Thoroughbred Owner Breeder

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THE £6.95 MARCH 2021 ISSUE 199

Preparing to peak

Can Tom Symonds land a first win at the Festival?


Martin St Quinton

Cheltenham Chairman chats

Jumps stallions

Young pretenders in focus

Chris Gillon

New era at Floors Stud

Expert Eye 2015 Acclamation - Exemplify (Dansili) 2021 Fee £12,500 1st Oct, Special Live Foal

2YO brilliance Expert Eye’s first two books of mares included the dams or sisters to the following notable Group-winning 2YOs: PRETTY POLLYANNA Gr.1 FLEETING SPIRIT Gr.1 (2YO Gr.2 winner) SPECIOSA Gr.1 (2YO Gr.2 winner) HAVANA GOLD Gr.1 (2YO Gr.3 winner) TOORMORE Gr.1 JAMES GARFIELD Gr.2 MEHMAS Gr.2 RESTIADARGENT Gr.2 SHOWCASING Gr.2 ZEBEDEE Gr.2 BUNGLE INTHEJUNGLE Gr.3

As well as the dams or sisters to Group-winning sprinter/milers: GLASS SLIPPERS Gr.1 FALLEN FOR YOU Gr.1 MUARRAB Gr.1 LIGHTNING SPEAR Gr.1 PROHIBIT Gr.1 SIGNS OF BLESSING Gr.1 SLADE POWER Gr.1 TWILIGHT SON Gr.1 OVERDOSE Gr.2 DANDY MAN Gr.3 HEERAAT Gr.3

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



Four times more than Acclamation and his sons Dark Angel and Mehmas in their first two seasons

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 MARCH 2021 ISSUE 199

Preparing to peak

Can Tom Symonds land a first win at the Festival?


Martin St Quinton

Cheltenham Chairman chats

Jumps stallions

Young pretenders in focus

Chris Gillon

New era at Floors Stud

Cover: Tom Symonds and his leading hurdler Song For Someone at the trainer’s Herefordshire stable in February Photos: Carl Evans

Edward Rosenthal Editor

Reasons to be cheerful with roadmap out of lockdown S

ome good news for the nation at last – Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown was revealed just as this issue was going to press. For the racing and breeding industries it promises to provide some much-needed certainty after a year of damage caused by Covid-19. As things stand, the return of crowds, albeit in limited numbers, to the racecourse will be possible from May 17, giving hope that Epsom’s Derby meeting and Royal Ascot amongst others will be able to welcome back paying customers later this year. Capping the numbers initially at 4,000 people, it will be the smaller tracks that will benefit most from the easing of restrictions. Racecourses have endured a torrid time and it must be hoped that this development will banish the prospect of closure for venues that have been financially battered by the Covid storm. Racehorse owners, the vast majority of whom have stoically accepted the situation, which at times has seen them literally not getting a run for their money, will now be hoping to watch their runners at the races and enjoy the ownership experience, even if the atmosphere on course may be somewhat lacking. While some aspects of our lockdown life may need to be extended – for example face masks, social distancing, regular hand-washing and sanitising facilities – the majority of people would accept them without question if it meant a return of personal freedoms currently denied to them. Bloodstock sales have adapted to the Covid environment by improving their digital services yet while online bidding may work for some sectors of the market, such as horses in training, it is far from ideal when assessing younger, unraced thoroughbreds. International participation is another important factor in the bloodstock world and free movement of individuals would be a boon to the market ahead of the big yearling sales from the autumn onwards. Classed as non-essential retail, betting shops

have been shuttered during the latest lockdown, leaving the sport with reduced revenue for both media rights and levy take. High street bookmakers are due to be allowed to reopen on April 12 under the government’s guidelines. At the time of writing there was some doubt over whether or not the Randox Grand National would go ahead on its scheduled date of Saturday, April 10, with the possibility of a week’s delay to allow for the reopening of betting shops and the opportunity to generate more turnover and therefore money for racing’s pot. Delaying the race would be a serious move yet if consensus can be reached between the sport’s stakeholders there is no reason why it should not happen if ultimately it means that racing will benefit in the long run.

“Smaller tracks will benefit most from the return of limited crowds” Martin St Quinton, Chairman of the Cheltenham Racecourse Committee, says in his interview in this month’s magazine that he has noticed increased cooperation between racing’s factions over the past year – “a greater appreciation of everyone’s difficulties and recognition that working together brings much greater results and benefits”. Let’s hope this continues to be the case as the sport’s recovery plan continues to take shape. Also in this issue, Herefordshire trainer Tom Symonds talks about the current campaign (The Big Interview, pages 26-30), his strongest yet for winners and prize-money, which could get even better if stable star Song For Someone puts his best foot forward at the Festival later this month.




E 0 FE 0 ,0 €4

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


Classic winner of the Gr.1 St Leger

Beating Gr.1/Gr.2 horses Santiago, Subjectivist, Pyledriver, Dawn Patrol, Mythical, etc. Undefeated as a 3yo, also inc L Yeats Stakes by 5l.

Timeform Rating: 122p

Higher than Affinisea, Berkshire, Blue Bresil, Diamond Boy, Elusive Pimpernel, Idaho, Jet Away, Mahler, Malinas, Old Persian, etc.

By World Champion 3yo Australia

From the family of Aussie Rules, Alborada, Albanova, Allegretto, Coronet, etc.

Cappella Sansavero

Far Above


Smooth Daddy

My Dream Boat

Galileo Chrome

Standing at Starfield Stud, Ballynagall, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland N91 K8Y9


FAR ABOVE #FarAboveTheSpeedLimit

E 0 FE 0 ,0 €6

E 0 FE 0 ,0 €6







TR: 122

18% Black-Type horses to named foals

Palace House winner and undefeated over 5f/6f

250 mares in 2019 and 2020

By Farhh and from a Gr.1 family


SMOOTH DADDY #SmoothDating


E 0 FE 0 ,0 €4

E 0 FE 0 ,0 €4 PROVEN SON OF



Sire of Gr.2 Mill Reef Stakes winner Pierre Lapin in his first crop

Tough and consistent Group turf winner

Precocious Group winning 2yo

First 5 sires all Gr.1 winning 2yos

Micheál Orlandi, Compas Stallions  + 353 (0)83 809 2299


 @CompasStallions



March 2021


News & Views ROA Leader Racing and betting's new opportunity

TBA Leader Keeping equine diseases out of Britain

News Racing journalist Paul Haigh remembered

Changes News in a nutshell

Howard Wright Viking raid warning

Features continued 7 9 14 16

Stallion legend retires

The Big Picture From Wincanton and Riyadh

The Big Interview Trainer Tom Symonds is on a roll

Martin St Quinton Cheltenham's Chairman looks to the future

Jumps sires special Focus on the younger brigade



Value to be had in the market

Breeders' Digest Extra costs in sending horses to Europe

Sales Circuit Online auctions take centre stage

Grassland management How to get the best out of your turf

The Finish Line 24

Chris Gillon's new venture

48 54 56 62 88


Features Pivotal tribute

Stallion deals

10 20 26 32 37

ROA Forum Affordability checks spell danger

Great British Bonus Latest winners

TBA Forum Answering your post-Brexit questions

Breeder of the Month Jane Micklethwait for Sams Profile

Vet Forum Imaging modalities in focus

66 73 74 80 85




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ROA Leader

Charlie Parker President

Racing and betting must forge a new relationship T

he gambling industry is under further scrutiny as the Gambling Act review reaches its first staging post this month, with reforms afoot. With the industry in flux and racing looking to put its finances on a stable footing, we should be working with bookmakers to see how racing’s revenues from betting, especially to horsemen, can be protected now and expanded in the future. It seems like racing has its work cut out at the moment, valiantly pushing to keep the sport moving forward as the hope for a return to normality grows on the horizon. Each month brings a new but familiar challenge, whether it is racing’s revenue and the gambling industry or the return of spectators. Covid-related or not, the challenges remain and they need solving. Racing derives significant revenue from betting. Whether it is through levy contributions, picture and data rights exploitation, or sponsorship and hospitality, most originate from the bookmaking industry. Last month, I spoke about the Gambling Commission’s affordability consultation. This month, the government’s Gambling Act review will conclude its wide-ranging consultation, which could also see further changes for the industry. The gambling industry is facing serious challenges to the way it operates, which could have a profound impact on the revenues that flow to owners, trainers, jockeys, stable staff and racecourses. Our relationship with the betting industry is a top priority. Betting and racing have an undeniable symbiosis, from a flutter on track during a day out to how betting revenues directly impact on funding through the Levy Board. Like it or not, racing and betting’s fortunes are entangled. As we both face challenges, we need to work together. We continue to be supportive of the gambling industry. We have been clear in our support for ensuring best practice and responsible gambling in that it represents the vast majority of the sector and their operations. So too have we determinedly put across our views on egregious and undue regulation on an important sector for both our sport and the Exchequer. Even more so, the product of racing has changed and adapted to the betting industry’s needs, with more runners and meetings than ever before. British racing is an incredibly attractive product for both punters and bookmakers alike that needs to be protected and supported, especially with the impacts of Brexit and Covid playing out. We can work together to further enhance the product – be it start times, race numbers or competitiveness – and help grow the revenues coming into the sport. Betting is also changing. As it changes, its relationship and contribution to racing must do likewise. As racing adapts and works with gambling, so must the bookmakers work with and

for racing. With Covid, online has replaced shops as the favoured mode of placing racing bets. Betting on apps and streaming racing is clearly the future. Meanwhile, unlike our French and Irish counterparts, British racing still sees no return on bets made by British customers on international racing. The levy and bookmakers’ other contributions, such as media rights, need to reflect the new reality. Reform of the levy is now more important than ever and, voluntary or otherwise, would be a powerful tool to boost racing’s revenue from betting and offer stability and growth for racing and its participants. As racing looks at these mechanisms and its future, there needs to be a productive, two-way conversation with the gambling industry on how it can better support the whole of

“Reform of the levy is now more important than ever and would be a powerful tool to boost revenue” racing now and in the future. We can hopefully find a solution that enables us to grow the sport for all, rather than divvying up bits of a shrinking pot. As with so much else during this pandemic, it will require determination, mutual understanding and a willingness to look at the bigger picture. By seeking consensus, both within the industry as well as with the bookmakers, we can avoid the government’s hand. With everything else going on, I am sure that is something the betting industry would welcome. There are shifting sands throughout the racing and betting industries. For racing, the protection of its future and its revenue streams for participants is vital. There is a clear need to work together: it’s time to talk.



TBA Leader

Julian Richmond-Watson Chairman

Security essential to keep exotic diseases out T

he coronavirus pandemic, characterised by the strain known as Covid-19, has been an enormous wake-up call for all human beings, not least those of us who live in the westernised world, generally sheltered from the harsh realities of disease outbreaks that so many others in poorer countries have to survive. This pandemic does not respect borders or nationalities and has caused havoc among those of us who were least expecting to be part of a crisis so often seen on our television screens but usually taking place far away. Everywhere you look, our whole way of life – whether it be at work, socialising or travelling without restriction – has been turned on its head. If it has taught us anything, it is that vigilance at the start of any outbreak of disease, spotting it very early and reacting accordingly, is so vitally important in containing the numbers and spread of infection. As humans, we were not ready for the coronavirus outbreak and as a consequence every door was closed too late to stop it spreading worldwide, with the devastating consequences we have all seen and experienced. Britain is a trading nation and our politicians have found it impossible to close our borders completely to humans travelling from other parts of the world, even when the decision makers knew that this human disease was transported by the very people they were trying to protect. Turning from one crisis to the possibility of another, our history of importing animal and plant diseases is no better. With the coronavirus pandemic in mind, this must be the time to review all these movements to ensure that equidae in particular come under the correct veterinary checks, identification and quarantine, where necessary, before entering this country. Our horses, and many of the diseases that affect them, are just as important to us and this pandemic should have taught us to be focused and ready, where the policies on human disease were not. In the International Collating Centre, we have a first-class surveillance team with an ability to monitor infectious diseases of horses and equidae from around the world and provide realtime reports on any equine outbreaks. This world-leading service, previously based at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket but now supported nearby by the Levy Board, gives international authorities the information and warning on which they can act, so that everyone connected with horses, whether for racing or breeding, knows what is out there and where it is prevalent or causing a problem. It is time we took notice of, amongst others, West Nile Virus

in Europe and African Horse Sickness in Africa and the Far East. It would be negligent of us to allow horses carrying these diseases anywhere near our shores, and while, of course, we can try and create biosecure systems on our well managed studs, we cannot be immune from other equidae travelling together in numbers or being kept in much less biosecure situations. These two diseases are spread by midges, or mosquitoes, and birds, and as we have already seen with farm animals, such devastating carriers can, under the right conditions, cross the sea from Europe and affect animals in this country. Once an outbreak occurs, whole regions become quarantined and racing and breeding operations become severely affected. We need to be sure that in the case of an outbreak we have the

“We must not allow horses carrying West Nile Virus or African Horse Sickness anywhere near our shores” testing facilities and appropriate quarantine measures ready to be put in place. We need to be organised and ready with the appropriate vaccines, if possible, and take heed of and learn from the specific problems that Covid-19 has caused. We saw what happened with the equine influenza outbreak a couple of years ago, and the BHA’s decision to reduce the requirement to vaccinate every six months is of concern here. As if that was not enough, Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) is lurking in the wings and we need a better vaccine for the Equine Herpes Virus. So, let’s use the coronavirus pandemic and, dare I say it, new Brexit border controls to reinforce Britain’s requirements for the movement of horses to ensure the highest health checks and border security.



The Big Tribute Pivotal is taken for his morning stroll by John Rice at Cheveley Park Stud in 2017



othing lasts forever. Pivotal is aged 28 and in that regard we knew that the time for him to slip gracefully into retirement wasn’t far away, writes Nancy Sexton. However, the confirmation that Pivotal will no longer form an integral



part of the Cheveley Park Stud roster for the first time in 25 years marked a sad day for British breeding, as it did for the stud itself. Pivotal rose from a meagre level to become one of the most successful stallions worldwide, at one time

commanding a fee of £85,000. Along the way, there have been various noteworthy sire sons, perhaps none so important as Siyouni. But it is through his daughters that Pivotal has flourished; he really is a broodmare sire extraordinaire as a tally of 23 Group 1 winners attests.






The Big Tribute


Matthew Sigsworth is kept on his toes by a then 11-year-old Pivotal in 2004



Pivotal ››

Pivotal retired to David and Patricia Thompson’s Cheveley Park Stud during the winter of 1996, ahead of the 1997 season. At the time, the stud boasted a popular array of stallions, many of them speed-orientated, including Pivotal’s own sire Polar Falcon, who had been sent out by John Hammond to win the 1991 Haydock Sprint Cup in David Thompson’s colours. It is stud folklore how the big, strong chestnut Pivotal was the very first foal to be born by Polar Falcon, himself an attractive black horse. And what a worthy early representative he turned out to be. Sent to Sir Mark Prescott, he won two of his three starts at two, notably when breaking the track record at Folkestone, before striking in the King’s Stand and Nunthorpe Stakes at three. The latter came at the excruciatingly narrow expense of Eveningperformance in a photo finish that took 20 minutes to call.

Challenging start

Pivotal’s first-year fee was set at £6,000 but, although a champion sprinter, securing interest from mare owners wasn’t all plain sailing as an opening book of around 60 would illustrate. Yet that first crop hit the ground running, becoming successful enough for Pivotal to emulate Cheveley Park Stud’s foundation stallion Music Boy as the leading first-crop sire of his year. The group also came to include Nunthorpe Stakes winner Kyllachy, German Oaks heroine Silvester Lady and top American turf filly Golden Apples, thereby laying the foundations for a hugely influential stud career. Today, Pivotal boasts a stud record that consists of 32 Group or Grade 1 winners. Kyllachy was one such horse to follow Pivotal’s example as a sprinter as did fellow speedsters Maarek, Somnus and Regal Parade. But in a remarkable show of versatility, Pivotal has also sired milers of the ilk of Lightning Spear, Immortal Verse, Excellent Art, Falco and Farhh. The latter also struck in elite company over 1m2f, the same distance that is also playing to the strengths of his current star Addeybb, last year’s Champions Stakes winner. There was even an Epsom-Irish Oaks heroine in Sariska and a Dubai World Cup hero in African Story. That particular gelding formed part of a highly successful association between the stallion and Sheikh Mohammed that

took off following Darley’s acquisition of a 25% share in Pivotal in late 2005. While a beneficial move to both parties – Darley also bred the Group 1 winners Farhh and Buzzword – crucially it also allowed the horse to remain in Britain. A number of Pivotal’s sons have gone on to catch the imagination at stud. Kyllachy was another fine servant to Cheveley Park Stud whose influence lives on within the current roster via his Group 1-winning son Twilight Son. Darley’s Farhh is the sire of nine stakes winners, among them the Group 1-winning miler King Of Change, despite having to contend with serious fertility issues. However, the line flows at its strongest through Haras de Bonneval’s Siyouni. The French champion sire of 2020, he boasts six Group or Grade 1 winners led by two of last year’s stars in Arc hero Sottsass and the Dewhurst

“He got 15 of his 30 mares in foal last season so his story is far from over” Stakes winner St Mark’s Basilica. Once available for as little as €7,000, he today commands a fee of €140,000. Sottsass and St Mark’s Basilica are both the products of Galileo mares and thereby supply further proof of the line’s ability to click with the Coolmore supersire. And it is this ability to work with Galileo, at times an overwhelming presence within pedigrees, that has helped propel Pivotal into rarefied company as a broodmare sire. Pivotal became a top-ten British and Irish broodmare sire back in 2012 when his eldest daughters were still only 12-years-old and was later crowned champion in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Only Galileo had his measure last year. The productive partnership between Galileo and Pivotal includes Ballydoyle’s multiple Group 1 winners Magical and Rhododendron, both of whom are out of the Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Halfway To Heaven. Another outstanding Pivotal mare, Beauty Is Truth, is the dam of dual Group 1 winner Hydrangea, 1,000

Guineas heroine Hermosa and Australian Group 1 winner The United States. Then there is Love, a daughter of the Pivotal mare Pikaboo, whose victory in last year’s 1,000 Guineas saw her become the second successive winner of the race to represent the Galileo - Pivotal cross after Hermosa. Love also landed the Epsom and Yorkshire Oaks during last season’s stellar campaign. Outside those by Galileo, Pivotal’s record of Group 1 winners as a damsire includes triple Prix de la Foret heroine One Master, top older horse Cracksman, accomplished juveniles and speedsters Fairyland, Golden Horde and Advertise, and even a St Leger winner in Harbour Law.

The story continues

Pivotal will live out his retirement at Cheveley Park Stud, where he continues to occupy the box once belonging to the iconic 19th century champion Isinglass. However, he got 15 of his 30 mares in foal last season, so his story is far from over. Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park Stud’s Managing Director, paid tribute to Pivotal, saying: “The story associated with the ‘Mighty’ Pivotal is truly extraordinary, considering he was the result of the very first covering his sire, Polar Falcon, was given. “Thankfully, as a yearling, it was decided to retain him to race, rather than offer him for sale, as we did with the other yearling colts by Polar Falcon that year. Whilst in the hands of trainer Sir Mark Prescott, Pivotal truly put Cheveley Park Stud on the map, giving owners David and Patricia Thompson their first Group 1 winner in the stud’s famous red, white and blue colours. “Having covered a relatively small book of mares in his first year, his resulting progeny excelled and inspired at all levels, which they have continued to do throughout his career, both domestically and internationally. “On the world stage, Pivotal has excelled as a sire, a sire of sires and as a broodmare sire, to the highest level and all of us at Cheveley Park Stud have been so blessed to have been part of his life for 28 years. “I think Triple Crown winner Isinglass, whose stable Pivotal occupies, would have been very proud and we all wish Pivotal a well-deserved and happy retirement.”




Tributes paid to award-winning racing journalist Paul Haigh


acing journalism lost one of its own in late January with the death of the award-winning Paul Haigh. He was 76. Haigh was perhaps best known as a long-standing writer and columnist for the Racing Post, during which time he was honoured as racing journalist of the year. Born in Aberystwyth on December 31, 1944, to a Russian father and Welsh mother, he came to adopt his stepfather’s surname. He attended four different universities in Australia, Wales and England, and made his name working for editor Michael Harris on the monthly Pacemaker magazine as a left-wing, anti-establishment writer by racing standards. Haigh won specialist columnist of the year for a trade publication in the Magazine Publishing Awards in 1984 and was among the high-profile writers recruited by the Racing Post’s first editor Graham Rock in the autumn of 1985, becoming a founding member of the Post’s staff when the newspaper launched in April 1986. He was to stay with the Post for 23 years, though was on the staff for only the first seven. From the outset Haigh wrote a column two or three times a week – his favourite topics included the Tote monopoly, international racing, Henry Cecil, Kieren Fallon, John McCririck and drugs – until 1993, the year he was named racing journalist of the year at the HWPA Derby Awards. Having decided by then to become freelance, Haigh continued to contribute to the Post until his resignation in 2009. Among his outstanding pieces of work was a Racing Post series – commended at the 2006 British Sportswriter of the Year awards – on drugs in American racing after extensive research aided by trainer Michael Dickinson. Haigh also wrote a number of books, including The Racehorse Trainer, published in 1990 and which included 21 detailed chapters profiling some of the greatest international trainers, ranging from Henry Cecil to Bart Cummings. After leaving the Post, Haigh spent much of his time in the Far East, including a spell working for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. He was a key figure in setting up the Thoroughbred Racing



Paul Haigh meets John Henry at Hollywood Park in 1984 and inset, pictured at Sha Tin in 2010

Commentary (TRC) website in 2013, establishing a network of correspondents in the Far East and Australasia from his base in Kuala Lumpur. During this period, he became friends with Malaysian-born Teo Ah Khing, founder and Chairman of the China Horse Club. “That was typical of Paul,” said TRC editor Chris Smith, who had also been Haigh’s editor at the Racing Post for six years from 2002. “He was such a personable guy, a bit of a likeable rogue, that he often struck up relationships with the people he interviewed. “That was in 2014, when Australia, who was owned by Teo Ah Khing along with Coolmore, was favourite for the Derby. With Paul being based in Kuala Lumpur, where Teo spent a lot of time, it was too good an opportunity to miss. Paul had to work hard to get the interview, but when he did it seems they hit if off immediately, and I believe Paul did some work for the China Horse Club for a while afterwards.” Smith added: “Paul was a complex character. He was brilliant but hopelessly insecure, vain yet passionately selfless, particularly in his political beliefs. And of course he was also wonderful company.” Nicholas Godfrey, also a former colleague at the Racing Post, said: “Even though I always knew Haigh was more of a greybeard than he looked – or generally behaved – it was a terrible shock to learn he had died. “I didn’t know he’d been ill, but we

were on the same team at the Racing Post for two decades. Strangely, after the early years, not many people on the paper would claim to have known him really well as he was never based in the London office. “However, a shared enthusiasm for international racing, shared politics, shared fondness for the odd trifecta and the odd drink ensured we would often find ourselves in similar haunts on the far flung reaches of the global racing scene. “Many a trip abroad was enlivened by Haigh, that incorrigible, irreverent iconoclast. Enormous fun to be around, he especially loved Hong Kong, and the Breeders’ Cup, at least until George ‘Dubya’ Bush took office, and he renounced the US for a bit.” Godfrey added: “Do not be misled, though. Sure, Haigh was one of racing’s wittiest writers, blessed with an unmatchable lightness of phrase when the mood demanded, but underneath a mischievously delinquent demeanour was a proper journalist, more than capable of bringing a fierce intelligence and passion to bear on the most serious of subjects. “Witness his prolonged efforts on the Tote monopoly, or in-depth investigation into rampant drug abuse among America’s ranks of so-called ‘supertrainers’. All that, plus the ludicrous ‘Master Punter’. “You don’t read that sort of thing every day. Except you did when Haigh was in his prime at the Racing Post.”

