Thoroughbred Owner Breeder

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THE £6.95 JUNE 2021 ISSUE 202

Lantern’s legacy

Rockcliffe Stud inspired by deeds of its Classic heroine


Emma Banks

Owner’s ambitious plans

First foals

Stallions set for auction test

Sean Woods

Trainer thrilled to be back in Britain

The legacy continues Frankel reached his 13th Gr.1 winner from 46% fewer runners than Galileo had Leading European sires by % runners rated 100+ in 2020

1st Frankel

- 29.3% 2nd Galileo - 27.7% Leading European sires by lifetime Group winners to runners

1st Galileo

- 11.6% 2nd Frankel - 10.3%

Contact Shane Horan, Claire Curry or Henry Bletsoe +44 (0)1638 731115 |

Source: Arion Pedigrees | | to 14th May 2021

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


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

£6.95 JUNE 2021 ISSUE 202

Lantern’s legacy

Rockcliffe Stud inspired by deeds of its Classic heroine


Emma Banks

Owner’s ambitious plans

First foals

Stallions set for auction test

Sean Woods

Trainer thrilled to be back in Britain

Cover: Snow Lantern, a daughter of four-time Group 1 winner Sky Lantern, carries the hopes of her breeder Rockcliffe Stud this season Photo: Steve Cargill

Edward Rosenthal Editor

Optimistic outlook can’t hide pitiful prize-money A

s this month brings the Cazoo Derby Festival and Royal Ascot into the spotlight and we edge towards the June 21 date that heralds the final stage in the relaxing of restrictions related to the pandemic, it’s hard not to feel a sense of optimism for both the sport and the country, while acknowledging that other nations around the world are still struggling to master this destructive virus. The lack of general admission at this year’s royal meeting will of course be a huge disappointment to many people, yet 2021 was always going to be a difficult and transitional year, and a greatly reduced crowd will still be an improvement on the hushed scenes that greeted last year’s winners at Flat racing’s most prestigious fixture. What horseracing craves most of all – like all industries – is certainty, something which has been absent since March 2020 when the word ‘lockdown’ entered the public consciousness and life was altered forever. Though racing did restart in June 2020 after a ten-week shutdown, racecourses found their ability to pay substantial prize-money greatly affected by the absence of spectators and duly slashed purses across the board, including at the top level for some of the best races in the calendar. While the Levy Board has stepped in to bolster prize funds by dipping in its reserves – something which it continues to do, having confirmed a 40% higher than normal contribution of £13.1 million for July and August – this cannot continue indefinitely and is not a long-term commercial strategy. It must be hoped that the ending of restrictions on people’s movements, and with it the return of spectators to the racecourse in pre-pandemic numbers – though Howard Wright casts doubt on whether this will actually happen (pages 24-25) – will see the sport regain lost ground and improve the returns to Britain’s beleaguered band of racehorse owners, who have shown racing outstanding support over the past 14 months, even when they were quite literally not getting a run for their money.

What will be the long-term effects of Covid on racing and breeding? We don’t know yet as these matters will only become clearer in the next few years. However, it would be prudent to think about future scenarios and outcomes now rather than simply hoping for the best. The prize-money debate won’t resolve itself without some serious decisions being made by those in positions of power and when you see the number of races carrying a first prize of little more than £2,000, you can’t help but feel the problem lies in our bloated fixture list and the sheer quantity of races that an outdated levy system is struggling to cover under the current regulations. Why does prize-money matter so much? Because it affects nearly every facet of our industry, the people and horses. Better prizemoney would keep more owners in the game,

“It would be prudent to think about future scenarios now” stop promising horses from being sold to other jurisdictions where the rewards are greater, thus improving the UK sport (and boosting the betting product), which in turn might encourage more owners and breeders to get involved in the first place. A domino effect of positivity would result from a system that provided better prize-money for decent racehorses. Owner Emma Banks describes British prizemoney as “absolutely rubbish” in this issue (The Big Interview, pages 26-29) – she also used far stronger wording, deemed inappropriate to reproduce in this esteemed publication – as she talks about the cash won by her star mare Lady Bowthorpe. If the industry wants to retain owners like Emma, now is the time to act.




June 2021


News & Views ROA Leader Review of revenue streams overdue

TBA Leader Premium racing package required

Joe Mercer tribute Remembering the top jockey

News Royal Ascot set for reduced crowd

Changes News in a nutshell

Howard Wright Racing fans may prefer home comforts

Features continued 5 7 9 12 16 24

Guineas winners at Newmarket

The Big Interview With owner Emma Banks

Rockcliffe Stud The Keswicks' breeding business

First Foals Masar and company set for the sales



Great British Bonus boosts industry

Sales Circuit Breeze-ups take centre stage

Caulfield Files Jim Bolger's latest Classic strike

Dr Statz Pattern returns to normality

The Finish Line With trainer Sean Woods

Owners back in the parade ring

20 26 30 34

41 42 48 50 72

Forum ROA Forum

Features The Big Picture

Breeders' Digest

Great British Bonus Latest news and winners

TBA Forum New education platform launched

Breeder of the Month Richard Kelvin-Hughes for My Drogo

Vet Forum Common skin conditions in thoroughbreds

54 61 62 67 68




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ROA Leader

Charlie Parker President

Revenues reappraisal required to aid recovery A

s the positive mood music of the past few months has been turned down with the spread of a new variant, it is hard to be completely confident about liberation day, June 21. However, as a result of the current careful lifting of restrictions and the promising vaccination programme, it feels like we are on the right path towards a return to normality. The team at the ROA have been working tirelessly to ensure that, as people get back, the owner experience is front of mind and racing repays the loyalty owners have shown throughout the pandemic. It is fantastic to see spectators on track, owners in the paddock and full hospitality offerings opening up at racecourses. We are also seeing a bounce back in terms of horses in training; the numbers haven’t been higher since 2018. The ROA has had the highest number of new members for four consecutive months and racecourses can boost their recovery with people finally allowed through the gates. We must ensure that we capture this positive mindset and carry it forward. I said last month that Covid and the recovery was posing some interesting questions for racing and how we will need to work together in future to protect and grow the sport. One of the areas where that has come into sharp focus is around the structure of racing’s finances. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been a lot of claims made about the impact of betting shop closures, the changing nature of betting and how that affects the sport’s revenues. It was a widely held belief that betting revenues would reduce. However, it looks as if the growth in online betting has compensated in part for the temporary closure of shops. Meanwhile, the participants have seen what we race for reduce significantly and endured the miserable experiences of racing behind closed doors, with limited hospitality and minimal access to trainers and jockeys. It is safe to say the raceday experience has suffered as much as the prize-money. Reduced prize-money levels have been funded by the Levy Board and owners themselves, with the racecourses’ executive contributions greatly reduced. Obviously, some businesses have been very badly impacted on their main revenue lines, but it is naïve to believe that all is doom and gloom when betting-based revenues have obviously fared well and significant costs were mitigated in part by the various measures available. The levy estimate for 2020/2021 is remarkably high: £80 million, despite a total shutdown for two months and limited betting shop openings throughout the second half of the year. It is reasonable to conclude from this that the media rights payments have also performed at pre-pandemic levels and for those courses which have deals that benefit more from online

betting than from the shop-based retail market, they have probably had a bumper return in 2020. As racecourses have different business models, with some impacted by one particular issue more than others, it should not mean that they all should take the position of the worst hit. In the BGC report that detailed over £350m being contributed by bookmakers to the sport every year, it is easier to start seeing all the revenue streams as one and ask whether it is actually supporting racing as a product. Bookmakers themselves have posed the question of where their investment goes. Bookmakers are paying for their racing product and they can, and probably will, pay more. However, racing has to be innovative and work together to make the most of this revenue.

“We are seeing a bounce back in terms of horses in training; the numbers are at their highest since 2018” Setting racing a target of £450m and beyond if we can improve the product, there are a few basic changes to seriously consider. These include changing the type of races we run and when we run them; avoiding clashes with other major sporting events; sharing data and improving media output; constructing a proper workable racing data bank; creating greater transparency around finances; and, of course, improving prize-money levels and incentivising participants. It is relatively simple: improve the product, grow revenues and share the money in a way that benefits everyone. Racing is on the road to recovery but we need to use the time wisely to lay the foundations for a better, bigger and fairer sport in the future.




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19/05/2021 12:55

TBA Leader

Julian Richmond-Watson Chairman

Premier offering will promote the best racing R

OA President Charlie Parker’s Leader column in the May edition of The Owner Breeder got me thinking. On this occasion, his reference to the debacle that ensued when six English Premier League football clubs briefly tried to break away to join six continental teams in a European Super League made me think about the similarities and differences between horseracing and professional team sports such as soccer. All professional team sports employ their participants in some form or other and so, operating under the auspices of an international or national governing body, they are largely able to dictate where and how they participate. This is a very different set-up from that of horseracing, where over-arching bodies such as the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and British Horseracing Authority do not stage events, unlike, say, FIFA, which puts on the football World Cup, and other sports that cater for individuals competing against each other, such as tennis and golf. In these examples, the venues that stage events attract participants with various conditions and a financial offer that encourages them to take part, at whatever level. This then allows the venues to bring in paying spectators and to sell the media rights generated by these events, and the higher the quality of the event, the greater the reward from selling media rights. In nearly every case, this arrangement produces a financial package that works for everyone involved, operates an aspirational pyramid and gives the players an important say regarding scheduling etc. It also means that at the top level there are usually more participants wanting to take part than spaces available and so a full field is guaranteed. Taking tennis and golf as examples, there is no doubt that the level and standard of the event, whether at national or international level, is clearly understood and provides a ladder to the top to which everyone can aspire. The highest end of the sport is well financed, marketed widely and leads the way in engaging spectator or viewing interest. These sports have recognised that the elite sector and its stars create the greatest general interest and that this element of the sport must be promoted and properly financed, so that the interest generated at the top can trickle down and be shared for the benefit of everyone else involved at a lower level. Racing has many similarities with these sports but has never come together to promote and package the top end of the sport. There is very little narrative as events move from one fixture to the next.

Individual venues have been left to promote their festivals and major events without co-ordination with others to build a complete story. Therefore, if British racing wants to sell to overseas investors and online betting operators a compelling story about the best racing in the world, it needs to create and package a premium product that looks and feels like top quality sport. It does not have to deliver the highest standard every day – no other sport does – but it must have reliable quality and competitive action when it is available. As the coronavirus pandemic recedes and everyone moves forward, there is a real opportunity to try and build a consensus between horsemen and racecourses around the creation of a Premier League of racing to the benefit of all.

“British racing must create and package a premium product that looks like top quality sport” This should not be exclusive, such as was proposed by the European Super League, but it should bring together venues which wish to subscribe and take part at the top level of racing and participants who want to compete at that level. The concept is not new, but the sport has shied away from it on a number of occasions. There is little doubt that major investors in thoroughbred racing in Britain are losing faith in the sport’s ability to create a well-financed upper tier, with commensurate prize-money and a compelling narrative. These loyal supporters over many years – not to mention new investors who must be attracted to the sport – will not continue to participate unless we act now to give them good reasons and tangible encouragement to invest in the sport’s future.




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

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26/10/2020 20:35


Joe Mercer

‘A great jockey and an even nicer man’

JOE MERCER 1934-2021


oe Mercer, who was champion of his profession and the immortal Brigadier Gerard’s lifetime partner, was remembered as a great person and jockey following his sudden death last month aged 86, writes Andrew Scutts of the Racing Post. Mercer’s 2,810 victories in Britain – across 36 seasons – ranks him among the top ten winningmost riders, his haul amassed in an era when there was much less racing than today. He was stable jockey to two of the greatest trainers the sport has seen in Dick Hern and Henry Cecil, while he also had the distinction of riding the Queen’s Highclere to dual Classic glory in the 1,000 Guineas and Prix de Diane in 1974. As if partnering such luminary racehorses as Brigadier Gerard and Highclere was not enough, Mercer was part of the ‘race of the century’ between Bustino – Mercer’s mount – and Grundy in the 1975 King George at Ascot, narrowly won of course by the latter ridden by Pat Eddery. Mercer, whose older brother Manny was already a successful jockey by the time he was first apprenticed aged 13, rode his debut winner at 15 in 1950, his riding weight being 6st 7lb. He was runnerup to a certain Lester Piggott in the 1952 apprentices’ title, but the tables

Joe Mercer was associated with some of the great names on the Flat including Kris, on whom he won the 1979 Sussex Stakes (below)

were turned the following year. Mercer’s first Classic victory came on Ambiguity in the 1953 Oaks, in which he outrode Sir Gordon Richards. The year of 1959 saw tragedy as well as joy,

with Mercer marrying Anne Carr – the couple were to have three children, Henry, Sarah and Joe jnr – but seeing brother Manny killed in an accident at Ascot. The Berkshire track was to prove kinder to Mercer in the years that followed, with Brigadier Gerard’s victories including the St James’s Palace Stakes, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, two Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the King George. Easily the best horse Mercer ever rode, Brigadier Gerard beat Mill Reef in the 1971 2,000 Guineas, while he also won the Champion Stakes twice and the Eclipse. Roberto, at York, was the only horse to beat him in 18 races. In June 1972, just two days before Brigadier Gerard’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes victory, his jockey survived a light aircraft crash which killed the pilot after taking off from Newbury racecourse. He rescued the other three passengers, including trainer Bill Marshall.




Tribute ››

In the same year as riding the Queen’s Highclere to her famous Classic double, Mercer also won the St Leger on Bustino. Bustino was owned by Lady Beaverbrook, whose other good horses included Relkino, who became Mercer’s second Derby runner-up in 1976. The day after that came the shock announcement that, after 24 years, Mercer’s retainer at West Ilsley would not be renewed at the end of the season and he would be replaced as Hern’s stable jockey by Willie Carson, who at 33 was eight years Mercer’s junior. Mercer became Cecil’s first jockey in 1977 and became champion two years later with 164 winners. At 45, he is still the oldest jockey to win the title for the first time. Cecil stars Kris, Buckskin, Le Moss and One In A Million all contributed to making 1979 a vintage year for Mercer, who the following year was appointed OBE for his services to racing. After becoming Peter Walwyn’s jockey, Mercer retired aged 51 in 1985, winning on his final ride, Bold Rex, in the November Handicap at Doncaster. Mercer was a famously stylish rider – the late John Oaksey described him as “not only the most stylish Flatrace jockey I have ever seen, but also one of the most consistent, effective and above all reliable” – but was also warmly remembered as a “very nice” man. Bruce Raymond, a weighing room contemporary, said: “He was my best friend and he used to call me every Saturday at 9am on the dot. He was



Main image: Mercer and Brigadier Gerard leave the paddock before the 1971 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, which they won easily from high-class duo Mill Reef and My Swallow; Below: Mercer (right) and Steve Cauthen chat to Jimmy Lindley at Royal Ascot in 1985; Right: leading all the way on the Henry Ceciltrained Le Moss in the 1980 Gold Cup

Joe Mercer

always very punctual all the way through his life, and when he was riding he was the first to put his cap on, first to leave the weighing room, first into the gate and often first home. “He was not only a great jockey but an even nicer man, and he even found a nice side to not very nice people.” Jimmy Lindley, also a close friend and former riding colleague, said: “It’s so unexpected as I was talking to Joe the day before he died and we’d arranged to meet up for a coffee that Thursday. When I heard the news I couldn’t believe it. “He was a great little lad who had a wonderful life and was a man with a lot of talent. We started life in racing together at 13 years old. Joe began at Major Sneyd’s when I was there and I remember it was the bad winter of 1947. We grew up and rode together as 7lb claimers and went right the way through. “All through his life he was a great ambassador for the game and did everything correct on a horse. He was a natural. His golden era was for Jack Colling and Dick Hern. I’ll never forget when he won the Oaks on Ambiguity in 1953. He was only a boy then really, but

he rode her with perfection and like an old hand. You’d have thought he’d been riding for years.” Piggott, another from the golden generation of jockeys born in the mid1930s, also quoted by the Racing Post, said: “Joe was a top-class person and was straight down the line.” Some of the other famous horses Mercer partnered to big-race glory included Fidalgo (1959 Irish Derby), Provoke (1965 St Leger), Parbury (1967 Ascot Gold Cup), Sharp Edge (1973 Irish 2,000 Guineas), Light Cavalry (1980 St Leger), Cut Above (1981 St Leger) and Time Charter (1983 King George). Following his retirement from the saddle, Mercer spent a year as a jockeys’ agent, and was then appointed Racing Manager to Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum’s Gainsborough Stud in 1987, managing horses owned by the eldest of the Maktoum brothers and his associates. A famous pipe smoker, he was to spend 19 years in that role, retiring in the spring of 2006 following Sheikh Maktoum’s death. All photos by George Selwyn

“All through his life he was a great ambassador for the game”




Stories from the racing world


No general admission at Royal Ascot 2021 with 4,000 limit

Royal Ascot 2020 was staged behind closed doors – this year the racecourse will welcome 4,000 owners, members and hospitality guests


opes that up to 10,000 spectators could attend Royal Ascot this month appear to have been dashed, with the course planning instead on welcoming only 4,000, with no general admission tickets to be sold. As Owner Breeder went to press, there was still a possibility that the meeting could be used as part of a pilot scheme that would potentially see a crowd of up to 10,000 on at least one of the five days, however Ascot has accepted that will not be the norm for this year’s meeting. Having gone ahead last year behind closed doors, 4,000 is still a huge step in the right direction, with the sport and the nation hopefully coming through the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 4,000 capacity will enable owners, hospitality clients and members at Ascot, including the Royal Ascot Racing Club and annual members, to attend. Spaces in the Royal Enclosure are set to be determined by a ballot of those who rolled over 2020 bookings to this year. In a letter to members, Sir Francis Brooke, the Queen’s representative at Ascot, said: “In accordance with step three of the government’s road map, the total maximum capacity for racegoers on



all racecourses at this time remains at 4,000 per day. “There remains the possibility of a larger crowd but, with just a month to go until Royal Ascot, we now need to begin the process to allocate our current permitted capacity. “It is most regrettable that so many

“Royal Ascot 2021 will unavoidedly look and feel different” members will be disappointed and I thank you in advance for your understanding, given that the restrictions are beyond Ascot’s control.” He continued: “I am sure that you will all understand how crucial it is that this year’s Royal Meeting is a safe event and is seen to be so, as the eyes of the world will be on it. Success in this respect will

help to build government and public confidence as restrictions are gradually lifted “Royal Ascot 2021 will unavoidably look and feel different but I would like to assure you that everyone at Ascot is dedicated and committed to ensuring that those who are able to attend have a most enjoyable and safe day. “Despite these challenges, I am certain that the racing this year will be as brilliant as ever and we can then look forward to Royal Ascot in 2022, the Platinum Jubilee year, which promises to be a unique celebration for us all.” Four of the six races added to the 2020 meeting, to provide additional opportunities to owners as the sport resumed following the two-and-a-halfmonth shutdown caused by Covid-19, have been retained, with a new handicap for fillies and mares, the Kensington Palace Stakes, brought in to create a 35-race meeting, with seven races each day. The four races that retain their position from last year’s additions – all handicaps – are the Copper Horse Stakes, Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes and Golden Gates Stakes, plus the Buckingham Palace Stakes, which was reinstated.

visit studlife online:

June 2021

An eye for success

TWEENHILLS-BRED WINS MARYGATE The Tweenhills-bred Nymphadora won the Listed Marygate Stakes for two-year-old fillies at York’s Dante Meeting. Her dam Bewitchment was bought in-foal by Tweenhills for 150,000gns at the 2018 Tattersalls December Mare Sale. Nymphadora was born and raised at Tweenhills and sold by Tweenhills at the 2019 December Foal Sale. Nymphadora now looks a leading contender for the Gr.2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, where she could be joined by another filly born at Tweenhills in Cork winner Harmony Rose. Nymphadora as a weanling at Tweenhills

STAFF PROFILE Sammy Griesel Foaling Manager

So Sammy, it’s the end of another foaling season. How did it go? Well, we foaled over 90 mares so it was another busy one! Every foaling season has its up and downs but overall, it was a very good season. We’ve come away with many high-quality, strong foals, lots of them by our own boys Zoustar, Havana Gold and Lightning Spear. I can’t wait to follow their futures! It must have been a team effort? Oh definitely. My mum Caroline and sister Geena helped with night watches, and it was great to have family around me. I also had half a dozen night watch girls on rotation and they were absolutely brilliant; their intuition with spotting issues early was a big help. I know you shouldn’t have favourites but… Molly Malone had a smashing colt foal, and mare Granny Franny has been barn favourite all year; I’m not sure I should admit this but she’s been going through a packet of Polos a day! I can’t wait to watch the foals grow all summer and then we’ll be getting ready for 2022, when we’ll welcome our first baby Kamekos!

HANNAH’S HOTEL HOME Our own Hannah Wall is currently on the other side of the world at the Magic Millions Sales on the Gold Coast, buying for her Redwall Syndicate, but not before having to complete a two-week hotel quarantine in Adelaide. Hannah’s diary – posted on Studlife on – made for fascinating reading as she got to grips with being indoors for 336 hours straight… she’s now an exercise bike convert! Now for the hard work of finding future stars.

Not a bad set-up!

Agricultural University Students from the Royal ed: Lightning Spear! ghbr look at a top-class thorou

Hannah out in her natural habitat at the sales in Australia

“Not today, please.” Great Court’s cheeky colt!

