determination to make it work even stretched to placing horses with a wide spread of trainers as an inducement for them to support the racecourse. Now, 18 months later, Walters has totally realigned his engagement with racing. In May 2018, as he signed off on the Ffos Las deal, Sam Thomas moved his string from Lambourn to the 35-box stable at Walters’ property. It was time to write a new chapter. “We had horses everywhere but when we sold the racecourse we couldn’t just drop that overnight,” Walters says. “I now have 20 with Sam because I like having horses at home. We have the set-up here, and I own a few in partnership with Nicky Henderson and Nigel Twiston-Davies because I like them.” It has taken Thomas two seasons to hit his straps but winners started flowing in November and have not abated. Most have a connection with Walters and most of those are young horses on an upward curve. A prime example is Good Risk At All, who cost €22,000 as a yearling in France and won a Listed bumper at Cheltenham in November. That’s the way Walters prefers it. He has the means to tangle with the wealthiest at public auction but chooses to buy mid-market, unraced stores. “You’ve worked hard all your life so why blow the money?” he asks rhetorically.


Good Risk At All, one of 20 horses Walters has with trainer Sam Thomas, scores at Cheltenham in November

He owns two farms adjacent to his racing stables at Lisvane, where Thomas is a salaried trainer, and where he brings his auction purchases ahead of starting them off. The farms would be even more central to the game-plan but for one problem, despite Wales’ recent incarnation as a fertile source of training talent. “In this part of the country it’s very hard to find youngsters who want to

“Racing should be a sport but I sometimes feel it isn’t like that these days” work in the game,” he says. “People ring us up saying they can ride but they don’t have experience of riding racehorses. What we’d really like to do is take injured horses out of the yard and put them on the farm to make boxes available. But that can’t happen until we get more staff.” This is Walters’ new-found approach

to maintaining his position as one of jump racing’s biggest owners. He still has around 30 horses in training each season, owned entirely by him or with partners. He has supped from some notable victory chalices along the way. One of the first big races he won came courtesy of the Peter Bowentrained Snoopy Loopy in the 2008 Betfair Chase at Haydock. On that day Kauto Star, sent off at 2-5, fell when upsides at the last but Snoopy Loopy might well have beaten him anyway. Snoopy Loopy obliged at 33-1, in the process impressing upon Walters the tenet that you should never back out of a big race for the presence of a strong favourite. It was a lesson he regretted not heeding four years later, when Oscar Whisky, trained for him by Henderson, missed the 2012 Champion Hurdle despite having finished third the previous year. “I like Nicky [Henderson] a lot but he has a few really big owners behind him and you can feel like you are at the back of the class when it comes to running your horses,” he says. “I feel I might have won the Champion Hurdle with Oscar Whisky but Nicky said I wouldn’t beat this horse and that horse, so we went to the Stayers’ Hurdle instead.” In the event Oscar Whisky finished

Dai Walters


Cash concerns in Covid era

fourth in the Stayers’ Hurdle and Rock On Ruby won the Champion. “Three weeks later Oscar Whisky won at Aintree, where he beat Rock On Ruby into third place,” Walters relates. “To me, racing should be a sport, but I sometimes feel it isn’t like that these days. That’s the reason I might get out of the game and sell the horses. Sometimes I feel like putting a line through it all but now we have Sam [Thomas] here. We can do our own thing.” Nor did Oscar Whisky find redemption. Having won the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, the horse returned to Sandown ten months later for the Tingle Creek Chase and suffered a fatal injury when he fell at halfway. Oscar Whisky was dear to Walters’ heart. He won the Welsh Champion Hurdle when the race transferred to Ffos Las in 2011, and Walters recently suffered another body blow when Whisper, who’d won the Coral Cup at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, was killed at Haydock in December. “It breaks your heart when it happens,” he says ruefully. “But you either get out of it altogether or you accept it and move on.” For now, Walters is moving on, albeit in a different direction. It will be on his terms, especially with prize-money

levels failing miserably to keep up with riding costs. “I do it because I can afford to,” he says. “I wouldn’t like to say how much it costs me every year but if any horse can pay its training fees, I’m happy. You can’t cut corners with horses and I’d say costs have gone up by 100 per cent in the last ten years but not prizemoney.” It’s fair to say Walters could do with something to rekindle the joyous feeling he experienced when he bought his first racehorse 25 years ago. Will that joy return when crowds are allowed back in numbers and the sport’s finances can be repaired? “The highlight of my year was always the time from Cheltenham to Aintree, but we seem to have lost that buzz,” he responds. “Yes, we all have to be sensible about it, but once you get older you find that things change. “I’d love to go back to how it was 20 years ago, when I got a big buzz out of it. It will be a hard year in 2021 but if it doesn’t come back soon it could start to fade away. These things happen. I used to enjoy going out for a pint but I don’t do that any more. “This Covid business and not going racing has made me think. I have enjoyed it up to now but this is the year that could change everything.”

Dai Walters is well placed to reflect on the ongoing discussions between horsemen and racecourses over prize-money levels – and in particular the widespread view that a share of media rights income should continue to be allocated to the prize fund. Walters is now honorary Chairman at Ffos Las racecourse, which he sold to Arena Racing Company in 2018. Were he still the proprietor, would he have maintained that contribution from his media rights income? “I always tried to keep prizemoney up because I am also an owner,” he says. “But in these Covid times you couldn’t do it because you were taking nothing at the gate. You’re losing money already; you have no revenue at all.” Will that see some small racecourses go to the wall? “I can imagine they are struggling,” Walters says. “I’m glad I don’t own Ffos Las any more with the way the rules are in Wales. If I did, I think I’d have mothballed it.” With his owner’s hat on, Walters described pre-Covid levels of prizemoney as “ridiculous”. Nor is he optimistic about the government’s recent announcement to review the existing levy in 2021, with a possible reform to racing’s benefit. “I doubt it will come to much,” he says. “I don’t think some people realise that economically the effects of Covid have been like World War III. It’s going to take a long time for things to return to normal. Entire industries, like hospitality, have been brought to their knees. “So the question is: where is the money going to come from? It just isn’t there, although I do say there are too many people having a good time on the back of racing. “Sometimes I’m invited into boxes of the racecourse executive and there are people there who are friends of the Chairman, who don’t own horses and who will take the Chairman to the cricket next week. They should be looking after people who put money into the game.” Very few people have put as much money into jump racing as Dai Walters.


Shared ownership

You can

ALL JOIN IN Our new series on shared ownership starts with a look at the pioneers of the movement at a time when the Jockey Club was trying to make horseracing more accessible and expand the sport’s appeal


hen riding sensation Hollie Doyle recorded her first Group 1 success aboard Glen Shiel on Champions Day at Ascot in October, she did it sporting the silks of a syndicate, Hambleton Racing. Horses in shared ownership have become a feature of the racing landscape in Britain and Ireland, regularly competing in the most prestigious races and at the biggest festivals under both codes. Figures provided by the Racehorse Owners Association show that around 2,700 horses in training are registered to syndicates – yet an estimated 10,000 syndicate members are unregistered in the UK, which is unsurprisingly a cause of concern to racing’s rulers, keen to understand its audience. In September the British Horseracing Authority launched a consultation into the regulation of shared ownership, “to identify the current risks and opportunities and how these can be addressed to promote growth and consumer confidence in syndicates and racing clubs”. The BHA plans to reveal its recommendations in the next couple of months. The growing popularity of shared ownership presents British racing with a golden opportunity to attract the next generation of devotees and owners. Yet how did this strand of ownership take root in Britain and who were the pioneers in this field? High-level ownership syndication,


with a horse’s stallion career in mind, had grown in both Europe and the US, where Leslie Combs II, founder of Spendthrift Farm, one of the giants of the bluegrass breeding and racing industry, syndicated the likes of Nashua and Raise A Native. Indeed, he was the first person to syndicate a stallion for $1 million. British horseracing up to the late 1960s and early 1970s was still mainly dominated by owners and ownerbreeders with the financial clout to indulge their passion for thoroughbreds. However, the Jockey Club, which then administered the Rules of Racing, recognised the potential in opening up the sport to a broader ownership base (see sidebar).

“The Jockey Club recognised the potential in opening up the sport” Nick Robinson, the former proprietor and publisher of Pacemaker magazine, had watched his filly Dibidale come with what looked like an irresistible challenge in the 1974 Oaks at Epsom, only for


Words: Edward Rosenthal and Graham Dench

Henry Ponsonby (Panama hat) celebrates another success for his syndicate members with Tiger Cliff in the 2013 Ebor handicap

disaster to strike when her saddle slipped and gave way under Willie Carson. Disqualified after passing the post in third, she made amends by winning the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks later that year. Robinson later sold Dibidale back to her breeder, his good friend Robert Sangster, a man whose exploits on the racecourse and in the sale ring helped define the sport in the 1970s and 80s when his rivalry with a young Sheikh Mohammed took on legendary status. That competition for the world’s choicest bloodstock became increasingly intense, on both sides of the Atlantic, and saw prices skyrocket. Sangster decided that an injection of capital was required. So, he set up a syndicate involving John Magnier, Michael Smurfit and Vincent O’Brien. Classic Thoroughbreds, which aimed to raise money to buy yearlings,


‘Racing was metamorphosing from a sport into an industry’ Paul Greeves has been one of the most respected names in racing administration for decades. Having joined Weatherbys in 1970, he became Manager of the Racing Department and was a frequent visitor to the Jockey Club’s then home at Portman Square in London. He recalls the circumstances that saw ownership opening up during a period of significant change for horseracing. “What was happening in that time with ownership was a little microcosm of what was happening to racing. It was looking to expand,” Greeves explains. “There was pressure on the Jockey Club for extra fixtures and pressure to make ownership as rewarding as possible in terms of the experience, and to give people an easier route into ownership. “Partnerships had come into existence but they were restricted to four people. So if you came into racing you either owned the horse outright or you went into a partnership with up to three other people. “What happened, inevitably, is that partnerships were put together with more than four people involved. In other words, the restrictions of the system forced people who wanted to share the burden of cost to adopt practices that were outside the rules. “There was a pressure to accommodate these people within the rules and make entry to ownership easier for people who didn’t have the means to own a horse outright

or in partnership. That is how syndicates as a defined concept came into being. “At that time you were allowed up to 12 members of a syndicate. But in effect the syndicate then had to lease the horse back to either a sole owner or a partnership to fall within the rules. The sole owner or partnership members had to be registered owners. “There was another move that expanded opportunities for multiple ownerships, which was when racing clubs were recognised, as the question had then been about allowing only 12 owners. So there had to be a mechanism for many more, and that was the club. All along the theme of making racing more accessible.” Greeves adds: “That whole period in the 1970s was a time of considerable change for horseracing. As horses started to race in different countries, systems had to catch up in terms of reciprocity. A lot of work went on to set up reciprocal arrangements between racing authorities. That became the international agreement on racing and breeding overseen by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. “Look also at what was happening to racecourses during that period. They used to be owned by local councils, metropolitan authorities and private individuals. Eventually they started coming under ownership groups. Racing was really metamorphosing from a sport into an industry.”



Shared ownership

William Jarvis (inset) recalls high-class sprinter Absalom, owned by a 12-strong syndicate and trained by his father Ryan in the 1970s

›› was floated on the Stock Exchange in

1988. Yet despite notable success with Royal Academy, who provided Lester Piggott with a famous victory at the 1990 Breeders’ Cup, most of the horses purchased were not up to scratch. Classic Thoroughbreds folded in 1992 with reported losses of £12 million. Robinson, meanwhile, had set up his own syndicate, Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds (KVT), with the aim of bagging the newly founded Cartier Million, then the richest race in Europe, designed for graduates of the Goffs Orby Yearling Sale. Four horses were purchased to run in the first renewal at Phoenix Park in 1988, three took part, and two finished in the money. The syndicate-owned Corwyn Bay defeated Kennet Valley duo Miss Demure and French Pretender in a tight finish, the last-named trained by Newmarket handler William Jarvis, who remembers his early involvement with shared ownership horses. “French Pretender was the first syndicate horse I trained,” Jarvis recalls. “Kennet Valley was very well run – I would call it an upmarket syndicate, like Highclere is today. Nick Robinson ran it and John Warren bought the horses. “Miss Demure, trained by Robert Armstong, won the Lowther Stakes: she was a smart filly. French Pretender, winner of a Sandown nursery, was a tough horse. He was double-figure odds and drawn in the car park. With a better


draw he’d have nearly won. “It was Goffs’ concept to stage the race. They were the first to come up with a race like this. Of course, there was no black type but it was staged for ferocious money. “The syndicate was for the two-yearold career – the horses were sold at the end of the year. My horse was later placed in the Horris Hill and made a lot of money in the sale ring. “John Warren and Harry Herbert were working with Nick Robinson. They

“Kennet Valley was a well-run syndicate and good fun to train for” bought four horses and three of them lined up in the race. It was a bloody good achievement by John.” Jarvis continues: “Nick was a pioneer. I’m not sure how many other syndicates went to Goffs that year to buy horses for the Cartier Million but certainly KVT was a high-profile, well-organised syndicate that was good fun to train for. They had a lot of enthusiastic owners – and I think

some of them are likely still involved with Kennet Valley or Highclere today. “I trained another for KVT called Grey Rooster, by Diesis. He won his maiden at the Newmarket Craven meeting and looked smart. He went to Ascot for a conditions race for his next run and finished third to a horse called Generous making his debut that day. [Subsequently] Grey Rooster deteriorated and Generous improved!” French Pretender may have been the first runner Jarvis trained for a syndicate, however his father, Ryan, had also been involved in shared ownership horses in the previous decade. Jarvis says: “My earliest recollection of a partnership or syndicate is my father training a horse called Rugby Special for a lot of Scottish rugby internationals fronted by Ian Robertson, the former BBC rugby correspondent. “He later trained a very good horse called Absalom in the late 1970s. He won the Cornwallis as a two-year-old, the Haydock Sprint Cup as a three-year-old, and the Diadem Stakes as a four-year-old. “The horse was registered under Mrs C Alington & Partners but there were 12 of them in the syndicate – six couples – and I remember they used to come on the heath. Absalom wasn’t the first horse they had but he was easily the best.” Henry Ponsonby is undoubtedly a pioneer of syndication. Well over 40 years on from the tentative start he made as a means primarily of staying


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Shared ownership

Colin Tinkler was a pioneer of racing clubs, enjoying Cheltenham Festival success in 1987 with The Ellier, partnered by Gee Armytage (left)

›› in the sport, his syndicates are going as

strongly as ever, as evidenced by 2020’s Royal Ascot double with Scarlet Dragon and Who Dares Wins. Reflecting upon the early years, Ponsonby recalls: “When the Jockey Club first gave permission for syndicates they were rather sniffy about it, and at that time there was really only myself, the trainer Ian Walker and the owner Adrian Clegg doing it. I was lucky in that my first syndicated horse, Beloved Mistress, was a winner on her first start at Salisbury in 1977. “It snowballed from there, helped by some very positive publicity in The Times from their racing correspondent Michael Phillips, and by the end of that year we had four or five horses.” Henry Ponsonby Racing now has between ten and 15 horses in training every year, and while it always used to be 12 people in each horse, some syndicates now have up to 20 members. Ponsonby reckons to have had around 450 winners all told, many of them with the top trainers of both codes, including Sir Henry Cecil. Ponsonby was also heavily involved with trainer Toby Balding and others in the setting up in 1983 of British Racing and Thoroughbred Breeding. BTRB, which he recalls had 3,000 members, each of whom paid £300 a year, was the first racing company to float on the Stock Exchange. Along with Colin Tinkler senior’s racing club, Full Circle Thoroughbreds,


BTRB helped to take shared ownership to the next stage, and incidentally to foster the rapid growth of premium rate tipping lines. Full Circle in particular made ownership affordable, as Nigel Tinkler explained after his father died in 2015. Tinkler says: “My father should be remembered as a pioneer of racing partnerships through Full Circle Thoroughbreds, through which people

“Full Circle had 2,500 members and was the first club of its kind” from all walks of life could get involved in racehorse ownership, and not just the very rich. “Before he started it up there were a maximum of 12 allowed to own a racehorse. My father got Full Circle registered and went to the Jockey Club to essentially change the rules. “Full Circle had 2,500 members and was a first of its kind, as it gave everyone a chance to own a racehorse – and to possibly even stand next to the Queen in the paddock. It had a Cheltenham Festival winner, The Ellier, and a Grand

National third, Monamore.” The pioneers of shared ownership in Britain also left a legacy, not just with those owners whose love of racing had been nurtured and fulfilled, but through employees who would go on to make their own mark in this sphere. Simon Double, who runs his syndicate Solario Racing, joined trainer Peter Harris in 1994 and spent nine years working for him, selling shares in horses and looking after owners at the races. Harris supplied a number of big winners for his syndicates including Primo Valentino, owned by the Primo Donnas, who struck in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes in 1999. “Peter was certainly one of the pioneers in this field,” says Double. “I think he had 40 or 50 syndicate members when I joined him and by the time I left in 2003 there must have been around 400 and close to 100 horses. “He was hugely influential in opening up syndicates to Joe Public. Peter was also one of the first to operate a monthly payment system for members to make ownership more affordable. “What I learned from Peter was the importance of communication and looking after owners. He was an accountant originally and applied business and accountancy principles to syndication. His businesses were always on a sound financial footing.”

Next month: regulation, global comparisons and success stories

WDC TOB January 2021:Layout 2




Page 1

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The only son of ZOFFANY at stud in Britain

G By ZOFFANY - who has sired more than 130 winners this season, 37 of them 2yos including Group 1 winner Thunder Moon, one of his 25 black type horses this year.

