THE £6.95 MAY 2021 ISSUE 201
In his own time David Menuisier on why it pays to be patient in the training game
Glass Slippers raises the bar
Celebrating Britain’s leading sire
From top jockey to National treasure
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 | email@example.com
GROUP/STAKES WINNERS COVERED IN HIS FIRST TWO BOOKS OF MARES
Four times more than Acclamation and his sons Dark Angel and Mehmas in their first two seasons
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£6.95 MAY 2021 ISSUE 201
In his own time David Menuisier on why it pays to be patient in the training game
Glass Slippers raises the bar
Celebrating Britain’s leading sire
From top jockey to National treasure
Cover: Trainer David Menuisier with promising three-year-old colt Belloccio at Coombelands Racing Stables in Pulborough, West Sussex Photo: Bill Selwyn
Edward Rosenthal Editor
Talent and composure an irresistible combination R
achael Blackmore has continued to rewrite the record books and following her awesome week at the Cheltenham Festival when she made history by claiming the leading rider title, her reputation and profile has soared even further following her Grand National triumph, the first by a woman jockey, aboard Minella Times. Everyone is agreed that Blackmore is a special talent in the saddle and the amount of column inches dedicated to her achievements can only be good news for the sport of horseracing and its wider image with the general public. Exactly what makes Blackmore such a good jockey is open for discussion but alongside the familiar attributes of dedication, strength – physical and mental – and timing is, I would suggest, something equally if not more important: composure. It was noticeable how analysis from Sir AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh, two of the best the game has ever seen, pinpointed her outstanding decision-making during a race as one of the keys to her success. I would suggest that composure on the biggest stage is what separates the elite sportsmen and sportswomen from the rest. Frankie Dettori has always relished the big days most of all because of the confidence he has in his own abilities, which has put him at an advantage over many of his colleagues. Apart from the odd exception – Swain at the Breeders’ Cup springs to mind – he has always ridden the race, not the occasion, which is perhaps easier said than done. Blackmore’s success at Aintree on Minella Times for man-of-the-moment Henry de Bromhead, who also saddled the second home, Balko Des Flos, also helped pour more fuel on the fire regarding Irish-trained runners dominating their British counterparts. A drubbing for the home team – the final score at the Cheltenham Festival was 23-5 in Ireland’s favour – was repeated when ten of the first 11 horses home in the world’s most famous horserace were based across the Irish Sea. Now that the British and Irish racing authorities have come together to unify the jumps weightfor-age scale, perhaps it’s time to reassess the way
horses are handicapped in both countries. Ireland may simply have the superior horses at present – and far more of them – but the last few months suggest something may have gone awry with the system to produce such one-sided results. Handicapping is also on the mind of David Menuisier. The Flat trainer learned from his days assisting John Dunlop the intricacies of the British system, which he describes as “a game of cat and mouse with the handicapper” (The Big Interview, pages 26-30). Menuisier started out in 2014, saddling just a single winner in his debut season, but has established a reputation as a thoughtful and patient trainer who gets the best out of his horses, at home and abroad. The Frenchman is not afraid to get on a ferry or plane when it comes to finding the right races for
“Blackmore’s decision-making during races was pinpointed” his string, exemplified by his campaigning of Chris Wright’s outstanding filly Wonderful Tonight, who broke her maiden at Saint-Cloud, scored a Group 3 triumph at Deauville and then captured the Group 1 Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp before returning home to take the Group 1 Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot. Of course, the cracking prize-money available in France, plus breeders’ premiums, make heading across the Channel to race an attractive proposition, notwithstanding the additional red tape caused by Brexit. British racing may again be playing second fiddle to one of its neighbours but some good news did arrive in late March as a number of courses, including York, promised a return to pre-Covid prize-money levels.