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

10823 - Tweenhills Studlife - June 2021_V4.indd 1

20/05/2021 14:29


The latest levy yield will weigh in at around £80 million – a figure hailed by the BHA as evidence that racing has continued to provide excitement and entertainment to the betting public despite the ongoing impacts of Covid-19. The likely outcome for the year ended March 31, as reported by the Levy Board last month, is at the midpoint of its most recent estimated range of £76m to £85m. Levy Board Chairman Paul Darling said: “There was no British racing for the first two months of the levy year and it was far from certain when racing resumed in June 2020 as to what the level of betting activity would be in the months that followed. We have also seen licensed betting offices either closed completely for parts of the year or open with restrictions. “Since June, we have attempted to balance on the one hand our desire to commit substantial extra support for the sport from our reserves with, on the other hand, the uncertainty around our own ongoing future income. “We spent £96m in the past levy year, providing around 50% more to


Levy figure pleases racing’s leaders

Racing has continued to generate revenue despite being staged without crowds

prize-money than normal in recent months, as well as £3m towards costs of new regulatory measures to ensure that the sport can take place in accordance with Covid-19 protocols. It is to the credit of all those involved that fixtures have taken place without interruption since June.” He added: “On the basis of £80m income, our reserves at the end of the 2020/21 levy year stood at just over £40m. This will give us the flexibility to

consider further significant investment in the months ahead, as the Board has had in mind the importance of having sufficient resources for the recovery phase from Covid-19.” British racing industry executives will examine the detailed figures for betting on racing over the past year as part of the work towards longer-term reform of the levy and addressing the challenges faced by British racing, particularly with regard to its

Group assembled to oversee whip consultation The make-up of the Whip Consultation Steering Group has been unveiled, with current riders PJ McDonald and Tom Scudamore, and trainers John Gosden and Henry Daly, among the members. The group will have responsibility for oversight of the process and decision-making in relation to the consultation regarding the use of the foam-padded whip in British racing. As part of the Horse Welfare Board’s (HWB) strategic plan (‘A life well lived’ – a new strategic plan for the welfare of horses bred for racing 2020-2024), a recommendation was made that a public consultation should be conducted by the British Horseracing Authority regarding the use of the whip. This consultation aims to gather and assess the viewpoints of industry participants, non-industry stakeholders and wider public audiences, regarding rules, usage and penalties. The HWB noted that, in its view, the



need to increase penalties for whip offences is a clear, minimum recommendation. Otherwise no explicit recommendations were made as to what the outcome of the consultation should be. The steering group will play an active role in the process, ensuring that the consultation – which is being run by a BHA project team – is managed in line with objectives and expectations, but also providing practical experience, expertise and insight. Once it has reviewed and assessed the consultation feedback, the group will aim to reach a consensus and make recommendations that help to determine the outcome of the process, which currently is planned to run in the second half of the year. Group Chairman David Jones said: “It is essential that the consultation process is fair, open and transparent and the views of all parties are considered. In addition, any

decisions must be made by those who have a deep understanding and knowledge of the subject matter and are willing to both represent and consider a range of perspectives. “The role of the steering group will be to ensure that all of these requirements are met. The breadth of expertise and experience that’s come together to form this group is truly impressive.” Members of the Whip Consultation Steering Group • David Jones (Chairman), BHA Independent Regulatory NonExecutive Director • Tom Blain, Managing Director, Barton Stud • Henry Daly, trainer • Celia Djivanovic, owner • Tom Goff, founding partner, Blandford Bloodstock • John Gosden, trainer • Baroness Hayman of Ullock, member of the House of Lords


John Gosden: on the panel

• Dr Neil Hudson MP, academic and veterinary surgeon • Nick Luck, broadcaster and journalist • PJ McDonald, jockey • Roly Owers, CEO World Horse Welfare, and veterinary surgeon • James Savage, head lad/assistant to Sir Michael Stoute • Tom Scudamore, jockey • Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs, Ascot • Sulekha Varma, North West Head of Racing, JCR, Clerk of the Course, Aintree

Jockeys who test positive will be stood down from riding under the new rules


international competitiveness. BHA Executive Director Will Lambe said: “The [levy yield] news shows how racing continues to provide great excitement and entertainment to the public and is a fun and responsible way to enjoy betting. “It’s a credit to the commitment and passion of all our participants and to the great stories that racing generates through our jockeys, trainers, owners and the staff who look after our horses. “We thank all the media who have brought these stories to the British public over the last 12 months, including our racing channels and ITV sport. “We thank the Horserace Betting Levy Board for the work it has done over the past year to support racing through this crisis, increasing its expenditure so that prize-money levels could be maintained wherever possible, and providing additional funding to racecourses.” He added: “We also thank our colleagues in the betting industry who do so much to promote racing to their customers. These results demonstrate the potential for growing the public’s engagement in racing, and the benefits this can bring to the tens of thousands of people employed in both our industries and to the country as a whole, especially in rural economies.”

Saliva testing at the races set to become permanent The halfway point has been reached in a pilot scheme to assess the use of saliva testing as a method of screening for cocaine and some other banned substances on British racecourses. The testing method uses oral swabs to provide near-instant indication as to whether substances are present in a rider’s system above existing thresholds. Racing will become the first major sport in Britain to utilise on-the-day screening for banned substances through oral swabs on a permanent basis, should the trial prove successful. Under the pilot, any jockey who does not test negative would be stood down from riding for the day, which brings with it added benefits in safeguarding human and equine welfare. Tests started taking place in early May, with the pilot continuing over a period of two months, during which time the methodology and raceday procedures can be assessed and improved where necessary, before a decision is taken as to whether the programme can be rolled out on a more permanent basis. Saliva testing is highly cost effective, and if the pilot proves successful this could result in a significant increase in raceday testing, which would be supported by a bigger budget for testing. Brant Dunshea, BHA Chief Regulatory Officer, said: “Saliva testing is a progressive next step for our testing and surveillance of prohibited substances. In particular, that it provides near-instant results means we’re now able to screen for the substance on the

day of race. “That it’s a more cost-effective methodology will also allow us to significantly ramp up our testing capacity – something we’re supporting further through the allocation of an enhanced testing budget. This should serve to act both as a deterrent to those who might consider using prohibited substances and provide reassurance to those competing. “We’re grateful to the Professional Jockeys Association for working alongside us in developing this methodology. It’s important it’s assessed through a substantive trial period before we commit to it in the longer term, but this trial period is the final step in what has been an extensive process.” A number of jockeys have fallen foul of the rules on prohibited substances in the last 12 months, including champion jockey Oisin Murphy (in France) and more recently star apprentice Benoit de la Sayette. Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, hopes the testing acts as a deterrent to his members. He said: “We see the introduction of saliva testing as a tremendously important development, and it’s supported by our members. “An effective deterrent against the use of prohibited substances is an essential piece of the jigsaw in terms of keeping jockeys healthy and safe. The increased testing which this methodology will allow, alongside the ability for on-the-day screening, represents a significant step towards that ambition.”




Racing’s news in a nutshell

People and business Royal Ascot

Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and RAF Benevolent Fund are the nominated charity partners for 2021.

Goffs Million

New €1 million two-year-old race exclusive to yearlings sold at the Goffs Orby Sale will be staged over seven furlongs at the Curragh in 2022.


Bob Baffert

Trainer receives temporary ban from New York racetracks following Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s failed drugs test.

Pierre-Charles Boudot

French champion jockey has his licence suspended for three months by France Galop stewards after being indicted on rape charges.

Michael Blanshard

Retires from the training ranks after 41-year career; his best horses were Group-winning sprinters Rambling Bear and The Trader.

Mark Cornford

Plumpton’s Clerk of the Course retires after 41 years of service at the East Sussex track.

New website at aims to enable future international investment into British racing and bloodstock.

Jamie Codd

39-year-old retires from riding in point-to-points, having amassed a career total of 972 wins, but will continue to compete under Rules.

Levy Board

Promises prize-money allocation of £13.1 million in July and August – 40% more than the £9.3m in a comparable two-month period.

Lester Piggott

Legendary rider, champion jockey on 11 occasions, and Frankel are the first members of the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame.

Horse obituaries Malibu Moon 24

Son of A.P. Indy, based at Spendthrift Farm, was a leading stallion in North America, siring 17 Grade 1 winners.

Claud And Goldie 12

Talented staying chaser for the Sandy Forster stable who excelled at Kelso, winning three handicap chases at the Scottish track.



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Racehorse and stallion

Movements and retirements


Brilliant hurdler and chaser for Rich Ricci and Willie Mullins, winner of 11 Grade 1s, including the 2015 Champion Hurdle, is retired aged 13.

King Of Comedy

Son of Kingman, a talented miler at his best for his owner-breeder Lady Bamford, will take up stud duties at Novara Park Stud in New Zealand.

Benie Des Dieux


Superstar for Rich Ricci and Willie Mullins is retired aged 11. He won eight Grade 1s including the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham.

People obituaries Tyrone Williams 54

Glamorgan-born rider partnered over 800 winners under Rules, capturing the 1997 Ebor Handicap on Far Ahead for trainer Les Eyre.

Frank Morby 87

Understudy to Pat Eddery at Peter Walwyn’s Lambourn stable, he rode 264 winners in Britain and was later champion jockey in Kenya.

Peter Pickford 91

Former jump jockey who rode for the Queen Mother and partnered Flaming East to victory in the 1957 County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.



Barney Curley 81

Renowned trainer and gambler who later started his charity Direct Aid for Africa, raising money for children in Zambia.

Joan Senior 89

Pontefract stalwart who worked at the Yorkshire racecourse for 55 years in partnership with her husband Ron.

Joe Mercer 86

Champion jockey on the Flat who enjoyed an outstanding association with brilliant miler Brigadier Gerard.

Outstanding staying mare who won Grade 1 hurdles in Ireland, Britain and France in Rich Ricci’s silks is retired aged ten.

First Class HONOURS

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The Big Picture

Bolger and Manning back in business Master Irish handler Jim Bolger has had a quieter time over the last few seasons but he has roared back this campaign in tandem with veteran stable jockey Kevin Manning. Poetic Flare, bred by Bolger and owned by his wife Jackie, provided the enduring partnership with QIPCO 2,000 Guineas glory at Newmarket in May, the son of Dawn Approach battling hard to see off Godolphin’s Master Of The Seas under William Buick (blue silks) by a short-head. Poetic Flare has since finished sixth in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp before a short-head defeat to stablemate Mac Swiney in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Photos Bill Selwyn 20 THE OWNER BREEDER

QIPCO 2,000 Guineas



The Big Picture Dettori the man for the big occasion There’s still no better jockey on the big stage than Frankie Dettori and the Italian enjoyed a superb Group 1 double in May, headlined by Mother Earth’s victory in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket (main image), his 20th British Classic triumph. Riding for trainer Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore partners, Dettori delivered Mother Earth with a perfectly-timed challenge to capture the fillies’ Classic by a length from the Jane ChappleHyam-trained Saffron Beach (red silks). At Newbury later in the month, Dettori partnered the John Gosden-trained Palace Pier (right), owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, to a decisive success in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, later suggesting that the brilliant son of Kingman could be the best miler he has ridden during his long career. Photos Bill Selwyn


QIPCO 1,000 Guineas


The Howard Wright Column

Racecourses face battle to win back fans’ hearts



unday Times culture section writer Jonathan Dean had a sub-editor to thank for summing up his apprehension about cinemagoers returning to the Multiplex and Odeon in their droves under the headline ‘The rise of watching new releases at home may be irreversible.’ Between them, they summed up the dilemma that is likely to face British racegoers and the promotional task that will definitely face racecourse management teams later this month. As the early weeks of unlocking the lockdown race into a further easing of on-track restrictions from June 21 at the earliest, Dean’s words of warning are worth transferring to the racecourse experience. Referring to traditional cinema attendance, he wrote: “This year we have been shown an alternative, one in which we snuggle on sofas, order a takeaway and invite Hollywood into our living rooms, for half the price.” Substitute Epsom, Newmarket, Cheltenham and Aintree for Hollywood, and you have the racegoers’ experience of the last 14 months, which has been replicated for a

Will the stands of British racecourses soon be chock-full with delighted racegoers?

large number of owners. Dean went on: “In a fight of convenience versus expense the former always wins and, besides, we are a habit-based people and months of abstinence do not always make the heart grow fonder. They can make the heart move on.” In racing’s case, there is a distinct danger of the heart moving right away from the sport, since owners and breeders are not the only ones whose involvement could prove to be transitory

and irreplaceable. In a sentence that will resonate around every British racecourse, Dean summed up: “There is an alternative to the cinema where films are just as good, and it is called home.” Home is where the heart and soul has been for most racing fans for the last 14 months, precluded from enjoying their pleasure at first hand by a pandemic that no-one saw coming. Many have been bowled over in its wake. Home is where the huge majority of

Hall of Fame has plenty of ground to make up Geoffrey Chaucer is attributed with having invented the phrase that in modern-day terms translates as ‘better late than never,’ its opening appearance having been recorded in The Yeoman’s Tale in 1386. It’s almost certain the great man did not have a British horseracing Hall of Fame in mind when he coined the form of words, but it really does seem an age between the project first being floated and its arrival at the end of April to coincide with the arbitrary, promotional vehicle known as the British Champion Series. The United States introduced its Hall of Fame in 1951; Canada followed suit in 1976, before Australia caught up in 2001 and New Zealand joined the fray two years later. Each has a different set of credentials and several ways of nominating inductees to a variety of categories, but the aim is universal, perhaps best summed up by the Canadian reference to its originators coming to the conclusion that “the industry had Lester Piggott: been negligent in its failure to first human properly honour its pioneers and inductee


horses, as well as the contemporary heroes.” The US project at Saratoga Springs in New York state spawned a number of smaller imitations. Not all remain in operation, but a Google search unearthed eight, comprising three that celebrate state success (California, Nebraska and Texas), four associated with racecourses (Emerald Downs in Washington, Finger Lakes in New York, Remington Park in Oklahoma and Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico) and the curiosity of Aiken Training Centre in South Carolina. Such has been the proliferation of Halls of Fame in the US that it was cited by a prominent British racing historian among his reasons for turning down an invitation to join the British Hall of Fame panel, describing it as “an American concept that has never caught on in Britain,” and adding: “US Hall of Fame membership defines a champion; it is hard to believe that will ever be true of a British version, no-one cares enough.” He has a point. In fact, he privately expressed several more about the British version as was

those who follow the sport with passion and deep interest have had to continue their involvement, sustained by television and various media outlets. Home is where those with a more casual association with the sport, those single-time-a-year attendees, have spent the last 14 months, occupying their leisure thoughts with a myriad of activities, none of which included going to the races. The two categories are distinct. It was not immediately clear whether that fact had been recognised when the BHA’s Chief Operating Officer Richard Wayman welcomed the government’s mid-May easing of restrictions to allow up to 4,000 people to attend race meetings with the comment: “We know there is a huge public demand for families and friends to meet up,


“Home is where the huge majority of those who follow the sport with passion have had to continue their involvement” outdoors, enjoy great food and drink and the unique social occasion of a race meeting.” Where is the evidence, or was that just wishful thinking? As Jonathan Dean wrote in the Sunday Times: “Months of abstinence do not always make the heart grow fonder.” ‘Passionates’ will come back, maybe even in similar numbers to those of pre-Covid days. ‘Casuals’ are a more difficult group to assess, and they are the ones to whom racecourses will have to address their most earnest attention if the sport is to pick up where it left off in March 2020.


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explained at the outset, including that “focusing on the last 50 years, and confining the choice to Flat racing, is absurdly restrictive,” and in addressing a public vote, “It is with good reason that the public do not vote on US Hall of Fame membership; the public have even shorter memories than professionals and would vote for recent favourites rather than those who deserve it; popularity is not the same as merit.” All very fair points. He might also have highlighted another aspect of the narrow confines of the British project, which is evidenced within its title, the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame, and the opening PR notification that it was “launched to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the formation of the QIPCO British Champions Series.” Contrast the title with the Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, which has a permanent display at the iconic National Sports Museum at Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the US National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, whose Saratoga base boasts “an immersive theatrical presentation and nine new interactive stations that contain the digital plaques for our 459 Hall of Fame members.” The British version has two members, Lester Piggott and Frankel, and two more are promised in October, but a physical presence seems a long way off. Maybe Chaucer had a phrase that could be translated as ‘making up for lost time.’

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The Big Interview

Talent SPOTTER The ability to recognise potential and turn it into a success story has helped Emma Banks in her role as a leading music agent and it’s also a useful skill to have when it comes to owning racehorses


’ve decided that I’d like to breed a Derby winner,” explains Emma Banks towards the end of our socially distanced chat, conducted on a bench in a small park near her south London home. “Which is so simple because noone else wants to do that, right?” The words might appear tongue-incheek but then maybe not. Banks is not a woman who does anything by halves. Just a few days later the owner’s star racehorse and future broodmare, Lady Bowthorpe, produces the run of her life to chase home brilliant miler Palace Pier in

“I went to the paddock and it was like being backstage at a gig” the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. The dream is well and truly alive. For Banks, identifying and nurturing talent, equine and human, is her modus operandi. The music agent extraordinaire, Co-Head of Creative Artists Agency’s London office, has spent more than three decades working with some of the biggest names in the business, from Kylie


Minogue to Florence + the Machine and Katy Perry. The impact of Covid-19 caused havoc in the hospitality and entertainment sectors and live music was one of the earliest casualties of the worldwide restrictions on movement. The impressive roster of artists at CAA, which employed 2,000 people globally and was valued at £200 million before the pandemic, may have been confined to home like everyone else but that doesn’t mean Banks has been idle for the last 14 months. Far from it. “A colleague told me we have all been busy fools,” Banks says. “The last 14 months have been frustrating, sad, and worrying at times, because there were moments when you didn’t really see a way out. “We’ve been making plans for tours and gigs the whole way through the pandemic. We had to move events that had already been scheduled, which was challenging. There was a huge amount of work to do when you didn’t really know what was going on. “I’ve had tours that were supposed to take place in May 2020 moved to May this year – at the time people said it was ridiculous to delay by so long. Those tours have now been rescheduled for May 2022. Hopefully we’ll be looking good by then – in fact I’ll be disappointed if we don’t see live shows from July and August. The young people I know are desperate to get out there and have fun.


Words: Edward Rosenthal

Emma Banks (right) enjoys the 2018 Listed Naas success of Mrs Gallagher, now a broodmare for her owner and in foal to leading sire Frankel

“The vaccines have been a gamechanger. You have to say well done to the scientists. We all hoped they’d get us out of this – and they have. “I love horseracing, while music has been the thing that I’ve done for the past 30 years. Lots of people in racing were moaning about how terrible it all was but at least the sport has been able to continue, and money has been coming in because it’s on the television. If you are a musician or work in a theatre there’s been nothing.”

Emma Banks

Growing up within a farming family of Luton Town fans in the market town of Sandy in Bedfordshire, Banks pestered her father, a successful grain merchant, for a pony and Popeye duly arrived when she was ten years old. Her connection to the sport of kings came via her uncle, Michael Banks, who trained National Hunt horses successfully under permit for many years, and her grandfather, Sidney Banks, an owner who has a race named after him at Huntingdon, the scene of many Banks

family outings over the years. Banks explains: “I’ve always loved horses – I wanted to be a vet at one point. My uncle, Michael Banks, was very horsey and trained, and my grandfather, Sidney Banks, had horses with the legendary George Todd. “I did a degree in food science, then after leaving university I moved to London and got a job in the music industry. It wasn’t that I didn’t love horses any more, but I couldn’t accommodate them in my world at the time.

“My time became taken up by work and a lot of travelling – I’m a workaholic – so I didn’t have anything to do with horses for quite a while. Then my father suggested I should buy a racehorse. I dismissed him originally but slowly I came round to the idea.” It was a visit to Goodwood that convinced Banks she had to take the step into ownership. Invited to a special lunch at the track for women in business, she discovered that her aunt, Michael’s wife Rosalind, had a horse running that day,



The Big Interview

Lady Bowthorpe and Kieran Shoemark (orange cap) come from off the pace to capture the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket, while inset, the daughter of Nathaniel chases home Palace Pier in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury under Oisin Murphy

›› trained by William Jarvis.

She picks up the story: “I went into the paddock and it was like being backstage at a gig – you’re in the know. It was a lot of fun and I had a great day. “That was in July 2014 – Glorious Goodwood – and I thought after that I would like to buy a racehorse. So, Uncle Michael and William [Jarvis] went to the horses-in-training sales and called me when I was in New York to say that they had found one for me. My first question was, ‘What colour is it?’ I was told he was grey, so I bought him! That’s how I ended up with Lackaday, my first ever winner – though I was in the Philippines at the time.” If Banks’s initial approach to buying thoroughbreds sounds somewhat amateurish, it has been replaced by considerable thought and strategy. Former trainer James Toller, who handled the career of Classic winner Bachelor Duke, has been enlisted to help on the buying front, with considerable success. Mrs Gallagher, a wonderfully fast daughter of Oasis Dream purchased for 140,000 guineas at Tattersalls’ Book 1 Yearling Sale in 2016, captured Listed


prizes at Bath and Naas before retiring to the paddocks at the end of her threeyear-old season. The aforementioned Lady Bowthorpe, secured for 82,000 guineas at Book 2 in 2017, has soared even higher, taking the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket in early May, exhibiting her terrific turn of foot, before finding only Palace Pier too good in the Lockinge. Older geldings Wimpole Hall and Arigato are no less loved for plying their trade in middle-of-the-road handicaps but it is fillies in which Banks sees the future for her racing operation, which also includes Code Name Lise and Brandisova on the jumping front, following the exploits of talented hurdler The White Mouse, now retired. “I struggle with the idea of removing testicles [from racehorses] so I generally buy fillies,” Banks says. “I can see a life for a filly that I don’t see for a gelding. They hopefully have some residual value too. “I’ve told myself that I’d like to breed my own good horses. I’m not very good at being peripheral about it. It’s all or nothing. Now I look at studs for sale! “Mrs Gallagher – she is a fantastic girl,

she just looks at the boys and it happens – has a yearling filly by Dark Angel and a Starspangledbanner colt foal. She is in foal to Frankel. I rarely sell anything so right now my plan is to keep the filly. We’ll see about the colt. The Frankel will have to go to the sales. “The White Mouse is in foal to Nathaniel while Illuzzi is in foal to Advertise.” Mention of Illuzzi shows how the rollercoaster ride of racehorse ownership can change literally overnight. This daughter of Kodiac, who produced three underwhelming efforts on the racecourse, saw her half-brother Lusail produce a sparkling debut at York in May, looking very much a horse to follow for the rest of the season. If he secures black type, it will only enhance the value of Illuzzi and her progeny. Banks says: “You don’t get into something like this and expect to win all the time. I expect to lose so when I’m associated with a winner it’s really special. “The first yearling I ever bought had to be put down. He had cysts and the vets said he would never be right. It hasn’t all gone well and there have been some


Emma Banks

expensive disappointments along the way. “Lady Bowthorpe has also had her problems. Unless you’ve arranged to speak to your trainer, when you get a phone call before 8am, it’s never, ever good news. I had that call when Wimpole Hall fractured his pelvis. He recovered. And I had that call when Lady B fractured her leg. “She’s got five screws in there. That’s why she didn’t race much at three. We took our time – and that’s the key with horses. Sometimes you have to be really patient.” Banks’s patience with Lady Bowthorpe is now paying off and shows the benefit of treating each horse as an individual. It’s an approach she employs in her day job as a music agent to great effect. She explains: “I look after some incredible artists with a team of people. My role predominantly is to figure out where they are going to play, when they will play that venue, will there be festivals or headline shows. There’s strategy involved, like plotting a horse’s career. “If you have a horse that’s fragile you don’t run it too often and it’s the same

with some artists. Some thrive on touring and working and the more gigs you give them, the happier they are. There are others that cannot work like that and have other stuff going on.” Jeff Buckley, the son of singersongwriter Tim Buckley who Banks

“It’s never, ever good news when your trainer calls you before 8am” worked with in the 1990s, left behind a solitary and much-lauded album, Grace, before his untimely death aged 30 with the world at his feet. “When you don’t see someone’s full potential because they leave us too soon you don’t know how things would have turned out,” Banks says.