Stories from the racing world

BHA announces saliva testing for jockeys on racedays

Shadwell ceases racing and breeding operations in Australia Shadwell, one of the world’s powerhouse owner-breeder operations, last month made the shock announcement that it was dispersing its interests in the southern hemisphere. It has been 36 years since At Talaq was dispatched from Europe to Australia on what turned out to be a successful mission to plunder the Melbourne Cup for Hamdan Al Maktoum, since when his famous blue and white silks have been a familiar sight on racecourses down under. That is also true for South Africa, which will be similarly affected by the decision to downsize, following a global review of Shadwell operations. Shadwell’s Racing Manager Angus Gold said: “Sheikh Hamdan has had a long and successful involvement in Australia, initially thanks to his close friendship with Colin Hayes and subsequently with his son David when he took over the licence. “During that time, and from initially small numbers of horses in training, champions such as At Talaq, Almaarad, Zabeel and Jeune [who also won the Melbourne Cup], together with Group 1 winners Azzaam, Fraar, Istidaad, Tawqeet, Rewaaya and Qafila, have raced in his world famous colours. “However, as those who know him will attest, Sheikh Hamdan is very much a ‘hands on’ man who likes to be closely involved with the Shadwell horses, and due to his commitments in the UAE he has not been able to devote as much time as he would like to following the horses in Australia. “As a result, and as part of a global review of the Shadwell operation, it has been decided to wind down its racing and breeding operations in the southern hemisphere over the next few months. “The entire Australian yearling crop will be offered at public auction at the various upcoming sales, with the cream of them going to the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, and the breeding stock will be sold at the Magic Millions

Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell operation remains a major player in Europe

Breeding Stock Sale at the end of May – the horses in training will gradually be dispersed in due course.” Those horses in training have been handled by the Hayes family, though David Hayes decided to return to Hong Kong in 2019, having left there in 2005. Gold continued: “On Sheikh Hamdan’s behalf I would like to thank the extended Hayes family, namely Colin, Peter and David, as well as Tony McEvoy, and latterly Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig together with their excellent staff, for the outstanding job they have done over the years for Sheikh Hamdan and Shadwell. Equally, I would like to pay tribute to Arthur and Harry Mitchell and their team at Yarraman Park for all their hard work in looking after our breeding stock for the last 20 years or so.” Shadwell has been a big supporter of the Australasian yearling market for a number of years and been rewarded with numerous stakes winners both in Australia and South Africa – as well as the horses mentioned above, it has won three runnings of the Blue Diamond with Mahaasin, Nadeem and Reaan, while other recent stakes winners include Enbihaar, Rimraam, Madeenaty, Zamzam and Minhaaj, all of whom will be offered for sale, as well as champions Rafeef, Mustaaqeem, Majmu and Entisaar in South Africa. Gold added: “Although it’s very sad we will no longer be represented on the track in Australia I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sheikh Hamdan for his loyal support of the industry over so many years, and to wish all prospective purchasers [of his stock] the best of luck in the years ahead.”

The British Horseracing Authority has announced the development of a pilot project to test the saliva of jockeys at the races as a method of screening for banned substances. The pilot, which is due to start in the spring, is being developed in conjunction with the Professional Jockeys Association and will use oral swabs to provide a near-instant indication as to whether drugs are present in a rider’s system, above the existing thresholds. Philip Prince became the latest jockey to be banned for taking cocaine and was handed a six-month disqualification in February, having tested positive at Wolverhampton in November. Jockeys that test positive for a banned substance would be prevented from riding that day, as is the case with breathalyser tests for alcohol. Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer for the BHA, said: “This is an exciting and innovative proposal which could have a huge impact on our ability to protect the sport against individuals who are competing while under the influence of prohibited substances. “We hope that the use of on-theday screening, alongside increased testing capacity, will provide a greater deterrent to potential offenders and greater reassurance to riders that they are competing in a safe environment, should the pilot be successful.” Paul Struthers, Professional Jockeys Association Chief Executive, backed the pilot project. He said: “Whilst we will continue to foster an environment where we support those in need without judgment and people feel able to come forward and utilise the help that’s there, it is equally important that we do everything we can to protect all our members. “We need to have a system that discourages poor decision making in the first place, reduces the chance of addiction developing and encourages people to come forward for support at an earlier stage. One aspect of such a system is more testing – the PJA has been calling for more testing of jockeys for several years.” If the pilot project proves successful, British racing would become the first major sport in Britain to utilise on-theday screening for banned substances through oral swabs.




Racing’s news in a nutshell

People and business WellChild

National charity for seriously ill children is the new name associated with the Cheltenham Gold Cup for 2021.

Eddie and Patrick Harty

Father and son become the first trainers in Ireland to share a licence.

Aidan O’Brien

Master of Ballydoyle fined £4,000 after October’s Fillies’ Mile mix-up that saw Snowfall and Mother Earth carry the wrong saddles and jockeys.

Milton Bradley

Trainer of top-class sprinter The Tatling, winner of four Pattern races including the 2004 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, retires aged 86.

Paul D’Arcy

Classic-winning trainer with Indian Haven in the 2003 Irish 2,000 Guineas calls time on career three weeks before his 65th birthday.

Tom Marquand

Ben Cox

Jockey returns to ride in Australia following his successful 2020 stint that produced his first Group 1 winner in Addeybb in the Ranvet Stakes.

Begins new role as the Jockey Club’s Editorial Manager after 20 years with Mark Popham’s Racenews agency.

Kieran O’Neill

Lingfield fall causes the jockey to damage ligaments in his shoulder that will keep him out of action for up to seven weeks.

Cheltenham Festival

Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable sign three-year deal to sponsor the three-mile Grade 1 novices’ chase, replacing RSA Insurance.

People obituaries Robert Armstrong 77

Trained top-class sprinters Moorestyle and Never So Bold plus Mujtahid, Mujadil and Maroof for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Andy Hobbs 58

Lord Vestey 79

Former Chairman of Cheltenham racecourse who owned and bred Stayers’ Hurdle winner Karshi and Group 2 scorer Macadamia.



Pat Hyland 78

Managed Oghill House Stud in County Kildare, which has produced Group 1 winner Marcel and Royal Ascot victor Washington DC.

John ‘Tiny’ Pearson 76

Popular horsebox driver who transported trainer Michael Dickinson’s ‘famous five’ to Cheltenham for the 1983 Gold Cup.

Peadar Matthews 85

Former trainer who was head lad to David Barons when Seagram won the Grand National in 1991.

Won the 1962 Irish St Leger on Arctic Vale and the 1963 Irish 2,000 Guineas on Linacre, both for trainer Paddy Prendergast.

Paul Haigh 76

Pat Buckley 77

Renowned columnist for Pacemaker magazine and the Racing Post, he was named the HWPA’s racing journalist of the year in 1993.

Rode Ayala to win the 1963 Grand National aged 19. He became an integral figure in establishing racing in Oman and Abu Dhabi.

An eye for success

visit studlife online:

March 2021

AND THEY’RE OFF! The covering season got underway once again on Valentine’s Day and our resident stallions – Kameko, Zoustar, Havana Gold and Lightning Spear – are all in for a busy time. Kameko had his first test mare scan in foal a few days earlier and he’ll cover many of Qatar Racing and Tweenhills’ premier mares who raced over seven furlongs plus, whilst Zoustar will again receive lots of high-quality sprinters. Havana Gold – whose biggest crop so far will soon hit the track – and Lightning Spear will also be well supported with our mares, as well as those from many outside breeders. Left: Kameko returns from a cover as Lightning Spear looks on



Also on February 14, the first runner in Japan by Havana Gold became an impressive winner.

Prem Bahadhr Rana

The well-named Golden Syrup – out of Mr Greeley mare Muscovado – had made an encouraging debut at Tokyo for Godolphin last October and returned with dominant victory over 15 rivals.

Security/ Maintenance

Tell us about your early life… I was born in Nepal in 1963 and selected for the Gurkha regiment of the British Army when I was 17. We trained in Hong Kong for 9 months and I then joined the First and Second Battalions. I was in the Army from 1981 to 1994 and spent most of that in Hong Kong bar 3 years in Brunei and a couple of years in the UK – 1989 to 1991 when based in Aldershot. And what about after the Army? I went back to Nepal for 2 years after retiring. In 1996 I went back to Brunei until 2014 – I spent 18 years doing security work for the Sultan. I then returned to Nepal before coming back to England in August 2017 – my children were keen to come to the UK. How did you join Tweenhils? I came here in 2019 – I was doing security work and then the Belstone company helped me get this job. My daughters, Sapana (born 1992) and Salina (1994), and son Suarav (1996) all live in Swindon. I obviously enjoy spending as much time with them as I can – we all like cooking and take it in turns. Thankfully, there is a Nepalese grocery nearby!

Golden Syrup as a foal

We remember Golden Syrup well as he was bred by Hall of Fame Stud and sold by Tweenhills for 52,000gns at the 2018 Tattersalls December Foal Sale to Paca Paca Farm.

WHERE’S CHARLIE? Anyone who knows Charlie Redvers – the eldest of David and Laura’s three children – will know he’s a big fan of tractors and heavy machinery. Charlie is now working full time at Culworth Grounds estate in Banbury and clearly loves it – he was only supposed to be there for the 2019 harvest! Charlie says: “I have the main tractor driving role, which is great. I’m looking forward to driving the Heath bale chaser and all the bales go into making the bedding at Culworth and Tweenhills. “I will stay here until the end of the harvest around October. Then I will either return home or go to New Zealand.” So, if you need any tractor-related tasks completing then Charlie is your man!

Lawrence with a Lightning Spear half-s to recent Gr.2 winner Military Law ister

to a filly by Zoustar Karen showing some love ra out of Stakes winner Duba

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


Racehorse and stallion

Movements and retirements Walk In The Mill

Aintree specialist, dual winner of the Becher Chase for owner Baroness Harding and trainer Robert Walford, is retired aged 11.

Kap Rock

Knockhouse Stud in County Kilkenny recruits half-brother to top jumps sire Kapgarde from Haras de la Hetraie in France. His fee is €2,000.


Outstanding stallion for Cheveley Park Stud is retired from covering duties aged 28 having sired 32 horses that won at the top level.


Talented jumps mare, winner of the Champion Bumper at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, is retired to the paddocks aged eight.


Dual Cheltenham Festival winner for Graham Wylie and Willie Mullins, latterly trained by Sandy Thomson, is retired aged 11 due to injury.

Horse obituaries Orpen 25

Prix Morny victor at two when trained by Aidan O’Brien for Coolmore, he sired 21 top-level winners including War Artist and Vorda.


Winner of the Scottish Champion Hurdle in 2017 for The Rumble Racing Club, Seamus Mullins and Daniel Sansom is retired aged 11.

Powerful Breeze

Six Silver Lane 13


Dundalk specialist, winner of nine races at the all-weather track and 14 races overall. He was bred in Wales by Richard Moses.


Staying chaser, a four-time winner at Cheltenham including back-to-back renewals of the Grade 3 Unibet Handicap Chase, comes out of retirement aged 12 and goes back into training with Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Califet 23

NH sire based at Boardsmill Stud in County Meath, his progeny includes Grade 1 winners Clarcam, Blue Dragon and Cilaos Emery.



High-class filly for Dr Ali Ridha and Hugo Palmer, last seen finishing second to Quadrilateral in the Fillies’ Mile in 2019, is retired aged four.

Nine-year-old son of Danehill Dancer, a Group 2 winner in France as a threeyear-old, moves from Annshoon Stud to Boardsmill Stud. His first crop are yearlings in 2021.

Outstanding Value Sires

E QTIDAAR Invincible Spirit - Madany (Acclamation)

Top-class sprinter

Emphatic winner of the stallion-making Group 1 Commonwealth Cup

Bred in the purple

By a leading sire of sires and a half-brother to Group winners MASSAAT & MUJBAR

First foals 2021

“He’s a good, correct colt with great scope - we’re delighted with him.” Dwayne Woods of Brook Stud on his foal out of Respectable







Jan 1st, SLF

M UHAARAR Oasis Dream - Tahrir (Linamix)

Proven source of two-year-old talent

2020 yielded 20 individual juvenile winners, headed by Classic contenders BARADAR & MUJBAR More than his own sire Oasis Dream, Bated Breath, Cable Bay, Gleneagles, Night Of Thunder and Golden Horn

Strong support

More than 100 juveniles set to run in 2021, including stock out of Confidential Lady, Ghanaati, Liber Nauticus, Ronaldsay, Taghrooda, Tarfasha, Zee Zee Top etc

Jan 1st, SLF

T ASLEET Showcasing - Bird Key (Cadeaux Genereux)

Group 1 sprinter

from the family of BATTAASH

A model of consistency Stakes winner at 2, 3 and 4

First foals made up to 10x his year one fee Buyers included: JC Bloodstock, Margaret O’Toole, Peter & Ross Doyle...

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

Jan 1st, SLF

The Big Picture


Kingwell Hurdle

Gosh, he’s good! Goshen has not enjoyed much luck since unseating Jamie Moore at the final flight in last year’s JCB Triumph Hurdle with the race at his mercy, but he looked revitalised when romping home in the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on February 20. The Gary Moore-trained five-year-old, owned by Steven Packham, took the lead approaching the home turn and simply powered away from his five rivals, crossing the line 22 lengths clear of Song For Someone. Connections of Goshen, who relishes testing ground as befits a son of Authorized, will now be dreaming of Cheltenham Festival glory in the Unibet Champion Hurdle on March 16. Photo Bill Selwyn



The Big Picture


Saudi Cup

Mishriff sensational in Saudi US dirt specialists Charlatan and Knicks Go were fancied to go close in the $20 million Saudi Cup, the world’s richest horserace, in Riyadh on February 20, yet neither could live with the John Gosden-trained Mishriff in the nine-furlong contest. Breaking well from a wide draw, David Egan settled Prince AA Faisal’s Mishriff behind the leaders before chasing down and passing Charlatan inside the final furlong to score by a length. The jockey was later handed a two-day ban and fined £71,000 – 10% of his winnings – for using his whip above the permitted level. Photos Jean Charles Briens


The Howard Wright Column


iguratively speaking, every member of the BHA board and its integrity and regulatory department should have a picture of Viking Hoard as the screen saver on their mobile phone. It will act as a reminder of what can happen if the spend on security is scrimped. The story of Irish trainer Charles Byrnes and the doping of Viking Hoard at Tramore, with the accompanying tale of a gamble by “an individual based in a

distant part of the world… said to be associated with match fixing and associated betting in connection with other sports,” would make the plot of one of those 1940s black and white films that fill the afternoon schedule on an obscure satellite TV channel. All the ingredients were there, even down to the stereotype of a country race meeting in charming old Ireland, with a fast-acting doping substance apparently administered while an



Viking attack highlights overseas threat to racing

Viking Hoard’s trainer Charles Byrnes (right) failed in his appeal against a six-month ban

unsuspecting stable lad was absent, and a betting coup orchestrated through a mysterious foreign agent. It would be funny were it not so serious. The dangers to human and equine life were enormous. Given the size of dose administered to Viking Hoard, the wonder is that he was still on his feet after the fifth flight of hurdles, where his jockey pulled up. A less robust horse might have keeled over long before. The consequences for punters betting on the race in question, oblivious to the fact that the joint fifth favourite had no chance from before the start, were equally damaging, if not necessarily of the same life-threatening nature. The reference to “a distant part of the world” suggests the source of the gamble through a since-closed Betfair white label affiliate was the Far East, which adds pertinence to last month’s publication by the Asian Racing Federation Council on Antiillegal Betting & Related Financial Crime of a handbook for the integrity units of horseracing and other sports. The handbook, which is available on the ARF website, is invaluable, and should be read in conjunction with a subsequent quarterly bulletin that warns of “a noticeable shift of illegal online betting operations away from

Transparency the way forward Among the innovations made by Nick Rust during his tenure as BHA Chief Executive, none has advanced the betterment of communications between central office and participants out in the field more than the online publication of a summary of matters discussed at board meetings. Having promised to improve the BHA’s communications with those at ground-floor level, Rust finally followed the long-time example of the Levy Board by persuading the directors to make public a precis of their agenda from January 2020. Pared down reports from ten meetings have found their way on to the BHA website, rather inconspicuously buried under the link ‘About the BHA board and executive.’ They could be held up to students of PR as perfect examples of how to convey news without giving away any news whatsoever. Nevertheless, their appearance is a step forward and an expression of good intent. Just as illuminating is the fact that the same treatment has been afforded meetings of the Members’ Committee,


which for those unfamiliar with the inner workings of British racing politics is defined as “a tripartite industry committee, responsible for the high-level strategic decisions for the sport.” The Members’ Committee meets three times a year, reports to the BHA board and at the last count comprises five voting members, three non-voting members and four observers, making 12 in all. Except that according to the summary for the latest meeting in November 2020, necessarily carried out via Zoom, the list of observers had swelled to seven while a further 12 people were said to be ‘in attendance.’ As a further thought, aimed at examining what all these people had to contribute, here’s a suggestion for the new BHA Chief Executive – why not allow the general public to attend via Zoom? Unless, of course, someone was frightened of the event turning out like the Handforth Parish Council meeting that went viral last month.

the Philippines and Cambodia to isolated areas in Karen state in Myanmar” and “a risk of a ‘new golden triangle’ of organised crime in the tri-border area of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.” Physically, the UK might be 5,000 miles from this particular activity, but with so much betting conducted via the internet these days, it takes no more than the speed of light to get a piece of the action. Whatever the secret of the details behind the Byrnes case – and they will probably not become public immediately, if at all – Britain is probably not in the direct line of fire, but equally it will not be entirely immune from criminal intent. Thankfully for British sport, and racing in particular, Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, is a member of the ARF council that produced the handbook. He has the findings at his fingertips, and more importantly he should know at first hand the identities of the plotters and personalities. He and his colleagues in the BHA’s regulatory division must be

“Further financial cuts will have to be made but integrity has to be protected” guaranteed the tools to do their job thoroughly. The Byrnes affair shed no great credit on the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, which took over the work previously carried out by the Turf Club and the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee on January 1, 2018, almost ten months before the Viking Hoard case occurred. The inquiry took more than two years to be resolved and its findings unearthed a situation pitted with deficiencies. In this respect at least, the BHA seems to be up to speed. But it has to

Fulfilling horses potential and owners expectations

stay there, and that will cost money. Integrity does not come cheaply, but everything else flows from a successful system in which professionals and public alike can have confidence. The BHA’s budget has been severely dented over the past two years, in 2019 through increased activity, including formation of the Horse Welfare Board and an enigmatic one-off economic inquiry, and then at the hands of the Covid-19 pandemic. The first, resulting in an operating loss that shot up from the anticipated £478,000 to £767,000, was accommodated through reserves; the second was dealt with by way of enforced cuts, government help schemes, an office rent freeze and other assorted measures. Where and when the coronavirus impact will end still remains to be seen. Further financial cuts will almost certainly have to be made before the sport clambers off its knees and gets back on its feet. In the meantime, integrity has to be protected. The BHA cannot afford to have a Viking Hoard on its hands.



I’m looking forward to the coming turf flat season, with one of the best groups of horses I’ve ever had under my care. There is still time for you to join us for 2021!








LATEST STAKES WINNER: Equilateral - Group 2 Meydan Sprint on Thurs 18th Feb

To learn more about our facilities, horses currently for sale and what we can do for you in 2021 please call me - 01488 71548 or visit



The Big Interview


Tom Symonds

Improving six-year-old Song For Someone has been the leading light for the Tom Symonds stable this season

Song in his

HEART A decade into his training career and Tom Symonds is enjoying his best ever season thanks in large part to the exploits of exciting hurdler Song For Someone, ably supported by a cast of promising young horses Words and photos: Carl Evans


ong For Someone is apparently quite happy singing to himself as he walks back down the gallop under his trainer Tom Symonds. The six-year-old can’t croon as we know it, yet he exudes an air of happiness in his own world, one that is full of coquettish little idiosyncrasies, which his trainer takes delight in understanding. “I find it interesting . . .” is a stock phrase for Symonds, who started training in 2011 and has comfortably passed his personal best total of winners and prize-money this season. He lives at Dason Court near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire with his wife Elsa, who is a daughter of trainer Bob Buckler and has a hands-on role across all aspects of the business. The couple are parents to two-year-old son Albert. Getting to know horses and their likes and dislikes is part of the pleasure of training for Symonds, and if Song For Someone has a whim it is indulged. A dual Grade 2 winner over hurdles this season, the gelding’s Unibet Champion Hurdle prospects were dealt a blow when comfortably beaten by Goshen in Wincanton’s Kingwell Hurdle, yet his owners and trainer have not written off a rematch with that rival at the Cheltenham Festival. Reflecting on the Wincanton run,

Symonds says: “He ran alright, and Cheltenham on better ground might suit him better. He was giving Goshen 6lb and he finished 19 lengths ahead of [third-placed] Navajo Pass who was rated 156, so it wasn’t such a bad run. “Aidan [Coleman] let him come home in his own time once it was clear he was going to finish second, so we’re down but not out. It’s a possibility that we fit cheekpieces next time just to get him travelling earlier in a race.”

“He has gained his rating in a progressive way – he hasn’t peaked yet” Song For Someone won over hurdles in France as a three-year-old, but went back to basics after being bought by Sir Peter and Lady Gibbings and sent to Dason Court. Promising efforts at Ludlow and Fakenham were followed by a win at Newbury, then last season he took a big stride forward with a win in the Kingwell Hurdle. In November his seasonal debut resulted in victory in the Grade 2 Coral



The Big Interview ›› Hurdle at Ascot, followed soon after by

a first visit to Cheltenham and a nose victory over Silver Streak in the Grade 2 International Hurdle. After Silver Streak ran away from reigning champion Epatante in Kempton’s Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle, Song For Someone’s place in hurdling’s most exalted race did not look optimistic. Of the victory over Silver Streak, Symonds says: “It was tight, but we gave him a couple of pounds and beat him. I looked at the race as one with good older horses and our younger progressive horse. He has gained his rating in a progressive way, rather than one who has definitely peaked.” Assessing his star performer’s character, Symonds says: “He’s a funny horse that you have to humour. Sometimes I start him at the back of the string and let him pass the others and he loves it. “We don’t work him a lot because he’s the type of horse that would go backward, and we don’t school him a lot or with other horses because I wouldn’t want to put them under such pressure. He’s the fastest horse I’ve seen over a hurdle since Binocular [the 2010 Champion Hurdle winner].” Symonds saw a lot of Binocular and a number of other high-class horses during a six-year stint as assistant to Nicky Henderson.

Tom Symonds and Song For Someone (chestnut) lead the string back from exercise, while below, wife Elsa tends to ten-year-old Bobo Mac, a three-time winner for the yard

Not a Plumpton horse

Back at the yard Symonds gives Song For Someone a nibble of grass before taking him to his stable for a quick sponge off around the saddle and legs The trainer has perfected the body swerve that keeps him and his clothing just out of reach as the chestnut swings his head back for a nip. “You’re a grumpy sod sometimes,” says Symonds, patting the horse and then heading for the door, saying: “He’s about to roll, so get out of his way. If people get in my way in the morning I’m also grumpy. “I don’t like to anthropomorphise horses too much, but they like a routine. We know some horses benefit from a change, but for others if you change something they worry about


Tom Symonds

what’s going on.” Bred in Germany but conceived at Newmarket’s Cheveley Park Stud in a mating between Medicean and the Danehill Dancer mare Sweni Hill, Song For Someone was bought in France. Symonds says: “We heard he was for sale through the agents Claude Charlet and Joffrey Huet, so I drove down to Joel Boisnard’s yard near Senonnes. “I like to see where a horse is stabled, the environment they are living in and the health of them. The horse had shown in races that he could get across a hurdle really impressively, but French hurdles are different from ours. “What is so lovely is that Sir Peter and Louise don’t expect anything – they just hope. So many owners expect

so much. They all want a Cheltenham horse, and so do we, but realistically you are more likely to buy a Plumpton

“There was no falling out with David Dennis, he just decided to leave” horse. Cheltenham horses are made, not bought.” Several multiple winners have

emerged from Dason Court this season, including Mr Washington and Innisfree Lad who both won four races, although the last-named horse has since left the yard. Llandinabo Lad is a dual winner whose rating of 141 is second only to that of Song For Someone. Symonds says: “He was bred by my father, Peter, and is owned by Celia and Michael Baker who live just up the road. I don’t know what went wrong [in a Grade 2 hurdle] at Haydock [when last of five], but he has already done far more than we could ever have imagined. He went there as favourite so we were right to try it, but perhaps he had a harder race than we realised on his previous start.” Symonds says one or two other



The Big Interview

Tom Symonds

Tom Symonds on... Starting up

Symonds believes good communication is vital with his band of owners

›› possible runners in handicaps at

Cheltenham have run out of time, with the very wet winter and abandoned meetings proving unhelpful. He says: “Table Mountain is a nice young horse [rated 91 on the Flat] who was third on her first hurdling start at Kempton then fourth at Hereford. She has a future over longer distances. “Hystery Bere was second at Sandown then scored easily at Fontwell after coming here from France and will make a lovely chaser. “Moriko De Vassy and Hidor De Bersy are bumper horses who show the right signs.”