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Mohaather: first book of mares will include the Group 1 winners Nazeef and Ghanaati



Mohaather turned in one of the defining moments of the 2020 season when capturing the Sussex Stakes – now with a top book of mares awaiting him in his debut season he looks poised to make his mark at Nunnery Stud Words: James Thomas of the Racing Post

lost lengths and surged into the lead. Ultimately, he dismissed Circus Maximus by three-quarters of a length with something to spare, with Siskin in third and the luckless Kameko back in fourth. It was a freakishly good performance, but one entirely in keeping with the trajectory of Mohaather’s career. His trainer Marcus Tregoning was understandably thrilled, albeit not quite

“He’d pick up instantly and show this incredible burst of speed” so stunned as the rest of us, having long since been aware of Mohaather’s most potent weapon. “It’s pretty rare to see a horse do that,” he says of the ease with which Mohaather overcame such heavy trouble in running. “I can’t remember seeing it, certainly not in a Group 1. He had to give away at least three lengths, then come



s far as racecourse evidence goes in advertising the appeal of this year’s retirees to stud, arguably nothing matches Mohaather’s Sussex Stakes strike. It was a performance of uncommon brilliance that demonstrated so many of the traits that breeders desire in a stallion prospect; raw pace, balance, determination and an electrifying turn of foot. However, at the two-furlong pole matters had looked decidedly unpromising. After some typical Goodwood scrummaging, Mohaather found himself at the rear of the field with a formidable opposition of Circus Maximus, Kameko and Siskin – the winners of seven Group 1s between them – ahead of him. At that stage, it looked as if his chance had gone. What followed was quite simply jaw dropping. Once brought to the outside by Jim Crowley, Mohaather quickly got organised and began to eat into his rivals’ advantage. Circus Maximus had dictated affairs at an ordinary gallop, while the smooth-travelling Siskin had set sail for home as Mohaather was still extracting himself from an unfavourable position on the rail. As the field stormed by the halffurlong pole, Mohaather hit top gear and in a matter of strides he made up those

around the field, and he’s still beaten them pretty comfortably. “It was a stunning performance and a rare turn of foot; I used to see it at home, he’d pick up instantly and show this incredible burst of speed. The fact he managed to conserve his energy for a mile and produce that terrific burst in the Sussex Stakes was all down to his temperament.” During his three seasons in training Mohaather developed into a supreme athletic specimen, and now possesses power-packed hindquarters, a strong top-line and shoulder, and a long, fluid stride. However, Tregoning says that his relaxed yet willing demeanour has been present from day one, with the trainer relaying that Mohaather was such a good ride, even his 15-year-old daughter Alice used to take over from regular rider David Croft on weekends. As Tregoning talks through Mohaather’s key physical attributes, he draws a comparison that ought to pique the interest of breeders far and wide. “I was very lucky to be at Galileo’s Derby,” he says. “I was in the box owned by Lady Beaverbrook, which is right over the winner’s enclosure, and I could look down and see him. His hindquarters were like two oranges put together, there was amazing definition, and at peak fitness,





Mohaather storms to victory in the Sussex Stakes under Jim Crowley

›› Mohaather had that same definition to his

quarters. “We used to spend ages at evening stables looking at him as there’s just such tremendous power there. He has a beautiful action and really swings as he walks. For a horse of his stature he’s got a big stride and has so much quality. You can see how he’d put that into his mares.” There is, of course, much more to Mohaather’s race record than his Sussex Stakes score. He was a high-class twoyear-old, winning a Nottingham novice stakes and the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes, in which he gave an early indication of his high cruising speed and irresistible turn of foot. At three, he returned with a consummate display in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes, in which he again travelled with elan before that trademark finishing kick saw off the likes of Great Scot, Urban Icon and subsequent Group 1-winning sprinter Hello Youmzain with ease. A severe bruise restricted him to just one further start during his Classic season, when a creditable fifth behind King Of Change in a heavy-ground Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. After his first five outings, there remained a sense of unfinished business about Mohaather’s racing days, and his reappearance run at four did little to diminish that as he finished a luckless seventh, beaten only five lengths, behind Circus Maximus in the Queen Anne Stakes, having never so much as come off the bridle. However, from thereon we got the opportunity to see what Mohaather was really capable of. He slammed a classy field, including San Donato, Duke Of Hazard and Lord Glitters, in Ascot’s Group


2 Summer Mile Stakes, having quickened clear to win by a widening three and three-quarter lengths. He signed off his eight-race career with his famous Goodwood triumph, after which there can be little doubt that he was a miler of the very highest order. “Just having him in the yard each day,” is Tregoning’s response when asked for his abiding memory of his time with Mohaather. “That’s been a tremendous boost for everybody involved and ultimately I just feel so lucky to have trained him. “He had the right owner because Sheikh Hamdan is a very patient man and he’s used to the ups and downs. We’ve been training for him for a long time now and he’s very understanding when things don’t go right. Shadwell were looking for another stallion and to produce one for them is very rewarding.” The nature of breeding and racing means that as one chapter closes, another begins, and although Mohaather’s time at Tregoning’s Whitsbury Manor base has come to an end, the start of what promises to be a bright future at Shadwell’s Nunnery Stud is just getting going. “Mohaather really hit our radar when he won the Horris Hill Stakes with such authority,” recalls Shadwell Stud Director Richard Lancaster. “His victory in the Greenham Stakes confirmed he was a proper stallion prospect and he then ran a hugely eye-catching race in the QEII after a layoff. Not only did that alert us to his ability, it also confirmed a mile would be within his compass as he hit the line incredibly well. “Naturally, the early part of the 2020 season was frustrating but he really

showed what he was capable of in the Summer Mile in July. He backed that up with a scintillating performance at Goodwood when he confirmed he was arguably the best miler in Europe this year. Marcus Tregoning had always maintained he was a top horse, probably the best he’d trained, and he’s seen enough class acts to know when he has a good one.” Having proved himself to be a topclass runner, Mohaather’s next assignment will be to replicate the success he had on the racecourse at stud, having taken up a berth alongside Sheikh Hamdan’s other stallions Eqtidaar, Muhaarar and Tasleet in Nunnery’s palatial stallion barn. He has been introduced at a fee of £20,000. “Mohaather has taken very well to life on the stud and has slipped seamlessly into his new routine,” reports Lancaster. “It’s obviously a very relaxed environment compared to a racing yard. He has, therefore, relaxed both mentally and physically. “Sometimes when a new horse arrives in the stallion barn it is the other stallions who are affected by a new arrival. In this case, it’s working very well and they have accepted the new arrival without fuss. The next interesting time will be when Mohaather starts covering mares.” Retiring any new stallion to stud is a sizeable undertaking at the best of times, and given the situation the world finds itself in, with so much of normal life having been turned upside down by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, this season may prove even more challenging than usual. However, Lancaster says that Mohaather’s appeal is already proving irresistible for plenty of breeders, who, as a group, have maintained an inherently



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26/10/2020 20:35

WORLD-CLASS Irish-bred horses scored G1 success on five continents in 2020

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Mohaather unprecedented times. “Breeders have been very enthusiastic so far,” he says of the reception Mohaather has received. “It has been naturally difficult because of the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown, but people are showing great interest and are keen to get their names on the list. “There are so many uncertainties at the moment, that is true. We have, however, been able to keep racing and the sales have stood up remarkably well. Racing people are an optimistic group and everyone has come together. Even the government has now come forward with an injection of funds. “In that spirit, I think breeders will look forward to better days ahead. Hopefully by the time his first crop appears at the sales the economy will be well on the road to recovery.” Moreover, Mohaather can count on some strong home support from Sheikh Hamdan’s own broodmare band too, with Lancaster revealing that some of Shadwell’s most accomplished mares, both in racing and breeding terms, will be among Mohaather’s debut book. “Sheikh Hamdan gives great support to all the Shadwell stallions and Mohaather will be no different,” he says. “We will be supporting him with some very special mares, including Nazeef, who established herself as one of Europe’s leading fillies in 2020 with victories in the Falmouth Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes, as well as Classic-winning miler Ghanaati and Listed scorer Rumoush, who has excelled at stud, supplying four blacktype horses [Muntazah, Ojooba, Talaayeb and Wadilsafa].” There are, of course, myriad other factors that breeders have to consider when assessing a stallion prospect, not least pedigree. In Mohaather’s case, his brilliant race record and notably athletic physique are underpinned by a family rich in relevance and black type. He is the highestrated runner by Whitsbury Manor Stud’s Showcasing, a confirmed source of class and precocity, with the likes of Advertise, Quiet Reflection, Soldier’s Call

Marcus Tregoning: “I just feel so lucky to have trained him”

and Tasleet sitting atop a list of 96 stakes performers. That paternal line also makes Mohaather a great grandson of Nunnery’s breed-shaping stallion Green Desert. Mohaather was bred by Gaie Johnson Houghton, mother of Group 1-winning trainer Eve Johnson Houghton, from the Inchinor mare Roodeye, who won two races herself and also finished third in the 2004 Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes.

“He has all the attributes that Bull Hancock said were needed” Roodeye has produced seven other winners, including Mohaather’s full-sister Prize Exhibit, who won twice at two for Jamie Osborne before she went on to finish third in the Oh So Sharp Stakes. She later landed a brace of Grade 2s in America for Jim Cassidy before she returned to Britain for the Tattersalls December Mares Sale, where she joined the Barronstown Stud broodmare band at a cost of 775,000gns. It is an indication of the esteem in which the family is held that Prize Exhibit’s first foal, a filly by Galileo, was bought by MV Magnier for 2,800,000gns at Book 1 of this year’s Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. Moreover, Roodeye’s other offspring include the stakes-placed Harbour Master and Roodle, a minor winner by Xaar who went on to produce the Queen Anne Stakes victor Accidental Agent. “Mohaather is an extremely well-balanced horse and was blessed with an incredibly potent turn of foot,” says Lancaster. “He also has a pedigree with a lot of speed in it, which makes him very commercial.

But the attribute that has really stood out to me is his temperament; he has a great mind, is very relaxed and takes everything in his stride. “He showed on the racecourse that he was an exceptional talent, winning a seriously strong renewal of the Sussex Stakes as well as winning Group races at two, three and four. He has all the attributes that Bull Hancock, the great American stallion master, said were needed in a stallion.” There had been some debate among bloodstock circles over whether Shadwell would stand Mohaather in Britain or Ireland, but Lancaster says that, while there was only ever one man who would make such a decision, he believes the Group 1 winner was always a natural fit at the Nunnery. “The decision of where a stallion stands is entirely with Sheikh Hamdan,” he says. “However, I believe Mohaather was an obvious choice to stand in the UK having been bred, bought and raced here. He’s also a strong commercial prospect and I’m sure he’ll fit the criteria set by breeders.” With the pedigree, performance, physique and support to succeed at stud, there is no telling how far Mohaather will go. “Who knows,” muses Tregoning when asked for his assessment, “with his race record and pedigree he could end up being another Green Desert.” EDWARD WHITAKER

›› positive disposition, even during such

New sires


From champion two-year-olds to top milers and brilliant middle-distance horses, the 2021 intake of new stallions offers something for everyone Words: Nancy Sexton Photos: George Selwyn


Shamardal - Midnight Angel (Machiavellian) Stands: Mickley Stud Fee: £3,000 A four-time winning sprinter in Europe and Dubai, Almanaara boasts a pedigree out of the top drawer as a Shamardal half-brother to Dark Angel. While Shamardal is regarded as a successful sire of sires, Dark Angel has long been a major influence whose seven Group 1 winners include Battaash and Harry Angel.


No Never Never - Lady Ederle (English Channel) Stands: Castlehyde Stud Fee: €7,000 A Royal Ascot-winning two-year-old son of No Nay Never from the family of Dabirsim - the package behind Arizona

is a commercial one that should appeal to breeders. He was a typically precocious member of his sire line, winning his maiden by eight lengths before following up in the Coventry Stakes in a quick time. He was also second in the Dewhurst Stakes and third in the National Stakes.

Circus Maximus

Galileo - Duntle (Danehill Dancer) Stands: Coolmore Fee: €20,000 A top miler, Circus Maximus was as tough as he was talented for Aidan O’Brien. The son of Galileo made 13 starts at Group 1 level and filled the frame in ten of them, notably when successful in the St James’s Palace, Prix du Moulin and Queen Anne Stakes. He was also second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and two renewals of the Sussex Stakes.

Circus Maximus: triple Group 1winning miler is new to Coolmore


This hardy customer boasts the background to complement his race record as the only foal bred by the Niarchos family out of the high-class miler Duntle. He also descends from Lady Winborne, a half-sister to the legendary French mare Allez France who is also the ancestress of Coolmore’s successful American sire Munnings.


Teofilo - Desidera (Shaadi) Stands: LM Stallions at March Hare Stud Fee: £2,000 Eight-time scorer Diplomat is one of those rare horses who is proven under both codes as a Group 2-winning miler on the Flat and a winner over jumps at Auteuil. A tough horse, he was also placed seven times at Group 2 and 3 level.

“Juvenile talent is a recurring theme within Earthlight’s family” Earthlight

Shamardal - Winter Light (New Approach) Stands: Kildangan Stud Fee: €20,000 Earthlight contributed to an annus mirabilis for his much-missed sire Shamardal in 2019 when the leading light of the French juvenile division. A precocious colt, he swept the Prix Morny – Middle Park Stakes double, the latter in a new juvenile Newmarket Rowley Mile course record, to cap an unbeaten two-year-old campaign for Andre Fabre. He also filled the frame in each of his four starts at three, notably when successful in the Prix du Pin and a neck second in the Prix de la Foret. Two-year-old talent is a recurring theme within Earthlight’s family; he is the first foal out of Winter Light, a Group 1-placed two-year-old who is a halfsister to Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Mandaean. He also hails from the further family of Derby hero Golden Fleece and champion sire Be My Guest.

Far Above

out of a Group 1-winning juvenile, Kew Gardens progressed throughout his three-year-old season to wind up as a dual Group 1 winner courtesy of victories in the Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger. As anticipated, he developed into a fine stayer thereafter, with a productive four-year-old season capped by a defeat of Stradivarius in the Long Distance Cup.

Farhh - Dorraar (Shamardal) Stands: Compas Stallions at Starfield Stud Fee: €5,000 A horse in possession of serious speed, Far Above retires as the winner of four of five starts capped by a victory in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. The quickest son of Farhh, he offers an appealing combination of Pivotal over Shamardal and is related to Godolphin’s tough globe-trotter Benbatl.

King Of Change

Farhh - Salacia (Echo Of Light) Stands: Derrinstown Stud Fee: €7,000 A top-class miler, King Of Change concluded his career by winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot over a field that featured eight Group 1 winners including Mohaather and Phoenix Of Spain. Prior to that, he had also outrun his odds of 66/1 to take second behind Magna Grecia in the 2,000 Guineas; indeed, he never ran out of the first two for Richard Hannon. A strong and genuine horse, King Of Change is a half-brother to current highclass miler Century Dream.

Galileo Chrome

Australia - Curious Mind (Dansili) Stands: Compas Stallions at Starfield Stud Fee: poa One of the leading three-year-old colts of 2020, Galileo Chrome swept through the season unbeaten for Joseph O’Brien, his four-race winning run capped by a victory in the St Leger. Prior to that, he had run out the easy winner of the Yeats Stakes at Navan. An imposing colt, Galileo Chrome is the joint highest-rated performer sired by Australia and a member of the highly influential Alruccaba family.


Dubawi - Nightime (Galileo) Stands: Kildangan Stud Fee: €30,000 The highest-rated horse in the world in 2020, Ghaiyyath is best remembered for his dominating victories in last season’s Juddmonte International, Eclipse Stakes, beating Enable, and Coronation Cup, in which he broke Newmarket’s Rowley Mile track record. However, he also set a new stakes record at two when successful in the Autumn Stakes and also won the Grosser Preis von Baden as a four-year-old by an eye-popping 14 lengths. A relentless galloper with a high cruising speed, he retires as the winner of nine races. By Dubawi out of Galileo’s first Classic winner Nightime, Ghaiyyath is bred on the same cross as leading young sire Night Of Thunder and was a sale-topping €1.1 million foal purchase by Godolphin.


Kitten’s Joy - Sweeter Still (Rock Of Gibraltar) Stands: Tweenhills Farm and Stud Fee: £25,000

Legends Of War

Scat Daddy - Madera Dancer (Rahy) Stands: LM Stallions at March Hare Stud Fee: £5,000 Ghaiyyath: four-time Group 1 winner, who is bred on the same cross as successful sire Night Of Thunder, retires to Kildangan Stud

Kameko became the fastest 2,000 Guineas winner in history when defeating Wichita and Pinatubo to take this year’s renewal and after running fourth in both the Derby, when failing to stay, and Sussex Stakes, when encountering trouble in running, again proved he was out of the top drawer when defying a penalty to overcome a high-class field in the Joel Stakes. Not only that, he was also a top-class two-year-old who progressed through his juvenile campaign for Andrew Balding to win the Vertem Futurity. Kameko is the latest star by North American champion turf sire Kitten’s Joy and is out of the Grade 3-winning Sweeter Still.

Kew Gardens

Galileo - Chelsea Rose (Desert King) Stands: Castlehyde Stud Fee: poa Coolmore’s jumps division welcomes the 2018 St Leger hero Kew Gardens for 2021. Forward enough to score in Listed company at two, as befits the fact he is

Precocious and talented enough to top the 2018 Tattersalls Craven BreezeUp Sale at 900,000gns, Legends Of War went on to run a close second in the Gimcrack Stakes for John Gosden before switching to the US, where he struck in an extended 6f Grade 3 on the turf. Legends Of War is from the final crop of Scat Daddy, a renowned source of juvenile speed whose other sons at stud include No Nay Never.


Showcasing - Roodeye (Inchinor) Stands: Nunnery Stud Fee: £20,000 Mohaather lit up the 2020 miling division with a pair of brilliant wins. He was a horse blessed with an exceptional turn of foot, as illustrated by his win in the Sussex Stakes where he ran down Circus Maximus and Siskin despite encountering trouble in running. Matters had previously been more straightforward in the Summer Mile, won by close to four lengths, while he boasts the additional allure of being a Group 3-winning two-year-old. One of the best sired by the ascendant Showcasing, Mohaather is a



New sires St James’s Palace Stakes, he landed a deserved Group 1 score in the Prix Jean Prat. Pinatubo also brings pedigree to the table as a Shamardal descendant of Eljazzi, the granddam of Invincible Spirit and Kodiac.

River Boyne

Dandy Man - Clytha (Mark Of Esteem) Stands: Tara Stud Fee: €5,000

›› brother to Grade 2-winning miler Prize Exhibit and closely related to another Group 1-winning miler in Accidental Agent.

Old Persian

Dubawi - Indian Petal (Singspiel) Stands: Glenview Stud Fee: poa Group 1 talent and durability are on offer to dual-purpose breeders in the form of Old Persian. Forward enough to win twice at two, Old Persian progressed into a high-class three-year-old, winning the King Edward VII and Great Voltigeur Stakes, before making the anticipated successful leap into Group 1 company in the Northern Dancer Stakes and Dubai Sheema Classic at four. Typically for a Godolphin graduate, he also boasts a fine pedigree, in his case as a descendant of Miesque.


Shamardal - Lava Flow (Dalakhani) Stands: Dalham Hall Stud Fee: £35,000 You have to go back a generation to the era of Celtic Swing to find a better two-year-old than Godolphin’s champion Pinatubo. His win in the National Stakes, in which he quickened clear to win by nine lengths, will live long in the memory, as will that ruthless efficiency to his win in the Dewhurst. The latter victory crowned an unbeaten two-year-old season that also included a wide-margin success in the Vintage Stakes and a track recordsetting win in the Chesham Stakes. Pinatubo carried that talent over into his three-year-old season, where after running placed in the 2,000 Guineas and


Bungle Inthejungle - Guana (Dark Angel) Stands: Norman Court Stud Fee: £3,500 A fast horse who represents the commercial package of Exceed And Excel blood over Dark Angel, Rumble Inthejungle enjoyed his most productive season at two when successful in the Molecomb Stakes, having been forward enough to land his debut in May. He also ran third to Ten Sovereigns in the Middle Park Stakes.