“I keep all my tour laminates, boxes and boxes of them, and when I moved house about ten years ago, I kept finding more and more Jeff Buckley ones, all from different tours. He worked really hard for the short amount of time he was around. There was a fragility but also a strength and toughness to him. “Jeff could easily have been one of the biggest artists in the world. But that’s not necessarily what he wanted. The first time we met he told me he didn’t ever want to play an arena. So I booked him some ludicrously small gigs, which he loved. As an agent to artistic people, you need to listen to what they want.” The 2021 Lady Bowthorpe tour will continue and likely take in the venues of Royal Ascot, possibly for the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, and the Qatar Goodwood Festival for the Nassau Stakes, which would see the daughter of Nathaniel step up to a mile and a quarter for the first time. Further black type – and a Group 1 strike – would be the icing on the cake, while the better prize-money would also be welcomed after a year in which purses have been greatly reduced by racecourses that have struggled financially without paying customers coming through the gates. “The prize-money has been absolutely rubbish,” Banks exclaims. “It does piss me off that I have a really good horse when the prize-money is poorer than it has been for a long time. “However, I write it all off. Any prizemoney for me is a bonus. I spend what I can afford to spend without expecting any kind of return.” She continues: “The majority of owners never have a horse in a Group race, let alone win one. It’s a positive because it adds value to her and the babies she has. But the prize-money is not an incentive. “You look at the money that is on offer in Ireland, France and America and I totally understand why people move their horses abroad. But I love going to stroke them and if they were in another country then I couldn’t do that. I love my horses and I like to know them as individuals. “When the horses are on holiday or not racing they go to my cousin’s, where uncle Michael trained, which is close to my parents. I’ve done evening stables on Christmas day, mucking out my own horses, and I love it! I get to know them better and hang out in the field with them. “It is an emotional sport. William Jarvis tells me not to get emotionally involved but I can’t help it.”


Rockcliffe Stud

Reach for THE SKY

Simon and Emma Keswick (inset), with their son Ben (centre), enjoyed wonderful success on the track as the owners of Sky Lantern, now an important producer at Rockcliffe Stud

Eight years on from Sky Lantern’s Classic exploits and ambitions run high at Rockcliffe Stud to develop her line into a multi-generational success


on to third place. It wasn’t the scripted outcome that would have seen her advance on Royal Ascot for the Coronation Stakes, a race won impressively by her dam, Sky Lantern, eight years ago. But then, racing rarely follows the script. And the dream remains alive even if Snow Lantern still has much to learn. There is no rush, given that the Keswick family, who own and bred Snow Lantern, would like her to race as a four-year-old. She is more of a longterm project than her illustrious dam, who won the Moyglare Stud Stakes as a juvenile. And without wishing to sound


f the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the road to heaven can be strewn with hidden potholes. One of them was responsible for bursting a bubble that had connections of Snow Lantern dreaming of a second coming. Snow Lantern went to York’s Dante meeting having bypassed the 1,000 Guineas. She started at odds-on to win a Listed race over a mile but was undone from the moment she left the stalls. The grey daughter of Frankel, who had floated to post without a care in the world, was now a bundle of pent-up energy. Having pulled hard to halfway, it was all she could do to hold


Words: Julian Muscat


churlish, it would almost have been too much of a blessing had Snow Lantern followed seamlessly in her mother’s path. Breeding top-class racehorses was never supposed to be that easy. As much is implicit in the words of Ben Keswick, 48, whose unfolding love for the sport prompted him and his family to buy their first broodmares in

2008. “As with so many things there are highs and lows,” he says, “but the highs can make very special moments when they are shared with family members and friends. These are priceless.” When Keswick started thinking about breeding horses he sought his father’s counsel. Simon Keswick was enamoured by the prospect and Rockcliffe Stud was

born. The stud takes its name from the eponymous house which Simon and his wife, Emma, bought in 1981. They also acquired some surrounding farmland, part of which was made over to grazing pasture. Rockcliffe Stud is now home to nine mares and their assorted progeny, which are enchanting the Keswicks.




Rockcliffe Stud ›› Simon is a frequent visitor, sometimes

by selling the yearling colts has been a useful discipline to keep us focused on our aim,” Ben says. The Keswicks are an unremittingly private family whose close links to Asia are reflected in some of their horses’ names. Sky Lantern’s second foal, a Dubawi colt that did not make his sales reserve, was called Noonday Gun after the naval artillery piece mounted outside Jardine House on Hong Kong island. It is fired every day at noon and has become a popular tourist attraction.

“Our aim is to be a respected small stud that produces good quality stock” Another tourist attraction is Rockcliffe Garden within the family home in Gloucestershire, where a dovecote vies for attention with topiary, yew hedges, lilies and lavender. The garden is Emma’s work, and her love of


with Emma. The sole lament of Sophie Woolf, the stud groom, is that Ben’s working life in Hong Kong renders him unable to spend more time around the farm. His movements have been further restricted by Covid. There is compensation of sorts in the modern age. “I make videos with a little commentary on the foals and yearlings, which are sent to Ben every month,” Woolf says. “I do the same when our yearlings go to the sales so that Ben can feel as involved as possible. It’s important to us that he has as much input as he can.” Ben is married to Martha, a daughter of Jeremy Hindley, who trained successfully in Newmarket for 17 years. He is a fifth-generation member of the Scottish family that has shaped Jardine Matheson, the multinational business conglomerate synonymous with the Far East, since the company’s inception nearly two centuries ago. Ben is Jardines’ Executive Chairman, and the model around which Rockcliffe operates bears a business fingerprint. All the yearling colts are offered at public auction while the fillies are raced before the best of them return to Rockcliffe. “Being semi-commercial

Snow Lantern: Rockcliffe Stud homebred is a daughter of Sky Lantern


horticulture is manifest in the naming of a pair of black-type-winning half-sisters, Marsh Hawk and Hairy Rocket. The two fillies are out of Asaawir, one of three foundation mares bought for the Keswicks in 2008 by Ed Sackville, whom the Keswicks retain as their bloodstock advisor. It was Sackville who bought Sky Lantern as a yearling for €75,000 at Goffs in 2011. “Ben is hugely involved with the stud,” Sackville says. “The family has always had an interest in racing but that has grown massively over the last ten to 15 years. That tends to happen when an enthusiast enjoys some success.” The initial missive at Rockcliffe centred on breeding fast horses. Marsh Hawk and Hairy Rocket, who was sold at the end of her two-year-old season, are by Invincible Spirit and Pivotal respectively. Sky Lantern is by another sprinter in Red Clubs. An added attraction was that she is a complete outcross for any Northern Dancer-line stallion. Sky Lantern is out of Shawanni, a daughter of Negligent, herself winner of the Rockfel Stakes as a two-year-old who also ran third in the 1,000 Guineas. Sky Lantern had no difficulty staying a mile, although at one point Sackville’s

Ed Sackville: the stud’s advisor purchased Sky Lantern as a yearling

her pelvis,” Sackville relates. “She ruptured an artery in the process and was dead within five seconds.” The antidote to Lone Rock’s tragic fate is that she had already left the Keswicks a filly, Raincall, who is now at Rockcliffe. By Pivotal, Raincall won twice from Henry Candy’s stable in 2019. She bequeathed her first foal by Kodiac earlier this year before she visited Mehmas. “Raincall certainly isn’t the prettiest but I hope she works out as a broodmare because she is Simon’s absolute pride and joy,” Sackville says. “Her first foal is much better looking, so I’m slightly eating my words already.” There is much to anticipate in the coming years. Seven of the stud’s nine mares are young, and the Keswicks are not averse to supplementing their homebreds with further purchases. They see 12 mares as their optimum number, although there is plenty of room for expansion at Rockcliffe. Woolf, who heads a staff of four, started at Rockcliffe in 2015. She’d spent 15 years working at Rushbrooke Stud until its proprietor, Anita Wigan, sold the property. She says she has landed on her feet and thrives in her role. She gets just as animated as her employers when one of the stud’s products is due to run. “It all makes sense when you watch the horses that were born and raised here,” Woolf says. “I’m a bit of an addict for Flat racing. The Keswicks farm sheep here as well, so when we have a runner all the workers get together to watch it.” Woolf timed her arrival at Rockcliffe perfectly: the first foaling she oversaw


brief to ply speed genes seemed to have gone awry when Sky Lantern finished a running-on second in the Nell Gwyn Stakes under Richard Hughes. “Hughsie came back in and said Sky Lantern might make up into an Oaks filly,” Sackville recalls with a hint of incredulity in his voice. “And I was supposed to have bought a sprinter…” In the end Sky Lantern ran once over a mile and a quarter in the Nassau Stakes, which proved inconclusive. She encountered severe traffic problems before finishing fifth, but her sterling deeds – she won four Group 1 races – must have encouraged the Keswicks to broaden the speed remit. “We have a more open mind now,” Sackville says. “We are trying to produce top-class horses, which is why we are sending our mares to the likes of Dubawi, Frankel, Kingman, Lope De Vega and Siyouni. “I did a research project on winners of the big sprints,” he continues. “What it showed was that Classic horses tend to come from strong female families, whereas top-class sprinters generally don’t. It’s more their physical shape that makes them fast.” The Keswicks’ use of Europe’s foremost sires underlines their desire to play at the top table. And there is another spin-off. “Camilla Trotter has helped us with mating plans in the last few years,” Sackville says. “She comes up with incredibly good suggestions, citing crosses that have worked well, but we also have to bear in mind that any colts will be sold as yearlings. It becomes a hard sell if those colts are by less-than-fashionable sires.” The point was made by Sky Lantern’s first foal in 2016, a colt by Dubawi which was sold to the Coolmore partners as a yearling for two million guineas in 2017. Such returns help to pay for a lot of disappointments. Inevitably, disappointments there have been. Two of the three mares the Keswicks bought on their initial foray 13 years ago are no longer on the stud. “They were producing perfectly decent, 80-rated horses,” Sackville says. “But we are trying to breed to a higher standard.” Then there was the Fastnet Rock mare Lone Rock, a Group 1-winning sprinter in Australia who was bought and shipped over to Britain. Ben Keswick had seen how well Australianbred horses fare in Hong Kong and wanted to explore the possibilities. “Lone Rock was galloping around the paddock when she suddenly fractured

was also Sky Lantern’s first. Snow Lantern is the only filly yet from her mother, who has a two-year-old colt by Galileo, followed by a pair of colts by Kingman. She has returned to Frankel this year. “It’s quite special for me to have foaled all of Sky Lantern’s progeny,” Woolf says. “Snow Lantern is straightforward, although like Sky Lantern, she has a side to her. I can’t tell you how much like her mother she is, in the way she looks at you. There’s just a little something about her, which we think is an encouraging sign.” Such signs, together with a healthy respect for lady luck, are portents frequently entertained by many who breed horses. The Keswicks are no different. When Sky Lantern made her debut, Richard Hannon senior brought the Rockcliffe silks to Goodwood rather than those of Ben Keswick, in whose name she was due to run. But when Sky Lantern obliged the silks were deemed lucky. She continued to run in colours depicting a saltire in a nod to the family’s Scottish heritage. Like his father before him, Hannon enjoys an excellent relationship with the stud and trains the vast majority of the Keswicks’ horses. Together they have succeeded in putting healthy doses of black type into several fillies, which is the benchmark for Rockcliffe. “Our aim is to be a respected small stud that produces good quality stock and black-type winners,” Ben Keswick says. “I am not sure we have thought much beyond that, but I suppose like everyone else in the game the dream of dreams is to produce a Group 1 winner – although we never dare utter it.” Those who can afford to play at the highest level seriously compromise their chances of success if they compromise on quality. It’s a lesson the Keswicks have absorbed; the way to keep costs down is to adhere to budgets, sell the colts and maintain tight controls on the broodmare band. The Keswicks are now well positioned to harvest the fruits. Snow Lantern may have come up short at York but few would dispute the suggestion that her ascent to the ranks of Pattern winners is only a matter of time. What would that mean to the Keswicks? “I suppose at the end of the day we owe it all to Sky Lantern because without her none of this would have happened,” adds Ben Keswick. “So to have multi-generational success – now that would put the icing on the cake.”


First foals

So far SO GOOD

Galileo or Danzig to him,” says Rausing. “He was very well supported by some important breeders and I sent him all my best mares. I have nine from the Alruccaba family and a number of others from different families, including a very nice filly out of [Group 1 winner] Lady Jane Digby and others out of Cubanita [a dual Group 3 winner] and Leaderene [dam of current Australian stakes winner Le Don De Vie]. “It’s early days but he appears to be a true-breeding bay. I would also say that a few of them look to have a bit of Sunday Silence about them.” From the view of the Niarchos family, supporting Study Of Man allows them where possible to inbreed to their blue hen Miesque, who appears as his granddam. Indeed, such a ploy has already worked well in the case of Study Of Man’s relation Karakontie, another Niarchos-supported stallion who stands in Kentucky. “We sent eight mares to Study Of Man in his first year and I’ve been very pleased with the ones I’ve seen so far,” says Alan Cooper, Racing Manager to the Niarchos family. “We have a particularly good foal out of Cosmic Fire who is good sized and with a quality head. “We have tried to inbreed to Miesque where we can – we bought a Whipper mare named Villanueva who is inbred herself to Miesque’s dam Pasadoble and we sent her to Study Of Man, so that will be interesting. “The horse has let down really well and he’s getting good support from breeders,

It’s a fascinating yet nerve-wracking time as studs await a stallion’s first foals - but in the case of this year’s group, the vibes are already promising Words: Nancy Sexton


A classy Calyx colt out of Rip Roaring


A smart Blue Point filly out of Tisa River



see the early indications pointing towards Prix du Jockey Club winner Study Of Man as a true-breeding bay. Anyone using a Lanwades Stud stallion does so in the knowledge that they will be strongly supported by Rausing’s deep band of mares, and in Study Of Man’s case there is the additional bonus of support from his breeder, the Niarchos family. This is the same partnership that worked many years ago to launch Hernando, another Prix du Jockey Club winner, to great effect. “The wonderful aspect to Study Of Man is that he can cover a wide spectrum of mares, being a Deep Impact with no



ew aspects of the bloodstock industry come under as much scrutiny as young sires. First impressions are key. From the moment their first foals hit the ground to the performances of first runners, opinions are formed, judgements made and the market influenced. Regarding the 2020 intake of new names, the first market test is still months away. But as ever, chat regarding the first foals in question has already taken on a momentum of its own. For stallion farms, it’s a fascinating yet nerve-wracking time. The addition of a new horse invariably requires significant investment and a weighty level of faith; the last thing they need to see is a young stallion begin to throw ordinary stock. With that in mind, the idea that several of this class, notably Too Darn Hot, Study Of Man and Invincible Army, might be true-breeding bays is a source of satisfaction to their connections. Then there are others, such as Waldgeist, Masar, Advertise and Land Force, who have been the recipients of repeat business in their second season, meaning that breeders are liking what they see from their early stock. Naturally, the confirmation that a stallion is stamping his stock does not guarantee success – for every Kingman, a true-breeding bay, there will be a Bushranger, a disappointing stallion whose first crop were akin to commercial catnip. However, as far as the market is concerned, such consistency is a good start. Little wonder, therefore, that Kirsten Rausing of Lanwades Stud is delighted to

A robust Eqtidaar filly out of Maayaat

An Invincible Army filly out of Angel Bright


Waldgeist: Arc hero is benefitting from the support of his owner Dietrich von Boetticher

respect are returning to him again this year. So he’ll have a nice follow-up book. “Obviously he’s a Group 1-winning two-year-old – Andre Fabre doesn’t run two-year-olds at that level unless he feels that they possess the physical and mental strength to do so and those are elements that we have tried to reinforce within the mares that we have sent. “Our filly out of Barkaa looks sharp and racy and there is an early born colt out of Fort Del Oro who is a powerhouse. There is also a good colt out of Lady Livius – she helped start off Lope De Vega and Tamayuz [as the dam of their first Group winners Burnt Sugar and Brown Sugar] and we’re hopeful that she can do the same with Waldgeist. I

A strong Magna Grecia colt out of Scorn

Study Of Man and Waldgeist were among a clutch of Classic performers to retire to stud in 2020. Another, Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain, attracted the support of a wide range of breeders at the Irish National Stud, among them shareholder SF Bloodstock, the Aga Khan, China Horse Club and Ballylinch Stud. One breeder particularly taken with the son of Lope De Vega is Peter Kavanagh of Kildaragh Stud. “We used the horse for several

A Study Of Man colt out of Kinaesthesia



A Ten Sovereigns colt related to Hasili



A striking Masar filly out of Wall Of Light


A Land Force colt bred by Highclere Stud

Classic power



so we’re very pleased.” Similarly, Arc hero Waldgeist also boasts the allure of powerful connections, in his case the alliance of Ballylinch Stud, Dietrich von Boetticher’s Gestut Ammerland and Newsells Park Stud. Each has thrown its weight behind the stallion, including Ballylinch Stud, whose roster of mares due to foal to the son of Galileo this season included stakes winners Barkaa, Fort Del Oro, Highlands Queen, Modeeroch and Planchart. “The ones that we have on the farm each have quality, movement and athleticism, and the feedback from breeders has also been excellent,” said the stud’s Managing Director John O’Connor. “Some breeders for whom I have a lot of

myself have a really good foal out of Fifth Commandment – he is the best that the mare has produced.” Of course, Ballylinch Stud and Gestut Ammerland previously teamed up to launch Lope De Vega into an international supersire. While Waldgeist has a long way to go to emulate the heights of his illustrious stud-mate, such support naturally means that he is being afforded every chance – as befits a multiple Group 1-winning son of Galileo. “As a partnership, we’re trying to do the same thing as we did when we were getting Lope De Vega started but in this case there is the added bonus of also having Newsells Park Stud as a partner,” says O’Connor. “He’s not a sprinter-miler so the fact he’s popular is not only good for the horse but good for the business as well. These types of horses – tough, sound runners with the class to compete at the top level over a period of time – are very important to the future of the breed.”

A Too Darn Hot colt out of I’m So Fancy


First foals Classic winner, was a good two-year-old and is an imposing horse. “You have the Lope De Vega in him but we also liked the Caro element [his second dam is by Kaldoun] as well – it’s an excellent line but is today very thin on the ground. “We have two foals by him. The filly out of Petit Calva is a lovely mover and very pretty. She’s all quality. And then we have a colt out of a daughter of [Group 1 winner] Pearly Shells who is very robust and an easy mover with substance.” Kavanagh is also one of several breeders to speak positively of Darley’s Masar. Quick enough to score on debut over six furlongs at Goodwood as a two-year-old, the son of New Approach won the Derby the following year and possesses an intriguing pedigree being inbred to blue hen Urban Sea. “Obviously Masar was a Derby winner, he’s a stand-out physical and inbred to Urban Sea and Ahonoora,” says Kavanagh. “At that fee of £15,000 [he stood for £14,000 in 2021], we just thought that he was very affordable. “We have a really strong, scopey colt by him. He’s a real model. And our other colt is from the Alruccaba family – he’s a lovely, elegant, Classic type.” In Britain, Charlie Budgett of Kirtlington Park Stud is so pleased with his Masar filly that he is rearranging his breeding plans in order to support the horse again. “Our Masar filly out of Nougaboo is big and strong,” he says. “She has got lovely balance and is very athletic with a good mind. As a result of her and others I have seen, we are rearranging matings in order to send more mares to him.” Coolmore’s new recruits, meanwhile, included 2,000 Guineas and Vertem Futurity hero Magna Grecia. An imposing Invincible Spirit half-brother to Poule d’Essai des Poulains winner St Mark’s Basilica, he covered a book of 180 mares at €22,500 last year, among them many belonging to some of Europe’s leading breeders. “Magna Grecia was the most expensive foal by his sire when the Coolmore partners bought him and I think that is a testament to his looks and the foals he has produced so far,” says Coolmore’s Mark Byrne. “The only Invincible Spirit to have won a British Classic, he was also a Group 1 winner at two. This reflects the size and scope that he has put into his progeny.


“Magna Grecia has a lot of quality to him, with a lovely noble head, and a great action to round it all off.” The list of happy outside breeders numbers James Wigan, who is “delighted” with his colt out of Scorn. “I have made no secret of the fact that I’ve always been a massive fan of Magna Grecia,” he says. “I was very taken with

“Our Phoenix Of Spain colt is very robust and an easy mover” him physically when I saw him as a twoyear-old and thought his Guineas win was exceptional. We supported him last year with Scorn, a daughter of Seeking The Gold and champion two-year-old Sulk. She foaled a colt and we’re absolutely delighted with him.”