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News & Views ROA Leader Super League fiasco is a warning
TBA Leader Remove barriers to competition
Richard Johnson Four-time champion jockey retires
News Unified weight-for-age scale agreed
Changes News in a nutshell
Howard Wright Britain ahead of Australia
Features continued Breeders' Digest 5
Sales Circuit 7 8
Rachael Blackmore's Grand National joy
The Big Interview With trainer David Menuisier
Bearstone Stud On a roll with Glass Slippers
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Solid start to breeze-up season
Caulfield Files Dubai Millennium's legacy assured
Dr Statz Dubawi deserves plaudits
The Finish Line With Welsh breeder Brian Eckley
ROA Forum New rules for shared ownership
Features The Big Picture
In praise of a super-sire
TBA Forum Honeysuckle leads the charge
20 26 32
Breeder of the Month Rowland Crellin for Black Tears
Great British Bonus £2 million milestone reached
Vet Forum Equine pregnancy loss
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KEEPING YOU IN THE RACE
Charlie Parker President
Cautionary tale of Super League is a lesson to all T
he European Super League has shown the impact of greed – financial and reputational – on a sport. Lessons from this bungled launch need to be recognised by racing. As the economy recovers from the pandemic, we must work together to grow the revenues by creating a more attractive product for all to enjoy. This summer is looking bright but our long-term future could be even better. Aintree added the next chapter to the Rachael Blackmore story with a fantastic ride in the Grand National. The festival marked a second celebration of our sport in a matter of weeks that has been brilliantly delivered by both the racecourses and ITV. We are showcasing the values our sport stands for of equality, competition, and most of all passion. The only thing that has been missing is the people. With crowds set to return to events from May 17 and the industry working with government to deliver support for the whole racing industry through the Winter Sports package, after a horrific 12 months, it is hard not to feel the optimism in the sport that we are getting back a semblance of normality. That normality needs to extend to the reset of ‘racing diplomacy’, moving away from individual stakeholder group interests. The first foray into the new normal was marked by the Betting and Gaming Council’s report on the sector’s contribution to racing’s revenue – an interesting insight for horsemen. At an annual contribution of £350 million into racing from the bookmakers, it is hard not to ask: where does it all go and how can we grow the contributions still further? This is not a self-interested bash at another stakeholder but more a genuine question the sport has to ask itself going forward: should stakeholders fight and argue over revenue streams? At the core of the BGC report is a significant amount of money that, used properly, could support the growth of our sport through ownership incentives, facilities investment, talent development as well as veterinary science. With the potential for further growth in online betting, we should be looking at this together, as a sport with an aligned objective, working with the betting industry to ensure their contributions make a genuine difference. Some of that work has already started and been accelerated by the pandemic. More races per fixture allows a more efficient cost spread, is more convenient for stables sending horses to the races, benefits staff and by all accounts generates more betting revenue. Staggered off times have also had an impact and there are plans for changes to the timing of weekend racing. All these tweaks are having a positive impact on media rights payments and the levy return, despite betting shops first being shut and now when open not allowed to show live sport.
This is all positive news for the industry, but the additional revenues need to find their way into the distribution model that supports the owners, jockeys, trainers and stable staff. It needs to work for everyone. That’s where the Super League lesson comes in. It’s fair to say this new concept, concentrating control of a sport to the detriment of the grassroots, was a disaster for football and its reputation. Racing could face similar problems. Though the issues of participants’ rights and commercial interests have a lot of legs in racing, there is a more crushingly obvious high-level comparison. When you have a select group of stakeholders acting in their own commercial interests rather than the sport’s, you can get perilously close to ruining the basic
“When parts of a complex structure lose sight of the bigger picture, it can be disastrous” product and hurting the people that make your sport valuable, the participants and the fans. British racing is a complicated ecosystem that needs all the parts functioning smoothly in order to produce the core product. The tale of the Super League is that when parts of a complex structure lose sight of the bigger picture, it can be disastrous. We now have the opportunity to build back better. The first step is the distribution of the Winter Sports package; let’s be bold in using the money to drive new participation in the sport. Innovation and change must be embraced to test what works and what does not. Now is surely the time to look forward as an industry to the benefit of all.
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Speak to your vet about using GastroGard® to treat and prevent EGUS. References: 1. Sykes BW, et al. ECEIM Consensus Statement – EGUS in Adult Horses. J Vet Intern Med 2015; 29: 1288-1299. GastroGard® 370 mg/g oral paste contains omeprazole. UK: POM-V IE: POM. Advice should be sought from the prescriber. Further information available in the SPC or from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd., RG12 8YS, UK. Tel: 01344 746957. Email:email@example.com. GastroGard® is a registered the Boehringer Ingelheim Group. ©2020 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: Oct 2020. EQU-0200-2020. Use Medicines Responsibly.