Sands Of Mali

Panis - Kadiania (Indian Rocket) Stands: Ballyhane Stud Fee: €6,500 This popular sprinter showcased his ability from an early stage when one of the top lots at the Tattersalls Ascot Breeze-up Sale and went on to assume high order within the sprint division over several seasons. Trained by Richard Fahey, he was an


‘Far Above screamed potential Group 1 winner’ Like many of us, Jack Cantillon was waiting earlier in the year in anticipation for June 1, the day that racing was finally able to return following its Covidenforced hiatus. Just six days later at Newmarket, the Rowley Mile played host to a typically competitive 2,000 Guineas card and while Guineas winner Kameko stole the headlines, there was also an exceptional display of speed in the form of Far Above’s victory in the Palace House Stakes. The superlatives flowed but sadly it later emerged that he had suffered a career-ending injury, and he was subsequently acquired by Cantillon to stand under his Bloodstock.Racing banner in association with Micheal Orlandi of Compas Stallions at Starfield Stud in County Westmeath. His former owner, Sheikh Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum, has also retained an interest. “The most striking thing for me on the day was watching him jump out of the stalls, missing the kick, but still having the pace to go past everything on the bridle and lead,” says Cantillon. “To do that in a stallion-making race like the Palace House made him a serious stallion prospect. He screamed potential Group 1 winner. “When we announced that we were standing him, there was a little bit of trepidation because there is a belief in the horse and you hope that others will come with you on the journey. And we’re delighted with the response. “Anyone who has been able to come to see him has been bowled over by him. We also had a limited number of breeding rights available and they sold out in two days to some of the best breeders in Europe. That has been a brilliant vote of confidence, for which we’re very thankful.” Far Above blitzes to victory in the Palace House Stakes


Kameko: Classic winner retires to Tweenhills

The first son of his ever-popular sire to retire to stud, River Boyne was a top-class miler in the US whose lengthy resume is highlighted by a Grade 1 win in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile. In all, the $1.23 million earner won nine races at two to five years and ran placed on another nine occasions, including when second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby and Shoemaker Mile, thereby demonstrating a durability that should appeal to breeders.

Rumble Inthejungle

THE AGA KHAN STUDS Success Breeds Success







Gr.1 winner by Shamardal

Dual Derby winner by Sea The Stars

Group 1 winning son of Dubawi and Zarkava

Sire of 2 Group performers in his first crop, My Kurkum and Princesse De Saba.

Sire of highly rated Classic entrants French Fusion and Port Sunlight.

His first yearlings in 2020 sold for €112,000, €100,000, €75,000, etc.

Fee: €8,000

Fee: €8,000

Fee: €12,000


New sires Group 1 talent abounds in France At €30,000, Persian King is the most expensive new addition to the French stallion ranks for 2021. The first son of Kingman to stud in France, he is also his sire’s highest-rated performer by virtue of wins in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, Prix d’Ispahan and Prix du Moulin. Persian King heads a powerful roster at Haras d’Etreham that also welcomes top sprinter Hello Youmzain (€25,000), last season’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner and the first son of emerging sire of sires Kodiac to stand in France, as well as Irish Derby hero Latrobe (€4,000) who will stand at its jumps wing at Haras de la Tuilerie. Etreham is also among the shareholders, alongside Haras du Mont Goubert and Coolmore, in Threat (€6,000). The horse, who is standing at Haras du Mont Goubert, captured the Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes. Smart juvenile form is also on show via the Scat Daddy horse Van Beethoven (Haras de Grandcamp: €6,000), the 2018 Railway Stakes winner. Montfort & Preaux, meanwhile, has gained a star of the past season in Golden Horde (€10,000). The Clive Cox-trained colt was admirably consistent, winning the Richmond Stakes and running placed in the Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes at two, before landing the Commonwealth Cup at three. Wooded (€15,000; Haras de Bouquetot) is another Group 1-winning sprinter available at an affordable level. The latest star by Wootton Bassett, Wooded signed off his career with a victory in the Prix de l’Abbaye. Haras de Saint Arnoult welcomes the first son of Frankel to stud in France in Elarqam (€6,000), a Group 3 winner at two who became a multiple stakes winner and established Group 1 performer as an older horse. He is also notably well related, as a son of champion Attraction. Saint Arnoult has also added Hackwood Stakes winner Yafta (€2,500) to its roster. As ever, dual-purpose breeders also have a range of fresh blood to choose from. In addition to Latrobe, the list includes Grade 1-winning jumper For Fun (Haras de la Hetraie; poa), last year’s Prix Alain du Breil winner, and Dante Stakes winner Telecaster (Haras du Mesnil; €4,000).

›› easy winner of the Gimcrack Stakes and

later progressed throughout his threeyear-old season to land the Prix Sigy, Sandy Lane and British Champions Sprint Stakes. He also came close to securing another Group 1 when a close second in the Commonwealth Cup. A grandson of the highly influential Miswaki, it is also worth noting that Sands Of Mali shares his damsire Indian Rocket with Goken, the champion firstcrop sire in France.

route to victories in the Rochestown and Cornwallis Stakes - he won the latter despite encountering trouble in running. He also struck in the Cork Stakes at three.

Sergei Prokofiev

Scat Daddy - Orchard Beach (Tapit) Stands: Whitsbury Manor Stud Fee: £6,500 A $1.1 million yearling, Sergei Prokofiev is another example of Scat Daddy’s ability to throw fast juveniles. He was an extremely precocious individual for Aidan O’Brien who broke his maiden by almost eight lengths in the April of his two-year-old season en


Elarqam: new to Haras de Saint Arnoult


Shamardal - Only Green (Green Desert) Stands: Yeomanstown Stud Fee: €6,000 A Classic-placed son of Shamardal from a branch of the deep Fall Aspen family cultivated to excellent effect by the Wertheimer brothers, Shaman enjoyed his finest moment when landing last year’s Prix d’Harcourt at Longchamp. He was also a top miler who consistently mixed it with the best French three-year-olds in 2019, placing in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Prix Jacques le Marois.


Siyouni - Starlet’s Sister (Galileo) Stands: Coolmore Fee: €30,000 It was revealed last month that Sottsass will benefit from a star-studded collection of mares belonging to his part-owner Peter Brant, notably Grade 1 producers Unaided and Rosa Bonheur. And little wonder considering that Sottsass smashed the race record in victory in the Prix du Jockey Club at three and later crowned his four-year-old season by winning the Arc. The JeanClaude Rouget-trained colt was also successful in the Prix Ganay and Prix Niel during a career in which he won or ran placed in eight Group races. Sottsass is the best runner sired by Siyouni and out of a true blue hen in Starlet’s Sister, also the dam of American champion Sistercharlie.

Southern Hills

Gleneagles - Remember You (Invincible Spirit) Stands: LM Stallions at March Hare Stud Fee: £3,000 Pinatubo: stands for £35,000 at Dalham Hall

The first son of Gleneagles to stud,


Al Kazeem TOB-January 2021:Oakgrove Stud



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Al Kazeem

100% mares tested in foal in 2020, inc. a half-sister to G1 winners Peeping Fawn and Thewayyouare

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

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

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



2 PRIDE OF DUBAI 12.82 3 GALILEO 12.29 4 AMERICAN PHAROA H 12 5 GALIWAY 8.82 6 SHAMARDAL 8.64 7 NIGHT OF THUNDER 8.33 8 BELARDO 7.84 9 CLODOVIL 7.59 10 AREION 7.22 11 DUBAWI 7.17 12 KINGMAN 7.03 13 SOLDIER HOLLOW 6.96 14 SEA THE MOON 6.9 15 FRANKEL 6.82 16 SEA THE STARS 6.22 17 WOOT TON BASSET T 5.97 18 GOKEN 5.88 19 TEOFILO 5.77 20 NEW APPROACH 5.52 Min. 25 runners Hyperion Promotions Ltd. Results to

STANDING AT OAKGROVE STUD Oakgrove Estate, St Arvans, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, NP16 6EH For Nominations Contact: David Hilton: 07595 951248 G Email:


New sires ›› Southern Hills was a fine advert for his

sire who came out on top in a 21-runner Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot. Southern Hills was bred to be quick as a son of another fast two-year-old in Remember You. She is a Group 3-placed daughter of speed influence Invincible Spirit while Southern Hills himself is inbred to blue hen Allegretta.

Tip Two Win

Dark Angel - Freddie’s Girl (More Than Ready) Stands: LM Stallions at March Hare Stud Fee: £3,500 A popular campaigner for Roger Teal, Tip Two Win won the Flying Scotsman Stakes as a two-year-old and in a testament to his constitution improved again when sent to Bahrain to win the Al Biddah Mile and Al Rayyan Stakes. He also ran an excellent race to be second to Saxon Warrior in the 2,000 Guineas, with the likes of Masar and Roaring Lion in behind. Tip Two Win will be the second highest-rated son of Dark Angel at stud in 2021 and hails from the same female family as successful sire Due Diligence.

Sottsass: Arc hero is set to receive a quality book of mares belonging to Peter Brant

That win followed a wide-margin success in the Grand Prix de Chantilly, in which he had the measure of Group 1 winner French King, while he fell only a head short of Sottsass in the Prix Ganay. The first son of Champs Elysees to stud, he is a half-brother to Group 1 winner Distant Way.

Way To Paris

Without Parole

Way To Paris retires having won seven races and run placed in another 21. The highlight of his career came last summer when he landed a deserved Group 1 victory in the Grand Prix de Paris.

Without Parole becomes the first Group 1-winning miler by Frankel to stand in Europe.

Champs Elysees - Grey Way (Cozzene) Stands: Coolagown Stud Fee: €3,500

Frankel - Without You Babe (Lemon Drop Kid) Stands: Newsells Park Stud Fee: £10,000

Trained initially by John Gosden, he won his two-year-old debut by six lengths to commence a sequence of four straight wins that culminated with a victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, defeating Gustav Klimt and Wootton. He later developed into a leading act of the American turf miling division, with placings in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Shadwell Turf Mile and Shoemaker Mile to his credit. From a family cultivated by his breeders John and Tanya Gunther, Without Parole is a half-brother to another Grade 1-winning miler in Tamarkuz, a successful first-crop sire in 2020.

LM Stallions welcomes four new recruits at March Hare Stud A welcome addition to the British industry is LM Stallions at March Hare Stud, which have burst on to the scene with a roster of five stallions for 2021, among them four new recruits. In the 2,000 Guineas runner-up Tip Two Win, there is the opportunity for breeders to use a Classic-placed son of Dark Angel at an affordable £3,500. “He was a stakes-winning two-yearold who won over seven furlongs,” says Matt Huntingdon of LM Stallions. “He then went to Doha, where he picked up a lot of prize-money. When he came home, he ran second in the 2,000 Guineas, beating a stellar field, in fact probably one of the best in recent times. “He is the second highest-rated son of Dark Angel at stud but at a fraction of the fee of the others.”


Grade 3 winner Legends Of War, meanwhile, provides the opportunity to tap into the Scat Daddy sire line at £5,000. “When Legends Of War was first put to us, I knew immediately that we had to have him,” says Huntingdon. “He’s a great looking son of Scat Daddy, making him almost a collector’s item. He was also a high-class juvenile and a Graded stakes winner on the turf in the US, so we felt that he would fit the commercial market perfectly. “He’s nicely put together and just what I look for in a stallion.” They have been joined by Windsor Castle Stakes winner Southern Hills, who will stand for £3,000, and Diplomat, who should appeal to a broad spectrum of breeders having won at Group 2 level on

the Flat and then over jumps at Auteuil. The latter stands for £2,000. “Southern Hills was just pure speed,” says Huntingdon of the first son of Gleneagles to stud. “He’s actually got a bit more size to him than you might imagine and with good bone. I can’t see why he won’t produce you a Royal Ascot two-year-old winner who will then train on. We are also selling lifetime breeding rights in him for £3,000. “Diplomat is a fine, big horse with lots of presence, size and scope. He looks like he could produce a high-class Flat horse as well as some nice jumps stock. He was a dual Group 2 winner over a mile yet had the class to win over two miles and two furlongs at Auteuil. And he’s by a champion two-year-old and out of a champion two-year-old.”



By world class stallion and sire of sires Shamardal and half brother to Champion sprint stallion Dark Angel A SUPERB CROSS TO MAKE A COMMERCIAL STALLION Half-brother to Leading Sire DARK ANGEL, Sire of 122 Stakes Performers, incl: Group 1 Winners: BATTAASH, HARRY ANGEL, LETHAL FORCE, MECCA’S ANGEL, HUNT, PERSUASIVE, RAGING BULL, etc. STANDS FOR €85,000. Won 4 races from 3 to 7 years, 5-7.5f, £137,904, and was placed four times 2021 Fee: On application

Enquiries: RICHARD KENT Ternhill, Market Drayton, Shropshire TF9 3QW Tel: 01630 638840 • Home: 01630 684171 Mobile: 079 73 315722 • Email: or John Walsh Bloodstock • Mobile: 086 2558945 Email:

Highclere Castle Horse Feeds The finest oats for outstanding performance Digestible and natural, produced on the farms of the Highclere Estate. Superior Grade Oats & Ryegrass Haylage Tel: 01635 250 600 Mobile: 07950 010692

Our oats power winners from Flat to National Hunt, Polo Ponies and Hunters. In the last five years, Highclere Castle Superior Oats have powered the winners of over 560 races and £12m in prize money. Horses thrive on our haylage, which is dust-free, with high digestibility and vitamin content.










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

Breeders’ Digest

Nancy Sexton Bloodstock Editor

Not plain sailing but some positives to take from 2020



here were real fears when Covid-19 hit back in March that the bloodstock market could be in for a collapse of at least 33%. So to be able to look back on a year in which that dread was for the most part unfounded is yet another testament to the resilience of this industry. It has not been plain sailing. Major revisions to the sales calendar, some of which are still ongoing, forced the delay of several sales, notably those throughout the breeze-up season. Travel restrictions dampened international demand. And at times there was real uncertainty as to whether some auctions could actually go ahead at all. But go ahead they did and yes, while some auctions were weaker than others, the fact remains that overall people traded in a market that bore little resemblance to the outside world. That was particularly evident at the Tattersalls October Sale, where total sales at Book 1 dropped by ‘only’ 20% and the relentless strength of Books 2 and 3 drew comparison with a preCovid market. There are also similar positives to take out of the breeding stock market. With only the Goffs November Sale, delayed by almost a month to midDecember, to go, the sector is running

Clearance rates have remained high during the European breeding stock sales

behind 2019 to the tune of 20%, a drop that can be partly attributed to the differing qualities of entries from year to year; it is fair to say that it was not a vintage Tattersalls December Mares catalogue while the foal sale contained 191 fewer entries. In all, gross sales for the two-week Tattersalls December Sale fell by 20% to 73,353,300gns. A greater drop of 26% to €25,284,500 was experienced at Arqana’s December Sale but in turn, the average there fell by only 8% to €45,394. At both sales, the clearance rate was in excess of 79%.

Of course it doesn’t remain easy, especially for those smaller breeders operating in the middle to lower markets. In that regard, the launch of the Great British Bonus (GBB) has been a welcome aid; at the time of writing, almost £1.5 million in bonuses have been paid out. The GBB was one of the positives to emerge out of 2020. A willingness by sale companies to pull together – the amalgamated Goffs UK/Arqana breeze-up in Doncaster being a case in point – was another, as was the acceleration of the use of online bidding platforms. For instance, Tattersalls reported that 1,637 internet bids were accepted during its December Sale from 75 individual bidders. That resulted in the sale of 136 horses for a total of 3.091 million guineas – figures that would have been unheard of 12 months ago. And as Goffs was able to prove with its Autumn Yearling Sale, staged online through necessity, there is an appetite for buyers to trade solely via a digital platform if required. However, if there is one aspect to take away from the 2020 rollercoaster, it is that despite any difficulties, there remains an intense desire to trade among participants. Long may that continue.

TIME CATCHES UP WITH EUROPEAN STALWARTS Lurking within the various stud fee releases, by virtue of their absence, was the confirmation that two stalwarts of the stallion ranks, Exceed And Excel and Nayef, will not be available to European breeders next season. Exceed And Excel is sitting out the 2021 northern hemisphere having shuttled for Darley since 2005. As for Nayef, he has been officially retired from duties at Nunnery Stud, his home since he came off the track in late 2003. With his propensity to throw fast-maturing, good-looking stock, Exceed And Excel has remained a friend of the commercial breeder throughout his time in the northern hemisphere, latterly at Kildangan Stud. His European crops are currently responsible for 75 stakes winners led by the Group 1 winners Excelebration, Margot Did and Outstrip while he has made serious inroads as a broodmare sire through the likes of Anthony Van Dyck (out of his Australianbred daughter Believe’N’Succeed), Ten Sovereigns and

Magic Attitude. Now 20-years-old, he stood the past southern hemisphere for Darley in New South Wales at a fee of A$132,000. Nayef retires from stud duty with a successful sire son to his credit in Tamayuz and a respectable reputation as a damsire, notably via the deeds of top miler Palace Pier; his dam Beach Frolic was the star turn of the Tattersalls December Sale when sold for 2,200,000gns to MV Magnier. Nayef, the final son of Height Of Fashion to hold court at Nunnery after Nashwan and Unfuwain, never stood for more than £15,000. Yet there was a time when he was one of Britain’s most sought-after names, as breeders looked to capitalise on a start at stud headlined by the Group 1 winners Tamayuz and Lady Marian and a six-figure yearling average. His popularity has waned in recent years but like Exceed And Excel, he has made a valuable contribution to the breed, particularly in Britain and Ireland.




FIRST FOALS 2021 • Winner of 3 races at 2 & 3, over 1600m - 2100m, including the ‘Stallion Making’ Gr.1 French Derby and £1,033,142



• Only son of DEEP IMPACT (Japanese Super-Sire & multiple Champion) at stud in England • Grandson of the Racing/Breeding Legend MIESQUE, a dual Classic winner and dam of Classic winners KINGMAMBO, EAST OF THE MOON, etc.






2021 fee: £12,500 (1st October SLF)

Supported by Europe’s leading breeders in his first season BOBBY’S KITTEN • SEA THE MOON (Book Full 2021) • SIR PERCY • STUDY OF MAN Te l : + 4 4 ( 0 ) 1 6 3 8 7 5 0 2 2 2 • i n f o @ 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

The independent option TM

Sales Circuit • By Carl Evans

Relief as demand for quality breeding stock holds up There is no hiding the fact that many millions of pounds of turnover has dropped out of the yearling market in 2020, but this one-session event did its best not to let the deficit grow wider. A four per cent drop in turnover to just under 4 million guineas could be explained by a smaller catalogue, which saw 142 horses enter the ring (down 25 on last year). Yet with eight horses selling for a six-figure sum, five more than in 2019, the average price gained three per cent at 32,675gns and there was a very welcome eight points rise in the clearance rate to one of 86% – this after it gained five points last year. The median fell back 20% to 20,000gns. Well known as an opportunity to sell a quality yearling who through misfortune has missed an earlier sale, this year’s event benefited for that very reason, with the top two lots – both by Sea The Stars – being offered after suffering minor injuries in October. A colt who headed trade when selling for 300,000gns was said to have suffered a haematoma which prevented him making the line-up at Tattersalls’ Book 1, while a filly who was sold for 260,000gns had come back from a soft-tissue injury. Both horses – the colt from


Tattersalls December Yearling Sale

This son of Oaks heroine Talent led the Tattersalls December Yearling Sale at 300,000gns

Group 2 winner Shine So Bright. McCalmont’s Norelands Stud consigned a 2m guineas filly at Book 1, plus a couple of 400,000gns lots at Book 2, and he was happy to say that the Sea The Stars filly provided an injection of fresh blood to his broodmare band after a profitable October. Further evidence that the churn of money within the trade is the head, legs, arms and torso of the bloodstock industry – outside cash is represented by the hands and feet.