A brief encounter

While every yard experiences horses and staff members coming and going, a recent stay at Dason Court by former trainer David Dennis was successful but short-lived. In midsummer last year, Dennis moved from a yard in Worcestershire with a group of some 16 horses that were to be trained under Symonds’ licence. In hindsight it could be said that a number were fortuitously handicapped, but winners flowed, reflecting well on Tom and Elsa, their staff and facilities, and also on Dennis and his supportive owners. However, in January the association ended when Dennis moved again, taking all but one horse to the yard run by Matt Sheppard. Dennis explains: “There was no falling out and I enjoyed my time at Dason Court. I approached Tom but was keen to continue my involvement with the horses under my care. I knew


“Dad bought this place from [former trainer] John Edwards in order to farm the land, but the stables and barns were here. While I was very happy working at Seven Barrows it was always a case of when do I go home and do something there. I gave Nicky a year’s notice, and in that final year Long Run, who I rode at home, won the Gold Cup – it was never going to get better than that. “From being involved in all those quality horses at Nicky’s I started here and was suddenly dealing with horses that had been conceived after a stallion jumped out of a field. It was a good reality check. “I find it interesting. The whole procedure of getting a yard off the ground. It doesn’t happen every day or overnight. Training is about managing expectations.”


“We have a mix of mares, largely owned in partnership between Scarlett Knipe [Cobhall Court Stud], Simon Davies, who is an owner in our yard, and myself. “Simon owns Planteur, the stallion who stands at Chapel Stud. He wanted a hobby away from his work and felt there was an opportunity to stand a stallion successfully if some imagination was used. It took everyone ten years to work out that Kayf Tara was something special. “You have to be commercial, but I have this view that the stallion will make it if they are good enough. With luck we can establish families that prove successful. Alan King managed it with the Holmeses [David and Kathleen] of Pitchall Farm Stud and their stallion Midnight Legend. Alan assisted David Nicholson who trained Midnight Legend and

their history, what they were capable of, and the results we achieved were very good. “[By January] I felt the time was right to move on and wanted to stay in the area because my daughter is at school locally. I’ve known Matt and Nicki Sheppard a long time, asked if they had room for the horses and they said yes.” Asked to summarise the situation,

subsequently he has trained lots of winners by the sire. “I really enjoyed working for James Fanshawe and he had horses in his yard who came from families he had trained. He would have an understanding of a horse by knowing what its mother or grandmother were like.”


“I haven’t had a lot of time for running lately, apart from chasing my tail, and I’ve only tackled one marathon. “When I worked for Nicky I ran a lot, and loved running over the gallops getting to know the gradients. One year Ben Pauling was going to do the London Marathon but had to pull out and asked if I would replace him. I went to a 21st birthday the night before, which wasn’t ideal, but the experience of the race was amazing. I came 138th in 2hrs 38mins [astonishingly quick for a first-timer off an unprofessional prep]. “It’s good to leave the phone at home and go off for a run but lately I seem to spend more time on the gallops in a tractor rather than running.”


“Reading and running are good for combatting stress, but otherwise just take a deep breath. A bad day for a trainer is telling an owner their horse won’t run for a year. A bad day for a doctor is telling a patient they won’t live for a year. We all need that sort of perspective. “When owners first come here, I ask them how they would like me to communicate. With some I send a text saying ‘I have some news’, which means they can call me back when it suits them. That is the best way to do it when it’s bad news.”

Symonds says: “He wanted to come, he wanted to go. It’s as simple as that. There was no falling out, he just decided he wanted to leave. The haste was strange and the staff here were sad to see some lovely horses go.” Symonds may now have some boxes to fill at Dason Court, but the winners and placed horses keep coming and should ensure they don’t stay empty for long.

Al Kazeem TOB-March 2021:Oakgrove Stud

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




Page 1

Al Kazeem


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

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

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

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

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

Martin St Quinton


FIGHTER All sports have been hit hard by Covid-19, with crowds kept away and revenues decimated across the board. For Martin St Quinton, Chairman of both Cheltenham Racecourse and Gloucester Rugby, it’s been a busy 12 months in the virtual boardroom


’m taking over as Chairman of an already well-oiled machine.” So chirped Martin St Quinton in 2019, having succeeded Robert WaleyCohen in that role on the Cheltenham Racecourse Committee after serving what he thought was an ideal ‘apprenticeship’ following a year shadowing his predecessor. Just a few months later, coronavirus began its global assault and changed the landscape overnight. Suddenly all bets were off. St Quinton, 62, who is also Chairman of Gloucester Rugby, is philosophical about the difficulties he has faced professionally over the past year, mindful of the impact Covid-19 has had on the rest of society. Zoom has been his friend – or at least a constant companion – after the pandemic hit, since when he has helped to sail two sporting ships through the choppiest of waters. He says: “2020 has been easily the most challenging year of my life by miles. It was – and still is – a baptism of fire.

My timing wasn’t good! However, there’s still plenty of people a lot worse off with much bigger problems. “I was on the board for a year before becoming Chairman, shadowing Robert [Waley-Cohen]. I thought I’d seen all I needed to see and was really looking forward to taking over. Cheltenham has weathered a number of storms in its illustrious history – foot and mouth, high winds, cancelled days – but nothing in the post-war period compares to coronavirus. “Cheltenham has not been as badly affected as some tracks as we have reasonable insurance cover for lost racing/ crowds. Losses across the industry are estimated to be around £300 million and counting. Obviously betting shops are still closed [due to reopen on April 12] and that has damaged the levy. “We have to deal with these business challenges as best we can and I think the industry has responded extremely well. Racing has been known for its rival factions but during the past year I have noticed a much greater appreciation of

“It has been a baptism of fire – the most challenging year of my life”



Words: Edward Rosenthal

everyone’s difficulties and recognition that working together brings much greater results and benefits. “I would say rugby is in a much worse place than horseracing. Racing receives income from TV/pictures and betting. Rugby gets a modest amount from TV and absolutely nothing from betting; it’s totally dependent on attendances. “Financially, rugby is on its knees. Both sports are struggling but racing is in the recovery suite while rugby is still in intensive care.” The recent news that spectators will be

Martin St Quinton at Cheltenham’s November meeting in 2019, the year he took over as Chairman of the Racecourse Committee

allowed back to sporting arenas from May 17, albeit in limited numbers, as part of the government’s staged roadmap out of lockdown has brought significant cheer to the sector and country. While the timeframe won’t allow for the usual throng to descend on this month’s Cheltenham Festival – perhaps a blessing in disguise following the negative headlines that followed last year’s gathering, despite the event taking place with the government’s approval – it means future events can be planned with a degree of certainty.

As St Quinton looks forward to welcoming back paying customers – “we’re hoping for normal crowds from the start of next season in racing and rugby” – he is delighted to support terrestrial television coverage and indeed sees the current situation as a unique opportunity to broaden racing’s fanbase while so many people are working from home. “We can put on a fantastic TV Festival; that’s our focus,” he explains. “ITV has done a spectacular job of really bringing racing to life and making it more understandable to a wider audience. It’s

been innovative and introduced new ideas for coverage. “Racing has an enormous television audience who are thoroughly enjoying it. I think watching football and rugby without crowds is a pretty miserable TV experience, whereas horseracing is a very good TV product. You don’t need huge crowd noise. I watched the King George with my two sons and we were all enthralled, just as much as when Desert Orchid or Kauto Star won the race. It didn’t matter that there were no fans at Kempton.”




St Quinton continues: “We have three distinct TV audiences. The first is the people who usually watch the Festival on television. Then there are the people who would normally go to Cheltenham but will now be glued to their TV. The third group is the most interesting – the people who will watch the Festival because it’s live sport on TV. That’s the group we want to capture and convert to regular racing viewers or to go racing in future. “If you add them all together it’s very exciting. I hope we can entertain a lot of sports fans that tune in over the four days and are perhaps underwhelmed by the other sports they are currently watching.” The course executive has previously discussed extending the Festival to five days. While not viable in 2021, it’s a topic that is sure to be back on the agenda ahead of next season. St Quinton says: “At the moment our focus is to put on the best possible show we can to make it a fantastic TV Festival, with all the Irish runners competing – it wouldn’t be the Festival without Irish participation. Then we’ll put our minds to 2022 and trying to get back to normality with a quarter of a million people coming to Prestbury Park. “I wouldn’t rule anything out in future. Sport is capable of adapting. Look at rugby – there was talk of having the British and Irish Lions tour playing in Britain and Ireland, which would have been unthinkable pre-Covid. That’s the broadminded, outside the box thinking that this virus has given rise to.” Cheltenham’s broadminded approach extends to sponsors and partners at a time when businesses are forbidden from entertaining clients at the races. WellChild, the children’s charity, is the new name associated with the Cheltenham Gold Cup while Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable (sponsoring the race formerly known as the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase) and McCoy Contractors (new backer of the County Hurdle) have been signed up in recent weeks. “Cheltenham is fortunate that the Festival is such an iconic event and there is still a pretty big appetite out there for companies that want to be associated with it,” St Quinton says. “The attendance over the four days is a quarter of a million, it has a huge TV audience and there is a big narrative leading up to the Festival. “Some companies did extraordinarily well in 2020. You probably wouldn’t be looking for sponsorship from the hospitality sector, pubs, restaurants or airlines. But you could talk to technology or pharmaceutical companies.



Martin St Quinton

Monkerhostin (right): talented and popular chaser won 11 races for Martin St Quinton

“Our focus is to put on the best possible show we can for the TV audience” “We need to focus our efforts on organisations that have adapted or are doing well. Sponsorship is a challenge at the moment but for the premium end of the market – the Festival, Grand National meeting or Epsom Derby – it is still attractive to sponsors.” Potential sponsors aside, the Cheltenham Festival is also the meeting at which most National Hunt owners would love to have a winner, something St Quinton knows only too well, having hit the bulls-eye three times with Coulton (1995 Cathcart Chase), Urubande (1996 Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle, now the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle) and Monkerhostin (2004 Coral Cup). The last-named was a grand campaigner and the runner undoubtedly most associated with his owner’s yellow and pink silks. Pileon, owned in partnership with Tim Syder, came agonisingly close to making it four Festival winners last year, going down by a short-head to Indefatigable in the closing race, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle. St Quinton, who has an interest in five horses in training, says: “It was pretty heart-breaking to be beaten in a photo

finish. Pileon is recovering from kissing spines. He might try again this year. “Coulton was very special. He won his first race in 1991 and was still winning nine years later aged 13. He was an amazing horse.” Of Monkerhostin, who was also winning as a teenager, having amassed over £600,000 during his long career, he says: “‘Monky’ was so redoubtable and game. He won between two miles up to three miles and five furlongs in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. He was a favourite and the public really took to him. “We love to get to see these horses year after year. That’s the thrill of National Hunt racing. And the horse is nearly always associated with a jockey – for example, you cannot imagine Frodon without Bryony [Frost].” St Quinton, who was born in Hull but grew up in east Yorkshire and fell in love with racing after being taken to the track every Saturday by his father, made his mark in the business world through The Saint Group, a private office equipment company later sold to Danka, for whom he worked for seven years. His tenure at Danka saw sales of photocopying equipment exceed £1 billion. He later established telecoms firm Azzurri Communications, sold to the Prudential Group for £180 million in 2006, winning an award for entrepreneurship along the way. Sporting commitments mean St Quinton no longer has the time for fulltime executive positions. It is something both Cheltenham Racecourse and Gloucester Rugby will be grateful for as they look to recover from the nightmare of the pandemic.

WDC TOB March 2021:Layout 2




Page 1

Rated 121 by Timeform

Why travel? Walk in!

ZOFFANY’S only son at stud

G By ZOFFANY - who sired more than 140 winners in 2020, 37 of them 2yos including Group 1 winner Thunder Moon, one of his 26 black type horses that season. G First 7 foals to sell realised prices of 58,000gns, 35,000gns etc.

G Use a British Stallion for a chance to WIN £20,000 in the Great British Bonus Scheme For full details of the Great British Bonus Scheme visit

Fee: £4,500 Oct 1st SLF Tel: 07974 948755 or 01630 647197 G

Fellow Breeder, As I am sure you are aware we are home to Ask and Mountain High, two of the UK’s leading National Hunt sires and with decisions to be made regarding covering plans, I would like to take this opportunity to confirm the various options offered by Dunraven Stud. Both their pedigrees speak for themselves, Ask being by the sire of sire’s, Sadler’s Wells with Mountain High a product of the world renowned Ballymacoll Stud and provides a unique opportunity to move into some of the most historic and proven breeding lines currently available and arguably giving NH breeders the best outcross for Sadler’s Wells dam lines. Performance wise they are both multiple winners at the highest levels over their racing careers, both retiring sound and perhaps more importantly results on the racecourse clearly indicate their prowess in the breeding sheds with a large number of winners already on the board from limited crops to date, backed up by some pleasing sales statistics with progeny recently making £140,000 through the ring. In terms of fees for the coming season, I very much appreciate that bearing in mind the events of 2020, breeders need to keep costs under control although I firmly believe that as an industry we should look at the many high’s and successes within the breeding and sales market over the past decade and to take a positive approach to the future. Therefore, along with keep charges, which we have priced at a level much lower than our competitors, I feel that the Dunraven Stud package makes great sense for commercial breeders. I am happy to work with breeders and their budgets to make breeding plans work for you, especially in terms of finances. Therefore, I propose that Ask will stand at the highly competitive fee of £1500 plus vat, 1st October terms, whilst anybody interested in using Mountain High I will consider any coverings on a mare by mare basis. As always, you are more than welcome to visit the farm, inspect the stallions and see for yourself our facilities first hand. We encourage owners to come to the stud on a regular basis at a time which is convenient to you, not necessarily us, obviously in line with the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions. On the stud itself, we constantly strive to keep our facilities amongst the best and this year has been no different. Speaking with breeders it has been a perception that location is an issue. However after making the trip to South Wales, owners can’t believe how easy it is to find us, literally 5 minutes off the M4 motorway. I can honestly say we are probably the most conveniently situated stud farm in the UK, plus we have our own transport that can be used to pick up and deliver your mares and foals. That just leaves me to wish you and your family good health in these unusual times, and a very productive and prosperous covering and foaling season. Best Wishes

David Brace OBE Owner – Dunraven Stud MOUNTAIN HIGH Danehill ex Hellenic by Darshaan

ASK Sadler’s Wells ex Request by Rainbow Quest

Tel: 01656 742 313 Email: Web: Dunraven Stud, Llanmihangel Farm, Pyle, Bridgend, South Wales, CF33 6RL. (Conveniently situated on the M4 corridor)

Jumps sires special

Turning of THE TIDE

The proven guard among the jumps sire ranks continues to shift but thankfully there is plenty of younger talent for breeders to choose from in 2021 Words: Nancy Sexton


glance at the current leading jumps sires’ list reveals a familiar issue. Of the top 20 horses, only seven remain in service. At the time of writing, they are led by 20-year-old Yeats and possess an average age of 19. They are also each Irish-based. With regards to the British scene, the notion that Kayf Tara’s retirement last summer marked the end of an era is no exaggeration. For the best part of two decades, he has assumed an essential role in the promotion of British jumps breeding at Overbury Stud, his standing great enough to attract appreciation on both sides of the Irish Sea. However, all good things must come to an end and the announcement of Kayf Tara’s retirement last July at the Flag Of Honour: Irish St Leger winner boasts excellent credentials

grand age of 26 was not greeted with surprise. It also made the search for a horse to fill the void suddenly all the more urgent. There are no shortage of passionate supporters within the British jumps community and for that look no further than the recent additions of horses such as Masterstroke, Scalo, Planteur, Axxos and Arrigo not to mention the enthusiasm behind the potential of Telescope, Frontiersman and Dartmouth among others. At the time of writing, the leading active British-based sire is Shade Oak Stud’s 19-year-old Scorpion. Best known as the sire of Might Bite, the son of Montjeu hit Grade 1 heights again last season thanks to Riders Onthe Storm. When it comes to filling the void left by Kayf Tara, however, youth will naturally be a driving element and for that many will be hoping that some of the younger horses coming through – those aged 15 and under – will develop into weighty influences.


Faith placed in Galileo

Stallion masters and breeders have wasted no time in placing their faith in the Galileo line; obviously his place as the outstanding stallion of our time puts him at a natural advantage as does his ability to consistently throw tough, sound and genuine stock. Last year, sons of Galileo aimed at a dual-purpose audience covered close to 1,500 mares between them. Several, such as the Coolmore pair of Soldier Of Fortune and Mahler, are established sources of talent while others, among them Shantaram and El Salvador, offer early promise. However, the fact remains that the majority are unproven.

The British-based selection includes Irish St Leger winners Flag Of Honour (the National Stud) and older Sans Frontieres (Vauterhill Stud). Group 2 winner Telescope resides at Shade Oak Stud while Sun Central, a Listed-winning half-brother to George Washington and Grandera, is part of a progressive roster under the Elusive Bloodstock banner at Hundred Acre Farm. Forever Now, a Listed-winning brother to Shantaram, stands at Norton Grove Stud. Flag Of Honour, whose first crop are foals, was classy enough to defeat Latrobe in his renewal of the Irish St Leger, having also won the Eyrefield Stakes at two. A classy first book of mares included the dams of Grade 3 winners Stoney Mountain and Hawk High. “There is the one foal on the ground so far and he looks to have plenty of size and scope, so we’re very pleased,” says Tim Lane, Stud Director of the National Stud. “Flag Of Honour is a beautiful horse with lots of action. His book for this year is starting to get going now and we’ll have some nice mares to cover with him.”

“Jack Hobbs is a big horse and good-looking with a great disposition” In terms of anticipation, few can match the hopes held for Telescope. As a Group 1 performer whose five victories included a seven-length defeat of Hillstar in the Hardwicke Stakes, his retirement to Shade Oak Stud for the 2016 season was seen as something of a coup for the jumps industry and breeders have responded enthusiastically by sending him a series of six-figure books to give him every chance.

Exciting times at Overbury

It is very possible that Britain’s successor to Kayf Tara, however, lurks within the same Overbury stallion yard. For starters, Jack Hobbs was a brilliant middle-distance performer on his day, as illustrated by dominant wins in the Irish Derby and Dubai



Hillstar: Group 1 winner offers access to the increasingly popular Danehill Dancer line

›› Sheema Classic. A horse with a sizeable

presence to him, the son of Halling is another to have covered good books throughout his stud career. “He’s a big horse and good-looking with a great disposition,” says Simon Sweeting of Overbury Stud. “He’s covered a good number of elite mares and people are also liking the foals – plenty are happy enough to keep coming back.” While Jack Hobbs’ first crop have just turned two, Frontiersman sits a year behind with first yearlings. The son of Dubawi boasts the allure of being out of champion Ouija Board and therefore a half-brother to Australia. However, he was talented enough in his own right to win four races and run second in the Coronation Cup. In a testament to his durability, he also overcame a host of issues, notably an eye infection that almost robbed him of the sight in one eye and two bouts of colic. “We’re really happy with the Frontiersman foals,” says Sweeting. “This time last year we were pretty quiet with bookings for him and then the foals started to arrive and off the back of that he ended up with over 100 mares. From what I saw myself, I sent the dam of Thyme Hill.” Overbury’s roster is rounded out by the popular veteran Schiaparelli, who enjoyed something of a personal best last season as the sire of Ronald Pump and Indefatigable. The enthusiasm behind Frontiersman

adds further fuel to the belief that Dubawi could develop into an important element within this sphere. Dual Group 2 winner Universal (Groomsbridge Stud), a proven stakes producer on the Flat, was one of the first to retire to stud. Since then, the list has also come to include Hardwicke and Yorkshire Cup winner Dartmouth. The early omens appear positive for that horse, with half of his foals to sell realising in excess of €20,000 and his book rising by over 20% to close to 80 mares in 2020. Like Telescope, he is in place to herald an interesting few years for Shade Oak Stud, also home to Recharge, a Group 1-placed son of Cape Cross.

Yorton welcomes Arrigo

British jumps breeding has also gained much in recent years from the drive behind Yorton Farm Stud. Now well established as a premier nursery, not to mention a successful sales arena on behalf of Goffs UK, the stud jumped into 2021 with a roster of six stallions. Three, including Easysland’s 18-year-old sire Gentlewave, represent the ever popular Monsun line, while another veteran,

Dartmouth: first foals have been well received


Linda’s Lad, is a son of Sadler’s Wells himself. A younger son of Monsun, Masterstroke, joined the farm from France for 2020 with a promising dual-purpose start behind him, notably as the sire of Grade 3-winning hurdler Floridee. Better was to come last year when he was represented by Miss Extra, a Group 2 winner on the Flat, and with that in mind, Masterstroke is going some way to living up to a profile that consists of a Group 1 race record and outstanding connections as a grandson of Urban Sea. It is that Urban Sea family of Allegretta that also sits behind Yorton’s new addition Arrigo, the only son of Shirocco at stud. A German Group 2 winner, Arrigo joins Yorton following stints in France and Germany and his eldest crop are four-year-olds. Yorton’s addition of German Group 1 winner Scalo for 2020 also provided breeders with the option of a dualpurpose horse with a Group 1 stud record, courtesy of the 2019 German Derby hero Laccario. In addition, plenty of opportunity has been afforded to Coronation Cup winner Pether’s Moon, with Yorton going as far as to send some of his early stock to be trained in France. The move is already paying off via his first-crop daughter Anneloralas, a Yorton-bred who struck at Auteuil in October before two placings in black-type company. Similarly, Elusive Bloodstock is on an upward curve with the recent additions of French 2,000 Guineas victor Falco and Group 2 winner Axxos. Falco was already a Group 1 sire under both codes – courtesy of Odeliz and Peace And Co – at the time of his purchase. However, his arrival from France also coincided with the




Jumps sires special

Shade Oak Stud OB Mar 2021 f-p_Shade Oak Stud OB Mar 2020 f-p 24/02/2021 08:27 Page 1

DARTMOUTH 16.1 h.h

By DUBAWI – GALATEE by GALILEO A tremendously tough, game and sound racehorse who won every year from 2 to 5 from 1 mile to 1¾ miles including the Hardwick S (beating HIGHLAND REEL), the Yorkshire Cup (beating SIMPLE VERSE), the Ormond S (beating WICKLOW BRAVE). A pure breeding bay whose determination to win will be a major asset to NH breeders and producing foals that are strong, athletic and with exceptional limbs. First foals realised €35,000, €24,000 and €18,000. A sire with a super nature and a wonderful temperament.

Stud Fee:


£2,500 (1st Oct terms)


16.11⁄2 h.h

The leading active jump sire in GB. Sire of the winners of over 4 million and four Grade 1 winners. Including top chasers MIGHT BITE and RIDERS ON THE STORM and recent Cheltenham listed NHF winner ISHKHARA LADY. A beautiful classy looking horse who won three Group 1 races including the St Leger, Coronation Cup and Grand Prix de Paris. Sire lines of MONTJEU and ALLEGED with the family of our 3 time Champion Sire ALFLORA. He is a proven stallion with the proof on the racecourse and the price won’t sting! Stud Fee:

TELESCOPE 16.11⁄2 h.h

£3,000 (1st Oct terms)

By GALILEO – VELOUETTE by DARSHAAN The most exciting horse to retire to a British NH stud for many years, with a truly outstanding potential as a NH / DP sire. A brilliant racehorse with a fabulous pedigree, great looks and a wonderful walk. Over 700 mares covered to date and over 150 TBA Elite mares. His offspring have realised prices of €47,000, £40,000, €34,000, €32,000, €31,000, €30,000, €28,000, €25,000, €24,000, etc. A truly great and impressive foundation giving him an unrivalled opportunity to succeed. ‘To look for future stars use a Telescope’. Stud Fee:

£3,000 (1st Oct terms)

Contact: PETER HOCKENHULL • Tel: (01939) 270235 • Mobile: 07740 257547 E-mail: • Website:

Frontiersman: stands at Overbury Stud

›› emergence of Hitman, a novice chaser

of Grade 1 potential for Paul Nicholls. As for Axxos, the son of Monsun joins Elusive Bloodstock having sired useful jumpers Calett Mad, Dame Du Soir and Earlofthecotswolds from his earlier stint in France. Other proven sires within the lower price bracket include Top Trip, a highclass staying son of Dubai Destination. The sire of recent Listed-winning four-year-old Le Petit Nice, he stands at Vauterhill Stud alongside Sans Frontieres and Group 1 winner Cannock Chase, who was off the mark with his first two-year-olds last year. Meanwhile, an interesting roster at Batsford Stud includes Dashel Drasher’s sire Passing Glance and St Leger winner Harbour Law, whose first crop are yearlings. Yorgunnabelucky (Mickley Stud), a brother to Shamardal, already has a French Listed-winning hurdler to his credit in Fortunes Melody while it will be interesting to see how Frammassone (Peel Hall Stud) fares as time goes on. Based in Ireland until last year, he offers something different as a dual winner on the Flat at two and triple Grade 1 winner over jumps.