GastroGard_racing_a4_TRAINER version.indd 1
Julian Richmond-Watson Chairman
Equality in horseracing means open competition R
ecent news has highlighted gender inequality, LGBTQ+ rights and the #MeToo movement. Thinking about the subject has brought home to me how far horseracing has come in addressing a number of issues. In fact, whether it concerns humans or horses, the sport can show, and will continue to show, improvement in the already significant progress it has made towards genuine equality in most areas. One only has to mention the name of Rachael Blackmore to make the point about gender equality in racing. The Cheltenham Festival provided a great example, with her being the leading rider, but success that resonated with even more people outside the sport came when she lit up Grand National day at Aintree. Of course, we have had good female jockeys in the past, and with Bryony Frost and Hollie Doyle also recently catching the limelight, it is demonstrably clear that the career path to the top is open to any jockey who can demonstrate the necessary ability and determination. The breeding and racing industries have also been working hard to improve the environment for fillies and mares, who generally achieve a lower price at sales than colts and geldings and who represent a much lower percentage of the horse population in training. As breeders, most of us live with the females – the mares – that provide our foals and racehorses of the future, and here we have seen so much progress being made, particularly in National Hunt racing. Ten years ago, the TBA and BHA set out to create a programme that would improve the lot of jump-bred fillies. After all, foals are born 50-50 between colts and fillies, so the previous 50-20 imbalance in favour of male horses in training had to be brought much closer to parity. There is still further work to be done but recent success at Cheltenham is an indicator of progress. Honeysuckle followed up Epatante’s Champion Hurdle success of 2020 and Put The Kettle On came back to win again. Five mares winning races open to both sexes in 2020-21 gives great encouragement and demonstrates what good mares can achieve at the highest level. More and better races in which mares can prove themselves, along with the Great British Bonus, has turned a bigger spotlight on fillies and mares, who are now sought-after and found in every jump trainer’s yard. A plan and perseverance have brought reward, but the good work needs to be kept up, by learning from what has been done well and applying that to the next five to ten years. For instance, the Flat programme for older fillies and mares has been greatly improved, encouraging owners to keep these horses in training beyond the end of their three-year-old careers.
Aside from the outstanding Enable, there are plenty of good Group-class fillies staying in training to provide longevity and competitive sport against their own sex and the males. Prizemoney for these races needs to be high enough to tip the balance between being rushed off to stud and another year in training, but as long as this can be kept competitive the opportunity to race a filly and possibly improve her race record will be attractive. This brings me back to equality of opportunity and the oddity in racing whereby geldings cannot compete in a few three-yearold Group 1s. Fillies can run in almost every Group race open to colts, including those that exclude geldings, and while very few races are restricted to colts, fillies can run in all the male Classics but geldings cannot. Fillies receive the standard weight allowance,
“Let’s plan ahead on how we see the programme encouraging more fillies to stay in training” so why should colts be protected from competition by geldings? Breeders believe in competition to inform about the ability of future breeding stock. If colts or fillies cannot be competitive against geldings, we should not be afraid to discover the truth. It is time that three-year-old geldings were allowed to run in the Guineas, Derby, St Leger and all championship Group 1 races. The two issues may seem poles apart, but the principles for progress and improvement remain the same, provide opportunities and infrastructure to encourage involvement and level the playing field. British racing can be proud of its progress but let’s not rest on our laurels. Let’s plan ahead on how we wish to see even more successful female jockeys coming through, and how we see the racing programme encouraging more fillies and mares to race and stay in training.
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The ultimate professional
Richard Johnson, the second-most successful jump jockey of all time, retired from the saddle in April
f there was one record of Sir AP McCoy’s that he was especially concerned might be broken, it was his record number of winners in Britain and Ireland. It is, however, safe for the foreseeable future after his great friend and rival Richard Johnson announced his retirement with immediate effect last month, writes Andrew Scutts of the Racing Post. There had been more than one occasion in the past few years when it was rumoured Johnson would not be able to recover from injury and was on the verge of being forced to hang up his boots, but he kept bouncing back and was ultimately able to quit the saddle on his own terms, with a proud collection of four champion jockey titles, numerous big-race triumphs and 3,819 winners in Britain and Ireland to his name. In something of an understated contrast to McCoy, who announced he was to retire live on Channel 4 at Newbury while on horseback after winning the Game Spirit Chase, Johnson made his announcement through a press statement at the relative backwater of Newton Abbot, with no reporters in sight. It was also a Saturday, but a sleepier one. It was rather typical of Johnson, who had played the underdog through much of his brilliant career. He finished runner-up to McCoy in the title race an incredible 16 times. When McCoy retired in 2015, Johnson finally, and so deservedly, wore the crown, and he was to do that for four years, until Brian