Ashbrittle Stud out of its Oaks winner Talent, and the filly bred by Kirsten Rausing and put through the ring by The Castlebridge Consignment – will be joining trainer John Gosden. Anthony Stroud bought Talent’s Sea The Stars colt, whose Dubawi half-sister Ambition became a Group 2 winner and Group 1-placed this year, while Harry McCalmont and Craig Bernick of Glen Hill Farm secured the filly, who was a daughter of the Group 3 winner Alla Speranza, and therefore a half-sister to

Tattersalls December Yearling Sale Top lots Sex/breeding


Price (gns)


C Sea The Stars – Talent

Ashbrittle Stud


Stroud Coleman Bloodstock

F Sea The Stars – Alla Speranza

The Castlebridge Consignment


De Burgh Equine/Norelands Stud

F Starspangledbanner – Plying

Knockatrina House


Creighton Schwartz Bloodstock

C Lope De Vega - Stone Roses

Hillwood Stud


Andrew Balding

C Sea The Stars – Crysdal

New England Stud


C Gordon Watson Bloodstock

Figures Year


Agg (gns)

Average (gns)

Median (gns)

Top price (gns)





















Sales Circuit

This Dubawi half-brother to Skitter Scatter was bought for 700,000gns to join Godolphin

median of 20,000gns represented falls of just six and nine per cent respectively. Turnover of just over 26 million guineas was a fall of 11%, or just over 3m guineas, but the catalogue was smaller by 130 lots. Had it been the same size as in 2019 the aggregate totals would have been similar. Two Dubawi colts graced the occasion and one, a half-brother to Moyglare Stud

Stakes winner Skitter Scatter, headed trade when leaving Airlie Stud bound for Godolphin with a 700,000gns valuation. Anthony Stroud signed for the colt, and minutes later he paid 600,000gns for a paternal half-brother consigned by Fittocks Stud on behalf of breeder Gerhard Schoeningh, who owns one mare and one racecourse – the mare is Baisse, dam of the foal, the racecourse is



Breeders who kept the faith and made entries for this four-day sale during the autumn when the future was anything but clear were generally well rewarded. Negotiating a month-long national lockdown in England, the event went ahead on time and achieved a 79% clearance rate, with sales of 628 of the 791 foals on offer. That figure was up seven points on last year, and indicates sensible reserves and the presence of a strong buying bench. It involved pinhookers and end-users from around Europe who negotiated all the Covidrelated obstacles, reached Newmarket and toughed it out on takeaway meals. Other buyers opted for the online method of gaining stock. The figures were very good in the circumstances, although as Paul Thorman of Trickledown Stud commented after


Tattersalls December Foal Sale

the sale, it had taken place before, not after, Goffs’ annual foal sale which, for reasons of Covid, had been delayed to a one-off date a few days before Christmas. In 2019, Goffs offered 702 Flat-bred foals in November before Tattersalls’ foal sale had taken place. Whether that helped trade in Newmarket is hard to judge, but the average price of 41,807gns and the


Anthony Stroud: signed for the top two foals on behalf of Godolphin

Juddmonte Farms snapped up this Frankel colt from Whitsbury Manor Stud for 550,000gns

TALKING POINT • Are the jab and move skills of auction-ring buyers heading for the door marked exit? Online bidding has become a welcome and crucial element during this year of Covid and lockdowns, although it removes some of the theatre which can be riveting when rival bidders lock horns inside a sale arena. However, given that most buyers prefer viewing horses in the flesh it might be assumed that once vaccines are rolled out around the globe, and lockdowns, masks and social distancing are a thing of the past, the joust across the ring will return. Maybe not, for as Gerard Lowry of Oneliner Stables proved at the December Foal Sale, you can be present at an auction and still buy a session-topper from anywhere


on the sales complex by using a telephone to make an online bid. Lowry is probably not the first to use the method, which he described as “an interesting tool and nice to try out”, but few will have done so at such a level. He used it to buy a Sea The Stars colt who headed day two of the sale at 170,000gns, and 24 hours later he parted with 300,000gns for a Lope De Vega brother to Classic winner Phoenix Of Spain via the same method. Given that he was spending such sums Lowry was positioned near the ring, just in case his phone died or the internet signal dropped out and he had to make a hasty catalogue wave. However, in terms of hiding one’s identity while being at a sale the method would have impressed Sherlock Holmes.




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Sales Circuit ›› Hoppegarten in Germany.

the elite third day he sold Juddmonte Farms a 550,000gns Frankel colt out of Suelita, a Dutch Art mare bought by his father Chris in 2013 for 21,500gns. She had foaled three black-type horses since her purchase, headed by this year’s Mill Reef Stakes winner Alkumait. No less thrilling, and clearly surprising, to Harper was the 130,000gns he reaped for a colt out of a mare he bought

Dubawi was also responsible for the leading filly, a New England Studconsigned daughter of Listed winner Joyful Hope and sold to Andreas Putsch of Haras de Saint Pair for 310,000gns. Few foal vendors will have left Newmarket with more reason to smile than Ed Harper of Hampshire’s Whitsbury Manor Stud. Amid the Dubawi show on

privately for little money and from the first crop of his young sire Havana Grey, who stands for £6,000 in 2021. Harry Sweeney of Japan’s Paca Paca Farm bought the foal, prompting Harper to declare (after a few seconds to compose himself): “That’s amazing. That somebody in Japan wants to buy a foal off me by a stallion that I’m now standing for six grand is amazing and fantastic.”

Tattersalls December Foal Sale Top lots Sex/breeding


Price (gns)


C Dubawi - Dane Street

Airlie Stud



C Dubawi – Baisse

Fittocks Stud



C Frankel – Suelita

Whitsbury Manor Stud


Juddmonte Farms

F Dubawi - Joyful Hope

New England Stud


Haras De Saint Pair

C Lope De Vega - Lucky Clio

Newtown Stud


Oneliner Stables

F Sea The Stars – Amazone

Castletown Stud


Atlas Bloodstock/WH Bloodstock

F Saxon Warrior - Archangel Gabriel

Norris Bloodstock


Stauffenberg Bloodstock

C Belardo – Pardoven

Ringfort Stud


Alex Elliott, agent

C No Nay Never – Muirin

Norelands Stud


Jamie McCalmont

C Lope De Vega – Bezique

Aston House/Church View Stables


Yeomanstown Stud

C Frankel – Divine

Voute Sales, agent


Juddmonte Farms

Figures Year


Agg (gns)

Average (gns)

Median (gns)

Top price (gns)































Fillies and mares were in demand at this four-day sale, where the clearance rate went up, but the figures for turnover, average and median felt the chill of a changed world. No one suggested it was a vintage catalogue, and while there was a part dispersal from Floors Stud and a further wrapping up of Waddesdon Stud to whet the appetite of observers, there was nothing for those looking for a toptier racemare with a breeding record to match. Such gems are rarely found on the open market, but at least nine-year-old Beach Frolic had produced a top-notcher in this year’s dual Group 1 winner Palace Pier, and with a Blue Point cover and a 320,000gns Highland Reel foal to race



Tattersalls December Mares Sale

Virginia, Duchess Of Roxburghe (centre), was on hand for the part dispersal of Floors Stud


THE LAST LION TOP CLASS TWO-YEAR-OLD SPRINTER Won 4 races at 2 years, 5-6f, £225,663, and was placed 6 times, all his starts.

By a CHAMPION SPRINTER and Sire of SPEED SIRES Winners from his first crop include KRAKEN POWER, RAFIKI, MACMERRY JIM, etc.

FIRST SEASON IN BRITAIN 2021 Fee for 2021: £4,000 (1st Oct)

INTRINSIC The only son of OASIS DREAM in the North

DEFEATED 8 GROUP/STAKES WINNERS Won 4 races at 3 and 4 years, 6f, £87,302, and was placed once.

FROM AN EXCELLENT BLACK-TYPE FAMILY FIRST FOALS MADE £21,000, etc. Sire with first runners of NAJM (6 races at 2 and 3, 2020), INTRINSIC BOND, INSTANTLY, etc. Fee for 2021: £1,750 (1st Oct)

PORTAMENTO Only Son of Leading International Sire and Sire of Sires SHAMARDAL in the North Won 6 races at 2,3 and 6 years, 5f – 8f, £182,723, and was placed 9 times.

Out of a CLASSIC WINNER from a Consistent Gr.1 Family

FIRST FOALS 2021 Fee for 2021: £1,500 (1st Oct)

Standing at: HEDGEHOLME STUD WINSTON, DARLINGTON, CO. DURHAM DL2 3RS. Enquiries: ANDREW SPALDING • Telephone: +44 (0) 1325 730209 • Mobile: +44 (0) 7990 518751 e-mail: •

Sales Circuit ›› at two next year, she was widely tipped

to head trade. At 2,200,000gns she duly confirmed that opinion when selling to MV Magnier of Coolmore Stud, who said a mating with Galileo awaits. Her sale price would have put her top of the 2019 auction, too. Beach Frolic’s sale was a memorable note on which to end an association dating back 35 years between her jointowners, the Warren family of Highclere Stud and the late Duke of Roxburghe of Floors Stud. His death last year led to a partial dispersal of his young stock and broodmare band, and the Duke’s widow, Virginia, Duchess of Roxburghe, revealed at this sale that the few mares who were being retained under the Floors banner would board at Fittocks Stud and Watership Down Stud.

Nothing else wandered near Beach Frolic’s valuation, although the fouryear-old fillies Kurious and Sonaiyla made 900,000gns each when selling, respectively, to a group of investors at the Vigors’ family’s Hillwood Stud and to Fiona Craig of Moyglare Stud. In his close of sale statement Tattersalls’ Chairman Edmond Mahony admitted the mares’ catalogue “lacked a little of the depth of recent renewals”, but said he was grateful the sale had taken place on time and at its traditional venue. He revealed that more than half the event’s 866 lots had attracted internet bids, while a subsequent statistic from the company showed that some 3 million guineas had been turned over via online sales. The figure that should please every breeder was the overall clearance rate of 85%. Turnover was down 25% at just over 43 million guineas while the average (58,656gns) and median (20,000gns) fell by 32% and 26% respectively. Tattersalls’ turnover from bloodstock sales held in Newmarket in 2020 came to 260,907,700gns, a fall of some 45 million guineas and the lowest for seven years, although it could have been far worse without a resilient industry in a year of unrelenting upheaval.


“Some 3 million guineas was turned over via online sales”

Beach Frolic, the dam of Palace Pier, headed proceedings when selling for 2,200,000gns


Sales Circuit ››

TALKING POINTS • After Covid landed in the spring, bloodstock traders were pretty much united in saying they expected a tough year, but there would always be buyers for a very good horse. Good luck to the rest. If such prophecies were to come true the clearance rates at sales would surely fall, and yet they have held up remarkably well, and even gone ahead at some sales. No less surprisingly, bottom-tier horses have been popular. At the fourth day of the December Mares’ sale, which involves fillies and mares with no great aspirations, trade was vibrant, with 80% of the 133 lots finding a buyer, a rise of 11 points. The average (5,077gns) was up 35% while turnover rose 94%. Few would have predicted that at the height of the initial lockdown. • Not many profit-making stories from 2020 have a more unlikely background than that involving Sicilian Domenico Zammitti and his 11-year-old mare Shena’s Dream. At the 2019 December Sale, Zammitti bought the daughter of Oasis Dream for a humble 1,200gns. She had bred two winners during an inauspicious innings while serving among the broodmares at Derek and Gay Veitch’s Ringfort Stud, but after getting her in foal to Haatef they

decided to sell and Zammitti was waiting. His plan, one he had used with success in the past, was to take the mare home, gain the foal with a view to racing him or her, and then give the mare away. Yet in the summer of 2020 her hitherto unraced two-year-old Miss Amulet burst onto the scene from Ken Condon’s stable, winning a Listed race and the Group 2 Lowther Stakes, and finishing placed in the Cheveley Park Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf. Shena’s Dream, who fortunately had not been given away, had become a valuable commodity, was booked for the prestigious day two of the December Mares’ Sale, and was duly sold there via the Cumani family’s Fittocks Stud for 280,000gns. It was a tale to match that of Cinderella, and just a little sad that due to Covid travel restrictions Zammitti could not attend. He did reinvest, however, and on the final day upped his spend to 4,000gns for the Brook Stud-consigned Dalandra, carrying to Tasleet. Sadly ten-year-old Dalandra was barren in 2019 and will not have a two-year-old next year, so there will be no immediate Miss Amulet repeat, but Zammitti’s story might inspire others to invest in bloodstock.

Tattersalls December Mares Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (gns)


Beach Frolic 9 m Nayef - Night Frolic

Highclere Stud


M V Magnier

Sonaiyla 4 f Dark Angel – Sinaniya

Athassel House Stud


Moyglare Stud Farm

Kurious 4 f Kuroshio - Easy To Imagine

Whitsbury Manor Stud


Hillwood Bloodstock

Time Saver 4 m Frankel – Clepsydra

Genesis Green Stud


Blandford Bloodstock

Dulkashe 11 m Pivotal – Saik

Miltown Park Stud


David Redvers Bloodstock

Lady In Lights 5 m Dansili – Cabaret

European Sales Management


Baroda Stud

Silver Horn 2 f Golden Horn - Magnificient Style

Waddesdon Stud/Castlebridge Consignment


Haras D’Etreham

Mia Maria 4 m Dansili - Majestic Silver

John Troy


Brian Grassick Bloodstock

Elysea’s World 7 m Champs Elysees - Ideal World

ELiTE Sales/European Sales Management


Katsumi Yoshida

Deep Inside 6 m Redoute’s Choice - Well Spoken

Floors Stud/Kiltinan Castle Stud


Stroud Coleman Bloodstock

Vivianite 5 m Teofilo – Crystany

The Castlebridge Consignment


Haras des Trois Chapelles

Figures Year


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Shadwell Stallions

2021 NEW for 2021

M OHAATHER Showcasing - Roodeye (Inchinor)

Won a vintage renewal of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes


£20,000 Jan 1 , SLF st


Invincible Spirit - Madany (Acclamation)

Group 1-winning sprinter, by an influential sire of sires


£5,000 Jan 1 , SLF st

M UHAARAR Oasis Dream - Tahrir (Linamix)

Sire of high-class juveniles BARADAR and MUJBAR


£10,000 Jan 1 , SLF st


Showcasing - Bird Key (Cadeaux Genereux)


OR: 123 | TF: 129

First Foals have made up to 10x his year one fee


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:

£5,000 Jan 1 , SLF st

Sales Circuit ›› Arqana Autumn Mixed Sale

With France undergoing a national Covid lockdown this five-day auction was heavily restricted, held outdoors and certainly lived up to its ‘Mixed’ name. Flat-bred yearlings were first up, selling on a Saturday, followed two days later by a session of horses in training, then one of stores, another of jumps-bred yearlings and completed on the final day by jumping foals, fillies and broodmare. The latter category would normally have been part of the company’s December Sale, while some stores would have been offered at the Summer Sale. A topsy-turvy landscape indeed. First-crop sires featured heavily on the first day of Flat yearlings, and one of their number, Haras de Bouquetot’s Al Wukair, nabbed the session-topper. A filly consigned by Haras du Quesnay, she was destined to join Surrey trainer George Baker once the hammer fell in favour of agent Sebastien Desmontils of Chauvigny Global Equine. Desmontils also gained the next best, a Doctor Dino filly who made €26,000 and heads to Henri-Francois Devin. With 156 yearlings changing hands at an average of just under €7,000 and a clearance rate of 73%, Arqana President Eric Hoyeau expressed satisfaction with the opening day, but he also made reference to the hurdles his company had jumped over with local authorities in order to stage the sale, and thanked attendees for their understanding of the restrictions. He urged, with a hint of Covid policing: “We are counting on everyone to continue this momentum over the next five days.” Highflyer Bloodstock’s David Powell made his presence felt at the horsesin-training session, taking the top two lots, both three-year-olds, at €200,000 apiece. One was Tax For Max, a son of

geldings by solid-choice sire Martaline made €160,000 and €140,000 to trainer Guillaume Macaire and racehorse owners Andy and Gemma Brown respectively. Demand for jumping-bred yearlings was marginally stronger with a 68% clearance, but when figures for stores and yearlings were combined the market had dropped by some 30%, a fall which Arqana chiefs put down to the absence of key buyers. The yearling average of just over €21,000 was helped by the €97,000 sale of a son of Doctor Dino to Joffret Huet’s J H Bloodstock – yearlings by Doctor Dino and Martaline dominated the most valuable lots in this section. Huet’s buy, a half-brother to Flat Listed winner Joplin and to Listed hurdles winner Thyme White, was bought for Paul Nicholls’ long-time patron Andy Stewart. The final day’s selection of jumpsbred mares, fillies and foals saw 72% of the 144 lots find a buyer. The session included a 23-lot dispersal from Haras de la Croix Sonnet, which was founded by Noel Pelat in the late 1950s, and from the draft came the €125,000 sessiontopper, No News. A ten-year-old mare by Gentlewave from the family of leading jumps sire No Risk At All, No News was sold to Antoine de Talhouët-Roy and Thierry Storme of B.S.I.N.V. No News was relatively young, but with French jumpers starting at an early age she had already produced a couple of promising, winning hurdlers, and she carried to sire Goliath Du Berlais. The Croix Sonnet dispersal included a 50th share in No Risk At All – that went to agent Guy Petit for €53,000. Given that last year’s sale was held over three days, free of Covid restrictions and with a different profile, statistical comparisons were not given, but turnover of around €11m was achieved in both years.

