Â£5.95 JUNE 2020 ISSUE 190
The joy of spring Kameko is king of the Rowley Mile
Mark Weinfeld, Meon Valley Stud
“We are delighted with our foal. He has strong quarters, a deep chest, moves very well and is very active. He takes the eye.” COLT EX LIKEABLE (DALAKHANI)
Joe Foley, Ballyhane Stud
“I’ve seen four of his foals, including two colts born on the farm out of Indian Ink and Hot Stone, who reminds me very much of Showcasing, and they are all very nice. They’re strong, quality types – there’s plenty to like.”
Ed Player, Whatton Manor Stud
“We’re thrilled with him. He’s a good size, just a strong, quality foal with good limbs and has a real presence.” COLT EX FEINT (TEOFILO)
Dwayne Woods, Brook Stud
“He’s totally correct with great size and scope. We’re very pleased with him.” COLT EX VIOLA DA BRACCIO (VETTORI)
Richard Tucker, Nelson Farm Stud
“She’s a lovely, athletic, strong filly with scope. I’m delighted with her.”
FILLY EX ROYAL BLUSH (ROYAL APPLAUSE)
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Racing’s show returns despite missing cast members
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£5.95 JUNE 2020 ISSUE 190
The joy of spring Kameko is king of the Rowley Mile
Cover: Qatar Racing’s Kameko and Oisin Murphy capture the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on June 6 Photo: Edward Whitaker
Edward Rosenthal Editor
he sight of the Roger Fell-trained duo Zodiakos and Al Ozzdi battling it out up the straight mile at Newcastle brought cheer to racing devotees all over the country. Racing had returned, after a ten-week break, and June 1 signalled a new chapter for the sport in Britain. Yet, as more and more horses emerge from their forced hibernations and the action intensifies as we move into summer, there can be little doubt of the impact that Covid-19 has had on our sport as we all come to grips with what has been labelled as the ‘new normal’. While many tracks are back up and running, staging meetings behind closed doors, others have been mothballed as the big racecourse groups, deprived of significant income, try to manage fixtures as economically as possible while adhering to safety protocols. The settings may be familiar to us but some of the scenes are definitely not. This reality hit home at the Guineas meeting as Kameko and Love became Classic winners in front of empty stands, the paying public kept away with only essential staff permitted to be present on the Rowley Mile. Edward Whitaker’s remarkable photograph (The Big Picture, pages 14-15) shows Qatar Racing’s Kameko and Oisin Murphy leading home 14 rivals in front of just a handful of watchers, including the colt’s groom, Marie Perrault. When was the last time the runners on track outnumbered the spectators? Racehorse owners, through a combination of devotion and deep pockets, have ensured the sport can continue in its revised form, despite being denied the opportunity to watch their own horses at the races. The safety-first approach to hosting sporting events in the current environment is of course essential but it must be hoped that owners are allowed back to the track before long. It’s time for the racecourses to be proactive – within government guidelines – and find a way to accommodate those who have enabled the show to restart.
As the cogs in the British racing machine start to turn with greater speed, so muchneeded money will start to flow back into the sport. Prize-money during the initial weeks of resumption has taken a significant hit, though, sensibly, racing’s rulers have tried to protect purses at the middle to lower levels, with topend races seeing the biggest cuts. The Levy Board and Racing Foundation have produced a multi-million pound support package to alleviate the financial pressure felt by many groups in racing, notably racecourses, while the commitment of the British European Breeders’ Fund, which is contributing £1.68 million of prize-money enhancements to
“The runners on track outnumbered the spectators at the Guineas” Flat races in 2020, has never been more appreciated by the industry. A new incentive scheme – the Great British Bonus – has been launched to promote the purchasing and racing of fillies that carry the GB suffix. At a time when the sales houses are working out how to conduct business within Covid-19 restrictions, anything that could help stimulate demand can only be a positive development. Regular readers of Owner Breeder will have noticed that recent issues have been dropping through their letterbox later than usual. Like many businesses in the current climate, we have taken measures to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and hope to return to normal service, in terms of production and delivery of the magazine, later this year.
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
News & Views
ROA Leader New chapter starts
TBA Leader Fair funding required
News Great British Bonus launched
Changes News in a nutshell
Howard Wright Racing in the year 2045
Features 14 20
Dr Statz Kitten's Joy an elite sire
Racing in 2020 New order for the campaign ahead
Glennwood Farm John and Tanya Gunther's operation
Breeding during Covid-19 Weathering the storm
Sales prep Consignors resilient
Foals in focus Care from birth to weaning
With top jockey Flavien Prat
Breeders' Digest Rescuing the breeze-up season
Looking to the future
The Finish Line
The Big Picture Guineas action at Newmarket
Forum ROA Forum Prize-money protected at lower levels
TBA Forum Kayf Tara still number one
Vet Forum 24
Foot issues in racehorses
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THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
At the ROA we work tirelessly to support, protect and promote the interests of racehorse owners everywhere. We collaborate across the industry to make sure that owners’ voices are heard within racing – making it a more open, enjoyable and rewarding sport for everyone. SUPPORTING YOUR OWNERSHIP JOURNEY AT EVERY STEP. DISCOVER HOW - ROA.CO.UK
SUPPORT AT EVERY STEP
Nicholas Cooper President
Racing and ROA both begin new chapters A
time to reflect and a time to look forward; following racing’s much-anticipated resumption in early June, I now prepare to hand over the reins as ROA President to Charlie Parker after four fascinating years. It is a period that has seen many changes in racing, none more so than those brought about by this coronavirus pandemic from which we are, thankfully, gradually emerging. Now, with our almost total reliance on the Levy Board for prize-money, it is ironic to think the racing industry, only two years ago, was positively willing the board’s demise as it prepared for the industry’s central funding function to be replaced by a Racing Authority. For a long time the inevitability of this was not in doubt, yet, when the carpet was eventually pulled from beneath us by a group of cross-party MPs and peers, racing’s response to the re-instatement of the Levy Board was generally one of acceptance. For, whatever its perceived imperfections, the levy was seen then, and remains, a well-run, unbiased ‘safe pair of hands’. Moreover, with one of its key loopholes having been closed when the government of the day decreed that UK bets processed by offshore bookmakers should come within the scope of the levy, suddenly a £50m levy yield in 2016-17 increased to a £95m yield in 2017-18. Even so, the levy’s contribution to prize-money was already being comfortably exceeded by racecourse contributions, the racecourses having enjoyed a huge improvement in their finances during the past decade with the growth of media rights payments, largely based on pictures in betting shops. With the current closure of shops seriously damaging this crucial source of funding, it is not the best time to dwell on the fact that we have long felt aggrieved that racecourses treat this money as their own, rather than money to be spent at the behest of the whole industry. Neither do we have the transparency surrounding these figures necessary for racing to produce a proper financial model. It is largely due to media rights payments – combined with constant pressure from the ROA – that prize-money levels have continued to make great strides, going from a total of £138m in 2016 to a record £166m in 2018 and only slightly less at £162m in 2019. At the same time, an appearance money scheme has produced a more equitable spread of the funds available, while helping with the retention of horses in training. My time as President has also seen the emergence of the all-important free-to-air contract with ITV – long may it
continue – while we can only applaud the development of a proper UK Tote, with a strategy to carve out a pool-betting niche in this country, at the same time exploiting the exciting possibilities of co-mingling throughout the world. On a domestic level, the ROA was going from strength to strength before coronavirus hit. With many active Board members working with Charlie Liverton and his excellent team, I can look back over a period that has seen record membership, the implementation of a new database and IT framework, vital work being carried out to retain and grow ownership through the Ownership Strategy for British Horseracing, and a move to a new low-cost office in Reading.
“Sustaining this industry will take a humongous effort especially with Brexit yet to be resolved” In my time, the ROA has also done a huge amount to improve the treatment of owners on the racecourse, while supporting the increasing momentum behind the welfare of horses. Along with the rest of the world, British racing will be facing many challenges when the pandemic has passed. Sustaining this industry with all its many facets will take a humongous effort, especially with the fall-out from Brexit yet to be resolved. I am, however, confident that I leave the ROA strong enough to meet these challenges under the leadership of Charlie Parker, to whom I send my best wishes. And to you, the owners, thank you for listening. Meet new ROA President Charlie Parker in ROA Forum, page 60.
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
The TBA, with you for the journey We invest significantly in equine health, veterinary research and development projects, in fact over ÂŁ2.1m in the last decade alone.
We are currently contributing to important parasitic worms research, early pregnancy loss studies, EHV vaccine development and the Equine Infectious Disease Service. We are also instrumental in the delivery of the HBLB Codes of Practice, key to maintaining the health and welfare of British bloodstock.
Why wouldnâ€™t you support us?
Julian Richmond-Watson Chairman
Fighting fit association requires full funding T
he Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association has been the linchpin and co-ordinator of all breeding industry issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the immediate aftermath of the government’s announcement about the national lockdown from March 24, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons chose to exclude thoroughbred breeding from its recommended list of essential activities to vets, and the British Equine Veterinary Association felt compelled to follow suit. At that point, therefore, veterinarians were being advised by their associations not to carry out any reproductive work on equines, a most worrying development given the time of year and the specific seasonal nature of thoroughbred breeding. However, the TBA team worked incredibly hard to obtain ‘tacit’ approval to continue the covering season, and took advice from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss to develop the protocols that all breeders have now used as routine on stallion farms. They allowed vets to use their discretion and later to risk assess the situation for themselves. The TBA, which introduced a special Covid-19 hub on its website, also helped to create an online system that dealt with visiting mares, so that there was no need for contact between those personnel visiting the stallion farm and the stallion stud’s staff receiving the mare. Social distancing at its best! I have little doubt that if the TBA had not been fully pro-active, and without having previously built up an excellent relationship with Defra, the thoroughbred breeding season would have been interrupted for a considerable length of time. The TBA has also been represented on almost all Covid-19 racing industry committees – this has been enormously timeconsuming but essential work to ensure that the breeder’s voice is heard when important decisions are made. Breeders are the ‘supply side’ of the industry, and the recent pandemic has highlighted the fragility of this once again. Everyone knows the world is going to look very different for some years to come, but without breeders and breeders’ confidence, there is a real risk that horse numbers will drop to a level that cannot begin to sustain the sport at the present level. There may well be changes and substantial casualties ahead, and on behalf of its members the TBA needs to be fully engaged with the industry as it reviews its future. The first step towards securing a more positive future for the industry is the recently announced Great British Bonus scheme, which has been designed to reward winning connections of registered British-bred fillies and mares in qualifying races. Never has there been a time when an industry scheme has been needed
so much. Breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, stable staff and pinhookers can all benefit from GBB prizes, supporting those who are invested in the future health of our industry. The substantial prizes should increase demand amongst potential purchasers for fillies, increasing the numbers in training, and testing their ability on the racecourse before their selection for breeding. It is hoped that with cross-industry support, the scheme can help determine a long-term sustainable future not only for the breed, but also for British breeders and the industry. There are any number of other threats to our industry such as equine influenza, equine herpes and African horse sickness, not to mention as yet unknown diseases in both humans and equines. The fall-out from Brexit is not going to make life any easier, while
“Never has there been a time when an industry scheme has been needed so much” welfare issues and the US Jockey Club’s decision to limit stallions to 140 covering certificates have to be addressed by the TBA on behalf of British breeders. It has been encouraging and rewarding to receive messages of thanks from so many members for the hard work and long hours put in by the TBA team, but we need recognition that those who benefit most from thoroughbred production should help finance the association on an ongoing and sustainable basis. Support should be in proportion to the size and scale of the breeding operation involved and the benefits it obtains from the work the TBA does on behalf of breeders based in Britain. We are your TBA and it is in everyone’s interest that we are properly and equably funded to represent the interests and safeguard the British breeding industry.
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
Great British Bonus launched
Self-help scheme set to boost racing of fillies and mares under both codes
welcome ray of light has been cast on the bloodstock landscape with the recent launch of the Great British Bonus (GBB). Promoted by the TBA, the GBB is an industry-wide scheme that awards significant bonuses of up to £20,000 to the connections of qualified fillies should they win an eligible race. Open to British-bred fillies under both codes, it is predominantly funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) alongside registration fee income from owners and breeders and replaces the two current schemes, Plus10 and NH MOPS. British-bred two-year-old fillies already paid up for Plus10 will be transferred over to GBB automatically as will those fillies and mares already registered to NH MOPS. To ensure 100% eligibility, the filly in Sands Of Time strikes on debut at Lingfield to earn connections a bonus question has to be British-bred and by a which would be a major shot in the arm of racing in early June, with the first British-based stallion. for the sport. £20,000 bonus won by Kisten Rausing’s However, a filly can be eligible to win There is no restriction on how homebred two-year-old filly Sands 50% of a prize if she is British-bred and many bonuses a qualified filly can win, Of Time, a daughter of Lanwades by a stallion standing abroad. In other presenting the enticing possibility of resident Bobby’s Kitten. A share words, the scheme is not exclusive multiple bonus payouts. of the winning bonus will also to just British-based breeders; Scheme Manager Grant Pritchardbe split between the breeder, anyone can be involved Gordon outlined just how valuable the trainer, jockey and stable staff providing their filly foal carries a new incentive could become for the connected with the horse. GB suffix. British bloodstock industry, particularly The number of eligible For fillies born in 2019 at this moment in time. races for 2020 depends on the and 2020, there are three “The two TBA Economic Impact structure of the revised racing registration stages to ensure Studies of 2018 [conducted by programme. However, scheme eligibility; as a foal, as a yearling PricewaterhouseCoopers] had already co-ordinators are confident and as a two- (for Flat-bred highlighted that 66% of breeders lost that hundreds of races fillies) or three-year-old money annually,” Pritchard-Gordon says, will be available (for jumps-bred “and that was at a time of rising yearling under both codes fillies). Registration averages. this season, with payments start “With the likely financial pressures many more from £200. from Covid-19 now on the industry, coming under Yearlings and owners and breeders alike will need the umbrella in foals of 2020 every assistance to survive. The most future years; both have until important ambition is to at least indeed, the August 31 to be maintain the landscape. We must 2022 season registered for not lose the small breeders, who are could feature Stage 1. responsible for 33% of the foal crop.” the payout The He adds: “The two outstanding of at least scheme features of the scheme are that winning £3 million took effect a bonus of £20,000 will nearly pay for in winning upon the Grant Pritchard-Gordon: a full year’s training fees. The ability to bonuses, resumption ‘GBB scheme provides lifeline’
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
Stories from the racing world
Mendelssohn: Grade 1 winner covered 252 mares in 2019
win multiple bonuses gives longevity to hopes and aspirations for registered owners to cover even more training fees in following years, or reinvest.” While the connections of a winning filly stand to gain initially from a bonus, the scheme also has the potential to benefit differing tiers of the industry. “I am sure that the introduction of the GBB scheme will be habit changing,” says Pritchard-Gordon. “Owners and trainers will take a much closer look at British-bred fillies and mares in the sale ring, with values likely to be increased. Owners and breeders will feel more confident about the finances of racing a filly with a treasured pedigree that they want to retain. “Successful breeders will see better prices in the ring for their fillies, while also earning valuable bonuses themselves. British trainers, stable staff and jockeys will earn from every bonus won. Pinhookers from both Great Britain and overseas will focus more on GBB-eligible stock. British stallions should benefit from increased patronage. “With the uncertainties over Brexit and other pandemic threats, it is essential that British breeders are able to provide replacement stock for the future racing programme. At the moment, we produce around half of that requirement, but it is vital that British racing does not become even more dependent on imported stock. “Change may not be immediate, but I am sure that there will be a growing groundswell of awareness of the lifeline that the GBB scheme provides.” He adds: “This is certainly a landmark achievement. Without doubt, this is the most comprehensive selfhelp scheme to have been introduced for both British owners and breeders. I believe that the TBA board have been very astute in combining one scheme to support both Flat and jump racing and breeding. “While the driving force has been the TBA, this scheme would never have happened without full industry support. The ROA board were unanimous in supporting the scheme and have had input throughout. The BHA and Weatherbys were fully involved at every stage and their guidance was absolutely invaluable. “Most importantly, the HBLB have been integral in development, with their commitment of levy funding being vital to getting the scheme off the ground.” Registration and further information is available at www.greatbritishbonus.co.uk.
US mare cap plan in motion A controversial ruling came one step closer to becoming reality last month as the American Jockey Club confirmed that it will proceed with plans to impose a 140 mare cap on books for stallions standing in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. The move was first proposed in September in an effort to address a declining degree of diversity within the thoroughbred gene pool. According to Jockey Club statistics, a total of 43 stallions covered 140 mares or more in the US last year. Between them, their books comprised 7,415 mares (27% of the total mare population covered) compared to 5,894 (9.5% of the total) in 2007. The joint busiest stallions were American Triple Crown hero Justify and the former Aidan O’Brien-trained Mendelssohn, both new recruits to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud for the 2019 season who covered 252 mares each. Six other American stallions covered 200 or more mares in 2019, namely fellow Ashford residents Uncle Mo (241), Munnings (202) and Practical Joke (200) and the Spendthrift Farm trio of Into Mischief (241), Goldencents (239) and Bolt D’Oro (214). However, the new ruling will only come into effect for those stallions born in 2020 or thereafter, meaning that those currently busy horses will be exempt. “The Jockey Club is grateful for the
many thoughtful comments in response to its September rule proposal,” the registry said in a statement. “The stewards carefully considered those comments in formulating a rule that will promote diversity of the Thoroughbred gene pool and protect the long-term health of the breed. “The Jockey Club will continue to maintain the principal rules and requirements of the American Studbook in keeping with its mission to ensure the health of the thoroughbred breed.” The announcement has divided the American industry, with some participants encouraged that such action has been taken, for all that it will take several years to kick in. Others point to an unwelcome restriction in free trade. In Europe, there were 44 stallions that covered in excess of 140 mares during the 2019 season. Of those, eight Flat stallions covered in excess of 200 mares – Coolmore’s quartet of Australia (229), Churchill (214), Sioux Nation (241) and Zoffany (216), Juddmonte’s Kingman (235), Ballyhane Stud’s Dandy Man (215), Tally-Ho Stud’s Kodiac (215) and Ballylinch Stud’s Lope De Vega (207). The busiest European stallions overall were Coolmore’s National Hunt residents Order Of St George and Soldier Of Fortune, whose books consisted of 275 mares apiece.
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
Further evidence of a growing confidence behind the process of selling horses online came to the fore last month at the latest renewal of the Inglis Chairman’s Sale in Australia, at which an enthusiastic trade saw four lots break the Aus$1 million mark. Devoted to elite breeding stock, the sale came a month after a highly encouraging first digital renewal of Inglis’ flagship yearling auction, the Australian Easter Sale. Similarly to that event, the Chairman’s Sale attracted a high-profile and international array of buyers, among them the British-based Watership Down Stud, buying in conjunction with McKeever Bloodstock, and Badgers Bloodstock. Once private sales had cleared through the system, Inglis could take much satisfaction from an average price of A$433,704 – which represented a marginal increase on the previous year – on 54 horses that sold for a total of A$23,420,000. The median stayed level with 2019 on A$280,000. The only low spot was the clearance rate of 64%, a figure far removed from the high levels usually attained at Australian auctions but an unsurprising one in light of the current outside world. The Group 1-winning mare In Her Time led the way, selling for A$2 million out of the Yarraman Park Stud draft to Newgate Bloodstock, the purchaser of nine lots overall for a total of A$4,695,000. An exceptional sprinter who was bought in for just A$38,000 as a yearling, In Her Time was trained by Ben Smith to
Inglis Chairman’s Sale shows the way
Simon Marsh: buying power down under
win the ATC Galaxy Handicap and then by Kris Lees to take the VRC Lightning Stakes. Coolmore’s Tom Magnier also made his presence felt, going to A$1.8 million for Group 1 winner and stakes producer Samaready and A$1.6 million for another fast Group 1 winner Booker. Both mares are slated to visit American Triple Crown hero Justify, a shuttler to Coolmore’s Australian arm. “There were some outstanding results in what is obviously an extremely challenging time for people globally so to effectively reach the same figures of last year in terms of average and median is extremely satisfying,” said Inglis’ Managing Director Mark Webster. “Despite the difficult times with Covid-19, to sell four mares for in excess of A$1 million is a great result for a lot of people and a sign of confidence for our marketplace.” A healthy injection of international
European sales schedule
The breeze-up sales calendar has undergone further revisions as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the current season. Already heavily delayed, the combined Arqana and Goffs UK Breeze-Up Sales will now be held at Doncaster on June 28-July 1, having previously been set to go ahead at Goffs in Ireland. Restrictions will be placed on the number of people attending the sale and all buyers who wish to attend must first register their interest with Goffs UK. Goffs UK Managing Director Tim Kent commented: “The teams at Arqana and Goffs UK are doing everything we can to stage successful breeze-up sales so holding them in Doncaster will make logistics far simpler. “The extra time between breeze and sale acknowledges the additional challenges for buyers this year. In addition we will be offering a new online sale facility for those who cannot attend for which registrations will be taken in the week prior to sale.”
interest also included participation from Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber’s Watership Down Stud. Acting in conjunction with McKeever Bloodstock, the Berkshire-based stud paid A$210,000 for the triple-winning and Listed-placed mare Fine Scent in foal to Justify. By All Too Hard – Black Caviar’s Group 1-winning half-brother and now a successful sire – the five-year-old is a half-sister to Golden Slipper Stakes winner Polar Success. Fine Scent is the first Australianbased mare for Watership Down Stud and plans now call for her to visit the Lloyd Webbers’ homebred champion Too Darn Hot in his first season shuttling to Darley’s Kelvinside base in New South Wales. “We had a good look at the catalogue and Johnny McKeever, who is in Australia, went and looked at most of the mares on the farm,” said the stud’s General Manager Simon Marsh. “This mare had the kind of profile that jumped out at us. She’s Listed-placed from a good family and some of her half-sisters are now producing stakes winners. And she’s in foal to a brilliant and undefeated Triple Crown winner in Justify. I think she should really suit Too Darn Hot. “The videos and photos that were available online promoting the mares were very, very good. You definitely got a good idea of the horse. From my own perspective, I learnt a bit and we’ll be looking to increase our video promotion of our yearlings later in the year.”