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Hughes wrestled it off him last year in the Covid-19 affected season. At 43, Johnson was far from finished, but with three young children and pretty much nothing left to accomplish – save, perhaps, for winning the Grand National and surpassing McCoy’s winners’ haul in Britain and Ireland of 4,348 – his decision, while out of the blue, felt very understandable. In his statement Johnson said: “After nearly 30 years in the saddle, the time has come for me to retire. “I have been so extraordinarily lucky to have ridden so many wonderful horses, and for so many incredible trainers and owners. It was particularly important to me to finish on one for Philip and Sarah Hobbs who, like Henry Daly, have supported me for over 20 years. I’ll never be able to articulate what their loyalty has meant to me. “There are so many people to thank who have been part of my journey. Without ‘the Duke’ and Dinah Nicholson and their remarkable staff, I’d never have got that first leg up. Noel Chance, Peter Bowen and Milton Bradley, thank you for putting your trust in me when I was starting out. Those were the days that shaped my career, with so many people who remain lifelong friends. “The truth is there are simply too many people to thank on an individual basis, but you know who you are and what you mean to me. To jockeys past and present who I’ve shared weighing room benches with
Richard Johnson retires after 27 years in the saddle, having ridden his first winner, Rusty Bridge, in a hunters’ chase at Hereford in April 1994
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Richard Johnson and Rooster Booster were unstoppable in the 2003 Champion Hurdle, recording an 11-length success over Westender for owner Terry Warner and trainer Philip Hobbs, while inset, his rivalry with 20-times champion AP McCoy was an enduring feature of British National Hunt racing over two decades, here played out at Ascot in 2002 with McCoy on Stormez (left) just getting the better of Johnson aboard Young Ottoman
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Richard Johnson ›› up and down the country, to the valets
who have looked after me, to the doctors who have patched me up and to the physios who have put me back together. Without Dave Roberts I’d have never ridden as many winners and without the help of physio Kate Davis in recent years I wouldn’t physically have been able to. I salute you all.” Johnson continued: “Thank you to the Tote and the ROA for sponsoring me. Thanks to all the fantastic racecourses and staff that put on this great show and to all the media who have been so supportive for so long. To all horseracing fans who we have missed so much this year on our racecourses. Thank you for every cheer, every shout of encouragement, it’s given me enormous strength over the years. I am so very grateful to you all. “To my wonderful family, thank you so much. Mum, Dad and my brother Nick who have always been by my side. Finally, to my wife Fiona and amazing children Willow, Caspar and Percy. Without you nothing would have been possible.” With them, so much was possible. It would take nearly the entire magazine to tell the story of all Johnson’s major triumphs, so, narrowing them down, the ones that stand out begin with his two Cheltenham Gold Cup victories on Looks Like Trouble in 2000 and Native River in 2018. There was also a Stayers’ Hurdle with Anzum in 1999, a Champion Chase
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Retirement ›› in 2002 with Flagship Uberalles and a
Champion Hurdle in 2003 with Rooster Booster. Appropriately, most of those huge Cheltenham victories were for trainers he was very much associated with, David Nicholson in the case of Anzum, Noel Chance with Looks Like Trouble, and Philip Hobbs with Flagship Uberalles and Rooster Booster. Hobbs, in particular, was the training mainstay of Johnson’s lengthy career, and he said: “He’s been a part of my life for a long time and has been an amazing role model. You could never get anybody better for future jockeys to see what they need to do, in terms of the riding side, how to conduct yourself and everything that is needed to be a good jockey. “Richard retiring had to happen some day, but at least he’s sound and in one piece, it’s a good time to get out. “There is absolutely no side to him whatsoever, you never had an issue with him, and that is phenomenal really.” He added: “His work ethic shone through. A few years ago, just before Cheltenham, he had to be at Kempton to ride work, so probably left home about 4am, went to Kempton, then went to Catterick and rode a winner. He then had to get back for a Cheltenham preview, and went home at 2am. “He didn’t have to come to us the next
said of Brother Tedd. “That’s the thing, you have this immense connection with the horses. Some of them aren’t the best but you love them the same. It was an emotional moment when I gave him a pat after the race.”