Maxios who had been racing on the Flat in Germany from Henk Grewe’s yard and finished fifth in the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Bayern just ahead of his ring appearance. He joins his winning halfbrother Tiger Tap Tap at Willie Mullins’ stables and will run in the colours of Messrs Munir and Souede. Powell’s other six-figure buy, Houx Gris, heads to Paul Nicholls’ yard. An AQPS-bred hurdle winner, he will carry the colours of Jared Sullivan. Other buyers included Hubert Barbe of Horse Racing Advisory, who teamed up with Charlie Swan – an advisor to JP McManus – to secure five lots for a total of €660,000, headed by the €185,000 purchase of three-year-old Hercule Du Seuil, who had finished second on his sole start over hurdles. Young jumpers were not alone in making six-figure sums, and Mark McStay signed for Listed winner Arapaho, consigned from Andre Fabre’s stable and set to join Australia-based trainer Bjorn Baker, yet these good sales could not prevent a 46% fall in turnover to a figure of just over €3 million. The 77.5% clearance rate was also down, but not disappointing. French two-year-old store horses have been hugely popular in recent years, but a 63% clearance rate at their session was below expectations. Travel challenges for buyers from Ireland and Britain were a factor, and Hoyeau and Executive Director Freddy Powell admitted that “the market was very difficult”. The average price of €25,775 indicates that value could be gained, and buyers might well look back with fondness on the event, although they had to dig deep to catch the cream. Heading trade was an Authorized half-brother to smart chaser Sceau Royal who was knocked down to agent Vincent Le Roy for €175,000, while

Arqana Autumn Mixed Sale - Yearlings Top lots Sex/breeding


Price (€)


F Al Wukair – Trissa

Haras du Quesnay


Chauvigny Global Equine

F Doctor Dino - Perfect Queen



Chauvigny Global Equine/Devin

C Pedro The Great – Verinder

Pierres Follets


Joel Boisnard

C Pedro The Great - Ajab Bere

Haie Neuve


Chauvigny Global Equine

F Le Havre - Freeing

La Motteraye Consignment


El Sur Racing

Figures Year 2020



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LUKE: 07580 948206

MATT: 07496 510741





Gr.1 Prix du Jockey Club Gr.2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano LR Newmarket Stakes


Leading Second Crop Sires in Europe in 2020


Group Winners


Night Of Thunder


by prize money

Total €



2 MAKE BELIEVE 3 Gleneagles

3 2

47% 1,293,972 37% 1,013,017








Golden Horn

5 Muhaarar


* in GB & Ireland • Statistics by 16/12/20


Gr.3 Prix Belle de Nuit 3rd Gr.2 Park Hill Stakes



Gr.3 Preis der Winterkonigin 3rd Gr.2 Diana-Trial German Champion 2yo Filly



Gr.3 Musidora Stakes Gr.3 Oh So Sharp Stakes Gr.3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes




LR Prix Isonomy 2nd Gr.3 Prix Daphnis


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

Sales Circuit ››

Arqana Autumn Mixed Sale - Horses in Training, Jumping Stores Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (€)


Tax For Max 3 g Maxios - Tomato Finish

Gestut Ohlerweiherhof


Highflyer Bloodstock

Houx Gris 3 g Gris De Gris – Qarera



Highflyer Bloodstock

Hercule Du Seuil 3g Saddler Maker - Cibelle Du Seuil

Mickael Seror


Horse Racing Advisory

Goven 4g Poliglote – Sweeny



Horse Racing Advisory

Authoside 2g Authorized – Sandside

Pierres Follets


Vincent Le Roy

Figures Year


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Arqana Autumn Mixed Sale - NH Breeding Stock Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


No News 10 m Gentlewave – Nickelle

Haras de la Croix Sonnet

Price (€)

Baie Des Iles 9 m Barastraight – Malownia

Haras du Hoguenet


Chauvigny/Global Equine

Princesse Kap 12 m Kapgarde - Princesse Turgeon

Etoile du Berger


Equine Advisory Agency

Kloth Of Utopia f Cloth Of Stars – Utopia Jem



Saubouas Bloodstock

Vision Du Pont 7 m Vision D’etat – Santariyka

Thierry Cypres


NBB Racing


Buyer B.S.I.N.V.

Figures Year


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This sale completed the year at Arqana, and it too produced a satisfactory set of figures when set against the backdrop of a pandemic. A session of jump-bred mares and foals had been removed from the equation after being offered in November, with the result that the catalogue was smaller by 214 lots. Of the 704 mares, fillies and foals who were offered, 557 found a buyer at a rate of 79%, which was three points higher than in the previous year, although no official comparisons were given due to the changed nature of the catalogue. Turnover of just over €25 million was down €9 million, while the average and median prices were both down on last year at €45,394 and €17,000 respectively. After the Autumn Mixed Sale had been held outdoors, Arqana was able to move back under cover for this sale, which saw day one offer the cream of the catalogue. It was headed by a €750,000 transaction in which the four-


Arqana December Breeding Stock Sale

Durance joined Pursuit Of Success on a bid of €750,000 from agent James Delahooke

year-old filly Durance was knocked down to agent James Delahooke on behalf of a group of American breeders who keep stock on both sides of the Atlantic. Bred in Germany, the daughter of Champs Elysees was unraced at two

but a year later won Listed and Group 3 races and was placed in the Preis Der Diana. She was also runner-up in the E P Taylor Stakes, while in 2020 she added the Premio Di Milano to her haul. She had a page to back up her racing




Still punching above his weight


Sire of the 2020 Gr.1 Darley July Cup winner OXTED 12.5% of his 3yos+ are rated 100 or over by Timeform 15 Stakes performing 2yos from his first five crops “Sire of 9% Stakes horses to runners from mares that typically manage just 6.6%” OXTED

www.stallionguide (31/7/20)

Pound for pound, one of the best value stallions standing in the UK 2021 fee: £4,000 (1st Oct. SLF)

Cheveley Park Stud Tel: 01638 730316 • • • L@CPStudOfficial

Sales Circuit ›› achievements, including a list of

Executive Director Freddy Powell put out a joint statement at the sale’s conclusion in which they thanked local authorities for their assistance during the year in enabling sales to take place and they referred to “a great spirit of solidarity and resilience” from within the trade. Overall bloodstock sales turnover for the year at Arqana, including private transactions, achieved a mark of €137,452,500, just over €11 million shy of the 2019 figure.

The pick on price of the foals was a Frankel colt who was sold for €400,000 to Carlos Laffon-Parias. His purchase was a first foal for the Prix de la Nonette winner Castellar, who was a half-sister to the dual Group 1 winner and sire Recoletos. Figures for the opening day were made available and showed an 80% clearance rate and a fall of 12% in the average price to one of just under €123,000. Arqana President Eric Hoyeau and

black-type winning and performing siblings. Delahooke also purchased the sale’s second highest-valued horse, the eight-year-old Galileo mare Truth, a sister to Group 1 winner Magic Wand and carrying to Siyouni. The agent was acting for Minster Stud’s Willie Carson, whose wife Elaine died in October. Judged on this sale the former champion jockey aims to maintain Minster Stud’s position despite his loss.

Arqana December Breeding Stock Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (€)


Durance 4 f Champs Elysees – Djidda

Ronald Rauscher


Pursuit Of Success LLC

Truth 8 m Galileo – Prudenzia

Haras de Bouquetot


Minster Stud

Euclidia 3 f Maxios – Mathematicienne

Wertheimer & Frere


SAS Gerard Larrieu

Spinning Memories 5 m Arcano - Hanalei Memories

Pascal Bary


Shadai Farm

Psara 4 m Invincible Spirit – Pacifique

Haras des Monceaux


Meridian International

No Limit Credit 3 f Night Of Thunder – Nasrine

Haras des Monceaux



Directa 3 f Anodin – Misdirect

Joel Boisnard


Haruya Yoshida

Malevra 4 f Le Havre – Marania

Haras d’Etreham


Frederic Sauque

Mageva 3 f Wootton Bassett – Melilot



Shadai Farm

Conte De Fee 3 f Sea The Stars - Padmini

Nicolas Clement


Avenue/J Piggott/J Brocklebank

Figures Year


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Goffs Autumn Yearling Sale

Selling to an empty ring can hardly be inspiring for auctioneers, but for vendors an online sale is a better option than no selling. At this auction of yearlings, Goffs’ gavel wielders went through the process of taking bids off screens and from telephone-bid-taking colleagues no fewer than 273 times over a two-day period on November 17 and 18 – a month later than planned due to the C-word and a six-week lockdown in Ireland. They found new homes for 172, or 63%, of the horses on offer. Withdrawals there were plenty, with the result that 100 fewer yearlings were available, but the average and

median prices both gained ten per cent at €6,487 and €4,450 respectively. It was a heroic process by the sales company and its auctioneers, whose attempts to put the event on had included suggesting a live sale with buyers in attendance in January, when the ‘yearlings’ would be two-year-olds. Vendors spat the dummy at that idea, but the resulting online sale and its results were described by Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby as “acceptable in the current climate”. He revealed that 2,261 bids had been taken, an indication of how far the process of stabbing a phone or computer button to buy a horse has

come in 2020. He also pointed out that the sale had enabled breeders to qualify their stock for auction races next year, and he provided a wideranging list of countries whose buyers had engaged in the buying process. A €40,000 New Approach colt headed the first session and the overall sale, putting another top-lot feather in the cap of consignor Clare Manning of Boherguy Stud, who consigned the yearling on behalf of her grandfather, Jim Bolger. Day two’s trade was headed by a Zoffany filly from Ross Moorhead’s Glacken View Stud. At €33,000 she was knocked down to American bidders Al and Bill Ulwelling.



Sales Circuit ››

Goffs Autumn Yearling Sale Top lots Sex/breeding


Price (€)


C New Approach – Neophilia

Boherguy Stud


E Hannon

F Zoffany – Watsdaplan

Glacken View


Al & Bill Ulwelling

C Sea The Moon – Notice

Airlie Stud


BBA Ire/Stamina Turf

C Oasis Dream - Maybe Grace

Loughmore Stables


Earlsfort Bloodstock

C El Kabeir - Bee Eater

Eyrefield Lodge Stud


Noel Meade

Figures Year 2020


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This relative newcomer to the sales scene completed its third staging with a very worthy 82% clearance rate and a £58,000 top lot that was a ‘personal best’ for the event. It has been through a few transformations in its short life, ditching foals last year and opting not to offer a selection of pointers at the latest sale. They were due to be the hub of a stand-alone event run by Goffs UK at Yorton Stud in mid-December. Despite their omission the catalogue was bigger, with an additional 50 horses, predominantly labelled as in-training, although a handful of yearlings were offered to no great effect, other than to qualify for auction races. Heading trade at £52,000 was five-year-old Indianapolis, a 95-rated, multiple winner for trainer James Given, who is winding up his yard and taking up a new role as the BHA’s Director of Equine Health and Welfare. Richard


Goffs UK December Sale

Indianapolis is set to continue his career with Ian Williams after selling for £52,000

Ryan, a Goffs UK representative and bloodstock advisor, combined with trainer Ian Williams to take the top lot. The bigger catalogue drove turnover up by 78% to a mark of just under

£700,000, while the average price of £6,678 and median of £4,000 were gains of three per cent and seven per cent respectively. It was a good note on which to end the year at Doncaster.

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


Price (£)

Indianapolis 5 h Galileo – Adoration

Mount House Stables (James Given)


Buyer Ian Williams/Richard Ryan

Dash Of Spice 6 g Teofilo – Dashiba

Egerton House Stables (David Elsworth)



Saeiqa 2 c Shalaa - Present Danger

Clarehaven Stables (John Gosden)


Denis Hogan

Equus Dancer 6 g Jeremy - Celtic Cailin

Yet-Y-Rhug Stables (Peter Bowen)


Michael Bowen

Civil Law 3 g Dark Angel – Tribune



Guy Stephenson

Figures Year


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at two and three




The Phoenix Stakes

The Commonwealth Cup

Maurice de Gheest

Royal Ascot Group 1 The Commonwealth Cup

Advertise is proving well named, blessed with so many admirable qualities, he has marketed himself to mare owners. Exceptional first book of mares featured 67 Black Type performers / producers, including the dams of Group 1 winners Aclaim, Maarek and Dick Whittington and a half sister to recordbreaking sprinter Battaash.

Fee: £25,000 ENQUIRE

Office 01672 555000 Amy Meade 07500 007545 Visit

Office 01638 675929 Tim Lane 07738 496141 Joe Callan 07872 058295 Email Visit

Sales Circuit Goffs December NH Sale

If ever a sale will be remembered for one horse this will be it, for the wonderful NH mare Apple’s Jade made it her own. Selling during the second of two sessions she made a record price for a jumping mare of €530,000, smashing the event’s previous high of €230,000 which was given for the mare Whistle Dixie in 2018. It also set a new mark for a jumping broodmare sold at any auction, trumping the 270,000gns given by Graham Wylie for Feathard Lady at Doncaster 13 years earlier. Offered by Gigginstown House Stud, whose colours she carried with such distinction when winning 11 Grade 1 races over jumps and earning more than £800,000 in prize-money, Apple’s Jade joined a throng of big-money buys made in the past year by Noel and Valerie Moran, who created a pre-paid business card that they sold to companies big and small. They netted a



Apple’s Jade smashed the record price for a jumping mare at €530,000

reported €266 million when selling their brainchild, enabling them to expand their interest in racing while growing their own Bective Stud in County Meath. Their latest recruit will bear them a foal in the New Year, for she was

carrying to Coolmore sire Walk In The Park. Aside from Apple’s Jade the sale’s higher prices were dominated by foals, a reassuring note for it suggests buyers have faith in the future post-Brexit and, hopefully, post-Covid. Walk In The Park featured again as sire of the €82,000 colt who headed the foals. He was consigned from the Motherway family’s Yellowford Farm and sold to Pine Tree’s Timmy Hillman, who was standing alongside members of the O’Callaghan family of Tally-Ho Stud. The pick of the fillies came from the final crop of multiple champion jumps sire Flemensfirth. Consigned from John Dwan’s Ballyreddin Stud, she was sold to Peter Molony for €80,000. Considering that 64 fewer lots were offered, turnover which fell just one per cent to €5.2 million was an extremely good figure, as was the 71% clearance rate. The average price gained 11% while the median slipped five per cent.

Goffs December NH Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (€)


Apple’s Jade 8 m Saddler Maker - Apple’s For Ever

Gigginstown House Stud


Bective Stud

C Walk In The Park – Blixt

Yellowford Farm


Pine Tree

F Flemensfirth – Minirose

Ballyreddin Stud


Rathmore Stud

C Soldier Of Fortune - Hello Kitty

Ashwood Stud


Park Farm

Barra 9 m Vendangeur – Oasaka

Gigginstown House Stud


N Quinlan

Figures Year


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Tattersalls Cheltenham December Sale

A stunning young horse and an octogenarian stud owner stole the show at this unique sale of selected jumpers. By the time David Thompson of Cheveley Park Stud had bought the fabulous-looking Grangeclare West for £430,000 and followed that up minutes later with the purchase of another four-year-old Irish pointer called Guily Billy for £310,000, the fact that trade was taking place at Park Paddocks in Newmarket had almost been forgotten. Tattersalls had been forced to move


the event from Cheltenham due to Covid restrictions, and while a 47-lot catalogue of mostly Irish point-to-pointers was an unlikely fit for a venue that has traded numerous Classic winners and millionaire mares, the occasion stood on its own feet. This was largely due to resilient Irish pinhookers who travelled their wares to Newmarket, and to a group of buyers which included pretty much all the agents or representatives you would expect to see in action at a Cheltenham Sale. The exceptions would be Harold Kirk who buys for Willie Mullins and

there was no apparent representative for JP McManus. Their absence was countered by a rare sighting of Cheveley Park’s chief Mr Thompson, 84, and clearly determined to view the sort of jumping stock which has given him and his family so much pleasure. In fact the catalogue was adorned with horses carrying the stud’s colours, headed by unbeaten Envoi Allen but including the likes of Ferny Hollow, Ballyadam and Sir Gerhard (a £400,000 purchase at this sale in 2019), among others, all ex-Irish pointers who are proving exciting


Sales Circuit prospects over hurdles and fences. Thompson’s two purchases were further evidence of Gordon Elliott’s rise in the estimation of owners, for while his string is apparently losing horses owned by Michael O’Leary’s reduction in his Gigginstown House Stud squad, racehorse owners like Thompson and Noel and Valerie Moran are shovelling high-quality prospects back in. He will train the two horses bought by Cheveley Park Stud at this sale, and both were high-value stores bought last year. Joey Logan gave €62,000 for Grangeclare West, a 17hh beauty by Presenting and trained by County Wexford’s Denis Murphy to win his sole Irish point-to-point, while Coastal Path’s son Guily Billy was an €80,000 store who scored on debut for Donnchadh Doyle. Four horses made a six-figure sum, completed by £110,000 for Captain Quint, who finished second to Guily Billy when both made their first starts, and £100,000 for Fameaftertheglory, who scored on his first start and was bought by trainer Gavin Cromwell. Sporting Ace, who chased home Grangeclare West, made £90,000 and joins Wiltshire trainer Neil King. With 44 lots, ten fewer than last year, this was the smallest Cheltenham December catalogue since Tattersalls took over the business from Brightwells in 2015. Several reasons lay behind that reduction, including the change of venue, a similar sale run by Goffs UK and due to be held a week later, and a month-long shutdown of point-to-pointing in Britain, which was lifted the weekend before this sale took place. As a result just one



Sale-topper Grangeclare West headed a productive day for buyer Cheveley Park Stud

TALKING POINT • The four six-figure lots sold at Tattersalls Cheltenham December Sale held in Newmarket came out of the Irish point-to-point field, yet three of the four were sold to return to Irish stables. To outsiders it must seem strange that leading Irish stables are so dominant at the top-end of the market for young jumpers, yet only one sale of the type takes place in Ireland, and that is a small catalogue offered by Goffs at the Punchestown Festival. Tattersalls Cheltenham stages seven sales, while Goffs UK has staged three in recent years – at Aintree and Doncaster – and has stretched further recently with similar auctions at Yorton Stud on the Welsh border. They were introduced due to Covid restrictions, but it will be interesting to see if they take root. days before his ring appearance. Due to the changes no comparative figures were issued, but turnover of £2,378,000, an average price of £74,313, and a clearance rate of 74% were all solid enough in the circumstances.