Hot offerings

The most expensive new stallion of 2020, however, was the unbeaten champion two-year-old and Sussex Stakes winner Too Darn Hot. A Dubawi son of Group 1 winner Dar Re Mi from the family of Darshaan,

Masar: foals receiving positive reviews


›› reasons,” he says. “Obviously he’s a

Too Darn Hot possesses the background to support his immense talent and was unsurprisingly popular at a fee of £50,000, covering 172 mares including 70 black-type winners. Naturally, the list of supporters included his owner-breeder Watership Down Stud. “We have a number of foals at the stud that belong to Watership Down and our clients,” says the stud’s General Manager Simon Marsh. “Knowing the family as well as we do, we know how well Darara and Dar Re Mi stamp their stock. And it looks like Too Darn Hot is doing the same. He appears to be a true bay breeder and they’re very well put together with wonderful heads and a beautiful eye. “I would say the head comes from Darara, and then Darshaan [Darara’s half-brother] was similar. It seems that you can send him a plainish mare and get a quality foal so he

Too Darn Hot: early indications suggest that the Dalham Hall Stud sire is a true-breeding bay

seems dominant in that respect.” It would seem that Too Darn Hot has also captured the imagination of various Newmarket farms. They include Dwayne Woods of Brook Stud. “Our Too Darn Hot filly is a superb foal,” he says. “The mare can get them small and I was worried about that but this foal has size and scope. She’s absolutely lovely.” While Too Darn Hot was warmly welcomed at Darley’s Newmarket base of Dalham Hall Stud, the same could be said of the operation’s Irish recruit Blue Point. A horse with a real look of Shamardal to him and a brilliant sprinter whose 11 wins ranged from the Gimcrack Stakes at two to that memorable King’s Stand - Diamond Jubilee Stakes double at five, he attracted a first book of approximately 200 mares and the attention of breeders such as the Aga Khan, Rifa Mustang, Al Asayl, Haras de Saint Pair, Whatton Manor Stud and Moyglare Stud Farm to complement the healthy home support of

the Maktoum family. On the theme of top-notch sprinters, Coolmore’s 2020 intake featured two of the highest order in July Cup winner Ten Sovereigns and Coventry Stakes hero Calyx, the first Irish-based sons of No Nay Never and Kingman to stud respectively. “The Scat Daddy line reminds us time and time again how precocious and fast it is,” says Mark Byrne. “Caravaggio had already had six winners, several first time out, by mid-May. “Ten Sovereigns is a very powerful type with great strength and a very masculine looking horse, and this is incredibly evident in his foals – they have a great energy and active walk to them. “Calyx has certainly passed on his quality and a slick action to his stock. Like himself, they are very sharp sorts. You know you are going to be seeing a lot of his two-year-olds run before Ascot. “When you look at the foals and know how fast Calyx was, they are exactly how you would hope they would look.”

That enticing profile wasn’t lost on breeders, who between them sent Calyx approximately 165 mares. One of the first born was a colt out of Rip Roaring, who was bred by Steve Bradley at Brookside Farm in Newmarket. “Our Calyx colt has taken everything in his stride and we couldn’t be happier with him,” says Bradley. “Not only does he look great, but he is tremendously engaging and absolutely fearless. We will definitely be sending the mare back to Calyx next year.” Ten Sovereigns was one of the most popular new stallions of 2020 with a book close to 220 mares. Deep in quality, it included the backing of a deep array of successful breeders. Among them were Harry McCalmont of Norelands Stud, who describes his colt out of Music And Dance, a Galileo relation to Hasili, as being the best foal on his farm. “The foal has a lot of strength, is a great mover and has a lot of presence,” he says.




In addition, Ten Sovereigns continues to receive the support of his trainer Aidan O’Brien. “Ten Sovereigns was an unbelievably fast horse,” says O’Brien. “We have 13 foals by him already on the ground with a few mares still to foal and are delighted with what we’ve got. We’re sending him a similar number of mares this season; I think 14 are already in foal. “You’d have to be impressed with what Scat Daddy and No Nay Never have already achieved and Caravaggio has made a serious start.” Aidan and Annemarie O’Brien are also among the breeders with foals from the first crop of Land Force, another son of No Nay Never who was saddled by O’Brien to win the Richmond Stakes. Based at Highclere Stud, Land Force has benefitted from the support of breeders such as the Queen, Paul Shanahan, Skymarc Farm, New England Stud and Trevor Stewart, from whose Cassandra Go family Land Force descends. “We are thrilled with his first crop,” says Jake Warren of Highclere Stud. “His magnificent physique plus his extremely commercial profile gave us the confidence to send the majority of our mares to him last year. Thankfully we did as the resulting foals look to be the real deal, with our crop averaging 55.6kg. I suspect this is the reason the market are coming back and he’s already covered over 100 mares again this year.” As Warren notes, Land Force has been the recipient of strong repeat business. For example, Charlie Budgett has sent three mares on the strength of his filly. Another repeat user is Bill Dwan of The Castlebridge Consignment. “There are a number of reasons that we used him,” says Dwan. “He is a son of No Nay Never, he was incredibly fast, was a very good-looking yearling and he has an outstanding pedigree – which is exactly the combination the market wants. I sent mares to him last year and again this year.” Similarly, Denis Brosnan’s Croom House Stud has returned to the well. “We have three and what is so impressive is that each of them have perfect conformation, strong bone and lovely heads,” says Stud Manager Cathal Brosnan. “When they arrived it was a very easy decision to use him again this year.” Other breeders are also positive. “Really nice deep horses that look like proper sprinting types” is the view of Dwayne Woods while “fabulous” is the adjective used by Anna Sundstrom of the Coulonces Consignment on her pair by the stallion. “They’re both very forward



First foals

Peter Kavanagh: impressed with the first foals by Phoenix Of Spain and Masar

“The Advertise foals have size, swagger and limb with a quality head” going, beautifully marked and very correct,” she says. While interest in the Scat Daddy sire line continues to grow, that in Green Desert and his descendants remains undiminished. Firmly regarded as an elite source of speed, his sire line is responsible for the Showcasing horses Advertise and Soldier’s Call in addition to Eqtidaar, Inns Of Court and Invincible Army, all of whom are sons of Invincible Spirit. At £25,000, Advertise is the most expensive horse to retire to The National Stud since Mill Reef and covered close to 140 mares in his first year. “Advertise an exciting horse for us as he ticks a lot of the boxes,” says Stud Director Tim Lane of the horse, who won the Phoenix Stakes, Commonwealth Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest. “And it’s also exciting because he’s getting good foals. “They’ve got size, swagger and limb, and on the whole a quality head. Like him, they stand over a lot of ground.” Lane reports that plenty of breeders have returned to Advertise this season, a trend that is also standing Soldier’s Call in good stead. Winner of the Windsor Castle and Flying Childers Stakes as a two-yearold and second in the Nunthorpe Stakes

at three, Soldier’s Call resides at Ballyhane Stud, which has cultivated the stud career of fellow speedster Dandy Man to such good effect. “Soldier’s Call covered a first book of mares chock full of quality and we couldn’t be happier with his first foals,” says Ballyhane’s Joe Foley. “They’re an outstanding bunch; he stamps them full of power, strength and quality and we can’t wait to see them run. “Many breeders have sent mares back to him for his second season and consequently he’s got a serious second crop of foals in the pipeline too.” Nunnery Stud’s Eqtidaar represents the essence of Shadwell as one of three black-type winners out of its excellent mare Madany, and with a racing career capped by victory in the Commonwealth Cup, also possesses the kind of speed profile that is so commercially appealing. “I’ve been lucky to get around and see a large proportion of Eqtidaar’s first foals and have been blown away by what I’ve seen and how well they’ve been received by breeders,” says Tom Pennington, Nominations and Marketing Manager of Nunnery Stud. “He’s a big, strong, imposing individual who really fills the eye and he’s passing those traits on to his stock. Not only are they precocious looking, they are also blessed with great scope, good minds and fantastic athleticism – they all walk exceptionally well, which bodes well for the foal sales later this year.” Given the appetite for sons of Invincible Spirit, the foal sales should also be a productive period for the Group 2-winning sprinters Inns Of Court and Invincible Army. Tally-Ho Stud’s Inns Of Court, who won the Prix du Gros-Chene and fell only a head short of victory in the Prix de la Foret, covered 218 mares in his first season and boasts the backing of a stud that has cultivated the likes of Kodiac and Mehmas so successfully. Meanwhile, hardy sprinter Invincible Army covered 140 mares at Yeomanstown Stud, among them 60 stakes performers and/or producers. “We’re really excited by the Invincible Army foals,” says Davy O’Callaghan of Yeomanstown Stud. “He is colour dominant – all bays and browns so far – and they’ve all got size, strength and great bone.” With the first hurdle of approval for these young stallions cleared, the next test will be the unforgiving arena of the auction ring. And if the early indications are any barometer, then it looks set to be an interesting winter of selling.




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Breeders’ Digest

Nancy Sexton Bloodstock Editor

Making a difference - GBB celebrates a big first year



already won three bonuses this season as an owner and breeder thanks to the successes of Fabiosa and the unbeaten Thunder Love. “This is the best thing that has happened to British racing in a long time,” he says. “It’s a massive help going forward. “What we’ve found is that people are registering more fillies and that there’s greater interest in them at the sales. You can see the clever people watching it – the likes of Karl Burke and Kevin Ryan were working the sales with their lists of eligible fillies.”



he Great British Bonus (GBB), the scheme that awards bonuses of up to £20,000 to British-bred fillies and mares, arrived at a crucial time for the industry, one where the lingering issue of poor prize-money was compounded by the onslaught of Covid-19. Borne out of the findings of the 2018 TBA Economic Impact Study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, in which it was identified that 66% of British breeders were losing money, GBB came into operation on June 1 last year and had an immediate impact, with 11 bonuses paid out during the first month alone. The scheme enters its second year having awarded £2.3 million to the winning connections of 131 fillies and mares across 161 races. Of those, 23 fillies and mares have won multiple bonuses. With many smaller owner-breeders among the winners under both codes, it has already gone a long way to achieving what it was devised to do. “It has had a fantastic impact and is a much needed boost for British breeders, particularly at a time where Covid has wreaked havoc on the industry,” says Charlotte Newton, GBB Operations Executive. “Obviously it’s going to become bigger and more popular as the message gets to everyone. We expect to see greater evidence of registered fillies being targeted by buyers and GBB races should continue to attract high levels of entries, which means that we should be paying out more bonuses. “At the moment, we are looking for those with 2020 fillies to get their yearling Stage 2 registrations completed - Stage 2 registrants get ten per cent of future GBB winnings and early evidence suggests that GBB fillies are targeted at the sales, so it’s well worth doing.” It is heartening to hear how the scheme has assisted various smaller British owner-breeders whether it be in the sale ring or the racecourse. One such participant is Conor Norris of Norris Bloodstock, whose syndicate, Keep Kicking Racing, landed a GBB bonus when its first runner, Vaunted, scored on debut at Bath in April. “We were selling a couple of homebred fillies by British stallions every year and they weren’t making a lot of

Richard Kent: ‘GBB is a massive help’

money and a lot were going abroad,” says Norris. “So we set up a syndicate to race one or two ourselves. “We managed to keep Vaunted, by Ardad, to send to Clive Cox. We mentioned that we would like to take advantage of the scheme and we left it with him – it was great that he was able to find a race with conditions to suit. “Considering that we won less than £3,500 in prize-money at Bath, the scheme was a great help.” He adds: “I found at last year’s yearling sales that we sold our fillies better than we might have done in previous years. The scheme is a big incentive and I also found that it was a good selling point when promoting the syndicate.” Richard Kent of Mickley Stud has also witnessed a similar upturn in interest for his fillies. What’s more, he has

The early season zip shown by Fabiosa also pays tribute to the late Lady Lonsdale, who died in 2019. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable, Lady Lonsdale experienced a real high as the co-breeder of Group 1-winning sprinter Havana Grey, and she would have no doubt taken a similar pride in the achievements of Fabiosa, bred by her executors with Kent out of Listed winner Delizia. She also had a hand in the breeding of Instinctive Move, an impressive debut winner at Bath last month. “She was a wonderful woman, a very clever breeder who had to do it on a shoestring,” says Kent. “She had 28 years of illness and it was following pedigrees and horses that kept her going – she really enjoyed her horses.” Listed winner Peach Melba was bred by Lady Lonsdale as a third generation member of her Primetta family. Trained by Mark Johnston, her five victories also included a quality handicap at Newmarket in October 2017, a win that landed connections a £25,000 TBA voucher to use on a British-based stallion under the EBF Breeders’ Fillies Series. “She found this race at Newmarket where if you won you got a TBA voucher to use on a British stallion,” says Kent. “So she won this voucher, we used it on Showcasing and out of that we bred Instinctive Move.” He adds: “We have a really nice Teofilo half-sister to Havana Grey with Tom Dascombe. We named her Lady Caroline and it would be fantastic if she could do her proud.”


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“I am proud I will run in the Derby for two years in a row,” says Ahmad Al Shaikh just over two weeks out from the 2021 renewal of Epsom’s blue riband event, and rightly so, since the feat is rarely achieved by any owner outside of those with international racing empires. The UAE-based owner was, like the rest of us, absent in 2020 when Khalifa Sat and Tom Marquand carried his white and green silks to a second-place finish in the world’s most famous flat race. At the time of writing, Al Shaikh is determined he will fulfil the necessary quarantine requirements to be there in person to watch recent Group 3 Chester Vase winner Youth Spirit (pictured) take his chance this time around. Al Shaikh’s ownership journey in British racing got off to an auspicious start in the late 2000s. He selected David Simcock as the sole trainer of his burgeoning team, having noted that the Trillium Place trainer’s experience as assistant to Dick Hern, and only needed wait until the August of his first season to enjoy a Listed success courtesy of Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up purchase Desert Phantom. The following season brought with it further Stakes success when Spirit of Dubai closed her account with a win in the Princess Royal Stakes. The filly has since gone on to become a notable broodmare under the Rabbah Bloodstock banner and has produced a number of homebred foals including 2018 Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes winner Emaraaty Ana, who Al Shaikh sold on to fellow UAE owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum towards the end of his two-year-old season.

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In 2010, Al Shaikh took the decision to diversify his trainers, adding Ed Dunlop, Jim Boyle and Michael Bell to his roster. It was Bell who trained Al Shaikh’s Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes winner Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes runner-up Hoyam two years later in 2012.

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So far, Al Shaikh has supported over 25 trainers up and down Britain. The success he has enjoyed over the last two seasons with Andrew Balding has unsurprisingly resulted in the Kingsclere-based handler having the lion’s share of the owner’s 15 horses in training this year, but original trainer Simcock, as well as Ed Walker, Charlie Hills, Karl Burke and newly established Daryl Holland, also number among his chosen trainers for 2021. “My dream is the Derby”, Al Shaikh says. Whether or not the owner’s latest star can fulfil this dream is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure: the white and green silks of the ‘Green Team’ have become a very familiar and welcome sight on Britain’s racecourses.



Sales Circuit • By Carl Evans

Strong Goffs UK trade adds to robust breeze-up season

A Twilight Son colt contributed to a good day for vendor Tally-Ho Stud, selling for £210,000

headed proceedings with a £210,000 valuation. This just a short while after Tally-Ho’s Practical Joke filly had made 360,000gns when topping trade at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale. The O’Callaghans stand some leading stallions and run a quality broodmare band, but their headline trio were all pinhooked as foals or yearlings. The Twilight Son purchase seemed particularly astute given that he was bought at Goffs in February last year before the sire’s first crop had hit the track – results since then would partly


“An incredible business and an amazing day,” was the summary of this one-day sale by Goffs UK’s Managing Director Tim Kent. His comment was a fair one given the 89% clearance rate, the range of buyers who invested and figures that set new highs in a number of categories. Record turnover of just over £6.2m was a 22% increase on the 2019 sale – which had been robust in its own right – while the average price of £48,590 was another record and up nine per cent on the 2020 sale. The median of £34,000 was also a high for the event. Given the challenges Goffs and Goffs UK faced last year this will have been a fillip for both teams, although some classy-looking horses must have given them hope before Lot 1 walked into Doncaster’s ring. Trade was a little ponderous initially, but warmed to such an extent that a record 15 horses made a six-figure sum, four more than the previous best. Activity from Dubai-based buyers was sparse, and a £210,000 top price was way below the auction record of £450,000, but with racing opening up to spectators and the promise of a full five days of action at Royal Ascot, wellheeled buyers made their presence felt. Among the benefactors was the O’Callaghan family of County Tipperary’s Tally-Ho Stud, who sold a pair of colts by Twilight Son and Galileo Gold that jointly


Goffs UK Doncaster Breeze-Up

Michael O’Callaghan: trainer signed for seven lots worth a total of £529,000


explain why Curragh trainer Michael O’Callaghan was happy to become his purchaser at this sale. Galileo Gold’s first crop are slowly entering the racing fray, but while he is therefore still an unknown quantity his joint sale-topper ticked the boxes for Armando Duarte and Ling Bloodstock, who were looking for a Royal Ascot juvenile. If he proves as good as his half-brother Acklam Express, who did not run at the Royal meeting, but scored three times at two and has since been Group 1-placed in Dubai, he will have been well bought. The sale toppers made roughly ten times their yearling price, but there was a bigger percentage increase in a Kodiac filly whose £13,000 yearling value soared to £180,000. The buyer was Oliver St Lawrence, acting for Bahrain’s KHK Racing, while the vendor was Katie McGivern of Derryconnor Stud. McGivern produced the quote of the day following the sale when exclaiming: “I’m pretty speechless now, even though I can’t stop talking,” but who could blame her for such a memorable oxymoron when the profit promised to fulfil her dream of installing a new straight gallop at her County Wexford yard. McGiven is a young talent who clearly intends staying in the bloodstock trade, which is the kind of people it needs.

Goffs UK Doncaster Breeze-Up Sale Top lots Sex/breeding


Price (£)


C Twilight Son - My Lucky Liz

Tally-Ho Stud


Michael O’Callaghan

C Galileo Gold - York Express

Tally-Ho Stud


Ling Bloodstock

C No Nay Never - Habbat Reeh



Blandford Bloodstock

F Kodiac - Shama’s Song

Derryconnor Stud


Oliver St Lawrence Bloodstock

C Blame - Twice Told Tale

Brown Island Stables


Rabbah Bloodstock

C Kodiac - Dream Dana

Bansha House Stables


MPR & Tom Morley

F Mehmas - Dame Judi

Glending Stables


Blandford Bloodstock

C Kingman – Hasten

Oak Tree Farm


Manor House Stud

C Footstepsinthesand - Serenity Dove

Woodtown House Stud


Michael O’Callaghan

C Jimmy Creed - Sliced Bread

Brown Island Stables


Edgar Byrne

Figures Year


Agg (£)

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Top price (£)



















Tattersalls was again left with no option but to hold a Cheltenham sale of young jumpers in Newmarket, but with 32 of the 35 lots changing hands it seems the buyers travelled east, too. Covid disruptions and quick ground at point-to-point venues and racecourses – which is not ideal for trialling embryonic chasers – preceded the sale, but turnover of £2,148,000, an average price of just over £67,000 and a median of £52,500 were good figures in the circumstances. No less importantly for the cycle of bloodstock sales, the event helped move horses to new homes, often at a profit, aiding those vendors who plan buying stores this summer. County Wexford’s Sean Doyle, vendor of the £195,000 top lot American Mike, expressed thanks to Tattersalls for providing the venue, saying: “In our job we need somewhere to show them [horses] off.” But he also said there is nothing like a sale at Cheltenham on a race day, when the atmosphere and a winner or two can add a little adrenalin to the enthusiasm of buyers. American Mike, a four-year-old who Doyle had bought as a store for €20,000 at last year’s Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale, had shown his potential when winning a maiden point-to-point two weeks before his ring appearance. The race had taken place not at a point-to-


Tattersalls Cheltenham April Sale

Cork scorer American Mike will be trained by Gordon Elliott after selling for £195,000

point course but at Cork, a licensed track and one of several used for reintroducing the sport in Ireland following months of lockdown – since then the traditional courses have been opening up albeit restrictions applied to attendees. A son of Mahler out of the very useful jumping mare American Jennie, American Mike stood out when trotted up at pre-sale inspections, covering the ground in long and graceful strides, and it was little surprise that he made a significant sum. Eddie O’Leary, acting for Noel and Valerie Moran of Bective Stud, brought the hammer down. Doyle’s younger brother Cormac got

in on the act when selling four-year-old Cool Survivor for £175,000, a marked increase on his €15,000 valuation as a foal. He had also won at Cork, catching the eye of Gordon Elliott who signed the docket. There was another Doyle-to-Elliott transaction relating to Ash Tree Meadow. A five-year-old, he came from Donnchadh Doyle’s side of the Monbeg Stables complex, having been bought at the Goffs Land Rover Sale for €30,000. After a win at Fairyhouse, he was sold to agent Mouse O’Ryan, acting with Elliott, while the visibly impressive five-year-old Coachman ensured British stables got in



Sales Circuit ›› on the act when selling to agent Marcus


Collie on behalf of Lambourn trainer Oliver Signy for £140,000. Coachman was consigned by Denis Murphy, while the day’s other six-figure horse, four-year-old Chianti Classico, was sold to Kim Bailey for £105,000, exiting Colin Bowe’s yard in the process.

Gordon Elliott (left), pictured with Matt Prior, came away with six lots


• A talking point for the autumn will be how quickly Gordon Elliott can reestablish himself in the training ranks once his six-months suspension has run its course. On the evidence of recent sales it will not take him long, for he has continued to buy young horses who will be the future for his stables. Of the top five lots sold at Tattersalls Cheltenham April Sale in Newmarket, three seem destined to be in Elliott’s care come the autumn, including tabletopper American Mike. He was bought by Noel and Valerie Moran of Bective Stud who have kept the faith in the suspended trainer’s talents and will be important patrons as he rebuilds his career. • Coachman’s £140,000 purchase by Marcus Collie and trainer Oliver Signy marked one of the dwindling occasions on which a horse ridden by Jamie Codd will be available for purchase in the ring. Codd, 39, quit riding on the point-to-point circuit after guiding home a winner at Tattersalls racecourse in early May, although he will continue to ride in races under Rules – few bumpers in Ireland do not contain his name among the jockeys and he would doubtless love to add to his ten Cheltenham Festival winners. One of racing’s greatest amateur riders, he played an important role in countless horses’ transitions from stores to pointers to sales ring. His final win, his 972nd in points alone – a score bettered only by Derek O’Connor who is past 1,200 and counting – came fittingly on a horse trained by Ballyboy Stables’ Denis Murphy, one of his chief allies. Finding a replacement of Codd’s ability and knowledge will tax Murphy and a few other Irish pinhooking point-to-point handlers.