UPDATED EUROPEAN SALES SCHEDULE JUNE & JULY* Sale Date/Venue Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Tattersalls Ascot Breeze-Up
June 22-25, Newmarket June 22-25, Newmarket
Arqana May Breeze-Up
June 28-July 1, Doncaster
Goffs UK Breeze-Up
June 28-July 1, Doncaster
Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up
July 6-8, Newmarket
Tattersalls July Sale
July 8-10, Newmarket
Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale
July 13-17, Fairyhouse
Tattersalls Ireland May Store Sale
July 13-17, Fairyhouse
Arqana Summer Sale
July 20-21, Deauville
Tattersalls Ireland Goresbridge Breeze-Up July 24, Fairyhouse Goffs UK Spring Store/HIT/P2P
July 28-30, Doncaster
Goffs UK August Sale
July 28-30, Doncaster *As of June 8
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
An eye for success
visit studlife online: tweenhills.com/studlife
ZOU-STAR TRIO RETIRED TO STUD Three of Zoustar’s best performers have been retired to stud in Australia, including triple Gr.1 winner Sunlight who heads to the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast in July. “She’s probably one of the highestcredentialled mares to go for sale in Australia for a long, long time,” said
Magic Millions’ managing director Barry Bowditch. Zousain and Sun City will both now take up stallion duties, the former alongside his sire at Widden. Zoustar himself covered another full book of quality mares at Tweenhills this year and we cannot wait to see his first Northern Hemisphere offspring race in 2022.
TWEENHILLS FOAL GALLERY Check out our new Gallery showcasing foals by Tweenhills stallions: tweenhills.com/foal-gallery Roaring Lion ex Simple Verse filly
rs of our Bell colt – one of the sta Roaring Lion ex Mountain Tales account on Twitter ghbred week hosting the Thorou Zoustar ex La Rioja colt
Zoustar ex Lightening Quick filly
Roaring Lion ex Kiyoshi filly
STAFF PROFILE Adam Brookes
Racing Analyst and Bloodstock Assistant How have you spent lockdown? I have been watching plenty of replays to refresh my memory on all the key horses for when racing returns; making sure I know which fillies are on the cusp of black type too. As a punter, it will be fascinating to see if any of the angles I thought were there pre-lockdown remain. What do you do away from racing? I listen to lots of music and play guitar at every given opportunity. I enjoy running (which has kept me sane – well sort of – the last few months) and playing football and golf. Sadly, weeks of staying at home hasn’t done much for my FIFA game.
Stud Secretary Karen Smith out photographing foals
Give us some horses to follow… Naturally, we are all excited about Kameko but I’ll pick Enemy as my colt to watch; he travelled like a very smart horse on debut and I think his pedigree blend will make him a miler. The scopey Run Wild is a filly to keep on side in mile to mile and a quarter Stakes races.
Top Gear eeding males, Tweenhills br r ou of e on – ll bu of A load
Tweenhills, Hartpury, Gloucestershire, GL19 3BG W: www.tweenhills.com T: + 44 (0) 1452 700177 M: + 44 (0) 7767 436373 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
People and business ITV Racing
Over 1.5 million people tune in to watch Kameko win the 2,000 Guineas while over a million watched Love claim the 1,000 Guineas.
US-based trainer loses ten horses after the vehicle they were travelling in crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Leading owner and breeder donates £50,000 to Newmarket’s Covid-19 Fund that helps local residents during the pandemic.
New online-only sales facility will hold its first auction immediately after the Doncaster Summer Sale that is set to be held July 28-30.
Famous race that dates back to 1599 will not be run this year with Carlisle racecourse closed over the summer.
York’s Group 2 contest, usually seen as a key Derby trial, will this year be run after the Epsom Classic, on July 9.
Racing Victoria stewards charge the trainer after one of his horses returned a swab that breached permissible cobalt levels.
Merger of Flutter, owner of Paddy Power and Betfair, and The Stars Group, which owns Sky Bet, creates company worth more than £10 billion.
Will ride as second jockey to Steve Parkin’s Clipper Logistics operation behind Danny Tudhope.
Former Curragh racecourse boss is appointed Chief Operating Officer at Al Shaqab Racing.
Racehorse and stallion
Movements and retirements Nadal
Unbeaten three-year-old colt for the Bob Baffert stable, thought of as a Kentucky Derby contender, is retired due to injury.
The Lir Jet
Two-year-old son of Prince Of Lir, an impressive debut scorer at Yarmouth, is purchased by Sheikh Fahad for his Qatar Racing team.
Stepping down as Chairman of the Professional Jockeys Association after eight years.
Relocates to Woodbine, Canada and enjoys a winner on his first ride as a regular member of the jockey colony on 14-1 chance Majestic Fever.
Aquis Farm announces that the Group 1 winner will stand at its Canungra base in Queensland for the 2020 breeding season.
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
Racing’s news in a nutshell
Tony Biddlecombe 81
Champion amateur rider in 1961-62 whose brother Terry was also a top jump jockey.
John Whittaker 69
Non-executive Chairman of Stanleybet having previously been Chief Executive.
Sir John Sparrow 86
Levy Board Chairman between 1991-98.
John Morgan 90
Yorkshire Evening Post racing correspondent for more than 50 years. He started working for the newspaper aged 14 in 1944.
Peter Sayer 80
The Jockey Club’s senior clerk of the scales between 1993-2005 who had been in racing administration all of his working life.
Brian Kennedy 77
Successful breeder at Meadowlands Stud in County Down who produced 1999 Cherry Hinton Stakes heroine Torgau.
Brilliant dirt performer, winner of the inaugural Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup in 2017, dies in his third year at stud.
Flagship Uberalles 26
Winner of the 2002 Queen Mother Champion Chase for Michael Krystofiak and Elisabeth Gutner before later being sold to JP McManus.
Gordon Lord Byron 12
Popular gelding for the Tom Hogan stable, winner of 16 races including three Group 1s and over £1.9 million in prize-money.
Mick Curran 54
Looked after Derby winner Golden Horn and outstanding miler Kingman during his time working for trainer John Gosden.
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
The Big Picture Silent victory A Guineas meeting unlike any other on record was staged at Newmarket in June. With spectators kept away due to Covid-19, the victory of Qatar Racingâ€™s Kameko in the 2,000 Guineas was watched live by just a handful of people, including groom Marie Perrault, seen celebrating as her charge passes the post in front under Oisin Murphy. Trainer Andrew Balding, Murphy and Perrault can rarely have experienced such silent scenes following big-race success. Photos Edward Whitaker
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QIPCO 2,000 Guineas
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Love conquers all The ability of Galileo’s progeny to improve markedly from two to three was again in evidence in the 1,000 Guineas. Love (right) had finished third behind Quadrilateral in the Fillies’ Mile on her final two-year-old start but looked a different filly at Newmarket on June 7, storming home four and a quarter lengths clear of Cloak Of Spirits with old rival Quadrilateral a head away in third. It was a seventh strike in the Classic for owners Coolmore, a sixth for trainer Aidan O’Brien and a fourth for jockey Ryan Moore. Photo Alan Crowhurst
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The Howard Wright Column
Coronavirus set to shape racing’s future
Derby day: sure to look very different in 2020 and beyond
t’s Derby Day, Saturday, June 3, 2045. Young Jimmy Smith clambers on to his grandfather John’s knee as they prepare to watch the highlight of the racing year through personal 4D viewer headsets, and asks: “What did you do in the great Covid-19 war, grandad?” John replies: “I was a work rider for one of the biggest stables in Newmarket and also drove the box to the racecourse.” He goes on to recall the strange events of 2020, when once racing came back from a two-month absence, the big summer races came along in an unusual sequence, there were no crowds and no owners on course, no touching among the few people allowed to attend, and no flying dismounts from Frankie Dettori for fear of inadvertently landing on a socially-distanced bystander. “We had to go through some extraordinary procedures to get on the racecourse,” John adds, “such as being tested for the virus before, during and after racing, washing our hands every time we went in and out of a building, taking our own packed lunches, and wearing masks wherever we went. Crazy, but at least racing got going again.” Twenty-five years on and racing is still going, but in a very different form, with most of the changes traceable to the
aftermath of Covid-19 and its impact on every aspect of life in Britain. Most significantly, the multi-faceted BHA was replaced by singular representation under a new British Racing Authority. At last, the question of who was running racing could be answered, because economic necessity and a push from government sources forced BRA into taking one-size-fits-all responsibility for governance, regulation, commercialism, fixtures, race planning, levy collection and spending, and broadcasting deals. Everything else was swept away in a bonfire of acronyms, driven by the fact that the events of 2020 had a devastating effect on racecourses and the betting industry. When the dust settled, 20 fully functional racecourses survived with BRA licences, including the latest all-weather facility, built on the former Moulton Paddocks training track in Newmarket. They took on the traditional programme of fixtures, while a sponsorship shake-up meant that an overseas sovereign investment fund provided prize-money for all black-type races. Scotland’s five tracks broke away and formed the Scottish Association of Racecourses – otherwise known as Scar – when the SNP finally achieved its objective and scuttled the country
Lee leaves Levy Board in good shape Publication of the delayed Levy Board 2018-19 annual report in mid-May, just when British racing was concentrating on how and when the Covid-19 lockdown might be lifted, largely went unnoticed, which is a shame, because it meant that Paul Lee’s retirement after nearly 11 years as Chairman was overshadowed by more pressing matters. Like his immediate predecessor Rob Hughes, Lee had to guide the Levy Board ship through stormy waters whipped up by government determination to sink the vessel, eventually reaching the haven of a permanent harbour on a technicality but with a reduced complement of crew members. His immediate legacy is summed up in half a sentence in his
closing Chairman’s report, which notes that “reserves stood at £48 million at March 2019.” Given the parlous state of the board’s reserves only a few years earlier, prudence had prevailed and thank goodness it did, otherwise support for many areas, including prize-money, in the post-virus period would not have been possible. Attitudes from various racing elements to Levy Board reserves have always been fascinating, none more so than when the yield suddenly shot up by more than a third on the back of a Ladbrokes high-roller’s losses around the turn of the century. Overtaking the magic figure of £100m seemed to go to
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
“Most of the changes are traceable to Covid-19 and its impact on every aspect of life in Britain” As John Smith scans the digital race card, he counts ten trained by Joseph or Donnacha O’Brien for the Magnier and Smith dynasties and several entrepreneurs who made hay in the post-2020 recovery, as well as runners owned by syndicates of 100-plus. But his eye is drawn to one horse. “You’re too young to remember Godolphin,” he tells grandson Jimmy, “but I used to ride work on a very good horse of theirs called Pinatubo. There’s a colt from his last crop in the Derby, trained by Thady Gosden and ridden by Rocco Dettori. He’s called Dubai Shadow. I’ve got to back him, just for old times’ sake.”
back into the EU. However, the remaining 35 courses operating in England and Wales in 2020 adapted to strained circumstances and have been augmented by more than 40 others, many of which operated only one day a year but amalgamated with pony, Arabian and point-to-point racing into a BRA feeder system. The UK betting landscape underwent its biggest transformation in nearly 80 years. Closure of all retail outlets at the hands of Covid-19 forced many companies, large and small, to make the move permanent when the lockdown ended. It provided a perfect lobbying opportunity for the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group – one of very few such groups with a negative in its name among a list of around 400 – with the result that an acquiescent government shut down all off-course betting outlets. Racecourse bookmakers enjoyed a brief renaissance but technology won out and as Lord Donoughue fast approached the arrival of his centenary telegram from King William V, industry prices became the norm and his tenure at the Starting Price Regulatory Commission ended. Faced with a diminished fixed-odds market, the UK Tote Group lifted UK punters’ interest in pool betting. Buoyed by its major shareholders, the Tote entered into even closer ties with the biggest companies in the Far East, such as the Hong Kong Jockey Club, and formed an all-embracing venture called the World Pool Promoters’ Association, better known as Woppa, which has been busy promoting today’s Derby.
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Nancy Sexton Bloodstock Editor
Rescuing the breeze-up season key to rest of the year
A NEW NORMAL
embers of the racing community have been putting on a brave face as the globe continues to react to the Covid-19 pandemic. Put bluntly, the disappointment of horses being unable to race each other pales in comparison against the wider problems that the outside world has to contend with. Yet as we are all very aware, the absence of racing has also rocked our bubble to its core, placing many livelihoods under threat. In bloodstock terms, there is also the depressing thought of a difficult market on the horizon. However, take those breeders and consignors questioned in the earlier pages of this magazine as an example and there is a very real sense of those involved battening down the hatches and working through whatever might come their way. The same naturally is true of the breeze-up community, which has had to contend with a significantly restructured sales calendar. Finessing a two-year-old to peak at a certain time in a normal year is one thing; doing so amid such uncertainty and delay is quite another. “We had to back off ours for a month,” says vendor Willie Browne of Mocklershill, who sold leading French filly Tropbeau at last year’s Arqana May Sale in Deauville. “We just kept them ticking along and they’re back now doing a bit. “For some, there’s no doubt that the extra time has been beneficial. But you look at the precocious ones and it’s definitely a negative. You sell with the dream of Royal Ascot, and now that’s gone. “I’m obviously worried. It will be tough. If you have a nice horse, you will still get relatively well paid – it’s always been like that. The £50,000 market will be affected though, I’m sure of that.” Fellow consignor Con Marnane is also mindful of looming difficulties. However, the master of Bansha House Stables also tries to look on the bright side and is appreciative of the extra time now afforded to his horses. “We backed off them a little but to
Willie Browne: worried ahead of the sales
be honest we don’t really push them at home – a couple wouldn’t have done breezes yet,” he says. “For instance, Teppal, who won the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, never breezed for us until she got to Arqana – she was a big filly with a huge stride who was still quite raw as a two-year-old. “That’s why I love going to the Arqana May Sale as it gives them that extra couple of weeks to get the sun on their backs. In that respect, the extra time this year has helped. But it will still be difficult, I’m sure.” Breeze-up buyers spent just north of £20 million on yearlings in Europe last year and so are obviously a vital component to the health of the autumn’s yearling market. In turn, that investment trickles down to the market for foals. Hopefully, by this time next month we will have an idea of how effectively the breeze-up season has been salvaged. And with that in mind, how it might influence a sales year that looks condemned to operate on a weakened cycle.
In the meantime, what can we expect a ‘normal’ sale in this abnormal year to look like? As highlighted earlier in the magazine, sale companies continue to discuss revisions within the yearling sales schedule. Some of those earlier sales, particularly those breeze-up and horses-in-training auctions pencilled in over the next two months, will also surely be subject to controlled audiences and strict protocols as companies adhere to government guidelines. The sales houses are obviously all in the same boat but as it currently stands the first to test the waters will be Tattersalls, which has its Ascot, Craven and Guineas breeze-up sales scheduled alongside its mixed July Sale within a three-week period from late June. “We have developed lengthy protocols and of course there will be fine tuning as we go - we’re dipping our toe into it for the first time,” says Tattersalls Marketing Director Jimmy George. “We’re all conscious of doing this with everyone’s safety in mind and in full compliance of the regulations but while getting business done as well.” One of the key attributes of the July Sale is its allure towards international buyers, a sector of the market that is surely now on fragile grounding. To that end, the reintroduction of online bidding to Park Paddocks is a welcome development. “We launched internet bidding 12 years ago and there wasn’t really an appetite for it,” says George. “Now in the current climate, there is a demand. It should be available to use from our next sale and the intention is there for it to stay.” The Tattersalls sale season is slated to swing back into gear with the amalgamated Tattersalls Craven and Ascot Breeze-Up Sales on June 25. As George says, there will undoubtedly be fine tuning as participants adapt to a new normal. In the meantime, perhaps heart can be taken from the idea that racing’s return might have fuelled the appetite of some buyers.
20 THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
In the 200 plus year history of the English Classic the 2000 Guineas, no horse, not Flying Fox Gainesborough, Tudor Minstrel, Sir Ivor, Nijinsky, Brigadier Gerard, Nashwan, Sea the Stars, nor Frankel, has run the mile race faster than KAMEKO.
LGB, LLC 2020 / Photo: RACINGFOTOS.COM
Hill n Dale - TOB June 2020.indd 1
John Boyce cracks the code
Figures confirm Kitten’s Joy’s status as an elite sire F
inally, we have our Guineas winners. The 2,000 Guineas was intriguing for a number of reasons, none more so than the will-he-won’t-hetrain-on questions surrounding last season’s champion two-year-old Pinatubo. In the end, Pinatubo failed to reproduce his trademark quick-cadence finish and was overcome by two colts that have clearly made substantial improvement over the winter. Timeform’s initial view of the race has the winner Kameko on 129, Wichita on 127 and Pinatubo a full nine pounds below last year’s rating of 134. Kameko was a stone adrift of Pinatubo last year despite his victory in the Vertem Futurity at Doncaster. And now rated 128, he’s already rated higher than last year’s winner Magna Grecia, with still a considerable upside to explore should he go to Epsom for the Derby. With his current Timeform mark, Kameko is already his sire’s second-best offspring, behind the 130-rated Roaring Lion, who raced in the same Qatar colours. The fact that only three of his ten best runners have raced in Europe tells its own story about the popularity of Kitten’s Joy on this side of the Atlantic. An out-and-out turf sire with a decidedly European tinge to his pedigree ought to have attracted more attention from Europe’s major owners. Perhaps the suspicion is that the North American Grade 1 winners on turf sired by Kitten’s Joy haven’t been up to the standard of their European counterparts. Their Timeform ratings seem to corroborate this. Kitten’s Joy reached his zenith in 2004 as a three-year-old, winning back-to-back Grade 1 races on turf – the Secretariat and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic – before finishing second to Better Talk Now in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Rated 128 by Timeform, he’s just one pound behind his sire El Prado’s other topclass sire son Medaglia d’Oro. Given the disparity of opportunity between these two sires, both in terms of aptitude and mare quality, it’s to Kitten’s Joy’s credit that he’s notched up 97 stakes winners, compared to the 112 by Medaglia d’Oro from his northern hemisphere crops.