British pointer joined the line-up, although Tip Top Mountain’s sale for £30,000 was a profitable one for Devon point-to-point trainer Ian Chanin, who had paid just €1,600 for the horse as a store. His horse had won in Cornwall four

Tattersalls Cheltenham December Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (£)


Grangeclare West 4 g Presenting – Hayabusa

Ballyboy Stables (Denis Murphy)


Cheveley Park Stud/Gordon Elliott

Guily Billy 4 g Coastal Path – Ukie

Monbeg Stables (Donnchadh Doyle)


Cheveley Park Stud

Captain Quint 4 g Flemensfirth - Vics Miller

Ballyboy Stables (Denis Murphy)


Gerry Hogan Bloodstock/Rose Dobbin

Fameaftertheglory 4 g Fame And Glory - Milan Athlete

Monbeg Stables (Donnchadh Doyle)

Sporting Ace 4 g Shantou - Knockbounce View

Ballycrystal Stables (Matthew Flynn O’Connor)

100,000 90,000

Gavin Cromwell Stroud Coleman Bloodstock/Neil King

Figures Year


Agg (£)

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‘5 ‘5 furlong furlong debut debut winner winner and and group group winning winning miler miler and and only only son son of of Mastercraftsman Mastercraftsman in in the the UK UK 3rd 3rd crop’ crop’







LUKE: 07580 948206

MATT: 07496 510741


ROA Forum

The special section for ROA members

Owner update: attending race meetings in England



rom December 2, a limited number of spectators were able to attend race meetings in some areas of England, in line with the latest guidance from the UK government. Owners were able to attend fixtures across all three tiers, with spectators also permitted to attend in tiers one and two. At fixtures where spectators are permitted, the Amber Zone (formerly called the Owner Zone) is a mixed area, comprised of both owners and spectators, with specific areas/facilities reserved for owners only (including briefing areas to enable discussion with trainers and jockeys). The intention is to deliver an improved racecourse experience, one that more closely resembles the traditional raceday. Pre-registration is essential, and owners will be emailed automatically with details of how to register once their horse is entered to run. This communication will include further information about what owners can expect at the fixture, including the number of badges available, food and beverage provision, and any screening arrangements that will be in place for the fixture. The ROA has been working with the Racecourse Association and British Horseracing Authority and continues to work with racecourses to ensure the raceday is as enjoyable and rewarding as possible for owners while keeping all participants safe. To support owners, racecourses

John Hales reaches out towards his Tingle Creek Chase winner Politologue at Sandown

produced a briefing document that includes answers to frequently asked questions, and which outlines the arrangements for owners under the tier system, and have issued the owners’ code, which will help minimise the risk of infection and ensure the safety of everyone attending a race meeting. These documents have been incorporated into the racing industry’s Owner Protocols and reflect the introduction of the tier system in England. See for further details. Owners are reminded to review the Owner Protocols before each

racecourse visit as it is updated regularly in accordance with government guidance. Owners should be mindful that guidance may differ in Scotland and Wales. As ever, we thank owners for their continued support and cooperation. The return of spectators is only possible because of the role owners and participants have played in adhering to the infection control measures in place. We ask that owners continue to follow the protocols and check the measures that apply within each tier to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone on the racecourse.

Members compensated after abandonments Heavy fog forced the abandonment of racing at Chelmsford on December 7 after the first race had been run. On an eight-race card, seven races were lost, disappointing connections of the 69 intended runners. Heavy fog also forced the abandonment of the last three races at Southwell on December 11 after the fifth race had been run. These situations are especially frustrating for owners who bear the expense of their horse’s transport and associated costs. The ROA’s Raceday Curtailment Scheme makes a


payment of £100 to the owners of qualifying horses in these situations, when racing is abandoned after the first race has been staged. There were 44 qualifying horses at Chelmsford and 23 at Southwell. Each horse’s owner received a payment within days of the incident. In total, the scheme was triggered on eight occasions in 2020, resulting in over £22,500 being paid out to members over the year. We are very grateful to Weatherbys Hamilton, which provides this scheme exclusively for members.

Third party liability insurance scheme

Members should head online to apply for free tickets to a number of fixtures

Free admission for members without a runner The ROA is liaising with racecourses to organise complimentary access to members at a number of specified upcoming fixtures. In order to meet track and trace requirements, members need to apply directly to the course for any tickets and will not be granted entry on the day without having preregistered first.  Details of how to attend meetings can be found at

and in the racecourse discounts page in the members’ area at roa. When you are logged in, click on the orange picture (arrowed above) to be taken directly to the page. Owners are reminded to follow government guidance for spectators when racing without a runner. Please note that badge schemes are suspended and bronze PASS cards will not provide admission.

We are pleased to confirm that the ROA member third party liability insurance scheme will continue to provide cover for members during 2021. The scheme, arranged through Weatherbys Hamilton, provides a limit of liability of £10 million. It was introduced in 2008 and specifically tailored to provide cover for owners who might otherwise find themselves exposed in the event of a claim. In 2020 the scheme assisted a member who was able to defend his position at no cost to himself against a potential claim relating to an incident. Any owner with a financial interest in a racehorse should be mindful of the importance of having third party liability cover. The racing season provides reminders to its audience from time to time, and one of the ROA team felt this recently when a runner she was involved with unseated its rider in a first fence blunder and continued racing bridle-less. Horse and rider were unscathed and the horse was safely caught but it served to underline the peace of mind aspect of the cover. The ROA scheme covers owners when their horses are in training and temporarily out of training. It also provides cover for members who are amateur breeders, with foals, breeding and young stock. See for full terms/conditions.

Tote Owner Sponsorship Scheme continues in 2021 We are pleased to confirm that from January 1 the Tote will be the sole partner of the ROA’s Owner Sponsorship Scheme that is available to all members. The Tote and Britbet have supported ROA members throughout 2020 by sponsoring their nominated horses, which enables owners to register for and reclaim the VAT incurred on expenses. We would like to thank both the Tote and Britbet for their support in 2020 and we very much look forward to continuing to work with the Tote throughout 2021. Alex Frost, Chief Executive of the UK Tote Group, said: “In what has been a challenging year for everyone in British racing we are delighted to be renewing our support for the ROA’s Owner Sponsorship Scheme.

“We hope this scheme will continue to be an important benefit to owners at all levels of the sport. We would like to thank Britbet for their contribution this year and we look forward to continuing to see the Tote brand worn across owners’ silks throughout 2021.” Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the ROA, said: “During these challenging times the ROA Owner Sponsorship Scheme has a hugely positive impact and is a very important benefit for owners. Our sincere thanks to the Tote for renewing and continuing their support of this vital scheme into 2021, which this year alone has seen some £8m of VAT recovered by owners. “We would also like to record our sincere thanks to Britbet for their support of the scheme this past year.”

The Tote: supporting members



ROA Forum

MAGICAL MOMENTS Kenny Bruce is tickled pink with his improving young hurdler

“Our goal is to run Pink Sheets in the Dawn Run Hurdle at Cheltenham” mares’ novices’ hurdle, winning by three and a half lengths under Jack Quinlan, with vanquished rivals hailing from yards such as Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and Alan King. Bruce is much better known in the



t is rare indeed for any one trainer to have a vast collection of owners, big or small, with many instead relying on a hardcore of supporters, with whom the relations are as much personal as professional. Footballer-turned-trainer Mick Quinn and owner Kenny Bruce have struck up a partnership that is rather typical in terms of being of huge importance to a smaller trainer and his team, but also cherished by the owner and his family in a more personal way that can sometimes be the case within a big yard. Hennessy day, as most readers would probably still call it, at Newbury is not the first occasion you would associate with Quinn, whose Newmarket base rather gives the game away in terms of its Flat focus. However, Quinn’s was the first name on the scoresheet this year, when the Bruce-owned Pink Sheets showed her rivals a clean pair of heels in the Listed

Pink Sheets produces a dazzling performance at Newbury for owner Kenny Bruce (inset)

world of property than racing, having founded Purplebricks with his brother and a friend, but his passion for racing and horses has lasted just as long. “I have had a love for horses and racing for over 30 years,” he says. ”A friend of mine got me involved in racehorse ownership in 2005 as part of a small syndicate owning a horse called Freak Occurence, trained by Emma Lavelle, and that got me hooked on the buzz of horse ownership.” Indeed, Bruce’s involvement has proven far from a freak occurrence, as he continues: “I have owned over 25 horses in my own right over the last nine years with the legendary Mick Quinn, and every season we have improved on the last in terms of winners and quality, with this season securing my first two-year-old winner Inver Park and my first stakes winner, Pink Sheets.”

Quinn has not equalled another training Mick, his fellow former striker Channon, when it comes to big-race success, with multiple Listed winner Angus Newz his best horse to this point, but he is the perfect match as far as Bruce is concerned. Explaining how the two teamed up, and why he is delighted to have done so, Bruce says: “I met Mick whilst on holiday in Tenerife in 2011 and I was inspired by his personality, friendliness and his enthusiasm for the racing game. “The three things that made me want Mick to train my horses and help build my knowledge of this wonderful sport was his dedication to the horses, his honesty and his desire to see a small stable take on the big guns. “Mick and Karen with their team run a brilliant operation, and I have never seen a happier group of horses in a training

Racehorse Relief Fund applications In October the ROA and Racing Foundation launched The Racehorse Relief Fund (RRF). The RRF is a fund of last resort, supporting the needs of racehorses whose owners are suffering financial hardship as a result of the impact of Covid-19. It forms part


of the package of measures agreed and announced last April by the leadership of racecourses, horsemen and BHA. The RRF was established to help mitigate potential welfare and financial effects of Covid-19 on racing,

supporting horses, owners and trainers whilst helping businesses maintain financial stability. It is structured to provide valuable breathing space to trainers and horses to fully assess the right path for a horse, whether in racing or beyond. The fund gives horses

stable; whether you are a novice owner like me or an experienced owner, they can help you enjoy the magic of owning a racehorse at the same time as building a friendship.” The year 2020 was momentous for many reasons but, in terms of horseracing, for Bruce and his family and friends, it was also memorable for the right reasons “There have been many magical moments all told,” says Bruce, “from buying my first breeze-up horses at Tattersalls, which my youngest son Tom describes as the most exciting day of his life, to securing my first winner, and then of course seeing Inver Park – named after my beloved Larne FC’s home ground – become my first two-year-old winner this past Flat season. “The one that trumps them all, however, is seeing the incredible improvement in my beautiful Pink Sheets, culminating with her winning a Listed race on Hennessy day at Newbury. She is a star who has been trained magnificently by Mick, Karen and the team, and has sparked-up an incredible friendship with Jack Quinlan. “Our goal is to run her in the Dawn Run at the Cheltenham Festival, which would be a dream come true for me and one to knock off my bucket list.” Friendship is at the heart of the enjoyment that Bruce experiences through owning horses, for he adds: “The best thing about being a racehorse owner is the relationships I have built up with Mick and Karen, and seeing them work tirelessly with their team to make the lives of my horses as happy as possible, to allow them to be the best version of themselves on the track.” For what it costs to have even one

horse in training, owners are always entitled to a say on areas they feel could enhance their own experiences, and the sport generally, and Bruce comments: “The most frustrating thing is the lack of innovation in the sport to help bring racehorse ownership to the masses and to help improve prize-money at the lower to medium level. “It would be great to see the racing authorities educate the general public that being part of a syndicate or owning a racehorse is magical – it’s a great value-for-money sport. A season ticket at Manchester United could cost £950, while you could be in a racehorse syndicate for half that cost, which, in my view, is greater value for money.” People getting value for money is a central theme in business too for Bruce, who to go along with the thrills of a twoyear-old winner and a Listed scorer over hurdles, has an exciting new venture when it comes to the day job too. He explains: “I have been in the property industry for over 25 years, most commonly known for my role within Purplebricks, the online estate agency. I founded the business with my brother Michael and friend David. “We are about to launch a new company within the property sector called Boomin, which allows buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants to see more and do more with agents 24 hours a day. We have established a brilliant team, built some incredible tech and planned a huge marketing campaign to build the Boomin brand for estate agents and customers alike.” Business is clearly booming then for this contented racehorse owner, with 2021 promising much on and off the racecourse.

protection and ensures the industry’s high welfare standards are being met. The fund has strict eligibility criteria to identify that all other options have been explored and the horse is no longer affordable. Owners applying must do so in respect of all their horses, where multiple ownership interests are involved. An independent panel advises

on applications to the fund, future options for the horse and have a right of refusal. Applications to the RRF can be made by the owner or trainer at All applications should be supported by training and veterinary records. Full details, eligibility criteria and terms and conditions can be found on the website.

Change of ownership and passport legislation Last February, the Horse Welfare Board published a four-year strategic plan for horses bred for racing. The plan, entitled ‘A Life Well Lived’, identified four key outcomes across the lifetimes of all horses bred for racing. One of those outcomes was collective lifetime responsibility. Traceability is identified as a vital step in achieving this outcome. Providing the fullest possible traceability of horses bred for racing throughout their lifetimes is essential. This is already a legal requirement, and enforceable by Trading Standards. All equine owners in Great Britain are required to register their ownership with the government-designated Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) within 30 days of purchase. Weatherbys is considered racing’s PIO for thoroughbreds in Great Britain. From the perspective of a racehorse owner, when a horse goes into training and is in the care of the trainer, there is an exemption. Any updates are administered via the Racing Admin system to the BHA, as the sport’s regulator. The trainer or keeper will hold the horse’s passport and it is when a horse leaves racing/retires that the owners are responsible for the horse’s care. If the owner of a horse in training hasn’t registered their ownership with the Passport Issuing Organisation, that horse will be incorrectly registered under the ownership of the breeder (or subsequent owner if it changes before entering training) with the PIO and government throughout its training career and on leaving training. Owners can check the details of ownership, which are listed in the horse’s passport and verified with a Weatherbys stamp. If there is no verified ownership on this page the non-racing ownership will still be recorded as the breeder. The Racehorse Owners Association’s website includes some frequently asked questions around passport regulation and details of ownership when a horse retires from or leaves racing. A transfer of ownership fee of £23 is applied for online applications. For further information and details see


ROA Forum

MY DAY AT THE RACES With Barbara Hester at Sandown Park on December 5


orses have always played an important part in Barbara Hester’s life, though the 15 years she spent working in the City meant she didn’t always have the time to indulge her passion. Barbara has been master of the Warwickshire Hunt for 15 seasons and currently has “far too many horses”, with four hunters, four showjumpers and six horses running under Rules. Local point-to-point trainer Julie Wadland introduced Barbara to ownership, selling her a tail of a point-to-pointer about ten years ago, since when she has seriously caught the racing bug. She attended Sandown on December 5 to watch her four-time winner Brewin’upastorm contest the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase. How did you find general guidance for owners around protocols for racing behind closed doors? I was fortunate enough to have a runner and a winner [Sangha River] on July 1 at Southwell, which was the first postlockdown meeting that owners were allowed to attend. On that day, and at the Tingle Creek meeting at Sandown, I was impressed with the professional approach and clear guidance for owners. Of course, it was not racing as we know and love it, but it was a huge relief and privilege to be back on a course, thanks to the tremendous efforts by so many in the sport. Did you receive information as an owner in advance of the raceday? An email was received via the PASS system at entry and a second email was received on the afternoon of declaration, setting out arrangements and provision for owners.

How was the arrival experience? Much less chaotic than normal with only 2,000 racegoers on the day. Easy to park, no queues at the owners and trainers’ ticket collection and a free table in the owners and trainers’ restaurant despite a bit of a late arrival. How did you find the provision for owners on the day? Absolutely fantastic! Huge credit must


location/provision of the de-brief area? The O&T restaurant overlooks the track on one side and parade ring on the other. There was easy access down some steps to a cordoned-off area where owners could speak to trainers and jockeys both pre and post-race.  Were you able to review a replay of your race easily on the course? Yes – on TVs and the big screen.

Barbara Hester: hoping Brewin’upastorm can bag a big race this year

go to Sandown Park for the successful reconfiguration of the traditional owner experience and making owners feel so welcome. What were your thoughts on the location, comfort and provision of the owners’ zone? The owners and trainers’ restaurant for the day overlooked the finishing post, with easy access to the outdoor grandstands and on the other side overlooked the parade ring. Lunch was first class and there was a welcome glass of champagne on arrival. The room had a wonderfully sociallydistanced buzz and atmosphere, and with the 2,000 racegoers dotted around the grandstands and amongst the on-course bookies, you almost felt like it was a normal raceday pre Covid-19. What were your thoughts on viewing your horse in the parade ring? Although safely distanced, I felt able to almost touch Brewin’upastorm as he paraded in front of me pre-race and could feel his anticipation of a big day. How did you find the race-viewing zone for owners? There was easy access to view racing from the grandstand steppings and a well-positioned big screen.   How was the post-race experience and

What was your overall lasting feeling of the day, based on your racecourse experience? I know there has been a lot of talk about how the only race meeting that matters occurs in March. I must disagree. The sun shone on a spectacular Tingle Creek December day of racing at Sandown. It was a privilege to have a horse to line up against the mighty Politologue in the Tingle Creek Chase.  The spontaneous applause that rippled through the O&T restaurant as the well-loved figure of John Hales, on the arm of his grandson, headed out towards the winner’s enclosure was magical. To watch the young pretender to the throne, Allmankind, run a spectacular race in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase was racing at its best. Cheltenham should thank Sandown and Betfair for laying up a hugely exciting young horse to the racing public, which no doubt will create a huge buzz for the Festival. Unfortunately, Brewin’upastorm couldn’t compete with the big boys on the day. So, it’s back to the drawing board – I am convinced there is a big race in this lovely seven-year-old gelding by Milan. But then, isn’t that why we love the game?


Entry ★★★★★ Viewing ★★★★★ Atmosphere ★★★★★ * Racing behind closed doors Owners’ facilities ★★★★★ Food ★★★★★ Overall score





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The GBB Observer Great British Bonus: Working for EVERYONE! With the Jumps season now really kicking into gear, there have been many more jumping bonus winners and much greater interest in the scheme from Jumps trainers, owners and breeders. There is no doubt that the GBB scheme has caught the attention of the jumping fraternity, with trainers understandably now focusing on GBB races restricted to fillies and mares. Winning a FULL bonus for such races is now recognised as a very worthwhile ambition. With the yearling sales season coming to a close, it can clearly be seen in the sales statistics that the GBB scheme has added a premium to GBB-eligible fillies. The ambition of the scheme to add a couple of bids to a GBB filly is already coming to fruition in the lower echelons of the offerings, and this trend has been replicated at the Tattersalls December foal sale. Grant Pritchard-Gordon, GBB scheme manager

GBB Jumps winners:

GBB Jumps bonus payments:

GBB Flat winners:

GBB Flat bonus payments:

Total bonus payments:



25 £275,000


Trainers making the most of GBB Flat trainer

Bonuses won

Jumps trainer

Bonuses won

Charlie Appleby


Alan King


Ralph Beckett


Harry Fry


John Gosden


Fergal O’Brien


Karl Burke


Henry Daly


Mark Johnston


Neil King


Roger Varian


Dan Skelton


William Haggas


Bryan Smart


Richard Hannon


Roger Charlton


Hugo Palmer


People are really noticing the scheme and want to be involved. It has to be having an impact. If you are in the scheme, then you are one step ahead of the game. Simon Sweeting, Flat and National Hunt breeder

This scheme is a great boost to NH breeders and was particularly noticeable at the old Derby Sale at Doncaster where the clearance rate for fillies was very solid. Buyers now want fillies. Robert Chugg, National Hunt breeder


For more information on eligibility, visit TBA GBB TOB A4 Mailer_January.indd 1

*Information correct at time of going to press

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TBA Forum

The special section for TBA members

New Board Trustees revealed at online AGM

Two new Trustees elected

At the beginning of proceedings, Laundry Cottage Stud owner Colin Bryce and Kate Sigsworth, of West Moor Stud, were successful in their attempt to fill the two available seats on the Board of Trustees. The TBA welcomed and congratulated the successful candidates and thanked the other nominees for their ongoing support, interest and participation.