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


Price (£)


American Mike 4 g Mahler - American Jennie

Monbeg Stables (Sean Doyle)


Bective Stud/Gordon Elliott

Cool Survivor 4 g Westerner - Pale Face

Monbeg Stables (Cormac Doyle)


Gordon Elliott Racing

Coachman 5 g Maresca Sorrento - La Pelodette

Ballyboy Stables (Denis Murphy)


Marcus Collie/Oliver Signy Racing

Ash Tree Meadow 5 g Bonbon Rose – Alzasca

Monbeg Stables (Donnchadh Doyle)


Aidan O’Ryan/Gordon Elliott

Chianti Classico 4 g Shantou - Ballinderry Lady

Milestone Stables (Cormac Bowe)


Aiden Murphy/Kim Bailey

Figures Year


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Top price (£)







Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up and Horses in Training Sale

This double-header sale of breezers and horses-in-training put emphasis on the two-year-olds for its latest one-day rendition. Of the 184 breezers offered – the second-largest number since the sale was founded 14 years ago – 150 found a buyer, creating a clearance rate of 82% at an average price of 29,948gns, slightly up on the figure in each of the past two years. The median of 24,500gns was also up. Two horses sold for six figures – which compares to one in 2019 and


No Sale

eight the year before – the parade being headed by a son of Postponed who made 135,000gns. In terms of top prices that was slightly down on highs of recent years, and markedly so on the 300,000gns achieved in 2016 for a Le Havre colt. That lowering of ceiling prices has been a characteristic of breeze-up sales held in Newmarket and Doncaster this year, although it was going to be interesting to see if the Arqana May Sale – which had to be switched from France to Doncaster – could buck the trend when held at the end of last month. The Postponed colt who headed the table of sales at this event was offered



Roderick Kavanagh: Glending Stables vendor sold the 135,000gns top lot


from Roderick Kavanagh’s Glending Stables having been bought as a foal by the vendor’s father, Peter, and his pinhooking buddy Michael Downey. Their 20,000gns investment at the December Sale was rewarded when Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock made the winning bid on behalf of a ten-strong syndicate called Never Say Die. David Simcock will train their purchase at his Newmarket yard. The other horse who reached six figures was a son of Mehmas, who left the care of County Kildare-based Ian McCarthy after being knocked down to Qatar Racing’s David Redvers for 105,000gns. The only breezer consigned by McCarthy this year, the colt had been bought for just €3,000 as a foal, but had been left behind when led from the ring unsold at £9,000 as a yearling. Such disappointments often bring elation at a later date. The 2019 sale, the most recent one to take place on its allotted date, catalogued 134 in-training lots, a group of horses of particular interest to the overseas buyers in attendance. In their absence – denied travel by Covid restrictions – and with various online sales now a feature of the sales scene,

The 135,000gns sale-topping son of Postponed is set to be trained by David Simcock

that section of the catalogue came down to just 43 lots, the smallest selection since the sale was founded in 2012. Of 30 offered 24 found buyers. The 55,000gns sale of six-time winner Nortonthorpe Boy from Phil

McEntee’s stable proved to be the highlight. His Saudi Arabian buyer could not attend in person, but ex-jockey Ted Durcan was in situ in Newmarket and he signed for the three-year-old gelded son of Swiss Spirit.

Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up and Horses in Training Sale Top lots Sex/breeding


Price (gns)


C Postponed - Micaela’s Moon

Glending Stables


Blandford Bloodstock

C Mehmas – Cheworee

Nanallac Stud


David Redvers

C Exceed And Excel – Shyrl

Knockanglass Stables


Jamie Piggott Bloodstock

C Magician - Miss Frangipane

Aguiar Bloodstock


Michael O’Callaghan

C Sea The Moon – Herzprinzessin

Church Farm & Horse Park Stud


Peter & Ross Doyle Bloodstock

F Postponed – Wahylah

Aguiar Bloodstock


Michael O’Callaghan

Tattersalls Guineas Horses in Training Sale figures Year


Agg (gns)

Average (gns)

Median (gns)

Top price (gns)







2020 2019

No sale 84





Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale figures Year


Agg (gns)

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Sales Circuit Boutique sales of point-to-pointers and young bumper horses have been knocked from start line to finishing post by the cruel effects of Covid. This event could not take place last year because racing was on hold, and the latest rendition was denied a place at the Punchestown race meeting due to ongoing restrictions linked to the pandemic. Instead it went ahead during the race meeting but at Goffs’ Kill sales complex with an online audience. That was not ideal, and the prevailing quick ground in the run-up was no help to vendors from the point-to-point fraternity hoping to advertise prospective chasers. Despite that lengthy list of excuses, the sale of just five horses – to a total of two buyers – from a selection of 15 lots has to be deemed disappointing, and Goffs’ Chief Executive Henry Beeby said, “Nobody is suggesting that today’s backdrop was ideal for a sale . . .” While the event’s link to the Punchestown Festival was in name only, a horse who had run at the meeting two days earlier headed trade when selling for €155,000. Springwell Bay, a four-year-old son of Kayf Tara, had finished runner-up in a bumper for Mags Mullins’ stable and then been given a wildcard entry. He was knocked down to a purchaser called


Goffs Punchestown Sale

Springwell Bay: the priciest of three expensive purchases made on the day by Equos

Equos, who was identified only as an ‘English client’ by Goffs staff. The same buyer also picked up winning Irish pointer Anyharminasking for €145,000 and bumper-placed Itso Fury for €115,000. Quite why Equos was so keen to shield its identity, and should target one event so heavily, added to the intrigue. Incidentally, Equos’s top lot would have

been placed just equal sixth on the topten table at the 2019 edition of the sale which was headed by €360,000 The Big Breakaway. Bloodstock agent Gerry Hogan purchased the catalogue’s other two sold horses, namely bumper performer Top Dog for €130,000 and winning pointer Great D’Ange for €82,000.

Goffs Punchestown Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (€)


Springwell Bay 4 g Kayf Tara - Winning Counsel

Canterbrook Stud (Mags Mullins)



Anyharminasking 4 g Getaway - Collen Beag

Monbeg Stables (Donnchadh Doyle)



Top Dog 4 g Leading Light - Princess Leya

Cam Bloodstock


Gerry Hogan Bloodstock

Itso Fury 4 g Fame And Glory - Qui Plus Est

Sanderscourt Stables (Liz Doyle)



Great D’Ange 5 g Great Pretender – Vickx

Moate Stables (Mick Goff)


Gerry Hogan Bloodstock

Figures Year


Agg (€)

Average (€)

Median (€)

Top price (€)







2020 2019

Osarus Breeze-up and Horses in Training Sale

No sale 13

Arqana’s loss became Osarus’ gain at this single-session sale held at La Teste racecourse. That gain focussed on two horses who headed the top-ten board when selling for €200,000 – which was a record for the event – and €95,000. They were




transferred to Osarus when Arqana announced it had little choice but to take its end-of-May breeze-up auction out of France to Doncaster. It was proof that a good horse can sell anywhere, particularly when they are by a flavour-of-the-month sire like Wootton Bassett, whose mating with the Excelebration mare Ettu resulted in the



headline colt. He was knocked down to bloodstock agent Nicolas Bertran de Balanda, acting on behalf of an undisclosed client. Philippe Prevost-Baratte consigned the youngster on behalf of his breeders, Thierry de la Heronniere and David Salabi, who had offered their asset back at Arqana in September when he was

bought in at €55,000. The second Arqana asset who dropped Osarus’ way was a Kodiac colt from Ecurie de la Dentelle, which is run by Nicolas Martineau and Pauline Bottin. It seemed the switch of sales had failed to work when their two-year-old was led out unsold at €91,000, but a private sale

saw him heading to Anne-Sophie Yoh’s Yohea for €95,000. Yoh, whose purchase had been a €47,000 Arqana yearling, said Elias Mikhalides would train the colt for Martina Stadelmann. Of the 56 breezers offered, 33 found buyers at an average price of €14,429 and a clearance rate of 59%, which is on a par

with recent stagings of the event. An additional six horses were offered in a thin horses-in-training section which achieved 100% clearance. Again, Wootton Bassett featured when his six-year-old gelded son Righteous Love, a winner of two races, headed trade at €19,000.

Osarus Breeze-up and Horses in Training Sale Top lots Sex/breeding


Price (€)


C Wootton Bassett – Ettu

Ecurie Prevost Baratte


NBB Racing

C Kodiac – Sayfoonisa

Ecurie de la Dentelle



C Recorder - Last Cast

Earl Ecurie Yann Creff


MAB Agency

C Kheleyf – Lolif

Christophe Pautier


Christophe Ferland

F Territories - Prompt Beauty

Earl Ecurie Yann Creff


MAB Agency

Figures Year


Agg (€)

Average (€)

Median (€)

Top price (€)















1,015 000




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Caulfield Files

Powerful Galileo-Bolger alliance continues to reap Classic rewards

“Bolger must be proud that Poetic Flare is related to Teofilo” For good measure, it was Galileo’s remarkable daughter Cabaret who was responsible for St Mark’s Basilica, winner of the 2021 Poule d’Essai des Poulains, in which Poetic Flare disappointed. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised at all this success at a mile, given that Galileo is himself a son of Sadler’s Wells, an Irish 2,000 Guineas winner who also sired three winners of the 2,000 Guineas, compared to just two of the Derby. Needless to say, Galileo isn’t the only recurring theme among some of these 2,000 Guineas winners, with Jim Bolger being the breeder and trainer of both Dawn Approach and Poetic Flare (as well




onsidering that the average winning distance for the progeny of the Derby-winning Galileo stands as high as 11.1 furlongs, this extraordinary stallion might seem a rather unlikely candidate to exert an extremely strong influence on the 2,000 Guineas. That, though, is exactly what this brilliant stallion has been doing since his son New Approach failed by only a nose to lead throughout in the 2008 edition. Subsequent years have seen Galileo represented by three winners of the first colts’ Classic, in the impressive forms of Frankel, Gleneagles and Churchill. Galileo’s daughters have also reinforced his impact, producing an admirable tally of four winners in Night Of Thunder, Galileo Gold, Saxon Warrior and Magna Grecia. And New Approach has been busily making amends for his very narrow defeat, siring the 2013 winner Dawn Approach, who in turn sired Poetic Flare, the short-head conqueror of Master Of The Seas in the most recent edition. So, one way or another, Galileo figures in the pedigrees of nine of the last 11 winners of this stallionmaking Classic.

Rock Of Gibraltar: damsire of note

as the trainer of New Approach). Bolger, of course, also bred and trained Teofilo, the unbeaten champion juvenile from Galileo’s second crop. Had soundness issues not intervened, Teofilo would also have had a strong chance of winning the 2,000 Guineas, as the first three in the 2007 Classic – Cockney Rebel, Vital Equine and Dutch Art – had respectively been rated 8lb, 7lb and 2lb inferior to Teofilo as two-year-olds. Bolger must be proud that Poetic Flare comes from the same family as Teofilo, with the Majestic Light mare Saviour ranking as the second dam of Teofilo and third dam of Poetic Flare. Saviour won at up to 11 furlongs for Bolger, but without showing nearly as much talent as three of her siblings. Her brother War took the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes on the demotion of future Kentucky Derby winner Alysheba. Two of Saviour’s half-brothers, Judge Angelucci and Peace, also became Grade 1 winners over nine furlongs, with Judge Angelucci being good enough to finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Dawn Approach, like Teofilo before him, took up stallion duties at Kildangan Stud. But, whereas Teofilo is still a resident, having sired a string of Group or Grade 1 winners, including six in 2020, Dawn Approach fared less well, despite appearing to have most of the ingredients required for success. A colt needs to be very tough, talented and precocious to achieve what Dawn Approach did as a two-year-old, when his unbeaten sequence of six wins featured the

Coventry Stakes, National Stakes and the Dewhurst. And he needs to be highly talented to add the 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes at three. There was also quite a strong physical resemblance between Dawn Approach and his sire New Approach, whose CV as a stallion includes not only the 2,000 Guineas but the Derby and the Oaks, thanks to Masar and Talent. Dawn Approach started his career in 2014 at a fee of €35,000, but by the time his first progeny were three-years-old he was available for €20,000, with his fee then slumping to €15,000 in 2019 and €10,000 in 2020. Even the latest reduction wasn’t enough to stop his book falling to only 32 mares in 2020, but that slump doesn’t necessarily signal the end of his career, as no fewer than 21 of the 32 are listed as belonging to a certain JS Bolger. One, Bring Back Matron, is a sister to Maria Lee, the dam of Poetic Flare. Dawn Approach has now returned home to Redmondstown Stud, where he is standing alongside the talented Vocalised and Bolger’s homebred Dewhurst Stakes winner Parish Hall. Parish Hall acts as a reminder that Bolger isn’t averse to using close

Poetic Flare (right): 2,000 Guineas winner pays

Bloodstock world views


inbreeding in his quest to hit that elusive Group 1 target. With Teofilo as his sire and a Montjeu mare as his dam, Parish Hall is inbred 3 x 3 to Sadler’s Wells, whereas Mac Swiney, who edged out his stable companion Poetic Flare in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, is by New Approach out of a Teofilo mare and is therefore inbred 2 x 3 to Galileo. A look at the 21 mares which Bolger sent to Dawn Approach in 2020 suggests that he is far from finished with the experiment of inbreeding to Galileo. Three of the mares are by Galileo himself, so would produce 3 x 2 to Galileo; another three are out of Galileo mares, and therefore produce 3 x 3; and four others are out of Teofilo mares, which produce 3 x 3. Thunder Kiss, a Night Of Thunder filly who was recently second in the Blue Wind Stakes, is another inbred 3 x 3 to Galileo, her dam being yet another Teofilo mare. Celtic Times, a recent juvenile winner for Bolger, is by Dawn Approach out of a Teofilo mare, so is also inbred 3 x 3 to Galileo. Although Dawn Approach has yet to sire anything very much out of the ordinary with Galileo inbreeding, it may pay to keep an eye out for some of Bolger’s other Dawn Approach two-yearolds with a second line of Galileo, such as Litteratus (3 x 2), Flash Of Dawn (3 x 2), Level Pitch (3 x 2), Breacadh (3 x 3) and Run At Dawn (3 x 3). Although I have concentrated on the Galileo aspect of Poetic Flare’s pedigree, Galileo must share some of the credit for


Dawn Approach: now stands for his breeder Jim Bolger at Redmondstown Stud

a fine tribute to Jim Bolger

the colt’s Classic success with Poetic Flare’s broodmare sire Rock Of Gibraltar, who also sired the dam of Kameko, winner of the 2020 2,000 Guineas. It seems a long time ago that Rock Of Gibraltar joined the Coolmore stallion team for 2003. His fee for his first season wasn’t published, but it was certainly substantial (it stood at €65,000 in his second season and €55,000 in his third). Now 22, he is available for only €5,000, having attracted only 21 mares in 2019 and 25 in 2020. This suggests that, despite siring winners of the calibre of Society Rock, Mount Nelson, Prince Gibraltar, Varenar and Samitar, Rock Of Gibraltar’s stallion career has fallen short of the very high standards he’d set on the racecourse. Beaten only three times in 13 starts, Rock Of Gibraltar became the first horse to win seven Group 1 races in succession since the European Pattern system was introduced in 1971. As a winner of the Grand Criterium, Dewhurst Stakes, 2,000 Guineas, Irish 2,000 Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes and Prix du Moulin, Rock Of Gibraltar thoroughly earned his status as champion miler. Breeders operating on a restricted budget need to pay attention to any outstanding racehorse whose stallion career proved anti-climactic, on the basis that their eldest daughters sometimes represent very good value. The explanation is that high-priced stallions usually benefit from the best mares, many of them from female lines which have flourished for generations. Kameko’s dam, Sweeter Still, was a member of Rock Of Gibraltar’s €65,000 crop. Despite developing into a Grade 3 winner in the US, Sweeter Still sold for as little as

$35,000 in 2016 and for a mere $1,500 two years later. Poetic Flare’s dam Maria Lee was conceived at a fee of €45,000 in 2006. However, she was foaled as late as May 31 and didn’t make it to the track until the October of her three-year-old season, when she finished 13th of 18 on what proved to be her only appearance. She too was sold in 2018, after producing Poetic Flare a few months earlier, her price being €65,000. She was carrying a brother to Poetic Flare named Frazil, who sold cheaply as a foal. The mare also has a yearling filly by U S Navy Flag. The chances are that Rock Of Gibraltar will continue to do well as a broodmare sire, a role which has already yielded five Group/Graded winners in 2021, plus a pair of Listed winners. The best previous winners out of Rock Of Gibraltar mares include two Group 1 winners in the US by Galileo, with Line Of Duty taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Photo Call landing the Rodeo Drive and First Lady Stakes. Other Group 1 winners of note include Japanese champion Mikki Isle and the extremely speedy Americanraced Belvoir Bay (by Equiano). There are also some smart Group 2 winners, including Breton Rock, Ebaiyra and Land Force. Rock Of Gibraltar’s daughters can also be expected to make their mark in other parts of the world, as the much-travelled stallion has also been based in Japan, Australia, Brazil and Chile. For example, his Australian daughter Sliding Cube produced Group 2 winner Rubick, who developed into Australia’s champion second-season sire in the 2019-20 season, after being third among the first-crop sires.


Dr Statz

John Boyce cracks the code

Clues aplenty as Pattern returns to spring normality


ow refreshing it is to see the European Pattern back to its normal timeline. Last season was certainly unorthodox with traditional Classic trials coming after the Classics themselves and virtually no juvenile racing in the first two months of the season. Not only did this altered state cause problems for trainers, it also impacted on the fortunes of some stallions. At the time of writing, the leading sires of juveniles this year are already up to eight winners, many of them attracting many more mares to cover this breeding season as a result. Last year no stallion had that opportunity. Those that have exploited their stock’s precocity in this normal calendar include Ardad, Cotai Glory and Caravaggio, all with high number of winners, Ribchester, whose early winners are all Royal Ascot fancies, and Profitable, who was the first freshman to produce a Group horse. Among the more established sires, even elder statesmen are still capable of embellishing their career records. Dutch Art’s excellent sprinting son, Starman, has been assessed by Timeform at 126 for his victory in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes. That puts him just one pound behind Dutch Art’s best ever racehorse in Slade Power. Certainly, Starman has a lot more to achieve if we are to talk about him in the same breath, but he’s clearly full of potential. Dawn Approach is another that sired his best-ever racehorse this spring in 2,000 Guineas winner Poetic Flare. It was his first Group 1 winner, his three previous crops clearly having failed to deliver on breeders’ high expectations. Dawn Approach’s 2.8% stakes winners to runners, from mares that produced over 10% stakes winners with other sires, sums up why breeders were forced to look elsewhere in the end. The impressive sprinter Suesa, who has scored an early Group double this spring in France, could conceivably make it to the top of her sire’s resume at Royal Ascot. This daughter of Night Of Thunder has only a few pounds to find to join Thunderous and Molatham as his best-rated stock. Of course, a victory in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup would


Frankel: in the midst of a good spring

be a first at this level for the popular Kildangan stallion. Another sire with what seems like an endless supply of progressive three-yearolds this season is Frankel. As we know, this particular crop is the one bred on the back of Frankel’s early success. His elite mare count provides us with some idea of how the market switched on to him in 2017 after being somewhat critical of his early sales stock. His number of elite mares went through the roof from 74 in year four to 168 the following spring. At the time of writing he has several members of this crop with a chance of

“Kingman has also been making hay with three early Group 1 winners” Classic glory at Epsom this month, including the Group 2 Dante Stakes hero Hurricane Lane (Timeform 119p), runaway Listed Newmarket Stakes scorer Mohaafeth (Timeform 118p), and John Leeper (Timeform 113p) who was also successful in a Newmarket Listed contest. There’s no doubt that a Derby winner capable of playing a starring role in this season’s big middle-distance events would be a welcome addition to Frankel’s resume. No one can fault the quality of his stakes winners, nor the rate at which

he sires them, but if there is a gap in his achievements, it’s at the very top. Thus far, Frankel has sired just two horses with a Timeform mark of 125 or higher. With the juvenile Group 1s and the mile Classics already in the book for the 2018 crop, now would be a good time to strike. Whatever happens at Epsom, Frankel’s top ten racehorses by Timeform rating ought to look a lot different by the end of the year. Frankel’s stud companion Kingman has also been making hay with three early Group 1 winners. It’s hard to fault Palace Pier from any perspective. Clearly a gorgeous specimen, he’s a top-class miler with a brilliant turn of foot. Kingman’s other two Group 1 winners came in Japan and the US. Kingman’s 12% stakes winners is impressive, but even more impressive is his 18% score from elite mares, the type that have always been in good supply but have gone off the scale in the past three seasons. Sea The Stars is another with a potential new top-class horse in Al Aasy. His current Timeform rating of 128, following wins in the Group 3 John Porter and Group 3 Aston Park Stakes, puts him behind only Crystal Ocean (133), Cloth Of Stars (132), Stradivarius (130) and Sea Of Class (129) among his sire’s best progeny. And you wouldn’t bet against him going further up the scale when he meets worthier opposition. No one can overlook the bright start to 2021 made by Australia. He already has six stakes winners and five Group winners on the board, featuring a quartet of smart older horses in Mare Australis (TF123), Broome (TF122), Sir Ron Priestley (TF122) and Bangkok (TF121). To put his early efforts in context, only Galileo and Dubawi have as many European-raced Group winners so far this term. All bar the Group 1 Prix Ganay winner Mare Australis are from a pretty good first crop that inexplicably failed to produce a Group 1 winner. He has now got three from his second. Finally, a word of praise for Awtaad, who has begun 2021 the way he needed to, producing a pair of classy stakeswinning fillies, including the impressive Primo Bacio, who has plenty of potential to move up through the grades.