G1 WINNERS BY KITTEN’S JOY TFR
Sweeter Still G3w
Rock Of Gibraltar
Devine Actress SW
BIG BLUE KITTEN
Spent Gold pl
Unfold The Rose
Celestial Woods W
Madame Du Lac
Lemon Drop Kid
Blue Grass Music W
Granny Franny W
Moreover, Kitten’s Joy’s stakes winners have come along at a very respectable rate of 8.3%, which puts him comfortably among the top 20 active sires in North America. It is also ahead of the success rate his mares have managed with all other sires. We see the same signs with his Group or Graded scorers and also in the quality of his stakes winners, which are on average one pound higher than the stakes winners from his mares from other sires. But the metric that probably best sums up Kitten’s Joy’s ability to produce high-class runners is his record with elite mares. It’s no surprise to learn that only 16% of his starters are from elite mares, but those 190 runners include 14.2% stakes winners. To put that number in context, we can cite Tapit’s 16.1% or indeed Into Mischief’s 10.2%. It’s clear that with better patronage, Kitten’s Joy would have a more impressive profile and it’s no secret that his owner Kenneth Ramsey has exploited this fact when producing some of Kitten’s Joy’s best offspring. At the time of covering, Kameko’s
dam could not have been classed as an elite mare. Her first three foals, by Giant’s Causeway, Galileo and Union Rags, were all unraced, so it’s easy to see why Kameko cost only $90,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. But that doesn’t mean Sweeter Still didn’t have the means to succeed. Sold out of Aidan O’Brien’s stable after finishing fourth on debut in a Listed race at two, she was a triple stakes winner over a mile on the West Coast at three, winning the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes at Hollywood Park and being twice placed at Grade 2 level. She added a further stakes success at four and her Beyer numbers suggest a Timeform rating of around 101 or 102. As a half-sister to Gailieo’s Racing Post Trophy winner Kingsbarns, it was no surprise to see her fetch $750,000 when she came up for sale at Keeneland January in 2014 carrying her Galileo filly Catchingsnowflakes. But the bloodstock world can be a harsh place, as subsequent sale prices of $35,000 and $1,500 amply demonstrate. As the dam of the fastest-ever 2,000 Guineas winner, she will never be undervalued again.
22 THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
The MosT IMporTanT Us-Based InTernaTIonal sIre The BesT Three-Year-old In eUrope QaTar racIng lIMITed’s KaMeKo, BY KITTen’s JoY, MaKes hIsTorY In The QIpco 2000 gUIneas sTaKes (groUp 1), rUnnIng The FasTesT TIMe In The 200-plUs Year hIsTorY oF The englIsh classIc. hIs second groUp 1 VIcTorY has esTaBlIshed hIM as The cUrrenT FaVoUrITe For The englIsh derBY. A New Chapter has been written.
Congratulations to Qatar Racing, Racing Manager David Redvers, Breeder Calumet Farm, Trainer Andrew Balding and Jockey Oisin Murphy
LGB, LLC 2020 / Photo: RACINGFOTOS.COM
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www.hillndalefarms.com 10/06/2020 08:22
Racing in 2020
ORDER A collective sigh of relief was felt when British
racing resumed at the start of June yet the impact of Covid-19 on the sport’s future remains uncertain with this year set to look unlike any other on record Words: Andrew Scutts of the Racing Post
fter racing’s resumption in France, Germany and Italy, we saw the new normal for European racing on television or in pictures. Facemasks, social distancing, empty racecourses. In June we witnessed the impact of Covid-19 on British racing, the Flat season finally getting under way some 63 days later than it should have done. Surreal has replaced real in everyday life, but while racing’s uprooted fixture list is taking some getting to grips with, the experience of watching the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas from Newmarket was perhaps not so very different. We didn’t hear any cheering, it’s true, but then the crowd factor has never been a synonymous feature of racing on the Rowley Mile. Facemasks aside, there were plenty of familiar, comforting aspects. The two Classics had a supporting cast that included the Palace House, Pretty Polly Stakes, Dahlia Stakes and Newmarket
On your marks: social distancing at the races will continue to be a theme throughout 2020 and possibly longer
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
handicaps, along with those aspects of Covid-19 life we are all now familiar with. There were also running order revisions due to the unusually close proximity of the Guineas meeting and the rearranged Derby and Oaks. Nick Smith, Ascot’s Director of Racing, says: “There have been some unusual renewals of the royal meeting in the past, from ‘Black’ Ascot [in 1910 following the death of King Edward VII] to Royal Ascot at York, but there has never been anything like this. “Arguably, Royal Ascot, with all its pageantry and sitting at the centre of the fashion and social calendar, will be the least recognisable meeting held in the UK during this crisis.” He continues: “These are tough times and prize-money can’t be what it was, which is a real shame as we had announced our first £8 millionplus renewal, including two £1 million races. Realistically, that landscape isn’t possible any more, and it will take several
years to begin to rebuild. “Everyone is going to be in the same boat but we’ll do our best in an environment where betting shops have been closed and no-one is making any bold predictions about the return of crowds. In our case, we are particularly reliant on hospitality, and even when we can reopen to crowds, social distancing is going to impinge heavily on our business plan. “However, we’re staying very positive. We need to get betting turnover up and running around the country to begin to take some of the strain off the Levy Board. Raceplanning from the BHA has been imaginative, and the whole industry has shown
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
Stakes. The ITV cameras brought the best of the action to our homes. The jockeys, their silks, the personalities and horses provided much-needed comfort blankets after months of uncertainty, following on from the return of racing at the start of the month at Newcastle. A much starker illustration of what Covid-19 means for racing in 2020 was to come just a week and a half later at Royal Ascot. The meeting would normally fall six and a half weeks after Guineas weekend, but this is a year like no other. Royal Ascot 2020, from top to bottom, will be remembered for being conspicuously different, a VIP victim of the profound changes caused by the pandemic. Out went thousands of spectators, the colour, hats, dresses, morning suits, atmosphere, singing round the bandstand, and a large dollop of prize-money. In came six extra races, including three brand new
Racing in 2020 ›› flexibility and acted in a unified fashion
to frame a new, temporary Pattern.” Prize-money for Royal Ascot 2020 weighed in at £3,680,000, down 55 per cent on plan, with the eight Group 1s all worth £250,000 – the same as the two Guineas had been run for. Suffice to say, prize-money, off the back of the impact of Covid-19, is going to be an area of major concern – and therefore focus – for the sport, certainly this year and very likely beyond. While the most dramatic reductions will be at the top end, changes to the minimum values structure indicate it is at the middle and grassroots levels where the sport feels it needs to mitigate the hammer blows of Covid-19 (see ROA Forum, page 56). The Levy Board has dug deep to shore up purses over the first ten weeks of resumption, with £15.7 million of contributions, but on average minimum values for now will be 80% of previous levels. Levy Board Chairman Paul Darling says: “We recognised the importance of providing over and above contributions to prize-money when racing resumed and are pleased to have been able to meet racing’s requests in full. “However, while we start from a position of having enough cash reserves to meet these requests, our expenditure in this period will almost certainly exceed our income. HBLB is already expending over £2 million a month in maintaining pre-existing grants to various areas, which will continue in addition to [this] prizemoney expenditure.”
“Owners have been widely praised for keeping horses in training” Total prize-money for the first ten weeks following resumption will amount to £16.4m, up 23% from the same period in 2019, with the Levy Board saying the increase reflected a desire to reward breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys and stable staff given the enforced inactivity. To support the increase in prize-
money, the Levy Board said all major bookmakers in its Betting Liaison Group agreed to make available confidential reports on race-by-race turnover and gross win on a weekly, rather than monthly, basis.
A very different Classic reception for Kameko and Oisin Murphy after the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on June 6
Protecting grassroots racing
The focus on mid to lower tiers of the sport is primarily to support the retention of owners – the single biggest contributors to the funding of British racing – and horses in training, with the most recent figures underlining the impact of Covid-19, albeit at a time of year when numbers do tend to fall given the traditional end of the jump season. Owners have been widely praised for doing all they can to keep horses in training despite the most trying of circumstances, but perhaps even more so than the lack of racing, the effects of Covid-19 on business and economies are taking their toll. As of May 17, there were 12,188 horses at licensed yards, down from 14,779 on April 1, a drop of 2,591, or 18%. To put that in context, the decline in the same period in 2019 was 2,470 (14%). In 2019 numbers were much higher, that period’s fall taking the May 17 figure to 14,886, though of course by April 1 this year the jumps season was unfortunately over, so many horses would have been out of training or retired. BHA Chief Operating Officer Richard Wayman says: “Comparing horses in training numbers between different years is rarely straightforward, and that is going to be the case at the moment with jump racing not returning until July 1 and, on the Flat, some horses remaining with their owners for longer than would normally be the case. “As an industry we’re hugely reliant on the vast sums invested by racehorse owners, who have previously shown themselves to be extremely loyal and resilient even in very difficult times. “However, the current situation and the associated financial pressures are unprecedented, and this has created significant challenges. “Although financial measures, for example the Racing Relief Fund, will have provided some assistance, these challenges are exactly why the sport’s resumption was so crucial to owners, trainers and the thousands of people employed in our industry.” As for the number of registered owners, the BHA gave a figure of 6,781 for the end of April 2020. Including
clubs and syndicates, a total of around 15,000 owners in the UK has been reported. With such a spectrum, from the sheikh with hundreds of horses to a person with a hundredth share, it is impossible to predict what the lasting impact of Covid-19 will be on owner numbers. Everyone’s circumstances will be different, along with priorities over which ‘luxury’ items to keep and which to ditch. Dan Abraham, Chairman of the Racehorse Syndicates Association, whose members own more than 700 horses and have 9,000-plus owners, reports: “Last month the RSA organised a Zoom forum with 35 of the leading syndicate and club managers in Britain and overall it seemed most syndicates did not feel they had been too badly affected so far, although many had experienced complications, such as the disposal of horses at the end of partnership agreements. “Syndicates reported few people had dropped out, but finding new shareholders had become very difficult, and many syndicators had been left
26 THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
with shares they couldn’t sell. “Syndicate managers are possibly in one of the worst positions. If two or three members drop out, the manager is left to pay the bill for those shares. Covid-19 is a reminder to regulators that it’s not just syndicate members that need protection; even more so it’s the syndicators, who risk huge liabilities to bring in new owners to our sport.” Abraham continues: “The resumption of racing was the start, not the end, of the recovery. After racing’s return, owners will want to see their patience and considerable financial support for the industry rewarded, and that will be difficult when owners, as we speak, can’t go racing. “It doesn’t feel like owners are dropping out in numbers now, but if owners feel forgotten about then racing could face a disaster. “It’s when an owner’s horse picks up an injury, when the trainer tells the owner his horse needs more time, when a trainer rings an owner to see if they want to buy a horse they have spotted in the sales catalogue; that’s when owners will judge if they have been well
looked after by racing, whether their expenditure on racing is good value compared to other leisure activities. “Then racing is really going to find out whether its response to Covid-19 for owners has been a success.”
New fixture list
One thing that will unite owners from top to bottom is the need to wrestle with the new fixture list. The BHA has published a revised programme, with the Derby and Oaks on July 4, the Eclipse moved back a day to July 5, along with a range of new dates for some of the more significant contests unable to be staged during the lockdown. The Racing League, to comprise 36 races over six consecutive Thursday summer evenings, has been rearranged for 2021, while there will be no 2020 Shergar Cup. Mercifully, in a win for normality, Glorious Goodwood (July 28-August 1) and the Ebor meeting (August 19-22) stay put, although Goodwood was forced to accept defeat when it came to any hopes of having paying spectators.
The bloodstock sales calendar has undergone even more upheaval, with auctions being rescheduled not just once but in some cases several times, as sales houses reacted to the everchanging Covid-19 dynamic. From the international sales that have taken place – online in most cases – in the past few months, it is apparent trading will be challenging this year. The state of the economy will be a big factor in determining the longerterm impact of coronavirus on the bloodstock world. In the shorter term, Covid-19 brought with it for the racing industry not just fundamental changes, like the fixture list, but a whole raft of temporary new guidelines and procedures, among them initially 72-hour declarations for Flat racing, a field size limit of 12 for non-Pattern and Listed races, and horses being eligible for a handicap rating after just two runs. There will also be plenty for the jump racing community to grapple with next month, when that branch of the sport resumes. So, are there any rays of light? Well
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER 27
Racing in 2020 ›› yes, actually. For starters – and with
much nourishment for racing’s circle of life – betting shops were due to reopen as this magazine went to press. It had been feared that bookmakers’ retail arms would be closed until the autumn, with all the consequential damage that springs from the drop in media rights payments to racecourses, and levy. While it remained to be seen just how many of Britain’s 7,000 or so shops would reopen, their earlier than expected return is good news.
“The launch of the Great British Bonus is another piece of good news” So too was the recent launch of the Great British Bonus, an industry incentive scheme offering multiple bonuses of up to £20,000 per eligible race for British-bred fillies and mares. The aim is to increase the number of British-bred horses in training, and so safeguard the future of British breeding (see news, pages 8-9). What the future will look like for the racing and bloodstock industries as a
bleak. The consequences of economic malaise could be more far-reaching in terms of bloodstock sales, horses in training and owner numbers, while a second Covid-19 spike would redefine ‘disastrous’. All we can do for now is keep calm and carry on racing.
whole, post Covid-19, may turn on two key issues – when paying spectators can return to racecourses, and how long economic gloom persists. We don’t have the answers yet. If racecourse crowds return sooner rather than later, then in all likelihood the longer-term prognosis is far from
Racecourses counting the cost of coronavirus Two and a half months of lost fixtures and media rights cash, and on the immediate horizon no paying spectators, no food and beverage spend, no revenue from music acts, no conferences, antique fairs, wedding shows, or car boot sales. Covid-19 has hit racecourses especially hard. In April the Levy Board and Racing Foundation jointly pledged £22m in emergency support to the racing industry, most of the Levy Board’s funds going to racecourses, which spoke volumes. The Levy Board also released £6.5m worth of capital credits to tracks to help with cash flow. From the middle of this month betting shops were due to again be part of the racing landscape, with media rights revenue streams bringing a ray of light for racecourses and the wider industry, although the environment remains challenging for retail bookmakers. Racecourse Association Chief
Popular grey Roy Rocket won’t be able to run at his beloved Brighton this summer
Executive David Armstrong says: “We went from full income to zero income literally overnight and still have an operating cost base, so that’s fixed costs every month across the 59 racecourses of £8.2 million a month. “The RCA, on behalf of its members, welcomed the prize-money support provided by the Levy Board. The continuing support by the Levy Board to fund the efforts across the sport, including for racecourses, will be essential.” He adds: “Our members’ big festivals and major races are among the most popular events in sport, but smaller, often rural, courses are just as important a part of an industry worth more than £4 billion to the British economy.” Among the many smaller courses, Brighton, Carlisle, Nottingham, Worcester and Ffos Las, for different reasons though ultimately all financerelated, will not be part of the summer schedule as normal, while perhaps no course has been in worse straits than Newton Abbot, whose last meeting was, astonishingly, nine months ago. “Newton Abbot has been decimated with abandonments since last September, and during Covid-19 we have lost our first eight fixtures,” laments Managing Director Pat Masterson. “Currently jump racing is scheduled to start again on July 1, and our industry is working hard with the government and other sporting bodies. “Nothing can hide the disappointment that my staff and I feel for all our racegoers planning to come and enjoy a day at our racecourse. “These are unprecedented circumstances and we will always treat public health and safety as well as the welfare of all those within the racing industry with utmost importance.”
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PROMISE For those trainers in the early stages of their careers the past few months have been especially challenging yet with racing now in full ﬂow there is plenty still to look forward to in 2020 Words: Graham Dench
James Ferguson: patient approach
young guns are full of optimism for the future.
Neardown Stables, Upper Lambourn tomwardracing.com The lockdown frustratingly delayed not only the completion of the new yard Tom Ward is building next door to the Neardown Stables he is renting from Charlie Mann, but also his wedding to Alex Lowe. In other respects, however, it did not hit him half as hard as it might have done. Ward, who had his first runner last August after four years assisting Richard Hannon, reckons the toughest part was keeping owners in the loop and staying positive about the future
Tom Ward: high hopes for his debut winner Vintage Rascal
n racing, just as in the wider world, some have been hit very much harder than others by the Covid-19 pandemic and its repercussions. One group that one might have expected to have been particularly vulnerable is young trainers only just embarking on their new careers, However, when we spoke to five primarily Flatorientated trainers in just their first or second seasons, we found they have coped well. None of us know quite how damaging the pandemic will prove in the longer term, with the viability of some racecourses threatened, prize-money inevitably reduced, and the likelihood of some owners being forced out of the sport, but with racing back in full flow our
for so long without a specific date for racing’s resumption. That remains just as important, with owners still not allowed at the yard or on the racecourse even though racing is back. However, he is full of optimism for the remainder of 2020. He says: “There have been a lot of phone calls, and we’ve sent out a lot of videos and photos, but the owners have all been great, despite having their own businesses to worry about. We haven’t lost anyone.” As he hasn’t lost any horses he hasn’t had to make any difficult decisions about staff, as they all needed exercising every day whether or not they were racing. Ward, who still hopes to be in his new yard by the end of June and has pencilled in September for the wedding, currently
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has 31 horses on his books, of which 24 are two-year-olds. He reckons there is a good balance among them. He says: “We hope we can still win with the ones we thought would be sharp and early, and hopefully we’ve got two-yearolds for all through the year. I’m very happy with them all, and I’m also excited about some of the older horses. “I’ve got particularly high hopes of Vintage Rascal, who was our first winner when scoring at Windsor last year, and I’m also looking forward to Dirty Rascal, who was a Glorious Goodwood winner for Richard Hannon and hopefully has another good race or two in him. “They are both owned by Charlie and Julia Hosier, who have seven horses here and are our biggest owners. They’ve
been very supportive, and with their understanding and that of all of our other owners the lockdown went surprisingly quickly.”
Saville House Stables, Newmarket jamesfergusonracing.com James Ferguson missed the day-to-day excitement of live racing, just as we all did, but he knows how fortunate he is to be starting out with horses who have the potential to be really good, and he believes the enforced break might even have benefited his team. Ferguson, who had his first winner in January, says: “As a first-season trainer I might have rushed things as I want to make an impression, but I’ve been
forced to be a bit more patient and that’s perhaps been no bad thing. “It’s not just me – my brother Alex is here too – and we’ve got a great team of staff. I’m also very lucky to have Kieren Fallon riding out for me every day, which is a huge help to a trainer just starting out as you can imagine. “I’ve got a nice team of horses, very few of which would have run during lockdown anyway. I know it’s been very tough for a lot of trainers, but although it’s not been the ideal start for me I’ve got nothing to complain about. The mood here remained very good throughout. “I didn’t lose any owners, and the few horses who went away were ready for a break and so it’s understandable. My owners have their own business worries,
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Young trainers ›› which in time will affect us, but not yet.”
Ferguson grew up around horses and has long been destined to train. His father John was Godolphin’s Chief Executive and trained successfully, and he has learned his trade from some of the best, including Sir Mark Prescott, Brian Meehan, Charlie Appleby and Jessica Harrington. Now 30, he has made the most of his opportunities to travel extensively, and that is reflected in the make-up of his owners. Among 15 two-year-olds in a team of 25 he has a 200,000gns colt by Frankel and a 125,000gns colt by Invincible Spirit, both of whom are owned by an Australian syndicate that hopes to race them at home eventually if they have some joy over here. Lloyd Williams is also among his owners and his Kitten’s Joy colt is a full brother to Eclipse winner Hawkbill, one of the stars Ferguson got to know well in his time with Godolphin. Two-year-olds like that would be the envy of most established trainers, let alone those in their first season, and Ferguson knows how lucky he is. “I’m very, very fortunate to have firepower like that,” he agrees. “It’s a great position to be starting from, but I’m not in a mad rush. We are in it for the long game and I’ll be taking my time and doing what’s best for the horses.”
Saffron House Stables, Newmarket georgeboughey.com George Boughey was already more than halfway towards his initial target when we went into lockdown. He could have done without missing well over two months of action, but he was back in the winner’s enclosure with only his third runner following resumption. The 28-year-old, who saddled his first runners last July, says: “We started this year with 17 horses and I like to set achievable aims and so wanted to have ten winners. We had six before lockdown and another on resumption, so the goalposts might have to be moved now.”
George Boughey: hit the ground running
Boughey assisted Hugo Palmer for six years and graduated to running a 50-horse satellite yard, which he says gave him the confidence to start on his own. With his team of 22 at the Saffron House Stables on Newmarket’s Hamilton Road most recently occupied by George Scott he enjoys access to both sides of town. He has the scope to grow into another barn if all goes well.
“Credit to the powers above for protecting prize-money in the lower tiers” Reflecting on lockdown and the damage it might have done to a young trainer just finding his stride, he explains: “It was strange, but it was frustrating for everyone in racing. We’d made a great start to the year and we naturally wanted to try to keep it up, so the horses were mostly ready to crack on when we went into lockdown. I put most of them on the back burner for a couple of weeks and then slowly brought them back, so we were ready to go when the time came. “Three C’s won in racing’s second week back, and that was his fifth win for us. He’s been an absolute star, as he’s also a great lead horse for the two-year-olds. If they can go with him we know they are all right.” Boughey is not yet losing sleep over longer-term worries, but he is aware that he is not training for owners with bottomless pockets. He says: “Everyone has stuck with me, and I’m very grateful for that. I haven’t had to get rid of any staff, and that was a big thing for me. “I’m training for a wide variety of people, but they aren’t big organisations that might have 50 horses and a lot of them are British businessmen who are probably going to be in a tax bracket which will probably rise. If something has to give it will probably be their racehorse, or their share in a racehorse, but that’s probably a bit further down the line. “I’m not desperately worried so long as prize-money doesn’t drop massively, and a huge amount of credit has to go to the powers above for sorting the prize-money for racing’s resumption, so that the middle to lower tiers are protected, as that’s
where I’m going to be operating.” Boughey’s team is divided half and half between older horses and two-year-olds, but it’s the two-year-olds who hold the future. He adds: “I think I’ve got a good balance. Among them are a forward two-year-old filly by Starspangledbanner owned by a couple of friends called Susucaru [second on debut] and a nice Mehmas colt owned by Paul and Susan Roy called Astimegoesby, who went close at Newmarket on his debut. “There’s also a Bobby’s Kitten filly for Adrian McAlpine who is working well and nice back-end colts by Toronado and Australia.” Plenty to look forward to then.