Irish aces

It is Ireland, though, that continues to hold the aces, with the majority of the current top 20 active sires Irish-based led by Coolmore’s Yeats (Castlehyde Stud), who has already surpassed £1 million in earnings for the season. Yet Yeats is now 20 while others such as Getaway, Westerner, Court Cave and Shirocco are also reaching the veteran stages of their stud careers.


By the very nature of the beast, it takes time for jumps stallions to develop a profile, meaning that quite often they are entering the twilight of their stud career by the time their full merits are appreciated. The Coolmore pair of Soldier Of Fortune (The Beeches Stud) and Walk In The Park (Grange Stud) are other examples; 17-year-old Soldier Of Fortune, the sire of Grade 1-winning hurdler Mega Fortune out of his early French runners, has consistently covered books in the region of 200 mares since his arrival to Ireland in 2016 as has 18-year-old Walk In The Park, who found fame as the sire of Douvan and Min and is akin to catnip in the sales ring as a result. But what of the younger horses? The name on many lips is Arctic Tack Stud’s Jet Away, a Cape Cross relation to Dansili who was a Listed winner during his time with Sir Henry Cecil and a Group 3 winner in Australia. Although his first crop are only five, Jet Away has made an immediate impact as the sire of promising bumper mares Brandy Love and Hollymount, who changed hands for £200,000 and £300,000 respectively following their debut scores. Another representative is Donald McCain’s exciting hurdler Dreams Of Home. “Jet Away was a classy and very tough racehorse,” says Eoin Banville of Arctic Tack Stud. “But I have to admit it was his pedigree that was most attractive to me. “He is owned in partnership with Douglas Taylor, who bought him from Juddmonte at Tattersalls and campaigned him with great success in Australia. Thankfully, he chose to send him here to stand and

Order Of St George: first foals sold for up to €90,000 last year

to be fair to him his support in the horse has been a large part of his success. “He is a big, good-looking horse with great presence and attitude, and it’s this attitude that seems to be very prevalent in his stock. “I was getting good feedback early on from the pointing yards, so I was very hopeful something might happen. But even so, his start has been very exciting.” Jet Away covered close to 300 mares last year and will be strongly supported again in 2021 with a book that includes top hurdler Laurina. Also on Arctic Tack’s roster is Ol’ Man River, whose first crop are threeyear-olds. Sold for a sale-topping €2.85 million as a yearling, Ol’ Man River won the Beresford Stakes at two and boasts excellent connections as a Montjeu son of Classic-winning miler Finsceal Beo. “From what I have seen and done with his first crop, I’m more than happy with them,” says Banville. “They have plenty of size and scope with good attitudes.” Ol’ Man River is one of two sons of Finsceal Beo at stud alongside the Galileo horse Finsceal Fior (Green Hills Stud), who has been represented by winners under both codes. Like Jet Away, Coolmore’s Maxios (Castlehyde Stud) is a young horse starting to make serious headway over jumps, with his early Germanbred crops highlighted by top juvenile hurdler Quilixios and Fred Winter Hurdle scorer Aramax. Jumps breeders would appear




Jumps sires special



Val Royal x Factice (Known Fact)

Alhaarth x Al Bahathri (Blushing Groom)

Fee: £1,000

Fee: £2,000

1st Oct. Terms (LF)

1st Oct. Terms (LF)

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

A Consistent Sire of Stakes winners under both codes



Lawman x Abunai (Pivotal)

Polar Falcon x Spurned (Robellino)

40% Lifetime Winners/Runners on the Flat

Fee: £2,000

Fee: £3,000

1st Oct. Terms (LF)

1st Oct. Terms (LFFR)

Classic Champion 3yo Stayer By LAWMAN a Multiple Classic Sire


65% Win or Placed runners on the flat 63% Won or placed from NH Runners


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

Jumps sires special covered over 270 mares in his first season at Castlehyde Stud last year. As in Britain, the Monsun bandwagon forms an important part of the Irish jumps breeding fabric and Maxios is one of three sons on the Coolmore roster. Group 2 winner Ocovango (The Beeches Stud) boasts Listed-winning hurdler Langer Dan alongside a clutch of promising winning pointers, including Gordon Elliott’s pricey acquisition Glenglass, while there should be a warm welcome for new recruit Vadamos (Grange Stud). Overall, however, there is unsurprisingly an emphasis on Sadler’s Wells within Coolmore’s brigade of younger jumps sires. As a Classic and Gold Cup-winning son of Montjeu, Leading Light (Grange Stud) possesses a profile not too dissimilar to Fame And Glory and his first crop are now making some headway in the pointing field, notably Kilbarry Leader, who sold for £75,000 following her success in a point at Dromahane. Derby hero Wings Of Eagles (The Beeches Stud), a grandson of Montjeu, has been well received in the two seasons since his arrival in France as the recipient of over 430 mares. He is now fully integrated as a jumps sire yet it was still good to see his Flat-bred yearlings sell for up to €60,000 last year. It is Galileo, though, who holds the strongest hand. The bulk of his sons are unproven and comprise of champion stayer Order Of St George (Castlehyde Stud), something of a buzz horse whose


›› to think he’s the real deal, given he

Maxios: early Flat-bred crops include recent Grade 1-winning novice hurdler Quilixios

first foals sold for up to €90,000 last year, a pair of St Leger winners in Kew Gardens (Castlehyde Stud) and Capri (Grange Stud), and Highland Reel’s Group 2-winning brother Idaho (The Beeches Stud). All have been well

“Jet Away has made an immediate impact” received by breeders so far. Outside of Coolmore, the Galileo list includes a pair of Bahrain Trophy winners in Shantaram (Coolagown Stud), whose first crop are hitting the track now, and Feel Like Dancing

(Whytemount Stud), who is off the mark with his first runners in France. Among the others, El Salvador, a seven-time winner whose first crop includes the well-regarded winning pointer Greenrock Abbey, stands at Killack Stud, Group 3 winner Quest For Peace is based at Knockmullen House Stud, classy stayer Mizzou is at Old Road Stud and Frankel’s brother Proconsul is based at Annshoon Stud. The latter stands alongside the proven German Derby hero Kamsin. Meanwhile, Frankel’s older halfbrother Bullet Train (Woodfield Farm Stud) is already a stakes sire under both codes from his time in Kentucky and Australia. One step removed from Galileo as a son of New Approach is the Derby runner-up Libertarian (Knockhouse Stud). Another whose first crop have turned five, he is well worth keeping

Warm welcome for Chapel Stud’s exciting new recruit Planteur The British scene has gained a welcome boost with the addition of Prix Ganay winner Planteur to Chapel Stud in Worcestershire. Formerly based at Haras de Bouquetot in France, Planteur was already a stakes producer under both codes when purchased by Simon Davies last summer. However, further rewards were forthcoming not long after when Trueshan, a member of his first crop, romped to victory in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot. The son of Danehill Dancer also boasts a burgeoning jumps profile that includes Grade 2 winner Edidindo and Prix Wild Risk scorer Henry Brulard. It’s an appealing package for a horse


priced at £3,000, especially in light of the fact that his first crop are still only six. “I was thrilled to be asked to stand Planteur by Simon Davies,” says Roisin Close of Chapel Stud. “But I can’t take any of the credit for sourcing such a top-class prospect – that is down to Simon Davies and Richard Venn. “Planteur ticks all the boxes on paper. He is a very well-topped horse with lovely, correct limbs and good bone, and tonnes of quality and athleticism.” Also working in Planteur’s favour is his pedigree as a Wildenstein-bred halfbrother to the dam of champion Persian King. Close adds: “It is one thing to find a

great performer with a top-class and improving pedigree but to find one who is also producing the goods on the track is another. Planteur is improving the mares bred to him, boasts a 52% winners-to-runners ratio and has sired Group 2 winners on the Flat and over hurdles. “We are delighted with how he has been received. Simon has a select band of mares to visit him and he will cover plenty from some of the best jumps breeders in Britain and Ireland.” Elite mares already booked into Planteur include the dam of Henry Brulard alongside siblings to Laurina, Many Clouds, Ar Mad, Calett Mad and The Tullow Tank.





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Jumps sires special ›› an eye on given his select first crop

Seeing stars

includes the highly-tried Holymacapony. Teofilo is also represented by an interesting young candidate in Austrian School (Clongiffen Stud). He was a tough five-time winner but boasts the added allure of being a half-brother to Tiger Roll. His first crop are foals this year.

If there is a belief of a rising tide behind Galileo in the jumps world, then the same must be said of his half-brother Sea The Stars. For starters, his first son to stud, the classy Flat sire Sea The Moon, is already responsible for top novice chaser Allmankind. Among the dual-purpose

representatives, Crystal Ocean (The Beeches Stud) is the most the exciting as an excellent middle-distance talent who won the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and ran Enable to a neck in the 2019 King George. His debut book of 270 mares consisted of several high-quality jumpers and producers in addition to a smattering of those belonging to Flat

Classic winners add spice to new intake of dual-purpose names


“Only a limited number of mare owners have been able to see him in the flesh but the reaction has been terrific.” Coolagown Stud, meanwhile, takes great pride in the addition of Way To Paris and unsurprisingly so, given the popular grey retires having won seven races including last year’s Grand Prix de Paris. He stands for €3,500. “He’s the highest-rated son of Champs Elysees and his only son at stud,” says Davey Stack of Coolagown Stud. “He accounted for 13 Group 1 winners and retires sound in wind and limb. He’s a big horse, a proper 16.2, and really fills the eye. “Usually you have to compromise somewhere but Way To Paris has the race record, the looks and the pedigree – he has it all and Richard Venn excelled himself in securing him for us.” Over at Starfield Stud, Micheal Orlandi of Compas Stallions is looking forward to a productive first season with last year’s St Leger hero Galileo Chrome. Priced at €4,000, he becomes the first son of Australia to stud, an


A strong National Hunt roster for Coolmore has been bolstered even further for 2021 with the retirement of Kew Gardens to its Castlehyde Stud division at a fee of €5,000. Kew Gardens was bred to be good, as a Galileo son of top two-year-old Chelsea Rose, and didn’t disappoint, breaking the Newmarket juvenile track record when scoring in the Zetland Stakes at two before going on to capture the Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger at three. He also defeated Stradivarius in a stirring renewal of the Long Distance Cup at four. An attractive individual to go with it, he should be popular with breeders alongside Coolmore’s other new addition, Vadamos. Vadamos was an exceptional miler for Andre Fabre and as such began his stud career under the Flat umbrella at Tally-Ho Stud. There was plenty of promise among his first two-year-olds, which included the Group 3-placed Spycatcher and unbeaten Ooh De Lally, but as an imposing son of Monsun, there was always the chance that he would appeal to a jumps audience. Group 1 talent and durability are also on show in the form of Canadian International and Dubai Sheema Classic winner Old Persian, who is new to Glenview Stud at €2,500. He becomes the first son of Dubawi to retire to a dual-purpose role in Ireland. “When you get a phone call from Anthony Stroud letting you know that he has found the next Strong Gale, then you take the next plane to inspect this horse and I was not disappointed,” says Glenview Stud’s Niamh Woods. “Old Persian is an outstanding looking individual with plenty of size and substance and a great athletic walk. “With so many mares now descending from Sadler’s Wells, it is also a big bonus that he is by Dubawi, already sire of Grade 1 winners over jumps, and from the female line of leading sire Kingmambo.

aspect that Orlandi believes could work in his favour. “People are liking the Australia factor,” he says. “He’s one step removed from Galileo and Australia has been covering some good jumps mares, the likes of Limini and Camelia De Cotte – there could even be a chance that Australia will have had a Cheltenham winner by the time Galileo Chrome has runners. “He’s from the great Alruccaba family as well and is an oil painting of a horse, a great mover.” Orlandi also reported that his part owner, Mohamed Ali Meddeb, plans to send Galileo Chrome around 25 Flat mares. The tough Group 2 winner Hunting Horn (Castlefield Stud) becomes the first son of Camelot to stud in Ireland. Also Group 1-placed, he is out of a halfsister to Altior’s sire High Chaparral. Durability is also a theme behind LM Stallions’ Diplomat, a son of Teofilo who was a Group 2-winning miler on the Flat and a winner over jumps at Auteuil.

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Jumps sires special fares under both codes. It has also been interesting to follow the momentum behind another son, Affinisea (Whytemount Stud). An unraced halfbrother to Soldier Of Fortune who cost €850,000 as a foal, he has been a regular recipient of large books – he covered over 200 mares again last year – at Whytemount Stud. Whytemount was the mastermind behind Stowaway and its upwardly mobile roster also includes Valirann, a Group 2-winning stayer by Nayef whose first crop includes the unbeaten Listed-winning bumper performer Knappers Hill. Burgage Stud fits into a similar mould. Stalwart Shantou has been retired but in his place Jukebox Jury has been swift to gain respect while there is a real belief behind the merits of the younger Sea Moon. Jukebox Jury joined Burgage in 2018 from Germany with a strong profile behind him, notably as a dual Group 1-winning son of Montjeu who had sired a cluster of stakes horses on the Flat. But then his arrival in Ireland coincided with the victory of Farclas in the Triumph Hurdle and thus Jukebox Jury’s place as the next ascendant jumps sire son of Montjeu was consolidated. Since then, he has also found fame on the Flat as the sire of popular Prix du Cadran heroine Princess Zoe. The first crop of Sea Moon, winner of the Great Voltigeur and Hardwicke Stakes before striking in Group 2 company in Australia, turned four this year. He’s an interesting horse, not only in light of his ability but also his pedigree as a Beat Hollow relation to Workforce.



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The first crop of Group 1 winner Pether’s Moon includes the stakes filly Anneloralas

Pedigree is also a key factor in Kilbarry Lodge Stud’s Pillar Corral, an unraced half-brother to the outstanding French sire Martaline who stands alongside Diamond Boy. There remains a buzz around the latter, whose early representatives on this side of the Channel include classy novice chaser Grand Sancy. The likes of Jukebox Jury and Maxios are fine examples of how a horse can capture the imagination once they switch codes. The same path is also being followed by Elusive Pimpernel (Irish National Stud), whose early jumpers include recent Listed-winning novice hurdler Thedevilscoachman alongside Triumph Hurdle runner-up Coeur Sublime. A switch to a jumps role at Boardsmill Stud for King George hero Poet’s Word also coincided with his book swelling from 29 to 209. A good-looker (300,000gns yearling), high-class and tough with it, he appeals to become another feather in the cap for Boardsmill Stud, which has done so well with the likes of Court Cave, Kalanisi and Califet. Flat Group 1 form, meanwhile, is also on offer via German Derby hero Lucky Speed (Sunnyhill Stud), Prince Of Wales’s Stakes scorer My Dream Boat (Starfield Stud) and top juvenile Marcel (Anngrove Stud). Each offer an outcross for Sadler’s Wells and Monsun blood, as do the Group 2 winners Snow Sky (Ballycurragh Stud), by Nayef, and Nocturnal Fox (Windmill View Stud), by Farhh. An emerging appreciation for Danehill Dancer-line sires, no doubt fuelled in part by the success of the late Jeremy, can also be seen in the popularity of various other horses on offer. For example, Hillstar (Garryrichard Stud) offers the appealing combination of Group 1 talent (won the Canadian International) and pedigree (half-brother to Crystal Ocean). St Leger winner Kingston Hill (Castlehyde Stud) switched recently from a Flat role and has been well received since with three-figure books and sale results that include a €72,000 colt, while Group 2 winner Sumbal is an interesting addition to Boardsmill Stud. As for Jeremy himself, he is the sire of Success Days (Kilbarry Lodge), whose extensive resume consists of four Group wins headed by the York Stakes. Similarly, Mount Nelson, a representative of the Rock Of Gibraltar branch, left behind Berkshire (Kedrah House Stud). The Royal Lodge Stakes winner is another for whom a switch to Ireland has resulted in a busier role, with books of 143 and 197 heading his way since his arrival.

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Stallion deals

The Art of THE DEAL Some stallion masters are becoming more competitive in their pursuit of business, placing breeders in the driving seat in the process


ales of breeders managing to strike some very generous deals for nominations have been circulating for several seasons now. According to the rumour mill, there have been second and third-season sires made available for three-figure prices in certain circumstances, while foal share arrangements have become far more commonplace. The reason broodmare owners have been in the driving seat is that many have reduced their herds, while a considerable number of their peers have given up altogether in the wake of oversupply becoming apparent at the foal and yearling sales — covering numbers having recovered a little too well after the financial crisis of 2007-08. Stallion masters have therefore had to fight hard to win custom from a smaller pool of potential clients, and ensure their charges’ book sizes don’t drop too dramatically. The problem is particularly acute for filling younger sires after their first season as well as established names not at the peak of popularity. Naturally, faced with the twin unprecedented challenges of Covid-19 and transport problems caused by Brexit, studs are having to redouble their efforts to sign up mares in the 2021 breeding season. The result is that there are a slew of

tempting offers available to breeders this year. One stud that set out its stall early was Highclere, which announced two attention-grabbing schemes for its stallions Cable Bay and Land Force in November. With its 50/50 terms, breeders will be able to purchase a nomination by paying 50% of the fee on October 1, special live foal terms. The remaining 50% will only be payable when the progeny reaches a target price at public auction as a foal or yearling. If the breeder places a reserve on the progeny in excess of the target price, or if they decide not to sell the offspring at public auction at all, the remaining 50% fee would become payable. European breeders outside of Britain can also avail themselves of Highclere’s new Euros4Euros terms. With this deal, the nomination currency is automatically switched into euros for mares visiting from EU countries, to assist breeders with the increased cost of travelling mares and to keep sums simple if they also take the 50/50 offer and sell the progeny in Europe. Explaining what moved Highclere Stud to launch the deals, Jake Warren says: “We’ve all been rocked by what has turned out to be a pretty challenging time for breeders, although I don’t think any stallions’ books were really affected by coronavirus last

“We tried to come up with something to offer relief to breeders”



Words: Martin Stevens

season — it was right at the start of the pandemic and all the matings had been done, so we hardly saw anybody flinch. But we did have a pretty strong hunch there was going to be some correction on the back of it. “We tried to come up with something that would offer relief to breeders who might have bad luck and that would also give us some compensation if things panned out well. “The 50/50 scheme is something we’ve done privately for two or three years with breeders, and it’s always gone down quite well. People like the idea

Land Force: young stallion is the subject of Highclere Stud’s 50/50 scheme this season

that if we win, they win, and with the pandemic it felt like the right moment to mainstream the idea.” Warren reports that the 50/50 scheme has received an overwhelmingly popular response from breeders. “I don’t think we’ve ever done anything remotely close in terms of creating conversation about a new way in which breeders and stallion masters can work together,” he continues. “The day after we announced it, we fielded 20 calls from across the country thanking us for thinking of an idea that looked after them, and everyone I bumped into at the

sales said it was fantastic and that they wished other studs were doing the same thing — which they probably are now.” Warren concedes that events have rather overtaken the Euros4Euros innovation, with lockdown rules and transport difficulties since Britain left the EU in January meaning overseas breeders might be less inclined to ship mares abroad. “When we announced our fees and new terms, there was a huge amount of interest in Cable Bay from Ireland, but I think they’ve found it harder to justify moving mares when there are so many

complications and so much increased expense in doing so,” he says. “That said, what’s lost from Ireland is likely to be compensated by increased business from UK breeders, and I’d be surprised if both stallions aren’t full this year.” Another benefit for Highclere Stud in publishing those deals early was doing away with protracted negotiations over prices. “We took the view that we wanted to have a uniform arrangement with breeders that is very clear and very concise and, dare I say it, to stop the horsetrading over nominations,” says



Stallion deals stand, they can decide for themselves at the outset whether it’s a good deal — it’s a little like a take it or leave it scenario. “We usually have a back and forth, back and forth, back and forth with breeders about what deals we could make, but people are now just picking up the phone and saying ‘can I book in this mare on this deal’. The deals have really simplified the whole process — breeders understand them really well, and don’t need to ask for an explanation.” Highclere’s stallions also come with fee cuts as well as enhanced payment terms this year. Land Force, a Group 2-winning son of No Nay Never from the flourishing Cassandra Go family, is down from £6,500 to £5,000 in his second season, while Cable Bay, the source of 11 stakes performers headed by classy sprinter Liberty Beach, has been slashed from £15,000 to £8,000. Another notable offer that should rule out any haggling between breeder


›› Warren. “If everyone knows where they

Ed Harper: ‘we try to help the breeder’

and stallion master is Norman Court Stud’s bold move to cut the fee for its distinguished St Leger hero Sixties Icon from £6,000 all the way down to £1,000 plus VAT — to be paid on or

before the covering date. “We knew it was going to be a tough year and thought this would help breeders who may be struggling to decide whether to cover or not,” says the operation’s Nominations Manager Tina Dawson. “The opportunity to use a stallion of the calibre of Sixties Icon for £1,000 is probably unprecedented. “It gives breeders access to an outstanding pedigree and to a stallion who has produced black-type performers under both codes and a strike-rate of winners to runners on the Flat that has seldom dropped below 50%. People know exactly where they are with payment up front and it’s less administration for everyone.” Sixties Icon, a son of Epsom Classic winners Galileo and Love Divine, was in fine form in 2020, when his Flat representatives included narrowly beaten Grand Prix de SaintCloud runner-up Nagano Gold and Rockingham Stakes scorer Nastase. His daughter Buildmeupbuttercup has also


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Stallion deals ›› landed a hat-trick of Listed hurdles this

Plenty of upside in reach of Kentucky breeders

jumps season. “We’ve had a very positive reaction to the deal,” adds Dawson. “Unsurprisingly he’s proving popular and the stud will continue to support him with home mares too.” Sixties Icon is not the only beautifully bred stallion son of Galileo who is the subject of an alluring offer this year. Breeders who book a nomination to Decorated Knight, owned by Newmarketbased Blue Diamond Stud but standing at the Irish National Stud, will receive a free return in 2022. It is not as if the close relation to Giant’s Causeway, a brilliant performer on the track to boot, was expensive in the first place. He is advertised at a fee of €7,500 on the eve of his debut two-yearolds hitting the track. “Decorated Knight is incomparable value for a triple Group 1-wining stallion from an impeccable sire-making family,” says Blue Diamond Stud’s Tony Nerses. “We feel his competitive fee, together with the free return for 2022, is an outstanding deal and indeed it has generated a lot of positive feedback and been warmly received by breeders.” Not all deals have been standardised and made public, though, and it is worth emphasising that breeders will often be able to negotiate their own advantageous terms by making enquiries directly to stallion operations. David Redvers has chosen not to advertise uniform incentives for using the Tweenhills stallions Havana Gold, Kameko, Lightning Spear and Zoustar, but he has extended offers to some breeders on a private basis. He encourages any mare owner to get in


The father of the modern stallion deal is Spendthrift Farm’s Share The Upside programme. Launched by the Kentucky operation’s owner B Wayne Hughes in 2010, it allows breeders to gain a lifetime breeding right to selected young stallions by giving a nominal deposit, sending a mare to them for two consecutive seasons and paying the fees on a live foal basis. In the third season the breeder receives their lifetime breeding right, with no extra expenses to be paid. Breeders who took advantage of the scheme in its first year of operation and chose Into Mischief as he was entering his second season paid just $13,000 in the Share The Upside scheme over two years and hit the jackpot. The Grade 1-winning son of Harlan’s Holiday has been crowned champion sire in North America for the last two seasons and lifetime breeding rights have changed hands for $1 million. Share The Upside was extended to Spendthrift’s Australian-based stallions and has been replicated by various other high-profile farms in Kentucky. In 2019, Spendthrift also launched the Safe Bet scheme, which incentivises patronage of fourth-season stallions, with no fee due if the horse in question does not supply at least one Graded/Group winner from its first two-year-old crop.