ROA membership gets you closer to important developments in racing during uncertain times. Join us for new levels of support, protection and insider knowledge to keep you enjoying the sport and racing with confidence. VISIT ROA.CO.UK TO DISCOVER ALL MEMBER BENEFITS AND JOIN TODAY



Is it the last straw for farming companies? Farming companies became popular in the 1950s when they provided a route to reduce the value of land for what is now inheritance tax. There are still many companies in existence where the land is owned by the shareholders but subject to Agricultural Holdings Act Tenancies in favour of the company. Since the companies were incorporated, the landscape has changed in so many ways. The compliance and tax costs of companies are increasingly burdensome. Since the 1980s, there are benefit in kind charges on the occupation of farmhouses and car benefits. More recently, Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings has become another burden; even if only an administrative burden where relief is available. Overdrawn directors loan accounts, employers’ national insurance on salaries and benefits all add to the cost of a company. Should the company make a loss, the losses are ring-fenced and cannot be used against other income assessable on the individuals. The most recent budget is pushing up the rate of corporation tax from 19% to 25% for companies with profits over £250,000. The date of implementation of the new rate is 1 April 2023. Where profits fall between £50,000 and £250,000, the tax rate will be 25%, but companies will be able to claim marginal relief. The profit limits will be divided by the number of

associated companies (not the number of 51% group companies). The definition of an associated company includes companies owned by close family members. If the company is not trading, for example if it is letting all of its land, then the rate of tax will be 25% for all profits. Winding up a landowning company can be very expensive as there will be corporation tax on all of the gains on any assets owned by the company as well as capital gains tax on the gains on the increase in value in the shares owned by the individuals.

Are there any positive reasons to retain the company? There are several reliefs which are only available to corporate vehicles: Remediation relief • 150% relief for qualifying expenditure incurred by companies in cleaning up contaminated land acquired from a third party in that state. For example, clearing a building of asbestos will qualify for the relief.

Research & Development • Small and medium sized companies (nearly all farming companies) are able to have a 230% deduction for every £1 spent on qualifying expenditure. The 2021 budget has introduced some changes including a limit of £20,000 plus 300% of its total PAYE and NIC liability for the period. Expenditure on developing or adapting machinery, or a new feeding method could qualify as R&D. Enhanced Capital Expenses • A super-deduction providing a first-year allowance of 130% on most new plant and machinery investments that ordinarily qualify for 18% main rate writing down allowances; • A first-year allowance (FYA) of 50% on most new plant and machinery investments that ordinarily qualify for 6% special rate writing down allowances. On disposal of a super-deduction asset, the proceeds will be grossed up to 130% and treated as a balancing charge, rather than being deducted from the general pool. Disposals of 50% FYA special-rate pool assets will similarly give rise to a balancing charge.


For an active investing trading company, the new reliefs are extremely valuable and favour a corporate vehicle. Another aspect to consider is passing down the value to the next generation. From a capital taxes perspective, passing down value to the next generation, can be easier for a company. From a capital gains perspective, provided that 80% or more of the assets relate to trading and not investment activities, holdover relief will be available to defer any gains on shares. If the investment assets exceed 20%, for example as the result of the company having let cottages, value can still be passed down, but more care is needed.

For an Inheritance Tax purposes, provided that the company has less than 50% of its activities involved in investment activities, the shares can qualify for Business Property Relief. Shares can be used to pass value down to the next generation without giving rise to gift with reservation problems which can arise on gifts of land or interests in partnerships. Where Inheritance Tax and distribution of value amongst family members are issues a company can be a more flexible vehicle where value can be given to family members without losing control.

In summary, companies have extra compliance costs for the year, corporation tax rates are rising, but the there are other advantages which are only available to companies. As always, there is no one answer – every situation and family is different.

Penelope Lang Partner, Smith & Williamson LLP t: 01722 431 064 e:

Source: April 2021 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. Tax legislation is that prevailing at the time, is subject to change without notice and depends on individual circumstances. Clients should always seek appropriate tax advice from their financial adviser before making financial decisions. 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, a leading, global network of independent accounting and consulting firms. Please see for further details. 67621eb. © Tilney Smith & Williamson Limited 2021.

The special section for ROA members


ROA Forum

Owners will enjoy greater freedoms on the racecourse after the end of behind-closed-doors racing in Britain

Parade ring access returns for owners at the races


he enjoyment of watching your horse run is a key motivation for becoming an owner and such an important part of the ownership experience. The end of racing ‘behind closed doors’ on May 17 marked the welcome return of parade ring access to owners to see their horse and speak to their trainer and jockey. Louise Norman, ROA Head of Ownership Experience, said: “It’s wonderful to see owners back in the parade ring, fully integrated into the theatre provided by their horse and central to discussions with their trainer, jockey and all involved in the raceday.” The designated Green Zone is now limited to key indoor working areas only, such as the weighing room, where infection control measures remain in place. The parade ring and stables will be separated from the Green Zone. To ensure this is a safe and managed environment, the following rules apply:


• As personnel from different zones will mix, and there is a greater risk of close contact in the parade ring, racecourses will be required to limit numbers entering the area; • The ability of racecourses to implement the new measures in full will be determined by their size and layout, with some required to take a more phased approach; • Face coverings will be mandatory in the parade ring areas and indoors – in line with government guidance – but not elsewhere on course; • Social distancing will continue to apply, as required by government guidelines; • Specific arrangements also remain subject to approval from individual local authorities, which licence sporting and hospitality events and may impose local variations. It is key to have owners at the centre of the raceday and to safely improve

owners’ raceday experience as much as possible within protocols. The ability of racecourses to implement the new measures in full will be determined by their size and layout, with some required to take a more phased approach. Racecourses will calculate a safe capacity for their parade ring and in the instances where there is enough space to accommodate owners (in addition to Green Zone participants and trainers), racecourses will issue parade ring access wristbands on arrival at the racecourse to owners. In most circumstances the number of owners able to access the parade ring will be fewer than the total number of owners in attendance. As the number of owners able to access the parade ring will vary in line with the number of runners in each race, parade ring access wristbands will be race specific and controlled

• Signpost owners to the ROA Owners Experience webpage (link above), which contains helpful advice, tips and links for getting the most out of racing and inviting feedback from owners on their days racing with a runner, to help shape and enhance the ownership experience. By the nature of racing, many owners find they are not always able to attend and any opportunities to support the experience for owners at home are also important. We welcome feedback on your raceday experiences with a runner and would invite you to complete our online form at so that we can work proactively to enhance the raceday experience. It only takes a few minutes to complete. The ROA and all stakeholders recognise the commitment shown by owners over the past year when their attendance and experience at racecourses has been restricted. British racing, in common with other major sports, is planning for a full return of spectators and further easing of on-course restrictions at the next stage (Step 4) of the government’s roadmap, which is scheduled for June 21 at the earliest.

Racing updates

The ROA’s daily Inside Track bulletin includes the latest updates on arrangements and provisions for owners planning to go racing with a runner. Guidance for owners can be found at Pre-registration continues to be essential to attend as an owner on a raceday and the deadline for requesting badges is 4pm the day before the race. An email is sent to a horse’s registered owners at entry and declaration stage outlining how to allocate badges. In the case of a horse owned by a syndicate or racing club, the email is sent to the syndicate manager. If you are a registered owner and do not receive an email, please contact the PASS helpdesk on 01933 270333 or by email to The helpdesk is open between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 1pm to 4pm on weekends and bank holidays. Any badge allocations for owners without a runner will be communicated via the ROA’s daily Inside Track bulletin. To sign up, email us at As outlined last month, car parking labels have been rolled over and ROA members can use their 2020 parking label throughout the remainder of 2021.

Tote Ten to Follow members’ league BILL SELWYN

with priority given to Green Zone participants and trainers. We recognise the challenges around the provisions at racecourses while government restrictions have been in place. Many racecourses have worked very hard to provide owners with an enjoyable experience and have responded positively to feedback to enhance the experience for all owners. We continue to work with the RCA and racecourses to maximise owner presence on course. To help ensure that the needs of owners are brought to the forefront we have created a (non-exhaustive) wish list. This outlines a number of ways in which racecourses can support the excitement and thrill of racing to owners: • Owners’ and trainers’ page on racecourse website – practical guidance around upcoming meetings with contact name, number and email address for owner/trainer liaison; • Tailored ‘thank you for entry/ declaration’ communication with relevant guidance on badge allocation/provision for owners and relevant links and info re practicalities, e.g. dress code, out of hours number and owners liaison contact details; • Parking/travel guidance, including any Covid guidance, roadworks/ travel disruptions in local vicinity; • Digital race cards – uploaded at and shared in the daily Inside Track ebulletin to members; • Links to viewing platform to watch the race; • Opportunity for owner to see horse and be involved in riding discussions with trainer/jockey pre-race; • Viewing to see horse go down to the start; • Big screens/TV screens to watch race on course; • Debrief area for owners to engage with trainer and jockey post-race; • Access to full race replay following the race via email and on course; • Memento and photo for winning owner. Links to photos for all owners; • Opportunity to review the race, on the day and digitally; • Advice and support around the use and sharing of videos and photos. Details are outlined at; • Provide a follow up/post-race experience to owners, e.g. Newton Abbot’s card sent by Newton Abbot to owners who’ve had a runner;

Shishkin: earned plenty of points

The ‘Davenports’ team managed to hold off the field in the final stages of the ROA members’ Ten to Follow league which ended on the final day of the National Hunt season. The inclusion of Shishkin and Honeysuckle in Sandra Davenport’s squad ensured they had a fine Cheltenham, and held off the challenge of Ediface, to end the season at the top of our members’ league and win a prize of a month’s training fees, and a creditable 445 points overall. This proved very timely, as their homebred daughter of Passing Glance is about to go into training. Sandra commented: “I am thrilled to win the Tote Ten to Follow league for ROA members. I managed to get five winners at the Cheltenham Festival from my stable picks which certainly helped me on the way! “The success of the Passing Glance-sired Dashel Drasher just topped up my points in this exciting and much-loved competition. To be the league winner and win a month’s training fees for one horse in what has been a difficult year for all owners is very welcome”. There’s still time for ROA members who have entered the Flat Ten to Follow competition to join our exclusive ROA members’ league. Pit your wits against other ROA members and the winner will receive a £100 credit into their Tote account, plus a year’s complimentary ROA membership. To give everyone a fair chance, members can only have one stable in the league – so the pressure is on to choose carefully. To enter a team in the ROA league simply go to the ‘leagues’ tab once you have selected your stable, and then click on ‘join’ and then ‘join private league’, using the invite pin emailed to you.


ROA Forum


Managers of syndicates and racing clubs now have additional responsibilities around providing information to members

New era for shared ownership The BHA has recently written to syndicators and racing club managers outlining the strengthened regulation on shared ownership, which came into play on May 1.

syndicates and racing clubs which meet these criteria immediately, with existing syndicates and clubs given a 12-month grace period to update their agreements.

What is changing and who will be affected? In March this year the BHA announced ten key measures, and an associated three phase implementation plan, to strengthen the regulation of shared ownership, full details of which can be found at A brief outline of the measures that were introduced as part of the first phase from the start of May are outlined below.

Prize-money allocation In the case of the syndicate or racing club receiving a significant amount of prize-money, syndicators and racing club managers will now be required to outline how and when this will be paid to syndicate members or racing club members (save for when prize-money isn’t a benefit of club membership). For the avoidance of doubt, this shall not affect the time taken for prizemoney to be paid, and syndicators will be contacted directly by the BHA when this information is required.

Code of Conduct On May 1, the Code of Conduct for both racing clubs and syndicates was updated to include new terms which must be covered in any agreement. The new Code can be found below along with detailed FAQs which give advice on how the Code can be practically applied. As is currently the case, the Code will apply to syndicates where the syndicator or racing manager is paid for their role or the method of attracting participation in the syndicate includes invitations to the public. The updated Code will apply to all newly registering


Forfeit list – syndicates only The BHA also now allows for the addition of syndicate members who accumulate bad debt to the forfeit list. Further information on the process that should be followed by syndicators should they wish to submit a report to the BHA is detailed in the syndicate Code of Conduct. Action required now Unless you are registering a new syndicate and are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct, no specific

action is immediately required. Syndicators and club managers are asked to familiarise themselves with the changes, particularly the updated Code, and note that any updates to their syndicate agreement should be completed by April 30, 2022. Template syndicate agreement To align with new requirements, we have updated the ROA template syndicate agreement. This template can be modified to suit individual needs. A pdf of the template agreement can be found at and ROA members can access a word version in the members’ area of the website. In The Paddock A recent survey by Great British Racing revealed that 65% of race fans not currently involved in racehorse ownership would consider it in the next 18 months. InThePaddock website provides a central listing of over 100 British-based racing syndicates and clubs. The portal was relaunched last month and offers an easy to search by region resource as an option to suit everyone. The site provides a checklist for those looking to join a club or syndicate and regulatory information linking to the Racing Club and Syndicate Code of Conducts. See

Goodwood Group 1 prize funds

ARC plans Arena Racing Company has announced details of increases to prize-money contributions to the St Leger Festival at Doncaster and the jumps season opener at Chepstow in October. The four-day St Leger Festival on September 8-11 will see a further £250,000 invested into the programme against 2019 race values. This increase was scheduled to take place in 2020 but was paused ahead of the impact of restrictions on spectators during the pandemic. All Group 2 races run across the four days will be worth at least £100,000


Goodwood racecourse has restored the prize funds of its three Group 1 races to pre-coronavirus levels, with the £1 million Sussex Stakes once again the centrepiece of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, where more than £4.8m will be offered in total prize-money across the five days of the meeting, July 27-31. The Goodwood Cup will again be worth £500,000 and the Nassau Stakes will be run for £600,000. The last pre-pandemic meeting was worth £5.5m but given Goodwood is coming off the back of a blank year in terms of attendance, the announcement still marks a significant investment in the top end of the sport. “Prize-money is incredibly important for our owners whose commitment and support we value tremendously,” said Goodwood’s Managing Director of Events, Adam Waterworth. “They are vital to the livelihood of the sport, and we’re delighted to be able to return our feature races to the levels we ran them in 2019. “The last 12 months have been extremely challenging for the business as a whole with severe financial hardships. However, despite revenues remaining challenging and the uncertainty around crowd numbers at some of our fixtures, investment in prize-money has always been a priority

Fancy Blue wins the 2020 Nassau Stakes, which is worth £600,000 in 2021

Richmond Enclosure badges We are delighted to be able to offer members the usual option to book badges for the Richmond Enclosure for the five days of the Qatar Goodwood

Festival, July 27-31. The stylish Richmond Enclosure provides a fantastic view of the action as well as access to the best bars and dining options on course. Access to the Richmond Enclosure is only available to ROA and Goodwood’s annual members or owners and trainers with runners at the meeting, and is sure to be popular, so please book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets prices are as follows: • Adults: £89 • Juniors (18-24 years): £40.50 • Under 18 years: free Car park 8 is £12 if booked in advance and £15 on the day, while car park 9 is free. Please note the ROA parking label is not valid during the Qatar Goodwood Festival. To book, please contact Patrick Nagel on 01243 755055 or email quoting your ROA membership number.

each, while there is also investment across the festival’s handicap race programme. The Mallard Stakes (Friday) will be run at £50,000 (from £40,000) and the Portland Handicap (Saturday) will be run at £75,000 (from £60,000). The two handicap races run on St Leger Day, over a mile and a mile and a half, have had their rating bands removed to become open handicaps, both worth £50,000 (from £25,000 and £20,000). October’s jumps season opener at Chepstow will see an increase of over £120,000 across the two-day meeting. The Unibet Persian War Novices’ Hurdle will be increased to £50,000 and the meeting’s feature race, the Silver Trophy, will be run for £75,000.

ARC will also ensure that any Class 5 three-year-old and older maiden or novice race will have a value to the winner of £3,000 or above. Mark Spincer, Managing Director of ARC’s Racing Division, said: “We are pleased to be able to make this commitment to both the St Leger Festival at Doncaster and Chepstow’s jumps season opener. “The impact of the pandemic sadly meant that we were not in a position to implement the changes that had been planned for 2020, but we are pleased to be able to strengthen the investment, particularly in the handicap programme, across the four days at Doncaster from this year.”

for Goodwood, and we accept our role in trying to ensure the higher-rated horses remain in training in this country, whilst striving to attract some of the best thoroughbreds from further afield. “We are incredibly grateful to our official title partner, the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, without whose support we would not have been able to offer these levels of prize-money, and our other sponsors, broadcast, and betting media partners. “Ticket sales have been phenomenal for the Qatar Goodwood Festival. It’s one of the best on sales we have known, and all being well we anticipate hosting racegoers at pre-pandemic capacities come the end of July.”


ROA Forum


Sarah Keys is enjoying sharing the thrill of ownership and breeding




talbridge Colonist, Arkle or Mill House? That was the question that confronted a young Sarah Keys every dinner time, after her mum brought the family a set of Hennessy Gold Cup winners table mats. That she grew up to be an ownerbreeder of National Hunt horses is certainly in keeping with her childhood experiences. Fast forward to this spring and she has enjoyed her most magical moment yet as an owner, with the victory of Molly Carew in the Challenger Series Mares’ Chase Final at Haydock. “I’ve always been interested in racing from a very early age,” she confirms, “both Flat and jumps and especially the breeding side. As a child I was drawing pictures of racehorses, not ponies or fairies or such like, and buying books about bloodstock. I was a little anorak! “We had Hennessy Gold Cup winners table mats, so staying chasers have been in my psyche for as long as I can remember. “I’ve had shares in horses for many years now and latterly have been in partnership with my very good friend Helen Cross in both racehorses and broodmares. She has always been very generous, and when I was able to afford it I was delighted to have horses with her.” Molly Carew is trained by Neil Mulholland at Conkwell Grange Stables, near Bath, and Keys adds: “Helen’s involvement with Conkwell goes back to the days when Liz Harrington, who is still part of Neil’s operation, stood Midnight Legend at Conkwell Stud. We have been with them ever since.” Nine-year-old Molly Carew is by Midnight Legend, out of the Terimon mare Moyliscar, and has finished in the first three in more than half of her career outings. She has two hurdle wins and four over fences on her CV, the most recent that series final success at Haydock under Tom Scudamore, and with her delighted owner in attendance. “Molly Carew’s win at Haydock has to be the highlight from a winning perspective,” says Keys. “I love her character and she demonstrates the best of the Midnight Legends. They are

Molly Carew and Tom Scudamore (left) capture the Betway Challenger Series Mares’ Chase Final at Haydock on April 3

so tough and honest, and he is such a loss to National Hunt breeders.” Cross had been a partner in Molly Carew until last autumn, when she decided to relinquish one or two of her interests, but the good friends still share the Mulholland-trained Conkwell Legend, another by Midnight Legend and who was third on his first four outings before winning his most recent

“Unless Britishbased stallions are supported the industry won’t survive” race at Sandown, and Miss Jeanne Moon, a winner at Fontwell last season and who was runner-up at Bangor last month a few hours before Molly Carew finished a fair fourth under a big weight at Uttoxeter. At seven, Conkwell Legend – who was bred by Cross – and Miss Jeanne Moon are a couple of years younger than Molly Carew, for whom this current season might be her last before joining her owner’s broodmare band based at Hundred Acre Farm in Lincolnshire. Keys and Cross enjoy their

partnership too when it comes to the breeding side, with the former having three of her own, and with the eldest crop four there is plenty of excitement ahead. They are passionate supporters of British racing and breeding, with Keys saying: “I understand why some mare owners go to Ireland or France, but unless British-based stallions are supported the industry here won’t survive. “We’ve heavily supported Falco, who has had Grade 1 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and on the Flat, and is with Amelia and James Gray at Hundred Acre Farm. Loyalty is important to me, and we’ve supported them, and Neil; it’s about building relationships and trust, a two-way street.” Keys grew up in the Bath area – hence the connection to Conkwell Grange – but now lives in Cambridgeshire. She works in the City but has been based at home since March 2019. Being an hour or so away from Hundred Acre Farm, she probably sees as much, if not more, of her broodmares than her racehorses in the flesh, the situation exacerbated of course by Covid-19 over the last 15 months and owners being largely absent from the racecourse, albeit Keys says her luck has been in rather than out. “We’ve been fortunate really as we

News in brief Golf Day at Woburn saw a couple of ours runs at Fontwell in November, when owners were still attending, and at Hereford in December,” she says. “We missed most of Molly Carew’s runs last season but have seen her last two. “Haydock looked after us so well. We were not even expecting a cup of tea but we got a meal and it was a lovely experience, no complaints. Owners haven’t been able to attend for some of the Covid-19 period but it is what it is and the most important thing is that racing has been going since June.” Haydock is a particular favourite – “at that track and York, you are made to feel so welcome and are really well looked after” – while on riders, Keys adds: “Tom Scudamore and Millie Wonnacott have both done fantastically well for us, and they are both jockeys who get horses to jump well. And jumping is the name of the game, after all.” If only the rewards at the end of the day matched the perseverance of breeders, and all the time, money and effort that goes into producing a racehorse, but sadly they do not, with Keys admitting: “Like most owners, I would love to see the prize-money thing sorted. At many levels a win can now just about cover one month’s training fees. That isn’t sustainable.” As for when the next opportunity to accrue some prize-money will arise, it might be something of a sleepy summer for Keys. “The plan with Molly Carew is a summer holiday,” she says. “Next season is likely to be her last – she’ll be ten next year – before she joins the other broodmares at Hundred Acre Farm. “Miss Jeanne Moon also ran only the other day, and while Conkwell Legend has been schooling over fences, we might leave him until October.” Whatever the next few months bring, the core season beyond and those to follow promise much – with hopefully the pandemic in the rearview mirror and owner-breeders able to enjoy the fruits of their labour to the full.