Well Close Farm, Easingwold Phil Makin and his partner Sammy Jo Bell both had their riding careers cut short by injury, but they are making a good go of things training a team of around 30 from the former livestock farm that they rent from one of their owners in Easingwold, North Yorkshire. They did not escape the pandemic unscathed and lost a couple of horses early on, but there are no complaints and they count themselves very lucky that their outdoor lives working with the horses continued largely unaffected while times for so many have been grim in the extreme. Makin says: “We lost one or two horses right at the start when nobody knew when racing might come back, but that was understandable as their owners had the facilities to look after them more cheaply at home. “The majority of our owners have kept their horses here and the others might come back too.” Horses need feeding and exercising every day whether or not there is any racing, so life went on much as before and there has been no need for any staff to be furloughed or laid off. There was plenty to do on the yard too, and lockdown provided an opportunity to crack on. Makin, who rode just short of 1,000 winners, says: “We are expanding all of the time, and have more or less doubled our team since starting last year. We have just built a new indoor school, and we are putting in a new walker. We are still learning every day, but we are enjoying the new life.” Makin might have ridden for a few years more but for the neck injury he incurred in a fall at Redcar in 2018, but he was better prepared than many jockeys
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Muker produced a smart effort on debut at Newcastle for the Phil Makin stable
for training, having soaked up as much knowledge as he could while riding more than 100 winners each for David Barron, Michael Dods and Kevin Ryan. Bell, whose all too brief career in the saddle was highlighted by her Silver Saddle success at the 2015 Shergar Cup, was associated primarily with Richard Fahey and so learned from another master trainer. Between them they make a powerful partnership, which they were keen to underline as soon as racing resumed. Makin adds: “We’ve got a good team, including 12 two-year-olds, and when racing came back we won the first juvenile race of the season at Newcastle with a colt called Muker. He would have been out much earlier, and it was a bit of
a relief that the sharp ones hadn’t missed the boat. “There are some nice ones for later on, too, and among the older horses I’m particularly hopeful the sprinter Lahore will do well this year.”
Little Spigot, Middleham foulriceparkracing.com Trainers usually enjoy their first win with an old handicapper sourced from elsewhere, but Middleham trainer Liam Bailey bucked that trend when Harswell won a two-year-old novice at Musselburgh last April. Harswell didn’t win again and has been sold to race in Greece, but in a vote of confidence Bailey’s stables – owned by
Liam Bailey (right) with his 2019 York winner Auxiliary
Colin and Ailsa Stirling – now house four more two-year-olds who will race in the same colours, including the Cable Bay colt Harswell Prince and the Kodiac filly Harswell Princess. Bailey had another eight Flat winners in 2019, plus three over jumps, and he was quick to build on the good impression he made with those early runners once the lockdown eased, scoring with the sprinter Quanah at Newcastle at the end of the first week. He says: “It was difficult enough but we didn’t miss that much, as a lot of ours like some dig in the ground and it was unusually dry. “I’m lucky in that Colin and Ailsa deal with the wages and the money side, while I concentrate on the training, and thankfully we kept going without anyone being laid off or furloughed.” Bailey, who started with the late Peter Beaumont, was a key member of the team when David O’Meara’s numbers rocketed from eight horses to 101, so it’s no surprise that it is his time there which has left the most indelible impression upon his thinking. He says: “If I’m in doubt about something I often ask myself, ‘What would Dave do?’ It was an unbelievable experience with him and one year I think we had 139 winners, including the likes of Blue Bajan, Penitent and Smarty Socks.” Trainers like O’Meara don’t come along too often, but Bailey knows he won’t go far wrong if he applies the same principles.
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Glennwood Farm Tanya Gunther: Kentucky-based breeder has embraced European racing and bloodlines
Etched in history as the breeder of US Triple Crown hero Justify, Kentucky outfit Glennwood Farm is now recognised as a major player on both sides of the Atlantic Words: Julian Muscat
he saying holds that the only way to make a small fortune out of racing is to start with a large one. John Gunther and his daughter, Tanya, are doing it the other way round. It was just over 30 years ago that Gunther, a now-retired stockbroker from Canada, bought out his partners in the 350-acre Glennwood Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. Glennwood’s purchase marked the moment when the father/daughter axis immersed themselves in a pursuit that would enrole them into the most exclusive club of all. In June 2018 they became one of just thirteen entities to breed a US Triple Crown winner. It didn’t stop there. One year after Justify had carried all before him, a colt who’d shared his paddock at Glennwood came of age in 2019. Vino Rosso broke through as a Grade 1 winner in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita before running clean away with the Breeders’ Cup Classic. If that were not enough, on that same November afternoon Without Parole came with a late rattle to finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The son of Frankel is owned and was bred by the Gunthers,
who keep between six and ten mares annually in Europe. On that occasion Without Parole was introducing himself to American racegoers, having won the St. James’s Palace Stakes in 2018. The Gunthers were in thrall that day. They’d seen Frankel triumph on their annual visits to Royal Ascot; now they were standing in the very same winner’s circle with a homebred son of the great horse. “These things leave an impression,” Tanya says. “My dad and I went down to the rail and watched Frankel from there. Seeing him win remains a big highlight. We admired the greatness of his sire, Galileo, and it became clear to us that turf bloodlines in Europe were superior to the US. We decided to come over and try and breed to the best – even though it seemed a little crazy.” That facet identifies the Gunthers as rare among American breeders. The European scene was awash with their ilk for two decades from the mid-1960s. So much so that the Derby trophy was marked “for US export” four times in five years from 1968, when the totemic race
“We decided to come over and try and breed the best to the best”
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Glennwood Farm ›› was won by Raymond Guest (Sir Ivor),
Charles Engelhard (Nijinsky), Paul Mellon (Mill Reef) and John Galbreath (Roberto). One of the last to end his European involvement was Lane’s End Farm’s proprietor Will Farish III, who signed off soon after Casual Look won the 2003 Oaks from Andrew Balding’s stable. The two industries became polarised thereafter, with virtually no interaction. “When we started coming to Royal Ascot [around a decade ago] we never saw anyone we knew,” Tanya relates. “We’d see [US trainer] Wesley Ward but his owners didn’t come with him. That is changing now: Todd Pletcher was at Ascot two years ago, while Chad Brown came to the [Tattersalls] sales last year.” Without Parole takes the story back to the time when the Gunthers embraced the European breeding scene – although John had raced a handful of horses with Peter Chapple-Hyam, Dermot Weld and John Gosden in the 1990s. In some ways it was a natural extension of his thinking. “Dad has always liked coming to Europe,” Tanya says. “He thinks outside the box and has always liked turf bloodlines. In the early days he’d buy the odd mare in Europe with elements of an American pedigree and take her back home.” The experience of seeing Frankel in the flesh set the tone. In 2012 they sent Without Parole’s second dam, Marozia, to be bred to Frankel’s sire, Galileo, with tragic consequences. Marozia died of colic without producing a foal and was buried in the Coolmore graveyard. But the Gunthers were undeterred. In Marozia’s place they sent her daughter, the unraced Lemon Drop Kid mare Without You Babe, to Frankel’s court in 2014. Without Parole was the consequence of that tryst. He vindicated the Gunthers’ decision to patronise European sires while compensating them in part for the loss of Marozia, who was a Glennwood
John and Tanya Gunther: enjoying a memorable run
Kenzai Warrior as a foal
foundation mare. Marozia’s purchase is redolent of John Gunther’s approach. He gave just $50,000 for her at Keeneland in 2003, when she was nine years old. Remarkably, she’d been led out unsold from the same auction ring three years earlier, when the bidding stalled at $575,000. That alluded to Marozia’s noble ancestry. Bred and raced by Sheikh Mohammed, she won a humble race at Lingfield but was a desirable breeding prospect. Her dam, the Roberto mare Make Change, was a Graded stakesplaced daughter of the King Ranch-bred Equal Change, who had chased home champion Ruffian in the 1975 Coaching Club American Oaks. Marozia’s undistinguished racing record was immaterial to Gunther. It simply served to make her more affordable, and he’d long since gravitated towards broodmares on the strength of their backpedigrees. It was a similar story with Vino Rosso’s dam, the Street Cry mare Mythical Bride. Gunther gave just $42,000 for her as a three-year-old in 2011. It was Tanya who devised the mating that would yield Vino Rosso. She felt Curlin was an ideal fit when the stallion’s fee was just $25,000. A similar premise governed Justify’s creation. Tanya’s penchant for inbreeding saw her settle on Scat Daddy and an ideal mate for Justify’s dam, Stage Magic. Their coming together would fuse the blood of a pair of Mr. Prospector full-sisters in Preach (dam of Pulpit), and Yarn (dam of Minardi and Tale Of The Cat). At that time Scat Daddy stood at $30,000. Such studied intuition has allowed the Gunthers to raise their sights in terms of buying stallion power. Their reputation as breeders of racehorses, as opposed
to sales show-ponies, is now firmly established. Most of their annual yearling crop end up at the sales and their better offerings have recently been fetching higher and higher prices. That trend is mirrored in their European venture, which has evolved over less than ten years. Most of their mares reside at Newsells Park Stud, from where their yearlings are consigned. In 2015 they bought Midday’s three-year-old full-sister Posset from Juddmonte and sold her yearling colt by Galileo for 1.1 million guineas in 2018. In the same Tattersalls draft was another by Galileo, this one a filly out of Wildwood Flower, who fetched 900,000 guineas. But every coin has two sides. Also in 2018, the Gunthers consigned a yearling colt from the first crop of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Karakontie at Keeneland, where he ended up in Book 5 of the September Sale. He fetched just $6,000, all but breaking Tanya’s heart in the process. “When you’re in Book 5 your potential is limited even before you get there,” she says. “You’re down in the basement and you’re at a loss from the stud fee, never mind the time you put into raising and prepping the horse.” Even if the Karakontie had perfect physicals, the financial writing was already on the wall. “There’s a disconnect in the American yearling market with a purely turf-bred horse,” she says. “Buyers are not that interested unless the stallion is really high-profile.” However, the Karakontie colt was bred because Tanya considered the union of his parents attractive from a racing perspective. He is inbred to the mighty Miesque, and has done her proud to date.
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In the end Justify was bought by the China Horse Club/Maverick Racing axis for $500,000. “It’s not a small amount,” she continues, “but considering how we felt about him as one of the best we’d bred, and how he moved and looked… “But he didn’t please everyone. Sometimes you go with a horse knowing he’s not going to pass the vet for certain people. With Justify, we didn’t know until we got to the sales that people would take exception to certain things. We could see it happening before our eyes.”
“Dad thinks outside the box and has always liked turf bloodlines” As Tanya speaks, it becomes clear she came to regard the young Justify as an extension of her family. But it wasn’t just him: she shed tears when Vino Rosso, from the same yearling draft, was sold two days later for $410,000. “Part of the reason I find the sales tough is because I take things personally,” she says. “I think it’s a good thing; it means you are putting everything you have out there. Some people think it’s a negative but I don’t agree. If I take it personally it’s because everything I do in this business, I do the very best I can.” Tanya puts immense thought into mating scenarios for the broodmare
band at Glennwood, which might number anything between 18 to 25 mares, including those owned in partnerships. Despite rising sales receipts, the Gunthers can’t send every one of those mares to the established sire elite. “I am curious by nature,” she says. “I worked in a business [investment banking] where everything is constantly being questioned and analysed, and that definitely made me approach this business differently to the way I otherwise would have. “I analyse the stallions and their stats,” she continues. “I look at their numbers; try to figure things out. “I particularly look for stallions that are underappreciated, and therefore more affordable, but which can still deliver quality racehorses. It helps to be able to identify a few that don’t stand for six figures.” Inevitably, there will always be yearlings that don’t sell, which the Gunthers are more than happy to race for themselves. In Tanya’s perfect world she would race them all, emboldened by the knowledge that they would be given the maximum care and attention at all times. That’s because she is besotted by horses, just as she was in formative years when she rode around the family farm in Langley, British Columbia, and went racing to nearby Hastings Park on weekends. To her, horses are a source of constant fascination. “I used to break our yearlings on the farm,” she reflects. “It never ceases to amaze me that they would let you get up on their backs in the first place. I don’t think I would have been a very good yearling: I would definitely have bucked my rider off. Or tried to.”
Named Kenzai Warrior, the colt was bought by European interests, was resold by Brown Island Stables as a Doncaster breezer and went into training with Roger Teal. He won both his juvenile starts last season, latterly in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes. Making his seasonal debut in the 2,000 Guineas, Kenzai Warrior stumbled upon leaving the stalls and was never seen with a chance. He returned fine, however, and lives to fight another day. Even in the warm afterglow of the last two years, Tanya can incline towards melancholy when contemplating life as a commercial breeder. She came to it via a route as interesting as it is unusual: 12 years ago she took over the running of Glennwood after quitting her Londonbased job in investment banking. It was an arduous environment that saw her working day end anywhere between 10pm and 3am. In those years she wasn’t even able to go to Royal Ascot, but she learnt an invaluable cross-over skill-set. A propensity to analyse every last detail, a trait of her former profession, characterises her approach to breeding horses. Although she has found greater fulfilment, there is a paradox about her second career. She uprooted from London because she sought passion within her work. She found that in spades when she settled at Glennwood, which has echoes of her idyllic childhood spent around horses. But the catch is that horses must be sold to balance the books. Her eyes radiate excitement when she talks about seeing the new-born foals. “They bring hope every year,” she says. “For me it’s a bit like opening Christmas presents. You’re waiting on them for over 11 months, so it’s nice to see the results of all your planning and thinking.” Eighteen months on, however, and it is yearling sales time. The fact that most of the homebreds must find new homes is a process that fills her with foreboding. “I don’t particularly like the sales but it’s a means to an end,” she says. “I spend a lot of time thinking about the horses before they are born: creating them, raising them, trying to keep them alive and prospering. To then sell them literally feels like you are selling the dream.” Much though Justify’s unbeaten racing career represented a pinnacle for Glennwood, his own sale as a yearling was not without its share of trauma. “Even though we’ve sold good racehorses, we don’t have too much of a history of selling high-priced horses,” she reflects. “But I thought if we were going to kick it out of the park one year, Justify could be the one.”
Justify, pictured as a yearling, “didn’t please everyone” at the sales
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Breeding during Covid-19
THE STORM Breeders are prepared to face a challenging period as the world adjusts to the ramiﬁcations of the Covid-19 pandemic but there remains a collective determination to work through it and capitalise on opportunities Words: Nancy Sexton
arely have thoroughbred breeders faced such a challenging time. The damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to the wider world, in particular the economy, casts a bleak outlook for the sales season that lies ahead, a period that for many breeders is vital to fuel their operation. The impact of the last downturn in 2008/9 on breeders was finely illustrated in the contraction of the British and Irish foal crops, which combined fell from 18,502 in 2007 to 11,192 in 2012. In the years since then, the figure has crept back up to around 14,500 but it would be
Melba Bryce (centre) of Laundry Cottage Stud pictured with staff members Dempsey Powell (left) and Jane Reed
folly to think that another contraction – most likely a significant one – won’t now be again forthcoming. Given that the majority of stallion nomination contracts for 2020 would have been signed prior to the outbreak, it will be several years until we gain a full
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“I am a believer in cycles and I suspect that we are entering a trough”
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
Colin Bryce: ‘the market will come back’
LAUNDRY COTTAGE STUD
Last year’s Tattersalls December Sale seems a world away now amid an environment beset by social distancing and economic uncertainty but for those at Laundry Cottage Stud in Hertfordshire it will continue to live fondly in the memory as the scene of one of its strongest commercial performances. Colin and Melba Bryce’s stud sold a pair of colt foals by Bated Breath and Farhh through Jamie Railton for 185,000gns and 110,000gns as well as a Caravaggio colt for 80,000gns. Neither Bated Breath or Farhh stood for more than £10,000 at the time of conception while the Caravaggio colt was the result of an inexpensive mare purchase made the previous summer. It was an excellent collection of results for a stud that houses less than ten mares, and in that Colin Bryce is keen to deflect some of the praise to stud members Dempsey Powell and Jane Reed. However, 16 years of experience at the helm of Laundry Cottage has also made the Bryces acutely aware of the challenges facing small breeders in producing a commercially viable product, not least the presence of luck. “The stars aligned,” says Colin Bryce, who remains a senior advisor with Morgan Stanley following a 27-year spell at the investment bank. “We had a very nice crop of foals including three nice colts by the ‘right’ stallions. We were really lucky; it doesn’t happen very often.”
Working in Laundry Cottage’s favour is their reputation as a source of successful racehorses, notably Wootton Bassett, the 2010 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner and now a leading sire in France. Stakes performers Zaman, Lady Heidi, Bonnie Charlie and Mullein are among its other graduates. The Bryces are hands-on breeders, foaling down their own mares and walking them in for covering when they can. Their broodmare band had already been trimmed down prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, and now sits at eight. Following their successful foal sale, they also only have a handful of yearlings to sell, therefore lessening their exposure to what is likely to be a depressed autumn market. “It is obviously going to be tough,” says Bryce. “I am a great believer in cycles and I suspect we are entering a trough. The real danger is how the pandemic will affect the people with wealth, those buyers who pay the money for the one in ten horse that the small breeder relies upon. “For small breeders, there is often that one horse who pays for the others and if the buyers of those horses are affected, such as from the suppression of the oil industries, then that has to be a threat. “But I think the market will come back – I don’t think that after 300 years of interest in horse racing in the country along with the tradition of animal husbandry and breeding stock, that it will be going away. “Who knows for 2022 as there are lots of conditional probabilities to work through, but the allure of owning and racing horses is strong enough to overwhelm any issues and that strong allure is not going to evaporate.” A wide range of British, Irish and French stallions were patronised by Laundry Cottage this year, among them Bated Breath, Havana Gold, Showcasing and Due Diligence. Wootton Bassett, who is enjoying such a fine season in France with his three-year-olds, also remains supported and is represented within this year’s crop of foals. For many small breeders, bloodstock is a passion and in that Laundry Cottage is no different. As such, any storm that happens to come the way of the market will be weathered, and perhaps with the prospect of capitalising on opportunity. “The days of us paying large sums for broodmares have gone but that’s for all sorts of reasons, mainly due to experience!” says Bryce. “But we could do with another mare and there has to be a chance that
understanding of its impact on the British breeding landscape. However, breeders by their very nature are an optimistic group and there remains hope in some quarters that racing’s allure will soften any upcoming troughs in the market. We speak to four breeders to find out how they are facing up to a challenging year in the bloodstock world.
Charlie Budgett: sees opportunities to invest
something we like will come on to the market.”