David Redvers: offering help with transport


touch to arrange a bespoke package. “We’ve written to existing overseas clients to offer them help with transport and additional costs,” says Redvers. “We’ve been working hard to ensure they can send over horses and arrange a bond so they don’t lose the VAT element and screw up their cash flow. “But there’s no specific deal as such. I’d love to just say we’re giving £5,000 off for all mares coming from abroad, but the only effect that would have is peeing off British breeders. Instead, we’re working with everybody on an individual basis to help them with whatever issues they’re facing, and to give them as good a chance of making a profit as possible.” Whitsbury Manor Stud Director Ed Harper also prefers to hammer out tailor-made deals with breeders on an individual basis, rather than advertising a one-size-fits-all incentive. “We try to help the breeder with what suits them; every business is different, every situation is different, every mare is different,” he says. “I wouldn’t mind anyone making us an offer, the worst that can happen is we say no and a lot of the time we say yes. The ball is in the breeder’s court. “I like having full and frank conversations with breeders and if we can find a solution we’ll help as best we can.” Harper reports that while there is no specific incentive to assist overseas breeders with post-Brexit transport costs when they send mares to any of the five Whitsbury Manor stallions — Adaay, Due Diligence, Havana Grey, Sergei Prokofiev and Showcasing — he would understand

if those additional expenses were used as a bargaining chip when negotiating a fee deal. “The landscape has completely changed in even the 11 years I’ve been booking nominations,” he adds. “It used to be the case that the phone rang, you told the breeder what the terms were and they would either say yes or no. Now us stallion farms have to work hard to help breeders, and hopefully we’re fairly good at that.

“The landscape has changed; farms now have to work hard to help breeders” “It’s amazing how quickly the stallion booking season comes around, and if you haven’t helped someone out in one year, they’ll sure as hell remember it the next year, so you have to try your best.” The message, then, is clear: in the current climate, broodmare owners will often have the upper hand when wrangling over fees. The number of attractive deals being publicised by stallion farms attests to that. But don’t forget that similarly generous terms can be arranged on a one-on-one basis with other studs, too. Pick up the phone and remember: if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

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Breeders’ Digest

Nancy Sexton Bloodstock Editor

Brexit burden adding further woe to a challenging time





s anticipated, the movement of horses between Britain and the rest of Europe has become extremely complex and more costly following Britain’s departure from the European Union on December 31. Under the Tripartite Agreement, the high health status of thoroughbreds was recognised, allowing for the privilege of free movement of horses between countries. Now that Britain is no longer a member of the EU, it comes under ‘Third Country’ status. The consequences are already being felt. Horses now require extra certifications and tests before travelling. There is also the issue of VAT, with owners required to cover its cost against the valuation of the horse prior to travel. “Right now, with all the paperwork and extra time involved, it takes us as long to get a horse to Ireland as it does to Kuwait,” says Kevin Needham, Managing Director of BBA Shipping & Transport. “We’ve taken a massive step backwards. For the first time since the 1960s, thoroughbreds are having to be exported with a ridiculous amount of certification and checks. It’s an 11-page booklet for Ireland and 33 for Italy.” The fallout is already affecting the covering season and will continue to do so as some breeders re-evaluate their plans. David Redvers was quoted in the Racing Post as saying that Tweenhills had “next to no Irish mares” visiting this year. Of course, it works both ways and there will be several domestic farms experiencing an uptick in interest from breeders who may have previously looked beyond British borders. “Currently we’re in a pretty grotty place,” Redvers told Owner Breeder. “But the bloodstock industry is only a small part of a very big jigsaw puzzle – there are lots of issues to be ironed out across the board, and every other industry is also screaming at the moment. “I hope to God that it is resolved soon – we want to get back to the free-trade tripartite type of agreement we had before.” The TBA released an excellent webinar in January highlighting the new requirements. Needham reports that since then little has changed bar the fact

Travelling horses in and out of the EU has suddenly become more complex and costly

that many of the British fleet of trucks in operation now possess authorisation to travel in the EU. “We are as busy as we normally would be at this time of year but obviously a lot of time is being taken up with the extra paperwork,” he says. “I think ultimately these barriers, unless they are rolled back, will eventually erode appetite for travelling horses. The Irish are taking a more pragmatic view of everything but I would say that the French, with the additional complications that go with getting a horse into France at the moment, will start to feel the slow down.” It is obviously early days and with two weeks of the covering season behind us it seems that different operations are being affected in different ways. Brexit is an evolving situation and there is hope within the bloodstock community that the issues will be resolved. To that end, it remains business as usual for some of the bigger boarding outfits, with both Ballylinch Stud and the National Stud reporting a similar volume of business to previous years. “I suspect we’ll be the same numberswise as usual,” says Tim Lane, Stud Director of the National Stud. “We’re doing deals to try and soften the pill. Obviously it’s not straightforward for anyone, especially with the VAT issues. I feel for the transport guys. It could also kill the walk-in business. “I think people are waiting to see how it will pan out. And it will sort itself in time – hopefully soon!”

The source of current stars Monkfish and Envoi Allen, the point-to-point scene was dealt another blow in January with the suspension of fixtures in Britain and Ireland. The sector had already been hit hard by the pandemic, having been forced to shut down in March to leave numerous youngsters in unraced limbo. It was able to resume in the autumn, during which time well regarded horses such as Jonbon and Classic Getaway were able to publicly justify their reputations before selling for £570,000 apiece. Then Covid-19 and its ugly ramifications reared its head again, government guidance was updated and pointing suspended. As an important shop window in the transfer of stock, the financial implications for anyone involved in the sport are already serious, regardless of any further knock-on effects. From a bloodstock perspective, that could include further disruption to the sales cycle. Spare a thought also for the stallion masters with young horses on their hands. In a normal season, a buzz stallion would have already been identified – this time last year it was all about Jet Away – and the farm in question reaping the rewards. One year on and others in the pipeline are not so fortunate. They include Coolagown Stud’s Shantaram, a Group 3-winning son of Galileo who has four-year-olds. “There was word of a few promising pointers by him and they were scheduled to run,” says Coolagown’s Davey Stack. “We were waiting for that. But then pointing stopped and we’ll have to wait some more. “He’s something to look forward to though, and as we know, it only takes one to win well, like we saw with Jet Away, for people to sit up and take notice.” Shantaram isn’t alone. Telescope is another with his first four-year-olds, some of them in the care of various point handlers. Pether’s Moon, Libertarian, Snow Sky and Valirann slot into a similar mould. Hopefully for all involved, the point-topoint season will be back up and running sooner rather than later.


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La Bague Au Roi: popular Grade 1 winner was bought by Kevin Doyle for £170,000

time headline store auctions should have been held. What remained was short on quantity but laced with quality, as three six-figure sales and a £300,000 top lot would testify. The headliner proved to


Sales are being presented in a number of ways as auction houses and traders find imaginative routes around Covid restrictions or full-blown lockdowns. This sale was held in cyberspace, being an auction without auctioneers or a sales ring, and relying on buyers to form judgements based around a catalogue of 96 lots backed up by photos and videos of each horse. Lots were then offered at timed intervals, buyers placed bids via computers or smart phones, and the show was run from Goffs UK’s office in Hawick, Scotland. It was a bloodstock sale in the most streamlined form, and in terms of technology appeared to work smoothly, although it was a very different affair from past renditions of the January Sale. Cut from two days to one, it comprised jump-bred mares and horses in training, with sections for point-topointers and jump-bred weanlings initially pushed back to a new date in mid-February. However, with pointing on hold due to Covid restrictions relating to non-elite sports, that section was scrapped and the weanlings were given a new date in August, by which


Goffs UK January Sale – Part 1

Bumper winner Hollymount headed the Goffs UK January Sale, selling for £300,000


be the five-year-old bumper-winning mare Hollymount, who was knocked down to the enthusiastic husband-andwife team of Noel and Valerie Moran. They have become front-line players after selling a pre-paid card business for a nine-figure sum, focussing their interest on jumps racing and breeding at their Bective Stud in County Meath. Gordon Elliott and his former protégé, Warwickshire-based Olly Murphy, have been entrusted with horses to train by the Morans, and Elliott received Hollymount, who scored for Stuart Crawford’s stable in the colours of her breeders, the Buchanan family of Northern Ireland, before appearing in this auction. If Hollymount represented a racing future, La Bague Au Roi represented a wonderful racing past and an exciting breeding future. A dual Grade 1 winner over fences for Warren Greatrex’s stable – and beating the boys when she did – the ten-year-old daughter of Doctor Dino was sold to former Republic of Ireland footballer Kevin Doyle, who took advice from Peter Nolan Bloodstock. Doyle, whose family own Slaney River Stud in County Wexford, parted with £170,000 to buy La Bague Au Roi,

while the father-and-son team of Keiran and Cathal Mariga invested £125,000 in Buck’s Bee, a seven-year-old half-sister to the great staying hurdler Big Buck’s. The Marigas, who own Coolmara Stables in County Cork, also gained a Great Pretender foal who was being carried by Buck’s Bee. Irish investors therefore cleared the top three lots, but Cheshire-based breeder Will Kinsey and friends secured the talented seven-year-old mare

Stormy Ireland for £75,000. Their purchase has been a consistent performer in Graded races for owner Jared Sullivan, latterly from the stables of Paul Nicholls. Goffs UK’s determination to stage the sale was rewarded with turnover of £1,158,100 at an average of just over £31,000, although a clearance rate of 51% – 37 sales from 72 offered lots – suggests a sale of this nature has its limitations.

Tim Kent, the sales company’s MD, was delighted with the outcome, but said he was not going to pretend that trade was strong across the catalogue. A review of the event and feedback from vendors and purchasers would formulate future plans, he said. While a cyberspace sale has a role, and online bidding is surely now a fact of life at bloodstock auctions, you could not be harsh on traders who yearn for a return to conventional sales.

Goffs UK January Mixed Sale - Part 1 Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (£)


Hollymount 5 m Jet Away – Zaffarella

Newlands Farm (Stuart Crawford)


Bective Stud

La Bague Au Roi 10 m Doctor Dino - Alliance Royale

Mill House Stud


Kevin Doyle/Peter Nolan

Buck’s Bee 7 m Kapgarde - Buck’s

Burling Family/Yorton Farm


Coolmara Stable

Stormy Ireland 7 m Motivator - Like A Storm

Sullivan Bloodstock


Peel BS/Future BS

Aisance 9 m Saint Des Saints - Aulne River

Yorton Farm


Donal White

Figures Year


Agg (£)

Average (£)

Median (£)

Top price (£)



















This was another sale held in an empty ring, but on this occasion Tattersalls’ auctioneers took to the rostrum. Instead of watching out for a nod of the head, wink of the eye or catalogue wave from the bidding area, they kept an eye on a monitor for online bids, while also accepting offers from colleagues taking telephone bids During two sessions a mere 14 sales went down to telephone operators, while 205 lots were sold via the online service – people clearly had more faith in their internet connection than the phone service, and for people based outside of Britain an online bid was undoubtedly the most cost-effective method. A total of 1,520 online bids were accepted from 250 different bidders and 486 bidders tuned in. Mixed sales bring mixed results, and while this one was unlikely to upstage the 2019, pre-Covid edition, it did rather well, clearing 75% of the horses on offer while turning over 2,564,400gns. The average and median prices dipped by single-figure percentages, inconsequential falls which will not have alarmed the market.


Tattersalls February Sale

Beautiful Illusion: winning daughter of Shamardal headed proceedings at 120,000gns

Any filly by Shamardal is likely to draw attention, and just such a horse headed trade when selling for 120,000gns during the first session. Four-year-old Beautiful Illusion, part of a draft from Godolphin, won twice as a three-year-old on all-

weather surfaces, and her page was spiced by her dam, the Group 3 winner Long Lashes. It was a profile which appealed to an Ireland-based client of Avenue Bloodstock’s Mark McStay, and he duly gained the prize. THE OWNER BREEDER 57




• The future and format of bloodstock sales remains nothing if not nebulous while Covid keeps its stranglehold on normality, but with sales companies stepping up to the plate and vendors finding the horses to sell, an air of positivity has been a feature of the market. Maintaining that theme, Tattersalls announced another mixed auction to be held on March 31 and April 1. The company’s Chairman, Edmond Mahony, said in his closing statement on the February Sale that he hoped the inaugural March Sale would be held in conventional style, but all options would be considered. With the 2020 July Sale hindered by Covid, Tattersalls added and staged an August Sale, albeit both events that involved horses in the ring but a behindclosed-doors protocol. If the March Sale proves successful, will it and the August Sale become the norm? Covid may be losing some of its potency, but it could leave a lasting legacy on the bloodstock market. Mark McStay: came away with the top lot under the Avenue Bloodstock banner


McStay praised the technology which had been put in place by Tattersalls, and added: “Looking at the prices the Godolphin fillies made, I don’t think they made any less than they would have done at a conventional sale.” As at Goffs UK’s January Sale, buyers based in Ireland lifted the cream of the breeding or potential breeding stock. Tony O’Callaghan of County

Westmeath’s Tally-Ho Stud gained the filly Symbol Of Love – another daughter of Shamardal – for 65,000gns, while County Laois-based Canice Farrell of Knockatrina House Stud gained the mare Swiss Kiss for 48,000gns. A daughter of the Harris family’s toplevel broodmare Swiss Lake, Swiss Kiss carried a foal by Acclamation. Trade at the second session, which revolved around horses in training, was headed by the three-year-old colt Fayathaan, a son of Mehmas who will

race on in Italy after being bought by Marco Bozzi Bloodstock. Fayathaan was another smart piece of trading by racehorse owner Kulbir Sohi, who bought the colt for 40,000gns at Tattersalls in October, won two races and £10,000 in prize-money with him thanks to help from Worcestershire trainer Mark Loughnane, and then sold him on to Bozzi for 85,000gns. Such a profit must make all-weather racing behind closed doors in the depths of winter quite pleasurable.

Tattersalls February Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Beautiful Illusion 4 f Shamardal - Long Lashes


Price (gns)

Fayathaan 3 c Mehmas - Beauty Of The Sea

Kulbir Sohi/DML Racing


Marco Bozzi Bloodstock

Clay 3 c Sixties Icon – Tamso

Waddesdon Stud/Castlebridge Consignment


R Hannon

At Ease 3 f Oasis Dream – Jostle

Juddmonte Farms


BBA Ireland

Stiletto 3 c Frankel - High Heeled

Clarehaven Stables/Castlebridge Consignment


Colm Sharkey, agent


Buyer Avenue Bloodstock

Figures Year


Agg (gns)

Average (gns)

Median (gns)

Top price (gns)



















Goffs February Sale – Part 1

This was another sale at which auctioneers took up position on the rostrum, but the horses were tucked up at home, their futures resting on a telephone bid or press of a button on a keyboard. The catalogue, which saw 191 horses go under the hammer, was much reduced following Goffs’ decision to offer weanlings at a separate sale on March 11, six days after the


Irish government is set to announce changes, if any, to the country’s national lockdown. Vendors with horses in that auction will be hoping for some relaxation in order that physical inspections of their stock can take place at the sales complex. Such scrutiny is a key component of weanling and yearling auctions. Results from this sale can be described as fair to middling. The overall clearance rate of 61% was down just four

points year on year, but in a marketplace which, as Goffs Chief Executive Henry Beeby pointed out, “would otherwise have been unattainable”. Thus his company kicked off 2021 with a sale turning over €1,585,700, a much smaller figure than the €4 million achieved at the auction last year but inevitable given the reduced catalogue. The average price of €13,553 was less than three per cent down. Those sitting patiently at home


hoping for a six-figure headline act had their stick-ability stretched right to the final lot, when the five-year-old mare Rubira, a daughter of Lope De Vega with an attractive covering by New Bay, came to the party. Bred in Australia and a Listed winner at two in New Zealand, she had been sold to agent Paul Moroney for Aus$100,000 (just under €64,000) in 2019, so while her buyer incurred transport expenses to Europe and New Bay’s €15,000 fee, selling her for €100,000 at this sale will have covered costs. The buyer was agent Alex Elliott, who said he was acting for a syndicate and that a mating with Camelot was on his wish list for the mare. Going in the opposite direction to Rubira was Rocket Science, a two-time winning four-year-old filly who fell to an €84,000 bid from agent Hubie De Burgh acting for “an Australian client”. Being a daughter of Fastnet Rock out of a Pivotal mare would stand her in good stead down under, said the buyer. Trade for two-year-olds was headed

New Zealand Listed winner Rubira sold for €100,000 with a covering to New Bay

by an €18,000 son of Aclaim who was bought by trainer Ken Condon, and, moving quickly on, the pick of


• Being able to see and feel horses and enter into the atmosphere of a traditional sale is always going to be preferable to remote bidding, and it is becoming clear that this is particularly true in certain areas of the market. A mare with racecourse and/or breeding form is an easier horse to sell than an unraced colt or filly aged one or two. Clearance rates at the two sessions which comprised Goffs’ February Sale bear that out, with 68% of the fillies and mares offered finding a buyer, but just 42% of the 61 two-year-olds who went under the hammer. They would not have been the cream of the crop, but it is hard to believe they would not have been more popular in a conventional sale.

the horses-in-training proved to be a gelded three-year-old son of Mehmas. Drish Venture had failed to find a buyer when offered as a foal by breeder Mark Commins, so he put him into training with his brother, Donal, and enjoyed watching his horse win two races at Dundalk either side of the New Year, achieving a rating of 84 in the process. Bert Kerr liked the gelding’s profile, put him to a “long-standing client in central Europe”, and duly gained the horse with a bid of €50,000. It was Kerr’s first online purchase, and he admitted family members were close at hand to assist with the process.

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


Price (€)


Rubira 5 m Lope De Vega - Duty Bound

Baroda Stud


Alex Elliott, agent

Rocket Science 4 f Fastnet Rock - Hairy Rocket

The Castlebridge Consignment


De Burgh Equine

Gracefully Done 5 m Australia - Sense Of Style

The Castlebridge Consignment


Hawthorn Villa Stud

Soft Lips 11 m Rahy - Iron Lips

Emir Alakas from Whitethorn Bloodstock


Carol Henley (P/S)

New York Ballet 5 m Poet’s Voice - English Ballet

Hollyhill Stud


Eurowest Bloodstock

Shringara 6 m Dansili – Shreyas

The Castlebridge Consignment


Tally-Ho Stud




Agg (€)

Average (€)

Median (€)

Top price (€)





















Sales Circuit This was another Covid-bucking sale at which, remarkably, there were rises in all the key indicators. The event took place behind closed doors but in the presence of horses and pre-registered buyers, and was a notable step towards normality even though France’s pandemic position remains a concern to health officials. By the time this two-day sale closed some 2.5 million French people had received a vaccination, which compares to more than 15 million in Britain, and there were concerns about cases of the UK Covid strain appearing in northern France. Yet local authorities gave Arqana permission to proceed at its Deauville complex under strict regulations, a liberty which sales companies across the Channel and Irish Sea could only observe with envy. Arqana President Eric Hoyeau described “a real atmosphere”, something which can never be matched when online bidding is the only format. Having said that a third of horses offered at this mixed sale – no fewer than 114 lots – were knocked down to online bidders. This helped push the clearance rate up to an admirable 81% – it was 66% in 2020 – and while 39 fewer horses entered the ring turnover grew by 29% to just over €3 million. The average and median prices gained 16% and 38% respectively. A four-year-old gelding who is likely to be heading to Nicky Henderson’s stable headed trade when being sold to Highflyer Bloodstock’s David Powell for €250,000. Powell said Hardi Du Mesnil, a winning half-brother to recent Grade 1 novices’ hurdle winner Gaillard Du Mesnil, had been bought for well-known racehorse owner and breeder Robert


Arqana February Mixed Sale

The promising Hardi Du Mesnil will race for Robert Waley-Cohen after selling for €250,000

Waley-Cohen, whose many forays into the French jumping stock market led to him owning the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run. If Hardi Du Mesnil builds on his two wins from six starts with Matthieu Palussiere’s stable and makes a mark in Britain it will be a bonus for Yorton Farm Stud, which stands his sire, Masterstroke. The seven-year-old mare Lady Paname became one of three sixfigure lots when selling for €120,000 to Sebastien Desmontils of Chauvigny Global Equine. A daughter of Soldier Of Fortune with a Grade 3 win in the USA, Lady Paname is likely to be covered by jumps sire No Risk At All, said her buyer. Also making six figures was the fiveyear-old mare Princess Isla, a daughter of Frankel and the Group 2-placed mare Peinture Abstraite. Carrying to Ten Sovereigns, Princess Isla went the way of

Anne-Sophie Yoh’s Yohea agency who was acting for sports horse producer Xavier Marie of Haras De Hus. Other higher-end sales saw mares heading to Australia and winning jumpers finding new homes in Britain, among them Laskalin, a six-year-old winning chaser who will be joining his former countryman and leading Cheltenham Festival hopeful Royal Pagaille at Venetia Williams’ stable. A €77,000 bid by Guy Petit secured Laskalin, while Freddie Tylicki paid over the odds for a nomination to Ballylinch Stud sire New Bay. An exciting young son of Dubawi, New Bay’s fee has gone back up from €15,000 last year to €20,000 and yet he is over-subscribed. In order to gain the auctioned nomination on behalf of Smarden Thoroughbreds, Tylicki had to offer €21,000.

Arqana February Mixed Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding


Price (€)


Hardi Du Mesnil 4 g Masterstroke - Athena Du Mesnil



Highflyer Bloodstock

Lady Paname 7 m Soldier Of Fortune - Business Class

La Motteraye Consignment


Chauvigny Global Equine

Princess Isla 5 m Frankel - Peinture Abstraite

Rouges Terres



Jet Setteuse 5 m Makfi - Pretty Panther



Sylvain Vidal

Oh Beautiful 11 m Galileo – Aricia



Chris Richner Bloodstock

Figures Year


Agg (€)

Average (€)

Median (€)

Top price (€)





















MAKE BELIEVE. MISHRIFF Winner the WORLD’S RICHEST RACE, the $20,000,000 Saudi Cup, beating Gr.1 winner Charlatan and Breeders’ Cup winner Knicks Go.

This famous victory on dirt follows on from last year’s Classic win in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club on turf.





Listed winner and Gr.3 placed

OCEAN FANTASY Gr.3 winner and Gr.2 placed

ROSE OF KILDARE 3x Gr.3 winner

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

Grassland management

The nutrient potential of pasture grass In part one of our series we consider the science behind grass plant biology and some key grasses and management techniques that can be used to improve your pasture Words: Dr Simon Daniels


s horse owners and managers we are all aware that we need to look after our pasture to ensure that it remains productive. Much of this practical management involves feeding with appropriate fertilisers, correcting soil pH, topping, scarifying, aerating and weed removal. However, at times the reasons we should be conducting these practices are lost in translation. We should remember first and foremost that the horse has evolved over the last 15 million years to digest a fibrebased diet. If we track the evolution of the horse back to its ancestors, we soon see that the horse evolved to digest fibre from the grass plains which replaced the earlier rainforest environment. The importance of this point being that for the last 15 million years horses have been using grass as their main energy source. Often horse managers do not give enough consideration to the potential of grass and we often consider grass and forage as ‘bulk or ‘filler’ without recognising it as a source of nutrients.


Much of this approach has come from the greater use of managing animals in barns and stables where we have become more reliant on concentrate feeds. To quote veterinarian William Gibson from his 1726 publication: “Grass is the first nourishment of all colts after they are weaned… whereas when they are fed with corn and hay, but especially with the first, it exposes them to unspeakable injuries”. We should take from this that fibre is the most appropriate feedstuff for horses. As horse managers our grass is one of our most valuable resources and therefore we should capitalise upon this by making sure we employ the most appropriate management to get the most productivity from it.