The ROA is delighted to be supporting the Injured Jockeys Fund and Racing Welfare Golf Day in association with Whitley Neill, by sponsoring the nearest the pin/hole in one competition. The event, which will be held at the iconic Woburn Golf Course on July 21, promises to be a fantastic day that is sure to grab media attention. Sky Sports Racing is already confirmed as media partner for the event, with broadcasts on TV and across digital and social platforms. The day has already secured high profile team bookings from within racing and celebrity participants. Owners and members have the chance to support the day by featuring their racing colours either on an individual hole or the team golf buggies. The available lots comprise 16 holes available for sponsorship and 28 buggies, which can be branded with owners’ colours through an online auction. Full details of the lots can be found at ijfvsracingwelfaregolfdayauction. The auction will close on June 21. All revenue raised will be split equally between the IJF and Racing Welfare, whose work is central to caring for racing’s people.

ROA/Tote Owner Sponsorship Scheme

Are you looking for owner sponsorship to enable you to register for and reclaim your VAT? Applications are open for the ROA/ Tote Owner Sponsorship Scheme starting on July 1. Schemes run for 12 months. For further details around the VAT Scheme for Racehorse Owners and sponsorship see roa.

Surface change at Southwell

Southwell racecourse has been given planning permission to change its racing surface from Fibresand to Tapeta. Works will commence immediately following the Ladies Day fixture scheduled for August 15. Whilst National Hunt racing will

not be able to take place alongside the initial stages of the work, it is anticipated that Southwell will be in a position to host jumps meetings from October 28. Subject to trials and inspection, the first Flat fixture run on the new Tapeta surface will take place on November 26.

British EBF

When a stallion is registered to the European Breeders Fund all progeny resulting from that year’s coverings are automatically EBF-qualified for life. An individual horse by an ‘international stallion’ that stands outside of the EBF area can be qualified using one of three deadlines. If you buy a foal or yearling in the USA, for instance, that is not by one of the EBF-registered stallions, there are opportunities to qualify the horse. The deadline for nominating two-year-olds is June 30 at a fee of $6,000. Any horse sired by a stallion standing within Europe that is not registered to the EBF can now be nominated at any time after January 1 of their two-year-old year. The cost of this one-off supplementary nomination is €12,000. Once a horse is EBF qualified it is eligible to run in any EBF confined race throughout Europe. Over 80% of two-year-old races are confined to EBF-eligible horses, numbering nearly a thousand races per year. Details of upcoming EBF races can be found at

ROA board election

We would encourage members to cast your vote for the ROA board election if you haven’t already done so. There are ten candidates standing for three places. Details of the candidates, their manifestos and a voting link have been circulated to members. Where we have your email address, the email was sent on April 22 with the subject: ‘CES – Racehorse Owners Association – 2021 ROA Board Election’. The outcome of the election will be announced at the ROA AGM on June 29.


ROA Forum

Hamilton Park’s season got under way on May 2 and the Lanarkshire racecourse has announced its intention to continue its long track record of investment in prize-money despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Total prize-money for the season through to September is set to exceed £1 million, with the racecourse executive committing to significantly invest in its feature races across the season, beyond the required minimum values. This investment saw a number of races last month run at levels similar to those originally planned pre-pandemic. Later in the season, Fair Friday’s meeting on July 16 will showcase the richest racing of the season with a card offering prize-money of over £100,000, including the Listed Glasgow Stakes and Scottish Stewards’ Cup, with the historic Lanark Silver Bell (August 27) once again expected to be one of the richest races of its type in the UK. Like all professional sports and hospitality venues, the resort has endured the most challenging period in its history, not least through the lack of spectators for the 2020 season which,


Prize-money boost at Hamilton

Purses at Hamilton will top £1m in 2021

once it was allowed to commence in late June, was completed behind closed doors. However, under the leadership of Chief Executive Vivien Currie MBE, the business has been steered through the

pandemic’s challenges on all fronts, and has its sights set firmly on the future. Currie said: “2020 was without a doubt the most challenging of my 12 years as CEO at Hamilton Park. That being said, over the years we have diversified and grown our business which has enabled us to ride the Covid-19 storm, allowing us to now cautiously turn our attention to what lies ahead as we look to continue our upward curve of business growth. “We were able to run a proportion of our race meetings last year with no public attendance, which was certainly better than not racing at all, as we were able to keep the wheels turning on an industry that supports employment and businesses both locally and across the country. “Racecourses in Scotland were recipients of £2 million in grant funding from the Scottish government having had the opportunity of explaining the complexities of the sport’s funding model to the government officials. This has supported all five tracks in the face of significant lost income, something which Hamilton Park is extremely grateful for.”

National Racehorse Week


throughout their lives. The education charity Racing to School will also promote National Racehorse Week across its beneficiary schools, colleges and pony clubs, with some activity days planned at training yards for groups of young people, and wider community engagement supported by the partnership Racing Together. National Racehorse Week was born out of an idea in 2019 by trainer Richard Phillips to create a single event that the entire racing industry could get behind to celebrate the animals which power our sport and provide entertainment for millions, whilst also providing the public and policymakers with insight into the dedicated care that they receive. Momentum has gathered behind National Racehorse Week and the event is being funded by the Racing

The initiative will highlight levels of care in the sport


British racing’s first ever National Racehorse Week will take place in September this year. The initiative will be a nationwide celebration of the true magnificence that is the British racehorse and will shine a light on the incredible levels of care provided to racehorses. Running from September 12-19, National Racehorse Week will be bookended by the existing ARC Malton Open Day and the Henry Cecil Open Weekend in Newmarket, as well as the Epsom and Middleham Open Days, with trainers across the country and outside of the main training centres encouraged and supported to open their doors to the public as well. During the week there will also be a programme of virtual events and a showcase of other parts of the industry and their contributions to the care that racehorses receive

Foundation, the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust and Great British Racing. Great British Racing will be leading on the delivery of the project in partnership with the National Trainers Federation. National Racehorse Week is also the first public engagement campaign of the Horse Welfare Board’s Equine Welfare Communications Strategy, funded by the Levy Board.

GBB hits new heights April proved to be a spectacular month with 22 GBB bonuses – a total of £320,000 – being won. MARTELLO SKY set the trend by landing her fourth bonus – the first mare to do so since the scheme’s launch. However, she was quickly caught up by DRAGON BONES who won three of her four bonuses in April. Her tally included two in a single week and pushed her current GBB earnings to £70,000. In addition, her sire, PASSING GLANCE, had another GBB winner in SORBET, much to the delight of owner/breeder Mrs Pat Toye, who hand-reared her as a foal. Of course, April is all about the breeze ups and there were some impressive registered fillies on offer. The most notable was Robson Aguiar’s Postponed filly, bought for 4,000gns and sold at the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze Up for 82,000gn – a pinhooker’s dream!

Register your 2020 GBB fillies for yearling stage 2 by Monday 31st May. GBB Jumps winners:

GBB Jumps bonus payments:


GBB Flat winners:

GBB Flat bonus payments:

Total bonus payments:


90 £860,500


Why wouldn’t you register? The Great British Bonus has provided a much-needed initiative to encourage breeding, buying and racing British-bred fillies. At Newsells Park Stud, we’ve embraced the scheme. At the sales, we’re increasingly seeing demand for fillies; buyers know that if they pick up a good GBB filly, the potential earnings from prize money are much nearer the level we all want to see. Better prize money, more demand for British-bred fillies – it’s something we at Newsells can’t afford to say no to Julian Dollar, Newsells Park Stud

Trainers on the up Flat bonuses won Charlie Appleby

Karl Burke Mark Johnston

John Gosden Ralph Beckett

Roger Varian William Haggas

Bryan Smart Hugo Palmer

Jumps bonuses won






For more information on eligibility, visit TBA GBB TOB Mailers A4_June KR.indd 1

8 7 6

Fergal O’Brien Harry Fry Alan King


Dan Skelton Lucy Wadham


Ian Wiliams Jamie Snowden Henry Daly

Information correct at time of going to press

19/05/2021 11:11

TBA Forum

The special section for TBA members

Education platform TB-Ed launches to boost knowledge of breeding sector


ducation is one of the TBA’s key pillars, as skilled and knowledgeable teams ensure the highest standards for both horse and human health, safety and welfare. Last month the organisation launched its education and training initiative TB-Ed. The platform offers a range of courses and resources that provide essential knowledge and guidance to new and existing industry participants. The courses are created and delivered by experts, accessible and affordable, and enable flexible learning at a time to suit the needs of the learner. Caroline Turnbull, Education and Welfare Manager at the TBA, says: “TBEd will enable the TBA to provide upto-date, relevant and expert knowledge to breeders who are committed to providing the highest standards of care for their horses. “The launch follows extensive user research and testing, which has helped us to shape the structure and content for breeders’ ongoing professional development. TB-Ed will also enable us to improve the accessibility and reach of training in the thoroughbred breeding industry, and will also be of interest to the wider equine community.” The platform launched with a pair of custom-built courses – Understanding Pedigrees and Nutrition of the Broodmare – which have been created by industry experts in stud management and horse care. Understanding Pedigrees is delivered by Lydia Hislop and has been designed for those looking to break into the thoroughbred sector. It covers areas

TB-Ed will enable the TBA to provide expert knowledge to breeders online

relating to pedigrees: historical context; how to read a tabulated pedigree; interpreting the sales catalogue; and understanding the Pattern and use of black type.

For a more experienced audience, Nutrition of the Broodmare aims to equip breeders with a solid understanding of the dietary needs of the broodmare. The course is delivered by independent nutritionist and consultant Catherine Rudenko, who has spent the past 17 years working in the thoroughbred industry as a field-based nutritionist and feed formulator. TB-Ed will continue to develop and evolve through the creation and production of new courses and content, all of which can be accessed by creating a free account – www.

EU Settlement Scheme – apply before June 30 EU citizens living in the UK before December 31, 2020 have continued to rely on their passport or national identity card as proof of being able to work in the UK since the turn of the year. However, in order to have proof beyond June 30, 2021 EU citizens and their family members must have made an application under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) before June 30, 2021 and be awarded either ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled status’ in order to retain the right to live and work in the UK. Further information on this can be found by visiting and searching ‘Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme’.


Employers are reminded that effective from the beginning of the year, should you wish to recruit anyone from outside the UK, you must be a Home Office-licensed sponsor. This includes hiring people from EU countries. From an employer’s point of view, becoming a Home Office-licensed sponsor will mean that you are able to recruit skilled workers from anywhere in the world, but only people who meet the job and salary requirements will be eligible. Should your organisation not already be a licensed sponsor and will want to sponsor eligible skilled workers, applications can be made through under ‘Apply for a sponsor licence’.

Thunder strikes for Glanvilles Wootton-based Wilson The Dorset village of Glanvilles Wootton has much to be proud of in breeding circles. The 1959 Grand National hero Oxo, bred by Charlie Wyatt, was foaled in the village, former Champion Hurdler Rooster Booster, bred by Richard Mitchell, was foaled barely a stone’s throw away, while in the current day, star mare Honeysuckle, bred by The Glanvilles Stud, was born and raised in the village. Adding his name to a list that surely is more than just coincidence is Mighty Thunder, whose fine staying effort saw him claim victory in the Scottish Grand National. Bred by former TBA NH Committee Chairman Charles Wilson, the Lucinda Russell-trained eightyear-old could have been described as a steadily progressive hurdler. Sent over obstacles this past season, he won twice in novice events at Hexham before running no race at Kelso in December. He flourished this side of the new year, winning the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh by a wide margin and being run down late when second in the Midlands National prior to his victory at Ayr. Having bred racehorses for around 40 years, Wilson dispersed the broodmare band in 2015. He said: “He [Mighty Thunder] was from the second last crop we bred. We bought the mare [Cool Island] off Richard Aston [in 2010] and we didn’t have her long, selling her in foal to Geordieland. We gave up because we were getting old and we had other things happening. “We are extremely proud to watch Mighty Thunder and also Honeysuckle,

who was raised here at Pitts Farm. It is tremendous, very exciting and vindicates our choice for choosing this part of the world to breed.” Pitts Farm, which formerly stood stallions, including Le Panto, Teenoso, Tamure and Emperor Fountain, was acquired when Wilson was in the army, based at Bovington. Now the 240-acre farm is in the ownership of son Peter, gold medallist in the men’s double trap at the London Olympics nine years ago. Part of it is rented out to The Glanvilles Stud, the rest to an organic farmer. Malinas, then in his first season at Yorton Farm, was chosen for his commercial appeal and Wilson said: “We bred to sell as we never had the funds to be owner-breeders, it is quite good to spend time watching your horses run at the expense of others. “We always had to have an iron on selling and hoped that the horses validated what you did. We always sold as foals as the ground can be difficult here in winter. Just like any other breeder, we bred the best to the best and hoped for the best.” Mighty Thunder was not the only animal in April to advertise the Wilsons' breeding operation. Senior Citizen, also from the 2013-born cohort and trained by Alan King, a former NH Committee member under Wilson’s chairmanship, ran third in the Topham Chase over the National fences at Aintree. Wilson clearly gets enjoyment from seeing the horses he bred run and it is not inconceivable that both Mighty Thunder and Senior Citizen could line up at Aintree next April in the world’s most famous chase of them all.

TRACY ROBERTS Source material currently includes webinars and talks on a diverse range of topics from the early life of a thoroughbred racehorse through to stallion management, and many more. Access to the TB-Ed platform can be gained by one of three ways: 1. You can sign up to TB-Ed (for free) to receive access to a limited selection of free resources. Courses cost from £50 and extra resources are priced accordingly. 2. Join as a TBA Associate for £60 per year ( This option gives you free access to all resources and discounts on courses. 3. Existing and new TBA members receive free access to all resources and discounted courses as part of their membership package. TB-Ed has received significant financial support from the Racing Foundation, who co-funded the platform development and build with the TBA. Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation, says: “At the Racing Foundation our mission is to be a catalyst for improvement within the horseracing and thoroughbred breeding industry. We are delighted to fund the TBA online learning platform to facilitate continuous professional development for everyone in the breeding industry. “We’d like to congratulate the TBA on the launch of its online learning platform and we look forward to seeing it contribute to improving the thoroughbred breeding industry.” Recognising the long-term value in developing learning opportunities within the industry, Weatherbys has lent its support to the initiative, becoming a headline partner of the TB-Ed platform. Russell Ferris, Chief Executive at Weatherbys, said: “Weatherbys enjoys a close relationship with the TBA and we are delighted to support TB-Ed which will act as a great tool to educate and inform new and existing members of the thoroughbred breeding community. “Increasing access to training opportunities will ensure that the breeding industry can maintain the very highest standards in health, welfare and stud management. Breeders need easy access to the latest guidance on areas such as Weatherbys ePassports, the introduction of Equine Premises Numbers and other new initiatives and TB-Ed is the obvious location for that guidance.” To find out more about how TB-Ed can assist in the development and learning of you or your team, visit

Mighty Thunder (left) captures the Scottish Grand National


TBA Forum Thyme Hill (white cap) gets the better of Roksana (right) at Aintree

Bonanza month for British-bred runners under both codes April turned out to be a bonanza month for British-breds on the Flat and over obstacles. With the National Hunt season coming to a close there were two Grade 1 successes at Aintree’s Grand National meeting, both of which came on the concluding day of action. The Richard and Lizzie Kelvin-Hughesbred My Drogo maintained his unbeaten record over hurdles with a facile victory in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle. The six-year-old was adding to a pair of Grade 2 victories from earlier in the campaign and a Newbury novice hurdle win. Just over an hour later and Thyme Hill, a son of Kayf Tara bred by Simon Sweeting at Overbury Stud, recorded a second top-level victory of his career when taking the Liverpool Hurdle with a hard-fought neck win over Roksana.

The Punchestown Festival closed out the Irish jumps scene for the season and on the final day of April exceptional mare Honeysuckle racked up win number 12 of her career under Rules in the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle. The daughter of former Yorton Farm-based Sulamani, who was bred by Dr Geoffrey Guy at the Glanvilles Stud, produced extra when required after the last to win well. The feature event at Ayr in the middle of the month was the Grade 3 Scottish National which witnessed a stirring finish from the Charles Wilson-bred Mighty Thunder. Earlier on the card and the Stetchworth & Middle Parks Stud-bred Allmankind (Sea The Moon) won the Grade 2 Future Champions Novices’ Chase with an all-the-way success on his first try at an intermediate trip. On the

Book your tickets for the TBA's awards evenings Tickets are on sale for both of the TBA’s awards evenings. The first in the calendar is the Flat awards, which celebrates and rewards British-bred success from the 2020 Flat season. Taking place at Chippenham Park, just outside Newmarket on Tuesday, July 13, tickets are priced at £80pp and include a drinks and canapes reception, before a two-course dinner and then the awards ceremony. The second awards event is the NH


Breeders’ Awards Evening supported by Goffs UK. Set to be held on Wednesday, August 4, the evening will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Doncaster and will see a dinner precede the presentation of awards. Tickets have been priced at £65pp for the NH Breeders' Awards Evening. Tickets for both events, which will be subject to government guidelines, can be purchased on the events page on the TBA website.

first day of the two-day meeting, the West Stow Stud-bred Nietzsche (Poet’s Voice) took the Listed Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase. As ever Sandown Park rounded out the campaign and the feature event, the Grade 3 bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase, was won by Potterman, a son of Sulamani, bred by James and Jean Potter. The second day of Cheltenham’s April fixture is given over to mares, with a quartet of black-type races staged. The opening contest, a Listed two-and-a-half mile novices’ event, was won in good style by Martello Sky, a daughter of Martaline, who was bred by the late Tim Wood. Also a winner on the card was the Francis Mahon homebred Pink Legend. The daughter of Midnight Legend, who was making her eighth start of the

campaign, gained black-type honours in the Listed British EBF Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase Final. Up at Perth, the Goldford Stud-bred Chilli Filli gained a second Listed victory of the season when running on strongly to take the Fair Maid of Perth Mares’ Chase. She had taken the Bud Booth Mares’ Chase at Market Rasen in November.

Dansili and son dominant Stateside

Kept in training at the age of six, Juliet Foxtrot vindicated the faith the Juddmonte team had in the daughter of Dansili when taking the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland by a comfortable two lengths. Later in the month Dansili’s son Set Piece, another Juddmonte homebred, took the Opening Verse Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs. Not to be outdone, Dansili’s son Bated Breath, whose Group 1 breakthrough came Stateside late last year, was represented by the James Ortega Bloodstock-bred Gift List, who dominated proceedings in the Grade 2 Edgewood Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. Juddmonte were also on the mark with Frankel’s son Delaware, who took the Danger’s Hour Stakes at Aqueduct. Meanwhile on the West Coast, Whisper Not (Poet’s Voice), bred by Cecil

and Alison Wiggins, fought on determinedly in the straight to win the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile Stakes at Golden Gate Fields. There were top-level British winners on both days of the Sydney Championships at Royal Randwick. The Godolphin homebred Cascadian, a son of New Approach, got up in the final strides of the Grade 1 Doncaster Mile. A week later, Selino, bred by Dr Catherine Wills’ St Clare Hall Stud, won the Grade 1 Sydney Cup. The following week Paths Of Glory, bred by Dayton Investments Ltd, won the Grade 3 JRA Plate, also at Randwick. Closer to home, the Highclere Stud & Floors Farming-bred Palace Pier (Kingman) got his 2021 campaign off to the best possible start with an authoritative win in the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown Park. The same day, Waldkonig, a fellow son of Kingman, gained a maiden Pattern win in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes. A pair of British-bred fillies won Classic trials in the month. The Cheveley Park Stud homebred Sacred was victorious in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes, while in France, Cirona took the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte at Longchamp, making every post a winning one. The Usk Valley Stud-bred Baron Samedi, a son of former Tweenhills-based sire Harbour Watch, went from 65-rated handicap winner to French Group 2

scorer and started 2021 with a strong staying win in the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan. There were a host of Listed race winners in the month. The Hascombe & Valiant-bred Megallan (Kingman) got the ball rolling when winning the Burradon Stakes on the all-weather at Newcastle on Good Friday. The following day at Cork, Laugh A Minute (Mayson), bred by Whitsbury Manor and Mrs M E Slade, was victorious in the Sean Barrett Bloodstock Sales Stakes. Having missed the 2020 season, former St Leger runner-up Sir Ron Priestley made a successful start in the Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham, a track at which the Haddenham Stud Farm Ltd-bred La Lune gained her first black-type win in the Nottinghamshire Oaks. Tactical, bred by The Queen, opened his season with victory in the Free Handicap at Newmarket, while Declaring Love (Dubawi), bred by Godolphin but racing in the colours of Megan Evans, took the Whitsbury Manor Studsponsored Lansdown Stakes at Bath. On the final day of the month at Goodwood the Kirsten Rausing homebred Alpinista, a daughter of Frankel, gained the second Listed win of her career with victory in the Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stakes. Results up to and including April 30. Produced in association with GBRI.

News in brief Great British Bonus yearling deadline Breeders are reminded that May 31 is the yearling deadline for the Great British Bonus. The yearling nomination stage is open to British-bred fillies, both Flat or National Hunt orientated, who were nominated into the scheme at the foal stage. Cost of the nomination stage is £200. Late entries will not be accepted. The payee of the yearling stage needs to be the registered General Stud Book owner. Should the yearling be owned by someone other than the breeder and the ownership of the yearling not have been updated, there is the opportunity to do this whilst paying the yearling payment of the Great British Bonus. For more information on the Great

British Bonus scheme visit www. TBA launches virtual forum With important events such as regional forums being cancelled due to the pandemic, the TBA held its first forum webinar on April 12. Chairman Julian Richmond-Watson opened the session followed by Philip Newton, who gave a presentation on the value of being a TBA member along with an update on the hugely successful Great British Bonus scheme. Kay Boyden, Head of Programmes at Racing Welfare, gave an informative talk on the support the organisation offers to people in the industry, outlining the importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace. TBA Chief Executive Claire Sheppard and TBA Trustee Peter Mendham brought the audience up

to date with Brexit along with the welcome news that the Animal Health Law had been delayed until the summer from mid-April. Nick Craven, Communications Director at Weatherbys, gave a short talk on the E-Passport and an update on traceability. The presentations concluded with Stuart Mattheson, one of 19 TBA regional representatives, giving attendees a snapshot of their role and how members can contact them for advice, especially at a local level. A busy question and answer session concluded what was a wellattended and informative webinar. Annual General Meeting This year’s TBA Annual General Meeting will take place at 10am on Wednesday, July 14, at Tattersalls, Park Paddocks.