KIRTLINGTON PARK STUD
Further investment could also be on the cards at the Budgett family’s Kirtlington Park Stud in Oxfordshire. Kirtlington Park has hosted a polo club since 1926 and today remains one of the most significant of its kind in Britain with over 150 ponies on its books. More recently, the thoroughbred arm has come alive on the 700-acre estate under the management of Charlie Budgett, who has spent the past six years striving to develop the stud into a respected boarding and consigning operation There is a precedent to that in the nearby Kirtlington Stud, which is etched in history as the birthplace of Arthur Budgett’s Derby winners Blakeney and Morston. Now under the ownership of Charlie’s uncle Chris Budgett, Kirtlington can boast a recent roll of honour that includes Harbinger and Sir Percy. “We’re giving it a really good kick,” says Charlie Budgett. “We’ve got 18 mares here and we have had a really good season, everything is in foal. It’s great that we’ve still been able to cover mares – the TBA has done a fantastic job in that respect. Shifting the paperwork for covering online has also worked really well and I’m sure that has gone down well with the stallion men.” He adds: “We have sold several mares privately since the crisis broke but with the idea of replacing them with better stock, and that’s something we try to do every year. We’ve spent more on covering fees as well. So I feel we’re on an upward curve, and with a bit of time lag, we might be closer to some kind of normal by the time we come to sell. “We don’t want to have too many mares on the place but there will be opportunities to buy. We have a few
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER 39
Breeding during Covid-19 be interested in buying shares with us – enough anyway to think that we could end up buying a couple of really nice mares this year.” In the meantime, life goes on at Kirtlington Park Stud. With two key members of staff living on the farm, the team have been able to continue working while isolating on the farm. One of the only differences, Budgett says, is that responsibility for some of the more time consuming jobs, such as paddock maintenance, has fallen to the stud team following the furloughing of several ground staff. For all his enthusiasm in enhancing the Kirtlington Park broodmare band, however, Budgett also remains grounded in his assessment of what lies ahead at the sales this autumn. “One of the biggest worries is what could happen at the horses-in-training sales,” he says. “Polo is working on a very limited season as is three-day eventing, so that’s two sectors that are not going to be in a position to soak up many horses. “But the yearling market is going to be where we’ll really get hit. The breeze-up boys, one of the bravest buying groups out there, will get hit as well. They buy a lot of yearlings but it’s not just that, it’s the number they also bid on.” Consequently, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to hear that work is in place at the stud to put some of its yearlings in training next year. “We’re putting together syndicates to race some of the yearlings with an eye towards the resale market,” Budgett says. “It’s a punt but I think we’re better off doing that, sending them to a trainer we like and trying to protect the mare’s value while hopefully coming up with one that we can resell for a bit of money.”
THE GLANVILLES STUD
›› people who have said that they would
Doug Procter: expects a tough store market
the crest of a wave. There was Kenny Alexander’s wonderful mare Honeysuckle, who was bred by Dr Geoffrey Guy at the stud and would go on to stretch her unbeaten record in the Irish Champion Hurdle and Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle, and fellow graduate Sam Spinner, the 2017 Long Walk Hurdle winner for whom a bright start over fences had culminated last December in a near 40-length victory in a Grade 2 novices’ chase at Doncaster. Additionally on the Flat, there was the satisfaction of Separate, produced by one of their remaining Flat mares, Miss Moses, who had progressed through a busy juvenile campaign to run third in the Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket. Since then, the stud has also been represented by Beaute Pour Toi, a taking debut winner for Nicolas Clement at Saint-Cloud during the early days of France’s return to racing. “It started as a hobby, breeding from point-to-point mares and we built it up from there,” says Doug Procter. “What is so exciting about Honeysuckle is that here you have a horse that when you ask the
question, she just does it. It’s very exciting, and now we have her fullbrother, Last Royal, in training, and a halfsister, Roc Royal.” The Sherborne-based stud consists of two properties; The Glanvilles Stud houses the broodmares while the nearby Pitts Farm Stud acts as a base for youngstock. Now run with an emphasis towards jumps breeding, the stud typically sells all the colts as foals and the fillies as stores. However, that thinking may have to be altered this year, as Procter explains. “All our foals have been fillies this year,” he says. “They are a very nice crop of foals but we’ll have to see what kind of season the pinhookers have at the store sales before we decide if we send any to the foal sales. “Sadly, it won’t be a normal store market this year. As I see it, most people will be scaling back. The point-to-point buyers will reinvest at some point but they haven’t been able to run many of their young horses and the likelihood is that they won’t reinvest until they have sold those. And we haven’t had the end of season sales for people to clear out stuff, so they might now be persevering with horses and not reinvesting. So I expect the store market below the very top to be very tough. “It’s also frustrating because I really thought that this would be the year that people would be looking more closely at fillies. They had such a good Cheltenham and then the programme is so good for them now. I thought if we can’t sell fillies at auction this year, then we never will.” However, although realistic in his approach, Procter can see some glimmers of light. “The difference between this and other recessions is the fact
Doug and Lucy Procter’s The Glanvilles Stud in Dorset headed into 2020 on
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
CULWORTH GROUNDS STUD
Sophie Buckley of Culworth Grounds Stud approaches her fifth year of consigning off the back of a memorable sales season in 2019, one that was highlighted by a Cable Bay colt who blossomed from a €4,000 pinhook into a 160,000gns yearling. The sale of a Showcasing colt on behalf of Shutford Stud for 120,000gns also contributed to a fine autumn while on
we don’t know how long or deep it will be because we’re still in the early stages,” he says. “As in all businesses there will be people who don’t make it. But I also think that if you can come out of the other side and with some nice stock, then you will be in a position to do well.” To that end, the stud’s breeding season has remained uninterrupted, albeit with several late changes with an eye to the future. “Very early on in the pandemic, I decided that we would press on,” says Procter. “The only changes I made was switching two of the mares that were due to be covered in France – they both stayed in Britain instead – and that was down to cost.” He adds: “Once we know the extent and depth of the recession and how to stay on top of the disease, then I believe everything will start to come back. And I think within the jumps market, some of those people looking to buy the better horses will still have the resources. Obviously some of them will have been hit though I still think there will be people left. “We have just got to work through it. But racing is after all a spectator sport and I think it is in a very good position to put on a good product.”
Sophie Buckley: ‘everyone must be realistic’
the track there is the promise of Lingfield scorer Kipps, an earlier pinhook by the Banbury-based stud who is well regarded by Hughie Morrison. Culworth Grounds is on an upward swing, and with a new collection of pinhooks complementing the stud’s homebreds for 2020, the foundations had been laid for another potentially productive autumn – in a normal year, that is. “I try to sell all my homebreds as yearlings so my cycle is that bit longer,” says Buckley. “But the problem for breeders is that expenses are going up. “It’s a little bit early to say what could happen in the autumn, too early even to say whether there will be yearling sales in October. By now the sale companies would have been booked in to see the yearlings and obviously so far they are behind on that.
“You wonder whether there is the scope in the calendar to put back some of those sales. I did have it in the back of my mind to send a couple of well-bred fillies to the December Yearling Sale – I think that is a realistic and possible option. I’m also very lucky here in that we have the facilities and capabilities to break them in and get them going if we have to. “I think everyone when they come to sell will just have to be realistic.” The shutdown has at least allowed consignors some time into putting some thought and preparation into whatever the market may throw at them this year. One only needs to looks at the way in which parts of the breeze-up sector have embraced the idea of digital marketing to promote their stock this spring, and similarly Buckley is preparing to take greater advantage of the digital world when the time comes. “We have had plenty of time to think,” she says. “What can we do better? How can we make the system that we have better? We already have a website and we have prepared pages to go live. All the yearlings will have videos, photos, and pedigrees – plenty for people to see when we come to sell them.” Until then, life remains busy at Culworth Grounds, and Buckley is quick to praise her staff in light of the diﬃculties caused by the pandemic. “It has been very diﬃcult for the staff here,” she says. “They haven’t been able to go home. With the foaling season going on, it’s been very busy and we couldn’t afford for anyone to get sick, so everyone has been strictly following the protocols. I really have appreciated their hard work. “On the other hand, it’s been great for team bonding. Everyone has really pulled together.”
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
Sales prep is a delicate process in a normal year – now amid a time of such uncertainty it may have become that bit more challenging Words: Nancy Sexton
SARAH FARNSWORTH/GOFFS UK
uch is the relentless nature of the bloodstock year that for many studs the month of June marks a shift in attention towards the sales cycle. In many cases, yearling inspections have taken place and plans confirmed, thereby paving the way for those youngsters slated for the earlier auctions to ease into sales prep. As with everything else, however, the 2020 yearling sales cycle is not going to emerge unscathed from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic. For starters, yearling inspections in Britain, Ireland and France have been delayed, in some instances by several weeks until midMay. There is also the uncertainty of the sales calendar to consider; GoffsUK have already pushed back its Premier Yearling Sale to September 1-2 and there remains a possibility that other sales will have to follow suit. While it remains too early to confirm what the exact calendar will look like come August, potential alterations are already on the minds of consignors. Sales prep, in other words the art of coaxing a yearling to peak at a given time, can be a delicate process, and in a year where sale dates, the ability to travel easily and the use of sales staff also threaten to become complex issues, there is suddenly the potential for any other difficulties to be magnified. “Normally by mid-May I would have had a large percentage of yearlings looked at but I have not been able to see any yet, ” says Bill Dwan, a director of The Castlebridge Consignment, a perennial leading vendor which sold almost 200 yearlings in Britain and Ireland last year. “And then generally we start the Doncaster yearling prep in mid-June. Castlebridge will adjust if needed. All we can do is hope the situation improves and travel restrictions are not an issue
Producing a yearling to peak at the right time for its date in the sale ring could be even more difficult this year
come the yearling sales.” Castlebridge aims to begin sales prep ten weeks ahead of a sale. “This gives us an opportunity to start the prep slowly and increase the workload of horse walker, lungeing and hand walking week by week,” says Dwan. Similarly, fellow consignor Ted Voute aims for an eight to ten week programme that for some of the earlier sales would kick off around the time of Royal Ascot. “We spread the yearlings over both farms in Warwickshire and Northamptonshire,” he says. “Normally we would start preparation just before Royal Ascot with the Arqana horses and the Premier Sale just after Royal Ascot. The rest come in during the first week in August. The only difference this year is that we are keen followers of the Tattersalls Ascot Yearling Sale, which looks unlikely to keep its original date [due to be held on September 8, having been switched to Newmarket]. We have three earmarked for that sale.” One encouraging aspect is the fact that delayed inspections don’t seem to
have unduly affected many consignors. In the case of the Player family’s Whatton Manor Stud in Nottinghamshire, alterations in the inspection schedule have actually prompted sale companies to visit earlier than usual. “Tattersalls are inspecting our stock a week earlier than would normally be the case,” says the stud’s Ed Player. “We have an idea when we buy our pinhooks of which sale they may go to and all being well, they’ll go to that sale. And if we have one by a stallion with first runners, we will try to sell it later in the season – if you look at Night Of Thunder last year, he was popular at the Goffs UK Premier Sale but then it snowballed and by the time we got to Book 2, he was hugely popular. “This year, it has been difficult to plan because everything is so uncertain. It’s likely that some of those early sales will be pushed back and it does change your thinking – historically, a forward type obviously does well at those sales but if they are delayed and you have more time to play with, then other horses are going to come into the equation.”
42 THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
The Castlebridge Consignment is in the enviable position of having farms and offices in both County Meath in Ireland and Newmarket, allowing it to maintain “a great team of sales staff in both countries”. If the worst came to the worst, such separation could end up as a key element to fulfilling its usual weighty presence at both the Goffs Orby and Tattersalls October Sales. Voute, meanwhile, has already decided to direct all his stock to Newmarket. “I decided to send everything to Tattersalls this year mostly because we are based in Britain and a lot of our staff are based here also,” he says. “We are also close enough to Newmarket that we could commute daily if we couldn’t stay during the sales.” What won’t change, however, is the essence of preparing a yearling for sale. While practices vary mildly from stud to stud, it is widely considered that a combination of hand walking, use of a horsewalker and lungeing is the most effective exercise programme. Good feed and rugging is also essential. “We prep around 50 yearlings each year at Whatton Manor, the majority of which would be sold at Tattersalls although we also try to have a good draft at the Goffs UK Premier Sale,” says Player. “Prep for the Premier starts in July and a lot of work for that sale is done out of the field. They’re still very young at that stage so we try to keep it as natural as possible. But then obviously as the season goes on, it becomes harder to do that – prep is very different horse to horse and sale to sale.” From a consignor’s perspective, the more pressing issues are the effect any date changes could have on an already congested calendar and the impact that any regulations could have on staff, particularly those who work from sale to sale. “The issue is finding a free week for a rescheduled sale that does not clash with an existing sale in Europe or the USA,” says Dwan. “Thankfully the sale companies seem to be working together so if yearling sales need to be rescheduled, I’m sure they will find a solution to accommodate everyone as best they can.” Voute also identified a potential issue when it comes to evaluating a yearling’s pedigree. “So many different facets influence the sales,” he says. “A lack of racing, particularly two-year-old racing, will impact updates in pedigrees and could provide a distorted first season sire list. Also the possibility of more breeze-
Bill Dwan: ‘put issues into perspective’
up horses being still in the hands of pinhookers won’t make the journey very predictable going forward.” If there is any certainty in all this, then it is the fact that it has firmly placed the focus on a potential shift to a greater level of virtual trading. The Inglis Easter Yearling Sale in Australia, at which approximately Aus$72 million was traded on 235 lots, proved that a major yearling auction could be conducted online, although it must be remembered that it is common practice in Australia for buyers to visit farms to view stock ahead of the sales. Nevertheless, it has prompted much of the wider sales community to accelerate development of their online sale platforms. As for the consignors, Dwan, Voute and Player were unanimous in their intentions to adopt an open door policy to any prospective buyers ahead of the sales. “All anybody can hope is that sales will happen, that we have a shop front and horses can be sold,” says Player. “If
it came to it, virtual sales are achievable but more so if agents can get around the farms and see the horses beforehand. Our plan this summer is that we’ll have an open door policy for anyone to come and see the stock ahead of the sales in a safe environment.” Voute is in agreement. “I think we are going to need to offer as much access as we can to the agents, trainers and even owners who wish to travel to the farm to see the yearlings prior to the sale,” he says. “And for the sales themselves, we are pushing around the idea that instead of a hospitality box, we will create an IT office that is set up for video on demand. We have also bought a DJI gimbal to help with more professional photos and videos, and the heights and weights of horses will also be available for Book 1. “Sanitiser stations both on the farm and at the sales will also replace the coffee machine and the cheese toasties!” Hurdles will continue to present themselves across the spectrum as the year goes on, and for vendors there will be challenges, whether in adapting their usual prep programme or bracing themselves for the prospect of a downturn in the market. However, as Dwan is keen to highlight, those problems also have to be put into perspective. “Many lives have been lost due to this dreadful virus so if we have reschedule sales by a few weeks or months, I’m sure we’ll manage,” he says. “The bloodstock world and the people involved are a resilient bunch and hopefully we will come through this dreadful time unscathed. But it’s important that we keep an eye out for each other and we come out the other side safe and well.”
Hopes for minimal disruption to calendar While the clock continues to tick towards a yearling sales season that is likely to undergo some more changes, there is some encouragement in the fact that many sale inspections began on May 17, lending hope to the idea that any further disruption might be minimal. In a normal year the first sale to take place is the Arqana August Sale in Deauville. Originally set for August 17-20, it will now take place on September 24-26. The Goffs UK Premier Sale in Doncaster has also been pushed back from August 25-26 to September 1-2. “Like all auction houses, we are faced with an ever shifting and extremely busy sales calendar in which new positions are difficult to secure,” says Goffs UK Managing Director Tim Kent. “However, a September slot gives extra time which maybe vital this year especially given the profile of the typical Doncaster yearling.” Tattersalls, meanwhile, are working on the basis that its sale calendar, spearheaded by the October Yearling Sale, will not change. “Our yearling inspections began on May 17,” says Marketing Director Jimmy George. “We’re a few weeks behind than normal but we should catch up quite quickly and at this stage, we’re looking towards retaining the scheduled dates.”
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER 43
Clarity was added to the American yearling sales season in late April with the announcement that Fasig-Tipton is to consolidate its three summer selected yearling sales into a single September auction in Kentucky. Billed as the Selected Yearlings Showcase, the two-day sale will be staged in Lexington on September 9-10 ahead of the Keeneland September Sale, which will start its marathon run several days later across town on September 14. Lost in the reshuffle is Fasig-Tipton’s boutique Saratoga Sale in Upstate New York, which normally coincides with the prestigious Saratoga race meeting in August. As in Europe, American consignors are approaching this sales cycle with trepidation. However, such an early confirmation of the sales shift has at least presented them with plenty of time to prepare. Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Denali Stud has long been one of Kentucky’s largest and most successful consignors. The source of Classic winners King’s Best, Animal Kingdom and Real Quiet and now currently represented by the unbeaten Arkansas Derby winner Charlatan, Denali sold close to 150 yearlings last year and the stud’s vice president Conrad Bandoroff expects a similar volume to represent the consignment this time around. “The sale companies started their inspections recently and we have got round some of the Kentucky farms ourselves to see the stock we’ll have catalogued,” he says. “But we haven’t been able to do any out of state inspections. “In a normal year, we would run our own colts together until June, but for those horses going to the Fasig-Tipton July Sale, we would have started prep already. We break them to a surcingle and side reins, and put them on the EuroXciser walker. We get them up to jogging on that and of course we do plenty of hand walking as well. Obviously all that has been pushed back though we have started putting some of them on the walker.” There are challenges for consignors in running two drafts at differing locations one after the other. However, it won’t be anything new for some of the bigger operations who are annually represented at the Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland November breeding stock sales, two other major auctions that run into each other. “We’re equipped to handle that pressure,” says Bandoroff. “We have a fantastic sales team. But I do sympathise with the smaller consignors as there are challenges to selling at both.” He adds: “Under the circumstances we’re in, the new calendar is an ideal scenario. We just thought it could never happen – you have two competing sale companies and July and August are Fasig-Tipton months and September is Keeneland. But our governor, Andy Beshear, has been extremely proactive in tackling the virus, and I think we all knew that he wasn’t going to let people go in and out of state on two separate occasions.” The Florida-based Woodford Thoroughbreds is in the challenging position of juggling two-year-old sales prep with that of incoming yearlings. Normally by June the bulk of the two-year-olds in training would have either been sold at auction or shifted to their trainers; however, with the American juvenile sales season undergoing a major shift (as an example, the OBS April Sale in Florida now takes place on June 9-12), work with the young horses under tack continues as the outfit looks to commence prep for the 70 yearlings likely to pass through its system. “In a normal calendar we would have staggered the
Consolidation of American yearling sales schedule welcomed by consignors
Woodford Thoroughbreds expect to offer 70 yearlings this autumn
preparation of the yearling sale horses beginning with prepping the Fasig-Tipton July horses in April, the Saratoga yearlings in May and the Keeneland September yearlings in June,” says Beth Bayer, Woodford’s Director of Sales. “This works really well for our facility because as the training horses leave for the season, we fill those stalls up with our yearling crop and sale prep out of those barns. “Sales prep is a pretty streamlined process. Feed is really important to their development and that won’t change. We have an excellent facility and we’ll also spend hours getting the yearlings to walk properly. That might be the toughest part of needing everything to be ready at the same time - the labour involved in getting so many horses ready at the same time. “We all have to adapt and prepare, but we have plenty of time to do so. Now all horses have an equal time to mature and come to the sale at the same time, and we have chosen to spread out our top yearlings – those that have a good physical, a generous pedigree and clean vetting – between the two sale hosts.” Woodford Thoroughbreds were the first consigment to officially release safety protocols for prospective buyers at the upcoming OBS April Sale, where it is represented by 26 entries. Visitors to the consignment will have access to hand sanitiser and masks. Woodford team members will also fill out inspections cards on behalf of visitors, who will then be directed to designated waiting areas to facilitate social distancing. “It was important that we give some confidence to buyers coming to the sale who are likely to be concerned about their own health and we are too,” says Shannon Castagnola, Director of Marketing and Client Relations at Woodford on the decision to officially release an outline of its protocols. “We always try to look at the sale process through the lense of the buyer. “In Ocala, Florida, right now there is little concern over the coronavirus because there are so few cases. However, we know our buyers are experiencing a different reality in places where this has been devastating. We felt it was important to address any health and safety concerns and be as proactive as possible to mitigate some of those concerns. “This sale is incredibly important to our cycle in the industry and we felt we needed to take some personal responsibility if we are asking people to travel and to be in a location different than home. We need buyers to have their mind on the horses, because although so much has changed, the thought, care and preparation for these horses has not.”
44 THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
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Foals in focus
Foal health: from birth to weaning
The champion racehorses of the future are now but a few months old at studs and farms up and down the country – careful management of the foal during this early stage can have a signiﬁcant impact on its future health and career Words: Joe Grimwade
s breeders know well, even for those selling their progeny as foals, it is a very long journey to the sales ring or the racecourse. Mating plans, optimising fertility and caring for the mare through pregnancy all carry great importance. Foaling is the final hurdle to negotiate before you eventually get to see the physical manifestation of your efforts – and those of the mare – thus far. This article will focus on caring for foals from birth to weaning. To my mind, the careful management of the first few months of the foal’s life can have a particular impact on the soundness and precocity of the racehorse (but probably not its ability), as well as significantly improving the chances of a satisfactory result in the sales ring. Whatever the primary target, attention to detail through every stage of the long process should shorten the odds for success. Much of the article is about optimising growth and development but, recognising that precocity carries less of a premium for National Hunt breeders, I hope that I provide suggestions that are of interest to breeders from both codes.