“He tried his hardest all the time and that is appreciated by all he rode for” morning, but he did, leaving at 4am again, to school horses before he went racing. Nothing was ever too much trouble. “He’d be trying his hardest on all the horses all the time, and that is very much appreciated by everyone he rode for.” In addition to Anzum, Looks Like Trouble, Rooster Booster and Native River, Johnson identified Menorah and Mighty Man as special horses to him, while he also underlined the sort of curiosity that can crop up in racing, in that the very last horse he rode, Brother Tedd, was also the horse he had ridden to win McCoy’s swansong race at Sandown in April 2015. “He’s not a festival winner, not a Grade 1 winner, just a lovely horse” Johnson
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Johnson savoured two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners 18 years apart, the first in 2000 on Tim Collins’ Looks Like Trouble for trainer and future father-in-law Noel Chance (inset), the second in 2018 aboard Native River, trained by Colin Tizzard for Brocade Racing
As for the future, Johnson, who was awarded an OBE in 2019 for services to horseracing, said in his Tote blog: “So what will I do next? The family is the most important thing now, they come first. They’ve given up so much for me, I
Richard Johnson haven’t been around like a normal father would be for things like sports day. “I want to be there for them and that’s my main priority. We have the farm at home and lots of horses. As a jockey, riding seven days a week, you just focus
on that, you don’t really know what’s next after you stop riding. I’m a bit nervous but looking forward to a different daily routine. “The first thing I said to Philip after my last ride was that I’ll be going down to see
him very soon. I can’t imagine not being involved in racing. I definitely won’t be a trainer, but with the breeding side and my strong connections with a number of yards, I’ll certainly be keeping my eye in.” Photos by George Selwyn
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The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) last month revealed a new, unified Anglo-Irish jumps weightfor-age (WFA) scale. While not directly a result of the current Irish dominance of jumps racing that was witnessed at the Cheltenham Festival, and in the Grand National at Aintree, the changes could be viewed in the wider context of the current focus on handicapping and questions around why Irish-trained jumpers seem to clearly hold the upper hand. The new scale is effective from the start of the 2021/22 jumps season, so therefore applies to races staged from May 1 in Britain and from May 3 in Ireland. The changes see Britain’s WFA scale increase and Ireland’s decrease by similar amounts, which in summary will mean: • The time at which four-year-old hurdlers in Britain receive an allowance will increase by two months at all distances; • The time four- and five-year-old hurdlers in Ireland receive an allowance will decrease by four months at all distances;
New unified jumps weight-forage scale comes into effect
Milkwood defeats five-year-old Anna Bunina (right) in the Scottish Champion Hurdle
• The time four- and five-year-old chasers in Britain receive an allowance will remain unchanged at 2m and 21⁄2m but will be extended by one month at 3m; • The time four- and five-year-old chasers in Ireland receive an allowance
will be decreased by four months at all distances; • Allowance changes will occur on the monthly basis currently used in Ireland rather than the fortnightly changes used in Britain. The agreement of a unified WFA
World Horse Welfare makes charity race plan for 2021 Like many charities, World Horse Welfare has endured a difficult time due to the coronavirus pandemic, yet the advent of the vaccines and accompanying easing of restrictions in a number of nations, including Britain, has resulted in a more positive outlook for the year ahead. World Horse Welfare, which works across the full spectrum of the horse world, including horseracing, to improve the equine-human partnership and is involved in front-line care, research, education, advocacy and campaigns, has planned a series of events to help boost donations following the financial devastation caused by Covid. Sheila Bailey, World Horse Welfare’s Director of Fundraising, said: “It’s been a challenging 12 months. Because of Covid we had to close our farms to the public and cancel all our events and donor activities, so our income has been impacted significantly.
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“But I always try and remain positive and last year we rehomed a record number of horses – 356 in total – covering all types including racehorses/ thoroughbreds. “We have plans in place for 2021 and beyond but we are being cautious about how we roll them out due to the amount of resources it takes up. We will have a presence at the London International Horse Show – it has just been announced that it will take place at the ExCel rather than Olympia – and hopefully that’s a sign that things are changing for the better.” Bailey continued: “Our big hope for the year is to stage a charity race for the first time. It was part of the plan in 2020 but obviously it couldn’t happen. “We hope to run the charity race at Great Yarmouth. Michael Prosser [Racing Director at Newmarket] suggested we should look for a good surface and a flat, straight track if we wanted to hold a race
for amateur riders, so it fits the bill, plus our head office is in Norfolk. “Amongst out supporters we have all sorts of people from all sorts of disciplines, from riding club members to former and current professional jockeys. We would like to have some high-profile names involved but we would be equally happy to give an opportunity to people who have always wanted to take part in a race like this and raise money for charity.” Some countries have been more successful than others in both managing and recovering from the pandemic, but World Horse Welfare has continued to assist animals wherever possible around the globe. Bailey added: “World Horse Welfare is an international charity and the challenge is that every country has had a different experience of Covid. But we have managed to work with our partners in keeping things happening as much as possible. We have been pleased to be
Stories from the racing world
WORLD HORSE WELFARE
The charity rehomed 356 horses in 2020
able to do as much as we can. “We do everything we can to promote the horse-human partnership and our work is global in that respect. We want to see horses leading good, active lives that suit their capabilities. It’s been a difficult time, but we are trying to be as agile as we can in the circumstances.” For more about World Horse Welfare or to donate see www. worldhorsewelfare.org.