The grass growth cycle

One of the most important concepts is considering how and when grass grows. For plant growth to occur we need a combination of light, moisture, nutrients and warmth. The common understanding is that grass does not

grow below five degrees centigrade, this is actually referring to the soil temperature. Another major factor for growth is light; plants convert sunlight into soluble carbohydrates. These sugars are the energy source the plant uses for growth, they are also the energy sources our horses metabolise into useful energy. The more light there is available the more plant growth we see through the creation of new cells and leaf extension. Plant maturity is a term that is often used when discussing the grass growth cycle and nutrient content and it is important to point out what we mean by this. In the horse industry we often talk of old pasture, meaning a meadow that was sown decades ago. Indeed, in grassland management, the length of time a pasture has been sown helps us to define it as a permanent pasture where it has been down for longer than five years, or a ley which is only in place for up to five years. Generally, leys do not make good grazing for horses, in that by the time the pasture is well established with a good

“Horse managers do not always recognise grass as a source of nutrients”


root structure to be able to cope with the ‘foot traffic’ of grazing horses, it is time to plough them up to refresh them to ensure maximum productivity in an agricultural context. When we talk of plant maturity, we are actually referring to an annual cycle, e.g. when growth starts in the spring through to when it slows right down in the late autumn. Plant maturity plays an important role in the nutritive content of grass because the nutrient content and digestibility is directly influenced by the plant maturity, which is influenced by season and growth. In the spring the environmental conditions are generally ideal for grass to start growing; there is moisture in the ground from the winter, the air temperature is increasing, which warms the soil, and the hours of daylight start to lengthen. For successful photosynthesis, plants need to maximise their leaf to stem ratio, as it is the leaves where the chloroplasts are found that convert sunlight to sugars. In the spring, grass plants will start to increase their number of leaves by increasing tillers, which are shoots from the original parent plant. These tillers then develop leaves. We are all aware that in mammals when we eat more carbohydrates than we need, we store either as excess glycogen in our muscles

Horse diets are often supplemented with additional forage

and liver or as fat. Plants have a similar mechanism whereby they store additional sugars as water soluble carbohydrates (WSC), which includes glucose, fructose, sucrose and fructans. Fructans are a storage molecule, a mammalian example would be glycogen. We store glycogen as a reserve and when we need it we convert it back to glucose to be metabolised. Within the plant excess simple sugars e.g. glucose and fructose are joined together by beta glyosidic bonds to form this storage polysaccharide known as fructan. Fructan is often produced by the plant in larger quantities at times of stress such as drought, frost or when cut short to aid growth once the conditions improve. WSC is stored within the stem of the plant as a reserve for times when the plant is not producing enough sugar

for growth. This is best described as the source and sink dynamic. When all of the key factors for growth are present such as temperature, moisture, nutrients and light, then the plant will convert light to simple sugars (e.g. glucose via photosynthesis) and use this sugar for growth. At times the plant will be producing more sugars than it can use for growth. When this happens, the plant will store these excess sugars as WSC in the stem, thus sinking those extra nutrients. In the summer when the evenings are warm the plant will continue to grow through day and night, but light becomes the limiting factor in the evening for conversion into sugars. However, the stored reserve of WSC in the stem can be used as an energy source. As this reserve is reduced overnight it is then replenished the



Grassland management produced in optimum light condition. As the growing season continues, the grass continues to grow and the leaves become more mature. We are all aware that fresh spring leaves tend to flop to the ground but if we leave grass to grow as if we were leaving it for hay, as it matures through the seasons it stands upright. As the plant matures the cell wall increases in thickness to give the plant structure. We term this cell wall as structural carbohydrate, that is the elements of the cell wall make up the fibre content of the plant. However not all of these structural carbohydrates are digestible. The part of the plant cell wall which allows the plant to stand tall is lignin. Lignin is found in all plants and it is the substances that gives trees their tough trunk. Unfortunately, lignin cannot be digested and therefore as the plant matures, this influences the digestibility. By the autumn although we often see a little flush of fresh grass growth, the changes in the weather mean that grass growth slows until we reach the almost dormant winter. However, during the winter months the grass retains some WSC as a reserve to provide the plant

“Ploughing up and starting again is costly and labour intensive” with energy for the following spring to start growth again.

What makes good pasture?

The sward within your pasture will significantly influence the nutrient content to the horses grazing it. While old meadows can have a diverse sward and beneficial herbs for browsing horses, if they are not well managed then we can see an increase in plant species with lower nutritional value taking over. If we look to agriculture, traditionally dairy cattle are managed upon high WSC ryegrass. Agriculture also makes use of leys. As discussed above these are excellent for conserving forage but not so good for grazing. However, to maintain high WSC ryegrass you need to ensure you fertilise appropriately as swards with a



›› next day as excess carbohydrates are

Red clover in a rye and timothy sward (left) and white clover in a rye and timothy sward

high ryegrass content are heavily reliant upon nitrogen. Legumes such as clover can pair really well with ryegrass. Legumes have nitrogen fixing nodules in the ground that increase the protein content of the plant to the horse. Legumes also feed the plants in the sward around them from this nitrogen store and therefore help to fertilise the pasture. Another good forage grass option are festuloliums; these are a hybrid cross of ryegrass with meadow fescues, therefore you get the high productivity of the ryegrass with the hardy characteristics of the fescues. Other forage grasses such as timothy, meadow fescues and such are good forages grasses but the most productive with the highest nutrient content are the former mentioned grasses and legumes.

Top tips

To improve established pasture the following strategies will help improve nutrient content. Know your soil and get it tested, you can then work with an agronomist where necessary to identify the best strategy to fertilise and manage the grass. Manage the land, ensure efficient drainage and aeration to optimise nutrient intake and grass growth. Over seeding pastures is a good

way to improve what you already have; ploughing up and starting again is costly and labour intensive and puts the pasture out of action for around two or three years whereas over seeding is a much more practical alternative. Introducing and increasing legumes such as clover increase the protein content of the diet for the horses and increase the nitrogen in the surrounding soil for the rest of the sward. Ryegrasses and festuloliums which are highly productive grasses have high nutrient contents and will pair well with legumes. Adding these to meadows will improve pasture quality but you will need to consider the soil nitrogen content as rye will not thrive without appropriate nitrogen. For horses, the addition of some ryegrasses or festuloliums and legumes will improve the nutrient content of mixed meadow pastures. If areas are not being grazed until later in the season, then consider topping during the season and allowing regrowth prior to grazing. Grazing and cutting encourage new leaf growth, which will be younger and more digestible than more mature grass that has been left since the spring. Next month: the nutritional content of grass for horses and how grassland management can improve this

Dr Simon Daniels is a senior lecturer in equine science at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. Simon’s area of specialism is equid gut health and this encompasses both intestinal parasites and equine nutrition, both of which are particularly pertinent to equine grassland management

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ROA Forum


The special section for ROA members

The Cheltenham Festival is hugely popular with punters – but could mobile betting be restricted under new measures being considered?

Affordability checks ‘could cost racing more than £60 million’


OA President Charlie Parker has warned of the dangers that affordability checks regarding mobile betting would cause racing should measures recently proposed by the Gambling Commission be accepted by the government. With the levy yield collected from bookmakers based on a gross profits system, any reduction in betting on racing would see the sport receive a smaller amount of money, with the potential for a significant knock-on effect for prize-money, which has already suffered during the Covid era. Parker said: “We are faced with a potentially hugely damaging policy proposal by the Gambling Commission around affordability limits. “The Gambling Commission has put forward a consultation on remote customer interaction, essentially mobile betting, that includes proposals for blanket affordability checks when betting online on British racing, with thresholds as low as £100 per month before these

checks are triggered. “Advisors to the industry working group have calculated that the proposed changes could result in lost revenues of more than £60 million, a direct loss for the racing industry, further setting the sport and its revenues back as we look to recover in the post-pandemic world. “Our sport has always been clear in the need to support safe, responsible gambling but these proposals are simply egregious. Blanket affordability checks and spending limits represent an obscene encroachment on consumer freedoms. It is not for the regulator to decide who can bet and how much. “Furthermore, we cannot currently identify the evidence base for putting forward such proposals nor identify the nominally small cases of harm caused by betting on British racing this is seeking to prevent. All of this is happening away from public view, within the regulator’s review and outside the oversight of parliamentarians and the government’s full review of gambling laws.”

Racehorse Owners Compensation Scheme

ROA members can take advantage of cover provided by the Racehorse Owners Compensation Scheme (ROCS). Members have access to this insurance policy, which is designed specifically for horses in training and is unique in the cover that it gives: • Financial compensation for the owner of a racehorse that is injured, either temporarily or permanently.


He continued: “The ROA is clear that if such proposals were to further damage racing’s finances and that was to further impact prize-money, the sport’s future in its current guise is at risk. Owners cannot continue to see the rewards for their investments diminished further. “The ROA is writing to MPs to request the Gambling Commission consultation be included in the full government Gambling Act Review and be afforded the proper due process on such a huge decision for personal liberties and the sport of racing. We are also working with the BHA to make clear to government the potential impact on ownership and investment in British racing. “With the sport already battered by the impact of Covid, a further assault on its finances could prove too much. The ROA recognises the possible ramifications to racing’s finances if the changes being discussed materialise and the direct impact this will have on the financial situation of all the sport’s participants.”

• The costs of treating the horse at a top veterinary clinic. • The value of the horse if it dies. The policy is open to all – even partnerships and syndicates as long as one of its members is a member of the ROA. For more information and details of the premiums charged in a downloadable brochure, see and search for ROCS.

It’s the time of year when members interested in helping to shape racing’s future policy have an opportunity to do so, as we invite members to stand for election to the ROA board. The board comprises elected and appointed directors, according to the ROA’s Articles of Association. The number of vacancies among the elected directors to be filled at the next Annual General Meeting is three. Each year, if the number of applications to be an elected director exceeds the number of vacancies, a ballot takes place among members. Interested candidates need to be passionate about the horseracing industry and keen to help improve both the finances and experience for racehorse owners, and be willing to draw on their area of knowledge or expertise to help shape the future of the racing industry as we emerge from Covid. Those standing would be expected to attend board meetings, which are currently being held virtually, eight times a year. Board members serve a three-year term after which they can stand for re-election.


Board elections

The format for the 2021 AGM – virtual or in person – will be confirmed in due course

Details of the candidates standing and their manifestos will be circulated online to members. Please ensure we have your email address registered to enable you to cast your vote. The results of the election will be revealed at the AGM on June 29. For further information on the election process please see our Articles of Association at However, if you would like to discuss the process further or if you would like to stand, please contact Charlie Liverton at The closing date for applications is April 1.

Cheltenham at home One of the most popular events in the ROA social calendar is the ROA marquee at the Cheltenham Festival. As soon as one Festival draws to a close, there’s interest in the following year. We know so many of you will be disappointed not to be able to attend the Festival this year, for so many reasons. While restrictions prevent our presence, we hope to bring some of the spirit of Cheltenham and the ROA marquee to you at home. We will be keeping you up to date with a dedicated ‘Cheltenham at Home’ page, featuring listings of preview evenings, racecards, going updates, non-runners and a fiendish Festival quiz. We will also have a message each day from ROA Ambassador Richard Johnson. On each day of the Festival, March 16-19, we will be hosting a daily tipping competition with a cash prize. We will be introducing a new Triple Crown competition to run across the four days, inviting you to predict your top owner (by prize-money), top trainer (by wins) and top jockey (by wins). We even have a throwback collage featuring some memories from last year. To keep you ahead of the field with your form study, we have some special offers on the Weatherbys and

ROA members can enjoy discounts on some essential reading ahead of the Festival

Racing Post versions of the Cheltenham Betting Guide. Members can enjoy a 10% discount in the Racing Post shop on the Cheltenham Festival Guide, usually £12.99. Weatherbys’ Cheltenham Betting Guide, now in its 22nd year, offers three purchase options – a digital version, printed version, or bundle comprising both. The digital version is £12.95, the printed version is £15.95, and the print

and digital bundle is £17.95 before the deduction. Members can enjoy £3 off these prices. For both savings, login to the members area at to find your unique discount code and weblinks

Return of owners to the racecourse

Please check our daily Inside Track ebulletin for the latest updates, news and guidance around owners going racing. Members can email info@roa. to request to receive Inside Track, which is sent out by 9am, seven days a week. The latest updates can be found at


ROA Forum

In conversation with ROA Ambassador



uring February’s winter snap that saw waterlogging, snow and freezing temperatures disrupting racing around the country, we caught up with Richard Johnson at home in Herefordshire, fresh from riding a notable treble at Sandown with Sporting John, Native River and Deise Aba. A Cheltenham Festival without spectators must seem a very different prospect… Regardless of your role, everyone’s going to miss out on the Cheltenham experience. Whether you’re an owner, trainer, jockey, a member of staff at the races with their horse or a spectator, everyone’s going to miss that unique Cheltenham Festival experience. We’ll be racing there, but it won’t be quite the same. When you ride a winner at the Festival, it’s a huge moment in any jockey’s career. Walking back down that sand walkway, there’s nothing that can beat that feeling. It doesn’t matter in that moment whether you’ve won the

how much enjoyment they get out of it, coming racing. Betting is a huge part of the industry but many people just love going racing. They see each other at the races, they become friends. It makes people feel they are part of the industry, they enjoy it more and they want to come back. They tell their friends and in turn they encourage new owners into the sport.

bumper, the Champion Hurdle or the Gold Cup, it’s an unbelievable feeling, having 50,000 or so people cheering. The atmosphere is incredible. I’m hoping and praying I can ride a winner there this year. What’s your view of the owners you ride for, with so many either distanced at the races or not allowed to go racing. How have you managed to keep in touch and keep them engaged? I really feel for owners while they aren’t able to go racing. Jockeys and trainers are able to go racing. It’s not the same but at least we’re able to go racing and do what we love doing. I can only imagine it’s a very frustrating time for owners. While it’s great to see their horses run on the TV, without going racing, the whole racing experience is very different. A lot of owners that I ride for, I speak to on the phone. I try to keep them involved, they’re so enthusiastic. I go racing every day and it makes you realise

You became an ROA Ambassador last March. What do you feel the ROA does to support owners in the sport? I can see the ROA has been trying to do more things for owners generally, including when they don’t have a runner, throughout the year. Owners love to go racing and it’s really important to encourage people to be involved. I was able to meet members in the ROA marquee at the Cheltenham Festival last year and we planned to link up at more events like that. Unfortunately that couldn’t happen due to the pandemic but I look forward to doing so in the future. The ROA supports owners with its package of benefits and helps owners get more out of their experience. I’d like to see owners going racing as much as possible. You might own a horse on your own that might run five, six, seven or eight times a year, but there’s a chance your horse will get a knock. Going racing is like you are part of a club where you can meet like-minded people who share the same interest.


Richard Johnson finds an ideal partner in the tough-as-teak Native River, winner of the rearranged Cotswold Chase at Sandown in February


What is your view on the link up with the Tote? It’s a good partnership. It appealed to me as the Tote is a bookmaker with racing’s interests at heart. The Tote team are keen on trying to encourage growth. I enjoy working with people that attract more people to racing and for the good of racing. It’s like working with the ROA and both organisations have a partnership through the ROA/Tote Owner Sponsorship Scheme. How do you see the future of racing following the pandemic? The impact of Covid-19 has put


Richard Johnson entertained members in the ROA marquee at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, pictured here with Hazel Crichton

pressure on a huge number of things, including prize-money and racecourses’ financial status. It’s going to affect racing. Looking at it more positively, it’s shown how many people have missed going racing, whether as an owner or spectator. Viewing figures for ITV Racing have been fantastic. It’s been able to showcase racing at a top level when other sports have struggled. I feel the BHA have come out of it looking very responsible. They managed to get racing back on and introduced protocols to keep participants safe. It may take ten minutes longer to get into the racecourse, and there are certain things we can’t do, but on a daily basis the guidelines have been observed really well. Race planning has been structured differently this year. The BHA has been more responsive and made late changes so everyone can get the best out of the race programme, an example being the re-arranged Cotswold Chase. I’ve had some rides on the all-weather and it’s given some owners an opportunity to watch their horse run on TV.

I can’t wait to be able to do things normally, like everyone else. As restrictions ease, racing is going to have a great opportunity to encourage people to come and enjoy a day out. Racing is outside and offers a safe environment. It could be a good platform to build on to sell racing.

“Covid has shown us how many people have missed going racing” Like many people who have been spending a lot of time at home and juggling home schooling with everything else, my wife Fiona has started to liken a trip to the supermarket to a night out! We’re lucky living where we do. The children ride their ponies and are very

keen, but it’s been a trying time for everyone and we’re praying to get back to normal soon. How do you view your future after riding – could you ever see yourself training? We have a small stud. I’ve just taken four three-year-olds off the walker. Mum and Dad and my grandparents always had horses – they were farmers that had the odd horse for fun and my Dad rode as an amateur. I enjoy having horses at home on the stud. You see a foal born, you’re involved putting them on the walker and breaking them in. They’re all for sale so they go somewhere else and we follow their progress. We’ve bred quite a few and there’s enjoyment in seeing them run. When I eventually stop doing the day job, I don’t see myself as a trainer. That’s a 24-7 commitment and I’d like to spend more time with my family. I’d like to continue to be involved in the industry, through racecourses and with the ROA. I’ve loved being involved for many years and hope to continue doing so.


ROA Forum


Colin and Nicola Drysdale are drinking a toast to Mighty Thunder


t is not these days the done thing to make too much of the long-standing links between the licensed drinks trade and horseracing, but commercial ties run deep, and if there are horses at the heart of any relationship, so much the better. Mighty Thunder carries the silks of Allson Sparkle Ltd, Scotland’s largest independent on-trade wholesaler as supplier to more than 3,000 pubs, clubs and hotels throughout the country. Their horses are companyowned, with the firm run by Colin Drysdale and wife Nicola. Mighty Thunder has been carrying the silks with particular distinction of late, having won three of his four starts over fences, the latest a 20-length romp in the Bet365 Edinburgh National, in the process sparking dreams of Scottish Grand National glory next month. The eight-year-old was contesting his first handicap chase at Musselburgh, having run in novice events previously over fences, but belied his inexperience and 14-1

“It’s great to be able to go and visit the horses regularly at Lucinda’s yard” odds with a polished display in front of the ITV4 cameras under leading conditional jockey Blair Campbell. Being trained by Lucinda Russell, it was an all-round glorious local success story; the only pity is that the owners and their family, friends and business colleagues were not able to be on track to enjoy it – or in a pub that night to continue celebrations. Asked how they got into ownership, Colin Drysdale replies: “My wife and I have always had an interest and affection for horses, and so when it


Edinburgh National winner Mighty Thunder with Colin and Nicola Drysdale

was suggested we buy a racehorse as a marketing tool for our business, we leapt at the chance. “We are licensed trade wholesalers, and when our sales reps travel round their customers, the horses are a terrific talking point and ice-breaker. Ownership has been very good for business and a great opportunity for our clients and staff to enjoy raceday corporate hospitality.” He continues: “We have owned four to date. One sadly had a freak accident while grazing in the field, and It took a few years for us to get over her loss. We then bought Mighty Thunder and Aurora Thunder, both by Malinas, and a very well-bred youngster, Thunder In Milan, out of a full-sister to [Grand National winner] Ballabriggs.” The Thunders have all provided enjoyment for the Drysdales, with Mighty Thunder having also won a bumper and three over hurdles, while seven-year-old Aurora Thunder has won twice over hurdles and been placed several times. Five-year-old Thunder In Milan was earlier this season beaten a nose on his debut in a bumper, his only run at the time of writing. Teaming up with Milnathort-based Grand National-winning trainer Russell

was perhaps a logical move for the Drysdales, whose business hub in Glenrothes is half an hour from the yard, which Russell runs with former champion jockey and partner Peter Scudamore. “Lucinda Russell has been a good choice for us,” says Colin Drysdale. “Being local, it is great to be able to go and visit the horses regularly. Lucinda and Scu are professional but importantly very likeable, and easy to get on with. The staff and jockeys are first class too, there is a genuine love and respect of the horses.” The partnership has already yielded a number of highs with the promise of more to come after Mighty Thunder was raised 10lb to a mark of 139 following his Edinburgh National heroics. Asked what have been their magical moments to date, Drysdale answers: “Mighty Thunder’s debut in his bumper at Perth was certainly one. We had invited 30 or so guests, and expectation was high, without real justification. Well, he won! It was a tremendous feeling, and everyone had an outstanding day and night. “Mighty has won another six times since. His most recent and biggest achievement to date was winning the

Edinburgh National on February 6. He’s now had three wins from four chase starts, and we are all immensely proud of him.” No doubt taking pride of place somewhere is the picture we carry here, of which Drysdale says: “We were allowed to go to pick up our trophy, which came back from the racecourse with Mighty Thunder in the lorry. They kindly allowed us to have a socially-distanced photo, which was really nice of Lucinda’s team, so we could have a memento.” Covid-19 has obviously badly affected the enjoyment of racehorse owners up and down the nation, indeed worldwide, not to mention businesses of just about every description, including the Drysdales’. An essential part of the thrill is going racing; getting back to normality can’t come soon enough. “We love visiting all the racecourses,” stresses Colin Drysdale. “We’ve never been to a bad one yet, they are all a bit different and the staff and officials go out of their way to give you a great raceday experience. “The most frustrating thing at the moment is not being able to visit the racecourses and see the horses run – although when Mighty Thunder romped home by 20 lengths at Musselburgh in the National, it was probably for the best that no-one could see us!” He adds: “Allson Wholesale are drinks wholesalers to the Scottish licensed trade supplying pubs, clubs and hotels. There has always been a tremendous affinity between the licensed trade and racing, and things have been incredibly tough for everyone in hospitality. We’re all praying things can return to normality soon.” They say you should never mix business with pleasure, but it works just fine thank you very much for the Drysdales, who can hopefully look forward to toasting further success this year, ideally at the racecourse and in one of the many establishments they supply.

Racing Welfare partnership Throughout the uncertainties of the past year, a steady beacon of light has shone across the racing industry in the form of the support offered to racing’s workforce by Racing Welfare. The charity offers professional guidance and practical help to enable people to thrive in a variety of ways and help them negotiate challenges. It provides a range of resources to promote wellbeing and positive mental health which has been so vital to the industry. At a time when many of its usual fundraising events have been curtailed, the Racing Welfare team have provided podcasts, virtual tours of training centres, preview evenings and a range of activities promoting racing, engaging new and existing participants and making them open and accessible to all. Over the past year the charity saw an 80% increase in the number of people using its services. This has been partly driven by issues related to Covid-19 but also due to the charity continuing to expand and develop its services to be more accessible. As a partner to the charity, we are pleased to announce that Racing Welfare has offered to extend access to the following services to ROA members: • Racing’s Support Line: ‘in the moment’ telephone support from an accredited counsellor, available 24/7 365 days a year. • Access to professional counselling via telephone or online to suit the individual • Telephone Information Service: advice on a range of matters, with all advisors being Citizens Advice Bureau trained.

• Woebot: an easy to use app created by Stanford-trained psychologists that enables users to access in the moment emotional support 24/7. The app checks in on you, helping you track your mood, identify patterns and give insight into particular issues or concerns that you may not have realised were causing emotional distress. Woebot can teach techniques and tools such as behavioural therapies or breathing exercises. • Sleepstation: accessible through, Sleepstation is designed to help you overcome your sleep issues with effective, tried and tested methods which are easily implemented into your life. These services are available now and will be offered for a year as part of a trial. Other initiatives will be introduced later this year. The exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic have brought us all in contact with those affected by isolation, bereavement and business and personal financial pressures. Owners haven’t been immune to this and many have been balancing these challenges with their responsibilities as an owner and with loyalty to all those involved in the care of their racehorses. We hope that members will find access to these services reassuring at a time when some practical support may be most needed. To access Racing Welfare’s services outlined above, please see or call 0800 6300 443 in confidence. Please introduce yourself as an ROA member to access the services outlined above.



ROA Forum

News in brief Point-to-pointers

The BHA has introduced a temporary measure to help ease the process for horses returning to point-to-point races from the care of licensed and permit trainers when pointing is able to resume. When point-to-pointing is permitted to resume, horses that had registered hunter certificates by January 1 will only have to wait 14 days after leaving the care of a licensed or permit trainer before being allowed to run in point-to-point races. Normally this would be 28 days. The allowance will only apply to those horses that are moved within 14 days of the resumption of point-topointing.

Black-type races

At its annual meeting held on January 20, the European Pattern Committee (EPC) considered the impact of the global pandemic on the programme of Pattern and Listed races across Europe. The committee recognised that the various impacts of Covid-19, and the concomitant changes to the Pattern race programme, had doubtless altered the structure and rhythm of campaigning for the best racehorses in 2020. In the light of the extraordinary circumstances, and the numerous knock-on effects, the EPC agreed that there would be a moratorium on any upgrading or downgrading of Pattern or Listed races for 2021. The annual race ratings for 2020 will not be used to compile threeyear average ratings for any Pattern or Listed race in the usual way. In effect, 2020 will be treated as a ‘gapyear’ in terms of the EPC’s processes utilised in the assessment of each race’s overall performance. Races that were at risk of possible downgrade in 2021 will be excused this year but will remain at risk and be assessed at the beginning of 2022.