The main focus will be on three key areas – nutrition, monitoring growth and monitoring development – along with more general topics aiming to provide guidelines for good practice and how to address some of the potential problems. There should be huge enjoyment in rearing foals and I fear that, by providing an introduction to the role that we can play to optimise the process, I will make it sound more complicated than it normally is or needs to be. Great racehorses can be produced with the lightest of human intervention. Our primary role is to ensure their welfare and react to challenges quickly if they occur; if help is needed, there are plenty of options and some are free.
“If a foal is not thriving it is important to address any issues quickly”
Nutrition – Lactation
Nature will often go a long way to providing the new-born foal’s nutritional needs through the mare’s milk. Colostrum carries particular importance and nothing contributes more to a foal’s wellbeing in the long term than a good feed of quality colostrum in the first three or four hours of its life. A spectrometer for testing colostrum is a useful tool (and not hugely expensive) both to
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
gauge what the foal is receiving and to judge if some surplus can be taken off and frozen for later use. However, the most important test is the IgG level from a blood sample taken 24 to 36 hours after the birth; if the IgG is low, it is too late for colostrum to work its magic but a plasma transfusion will help to prevent future setbacks and expense. Few things lift my spirits more than watching a foal that is obviously thriving but sadly some don’t and it is important to address any issues without delay. If a foal isn’t thriving, it will either be a medical issue (which should be investigated by a veterinary surgeon) or a problem with the mare’s milk supply (with quantity being far more likely to be an issue than quality). Foals that are frequently pestering the mare for milk or not showing a normal sleep/feed/play routine are ones to look out for. To aid milk production, there is often value in focussing on the mare’s extreme nutritional requirements in late pregnancy and early lactation – especially for mares foaling early in the year (before the spring grass). Many feed companies can provide nutritional advice, often for free, which can help to optimise the use of hard feed to supplement your pastures and hay. Other factors affecting milk production are the stage of lactation (with supply potentially peaking at around 16 litres or 3.5 gallons per day at six to eight weeks and declining thereafter) and the demand of the foal. On the latter point, as well as worrying about the medical issues if a foal goes ‘off suck’ including susceptibility to ulcers, thought should be given to the negative impact on milk production if the mare’s udder is left full; once production declines through lack of demand for milk, it is unlikely to return to normal levels in that year and milking off the mare, if done with care, will help considerably to sustain the supply. Despite this natural control on milk supply,
over production is probably as common a problem as under production and I will return to it later.
Nutrition – Creep feeding
If all else fails and the young foal is not getting enough milk, the main options are providing creep feed, providing supplementary milk or fostering. Foals can take creep feed as early as seven days old – but some take to it better than others and the creep must be suitable to avoid supplementing the mare’s diet rather than the foal’s. It can also be diﬃcult to persuade foals who are getting some milk from the mare (albeit an inadequate amount) to take milk replacer but patient and persuasive handling can be successful; once they get the hang of it, foals can willingly take supplementary milk from a scoop or bucket. Fostering may be a bit extreme but I have known several foster mares - and the occasional thoroughbred - who were not too fussy about who they fed; these can be a real bonus by “topping up” a foal’s intake. Creep feeding is more commonly used for foals at three to five months old; not everyone believes in its value, but I found that it maintained growth rates when the milk supply was in decline, eased the transition through weaning and, in some cases, helped the mare by reducing milk production preweaning. It is worth considering the addition of a high quality fibre (chaff) to creep feeds to slow down the greedy individuals. Whilst I don’t know of any scientific proof, I also felt that adding echinacea to the foal’s diet for one month pre-weaning and two months post-weaning helped to reduce the autumn ‘snotty noses’. There are a variety of very good creep feeders on the market – both for in stables and for in the paddocks; using trusted suppliers or seeking the advice of other breeders who have used them will help to select the best option. There is also a range of oral nutritional supplements and treatments, which can be considered either to address issues or
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Foals in focus
Monitoring foals’ development over the ﬁrst few months is vital
›› as a part of your normal rearing routines. Monitoring growth
Healthy foals follow a pretty consistent growth rate – especially in the first six months. Weight gain starts at an amazing rate of around 1.5 kgs per day (and can be higher without detriment) and gradually levels off until the mature weight is achieved. Weighing foals is not essential to success – and there is significant cost in equipment and time – but it can be a valuable tool while you are building up experience of visualising normal growth, if you want to have data to compare individuals or groups or crops and if you want to monitor the eﬃciency of your rearing programme. My understanding is that measuring tapes do not provide a reliable indication of weight gain in foals but measurements of height and in some cases girth & bone, are used by breeders to provide additional information. Many feed manufacturers can provide a growth chart and variations can be found on-line. My own experience was that weighing added valuable information to identify potential problems before they became apparent as well as for management decisions on individuals and rearing practices in general. Routines can be established to manage fast or slow growth including nutritional supplementation appropriate for each scenario. One aspect of particular interest was monitoring growth over the weaning process; whilst creep feeding made it possible to almost eliminate any check in growth during weaning, it was also noticeable that, where there was a dip, the compensatory growth to catch up afterwards created the bigger problems. Even with limited experience, most people quickly find that they are able to pick up on the foals that are not thriving; healthy foals can have pretty scraggy coats – but body condition and energy levels are likely to be the clearest markers. Excessive growth can be a more common problem – often in families or on particular studs (which could relate to the land or management regime). Markers to look out for include physitis, tension in the forearm, becoming increasingly over at the knee and going upright in the pasterns. Physitis (previously called epiphysitis) is a swelling of the growth plates often seen in the
fetlocks (giving the hour glass appearance) earlier in the year and in the knees later in the year. For any case where the foal is showing signs of excessive growth, adjustment in nutrition (for the mare and foal to reduce energy intake and supplement other possible nutritional deficiencies), restricted exercise (to reduce pressure on a musculo-skeletal system which could be under stress), confinement (to reduce exercise and try to restrict milk production) and early weaning are all sensible considerations.
The focus of monitoring development during the first few months of the foal’s life is looking for conformation defects, particularly in the forelimbs, which might be improved with intervention. It is an area where breeders should accept that perfection is unlikely to be achieved and take comfort from the knowledge that there are plenty of sound and successful racehorses with far from perfect confirmation; it is often better to settle for marginal improvements than run the intrinsic risks of major interventions. The demands for ‘correctness’ are probably greater in the sales ring than on the racecourse but, if we can gently help to transfer the pressures of galloping evenly through the limbs, it is likely to increase soundness. Typical interventions (as surgery, remedial farriery work, adjustments to nutrition or restricted exercise) can be applied to knees bowing in (carpus valgus), knees bowing out (carpus varus), fetlock valgus & varus, pastern angle (upright or slack), hoof angle (broken forward / boxy or broken back) and rotations. Whole forelimbs rotating slightly out is probably optimal in a foal as the natural broadening of the chest with maturity is likely to bring them in line. As a complex subject, assessing conformation and deciding if intervention is appropriate may warrant using the services of an expert or experts to advise; as examples, bloodstock agents and specialist veterinary surgeons or farriers can be a great help. In addition to their expertise, there is value in using people who are not looking at the foals every day when it can be diﬃcult to pick up on subtle changes. When monitoring development, there can also be value in
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Foals in focus
Getting foals out in nursery paddocks as soon as possible is important, while covered turn-out areas are a great asset to youngsters
photographs (square to the knee or side on) and videos of movement (from the side, front and back) to make comparisons. New-born foals can be pretty shocking to the critical eye and they will often be carpus valgus with toes pointing at ‘10 to 2’, sickle and windswept hocks and very imperfect pastern angles. In most cases there will be amazing natural progress over the first month and, in my opinion, correction (except with the lightest touch or in extreme cases) should not be considered too early. Thereafter, gradual improvement is normally satisfactory but noting that the limbs mature from the ground upwards; the deadline for fetlock correction is earlier than that for knee correction and opportunities can be missed by being too conservative.
General management – Turn-out
I always tried to get new-born foals out in nursery paddocks as soon as possible, but constrained by any signs of prematurity or dysmaturity (e.g. mole skin coat / domed head), significant weaknesses, weather and ground conditions. Covered turn-out areas – especially for young foals early in the year – are a great asset if you are lucky enough to have them. Most of us look forward to the day when they can live out (and the paddocks can take them) but young foals are susceptible if they are out in wet weather for more than a few hours and it is helpful to get them used to being stabled and handled before they are turned away. It is useful to have an adequate supply of foal slips/headcollars (normally categorised as sizes 1, 2 & 3) so that replacements or changes are available when required.
Farriery & worming
Foals have little or no resistance to parasitic worms and can develop a significant burden quickly; as a result, common practice is not to rely on faecal egg counts except to monitor effectiveness and have a targeted worming programme to take them to the end of their second year. The programme can be started as early as two weeks but being careful to check drug suitability and dosage rates. The optimum frequency for trimming is probably every four or five weeks (and more frequently for remedial work).
With veterinary advice, it is sensible to have options immediately available to limit and treat foal scours – including aftercare to re-establish a healthy digestive tract and reduce the danger of ulcers that can have a long-term effect on the foal’s well-being. Washing scour off foals can be counterproductive – both by spreading infection and causing irritation – and a good covering of baby oil without any ‘rubbing in’ will often achieve the required results within two or three hours.
Any signs of ill-health, injury or lameness in a young foal should be treated as potentially urgent and a ‘stitch in time will often save nine’. Signs of going ‘off suck’, dehydration, listlessness, raised temperature and raised respiratory rate are particularly important markers. Vaccination is not normally recommended until foals are six months old but specifics (e.g. Lawsonias) may start before the normal weaning time (five to six months).
50 THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
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Weathering the storm During these unprecedented times it is likely that a lot of businesses will need to carefully monitor cashflows and compile robust strategies to stay afloat. This is particularly important in sectors where expenditure has continued but revenues have dropped or ceased. Where the business includes breeding of horses, the costs for the care and feeding of the horses will continue at a similar level. However, there is a fear that either autumn sales will not take place or, more likely, prices across the board will be lower. One small consolation is that coverings have continued. With nomination fees looming on the horizon in October, this article aims to cover some of pertinent points that businesses may wish to consider in order to weather the storm.
1. Cashflow Careful monitoring of cash will be imperative to a business’s success in these difficult times. Businesses should prepare detailed cashflow projections to ascertain the cashflow requirements of the business and to highlight any areas where there may be savings, and to gain an understanding of its ‘pinch points’. Evidence of cash flow projections are also likely to be required should any external funding be sought. Knowledge is power and the best place to start is to really ‘know’ your cash position.
2. Bounce Back loans The scheme is designed to help small and medium sized businesses borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of turnover, to a maximum of £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there are no set up fees and no interest to pay for the first 12 months. After the first 12 months there will be a fixed interest rate and the loan term is up to 6 years. In order to qualify for the loan, the business needs to be: • Based in the UK • Have been established before 1 March 2020 • Been adversely affected by the coronavirus. This bounce back loan cannot be claimed if the business is already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme or the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility.
There are 11 lenders participating in the scheme including many main retail banks. You should approach a suitable lender yourself via their website where you will be required to fill in a short online application form to selfdeclare you are eligible. 3. Bank overdraft A shorter-term solution may be to approach a business bank for a larger bank overdraft. This however will not have the advantage of no interest for the first year. However, it may offer increased flexibility where there a short period where additional cash is required. 4. Interest on loans Where interest in paid on business loans it will be deductible in calculating the taxable profits of the business. It should be noted that restrictions may apply where this creates losses (detailed below). In cases where the business is not undertaken through a company and includes residential lettings it is likely an element of the interest paid will only receive a basic rate tax credit.
5. Utilisation of tax losses Subject to the restrictions on ‘hobby farming losses’, which state that sideways loss relief can only be available for up to 11 years after commencement, providing that the business has the potential to be profit making in the future, business losses should be available to set against other income. This is subject to a cap for individuals of the higher of £50,000 and 25% of individuals adjusted total income. There is a further cap for non-active traders (being those engaged for less than 10 hours a week). It may also be possible to carry back losses in order to obtain a tax refund for the prior year.
It is always important to keep in mind the fact that loss relief is only available where you can demonstrate that you are trading in a businesslike fashion and the business is capable of making a profit at some time in the future. For example, is it time to sell any mares who don’t pay for themselves by only having a foal every third year or regularly producing foals with confirmation problems? A bad mare costs as much to keep as a good mare.
6. Tax payments When submitting 2019/20 tax returns it is unlikely the full effect of COVID-19 will be reflected in the taxable income. Where payments on account are required by January 2021, consideration should be given to reducing the payments if it is anticipated the taxable income for 2020/21 will be lower.
Penelope Lang Partner, Smith & Williamson LLP t: 01722 431 064 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
smithandwilliamson.com Offices: London, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cheltenham, Dublin (City and Sandyford), Glasgow, Guildford, Jersey, Salisbury and Southampton.
Government and tax legislation is that prevailing at the time, is subject to change without notice and depends on individual circumstances. Clients should always seek appropriate advice from their financial adviser before making financial decisions. Source: gov.uk, data correct as of 19/05/20 By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing. The tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in future. Smith & Williamson LLP Regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for a range of investment business activities. A member of Nexia International. The word partner is used to refer to a member of Smith & Williamson LLP. 73820lw
On good ground A relative newcomer to the UK equestrian fencing market, Horserail is making up good ground, from the tip of Cornwall to the north of Scotland
ORSERAIL, since being introduced to the UK market just over a decade ago, has proved popular with owners, breeders and trainers across the length and breadth of Britain. “We get very good feedback from our products due to its simple installation and sturdy nature,” explains Ruth Todd, sales and
marketing manager at Horserail. Horserail is a post-and-rail-style fencing system that provides an injury-free, maintenance-free, stylish and affordable fencing system with a 30-year warranty. The average price of Horserail matches and often betters traditional post-and rail-fencing. It is manufactured from a flexible polyethylene compound, which is molecularly bonded to high tensile steel fencing wire. It was developed around 20 years ago by John Wall, a fencing contractor from New Zealand who still runs the business and oversees all product improvements. Horserail is currently produced at his factory in Pennsylvania, USA. “The result,” according to Ruth, “is a fence that is flexible enough to install easily but rigid
With a 30-year guarantee and little maintenance needed, Horserail is affordable and long-lasting
enough so as to eliminate the chance of horses becoming trapped or injured in the fence. “Horserail is a versatile product that can suit a variety of applications such as paddocks, lunging rings, gallops, arenas and horsewalkers. It has no sharp edges that could potentially injure horses and has a tensile strength of approximately 2,000kg, so there is no danger of being able to break through.”
PEACE OF MIND
“Many customers have said the Horserail system has been the difference between losing a valuable animal and not,” explains Ruth Todd, sales and marketing manager
HORSERAIL- TOB June 2020 DPS.indd 54
SAFETY is a huge factor in the development of the Horserail system. “We’ve been manufacturing Horserail for over 25 years and have never had a single injury. We have a lot of calls asking if it’s safe for foals or stallions,” Ruth reveals, “which, of course, it is. “Recently a customer thanked us for saving her yearling. He had been let into a paddock after some box rest and bolted straight into the far rail. He simply bounced off it, uninjured. It’s possible had he run into a traditional post and rail it would probably have killed him. “Many of our customers have let us know the Horserail system has been the difference between losing a valuable animal and not. We too often hear of horses suffering serious injury or fatalities from wire, tape or timber fencing, but with Horserail you are guaranteed optimum safety.
“We’ve been manufacturing Horserail for 25 years and have never had a single injury”
“A big selling point with customers is its longevity,” adds Ruth. “Every Horserail system comes with a 30-year guarantee and requires next to no maintenance. The rail will keep its appearance over time and will never need to be painted. “In addition to this, Horserail’s hardware is galvanised and then powder coated to ensure insure maximum protection against corrosion and to colour match the rail which is available in brown, black or white.” Horserail also has the option to be electrified at both the top and bottom of the rails, giving additional security and peace of mind, as well as saving on the cost of installing an additional fencing system. “This makes Horserail unique in terms of composite equestrian fencing solutions,” explains Ruth. The Covid-19 crisis appears not to have diminished demand. Despite the cancellation of this year’s Badminton Horse Trials, an event in which Horserail has become heavily involved as a sponsor, Ruth and the team at Horserail are looking at organising events and taster days around the UK targeted at fencing contractors as well as “equestrianites”. ● For more information, visit horserail.co.uk
HORSERAIL- TOB June 2020 DPS.indd 55
From foals to stallions, Horserail is a safe, secure and versatile fencing option
The special section for ROA members
Middle and grassroots tiers protected as racing returns
s racing returned at the beginning of June following its suspension due to Covid-19, the BHA published prize-money levels covering the first ten weeks of action. Supporting prize-money at the middle and grassroots levels of the sport is the initial focus. With racing being staged behind closed doors and betting shops remaining closed, a reduction in prizemoney was inevitable as racecourse revenues have been severely impacted by the suspension. However, £15.7 million in contributions from the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) have allowed racing’s leaders to agree minimum values that exceed, on average, 80% of the previously permitted minimum levels. Although Racing’s Members Committee, which includes representation from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), racecourses and horsemen, were concerned with the impact of prizemoney reductions on all levels of racing,
Supporting prize-money at the lower echelons of the sport is the key to retaining owners
it agreed that prize-money at the mid to lower echelons of the sport should be protected as much as possible. This
Flat minimum values
*Although it is proposed that minimum values at the lower levels increase, this fails to reflect that the additional levy funding and appearance money that had previously been voluntarily unlocked at these levels by all racecourses would cease. To illustrate, a Class 6 handicap previously had a minimum value of £3,500. However, if racecourses contributed a further £400 above that minimum, additional levy funding was provided so that the total race value was £5,593. Therefore, although the minimum value has increased, the standard total race value of Class 6 handicaps will fall from £5,593 to £4,300.
was primarily to support the retention of racehorse owners and horses in training. The permitted minimum value of prize-money at the upper echelons, which are generally more reliant on racecourse contributions and sponsorship, are affected to a greater extent than grassroots racing in this period. The Levy Board will closely monitor the levy revenues generated now that racing has resumed. Minimum values will remain under review and revert to current levels as soon as circumstances allow. Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association said: “The contribution of the HBLB is most welcome and will go a long way to protecting prize-money for owners in the new programme. The return to racing has been a huge collaborative effort from the horsemen, the racecourses, the BHA and the Levy Board. “However, we simply would not have had a sport to return to without the great loyalty shown by owners who have supported their horses in training throughout this challenging period. We cannot thank them enough for the patience and support they have shown.” Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer for the BHA, said: “British racing’s recovery from the current situation will be dependent on the continuing support of racehorse owners and it is therefore regrettable that, as has also been the
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case in other jurisdictions, we have had to reduce minimum prize-money levels. “We are very grateful for the increased contributions provided by the Levy Board, which have allowed the sport to mitigate the impact to a certain extent, and agree a strategy that seeks to support the retention of owners and their horses. However, even with those, it has not been possible to fully make up for the loss of revenues resulting from racing without crowds or betting shops remaining closed, particularly in the higher classes that were especially dependent on contributions from racecourses and their sponsors. “We are fortunate that many owners at all levels continue to demonstrate their loyalty to the sport, and it is important to stress that these reductions, which will also impact on the livelihoods of trainers, jockeys and stable staff, are a short-term measure only.”
News in brief
The British European Breeders’ Fund, which supports over 600 Flat races a year, has renewed its commitment to racing. The trustees will honour the £1.68 million of prize-money enhancements originally allocated to Flat races in 2020 focussing on the early stages of resumption using the funds accrued during racing’s suspension. This will provide a much-needed boost to the sport, with the reassurance that both in the initial stages and the longer-term programme, extra money will be available in the form of EBF prizemoney contributions. Simon Sweeting, Chairman of the British EBF commented: “We are committed to supporting as many races within our remit as practical to help the sport back on its feet as quickly as possible. We are aware of how significant our £1.68m is to the industry this season and we are working to make sure it gets into the system effectively. “We know our additional funding is needed by owners and trainers and we want to assure them that the British EBF is here to help at every opportunity.” Looking ahead, the British EBF is making plans to provide support for an extended Flat programme into November and December, ensuring appropriate support is offered throughout the season. Sweeting added: “Stallion owners have worked tirelessly to make sure their covering sheds are open for business and provided flexible options to support breeders. The British EBF is generously funded by stallion owners and the importance of their contributions to us, especially now, cannot be overstated.”
British EBF commitment
Owners can buy images of their horses in training as captured by Dominic James
Dominic James has been photographing horses exercising in Newmarket this year, with the permission of Jockey Club Estates. He’s built up an archive and posts new imagery via his Instagram account at https://www.instagram. com/horsesintraining/. Images can be viewed on galleries with online purchasing for digital files, prints and framing at https://clients. dominic-james.com/horses-intraining. We thought this might be of interest while members are missing seeing their horses in training. Members can enjoy a 20% discount on any of the images ordered by using the special discount code ROA20. Dominic also undertakes private commissions.