Alice Chandler, breeder of Sir Ivor, dies at 95 Pioneering Kentucky horsewoman Alice Chandler, the founder of Mill Ridge Farm, died last month at the age of 95. As a breeder, Chandler will be best remembered as the first American woman to produce an Epsom Derby winner, that landmark arriving courtesy of Sir Ivor’s success in 1968. In later years, Mill Ridge also came to thrive off the back of a stallion roster underpinned by international heavyweights Diesis and Gone West. Chandler was the daughter of Hal Price Headley, a visionary of his time, and in later years recalled the many happy hours spent as a child assisting her father on his Beaumont Farm. No fewer than 88 stakes winners were bred on that property between 1916 and 1953 but it is as the founder of Keeneland for which Headley is most appreciated today; in a colourful interview conducted with the University Of Kentucky in 2007, Chandler recounted how during its construction she would ride her pony to the Keeneland site most days to watch its development. Naturally, when the track opened in the autumn of 1936, she was present to celebrate its historic day. Headley died in March 1962 and while his estate was dispersed, Chandler inherited a parcel of 286 acres to go with four mares. Beaumont Farm workers such as Eugene Burgan, Henry Jackson and Joe Bates followed and so Mill Ridge Farm was born. The new venture hit the ground running when one of those early mares, Attica, threw Sir Ivor. Attica possessed true Beaumont bloodlines as a daughter of its stallion Mr Trouble and the Classic-placed Athenia, a descendant of Headley’s blue hen Alcibiades. Thus, hopes were always high for the mare, as Chandler explained to Jacqueline O’Brien in the authorised biography of his trainer Vincent O’Brien. “My father gave me Attica and said, ‘Someday I think, Al, she may throw you a racehorse’,” she said. “I sent her to Sir Gaylord and got a nice big colt. But he was the despair of me! He grew tall and he grew lanky and he grew lopsided, and there was no way I could get him to the sales here looking good.”
scale follows more than a year of work, led by the BHA’s Head of Handicapping, Dominic Gardiner-Hill, and Andrew Shaw, the IHRB’s Senior Jumps Handicapper. The adjustments have resulted from an ongoing process of review and improvement, designed to ensure that handicapping methodologies remain the most suitable based on up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of data and emerging trends. There is also scope for further refinement of the unified jumps WFA scale, with the collection of combined symmetrical data in both countries – something that had not previously been possible – and a full review every three years. Gardiner-Hill said: “The unifying of the jumps weight-for-age scales will address the difference in levels of allowances in Britain and Ireland, which can at certain points of the year vary by up to 5lb-7lb. It will also bring jump racing into line with Flat racing, where the same WFA scale is used across the principal racing nations in Europe.” Shaw added: “Not only is the unification of the British and Irish scales a major step forward, but it also reflects the ever-increasing influence of the young but more mature French-bred horses, whose growing success in Britain and Ireland over the past 15 years has already resulted in changes being made to both of our scales in recent times.”
Alice Chandler: broke new ground
Bull Hancock, owner of Claiborne Farm, had been tasked with finding a yearling that year for Raymond Guest, the US Ambassador for Ireland, to send to Vincent O’Brien. Sir Ivor was not Hancock’s first choice but at $42,000 he was within budget and purchased to join Ballydoyle. Not only did Sir Ivor go on to win the Derby but also the 2,000 Guineas, National Stakes, Grand Criterium and Champion Stakes. One of the best horses of the 1960s, he is regarded as a catalyst in the European appreciation of American-bred horses that was to follow, notably by those connected with Ballydoyle. Following Alice’s marriage to respected vet Dr John Chandler in 1970, Mill Ridge continued to develop into a farm of major international repute, at one time boarding mares for the Queen, Prince Khalid Abdullah and the Maktoum family. Stallions such as Diesis, whose haul of top European runners included the Epsom Oaks winners Diminuendo, Ramruma and Love Divine, and Gone West, the sire of Zafonic, Speightstown and Johar among others, also added immensely to its reputation. Today, the stallion barn houses top turf runner Oscar Performance, whose first crop are yearlings. Chandler also entered the history books as the first woman to breed, own and train a North American stakes winner via homebred filly Nicosia in a division of the Grade 2 Matron Handicap at Arlington in 1976. In 2008, Chandler handed over the running of Mill Ridge to son Headley. The following year she received the Eclipse Award of Merit in recognition of her contribution to the sport and in 2020 was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
THE OWNER BREEDER
Racing’s news in a nutshell
People and business Colm McCormack
Jockey who won jump ride of the year in 2016 calls time on career after partnering Wye Aye to victory at Newcastle on April 10.
Former BHA Chief Executive named new Chairman of the Starting Price Regulatory Commission, succeeding Lord Donoughue.
Historic West Sussex farm that produced outstanding sprinter Abernant is put up for sale by the Macdonald-Buchanan family.