Integrity education

The BHA integrity education programme is aimed at anyone involved in British racing who has to comply with its Rules, or anyone who follows or bets on the sport


and is interested in having a clear understanding of how the integrity of British racing is safeguarded. The programme can offer protection against potential integrity threats which you may come across. The integrity education programme provides relevant and easy-tounderstand guidance about how you can play your part in keeping racing fair and clean. It is intended to demonstrate to participants, media, the betting industry and racing public what is being done to protect the integrity of British racing. See https:// integrityeducation.britishhorseracing. com/

ROA virtual tours

Missed our latest ROA virtual tours? You can catch up via the ROA’s YouTube channel with an introduction to the fascinating National Horse Racing Museum, built in the remains of the Palace House Estate in Newmarket. Subscribe to free updates on virtual tours and ROA messages at ROA Racehorse Owners Association on YouTube.

Racehorse Relief Fund

The Racehorse Relief Fund was launched by the ROA in October. It was set up as a fund of last resort to support the needs of racehorses whose owners are suffering financial hardship as a result of the impact of Covid-19. Details can be found on the ROA website at https://www.roa.

Newmarket Pony Academy

The Newmarket Pony Academy (NPA) will open in April, enabling young people to enjoy close contact with horses and ponies. Based at the British Racing School (BRS), the NPA is supported by the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust and Godolphin. Working closely with local schools and the West Suffolk Council, the NPA will operate a range of programmes to meet the needs of different groups of young people. The programmes offered include: • One-week courses for Year 6 pupils from local primary schools that will

introduce them to ponies whilst making use of a different learning environment to engage them in core subjects. Courses will build on the curriculum whilst also building confidence and resilience. • Breakfast, afterschool and holiday clubs for local young people identified by teachers and social workers as at risk of being drawn into criminality or likely to face challenges as they move from primary to secondary school. It is hoped that engaging with the NPA regularly will give these young people a positive constant in their lives. • One day per week course for students from the Newmarket Academy Polaris centre. The centre provides bespoke and individual education for young people in Years 7 to 11 with communication and interaction needs. • Working in partnership with existing urban riding clubs such as the Urban Equestrian Academy in Leicester and the Ebony Horse Club in Brixton, the NPA will provide their members with an opportunity to attend residential weeks at the BRS to learn about racehorses and the wider racing industry. • The NPA will also provide the opportunity to re-establish a Newmarket Riding for the Disabled (RDA) group. Andrew Braithwaite, British Racing School Finance Director, said: “The case for racing becoming more inclusive is clear. The NPA will allow us and the wider industry to give young people a real insight into racing regardless of their background and, for those bitten by the bug, a route into the industry. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Trust for their generous support and to the team at Godolphin for their vision and drive.”

French racing

France Galop has made some changes to its rules of racing, relating to order of balloting and conditions for qualification in major handicaps. It also provides reminders of vaccinations and that re-registration must be made for this year. Details can be found at

£1.65 million in GBB bonuses paid out to more than 100 winners in 2020! Could you be surprised in 2021? The Great British Bonus scheme is well on the way to smashing through the £2 million barrier in under a year. The start of 2021 has already seen seven winning GBB owners, trainers and breeders, who continue to herald the benefits of the Great British Bonus (GBB) incentive scheme. As the industry looks ahead to a year that will continue to be impacted by Covid-19, GBB is offering an important lifeline for owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys and stable staff. Having already paid out £1.65 million in bonuses in just eight months to more than 100 total winners, the scheme is well on the way to smashing through the £2 million barrier in under a year and will continue to provide vital support. GBB winners:

GBB multiple-bonus winners on the Flat:


GBB multiple-bonus winners over Jumps:

Bonuses won




Trainers making the most of GBB Jumping to it

Total bonus payments:


Bonuses won

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

Alan King


Charlie Appleby


Harry Fry


Ralph Beckett


Jamie Snowden


John Gosden


Dan Skelton


Karl Burke



Henry Daly


Mark Johnston


Fergal O’Brien


Roger Varian


We won the bonus a couple of times last year and it really is a good incentive for British breeders.

Neil King


William Haggas


Michael Scudamore


Bryan Smart


Jimmy Moffatt


Richard Hannon



Lucy Wadham


Roger Charlton


The bonus payments alone have covered all costs for the syndicate for next season.

Chris Honour


Hugo Palmer


Dan Abraham, syndicate manager of Foxtrot Racing

Bryan Smart


(Bonus payments: £40,000)

Alan King, trainer

(Bonus payments: £20,000)

Tim Gredley

(Bonus payments: £20,000)

Is your filly eligible? If so, you could join the ever-growing list of winners this year. For more information on eligibility, visit TBA GBB TOB Mailers A4_March.indd 1

Information correct at time of going to press

15/02/2021 16:32

TBA Forum

The special section for TBA members

Post-Brexit: your questions answered


ince Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, the TBA office has fielded many questions from breeders and the latest and most up to date information can be found on the dedicated Brexit page on the TBA’s website. Another source of information is the TBA’s YouTube page, where a recording of a Brexit webinar from midJanuary can be found. Amongst the useful information that can be found on the Brexit microsite is the TBA Brexit FAQs for breeders, which answers the most commonly asked questions, replicated below.

Has the Weatherbys General Stud Book (GSB) received official recognition from the European Commission and does Britain have a disease listing status for equines? Yes, the GSB has gained official recognition giving thoroughbreds a ‘registered’ status and the disease listing classification is Third Country, Sanitary Category A (the least onerous category). How can I find a link to the Border Operating Model and which pages are relevant to equines? See publications/the-border-operatingmodel. Please reference pages 82-83 and 220-221. This document details the blood testing requirements for horses due to travel, as does this useful link: Is there a minimum age my foals must be before I can transport them to Ireland or France? There is no clear answer at this time.



The TBA strongly advises breeders wishing to transport mares to Ireland, France and Germany for covering this breeding season to use a professional shipping agent who will be able to supply you with expert and up-todate advice tailored to your specific requirements, especially in relation to Customs compliance. Failure to provide correct documentation and follow specified procedures may mean that your horses are turned away from a Border Control Post (BCP) and are not permitted to continue their journey.

Sending horses to Europe has become more complicated since Brexit

Whilst the UK Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has confirmed that foals may travel in the UK at any age as long as their navel has healed, individual EU BCPs are quoting different ages and requirements, so this matter has been escalated to the EU Commission for a definitive answer. The TBA does not endorse the temporary separation of foals from their dams for the sole purpose of facilitating a ‘walk out’ covering of the mare in a different country. Will my foal need its own passport to be able to travel to Ireland or France? Article 23 of the EU Legislation 2015/262 states that a passport does not need to accompany a foal when it travels with its dam or foster mare. The APHA has been asked to clarify whether this position extends to those originating from a Third Country. Experience to date has shown that the BCP at Calais requires foals to be microchipped and to have an Export Health Certificate (EHC), and by implication, to also have its own passport. How do I fast track a foal registration to receive the passport in the shortest timeframe possible? The markings, blood DNA sample and microchip must be completed by the vet at the earliest opportunity and the envelope labelled FAST TRACK. The online foal registration must then be processed and the appropriate

payment made. Contact the Stud Book Department at Weatherbys (01933 440077 or studbook@weatherbys. and advise that the passport is awaited urgently and if possible state the desired date of travel. How can I obtain an Export Health Certificate? An EHC can be applied for online via the digital application service EHCO (Export Health Certificate Online) developed by DEFRA and the APHA (a direct link is available on the online FAQs). An Official Veterinarian (OV) will need to be nominated to complete the paperwork. It is likely to take around 3-5 days to obtain an EHC. Will mares ‘walking in’ to stallions between Great Britain and Ireland require a separate EHC for each leg of their trip? Yes, British mares ‘walking in’ to visit stallions in Ireland and Irish mares ‘walking in’ to be covered by British stallions will require one EHC for the outbound journey and a second EHC for the inbound crossing, obtained in the country of departure. Do foals travelling to France and Ireland require their own EHCs? Yes, they are currently considered a separate epidemiological unit to their dam and as such will require their own EHC and a microchip implant to be able to travel.

Should I advise Weatherbys of the temporary movement of my broodmares to the EU for covering? Yes, a Breeding Clearance Notification (BCN) should be obtained to notify the Stud Book that the mare will be temporarily exported for covering purposes, for a period of less than nine months – Weatherbys/media/PDFs/ExportApplication-(including-VAT).pdf. This form is also suitable for advising of the temporary movement of youngstock and also horses destined for the sales, by requesting a General Notification of Movement (GNM). Studs perform routine blood testing in January. Can the Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) result count towards export requirements? Yes, if it was taken within 90 days of travel (temporary exports) and was processed by the APHA laboratory. The blood sample can still be collected by your regular attending vet but cannot be processed by the veterinary practice’s own laboratory for example, it must be analysed by the APHA. Do I also need to take blood for EIA analysis from my foal prior to export to France or Ireland? Yes, a blood sample will need to be processed by the APHA laboratory within 90 days prior to travel (temporary exports). Will Irish mares ‘walking in’ to British stallions require EIA analysis taken in GB prior to returning to Ireland? Not if they have an EIA processed by the APHA laboratory dated within 30 days of travel (permanent exports), that was potentially taken to meet the breeding requirements of the stallion stud. When will exports from GB have to enter an EU member state via a BCP? From January 1 horses have had to enter Europe via a BCP. A direct link to the list of BCPs can be found on the online FAQs. When will imports to GB have to enter the country via a BCP? Not until July 2021. Horses travelling over the British land bridge from the Republic of Ireland to France (and vice versa) will not have to pass through a BCP, but will require an Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) with the official wording ‘Only for transit between different parts of the EU via GB’ clearly noted.

Are there additional considerations for taking horseboxes through Kent? Horseboxes over 7.5 tonnes will need a Kent Access Permit (KAP) to access the port at Dover or the Eurotunnel. The permit is valid for 24 hours and you will need a new permit each time the horsebox leaves Great Britain via Kent. Additionally, drivers and attending grooms will require a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours prior to travel. I have horses arriving from an EU member state into Britain. What action do I need to take? The GB importer will need to be registered with IPAFFS and submit advance notification of the intended arrival of horses into Britain. You can register by following the direct link in the online FAQs. I have horses departing to an EU member state from Britain. What action do I need to take? The GB exporter will need to give prior notification to the BCP that horses will be travelling through by submitting Part 1 of a Common Health Entry Document (CHED-A) tracesntwebhelp/Content/M_CHED-A/ Intro.htm via the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES NT) - webgate. Will I have to raise the funds or organise a bond on the VAT of my mare’s valuation to transport her to an EU member state? Is it still possible to use an ATA Carnet? Yes, funds will need to be raised to cover the VAT on the current valuation of the horse, which are then released once the equine returns to its country of origin. Alternatively, you may be able to organise a bond from your bank or another financial institution. The security will need to be lodged each time the mare enters the country, walking in for cross covers etc, even if funds have not yet been returned since the mare’s cirst visit. A third option would be to purchase an ATA Carnet (valid for a year and covering multiple trips for the same horse). Whilst most EU countries will require security, it is possible that some may waive that requirement on the basis that the horses are travelling for e.g. ‘grazing or work’, so we suggest you check the current position with your Customs/shipping agent. It is also a possibility that individual stallion stud farms may offer to secure a bond on behalf of visiting mares for some clients, but breeders are encouraged

to check the current position with the stallion studs they are using, prior to organising transport. Will I have to pay VAT on the nomination fees and keep charges for my mares covered in Ireland and France? There has been no change in this respect and an entry will still need to be made on your VAT return. Where can I learn more about Customs requirements? Guidance on the Customs Declaration Service, which is being introduced gradually and currently operating alongside the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system, can be found by visiting www. customs-declaration-service. What is required in terms of transporter authorisation to move horses across the EU borders? All commercially operated horseboxes (i.e. all horseboxes that are not owned by private individuals for transporting their own leisure horses) need to be tested in an EU member state to gain Vehicle Approval Certificates (and once passed will then be valid throughout the EU). Once all vehicles have been inspected, the operator can apply for EU Transporter Authorisation. Likewise, companies based in the EU will need to apply to APHA for Transporter Authorisation in Britain. EU Welfare in Transport Certificates of Competence for drivers and attending grooms need to be obtained by UK nationals, even if the qualification is already held by them in Britain. Irish nationals can get mutual recognition of their Certificates of Competence via the DEFRA website, but non-Irish EU Nationals will need to sit or repeat these qualifications in Britain. The latest updates prepared by the Thoroughbred Brexit Steering Group will be communicated to the thoroughbred sector via the BHA’s Brexit hub www.britishhorseracing. com/regulation/brexit and we would recommend you check this page regularly for the latest information. Whilst we use reasonable efforts to answer questions using accurate and up to date information, the current post-Brexit situation is fluid and as a result we can assume no responsibility nor liability for any error or omission in our responses. Correct as of February 18


TBA Forum

A smart novice chaser last season, Master Tommytucker gained a deserved maiden Graded victory in the Grade 2 Silviniaco Conti Chase over an intermediate trip at Kempton Park in early January. The son of Kayf Tara was bred by his owner Anthony Fear and survived a chancy leap at the last to win by 12 lengths. There was further Grade 2 successes for British-breds on either side of the Irish Sea. At Haydock Park on Peter Marsh day, the Robin and Scarlett Knipe-bred Silver Hallmark was victorious in the Altcar Novices’ Chase. Lightly raced, having run only five times, he hails from a fine Cobhall Court Stud family. The same day, Nathaniel’s son Navajo Pass made all in the Champion Hurdle Trial. The improving five-year-old was bred by Natton House Thoroughbreds and Geoffrey Bishop. On Thyestes Chase day at Gowran Park, Sams Profile, who was reverting to hurdles after a couple of novice chase starts, proved tough and game when winning the Galmoy Hurdle in hock-deep ground. The son of Black Sam Bellamy was bred by Richard and Jane Micklethwait. At Market Rasen in the middle of the month, Eileendover was a highly impressive winner of the Listed bumper run in memory of Alan Swinbank. The four-year-old filly readily went clear in the closing stages for trainer, partowner and breeder Pam Sly. In January the Dubai Carnival got

Dashel Drasher: loves Ascot


British-breds winning the world over

Master Tommytucker: winner of the Grade 2 Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton

underway and the first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge was won in good style by Military Law. The son of Dubawi was winning his first Group 2 and was bred by Qatar Bloodstock. The same day, the Darley-bred Walton Street took the Listed Dubai Racing Club Classic, while the Juddmonte-bred Equilateral won the Listed Dubai Dash for the second year running. Fellow Juddmonte homebred Spirit Ridge (Nathaniel) gained a second successive black-type win in the January Cup at Randwick. The following week at Meydan the feature was the Cape Verdi, which was

Dashel Drasher flying high for the Scotts There is nothing like a fearless chaser who goes out in front and makes all to capture the imagination of the racing public. Dashel Drasher has done that three times at Ascot this season – setting off at a good clip, jumping well in the main and finding plenty when required at the business end. His rating of 158 will be elevated further after his latest thrilling success in the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase on February 20, when he defeated Master Tommytucker by two lengths. “We desperately needed the black type for the family,” said breeder Camilla Scott, whose husband Jeremy trains the eight-year-old from their


won in fine style by the Godolphin-bred Althiqa, who took the Group 2 by over two lengths. Also in the UAE, Blown By Wind blew away the opposition to win the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile on the dirt by four lengths. In the US the Brightwalton Bloodstock Ltd-bred Quick gained a maiden Graded victory in the 1m4f Astra Stakes at Santa Anita. Later in the month Gregorian Chant, bred by Clarendon Farm, gained a first stakes win in the Clocker’s Corner Stakes. Results up to and including January 31. Produced in association with GBRI.

Exmoor base near Brompton Regis. “He is the sixth generation we’ve had from the family. My stepfather bought the original mare [Cash Award] many moons ago, in the early 1970s. She bred a few foals that were successful on the Flat and over jumps, including Jubilee Medal, who was with Nicky Henderson, and one that won in Hong Kong. “The original family was good, but it had rather lost its way until So Long came along. She was third in a good bumper behind Hennessy but broke down at Exeter. We got her right again and then won five points with her [including a ten-length defeat of useful

Heather Ewence: thrilled to join the TBA

Heather Ewence joins the TBA team British-based sires are showcased online at

The Great British Stallion Showcase Unfortunately for both breeders and members alike, neither the National Hunt Stallion Showcase nor the Flat Stallion Parade were able to be staged earlier this year. However, in its place, the TBA, along with GBRI, launched the Great British Stallion Showcase last month in lieu of the cancelled events. Featuring 12 first- or second-season Flat stallions and 24 National Hunt stallions, the interactive website,, contained photos and videos of each stallion, along with audio clips from stud managers, pedigrees, fees and EBF eligibility. Claire Sheppard, Chief Executive of the TBA, says: “The TBA and GBRI are delighted to launch the Great British Stallion Showcase for 2021. While sadly the restrictions around Covid-19 have disrupted this year’s renewals of our annual Flat Stallion Parade and National Hunt Stallion Showcase, we wanted to offer breeders the next best opportunity to explore and view the outstanding stallion offering in Britain this year. “Our team at the TBA have liaised closely with stallion studs to source a range of visual and audio assets, while the GBRI team have successfully built a user-friendly, practical website which contains a wealth of information on each stallion. We are grateful for GBRI’s expertise in creating this virtual Showcase.”

West Country pointer Coombe Hill]. “It is pure English breeding all the way through and because she had broken down it has always been important that any stallion she visited was sound. It is great that Bridget [Tully] and Richard [Lock] have stayed in all the way through, having owned her and now owning her foals. It takes a long time and patience to get one like him.” His five-year-old full-sister, Drash On Ruby, attempted to make it a double at Ascot in the closing bumper and ran well to finish third on her third start. Camilla explained: “I think she

needs to run more like him! They are both alike; very straightforward. She was ridden more positively at Ascot and ran her best race so far.” The mare’s fifth foal is a three-yearold filly by Dunaden, who Camilla described as being “just like her mother”. Currently carrying a full-sibling to Dashel Drasher and due to foal in June, the 21-year-old So Long’s first two foals, Popping Along and Lady Longshot, were three-time winners. The latter expanded Camilla’s broodmare band to two and has a yearling three-parts brother to Dashel Drasher.

Heather Ewence has joined the TBA team as Education Executive covering for Melissa Rose, who commences maternity leave in mid-March. Heather brings a great deal of experience to the TBA, having previously worked for the Animal Health Trust, Juddmonte Farms, and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. In her new role, Heather will assist the TBA in delivering an exciting new e-learning platform for the benefit of members and will also be helping to organise the existing events offered by the TBA such as the Stud Farming Course. Heather said: “I am very pleased to be joining the team and am looking forward to assisting with development and delivery of the educational material, alongside engaging with members and promoting the thoroughbred breeding industry.”

2021 Strategic Plan released The TBA has published its strategic operating plan for 2021 and it can be viewed in the members’ area of the website. The plan includes all of the following areas of the TBA’s remit: • Protect the diversity and promote the development of the thoroughbred breed • Support breeders in their care of horses and employees • Advance the development of participants within the British breeding industry • Shape national and international policy for the thoroughbred breeding industry • Secure and encourage veterinary research for the benefit of thoroughbred breeding stock


TBA Forum

Meet the regional reps Every TBA member belongs in one of seven regions, each of which is headed up by a group of volunteer regional representatives who work tirelessly to help us promote British breeding. Over the past six months the TBA has secured a number of new regional representatives. Regional representatives are on hand to offer support and guidance to members at a local level. Stuart McPhee Stuart, who is a regional rep for the south east region, has enjoyed an interesting and varied career, with roles ranging from teaching in a state boarding school, to sales and computer programming, before he spent 12 years running his own successful technical writing business in the UK, Hong Kong and India. He also had a spell as Andrew Balding’s form man and race-placing partner after having his first horse in training with Andrew. He currently works as a freelance change programme director within financial services. Stuart is passionate about pedigrees and breeding thoroughbreds and plans to breed a Classic winner any day now.

Stuart McPhee and Marietta Fox-Pitt are the regional representatives in the south east

He owns around ten broodmares split between the UK, Ireland, France and Australia. He also has fillies in training with Adam West, Jean-Rene Auvray and Jonny Portman. He lives in Kent. Marietta Fox-Pitt “I inherited my farm and holiday cottages from my father when I was 17. He bred steeplechasers and was a member of the National Hunt Committee, then the Jockey Club,” says Marietta Fox-Pitt, a new regional representative for the south east region. “I bought a yearling at Newmaket who won the Nell Gwyn and a foal the following year, Ysolda, who was third in the Blue Seal at Ascot. She went on to breed five black-type horses, including Tintagel, who was the top four-year-old

mare in Europe and Le Djinn, who won two Flat races and two jumps races, including the Prix Robert Hennessy at Auteuil. “I went clear round Bramham horse trials twice and I won the Melton xc ride on him. The three horses my son has in training, including Snow Leopardess, are all descended from her. “I came second in the young riders’ championship at Hickstead and then evented in the British team three years running, having been second at Burghley and Punchestown, and fourth at Badminton. “Also, as a breeder of event horses, I was given the Cubitt award for being a DC of the Pony Club for 50 years. I am also a dressage judge and eventing coach.”

Membership Benefit – Veterinary The TBA continues to fund and support crucial veterinary research in order to prioritise the health and welfare of the thoroughbred horse. We are currently funding research into innovations into parasite control at Bristol University, the results of which will be shared with members later in the year. A project researching early pregnancy loss in the mare at the Royal Veterinary College also comes to a close this year and interim results can be found in a recorded webinar on the TBA YouTube channel, published in October 2020. From our base in Newmarket we are privileged to work alongside some of the country’s top vets who continue to work on safeguarding our industry against infectious disease. We provide guidance on the most effective biosecurity interventions and, should there be an infectious disease outbreak, our TBA veterinary advisors are able to provide accurate and timely advice to safeguard breeding stock.


The TBA offers members a subsidy of £200 towards costs incurred when investigating an abortion or neo-natal foal death that may be a result of EHV1-4. This payment is to encourage breeders to undertake a post-mortem at an approved laboratory, enabling us to monitor any disease outbreak and act quickly to prevent further spread of the virus. We also work closely with the BHA and charity ROR on horse welfare matters and liaise with the wider equine sector and Defra to protect the interests of the bloodstock breeding sector. Our work with trade and government organisations assists in securing the correct import and export protocols while maximising business opportunities across the sector. Early last month the TBA held an informative webinar regarding infectious diseases, which can be found on the TBA’s Youtube channel.

‘Racing fillies is massively important’ Robert Waley-Cohen with his views on the new Grade 2 Liberthine Chase at this month's Cheltenham Festival During my decade as Chairman of the TBA National Hunt Committee the promotion of breeding National Hunt horses in Britain focussed on three areas. Firstly, the Elite Mares’ Scheme, under which the Levy Board provides financial assistance to the owners of the best mares to go to British-based stallions. The second is the Great British Bonus, which provides up to £20,000 for every win to the connections of a GB-suffixed filly or mare that wins a race for fillies and mares only. The third focus is the development and upgrade of the race programme for females only. Taken together, these three promotions have massively changed the viability of British studs and the desirability of fillies in particular. Racing fillies is massively important as it means that they will be tried on the racecourse (currently under 25% of NH fillies actually race) so that breeders know which are the most talented and which the most sound. The ambition of all NH owners is to win a race at the Cheltenham Festival so it is excellent that in 2021 there will be a Class 1 steeplechase for mares only, added to the Class 1 novice hurdle (the Dawn Run) and the Class 1 hurdle race for more experienced horses (the David Nicholson). These hurdle races are now very successful contests so though it may take time for the chase to build to the desired level, I am confident that

30-day foal notification Breeders are reminded that when a foal is bred for racing in Great Britain, the breeder/owner must notify the General Stud Book (Weatherbys) of its birth and whereabouts within 30 days of its birth (day one being the date of birth). Notification is free and should be done through the online portal:

Liberthine: high-class mare has a race named after her at the Cheltenham Festival

this will happen. I am honoured that the Cheltenham executive suggested that an appropriate thank you for serving as Chairman of the racecourse for nine Festivals would be that the ‘handle’ for this race should be Liberthine. Liberthine ran 24 times for us, retiring sound after winning three Class 1 races including a hurdle race at Auteuil as a three-year-old, the Mildmay of Flete, the name then of the 2m5f handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and the Topham Chase at Aintree over the Grand National fences. Both Liberthine and her threeparts-brother, Long Run, won at the Cheltenham Festival, which makes them one of a very small number of siblings to have done so, even more remarkable as I bought them both as three-yearolds from their breeder, Mme Gabeur. Naming this race the Liberthine has

particular relevance for me as both Liberthine and Long Run ran in my colours and both were ridden by my son Sam – Liberthine was his first win at the Festival in 2005 and Long Run his first Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2011, both trained by Nicky Henderson. Liberthine joined our Upton Viva Stud in 2007 after she had finished fifth in the Grand National and in 2008 gave birth to a filly, Free Thinking, by Hernando. She and Liberthine’s next foal to run, Tell It To Me, also a filly, both won and now have progeny at the stud. Liberthine has been retired but still to be enjoyed on the racecourse are four more produce – the geldings Wykham, by Shirocco, and Sure Touch, by Yeats, who I dream will get to the Cheltenham Festival one day, an un-named 2017 filly by Kayf Tara, and the yearling colt Double Tiger, by Blue Bresil.