TBA Forum

Employment law changes in effect from April 2021 In this occasional article TBA members’ legal adviser Rachel Flynn looks at some changes to employment law that came into force earlier this year Developments in employment law in the last 12 months have been overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Employment lawyers, like everyone else, have had to get used to whatever the pandemic has thrown at them – advising on contract variations, reducing hours, large scale redundancy consultations and getting to grips with such novel concepts such as furlough (yes, furlough didn’t exist in UK employment law until March 20, 2020!) in the course of the year. As we hope that we are at last seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, here we look at the changes that came into force in April 2021, finishing off with a sighter of what may be on the horizon. Off payroll working rules First – although not affecting many studs – of huge significance to large businesses are changes to off-payroll tax rules that were due to come into force on April 6, 2020, but were deferred due to Covid for a year. What are the off payroll working rules? Broadly speaking, an entity contracting with a personal service company (such as the end-user client) will become primarily responsible for applying PAYE deductions and for paying employer’s NICs. This shifts to the end user client the burden of establishing whether a worker supplied by the personal service company is providing services that are “deemed employment”. This is big news in the quasiemployment field, but likely to affect only the biggest studs, as there is an exemption for end-clients who are ‘small businesses’, meaning those meeting two or more of the following criteria: • Annual turnover is no more than £10.2 million • Balance sheet total is no more than £5.1 million • No more than 50 employees. Organisations that meet these criteria will now have to assess the contractor’s status (as opposed to the previous rules where the contractor’s status was selfdetermined) to identify whether they are caught by the off payroll working rules. HMRC has a Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST tool) service to help businesses determine whether the IR35 rules apply to any contracts extending


beyond April 2021. If you are in any doubt about any working relationship try the CEST tool as HMRC will stand by the result. Gender pay gap reporting Another one for the biggest employers relates to the gender pay gap. After the suspension in 2020 of enforcement action against employers who did not report their gender pay gap information, reporting recommences this year. As a refresher, all employers with a headcount of 250 or more must report and publish their gender pay gap data, including the percentage of men and women in each hourly pay quarter and the average gender pay gap using hourly pay. Changes to National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage Increases to the national living wage and national minimum wage rates came into effect on April 6 and affect all employers. The NLW, which currently applies only to workers age 25 or over, will be extended to 23 and 24-year-olds for the first time. The new rates will be: • Age 23 or over (NLW rate): £8.91 (up 2.2% from £8.72) • Age 21 to 22: £8.36 (up 2% from £8.20) • Age 18 to 20: £6.56 (up 1.7% from £6.45) • Age 16 to 17: £4.62 (up 1.5% from £4.55) Certain other statutory figures increase every year that affect all employers: • Statutory sick pay increases from £95.85 to £96.35 • Statutory family leave payments (the rate of statutory maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay, shared parental leave and parental bereavement pay) increases from £151.20 to £151.97 per week • For unfair dismissal claims, the limit on a week’s pay increases from £538 to £544 • The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £88,519 to £89,493 New guidance issued on size of awards for discrimination claims New guidance on the award levels for

compensation for injury to feelings has been issued. This applies to discrimination claims brought under the Equality Act 2010 and certain types of whistleblowing claim. Compensation is awarded with reference to three bands, known as ‘Vento’ bands. Whilst this guidance is not binding, the tribunal must have regard to it. For claims presented on or after April 6, 2021, the new Vento bands are as follows: • Lower band of £900 to £9,100 for less serious cases • Middle band of £9,100 to £27,400 for cases which do not merit an award in the upper band • Upper band of £27,400 to £45,600 for the most serious cases In the most exceptional cases it will be possible for tribunals to award in excess of £45,600. Tribunals have discretion as to which band applies, and where in the band the appropriate award should fall. What’s on the horizon? One of the key changes to look out for in the future is the Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy) Bill 2019-21. If it is brought into force – possibly around the end of 2021 – it will extend protections for employees at risk of redundancy. Currently, an employee on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave who is at risk of redundancy has the right to be offered any suitable alternative vacancy available (sometimes called ‘first bite of the cherry’). The Bill proposes to extend this to pregnant employees who have informed their employer of their pregnancy, employees who have returned from maternity or adoption leave within the previous six months, and those returning from shared parental leave. The government has also launched a consultation on measures to reform post-termination non-compete clauses in employment contracts.

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Everyone has his price. Or so the statesman and politician Sir Robert Walpole is reputed to have said in 1734. Everyone, it seems, other than Richard Kelvin-Hughes, who with his wife Lizzie has been named TBA Breeder of the Month for April for the exploits of My Drogo. “I think I’ve only sold one unraced gelding, who went to Colin Tizzard,” says Richard. “He was a lovely looking horse, but I just didn’t think he was my sort.” He adds: “If we do get them like that, we’ll sell, but most people won’t want to buy from me anyway, because they’ll think I’m only selling the moderate ones. Even if they don’t make it to the top, top grade, we would keep them. The fun of the racing is our priority.” With the Kelvin-Hugheses nowadays largely operating Trull House Stud at Tetbury in Gloucestershire as an accommodation address for resting horses, and leaving aside the fillies and mares, who are sent to Robert and Jackie Chugg at Little Lodge Farm in Worcestershire, their ‘sort’ is a jumpsbred youngster who can start his career with Polly Gundry at Ottery St Mary in Devon. “We try to ensure that everything starts in point-to-points,” says Richard, “which is a fundamental part of the education and racing. We like to think that very quickly we know where their futures should be going.” My Drogo showed his prowess early, his breeder recalls. “I’m useless at choosing foals,” he says, “but when trainers come round to look at our



My Drogo: showed his prowess early

horses, they always seem to pick out the best ones. The very good horses immediately show balance and good movement, so we earmarked My Drogo quite early. “When we think they can be that good, we give them a lot of time. There’s no rush. We breed to race, so there’s no commercial pressures on us.” Although My Drogo was an exception in that he did not run in a point-topoint, he followed the rest of the KelvinHughes pattern, being little more than two months short of his official sixth birthday when he made his racecourse debut, running a close second in a Cheltenham bumper. He is subsequently unbeaten in four hurdles, graduating from Grade 2s at Ascot and Kelso to Aintree’s Grade 1 Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle. Similar patience is being demonstrated with My Drogo’s twoyears younger half-brother Lustleigh, a Kayf Tara four-year-old with two outings

under his belt but unraced since early November. “He remains an entire and we think an awful lot of him, too,” Richard says, “and we’re very much trying to make him a stallion. He was almost showing us too much ability at home. Dan Skelton, being very careful and clever, said we should back off him for the time being, since there’s no rush for him. “So, he’s gone back to Polly Gundry to go over cavaletti and try hunter trials. He’ll be a non-racehorse for a while. When he goes back to Dan Skelton’s for hurdling, he’ll have had a year of education. He’s not one we could just keep in a field, but that’s part of the fun of it all. It’s why we sent the mare My Petra to Kayf Tara, because we wanted to have an all British-bred offspring.” So far, the Kelvin-Hugheses’ best jumper is the Grade 1 hurdles and Grade 2 chase winner Santini. Could My Drogo be even better? Richard believes the potential is there. “He probably has more tricks in his box than Santini,” he says. “If he continues to improve as we think he will, we would like to think he’d be up in that sort of class. “For an unexposed youngster, the way he just skipped over the melee at Aintree and went on to run his race as if nothing had happened showed that there’s an awful lot of mental ability there as well. “The difference between Santini and My Drogo is that Santini thinks he’s the best horse in the world, and he’s not, whereas My Drogo doesn’t know how good he is, because he’s so humble. We’ve just got to keep him safe and sound, and we’ll find out how good he is.”



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Vet Forum: The Expert View

Common skin conditions in thoroughbreds – warts and all T here are entire textbooks written about skin conditions in horses. Many of these conditions are not commonly diagnosed or are peculiar to other breeds. Others are quite frequently seen in thoroughbreds although there is often an association with age and/or management conditions. It isn’t possible to cover every skin condition which might be encountered, but there are a few that are more frequently seen.

Urticaria (hives)/allergic skin disease

Allergic skin disease is quite common in horses. It often presents itself in the form of urticaria (hives) but can also cause itchiness, scaly skin, nodules or localised swelling. Urticaria lesions are raised, usually circular, ring-shaped or oval patches and may be found anywhere on the body, although rarely on the limbs. The face – especially the eye lids and muzzle – and lower limbs often demonstrate more generalised swelling caused by fluid accumulating under the skin (oedema). Urticarial lesions may be itchy but commonly are not. They develop as part of the body’s response to ingestion, inhalation or contact with an allergen (allergy-causing substance). Occasionally the horse might appear quite distressed and rub or bite at themselves. Symptoms can develop very quickly, within minutes or hours of exposure to the allergen. The allergen might be something as simple as a feed component or additive, grass or flower pollen, new bedding or hay, a medicine or insect bites (Fig 1). However, the actual source of the triggering allergen is rarely detected. Sweet itch, which is not common in thoroughbreds, is an example of a specific allergy to the saliva of biting midges and can cause intense itching and self-trauma. Treatment of urticaria or allergic skin disease usually consists of corticosteroids administered by injection and/or by mouth and trying to detect and remove – where possible – the cause from the environment, for example, by removing new hay, providing insect repellent or suitable rugs to prevent insect bites or changing bedding etc.


Figure 1 Urticaria (hives) due to allergy to phenylbutazone

Bacterial infections

Folliculitis Thoroughbreds in training often suffer from what are commonly called ‘staph spots’ or folliculitis. These are small, often painful lesions caused by bacterial

Figure 2 Staph infection with ‘runner’

infection – usually staphylococcal or streptococcal species – of the hair follicles. They often occur where tack or rugs come into contact with the skin and particularly if these items are dirty or ill-fitting. They usually appear in a cluster or over several sites and can develop into deeper skin infections with exudate (discharge) and open lesions. Occasionally, a spot might develop into a ‘runner’ (Fig 2) where the infection extends into the surrounding skin and then tracks away from the initial spot in a line or lines of oedema (swelling). Simple folliculitis will often respond to local washing with antibacterial shampoo/wash but in more severe cases and particularly where the affected areas are extensive or runners have developed, antibiotics may be needed, ideally after culture of some discharge to determine the appropriate drug. Anti-inflammatories such as phenylbutazone can be given to reduce pain and inflammation. Pastern dermatitis This is a very common problem in thoroughbreds of all ages and it a catch-all ‘diagnosis’ with a range of different causes and presentations.

By Deidre Carson BVSc(Syd) MRCVS further wetting and infection. It might be necessary to sedate the horse to undertake topical treatment. Systemic antibiotics may be required and treatment may be prolonged in severe cases. In chronic or recurrent cases, the skin can become thickened and scarred and devoid of hair. Just a note: occasionally infection of the pastern region and lower limb can be caused by Candida species of yeast. In these cases, numerous tiny, but very painful, spots appear. Diagnosis is confirmed on a skin scraping or swab and these cases usually respond quickly to topic antifungal treatment.

Figure 3 Mild pastern dermatitis

In the simplest form, it is a folliculitis affecting the skin at the back of the pastern (Fig 3). As with folliculitis elsewhere on the body, this is often caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria as these are common on horses’ skin. However, mixed infections do occur, particularly in chronic (long standing) cases. The spots may be painful and coalesce or spread locally. It is often seen in horses in training that are exercised on particular all-weather surfaces or in young stock or older horses where the skin is constantly or recurrently muddy or wet, such as when turned out during the autumn and winter. White-haired areas are more commonly, but not exclusively, affected. Discharge, crusting and scab formation is common, and the hair becomes matted, sticking to the underlying skin. In more severe infections the infection will spread and the lesions coalesce and might affect much of the pastern and outer or inner fetlock regions. The area might become swollen and painful, and the horse might be lame. The infection might spread up the leg resulting in cellulitis. Treatment involves clipping away long hair, if possible, and washing the area with antibacterial shampoo/wash such as a chlorhexidine or povidone iodine-based product. An antibiotic or emollient cream can then be applied to help soften the remaining scabs, soothe the skin and provide a barrier to

Ringworm Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection of the superficial layers of the skin. Any area of the body can be affected but lesions are frequently seen in areas of contact with shared/ contaminated tack or grooming kit. The infection can be present for several days before lesions appear and it is during this period that the infection may be inadvertently spread between horses. Younger horses are more susceptible to ringworm and the condition is also more likely to occur in a horse with any underlying condition that suppresses the immune system, such as a viral infection. Ringworm is commonly seen after the yearling sales as animals are stressed and then dispersed. Early lesions (Fig 4) are simply raised circular or oval areas, usually in a cluster, but soon the skin in the affected areas becomes scurfy and the hair readily falls out, often in a clump. Diagnosis is made by looking under a microscope at a sample collected by performing a skin scraping or hair pluck. Treatment is usually by application of antifungal solution or shampoo repeated at intervals as directed on the product label. If a horse has extensive infection or a number of horses are affected on the premises, then oral treatment may be considered. For lesions on the sensitive regions of the face, particularly near the eyes, antifungal cream can be used. Horses cannot run under Rules if they have ringworm and a negative skin scraping certificate is required if suspect lesions are apparent, or the condition has been treated but suspicious ‘spots’ remain. Warts/papillomatosis Equine warts are caused by the equine papilloma virus and almost always only

Figure 4 Early ringworm lesions

Figure 5 Warts on muzzle and near eye


Figure 6a Sarcoid near eye


Vet Forum: The Expert View ››

affect younger horses, less than four years of age. ‘Grass warts’ commonly affect the muzzle and lips but might also be seen around the eyes and the side of the face. There may be a very large number of warts present or varying sizes. ‘Pastern warts’ affect the skin on the back of the pasterns and may be traumatised resulting in haemorrhage and secondary infection. Congenital warts occasionally occur on the upper forehead of newborn foals as a result of infection during gestation. These are usually quite large. Most wart infections are self-limiting as the body’s own immune system fights the virus and, in most cases, overcomes the infection. Topical wartkilling treatments, such as those used in humans, can be applied but care must be taken to avoid contact with the surrounding normal skin or this may be damaged by the caustic agent in the treatment. Aural plaques are raised white areas within the ears and these are thought to be related to the papilloma virus. This condition rarely requires treatment. Sarcoids Sarcoids are commonly encountered skin tumours (fibrosarcomas) caused by the bovine papilloma virus (BPV). They don’t spread to internal organs but can appear in clusters or spread locally. They are often found around the head, particularly the eyes, the inner thigh and the caudal (posterior) abdomen, inner forearm and girth region but can occur almost anywhere on the body. They can ‘appear’ in, or be confused with, proud flesh in chronic wounds. There are several different types of


Figure 6b Sarcoid on neck

sarcoid, ranging in appearance from flat, slightly irregular skin – verrucose sarcoids – through large grape-like lesions (Fig 6) to larger, ulcerated and irregular masses. ‘Fibroblastic’ sarcoids are locally invasive and penetrate tissues beneath the skin. It is possible that to develop sarcoids, a horse must have a genetic predisposition to infection. Unlike warts, sarcoids are not self-limiting and have a tendency to recur, even if treatment is undertaken. Many larger ‘grape-like’ sarcoids may be removed, albeit often only temporarily, by the use of elastrator rings or ligatures around the base of the lesion. Others require surgical removal under local or general anaesthesia. Ideally, the bulk of the sarcoid is removed using sharp dissection and the base is then subject to laser treatment to destroy any

remaining tumour cells. Cryosurgery can be used to destroy the base, but this appears less effective than lasering. Medical treatments are also available. These include Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccine (which is used to prevent tuberculosis) and injectable chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin and Mitomycin C. Topical chemotherapy cream AW4-LUDES (‘Liverpool cream’) has been widely used but may no longer be available. Other topical treatments which may be tried, particularly on the flat, verrucose sarcoids, include ointments containing extracts of the blood root plant, and various other natural remedies. Most often, because of the different types of sarcoid and the different locations where they occur, treatment may not be straightforward. Lesions near the eyes can be particularly difficult to treat as any loss of skin from the eyelids can result in scarring and distortion of the lids and resultant inability of the eye to fully close. ECT, where the lesion is injected with cisplatin and an electric current applied to ‘force’ the medication into the target cells, and specialised local radiation therapy, have been used successfully in many of these cases but are not currently widely available options. The ’take home’ message for skin lesions is to have them checked sooner rather than later. While mild conditions may resolve without interference, others can become more serious and more difficult to treat if left. Acknowledgements for photos: Rob Pilsworth MRCVS Figs 1, 2, 3, 4 Andrew Hamilton MRCVS Fig 5 Josh Davison MRCVS Fig 6a

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The Finish Line with Sean Woods Sean Woods is back training in Newmarket and he’s loving it. The 55-year-old former jump jockey was tempted away to Hong Kong in 2001 and while the move brought many benefits, it eventually soured after the Hong Kong Jockey Club declined to renew his licence. He later sued them, claiming his inability to fulfil their performance criteria was a result of an uneven playing field. Now based at Shalfleet Stables, Woods hit the ground running when his first runner, General Panic, bred on the family’s Brook Stud, was a winner at Southwell. Interview: Graham Dench


I went to Hong Kong for the right reasons and had 16 great years. I was successful and happy there, but the last few years – when results suffered for reasons that have been well documented – were very tough on me. In Hong Kong all I was doing was producing a commodity. They get brilliant people to go out there – much cleverer people than me – but they bring them all down to a level of mediocrity because it’s nearly all handicapping. It’s greyhound racing. It’s a very exciting sport there, with a great following, and I made some great friends, so I don’t like to be too negative, and the decision I made was probably financially the best of my life. It affected a lot of people around me in a very positive way, but for me personally it was probably the worst thing, because I gave up everything I believed in.

ou need to go away to appreciate what British racing has to offer. I’ve had runners everywhere and we are the best in the world. I’m absolutely loving being back training in Newmarket. It took three or four years to find the stables I wanted and where we are situated in the middle of the Bury Road couldn’t be better. I knew Shalfleet from when Paul Kelleway was here in my riding days, but it’s unrecognisable now. We spent a year getting it all right – putting paddocks and walkers in, a covered ride, a state-of-the-art veterinary clinic, a new walkway to the gallops, and so on. We’ve got everything now that we could possibly want in order to train horses to their maximum potential. I was exceptionally lucky when I trained here before. I owned La Grange when I was 26 – I was the youngest trainer in Newmarket. I had people to look up to and it was a great way to spend my first ten years training. I had 100-plus horses when I left and we were flying, but I was having to sell my good horses when really what I’m about is trying to make those good horses into stallions.

The facilities in Newmarket are fantastic. Jockey Club Estates have really put a lot into it and if you are willing to think outside the box and use your nous it’s a fantastic training centre. If I could have afforded a place of my own with the same facilities I’d perhaps have looked elsewhere, but I know Newmarket and so far as staff and infrastructure go, you are in the hub at the centre of the racing world. We are very fortunate with staff and have eight or ten on a waiting list Our day is very different to most other racing stables, as the staff ride out three lots, stop for breakfast and then spend an hour and a half on the three horses that they look after. They work hard, but that way I can give half of them a whole week of afternoons off. Every other week they finish at 12 and don’t come back until six the next morning. We get quality work because they have quality time to spend with their children, or play golf, or do whatever they like. STEVE CARGILL

Meng Tian scores at Nottingham in April for Sean Woods


I’m very close with my brothers Dwayne and Wendyll but the training, which is the high risk part of the operation, is all me. The 210 acres of the Brook Stud

is one of the greatest bits of real estate around, with Juddmonte at the bottom, Cheveley at the side, Hascombe at the top, then Sheikh Mohammed’s White Lodge on the other side. When I bought it, I was cash rich from selling La Grange and leaving for Hong Kong, so my move out there put into place a lot of things that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I took away quite a lot of land to build on, but it doesn’t affect the stud, which is basically Dwayne and Wendyll and has to run as a commercial farm. The stud and the racing stables relate to one another though, and so the infrastructure goes full circle. A lot of people asked me to take horses and I said no. We have 90-odd boxes, but I don’t think I want to train more than 70. We kept the numbers very low to start off with as I needed to build the infrastructure and the team first and we needed to manage expectations. Horses didn’t come in until January 4, and of a string of 32 I think 26 are two-year-olds. We will slowly increase the numbers, but I only want to build things up with the sort of people I want to train for. The patronage we have has to understand what we are trying to achieve. I don’t want to be selling good horses; I want to be seeing them through to becoming good broodmares or stallions. I’m in a very fortunate position as I’ve been approached by groups with a lot of buying power. There’s a big avenue on the Chinese side, which I’m still connected with, and we have a fund in the Middle East. We’ve also just joined up with another group which, if it goes the way we see it, will revolutionise the way horses are owned over here. We have a two-year-old filly called First Crowd, by Iffraaj, who will race for, which is a new concept that everyone will get to know about. They are at the cutting edge of technology and some of their ideas are mindboggling. I’m only the trainer, but it’s the way forward and it’s great to be part of it at the start.

Galileo - Pearling (Storm Cat)


Sire of SILVER BULLET LADY winner of Fillies’ Conditions Stakes on debut at Salisbury Congratulations to breeder Peter McCutcheon and trainer Roger Charlton Silver Bullet Lady produced a very impressive performance to win on debut at Salisbury. A great start for Decorated Knight with his first runner to produce a 5f winner out of a mare Lost Icon who stayed 10f. We are looking forward to Royal Ascot.



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Silver Bullet Lady was very impressive today... once she got into the stride of things and hit the cutaway she showed a great turn of foot to make up a lot of ground. Obviously being Decorated Knight’s first runner in the UK, it’s a great stamp for him and she definitely looks like she has Royal Ascot potential.

2 0 21

Contact: Gary Swift or Patrick Diamond at Irish National Stud • Tel: +353 (0)45 521251

full pg TOB DK May.indd 1

17/05/2021 11:35

It ain’t over till it’s over Territories: G1 juvenile, G1-winning miler, runner-up in the 2,000 Guineas and a May foal. Enjoying a fine year with his first two crops.

The Derby and the Oaks. The Arc — twice. The July Cup, the Guineas, the Commonwealth Cup. All won this century by May foals. Just last year, May foals won the G1 Melbourne Cup — and the G1 National Stakes... The best breeders targeting the greatest races: they have their mares covered in June.