Crowned champion jump jockey for the first time; Paul Nicholls (pictured) is champion trainer and Danny McMenamin takes the conditional title.
39-year-old retires from riding after 23 years in order to focus on his successful pre-training and breeze-up business.
Benoit de la Sayette Apprentice rider, 18, winner of the Lincoln Handicap on Haqeeqy in March, is suspended by the BHA after testing positive for cocaine.
Hall of Fame
Lester Piggott and Frankel are the first inductees into the QIPCO British Champions Series-backed initiative, launched in late April.
Four-time champion jump jockey, winner of two Cheltenham Gold Cups, a Champion Hurdle and a Champion Chase, retires aged 43.
Jockey banned for 21 days following tender ride aboard debutant Stowell, runner-up to stablemate Polling Day at Lingfield on April 21.
Online car retailer is unveiled as the new sponsor of Epsom’s Derby Festival and the St Leger Festival at Doncaster.
Stands down as Juddmonte’s Racing Manager, a position he took up in 1999. He worked with 24 European trainers and over 3,000 horses.
US casino giant Caesars Entertainment completes £2.9 billion takeover of bookmaker with a plan to sell its retail betting business.
Horse obituaries Finian’s Rainbow 18
Top-class chaser trained by Nicky Henderson for Michael Buckley; his three Grade 1 wins include the 2012 Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Presenting Percy 10
High-class chaser for owner Philip Reynolds who captured the Grade 1 novices’ chase at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
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Cause Of Causes 13
JP McManus’s three-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival in the National Hunt, Kim Muir and Glenfarclas Chase.
An eye for success
visit studlife online: tweenhills.com/studlife
EARLY GOLD FOR 2YOS Havana Gold’s biggest crop of twoyear-olds hit the ground running when Chipotle won the first juvenile race of the year in Britain, the Brocklesby Conditions Stakes, and Anadora took a fillies’ conditions race at Newcastle. In France, three-year-old Havana Gold filly Crohanne took her record to two
wins from three starts in the Class 1 Prix Durban at Saint-Cloud. In other Tweenhills stallion news, Kameko has been impressing breeders with his outstanding fertility in his first season at stud. Currently 90% of mares covered by him have already been scanned in foal!
Left: Havana Gold’s son Chipotle winning at Doncaster
GREAT STARTING POINT!
Millie Reed Stud Hand
The Redvers colours were carried to success on Saturday 17 April by fouryear-old filly If I Say in a point-to-point bumper at Chaddesley Corbett. She’s trained in Ledbury by David Dennis and was ridden by Gina Andrews.
If I Say and David Redvers (right)
JOHN REDVERS, 1928 – 2021 We are sad to announce the passing of renowned portrait painter John Redvers (18 July 1928 – 28 March 2021), husband to Mary and father of David, Di and Kate.
Cieren Fallon and Sheikh Faha d visit Tweenhills. Hannah also pic
with Stallion groom Charles Havana Gold post cover
Tell us about your upbringing… I was born and raised in Harrogate. I have always been around and worked with horses. I used to event between the ages of four and 19. My parents weren’t ‘horsey’ but every Saturday I used to have riding lessons so I was on the yard all the time – I think I spent every pound of pocket money on grooming kit! And what about your working life… My uncle owned a thoroughbred stud in Yorkshire so I worked there for a couple of years from 2016. In 2018 I went to Coolmore Ireland working with mares and foals. Then I completed the Irish National Stud Course in 2019 and worked at Newsells Park Stud from July 2019 (yearling prep) to March 2020. I joined Tweenhills in December 2020. What about outside of work? I do like to watch racing and follow the form and breeding – myself and stallion groom Xander talk about it at work regularly. I’m looking forward to having a break post breeding season. I’d love to go to New Zealand; the landscape looks amazing – the Fiordlands, wow! – and I’d love to watch the All Blacks play on home turf.
Tweenhills, Hartpury, Gloucestershire, GL19 3BG W: www.tweenhills.com T: + 44 (0) 1452 700177 M: + 44 (0) 7767 436373 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Racehorse and stallion
Movements and retirements
Phil and Julie Martin’s talented staying chaser trained by Brian Ellison, winner of five Grade 2 races during his career, is retired aged 12.
Sandy Thomson’s chaser is retired for the second time aged 13, having made his final appearance a winning one at Sandown in January.
Keeper Of Time
Daughter of Mehmas, shock winner of the Group 3 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown, is sold by owner John Nolan to American interests.
All-weather record holder at Dundalk where the gelding won 14 races, latterly in the care of Anthony McCann, is retired aged 11.