We hope members are enjoying our series of virtual tours being circulated by email. We would like to thank our hosts who have provided some highly enjoyable visits behind the scenes of Whitsbury Manor Stud, Cheveley Park Stud, Hillwood Stud, Newmarket training grounds and Gary Moore’s Cisswood Stables.
We have plenty more visits planned and a varied programme in the coming weeks. We hope you’ll enjoy the videos, which will be shared on the Racehorse Owners Association channel on YouTube. If you’d like to receive future emails please let us know at email@example.com
With the start of the season delayed, the BHA has made more horses eligible for a handicap rating after two runs. A horse will be eligible for a handicap rating if it (i) finishes in the first six places on both of its first two starts, or (ii) has completed two starts having won first time out. Ratings are published within the ‘Official Ratings’ section of the BHA website.
Jump racing return
The industry continues to plan towards a resumption of jump racing at the beginning of July. As outlined previously, jump novice status will be amended so that winners since the beginning of February will retain their novice status until November 30. To see how prize-money reductions will affect jump racing, see roa.co.uk.
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‘Watching a horse you have bred win a race is the greatest reward’
o you have a good filly? Then the odds are her progeny will be good too, so why not breed your own racehorse out of her rather than cashing in and taking your chances at the sales again? Alternatively, you could start afresh and buy your own broodmare or filly out of training, writes ROA member David Brocklehurst of Charlock Stud (charlockstud.com). (charlockstud.com) (charlockstud.com charlockstud.com). Breeding your own brings a much greater involvement, starting with the selection of the stallion, to watching your horse’s growth and development from foal to yearling, to eventual
David Brocklehurst: selling the dream of breeding racehorses
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racehorse. There can be no greater reward than watching a horse you have bred win a race. Once your filly has retired from racing, the greatest excitement is the inspection and selection of a suitable stallion for her. In England, France and Ireland there are an abundance of immaculately maintained stud farms that are, in normal times, welcoming, actively encouraging visits to inspect their stallions, which vary enormously in price. Stallions, like all horses, vary in size, conformation, temperament and, perhaps above all else, pedigrees. Matching a sire’s pedigree with that of your mare is often referred to as a ‘nick’, signifying the likelihood of duplicated ancestry producing comparable winning progeny. Pedigree boffins and bloodstock agents abound to proffer advice, but the transmission of a horse’s athletic prowess and most importantly their disposition to win remains a mystery, so everyone has a fair crack at choosing that magic mating. These days, thanks to the use of scanning, the process of getting your mare in foal is far more scientific than ever before and coverings can be scheduled within a matter of days for mares coming into season, enabling owners to witness the actual covering itself as many enjoy being at the start of the breeding journey. The gestation period is approximately eleven months, during which time your mare will not only change shape but may start to take on a different character. After the foal’s birth when most mares instinctively take on the role of full time mum, her character and demeanour may change further and make her more relaxed. Six months after the foal’s birth, weaning takes place and the foal’s character develops further as it continues to grow and come to terms with life without its mother and is pooled with other weanlings in a herd format. At this stage, it is interesting to see how they interact with one another and one can note discernible traits and moods as they develop.
Many pleasurable hours can be spent watching foals and weanlings play together, but care must be taken to ensure growth spurts are managed to avoid the inflammation of fast developing joints. Most boarding studs, where horse welfare is of paramount importance, video and photograph foals and weanlings during their development stages; the camera captures the changes that the day-to-day eye might miss, and of course provides owners with a record so that they can track and monitor their horses’ continued development over time.
“The whole breeding journey is one of involvement and enjoyment” All thoroughbred horses have their birthday on January 1 following the year of their birth, regardless of their actual date of birth, which is why thoroughbred breeders try for early foals in January, February and March. The day the weanlings become yearlings and start to resemble little racehorses is usually the day the colts are separated from the fillies! During the late summer, the yearlings will begin their preparation for the sales should their owners decide to test market value or qualify them for median auction races. This
entails walking in hand, thorough daily grooming, having their feet picked up, being taught to stand and show, light lunging and being well handled. Much can be learned about a horse’s character at this stage when family traits – good and bad – come to the fore and which are helpful in determining future matings, with the aim to breed out the bad and breed in the good. After the sales, which can be exciting and nail biting in equal measure, the yearlings will either be let down at grass, to allow them further time to develop, or go into pre-training. Here they will be backed before heading off to your trainer, who will be hoping that your colt or filly is as good as their dam or even their sire, and to whom you will be able to relate invaluable information especially about your horse’s temperament. Naturally, not all matings result in champions being bred and just as with training, breeding has its ups and downs but nevertheless the whole breeding journey is one of involvement and hopefully enjoyment over a sustained period of time. Finally, the cost of boarding fees for a mare is typically less than for training but one should expect higher vet bills. Stallion fees vary from the relatively modest to stratospheric but it is worth remembering that if you breed a winner, then the value of your mare and her future progeny increases in value, too. Owners/prospective breeders who might like to learn more about thoroughbred breeding may be interested in details of courses and resources. See racing2learn.com.
The ROA Board elections are well underway. The board is selected by ROA members so this is your chance to ensure your views are represented by casting your vote. There are 15 candidates contesting three places: Mark Albon, Donald Clark, John Corsan, Simon Double, Colleen Ford-Ellis, Edward Goodwin, Amanda Hamilton-Fairley, Sam Hoskins (re-standing), Gay Kelleway, Mary Philpott, Ged Shields, Alan
Spence (re-standing), Graham Triefus, Martin Warren and Randy Weeks. Details of how to vote have been sent to members. Candidate manifestos can be found at roa.co.uk and voting closes at noon on Monday, June 22. The ROA AGM, due to be held on June 30, has been postponed. Members will be advised of the revised date once details are confirmed.
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
MEET THE PRESIDENT – CHARLIE PARKER New man at the helm of the ROA has interests across Flat and National Hunt racing
hat is your involvement in racing, apart from the ROA board? I currently have four National Hunt horses – three with Nicky Henderson and one with Warren Greatrex – which we own between four of us, my wife Mary-Anne and two great friends, Philip Martin and Stewart Williams, all of whom are members of the ROA. I also have a number of Flat horses in training with Gary Moore, Jonny Portman and Charlie Hills. In addition, I own and run a commercial breeding operation, which targets the Flat; we currently have some lovely broodmares, but a bit like bikes I could not reveal how many! What got you into racing politics? My late father Sir Eric was an ROA board member and President and dedicated an enormous amount of his time and energy to the ROA. Listening to him constantly explaining what was happening in the industry and his fights over prize-money, the Tote ownership, race programmes etc was the trigger. When he left the ROA board just before he died, I thought that given my skill set, I could hopefully help out and make a contribution. Why does it matter? Without an owner there is no racing. Every owner, from a member of a 3,000-person racing club to someone with a string of horses, needs to be represented. Our voice needs to be heard and our investment, both emotional and financial, needs to be looked after. The ROA has played a key role and will continue to do so as a major stakeholder, especially during such a difficult time and outlook. What do you bring to the ROA board? I am a chartered accountant by training but I have also spent most of my business career in membershipbased leisure businesses, so I have a clear understanding of that side of our association. During my career I have sat on many different boards and have been lucky to make a few successful deals. So I bring a mixture of commercial and entrepreneurial experience with a good grounding in finance.
What is top of your wish list for racing? The obvious answer is a bigger slice of the finance cake for owners, trainers, jockeys and stable staff, however given where we are today, I would prioritise a more unified approach to the industry from all its constituent parts. Too often there have been times when individual agendas are promoted ahead of what may be the common good. Therefore, I hope that the catastrophic events of the last few months can lead to a more unified and driven industry for the good of all the participants. In your opinion, what is racing’s biggest challenge over the next three years? I think the economic storm that awaits following the pandemic will be the biggest challenge that the industry has ever faced. The funding model will have to be looked at again when we come out of the current crisis. Concerns over Brexit, horse movement and staffing have all faded somewhat but will no doubt return in due course. Is there an aspect of ownership that particularly grates? Personally, not really, but seeing the rain bucket down before Verdana Blue’s attempt
to win the Champion Hurdle, and then again before the Liverpool Hurdle in 2019, did cause me some indigestion. What has been your best moment in ownership? Seagram [owned by Sir Eric Parker] winning the Grand National and Roz landing the Star Stakes at Sandown were great, but I would pick Verdana Blue beating Buveur D’Air in the 2018 Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day. She was owned by the best team of people ever, raced in my late father’s colours and was trained by one of our great mates over the last 30-odd years [Nicky Henderson]. We were surrounded by our family and that moment will probably never be beaten. Do you have any advice for prospective owners? Find a trainer you get on with, find some people to enjoy the ride with you, don’t be afraid of getting advice and be prepared for some low moments – but the highs are unbeatable.
Charlie Parker: ‘racing must be ready to face an economic storm’
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
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THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
The special section for TBA members
Terriﬁc Tara still on top
Kayf Tara: leading British NH stallion
NH stalwart takes two stallion accolades
ayf Tara retained the Whitbread Silver Salver for an eighth consecutive year and added a fifth successive Horse & Hound Cup for good measure. The Overbury Stud-based stallion has been a consistent source of Graded winners throughout his career and looks to have another top-notcher in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle winner Thyme Hill. The Philip Hobbs-trained six-yearold endured a troubled passage in the closing stages of the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but still managed to finish within a length and a half of the winner. He was one of his sire’s four stakes winners during a truncated season that saw Ballyandy record a Grade 2 success over hurdles, while Atlanta Ablaze and The Long Mile scored over fences. Kayf Tara, who is 26, has been at stud since 2001 and last year covered a limited book of 61 mares at a careerhigh fee of £10,000.
Whitbread Silver Salver
For the leading active British-based National Hunt stallion by earnings (GB & IRE)
Horse & Hound Cup
For the leading active British-based National Hunt stallion by number of individual chase winners (GB & IRE)
Members beneﬁt from GBB discount
Pelekai: Great British Bonus winner at Newcastle
TBA members received a new benefit with the launch last month of the Great British Bonus in the shape of discounts when registering filly foals into the scheme. All 2019 born fillies that were entered into the NH MOPS scheme have automatically been transferred across into Stage 1 of the new GBB scheme. For those who missed the deadline earlier this year and for Flat fillies born in 2019, the foal
registration stage is free to TBA members. For non-members the foal registration is £150. For those foals born in 2020 and beyond, TBA members receive a £100 discount on the registration cost – paying £200 instead of £300. The member discount is deducted on the website once the checkout process has been initiated. Visit www.greatbritishbonus.co.uk for more information.
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
Meet the regional reps
An independent trustee of the British EBF, Fiona, who is a representative for the East region, says: “I bred my first Flat thoroughbred in 1999. Since then, horses such as Mary Read, Tiana, Beat The Bank, Kachy and Ptolemaic have all been the product of Denniff Farms. "As well as being a regional representative, I am a member of the TBA Flat Committee, sat on the original committee that organised the inaugural Leger Legends race at Doncaster and am now part of the Racing Welfare Charity Committee that organises the Clock Tower Cup for Stable Staff at Doncaster.”
A regional representative for the West region, Tessa says: “I am a bloodstock agent with Highflyer Bloodstock, with whom I have worked for over 15 years. I am also a member of the TBA National Hunt Committee. I am married to Warren Greatrex and we train at Uplands in Upper Lambourn. We have three daughters and Warren has twin boys who are both Flat jockeys. “I have a share in a couple of broodmares and enjoy selling their progeny as foals.”
“A senior partner of Abacus Bloodstock,
Victoria Murrell joins the team
Every TBA member belongs in one of seven regions, each of which is headed up by a group of volunteer regional representatives, who work tirelessly to help us promote British breeding. Over the coming months these pages will feature a number of these representatives so that members can see exactly who their local contact is and who to look out for at various events around the country.
Stuart Matheson I own Lower Linbrook Farm, a small private stud in Staffordshire with my wife Sarah,” says Wales and West Midlands regional representative Stuart Matheson. “The stud has four mares and the associated offspring, plus a collection of retirees and other horses. “We have had some good success on the track, both with horses we have raced and those we have sold. Despite this, the market is very challenging and for breeders the TBA offers professional support as well as a network of like-minded people, all faced with similar challenges. It is my hope that as a regional representative, I can be part of that support network.” Victoria Murrell: keen eventer
The TBA is delighted to announce that Victoria Murrell has joined the Stanstead House team, taking up the position of CEO Office Executive. Victoria has spent the past 18 years working for Juddmonte Farms, initially as Stud Secretary, before taking up PA and bloodstock coordination roles for Philip Mitchell during his time as General Manager, then for Stud Director Simon Mockridge and latterly for CEO Douglas Erskine Crum. Away from work Victoria breaks in and produces event ponies. She is also kept very busy with her six-year-old son Henry, who is an active member of the Newmarket and Thurlow Pony Club, as well as a keen footballer and tennis player.
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TBA Forum Brits burn bright on the continent French racing was given the green light to resume on May 11. On a packed card of Classic trials at ParisLongchamp, last year’s Group 2 Prix du Calvados and Group 3 Prix Six Perfections scorer Tropbeau made a successful 2020 debut in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte. The daughter of Whitsbury Manor Stud resident Showcasing, who was third in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket last September, saw out the mile contest well. Owned by Lady Bamford, Tropbeau was bred by Lord Margadale (Fonthill Stud) and is the first foal out of dual winner Frangipanni, a Dansili daughter of Group 1 July Cup heroine Frizzante. Tropbeau subsequently ran a fine fourth behind Dream And Do in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas) on June 1. Third in the Guineas trial was Tickle Me Green, whose sire Sea The Moon hit the ground running with his second crop following racing's resumption. At Toulouse, in the Listed Prix Caravelle, Moon A Lisa was beaten a head, while the previous week saw a triumphant and emphatic victory for Wonderful Moon in the Group 3 Cologne
Classic to firmly establish him as a leading contender for the Deutsches Derby. Racing returned to ParisLongchamp on May 14 for another high-quality card featuring Classic trials, including the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux over 1m1f. The contest was won in good style by the Fabrice Chappet-trained Magic Attitude, a British-bred daughter of Margot Did, the sprinter who provided Hayley Turner with her second top-level success when winning the 2011 Nunthorpe Stakes. Subsequent to foaling the bay, the daughter of Exceed And Excel was covered by Frankel before being exported to Japan by owner Katsumi Yoshida. The following contest, the EBFsponsored Listed Prix Zarkava for older fillies and mares over an extended 1m2f, witnessed a successful reappearance by Grand Glory. Last seen when running third in the Group 1 Prix de Diane, the four-year-old was held up out the back, but swooped down the outside in the straight to score a decisive win. She certainly shaped like the proverbial Group horse down in grade. Down under at Scone on May 15, Dr Drill added the Listed Darley Scone Cup over a mile to his CV, one that
Showcasing: his daughter Tropbeau looks a high-class performer for Lady Bamford
already included a score in the Listed Cranbourne Cup over 1m2f last October. The son of Dansili, who was known as Drill in Britain, was bred by Luca and Sara Cumani’s Fittocks Stud out of their Group 2 Lancashire Oaks winner Pongee, a daughter of the influential Listed scorer Puce.
NEWS IN BRIEF TBA Awards go virtual
All TBA events up until the end of September have, regrettably, now been cancelled due to Covid-19. However, the need to recognise and celebrate British success has never been more important and the TBA will be introducing virtual award ceremonies for both the Flat and National Hunt spheres in the summer. Please monitor the TBA website and social media for further details of these events. The Annual General Meeting and the associated process for electing trustees will take place in autumn 2020, rather than July as originally advised.
been made as a result of the AHT being unable to give assurances around the processing of samples at this critical time for breeders. This arrangement will be reviewed at the end of the year. Consideration at that stage will be given to a number of factors alongside consultation with Weatherbys and the AHT. Veterinary practices have been advised of the change in procedure around sample processing, which will see them sending samples to Weatherbys’ Wellingborough office rather than the AHT. Weatherbys will be responsible for ensuring delivery of samples to the Weatherbys Scientific laboratory.
Covid-19 TBA survey
Notify your foal’s birth
In April a survey was published to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the British thoroughbred breeding industry. The TBA would like to thank all those who took the time to submit their responses, which provided valuable data and evidence of the specific support required by the sector. TBA members are reminded to regularly visit the Covid-19 hub, which can be found on the TBA’s website www.thetba. co.uk. It features the latest advice and guidance for breeders, including the protocols, as well as more general information relating to business matters.
British thoroughbred DNA samples
The decision has been taken to move the processing of all British thoroughbred DNA samples to Ireland for the remainder of the 2020 breeding season. This decision has
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: www.weatherbysgsb.co.uk Breeders can check whether a foal has been notified at https://selim.britishhorseracing.com/potro/
EU Settlement Scheme
Employers are reminded that EU citizens can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after June 30, 2021. The scheme is free to apply. Irish citizens are exempt from the scheme and do not need to apply to remain in the UK. To check whether an employee needs to apply visit www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families.
64 THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
BREEDER IN FOCUS – David Spence
Lochnager and Edward Hide after winning the 1976 Nunthorpe Stakes
Shropshire, and has gone back to him. Because of the accommodation issue, there was no alternative other than to have two people share the box driving. Let’s hope it’s worth it.” Spence, 72, shortly celebrates the 55th anniversary of his first entry into racing and breeding. “When I came out of junior showjumping in 1965, I sold my pony and bought a foal at Tattersalls in Newmarket, who cost me 320 guineas,” he says. “I owned him with my father and we put him with Mick Easterby – the one and only trainer for both of us, so far.” Named Lintloch, he won novice hurdles at Sedgefield and Market Rasen as a three-year-old but was followed by two less successful purchases before father and son hit the jackpot with a 1972 colt foal by Dumbarnie. “I bought him privately from Mick – we tossed a coin on the price, 1,600gns or 1,800gns, and I lost!” Spence recalls. “That was Lochnager. He should have been called Lochnagar, after a mountain on the Balmoral estate, but my wife Phyllis spelled it wrongly on the registration form, and the rest is history.” The brief history is that over three seasons Lochnager won nine sprints for total earnings of almost £70,000 – just short of £1 million at today’s values – and after becoming the first horse since Abernant in 1949 to complete the treble of King’s Stand Stakes, July Cup and William Hill Sprint Championship (now the Nunthorpe Stakes), he was syndicated to stand at Easterby’s stud for £260,000, the equivalent of £3.7m. Spence, who hopes breeders will earn
The TBA’s most northerly-based member, David Spence, reflects on life under Covid-19 restrictions, which goes on much the same as always, with one significant exception. “We’re in lockdown but not locked into the house,” he says. “We’re sparsely populated and can comfortably walk down the lane. We’re all but selfsufficient on the farm and grow our own oats, straw, hay and barley, and as a family business we haven’t had to lay off anyone, because we engage contractors. “Fortunately, the weather has been very kind; much better than the back-end of last year, when I never saw the ground so wet, and the crops look good.” The exception to near-normality is the stud, or more precisely the family’s two studs near Alford, 25 miles west of Aberdeen – Forbes Arms Stud, owned by David and his wife, and Meiklehaugh Stud, three and a half miles way, which is run by his son Paul and houses stallions. “It’s like Coolmore and Castle Hyde, but on a smaller scale!” David jokes. He has concentrated on equine stock since 2002, when he, and shortly afterwards his brother, ended the family’s involvement of more than a century with local hotels. “We came out at the right time,” he says. However, 2020 has presented one major challenge. Spence explains: “We have a two-stall horse box and take mares and foals to the studs, but we can’t do that regularly this year. We’re nine hours from Yorkshire and there’s no accommodation at the other end. “So, we turned things round to bring a stallion here, and got Mahsoob from Andrew Spalding at Hedgeholme Stud in the Tees Valley. Paul and our stud manager Dennis Dunbar negotiated with Andrew, who consulted with Shadwell, which still own Mahsoob. He’s here for the season.” Spence admits that marketing the Group 3 winner, whose first yearlings will sell this year, has not been easy. However, he adds: “He’ll have at least five of our mares, and studs within an hour of us can come in, get their mares covered and go away again, so we’ll see how he goes.” The one Spence mare not visiting the new arrival is Word Perfect, dam of Perfect Pasture, who won two Listed races and nearly £200,000 in prize-money. He says: “She has a good, stocky colt foal by Massaat, who stands at Richard Kent’s Mickley Stud in
greater respect and recognition for their efforts when racing gets back to normal, says: “Lochnager didn’t have a big pedigree but he was a wonderful horse, without a bad bone in his body, with a great physique and a terrific engine. Whenever he was right, he never got beaten.” He accepts he may not unearth another Lochnager but is grateful to have had “a few nice horses” through his hands since, pointing to the 1986 Welsh Grand National winner Stearsby, Scottish Sprint Cup winner Hoofalong, top pointto-point mare On Holiday and this year’s hurdles winner Stimulating Song. “If we don’t breed them ourselves, I love buying foals,” he says. “We have excellent ground here where the horses gain plenty of bone; there’s clean air and running water coming from the hills. They come off the land sound and correct.” Among owners for whom Spence has special regard, he mentions Lord Daresbury, “a very good buyer of my stock, the best being Hunt Ball, who spent about three years with me before I sent him to Mick Easterby;” John Wade, “a great supporter in the North;” and Steve Hull, “who bought his very first horse from me, Sporting Gesture, who ran over 120 times and won 14 races.” However, Spence’s closing observation is reserved for Mick Easterby. “Long after my father gave him his first order to buy a yearling, Mick used to say, ‘I didn’t understand a word that Charlie was saying to me,’ but he still managed to buy father a yearling. He’s just as sharp, even though he’ll be 90 next March.”