Special resolution

A special resolution to adopt a change to the Articles of Association,




he TBA’s 103rd Annual General Meeting took place on Sunday, November 22 and for the first time the event was held online. In his address to members, TBA Chairman Julian Richmond-Watson acknowledged that the global Covid-19 pandemic had intensified the need for long-term sustainable industry support initiatives, before outlining areas of focus for the year ahead. These included the UK’s exit from the EU, maintaining and developing relationships, supporting breeders and the Great British Bonus scheme, prize-money, and improving the TBA’s digital services, which includes the launch of a new e-learning platform. In a review of the previous 12 months, he noted improvements in relationships, including with the Chief Veterinary Officer and equine vets that maintained the 2020 covering season, and with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which had approved the Great British Bonus scheme. The Chairman said: “British breeders need more support. GBB is a great start, but if racecourses wish to run the size of the programme they desire, they will need us to maintain and produce more foals on the ground and that will only happen if breeders feel confident about the future.” The meeting also included video reports from TBA Committee Chairs and a Q&A session with the Board of Trustees, which featured pre-submitted questions answered live at the event.

Kate Sigsworth and Colin Bryce were welcomed to the Board of Trustees

increasing the term of the incumbent Chairman from six to eight years, was approved by a member vote in the meeting. The change was recommended by the Board of Trustees to provide more flexibility to their terms of office, enabling directors to continue to serve on the board when specific knowledge and skills requirements of benefit to the TBA’s charitable objectives are involved. Chairman Julian Richmond-Watson will remain in post for a further two years, during which challenges for the association will include Brexit, Covid-19, prize-money issues and levy reform. TBA Deputy Chairman Philip Newton said: “It is a turbulent time and the board believes it is in the best interests of the TBA to provide a degree of flexibility around terms of office, to ensure the TBA can retain key skills needed, where and when necessary. Implementing this change will enable the TBA to provide stability in its governance and leadership when operating in unusual climates. “With regards to our current Chairman, it is essential that the TBA has robust representation at this time, and Julian’s in-depth and strategic knowledge of the industry is vital for government affairs and industry steering

groups to ensure the best possible outcome for breeders.”

New subscription structure and fees

As part of the TBA’s commitment to increase access to the industry through education and training, a new membership category was approved. The associate subscription, offering primarily digital services, will include discounted or free access to TBA courses and events, starting on January 1, 2021 at £60 per year. TBA Chief Executive Claire Sheppard said: “The Associate Tier will provide access to the new TBA e-learning platform, which goes live in the first quarter of 2021, and offer both free and discounted learning materials for those subscribers. “We hope that a more affordable and streamlined subscription offering will enable enthusiasts, students and industry professionals to join the TBA community, experience the benefits of membership and increase their breeding industry knowledge.” Full membership under the annual recurring subscription was raised to £150 per year, and other payment methods were increased by £30.

SAM PLE The digital ePassport will help to improve traceability of thoroughbreds

Introduction of Equine Premises Numbers A process of stud premises registration was recently launched, with information on unique Equine Premises Numbers (EPNs) communicated to the owners or managers of breeding establishments by Weatherbys in December. This system is a requirement under EU Law and is already in place in France and Ireland, as well as for British

training establishments. From January 2021, it will be mandatory to capture these alphanumeric codes against horses when completing routine online General Stud Book (GSB) registrations. If you are the assigned keeper of an establishment where thoroughbred young stock or breeding stock are kept (paddocks,

30-day foal notification Breeders are reminded that when a foal is bred for racing in Great Britain, the breeder/owner must notify the General Stud Book (Weatherbys) of its birth and whereabouts within 30 days of its birth (day one being the date of birth). Notification is free and should be done through the online portal: If you are unsure as to whether a foal has been notified, visit selim. to check a horse’s status. Please be aware that 30-day foal notification is different from foal registration. This must still be completed with the General Stud Book in accordance with the legislative

requirements and any other Rules of Racing. If notification has not been received within the 30-day window, before the horse may be eligible to race, the BHA may require a Certificate of Analysis reporting no evidence of the presence or use of a substance prohibited at all times in a sample collected by the BHA. You will be liable for the cost of the sample collection and analysis, which currently is £425 + VAT (cost of sampling is subject to fluctuation and may vary year on year). In exceptional circumstances, for example where an individual or company continually fails to comply with the requirement, a foal may not be approved as eligible to run in Great Britain.

stables or a combination of both) and did not receive an EPN, these are available by request (free of charge) from Weatherbys (tel 01933 440077 or email studbook@weatherbys. The digital ePassport, which will be produced for the 2021 foal crop (along with a paper passport), will store location information (EPNs or unclassified addresses) that has been recorded via GSB registrations, or using the Digital Equine Movement System (DEMS). The data strip on the passport smart card will allow access to the ePassport, where information on identification details, ownership history, as well as medication and vaccinations records can be viewed. It is hoped that these digital solutions will improve lifetime traceability of thoroughbreds as recommended by the Horse Welfare Board, as well as making some processes more efficient. The records will also be valuable in case of regional equine contagious disease outbreak. A webinar discussing digital technologies, including EPNs, was broadcast live to Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) members on Monday, December 14 and is now available for all to view from the TBA’s YouTube page. A protocol on the introduction of EPNs is available from the TBA website.

National Hunt Yearbook The 2020/21 National Hunt Yearbook has been released and sent out to National Hunt breeders. Featuring information about the Elite Mares’ Scheme, as well as TBA National Hunt activities including the NH Breeders’ Awards, this year’s publication includes articles from members of the NH Committee on diverse topics such as the new Liberthine Mares’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, the Great British Bonus scheme and broodmare syndication. Available in both print and digital formats, those that have not received but would be interested in obtaining a copy should contact Stanstead House.


TBA Forum

Introduced into the Breeders’ Cup programme in 2008, the Turf Sprint had exclusively been won by North American-trained runners. That was until November at Keeneland when Bearstone Stud homebred Glass Slippers captured the Grade 1 prize in great style. In winning in the Blue Grass state Glass Slippers became the second successive British-bred filly to win the race, following in the footsteps of Belvoir Bay. “We went over there hoping to run well but we were concerned about how fast the Americans are out of the traps,” says Bearstone Stud owner Terry Holdcroft. “The plan initially was to run wide, but Tom [Eves] spoke with Ryan Moore who said to take the inner as the Americans swing wide. It worked out well and she was quickest to the gap in the straight. “It was unbelievable to see her come through them to win. She has now proved that she goes on any ground. It was my first time at the track and we were so well looked after all week. “She was brought into the race in peak perfect condition by Kevin [Ryan] and we had the race in mind for her from the start of the year, with it being over five and a half furlongs. She stays in training next year and we might mix it up a bit, switching between five and six furlongs.” Having taken the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye as a three-year-old in 2019, the bay had taken a second top-level win on the Curragh last September in the Flying Five Stakes. In between her two victories she attempted to defend her Longchamp crown and went down narrowly. “She is pure Bearstone bred, being out of Night Gypsy, who we bred, and is a daughter of Mind Games who we stood, as we did his sire Puissance,” said Holdcroft. Glass Slippers is the final of 11 foals out of the winner Night Gypsy, the first foal out of Ocean Grove, who Holdcroft purchased from the Sangster family at the 1996 Tattersalls December Sale.



Sublime Slippers breaks through the glass ceiling

Bearstone Stud owner Terry Holdcroft (inset) enjoyed Glass Slippers' Breeders' Cup win

Del Mar delights for British breeders

Del Mar closed its doors for 2020 at the end of November with a number of informative contests. Included amongst these were a pair of Grade 1s on turf, the Hollywood Derby and the Matriarch Stakes, both of which fell the way of British-breds. In the former, the Rabbah Bloodstock Limited-bred Domestic Spending (Kingman) swept down the outside and headed his rivals in the closing stages. The finish of the Matriarch was much closer, with only half a length separating a trio of British-breds, who were headed by the Juddmonte homebred Viadera. The four-year-old, like Domestic Spending trained by Chad Brown, provided her sire Bated Breath with his first Group/Grade 1 winner. Second and third home, Blowout and Juliet Foxtrot, were both by Dansili.

Bated Breath was also on the mark on the east coast of the States two days previously when his daughter Feel Glorious, bred by Bunny Roberts, gained her fourth black-type win in the Forever Together Stakes at Aqueduct. Aqueduct was also the scene of the Widgeham Stud-bred Mutamakina, twice runner-up in Group 2 company in France as a three-year-old, making the breakthrough at Graded level. The daughter of Nathaniel took top honours in the Grade 3 Long Island Stakes. Back home in Europe and the Anita Wigan-bred Angel Power was sent to Italy to contest the Group 2 Premio Lydia Tesio. The rapidly improving three-year-old made all the running at Capannelle and was far superior to her seven rivals. With the European Flat season winding down, British-breds regularly scored in Listed company. There were


Make the most of the TBA website

Banstead Manor Stud resident Bated Breath gained a first Group/Grade 1 winner courtesy of Viadera's success in the Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar

maiden black-type victories for the Cheveley Park Stud-bred Saltonstall (Pivotal) in the Glencairn Stakes at Naas, the Jan and Peter Hopper-bred Harry’s Bar in the Belgrave Stakes at Dundalk, Chamade, who was bred by Mr and Mrs David Aykroyd, in the Gillies Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster, the Mickley Stud, S Taylor and D Mossopbred Captain Magnum in the Premio Divino Amore, the Lawn Stud-bred Kinross (Kingman) in the Hyde Stakes at Kempton Park, the Newsells Studbred Dato in the Grosser Dresdner Herbstpreis, and Yvonne Jacques’ homebred Stylistique in the Prix Petite Etoile on the all-weather at Deauville. In addition to Domestic Spending, Rabbah Bloodstock Limited also experienced success with Ummalnar, who ran out the mightily impressive winner of the Cooley Fillies and Mares Stakes at Dundalk, and also with Midtown (Dubawi), winner of the Prix Herod in handy style on the turf at Chantilly. The remarkably tough Dakota Gold, bred by Redgate Bloodstock and Peter Bottowley Bloodstock, rattled off a third successive Listed victory in the Wentworth Stakes on the final day of the British turf Flat season at Doncaster. Last winter Dubai Warrior proved himself to be a high-class runner on an all-weather surface and the Essafinaat Ltd-bred son of Dansili got his winter campaign off to the best xxxxxxxxxx

possible start with a win in the Listed Churchill Stakes at Lingfield Park.

Sweet success for Honeysuckle in Hatton’s Grace

The Dr Geoffrey Guy-bred Honeysuckle secured back-to-back renewals of the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle and at the end of November. The daughter of Sulamani was extending her unbeaten record to ten races, nine of which have come under Rules. Two days previously and at Newbury, the Long Distance Hurdle was run as a Grade 2 although the quality of the field read like a Grade 1. Thyme Hill, a top-level winner at the track last season as a novice, took the step up into open company in his stride. The son of Kayf Tara was bred by Overbury Stallions. Another Grade 2 scorer in the month was the Mick Easterby-bred Does He Know, who took the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. Also at the November meeting was a Listed mares’ NHF contest in which the spoils were shared between the Rita Vaughan-bred Elle Est Belle and the Distillery Studbred Ishkhara Lady (Scorpion). Graded success was also secured in Italy by Pour Vous Et Nous in the Grade 3 Premio Staffe d’Oro chase, adding to his Grade 2 victory over hurdles at Merano earlier in the year. There was plenty of success over obstacles at Listed level in November. The Goldford Stud-bred Chilli Filli gained a first black-type victory in the Bud Booth Mares’ Chase at Market

The TBA’s informative website www. is the go to place for industry updates. However, did you know that members can access exclusive information by logging into the members’ area? Members are able to access the most up to date fact sheets on a range of subjects from employment law, health and safety and workplace pensions. The TBA has, in conjunction with industry experts, produced an easy to use taxation guide and the breeder information page gives comprehensive guidance on a range of subjects, from walking your mare into a stallion stud or what to look for when considering a foal share. To make your annual membership renewal even easier, you can now pay via our website, and if you choose the recurring payment feature you will receive a discounted rate. There is even a step-by-step guide on our YouTube channel should you require any assistance with navigating the site. From paying for events and webinars to keeping up with the latest Brexit news, the TBA’s website is proving to be a platform of choice for those passionate about the thoroughbred breeding industry. Should you require any assistance with accessing the TBA website, please call Alix Jones at Stanstead House on 01638 661321.

Rasen, the Robert and Jackie Chugg-bred El Presente came home in front in the Badger Beers Trophy at Wincanton, and Llandinabo Lad took the Newton Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock Park in fine style. The gelding was bred by Peter Symonds and trained to success by his son Tom. In Ireland, Buildmeupbuttercup (Sixties Icon), who was bred by William Harrison-Allan, brought up her third win at the level in the Listed Grabel Mares Hurdle at Punchestown, and the Preston Lodge Stud-bred Presenting Percy (Sir Percy) got back to winning ways in the Listed Thurles Chase. Results up to and including November 30. Produced in association with GBRI.



TBA Forum Overbury Stud's Jack Hobbs was the busiest NH stallion in Britain in 2020

Elite the aim in the jumping game The old adage goes that in order to breed the best, you need to breed the best to the best. This saying is at the heart of the Elite Mares Scheme, which so far in its formative years has seen mares produce daughters that have obtained elite mare status, whilst the Graded performers are headed by the likes of Copperhead, Kateson and One For The Team. Funded through the HBLB, TBA members are incentivised to use British-based stallions with grants of up to £4,000 for mares that were rated 130 or higher on the track, or have progeny that have performed to a specified standard. Overbury Stud’s Simon Sweeting notes that the scheme is a benefit to both breeder and stallion owner, saying: “Ultimately the scheme helps breeders because it is not easy getting a National Hunt stallion started in the UK, as there are less mares in the UK than Ireland or France. If it means we can get better mares to the stallions at the beginning it means there is a better chance of getting good horses, attracting more mares that would otherwise go to Ireland or France, therefore more income is generated and available to be re-invested in new stallions. "The scheme helps to get the young


stallions started because it is the good mares that make the good stallions. It is very difficult for a young stallion to get going unless he has some good mares and it has got to help mare owners if it is saving them money. “It will take ten, possibly 15 years before the results are seen, but hopefully it will mean more, higher quality National Hunt stallions standing in the UK.” With Kayf Tara having been pensioned last summer, the Overbury roster is three-strong and includes Jack Hobbs, who with 134 mares was the busiest NH stallion in Britain in 2020. “A horse like Jack Hobbs had 29 elite mares in his first year [2018] and it will be a huge help to him,” said Sweeting. “I am sure there was a good percentage that stayed in this country to go to him, rather than head to other proven stallions in Ireland or France. Hopefully it will give Jack Hobbs a strong start.” On whether having these elite mares in a stallion’s first crop helps to showcase the sire’s stock, Sweeting was in agreeable mood, saying: “If, say, ten get into the sales, some of them will be good looking, and they will all be good enough quality on the page that people are going to want to see them. If the stallion is producing good-looking

stock, people are going to notice.” On the back of Thyme Hill’s recent Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle victory, Rosita Bay, the star mare amongst the six or seven NH broodmares owned by Overbury, has been elevated into the top category of mares. Currently in foal to Frontiersman through the scheme, Sweeting said: “I don’t know yet [who she will visit in 2021]. My line of thinking is that she has two Jack Hobbs, a colt and a filly, both very good foals, and is in foal to Frontiersman. “Frontiersman’s first foals were sensational – the inclination is to return to him. However, I will wait and see what the foal is like. I am also thinking about Schiaparelli, he has been on a great run and I would love to give him the chance with a mare of her quality.” With more mares’ races having been programmed along with black-type opportunities to test their abilities, the number of elite mares in Britain has increased, as had the standard of stallions available – 27 in 2021 – to British breeders. These are two important factors. British NH breeders should consider utilising the scheme – applications close on January 31 – which is not only a benefit to themselves, but also to the wider industry.

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As an example of the truism that jumps breeding is a long game, Thyme Hill fits the bill perfectly. The foundation of his reappearance success over Paisley Park in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, which merited the award to Overbury Stud as the TBA Breeder of the Month for November 2020, was laid almost 12 years ago. Overbury Manager Simon Sweeting recalls: “I first saw Rosita Bay, Thyme Hill’s dam, at the old Doncaster sales ring in January 2008, when I was underbidder to Richard Aston, who bought her for £7,500 for a lady called Janet Greenway. She had a lovely page, by Hernando, who is a fabulous stallion, out of the Juddmonte mare Lemon’s Mill, who was a tremendous racemare for Martin Pipe. “I never gave it another thought until Janet kindly sent her to Kayf Tara in 2008 and 2009, knowing I’d been the underbidder. Then, in 2011, she decided to get out of breeding and asked if I would take her. We agreed a deal and she came to Overbury. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity. “She came here very early in the year and went straight to Midnight Legend. The resulting foal, called Aspergillum, was probably the only bad Midnight Legend there’s ever been. How we managed that I’ve no idea. Then along came Thyme Hill, by Kayf Tara. “Thyme Hill was in the field when Bryan Murphy, who runs the famous Dunraven Arms hotel in Adare, County Limerick, took a look at him. Bryan came over for Philip Hobbs’s open day,



Simon Sweeting: breeder of Thyme Hill

he asked if he could come to Overbury. We arranged a deal and he bought him there and then. He didn’t make an awful lot of money, but the great thing is that selling to Bryan you know the horse is in good hands and will go on to a good trainer, which is exactly what has happened when he was sold privately to go into Philip Hobbs’s yard.” Thyme Hill has gone on to compile a record of five wins from eight races, progressing through the hurdle ratings by winning a couple of Grade 2s and the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle, and finishing fourth, beaten a length and a half, in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival. Meanwhile, Sweeting’s faith in Rosita Bay has been rewarded. Three successive years of misfortune after Thyme Hill might have prompted others to cut their losses, but Sweeting


explains: “I’m not that commercially minded. At times I wish I was, but thankfully we are able to carry a few extras for sentimental reasons. Well, that’s my excuse! “Luckily for me, Rosita Bay has clicked recently, with a foal in each of the last three years. She’s got a threeyear-old Dunaden colt, whom we sold in January 2019 for £6,000 to Highflyer, a lovely two-year-old filly and a yearling colt by Jack Hobbs, and she’s in foal to Frontiersman. “We will keep the Jack Hobbs colt until he’s three, and if he’s still in one piece, we’ll sell him then as a store. I very much want to keep the Jack Hobbs yearling filly. It’s difficult enough to find the right broodmare to do this job, and it would be a shame to let the family go. I will probably lease her to race, so that she can come back here and start producing some foals. “There is now a huge incentive for mares and the Great British Bonus scheme is going extremely well. I don’t think it would be particularly hard to find someone to lease her. Equally, if we took her to the sales, she would have plenty of value, but as long as I can afford to wait, that’s what I’ll do.” This will be the first year in 21 that Overbury has not had the services of Kayf Tara, who was formally retired last July due to declining fertility. Sweeting says: “At the age of 27, he remains in fine fettle and good health, but he’d been winding down for three or four years. We’d mentally adjusted to him not covering mares, and life goes on.” For Overbury, the future in National Hunt rests with Jack Hobbs, Schiaparelli and Frontiersman.