If you are unsure as to whether a foal has been notified, visit selim. to check a horse’s status. Please be aware that 30-day foal notification is different from foal registration. This must still be completed with the General Stud Book in accordance with the legislative requirements and any other Rules of Racing. If notification has not been received within the 30-day window, before the horse may be eligible to race, the BHA may require a

Certificate of Analysis reporting no evidence of the presence or use of a substance prohibited at all times in a sample collected by the BHA. You will be liable for the cost of the sample collection and analysis, which currently is £425 + VAT (cost of sampling is subject to fluctuation and may vary year on year). In exceptional circumstances, for example where an individual or company continually fails to comply with the requirement, a foal may not be approved as eligible to run in Great Britain.


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When Jane Micklethwait bought her first mare at Doncaster in November 1977, she could hardly have imagined that almost 40 years later she would be back there selling two yearlings within 20 lots of each other who would earn her a brace of TBA awards. One was Copperhead, who gained his breeder the Peel Bloodstock trophy for the leading novice chaser in 2020; the other was Sams Profile, for whom she has been named Breeder of the Month for January, following the seven-year-old’s stunning success in the Grade 2 John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park. Looking back on that fateful day in January 2015, she says: “I was cutting right back on the horses for personal reasons and sent three yearlings to the sale – Sams Profile, who made £4,000 and was bought by Richard Frisby, Copperhead, who sold for £6,500, and one that proved to be totally useless when he went to Jessie Harrington and has disappeared from view.” Micklethwait, who ran the stud with her late husband Richard at her family home in the Rutland village of Preston, can also trace the latest award to Doncaster, for she bought Lucylou, the dam of Sams Profile, there for £10,000 in November 2004. She recalls: “She was a full-sister to three winners and still quite young at seven-years-old but unbroken. She took a while to get going. One foal went to Ireland and they thought a lot of her but she broke a leg on the gallops, then I sold a nice mare out of her but she proved to be a tearaway and couldn’t really be trained. But finally, in 2012, along came

Sams Profile wins the Galmoy Hurdle

Cool Mix, a big, strong horse whom we sold as a three-year-old for £9,000 at Doncaster in May 2015, and he’s doing well in the north for Iain Jardine. “The first I heard about Sams Profile was in February 2018, when I was told he’d won a point-to-point in Ireland. Then the following month he was sold at the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Festival sale for £80,000 into Mouse Morris’s stable and after finishing third in a Punchestown bumper he won a maiden hurdle. “He ended that season running fifth in the Ballymore at Cheltenham and second, beaten half a length, in Punchestown’s Champion Novice Hurdle. Then he disappeared completely from view. “I waited all year for him to reappear, but he never did, even though he was entered three times at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. I was thrilled when he did appear again at Thurles in November, but he behaved rather badly, flew into the lead and took a heavy fall at the third-last. Eleven days later Sams Profile turned out in a beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse and

again he tore off into the lead but was overtaken by none other than Monkfish and lost second place going to the last. “I thought that was quite good, considering he’d been off the course for the best part of 18 months, but when Mouse Morris was interviewed after he won the Galmoy, he said that rather than being pleased about finishing third at Fairyhouse, he’d been disappointed and got in the vet the next day, because it wasn’t nearly what he’d expected. That was when they found that Sams Profile had broken a rib and bruised his lung in the fall the time before. “He must be a very brave horse and perhaps no-one really knows how good he is. I imagine he’ll run in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. He’s very unexposed, and he’s not devoid of speed.” Ironically, Copperhead and Sams Profile were the last produce of their dams – the only produce in the case of Copperhead’s dam How’s Business – leaving Micklethwait to look to the future with two fillies out of Talk The Talk, whom she bred from Free Travel, another Doncaster purchase whose acquisition for £5,000 fortuitously preceded her half-brother Dublin Flyer’s success. “I have a very nice three-year-old Telescope filly and a four-year-old filly by Pether’s Moon,” Micklethwait says, “which have been looked after by Louise Kemble at The Elms Stud and will go into training. “So, we’ve something coming along. There are serious ups and downs in this business, and very few people I know have made money out of breeding National Hunt horses, but they give you plenty of fun and friends along the way and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”




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Don’t forget the cost of partial exemption VAT and partial exemption is a complicated issue, which affects many businesses that make both taxable and exempt supplies, including studs. For example, selling horses is taxable, whereas letting out surplus boxes and yards could be exempt. Taxable supplies will have VAT charged at either the standard, reduced or zero rate. Although no VAT is charged on a zerorated supply, such as the sale of grazing or hay, it will still entitle a business to recover input VAT, distinguishing it from an exempt supply. Such businesses are described as partially exempt and may not be able to recover all their input tax. Partial exemption calculations ensure that only input VAT attributable to taxable supplies is recovered. Even a fully taxable business should be aware of these rules as circumstances can change. For example, a business letting out spare cottages during the national lockdowns, which were formerly occupied by staff, would become partially exempt. This may appear daunting. If a business approaches this logically, however, and takes the time to carefully review any income and expenditure, it can prepare its partial exemption calculations with confidence. The most complicated issues businesses may currently face can probably be traced back to Brexit. Despite the time taken to reach a deal with the EU, there are still ongoing negotiations. We hope the issues with the movement of horses are resolved by the time this article is published and can be addressed in our next article.

Partial Exemption

One of the main principles of VAT is that only input VAT attributable to taxable supplies is reclaimable. The first step, therefore, is to disallow any VAT relating to expenditure on non-business items, such as for the private use of any goods or services. Next, allocate the business input VAT to taxable or exempt supplies, or both. Expenditure attributable to both is usually an overhead, such as office costs or accountancy fees, but can include anything used for both taxable and exempt supplies. For example, costs for repairs to an access road covering multiple yards, one of which is let out and the other owner occupied, will relate to both taxable and exempt supplies. Part of the input VAT on overheads will be treated as taxable; the relevant amount determined in accordance with partial exemption calculations. The remaining input VAT on overheads and the input VAT relating to exempt supplies is exempt input VAT and only reclaimable if below the de minimis limits of £7,500 per annum or £625 per month on

average and less than half of total input VAT. These are all or nothing limits, if the exempt input VAT is one penny over the limits, then none of it is reclaimable. The partial exemption calculations are carried out for each VAT return period, or the business can opt to use the previous year’s partial exemption percentage. Either way, an annual adjustment calculation is carried out at the end of the VAT year to account for any seasonal fluctuations. Capital proceeds, such as from the sale of land, and services acquired from overseas suppliers, such as training and vet fees, are excluded from the calculations. Any blocked input VAT, such as from business entertaining and on motor cars, is ignored for partial exemption calculations and is not included on the VAT return.

Capital Goods Scheme

If you are incurring capital expenditure in excess of £250,000 (net of VAT) on land or buildings, the input VAT will fall under the capital good scheme. This applies


to capital expenditure on either the purchase or construction of land or buildings. The capital goods scheme is similar to partial exemption, but requires adjustments to be made to the initial amount of VAT claimed to reflect the differences in the use of capital items over the subsequent ten years.


If a business is treating its supplies incorrectly, then the partial exemption calculations will also be incorrect. Livery can be a complicated issue and it is important that you correctly treat supplies as either taxable or exempt.

If your business provides an owner with exclusive use of stabling for their horse(s), then this is an exempt supply of a right over land. This is likely to occur when letting a surplus yard rather than specific liveries. Where the livery is a broodmare, the stud will almost certainly have the right to move her and her foal around as needed, and the supply will be standard rated. Livery services provided at a specialist yard, such as trainers, stud farms and yards involved in breaking or pre-training, will always be standard rated regardless of whether or not a specific box has been allocated to the horse.

If your are unsure of the VAT treatment of any supplies made by your business or if you would like the comfort of an independent review, please get in touch with your usual Smith & Williamson contact.

Brigitte Potts Director, Smith & Williamson LLP t: 01722 431 054 e:

To register for our upcoming Tax Update webinar on 25 March discussing the key updates to tax legislation and case law for land agents in rural business please contact

Source 15/02/2021 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. 21221eb © Tilney Smith & Williamson Limited 2021.


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Vet Forum: The Expert View

By Stuart Williamson BVSC MRCVS

Imaging modalities


echnological advances in modern veterinary diagnostic imaging systems have resulted in multiple portable and hospital-based imaging options that are capable of producing high-resolution images of both bony and soft tissue structures. Whilst these systems are used most frequently in the diagnosis of lameness in the horse, other body parts such as the head, thorax and abdomen can also be imaged successfully. When undertaking orthopaedic examinations and once the seat of lameness has been identified through clinical examination and diagnostic nerve blocks, imaging systems can be used to more fully understand the bony and soft tissue pathology surrounding the site of lameness. These can be used in isolation, or in combination, exploiting their respective advantages. This article will look at the most commonly used imaging modalities and discuss their place in the investigation of equine patients.


Radiography is the most frequently used imaging modality in equine thoroughbred practice. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen performed the first radiograph, or x-ray, in 1895. Whilst x-ray machines are now much more sophisticated, the same basic principles of x-ray production and image acquisition apply. X-rays produced by an x-ray generator are directed at the body part of interest. Denser tissues absorb a large portion of those x-rays while less dense tissues allow many more x-rays to pass through the body and be captured by a detector (a conventional film or a digital plate), resulting in the production of the radiograph. The object’s structure as well as its density will determine the amount of x-rays that will pass through and hit the detector. Bone appears whiter as the x-rays do not penetrate and this makes radiography the modality of choice for the evaluation of conditions such as fractures, laminitis and osteoarthritis. It can also be used to guide injections or surgical implants and to explore wounds with the use of a metallic marker or radiographic contrast. Its use in the investigation of soft tissues is more limited. Due to the thickness of the tissues of the thorax and abdomen in adult equine patients, very powerful

Figure 1 An ultrasound image of a core lesion (red arrow) within a superficial digital flexor tendon.

hospital generators are required to produce diagnostic quality x-rays. Whilst x-rays are a form of ionising radiation, the amount of radiation that horses receive from radiographs will leave no long-term effect.


Ultrasonography is a real-time imaging modality. It was initially used in the veterinary field to examine the reproductive tract of mares but is now also being used to examine the soft tissue structures of the limb, the abdomen and the thorax, while other applications are constantly being developed. High frequency sound waves emitted by a handheld probe interact with the body tissues and their subsequent reflection back to the probe forms the digital ultrasound image. The mechanism is similar to echolocation used by bats and some sea mammals in order to navigate and find food. Ultrasound probes vary in their frequency and the depth of tissue they are able to penetrate to form a useful image. The higher the frequency, the better the image quality but the lower the penetration. The inverse of this rule also applies. Penetration is limited to a maximum depth of approximately 20cm, so deep structures within the adult thorax or abdomen cannot be imaged. Bone appears white on the final ultrasound image as it returns a large proportion of the sound waves. Fluid appears black as it returns very few sound waves. In between these white and black extremes is the grey scale of soft tissue structures. The evaluation of tendons and ligaments is the best known application of diagnostic ultrasound in the horse in training. Ultrasound is also very useful in

determining the presence of pneumonia in both adults and foals. However, ultrasound waves transmit poorly through air, so we are only able to visualise disruptions on the surface of the lung, rather than the internal structure of the normally air-filled lung. Thoracic radiography may be required to examine the deeper structures of the lung. Ultrasound waves transmit poorly through bone but can be very useful in assessing the integrity of the bone surface (for example pelvic fractures).


Nuclear scintigraphy, or bone scan, involves the intravenous injection of a radioactive isotope into the patient. This isotope travels throughout the entire body via the bloodstream and preferentially binds to bony areas that are undergoing excess remodelling, such as injured bones. The injected isotope emits gamma radiation from the bone to which it is now bound. A gamma camera is then used to scan the horse, where these areas of excess bony remodelling are identified by their increased radioisotope uptake and so an increased signal to the camera. Nuclear scintigraphy is performed in the sedated patient without the need for a general anaesthetic. The patient will however be required to stay hospitalised overnight whilst the injected radioactive material decays and emission decreases below a set threshold. This modality has the benefit of being easily able to image the entire equine skeleton at once. Whilst this can be a lengthy process, taking two or three hours to complete, it can be particularly useful in examining those horses with obscure or multi-limb lameness and horses whose temperament precludes the use of nerve blocks. Horses with an acute or severe lameness that may be radiographically or ultrasonographically silent, or horses with suspected pathology of the axial skeleton such as the vertebral column, ribs or pelvis can also be investigated more easily. In racehorse practice, bone scanning is used most frequently to confirm or rule out stress fractures of the tibia or pelvis, when survey radiography or ultrasonography have failed to reach a definitive diagnosis. However, bone scan will only identify the location of the injury and radiography or ultrasonography



Vet Forum: The Expert View ››

will still be used to further evaluate it. It must also be remembered that in some cases, the images obtained from nuclear scintigraphy can be vague. They represent areas of increased bone metabolism and therefore only serve as a guide rather than a definitive diagnostic tool.


Computed tomography, or CT, uses x-ray radiation to produce thousands of x-rays that are sent through the patient’s body at many different angles, producing a cross-sectional two-dimensional image. These data are then transmitted to a computer and following reconstruction the x-rays can be viewed in multiple planes as well as in three-dimensions. CT, like radiography, is very good at detecting changes involving bone but less useful in the examination of soft tissue structures, unless intravenous contrast agents are administered. Images can be acquired relatively quickly, usually in two to three minutes, but given the restricted size of the bore of the CT machine patient size often limits the structures that can be imaged. The distal limb up to the knee in the forelimb, up to the hock in the hindlimb and the head and the top of the neck are most frequently examined. Given the manoeuvring required, patients undergoing standing head CT will require heavy sedation whilst those undergoing recumbent distal limb CT will need general anaesthesia. Some smaller patients and foals may only require light sedation, and given their size, CT of the thorax and abdomen as well as the upper forelimbs and hindlimbs may be possible. Once the images are reconstructed, the overlap of many bony structures, as occurs on x-rays, is avoided and

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Figure 2 A horse undergoing CT examination of his left front fetlock under general anaesthesia

veterinary surgeons are able to more clearly visualise bony pathology in threedimensional planes. This can be especially useful in fracture fixation, where the exact configuration of a fracture can be detailed on CT and repair techniques planned pre-surgery.


Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is an imaging technique that uses magnetic fields to create cross-sectional and three-dimensional images of the body part being examined. When an external magnetic field is applied to hydrogen atoms of the body, they will align with this magnetic field. An external radiofrequency pulse is then applied and the return to alignment of the pulseinterrupted atoms is measured by the computer. This return will be dependent upon each tissue’s composition and will determine how they are displayed in the final MRI image. MRI, in contrast to nuclear scintigraphy, will be used to image a specific area, in many cases previously identified as the site of lameness following nerve blocking, rather than multiple regions or the whole body. It

provides superior soft tissue detail when compared with other imaging modalities and can also detect very early bony pathology, such as early fractures, that are often not visible with other imaging modalities. Both low field and high field MRI machines exist. Low field MRI offers a low power magnet and is used to examine the distal limb (usually as high as the top of the cannon) in the standing patient. High field MRI uses a more powerful larger magnet and requires general anaesthesia. This eliminates any movement artefact that can be experienced when the patient is standing providing a higher resolution image. High field MRI can be used to image the proximal forelimbs and hindlimbs as well as the head and neck. Imaging of a specific body part, as with CT, is dependent upon the size of the machine bore. MRI is the gold standard diagnostic imaging modality for pathology involving the foot. It is also frequently used in the racehorse displaying fetlock pain but without significant radiographic findings and where the examining veterinary surgeon is suspicious of an early fracture.


No one modality is perfect, nor can one examine all of the bony and soft tissue structures we may wish to investigate. A thorough clinical examination and work-up should guide the clinician to determine the most appropriate imaging modality for a particular condition as they all have their inherent strengths and weaknesses. In some complex cases multiple complementary modalities will be required to reach a definitive diagnosis. Negative imaging findings can still be useful in the management of a case if a firm diagnosis remains elusive.



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Product Focus

Get the Balance right with RED MILLS GroCare Stud Balancer


nderstanding the nutritional requirements of mares, stallions and youngstock is key for health, development, fertility and breeding success. If there is one feed every breeder and stud needs it’s Connolly’s RED MILLS GroCare Balancer. This nutrient-rich balancer, which contains the RED MILLS Nutrition Care package, provides a flexible feeding solution for all classes of breeding stock.

BROODMARES Until recently, it was believed that the nutritional needs of the broodmare didn’t increase until the third trimester. However, we now know that requirements for certain micronutrients (e.g. lysine and vitamin E) increases from conception. Nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy can increase the risk of problems including early foetal loss, whilst overfeeding can result in obesity, poor reproductive efficiency and increased risk of laminitis. During early-mid pregnancy mares may maintain desired condition on good quality grazing, however, research has shown that pasture alone will not provide optimal levels, or the correct ratios, of all the essential micronutrients. Consequently, the mare may using her own stores of certain nutrients and thus enter late gestation with nutritional deficiencies. Feeding GroCare Balancer will help to ensure optimal micronutrient intake. As pregnancy progresses and during peak lactation most mares will need the additional calories provided by a stud mix/ cube. However, during the last trimester, when the foal occupies much of the abdominal cavity, it’s common for appetite and total feed intake to be reduced. Therefore, maximizing the nutrient density of the mare’s ration is important and easily achieved by adding a small amount of GroCare Balancer to the feed. GroCare Balancer contains yeast and two prebiotics, MOS and FOS, which helps to maximize forage digestibility. Additionally, MOS has been shown to help support colostrum quality. Continuing to feed a little GroCare Balancer during peak lactation, when nutritional

requirements are at their highest, is also prudent especially for maiden and older mares or those with a history of poor milk production.

STALLIONS We know that overweight stallions are more likely to suffer from reduced libido, fertility, and soundness issues. Although these stallions may not require large amounts of hardfeed, it remains critical that they still receive a fully balanced diet as nutrients such as vitamin E, selenium and zinc play important roles is sperm health. In these situations, GroCare Balancer provides a highly concentrated source of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, without over-supply calories. Likewise, for busy stallions with elevated nutrient requirements, GroCare Balancer can be fed as a top-up to their normal ration providing a concentrated source of key nutrients to support overall health and fertility. GroCare Balancer contains a natural, long-lasting gastric acid buffer to help support stomach health, which given the stallion’s management and workload, is often a concern.

YOUNGSTOCK When feeding youngstock the aim is to achieve correct, steady growth, maximise musculo-skeletal development and minimise the risk of DOD. Introducing the nursing foal to a creep feed has known benefits and is particularly important at 3 months of age when the nutritional value of the mare’s milk wanes. For foal’s who’s dams are producing ample milk, GroCare Balancer is ideal, providing a concentrated source of quality protein for lean muscle mass development, excellent levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper to support skeletal development, plus the small pellet size is ideal for young foals. GroCare Balancer is also perfect for weanlings and yearlings on good grazing, those carrying too much weight or growing too rapidly. Fed as the sole hard feed it provides a concentrated supply of micronutrients and high-quality protein to support optimum growth, without causing them to become overtopped. GroCare Balancer contains specific ingredients to support immune and digestive health, which is particularly beneficial during stressful periods such as weaning or sales preparation.


The Finish Line with Chris Gillon It was a bittersweet Tattersalls October Sale for Chris Gillon, then manager of Floors Stud, with the outfit turning over more than 4 million guineas in total sales in its final year of operation following the passing of its owner, the Duke of Roxburghe. However, then came the welcome news that 37-year-old Gillon would be launching his own venture, Gillon Bloodstock @Floors Castle, on the same Floors Stud property – and it is an opportunity that he has grasped with both hands. Interview: Nancy Sexton


joined Floors Stud as a stud hand in 2013. I hadn’t worked a lot on the breeding side, so it was new to me and different. I was very lucky in that I came in around the time that Laughing, bred in partnership by the stud out of Comic, was winning her Grade 1s in the US. Comic was also the dam of Viva Pataca, a champion in Hong Kong, and then in 2014 she supplied Floors with its first millionguinea yearling, so she was a fantastic mare. Attraction’s offspring were also starting to take off in the sale ring [the mare has had three seven-figure yearlings in recent years]. The stock have sold well but while it’s one thing to produce a sales horse, you have to produce a racehorse as well and Floors has a good record in that department too, with Attraction’s son Elarqam being a recent highlight.

I became Stud Manager in January 2020. We knew early on that it would be the last year of operation so yes, it was bittersweet. On the other hand, we also had time to digest it and to enjoy it. The team worked incredibly hard on the yearlings, no stone was unturned to have them showing at the top of their game and looking their very best. It was good to see all the hard work rewarded. We knew we had a strong group of horses but you’re never sure how they might be received until you get to the sale. When you’re working with them every day and looking at them so closely, you start to wonder if they are as good as you hope they are. But when we actually stood back and took a look, yes, we knew we had a very nice draft. With everything going on in the world, we headed down to Newmarket wondering what the market at Tattersalls would be like. We were on eggshells but thankfully Book 1 was a good sale and then so was Book 2. The Dubawi colt out


The Duke had a wealth of knowledge and the stud also had a great team of people working there at the time. I was lucky enough to work under David Trouton and Peter Henderson – I learned a huge amount. The Duke was a real enthusiast about the whole game, he loved every aspect of it. He loved the horses - whenever he visited the stud, he would always have polos for the mares and would leave with a smile on his face.

I think that the success of the sales and the quality of the stock is testament to all of that, his knowledge and the respect held for him.

The Dubawi colt out of Cushion highlighted Floors Stud’s Book 1 draft at 2,100,000gns


of Cushion [who sold for 2,100,000gns] was the one who excited the Duke as a foal and it was great to see him justify those hopes in the ring. To sell six for an average of over 600,000gns, including the Dubawi colt and the Frankel out of Attraction [for 1,100,000gns], was a fitting tribute to the Duke. I think he would have been proud of it all looking down. I’m very grateful to get the opportunity at Floors Stud. A lot of thanks also goes to Ed Sackville for the help and advice he has given me. In a normal year, it would be challenging coming into the breeding season with a new venture but we also have Covid and Brexit to contend with too. But we’ll keep our heads down and work hard. We have six horses here at the minute. As it turns out, one of the mares that the Duke owned in partnership, Prance, came back to board. It’s great to have a mare like that on the place – she’s a half-sister to Magna Grecia and St Mark’s Basilica and you could see with the Lope De Vega colt that we sold out of her last year [for 400,000gns] that she gets nice stock. We’ve also got a pinhooking partnership going with a few local people. It’s just something to get people more interested and involved, and hopefully that’s something we can build on. I would like to build up to having five to seven boarding mares and ten to 15 weanlings. Ultimately, I would like to be known as a consignor of yearlings. It’s such a well set up stud with 23 boxes and 80 acres of land. We all know how important land is when it comes to raising horses and this stud has produced Classic winners, Group 1 winners and million-guinea yearlings. We also have a lunge ring, horsewalker, and of course it’s situated on a lovely estate where we can walk the yearlings – there is a good hill round the back of the castle and we’ll take them up there during prep. I’ve been handed a fantastic opportunity to continue at Floors Stud and I feel very lucky and privileged.


One of the nicest I have ever had. Great action, balance, quality and a wonderful temperament. She is very special and I have high hopes for her. Brendan Holland Grove Stud A beautiful mover, very strong, with an extremely athletic walk — he could be anything! We are definitely returning to Cracksman. Anthony Rogers Airlie Stud

Brilliant Champion at three and four — like his sire Frankel — and very well supported by major breeders with outstanding mares. It’s a great time to profit from their investment...

£17,500 Oct 1, SLF Dalham Hall Stud, UK