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
Vet Forum: The Expert View
FOOT ISSUES IN THE RACEHORSE:
the veterinary viewpoint
A subsolar abscess, also referred to as ‘pus-in-the-foot’, is one of the most
oot issues are amongst the most common causes of lameness in the racehorse and the importance of looking after the foot in order to maintain soundness and athletic performance cannot be over-emphasised. This article will discuss some of the more frequently observed conditions causing foot lameness. Obtaining a clinical history is key in the first instance. When was the lameness first noted? When was the horse last shod? Is there a history of foot lameness? What level of exercise is the horse currently undertaking? The horse should then be examined both at the walk and, comfort permitting, at the trot in-hand, in order to assess the current level of lameness and to provide a baseline level of lameness from which improvement or deterioration can be monitored. Both the dorsal hoof wall and the solar surface including the heel bulbs should be examined visually, by digital palpation and with hoof testers, in order to identify any areas of sensitivity that may suggest underlying pathology. The digital arterial pulses can be felt at either the level of the sesamoid bones or on either side of the pastern; an increase in their amplitude is suggestive of pathology below this point and most likely in the foot. If there remains uncertainty regarding the origin of the lameness, diagnostic anaesthesia – or ‘nerve blocking’ – can be performed to confirm the foot as the source of the lameness, or to rule it out. Dependent upon the clinical findings, radiography may be employed to examine the bony structures of the foot. Radiographs of the lame foot will often be compared with those of the unaffected foot as well as the expected normal appearance. Advanced imaging techniques including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) may be required when a definitive diagnosis remains elusive despite localisation to the foot, however the majority of foot lameness issues in the racehorse can be resolved without the need for diagnostic imaging, or with radiography alone.
Attraction: five-time Group 1 winner sustained a pedal bone injury as a two-year-old
common causes of acute lameness in the horse. An abscess forms when bacteria gain entry under the sole or the hoof wall. This can occur following a penetration injury, solar bruising, a nail prick, or through a defect in the white line or a hoof wall crack. Once the bacteria have gained entry to the internal structures of the foot, they proliferate, resulting in the development of an abscess between the sensitive laminae and the rigid hoof wall or solar surface. A subsequent build-up of pressure causes pain and lameness. The abscess is often identified as an area of particular resentment following the application of hoof testers. The sole can usually be pared and opened up in the area overlying the infection in order to relieve the pressure and drain the purulent material that has formed.
At this stage, hot poulticing is often used to soften the sole and draw out further infective material. A marked improvement in the lameness usually ensues. Once the discharge has stopped and the lameness has resolved, the horse can be reshod and return to exercise. A temporary covering may be required over the solar defect until this has healed.
Bruising of the sole of the foot is usually caused by direct injury from stones or from uneven ground, and occasionally from poor shoeing. Horses with flat feet and those with thin soles are more frequently affected as the concussive forces that the foot experiences are not effectively absorbed. Bruising is usually noted at the edge of the sole or at the toe as either a red or a red-yellow
Figures 1a, 1b and 1c show a traumatic hoof wall crack (1a) fixed with surgical wiring (1b) and overlayed with a patch (1c)
66 THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
By Stuart Williamson BVSC MRCVS
type of fracture will ultimately determine the prognosis for future soundness. Extension of the fracture into the coffin joint often results in the development of marked arthritis, alteration of hoof wall growth and persistent lameness. Diagnosis is achieved through the use of radiography, with treatment consisting of a bar shoe to limit expansion and contraction of the hoof wall in addition to an extended period of strict box rest. Surgical screw fixation of the fracture may improve the outcome in some cases.
PENETRATION INJURY Figure 2a is a radiograph demonstrating a wing fracture of the pedal bone (red arrow) taken on the day of injury. Figure 2b is the same injury a few weeks later. The fracture lines are now more obvious as bone resorption has occurred along the fracture margins. The foot is stabilised in a bar shoe
discolouration of the sole. It is not always associated with lameness. If untreated, areas of solar bruising can become infected and lead to a solar abscess. Treatment aims to relieve pressure on the affected area and to address any underlying issue, such as a thin sole or poor foot balance. Solar pads may be used to protect the solar surface and reduce concussion.
Hoof cracks may form in the hoof wall for a number of reasons. They are noted predominantly in feet that are unbalanced or dry and brittle. They can also form following damage to the coronary band. Cracks originating from the coronary band and extending downwards are often referred to as sand cracks while grass cracks originate from the ground surface and run upwards. Cracks may involve the entirety of the hoof wall from the ground surface to the coronary band, or may only affect a portion of the hoof wall length. Incomplete cracks running from the ground surface do not necessarily cause lameness, however, those cracks including the coronary band often result in significant lameness and may be complicated by secondary infection of the underlying hoof tissue. All hoof wall cracks warrant attention in order to identify any underlying reason for their development. Careful remedial farriery and the application of a bar shoe may be all that is required in the case of a short incomplete grass crack in a horse that is not experiencing lameness issues. In contrast, sand cracks that have become secondarily infected may require intense farrier and veterinary treatment in order to debride the diseased tissue and clean the underlying structures.
Once the infection has been controlled, remedial farriery will aim to bridge the crack and stabilise the hoof wall using patching material, surgical wires or surgical screws. Application of a bar shoe, often with quarter clips, should limit hoof wall expansion and contraction and so reduce the distractive forces placed upon the crack. A significant period of reduced exercise will be required until sufficient new horn has closed the defect.
PEDAL BONE FRACTURES
Pedal bone fractures, or fractures of the third phalanx, can occur from high-speed exercise or from external trauma, such as kicking a firm object (for example, the box wall). These horses are usually markedly lame at presentation, often have very strong digital arterial pulses and demonstrate a clear resentment to the application of hoof testers in the area of the fracture. This can make the initial differentiation between a pedal bone fracture and a solar abscess difficult. The Fig 3a
Solar penetrations are relatively common and can involve a farrier’s nail, any other building nail or screw, or any firm object that has the ability to pierce the thick solar surface. The location at which the foreign object enters the sole, the direction in which it subsequently travels and the depth it reaches will determine the consequences of the injury. Shallow penetrations that occur distant from the vital structures of the foot may simply require removal, debridement of the penetrating tract and a few days of hot poulticing to aid in the clearance of any debris from the tract. When penetrations occur close to the frog at the back of the foot, one must be concerned about possible involvement of the underlying deep digital flexor tendon, navicular bursa and coffin joint. Penetrations nearer the tip of the frog can enter the pedal bone and cause a septic osteitis. Radiographs of the foot should be obtained. They will be most informative if the object remains in situ. Metallic objects will show up well on radiographs and their path through the foot can be identified to give a better idea of possible soft tissue and synovial involvement, and so guide treatment. More advanced imaging techniques
Figures 3a and b show a farrier’s nail that has entered this foot at the lateral frog sulcus and is running towards the deep digital flexor tendon. This prompted referral to the hospital for further investigation
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER 67
Vet Forum: The Expert View Fig 4a
the lameness to settle. Treatment can then be directed towards restoring a normal foot balance, elevating but not crushing the heels, and providing protection and support to the solar surface. These cases will often require long term quality farriery, are not quick to solve and if time is not on your side in terms of training and racing plans, then repeated bouts of foot pain can be observed.
NAVICULAR BONE FRACTURES
Radiograph 4a demonstrates the normal expected angle of the pedal bone relative to the ground. Radiograph 4b demonstrates what we may see in cases of reverse rotation of the pedal bone, where the wings of the pedal bone (blue arrow) now lie closer to the ground than the tip of the pedal bone (red arrow)
›› (MRI) may occasionally be necessary to reach a definitive diagnosis. If the deep digital flexor tendon, navicular bursa or coffin joint are involved, surgical exploration of the tract and flushing of any affected synovial structure is warranted to clear out the infective material and avoid a grave situation.
sole where there is excessive loading on the heels and lack of frog support. It can also be caused by overzealous trimming of the heel portion of the foot. A period of rest is often required in order to allow the laminar inflammation, the inflammation of the pedal bone and
Navicular bone fractures most commonly occur as a result of external trauma to the foot but are occasionally seen as a training injury. They are less common than pedal bone fractures and can be noted in both the forelimb and the hindlimb. Pain can often be elicited by the hoof testers in the frog region at the back of the sole. Radiography will confirm this presumptive diagnosis. Surgical treatment of some nondisplaced fractures is technically very challenging but can improve the prognosis. However, this is often a careerending injury for a racehorse.
REVERSE ROTATION OF THE PEDAL BONE
Reverse rotation, or a negative angle of the pedal bone, can be a cause of ongoing lameness as a result of the altered mechanical forces placed on it. The negative angle describes the fact that the wings of the pedal bone now lie lower than the tip of the pedal bone when viewed on a side-on radiograph. This brings those wings of the pedal bone into closer contact with the ground and the concussive forces they then experience contribute to the lameness observed. This condition can be observed in those horses with flat feet and a thin
Radiographs demonstrating the same navicular bone fracture (red arrow). This was a career-ending injury
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A D V E R T I S I N G F E AT U R E
Sales Preparation with Connolly’s RED MILLS
The aim of any feeding programme in the months prior to the sales season is to provide the nutrients essential for steady growth, muscle development and skeletal soundness. The key to successful sales prepping is beginning early, so as to avoid sudden increase in exercise and feed intake which can increase the risk of issues such as developmental orthopaedic disorders. Youngstock presented for sale should be well muscled and toned, demonstrating their athletic ability. Diet plays a major role in achieving this and, if you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to speak to a nutritionist to discuss how and what to feed your youngsters during the prep period. Having your forage analysed is an excellent starting point as this will give you an indication of its suitability and will highlight any nutrient deficiencies that will need to be rectified by hard feed and/ or supplements. Using a high quality, early cut hay will help avoid the potbellied appearance from gut-fill that is often associated with consumption of a mature hay of high lignin content. However, even when feeding a good quality forage, it will not provide all the essential micronutrients that youngstock require, especially those undergoing sales preparation. Therefore, providing a high-quality protein, fully fortified ration is integral to the successful preparation of youngstock for sale. Connolly’s RED MILLS Prep Mix has been specifically formulated to support growth and promote condition in youngstock being prepared for the sales. This highly palatable muesli includes high quality protein, rich in essential amino acids to support muscle and topline development. Elevated levels of the RED MILLS Pro Balance vitamin and mineral package is including to support optimal skeletal development. Prep Mix includes high levels of oil and copper for superb coat condition, whilst added antioxidants aid immune function. For individuals needing a low starch diet (e.g. those prone to being ‘hot’) we recommend Connolly’s RED MILLS Horse Care 14 Cubes or Mix. These feeds have been formulated to provide a conditioning yet low starch alternative. They also contain our unique Care Package which includes pure protected yeast and two prebiotics (MOS and FOS) to aid hindgut health and help maximise
forage digestibility. A natural long-lasting gastric acid buffer is also included to help maintain stomach health. Our specialist sales prep feeds will help to ensure that your horses achieve their maximum potential in the ring and are trusted by leading studs and consigners. Connolly’s RED MILLS provide in-depth technical support and guidance to all customers, including forage, diet analysis and bespoke nutrition plans. www.redmills.ie
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER 69
Minimise the Risk of Nutrition-Related Growth Problems Developmental Orthopaedic Disease (DOD), in the youngster has many possible causes, including genetics, conformation, trauma and nutrition. Research has shown that high protein diets are not directly related to DOD rather that high energy diets, accompanied by insuﬃcient minerals, are the main cause of nutritionrelated DOD. Such a diet stimulates rapid growth yet doesn’t supply the building blocks that are required for correct tissue development.
If a foal is born with problems or acquires them in the first few weeks after birth, it’s likely the mare didn’t pass minerals to the foetus, during pregnancy, very eﬃciently. This may be because the mare wasn’t receiving enough nutrients in her diet, emphasising the importance of correct nutrition from conception on, as soon as foetal development begins. It may also indicate that the placenta was less than perfect, due to infection or old age, meaning that the transfer of nutrients to the foetus was impaired. If the foal is unable to accumulate mineral stores during pregnancy then, once it is born and growing very rapidly, problems can occur. It’s important to act quickly, if this happens, by providing a concentrated source of minerals, in the form of a specially designed foal drench, to counteract the shortfalls. For young and suckling foals, Baileys’ syringeable Foal Assist vitamin and trace mineral supplement is the most convenient as it can be administered directly, whilst Foal Assist Plus liquid can be mixed with a little creep or other compound feed.
Growth problems in suckling foals are more likely to be due to the mare being a very good milker or the foal may have an above average growth rate. Milk is full of energy but can be short of minerals so stimulates the foal to grow rapidly but does not provide suﬃcient minerals to support that growth. If the mare is producing lots of milk, it may be necessary, under the guidance of your vet, to wean the foal early, as an “over-topped” foal will be putting extra strain on growing joints. This is only usually necessary in extreme cases but it does allow you to completely control the foal’s diet. Again, it will be beneficial to supplement the mare’s milk with a concentrated source of minerals, like Foal Assist, or
introduce Baileys Stud Balancer, which has a low energy content but a concentrated level of minerals. The foal can be introduced to a concentrate feed at 3 months of age and this has been shown to help stabilise growth rates, reduce the risk of growth spurts and also allows for a gradual transition onto hard feed before the stresses of weaning. Many growth-related problems can be prevented by monitoring a foal’s growth rate through regular weightaping and plotting bodyweight on a chart. This can help to highlight any deviation from the accepted growth rate according to estimated mature bodyweight and allows for adjustments to the foal’s diet to made as early as possible to help correct the trend and avoid problems. For expert advice and guidance on feeding your foals, contact our Thoroughbred Experts, Liz Bulbrook (07850 368271) or Simon Venner (07977 441571) or visit www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
A D V E R T I S I N G F E AT U R E
Extra Nutritional Support for the Newborn Foal
Getting everything right for the mare and foal can be challenging; how this period from birth through to weaning is managed can significantly impact the future performance and health of the young horse. During the first two years and when mares are in-foal or lactating, Foran Equine’s Cal-Gro provides the essential nutrients for optimising bone and joint development. A calcium and phosphorus supplement with added MSM, amino acids, copper and Vitamin E, it is specifically formulated to help support good skeletal formation and joint health. Suitable for young stock and in-foal or lactating mares, the benefits are transferred to the foal through the mare in late gestation and during lactation and continue when fed directly to the foal from weaning. Where there is a potential concern of DOD it is advisable to include of a specific bone supplement in the ration, Cal-Gro is an ideal choice. In the first few weeks of life the foal is hugely reliant upon the mare for all its nutritional requirements and in an ideal world the mare will be able to meet these and your foal will thrive. Situations can occur where there is a need to step in and supplement the young foal, for
example, foals that fail to thrive or those that have had post-foaling complications. Foran Equine Friska Foal is a palatable multi-vitamin and prebiotic syrup specifically designed to support foal development and gut health. Foran Equine Friska Foal contains:
• VITAMIN A is a powerful antioxidant which is vital for
mucosal development. The mare’s intake is not always reﬂective of the foal’s status and deficiencies can result in poor skin and coat quality, night blindness and a compromised immune system.
• VITAMIN D is essential in the foal’s diet and plays a key role in calcium phosphorus homeostasis and therefore bone health.
• VITAMIN E is a potent antioxidant providing key
support to the foal’s immune system, nerves and also muscle function.
• FOLIC ACID (B9) and B12 together have a key role in haemoglobin function.
• VITAMIN B1, B2, B6 to support energy metabolism. • BIOTIN to support hoof development. • INULIN which supports the growing microbiome in
the hind gut. It is well known that as the foal matures having a diverse microbiome can have a multitude of digestive and overall general wellbeing benefits.
The experience Foran Equine nutrition team can provide in-depth technical support and guidance to all customers, including forage, diet analysis and bespoke nutrition plans. www.foranequine.com
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
The Finish Line with Flavien Prat French jockey Flavien Prat, 27, won his first race in the United States in 2010. He began riding in California on a full-time basis in the winter of 2014-15 and his career arc has soared in subsequent years, reaching its zenith in 2019 with the Kentucky Derby triumph of Country House. On May 17, Prat won a career-best six races in a day at Santa Anita, one less than the track record set by the legendary Laffit Pincay Jr in 1987. Interview: Steve Andersen
ay 17 was a great day – one of those days when everything worked out for me. I thought I had some good chances. There are days when I win three races and you think you can win the next one. That day, I was going one race at a time. It’s an achievement and we did celebrate a little bit. There is no reason for me to go back home to France – I’m doing well here. Money-wise, I’m making a lot more than I would in Europe. I’ve got my daughter, who is going to go to school in a few years. I wish my parents and my grandparents could see her more but other than that, I don’t miss France that much. My lifestyle is great in California – maybe in ten years I will say something different. It was depressing when racing stopped because of the coronavirus. All of a sudden, there was nothing. But I got to spend time with my daughter and my brother was here with his girlfriend, as they came out here right before the
winning my first Breeders’ Cup race on Obviously in the Turf Sprint in 2016 was great. From that point of view, I gained the confidence of trainers and owners. Otherwise there is not one race that is better than another.
virus. They were supposed to stay a few weeks but stayed a little longer. I had to get my mind back into racing. I did a lot of workouts and cycling, and I rode a little bit in Arkansas. I have my wife, Manon, and daughter, Elena, with me. She is 18 months. It’s amazing how quickly she is growing. She does talk a lot, more than I do!
United, on whom I finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf last year, is a very good horse. He’s getting better and better with each race – I think he’s still improving. He’s very cool to be around and always gives a lot.
I keep in touch with the French jockeys Florent Geroux and Julien Leparoux but we don’t meet up that often. If I travel sometimes I see them, or if they come out here [to California]. Florent and I had the same beginning – we went to school in France, we rode across France then we moved out here, though we didn’t know each other back home. Julien was a bit different because he only started [riding] in the United States.
Winning the Kentucky Derby on Country House [following the disqualification of Maximum Security] was a weird feeling. I didn’t cross the line first but at the end of the day, it’s still great to win the Derby. It’s a Derby that no one will forget, whether you agree or don’t agree with the call. I was part of it. I wanted to be successful at Del Mar and Santa Anita. That was always the plan, to be the leading rider. When I left France, it was to do better than I did in France. I got my mind clear and gained some confidence right away. That boosted me and now I feel great. I’m glad we finally got back in business, racing and doing what we like to do. It will be a strange year, anyway.
Coming from Europe, the Breeders’ Cup was something huge, more than the Kentucky Derby. I don’t really have a win that I treasure most of all but
Flavien Prat and Storm The Court (right) land the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year
We are staying in trailers on race nights since Santa Anita started again. We’ll get along with it; we all want to be as safe as possible and we’re just happy to be back riding.
I don’t have any different plans for the next few years, not really. I’ll try to do the same and get better and better every time. You can’t slow down; you have to keep pushing. I’m pretty sure I can be better than I’m doing now; it’s a matter of continuing to work hard.
Royal Ascot? It would be great to ride there one day. I didn’t have a chance to do it when I was in France – it would be cool [to take part] one time.
THOROUGHBRED OWNER BREEDER
From the members of the NTF to the members of the ROA.
The NTF would like to thank racehorse owners for their continuing support during difficult times due to the coronavirus pandemic. Owners were integral to keeping staff employed and continuing to provide the highest standards of care for their horses. On behalf of all trainers, we thank you.
DAR20076 Owner Breeder page-Territories-JUNE20.qxp 15/05/2020 09:24 Page 1
Classic miler and G1 two-year-old by the sire of Kingman from the family of Shamardal and Street Cry. Stallion credentials barely get better. His first crop race this year.
Tweets of great feats. Be first with the news @DarleyEurope