Vet Forum: The Expert View

Muscle strain injuries in racehorses

Sports requiring high speeds or rapid acceleration and deceleration such as football are a common setting for muscle strains in humans (see panel). Equine muscles are especially tested in heavy going, when jumping out of the stalls, or pulling up suddenly after fast work. Muscles are most frequently injured when contracting eccentrically (lengthening under tension) as they apply the brakes on the body and/or its parts. Eccentric contraction generates higher forces than concentric (shortening), which explains why our legs hurt more hiking down a mountain than up. Injury usually occurs due to inadequate strength and conditioning, or inaccurate timing, not from lack of flexibility. Acute injuries typically result from a single traumatic event, while the more common chronic (overuse) or exercise-induced injuries come about from repetitive micro-trauma over time when forces exceed the tensile capacity of tissue. Muscle strains are graded according to the proportion of muscle fibre disruption, which reflects the severity of injury. One prominent grading system is the British athletics muscle injury classification (see panel).

Acute strain of the transversus abdominis and external oblique muscles (abdominals) in a racehorse

pectorals in forelimbs; and in lumbar muscles and abdominals. Classic signs of inflammation may be observable in acute cases – swelling, heat, and pain reactions. Sometimes there is spasm, fasciculation (twitching), and palpable defects. Muscle atrophy (wastage) can be alarmingly quick, appearing within days. Signs of muscle strain range from subtle underperformance, to severe lameness depending on the grade of injury. The action is often stiff, and stride shortened – particularly obvious at walk (Figure 2). Acute presentation in the back and hindquarters can mimic signs of rhabdomyolysis (tying up); however a blood test for the muscle enzyme creatinine kinase (CK) can quickly separate the two conditions. Most muscle strains do not produce the massive increases in CK observed in rhabdomyolysis. In chronic muscle

strains signs may include persistent gait abnormalities, muscle atrophy, and palpable defects – lumps, dreadlock-style clumps, divots, and taut bands like guitar strings.


The history holds many clues about the injury. Physical examination focuses on gait assessment, muscle symmetry, and palpation. Ultrasonography can be useful for detecting haemorrhage, swelling, and fibre disruption, using the contralateral leg for comparison (Figures 1 and 2). It is also a valuable tool for monitoring healing, and for visualising tendinous avulsion of muscle at its bony attachment. Plain radiographs may be useful for identifying bony changes at attachment sites of muscles and may show areas of soft tissue swelling associated with a





he term ‘pulled muscle’ has an innocuous sound to it that does not reflect just how debilitating and painful this athletic injury can be. Muscle strain injuries are among the most common traumas seen in human sports medicine yet the incidence in racehorses and role in lameness and poor performance is, one suspects, underrecognised, due mainly to the inability of the horse to speak and the location of some injuries buried under tens of kilos of flesh beyond the reach of human touch or vision. Research into these injuries in horses is scant, however there is much to glean from human sports medicine. A greater appreciation of muscle strain injuries is important, as even minor impairment to locomotor muscle function can impede power output, coordination, stamina, willingness to train, and ultimately athletic performance on the racecourse.


In racehorses, muscle strain injuries are mostly seen in the gluteals, hamstrings, and adductors (inner thigh) in hindquarters; the biceps and


Acute strain of the tensor fascia lata and biceps femoris muscles (lateral thigh muscles) in a racehorse. Note the effect of gravity on oedema

Figure 1 This ultrasound image is from an Australian study the author was involved in (Walmsley and colleagues, AVJ, 2010). It was obtained four days after an injury to the gracilis muscle (inner thigh) and shows a large multiloculated, fluid filled cavity and fibre disruption consistent with recent haematoma (white arrows). The black arrows point to the border of the torn muscle. The horse successfully returned to racing ten weeks later and had a long career. Proximal is to the left

strain, but often appear normal. Magnetic resonance imaging, while useful in humans (see panel), is mostly limited to the distal limb in horses and therefore not applicable for investigating muscle strains since muscle fibres stop at the knee and hock. Computerised tomography is all but limited to the head and neck in adult horses, and bone scans, while sensitive, do not show detailed architecture of the injury. This is best seen with diagnostic ultrasound, which despite limitations (see panel) is the veterinary profession’s modality of choice for soft tissue injuries and the most cost-effective option.


Following muscle damage, regeneration occurs over three phases, starting with




Kate Hesse, Chartered Physiotherapist BPhysio, MSc (Vet Physio), MCSP, ACPAT(A)

Figure 2 This ultrasound image is from an Australian study the author was involved in (Walmsley and colleagues, AVJ, 2010). It shows a chronic partial tear of the left semitendinosus (part of the hamstrings) of a racehorse with a one-month history of hindlimb lameness of variable severity after fast work. Well defined echogenic areas are evident (arrows) indicating early fibrosis. Normal fibre pattern has been lost in much of the surrounding muscle. The horse successfully returned to racing after ten months, although at one year post-injury the trainer reported a slightly shortened cranial phase of stride. Lateral is to the left

a destruction phase and inflammatory response. The repair phase follows with activation and proliferation of satellite cells (muscle stem cells) capable of both hyperplasia (forming new muscle fibres) and fusing with damaged muscle fibres. Finally, a remodelling phase involves maturation of regenerated muscle fibres. When immature muscle fibres are forming between healthy parallel fibres, the load and direction of pull have an important influence on their alignment. In significant injuries involving the fascia


Initial management in the first 48-72 hours focuses on minimising bleeding within the muscle, hence box rest is so important, along with cryotherapy (e.g. hourly cold hosing or 10-15 minutes of ice). Under no circumstances should you rub, heat, stretch, stimulate or magnetise a fresh muscle injury; and although it is tempting to dust off that archaic therapeutic ultrasound machine, neither serviced nor calibrated since its manufacture decades ago, be warned. Electrical safety aside, you risk quite literally cooking the horse. In untrained hands at inappropriate doses, these machines can cause thermal damage to biological tissues, resulting in increased inelastic scar tissue. Vets may prescribe phenylbutazone, although judiciously so, because inflammation is essential for healing; a factor that needs careful balancing with the welfare issue of pain relief.


An appropriate regimen of movement is the best medicine for healing muscle, initiated once intramuscular bleeding has stopped. Early mobilisation stimulates capillary formation in the centre of the injured area, essential for recovery. Nerves will also regenerate inside the muscle. Movement protects against muscle atrophy, loss of strength, and




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that encapsulates muscle (white sheets of tissue as seen in steak), repair mostly occurs via fibrosis (Figure 2). It becomes the weakest point of the affected muscle in the first ten days, but subsequently adjacent muscle tissue is weaker. Both fibrosis and adhesions (tissues stuck together) have a higher risk of re-tearing, especially around their peripheries.

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Vet Forum: The Expert View ›› excessive scar tissue formation.

For racehorses, the first step is in-hand walking or cage turnout, monitored closely for signs of pain. Care must be taken as an over-vigorous, hasty approach risks disruption and delay to the repair process, while prolonged box rest can lead to bulky, disorganised scar tissue and general deconditioning. Horses cannot perform isolated movements, such as bicep curls, which is why neuromuscular electrical stimulation is helpful initially, by facilitating individual muscles to fire and increase in size and strength. Thereafter, functional activities

form the basis of rehabilitation such as walking in hand, on a walker, or treadmill; graduated ridden work; use of gradients and/or poles; and hydrotherapy (e.g. swimming or the sea walker).

for both the affected part and the whole horse. Failed treatment has been shown to delay return to play in sportsmen and women by weeks or months and predispose to re-injury.

Time required to heal

To stretch or not to stretch?

Usually muscle strains take 6-12 weeks to fully heal, but severe injuries can grumble away for 12 months. The notion that you can speed up healing is false. However, optimisation of healing is achievable – by correct management and adequate rehabilitation, which avoids setbacks and ultimately produces the best outcome,

In my 25 years as a physiotherapist, as the profession has evolved in line with scientific evidence, I have witnessed a big shift away from machines, increased emphasis on exercise rehabilitation, and a complete rethinking of stretching. Physiotherapy for muscle strains typically involves advice on injury management,

Human muscle injuries in elite sport Dr Jonathan Rees FRCP (UK), FFSEM (UK), MD is a consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine and Rheumatology. He has experience in all levels of sports medicine including elite level. He has published widely, particularly in the field of tendinopathy, in which he completed his award winning medical doctorate. He works in London and Cambridge

Muscle injuries in sport are extremely common. Accurate injury data is only available in select sports, however. Professional football has the most comprehensive injury data published. The UEFA elite study between 2001 - 2009 by Ekstrand and colleagues (AJSM, 2011) included data from 54 elite football clubs. Muscle injuries comprised 31% of all injuries. Of the muscle injuries identified, 92% occurred within the lower limb. Hamstring injuries at 37% were the most common, with 23% seen in adductors, 19% in quadriceps and 13% in the calf. Sixteen per cent were reinjuries and these had a 30% longer layoff.

Types of injury

Generally speaking muscle injuries are divided into injuries of the muscle body itself or avulsion injuries of the enthesis, i.e. where a muscle joins to a bone (via a tendon). Muscle body injuries are more commonly seen in an explosive power situation (e.g. sprinting). Avulsion injuries are more commonly seen in a sudden or excessive stretch.


Although ultrasound is often more readily available, it is generally not the best modality for assessing muscle injuries. When using ultrasound it can be difficult to reliably assess muscle oedema and loss of tension of the tendon. Ultrasound is however useful for assessing cross sectional area of tendon involvement and for a haematoma or seroma (pocket of fluid). It is also invaluable for guiding aspiration procedures. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is more reliable for assessing muscle injury. Using MRI it is possible to correlate the severity of hamstring muscle injuries with return to play in professional football (Ekstrand and colleagues, BJSM, 2012). More recently, the British athletics muscle injury classification system (Pollock and co-workers, BJSM,2014) has confirmed the importance of tendon involvement with muscle tear.


Any muscle injury will have a longer recovery time if there is involvement of the tendon additionally.


Numerous interventions have been used in an attempt to improve outcomes in acute hamstring injuries. These have included manipulation of the sacroiliac joint, slump stretching (mobilisation of nerves), Actovegin (an injectable biological drug), injection therapy (cortisone and platelet-rich plasma (PRP)), stretching exercises, anti-inflammatory agents, agility and trunk stabilisation, and resistance exercises. In a systematic review by Pas and colleagues (BJSM, 2015) a meta-analysis of lengthening and loading rehabilitative exercises in acute hamstring injuries showed a positive effect on return to play. Progressive agility and trunk stabilisation may also reduce injury rates. PRP is used on occasions in such injuries, particularly when they involve the tendon. Results of PRP have been variable but some studies have shown benefit. Historically, surgery has been little used in hamstring injuries, but it is becoming more common, particularly with avulsion injuries (Haddad, Bone Joint J, 2020).


Clearly prevention is better than treating an injury once it has occurred. Much work is currently being done on injury prevention. One such example is the FIFA 11+ prevention programme, which has been specifically designed to prevent football injuries. It consists of 15 exercises, takes 20 minutes to complete, and is designed to be performed twice a week. No specific equipment is needed, and it has been shown to reduce injury by 30% (Sadigursky and colleagues, BMC Sports Science, 2017).


Muscle injuries in sport are common and within professional football are the most common injuries seen. In football, hamstrings are the most commonly injured muscles. MRI scanning is the most reliable method of assessing such injuries and can be used to predict duration of injury prior to return to sport. More information is needed on treatment and treatment protocols for muscle injuries. Surgery has had a relatively limited role although is increasingly used for the avulsion type of injury in particular. There is great interest in injury prevention programmes.

ritual of static stretching before exercise is more of a habit based on tradition, not science. Time is better spent warming up – involving aerobic movements and dynamic stretching, which uses the athlete’s own sports-specific movements inside of normal range to induce a stretch.

exercise prescription, manual therapy to discourage adhesion formation, and gentle passive stretching to regain normal length and encourage hypertrophy (increase in size). Passive or static stretching, which involves lengthening relaxed muscle to its limit and holding it (usually 30 seconds), is best performed after exercise when tissues are warm and pliable. However, routinely stretching a horse’s limbs for injury prevention is not supported by scientific evidence. Recent studies in human sports medicine have found detrimental effects of stretching on performance and no reduction in risk of injury. When performed before exercise, stretching can make muscles weaker and slower due to a reaction in the nervous system, adversely affecting gait. Decreases in explosive performance can last up to 24 hours post stretching. Too much flexibility may have a negative impact on the elastic recoil capability of equine muscle essential for energy efficient locomotion. Except for sportsspecific preparation requiring extreme range of motion (e.g. gymnastics), the

small schooling hurdles for National Hunt racehorses.

Addressing risk factors

Prevention strategies for muscle injuries are best devised by addressing the causes. Inadequate warm-up, cold temperatures, insufficient strength, poorly timed contraction, fatigue, and incomplete recovery from previous injury are proven factors associated with muscle strain injuries in humans. Likely risk factors in the racehorse also include continued training in the face of low-grade lameness and insufficient training for the task.


Human athletes are increasingly shifting away from static stretching based warm-ups towards more dynamic injury prevention programmes, of which the FIFA 11+ is an excellent example (see panel). As well as dynamic stretching, it incorporates running, strengthening, and sprinting drills. Despite football (being very stop-start with rapid changes in direction) having different demands to horseracing, which mainly involves running fast in straight lines, around bends, and sometimes jumping over obstacles, the ethos of the FIFA 11+ is nonetheless applicable to racing. Gradual progression through walk, trot, and canter for at least 20 minutes before fast work or racing is a sensible foundation for warm-up, as is the use of poles and




The prognosis of even severe muscle strain injuries in horses is generally very good thanks to the resilience and responsiveness of muscle. However, as guardians of these animals we have much influence over the quality of muscle healing and a duty of care to ensure it is optimal. Until there is more research into this common athletic injury in racehorses, much can be learned from human experience to guide its management.

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The Finish Line with Sandy Thomson Sandy Thomson, 59, is the third generation to train from Lambden stables in Greenlaw, near Kelso, following his grandfather Moffat and father David, and is enjoying another successful season despite the complexities of Covid-19. Arguably most associated with dual Grade 2 winner Seeyouatmidnight, Thomson, a former championship-winning rugby player, is adept with staying chasers and found the key to the enigmatic Yorkhill, revitalising him to win the Rehearsal Chase at 66-1 in November. Interview: Andrew Scutts of the Racing Post


have had a full licence for eight or nine years, so this is still a relatively young career. It’s seven years ago that Seeyouatmidnight was beating Regal Encore at Hexham, with Ryan Mania in the saddle. The next afternoon Seldom Inn won the bumper at Newcastle. That was the start of it all really, although Netminder had won the novices’ handicap chase at the Scottish Grand National meeting the previous April.

Staying chasers tend to be the types we buy, and have success with. I think there are 15 former point-to-pointers here and 14 have won; Little Mo, who won at Hexham the other day, is one of them. They tend to suit us very well. The horses stay well with the way we train them, and my family has always done well with breeding and training staying chasers, such as Half Awake. They’re the type of horses we want.

Brian Hughes and Ryan [Mania] are two very different jockeys. Brian tends to like to scrape the paint and stick to the inside, is very strong in a finish, is good at doing his homework and knows the ins and outs of his opposition - he’s often got his laptop out when he is here. Ryan is very good over a fence, very aware of what’s going on in a race, and if the horse is good enough you have always got a very good chance with Ryan. They are different riders but both are very good.

We’re very fortunate – we’re trying to improve the quality and quantity and are about 50-strong at the moment. There’s room for more, and you always have horses coming and going, but 50 is a nice number. We’ve had a few setbacks, but on the whole the horses are running well, which is good. There’s nothing worse than when they’re not. With the numbers we have, training is full-time; it’s been five or six years since I did any farming, it’s all subcontracted now, we haven’t the time.

I was very happy for Yorkhill at Newcastle in November, when he won the Rehearsal Chase at 66-1. Aintree hadn’t gone to plan but he’d been off for a long time and it was his first run for us. Confidence is a big thing and it can take time to get it back. We also have some nice novice chasers; we have three rated 134 or 135 – The Ferry Master, Empire Steel and Elf De Re – and in addition there is Seemorelights and Sir William Wallace.

I’m lucky with the team of staff we have here; they are getting older and that might be a problem in five years’ time. Younger staff don’t seem to have the same amount of riding experience as in the past; there’s a lack of hunting or common riding in their backgrounds. I’m looking for an amateur to ride one in about three weeks’ time as we speak and I just don’t know of one in the north; they tend to turn conditional. As of now we have good riders here, and good riders make good horses, there’s no doubt

about that, on and off the track. Our experience during Covid-19 has not been too bad in terms of owners and horses, and we’re coming through it. Luckily we’re still being sent horses and our owners are very sound. We don’t have too many syndicate-owned horses in the yard, and I think that is an area that perhaps may be suffering a bit more due to the pandemic; it’s your average man in the street who before may have been able to afford a share but might not any more. Racing in Scotland is in a reasonably healthy state, I would say. The tracks mainly all do a good job and put what money they can into prize-money, and do what they can for owners. Ayr is the biggest disappointment. Owners get a great lunch, but it goes downhill rapidly from there. It’s a scrum for owners and trainers and annual members, and the prize-money is poor for a Grade 1 track. My late father [David] was Chairman for many years at our local course Kelso, which is ten minutes away, and they put a lot of their money into the races. The ownership experience has perhaps not quite kept pace with where it was ten years ago, say, but for a course like that it’s more of a choice between prizemoney and facilities; it’s probably not feasible to improve both at the same time.


Yorkhill and Ryan Mania cause an upset for the Sandy Thomson stable in the Rehearsal Chase


The odd course takes the mickey a bit and gives you as little as they can get away with; people would mention ARC, and Wetherby. It’s a bit frustrating at the moment for horses rated, say, 125 to 140; that is where a few problems lie as they’re racing for £10,000 to £12,000 when it should be £16,000 or more. It’s a shame for those horses and their owners. The Northern Lights series was a good initiative, and it was such a shame that racing got shut down shortly before the finals were due to take place at Musselburgh in March. Each race would have been run for £35,000.

Proven Gr.1 Sire With his biggest and highest quality crop to run in 2021

Colt ex Anice Stellato

Colt ex Majestic Alexander

Colt ex Granola

Sold for 150,000gns at Tattersalls Book 2. Goes into training with John Gosden.

Topped the second day of the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale when selling for ÂŁ115,000.

Sold for 70,000gns to Blandford Bloodstock. Half-brother to Listed placed Brunch.

Colt ex Never In

Colt ex Ripples Maid

Colt ex Liberty Chery

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Sold for 50,000gns at Tattersalls Book 2. Half-brother to Gr.2 winner Mikki Charm.

Sold for 50,000gns at Tattersalls Book 2. Goes into training with Robert Cowell.

15 STAKES HORSES to date including Gr.1 winner Havana Grey and dual Gr.3 winner Treasuring

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A bright, blue future Iffraaj’s best-ever crop will be two-year-olds in 2021. Exciting: he’s already sired two Champion juveniles.

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Golden Horn


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