Dual winner of the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton, on both occasions partnered by Bryony Frost, is retired aged 11
People obituaries Prince Philip 99
Husband of the Queen was the longest-serving British consort and regularly attended events, including Royal Ascot, with Her Majesty.
Sir Michael Oswald 86
Played a key role in the royal family’s racing interests for over 50 years, including as Manager of the Royal Studs.
Lorna Brooke 37
Amateur jockey dies following a fall at Taunton in April. She rode 17 winners under Rules and 40 in point-topoints.
Granville Davies 60
Ex-jump jockey who enjoyed a successful association with the prolific winners Grey Dolphin and Yangtse-Kiang.
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Brian Forsey 68
Former jockey who rode in point-topoints and under Rules, later training a small string of racehorses from his base near Taunton.
Eddie O’Connell 73
Owner of outstanding two-mile chaser Un De Sceaux, recruited from France to win 21 races, including ten Grade 1s, and bank over £1.58 million.
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The Big Picture
Blackmore rides into the record books at Aintree
he thing with becoming a Grand National-winning rider is the lack of opportunity. There are 28 chances every year to be a Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey, but just one shot at the fame and fortune that comes with winning the biggest and most valuable jumps race in the calendar. That, and attitudes that might once have prevailed but no longer do, helped to explain the lack of
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a successful female rider; indeed, the likes of Richard Johnson, Peter Scudamore and John Francome, and going further back Stan Mellor, Fred Rimell and Terry Biddlecombe, are among the famous riders who were unable to add the National to their CV. Arguably the most animated Sir AP McCoy ever became was in breaking his duck in the great race at the 15th attempt on Don’t Push It in 2010.
Randox Grand National
Minella Times and Rachael Blackmore negotiate the final fence en route to their historic victory in the Randox Grand National, the first for a woman rider in the race’s illustrious history
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The Big Picture ››
Having been leading rider at the Cheltenham Festival for the first time the month before, Rachael Blackmore was riding the crest of a wave coming into Aintree. One of three female riders in this year’s National, along with Tabitha Worsley – who also completed the course – and Bryony Frost, who has also done much to ‘normalise’ women jump jockeys, Blackmore was as masterful over the unique Aintree fences as she had been at Prestbury Park to guide Minella Times home in front and ride into folklore. In becoming the first of her sex to win a race that dates to 1839, she brought
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racing’s Berlin Wall crashing down, fuelling that night’s dreams of ponybesotted girls everywhere that they could be a future National treasure. Of course, Blackmore also had an outstanding partner on her side. Minella Times negotiated the 30 fences with aplomb, stayed the marathon trip more strongly than any of his 39 rivals, and was providing owner JP McManus – for whom this was a second victory after Don’t Push it – with a poignant success in the wake of a family tragedy. It meant a lot to him, too. As for Henry de Bromhead, having been the first trainer to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup in
the same season, he saddled the one-two at Aintree with 100-1 chance Balko Des Flos following his stablemate home. It may have been played out in front of empty grandstands but this was a remarkable National – one which Blackmore was thrilled to win, not so much on behalf of female jockeys, just herself. As she put it: “This is a massive deal for me personally, not the fact I’m a female. The thing that hit me when I crossed the line was that I’d won the National, not that I’m the first female to win the National. I’m just delighted.” Photos by Bill Selwyn
Randox Grand National
Clockwise from right: Blackmore is a picture of concentration as Minella Times gallops towards the winning post and into Grand National folklore; the successful jockey enjoys the moment after crossing the line in front; a thrilled Blackmore talks to the media following her unprecedented triumph
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The Howard Wright Column
British racing out in front in the governance stakes
rguments among professional elements in British horseracing are one thing. Outright public opposition within sections of the regulatory framework is something else, and thankfully it very rarely breaks out into open warfare between individual organisations. There may be an argument for examining the structure of the BHA and the general relationship with its separate, and sometimes disparate, contributing entities, which is a subject for another day. So far, though, the set-up has not brought progress to a full stop. Compare that situation, then, to Australia, which is occasionally held up as a paragon of virtue in the way to run racing, and the US, which does have a reputation for factions going their own
Tom Marquand strikes again on Addeybb in Australia, a country where the competing racing authorities in New South Wales and Victoria have a less than harmonious relationship
Leave the dumbing down to other sports Memo to organisers of the Racing League, the six-week, 12-team competition due to start in July: please, please, please do not mess about with the language of the sport. Tampering with terminology may not be the intention at the moment, but the delayed concept of putting together squads of jockeys and trainers has already attracted a significant degree of scepticism, without risking further damnation through the desire for simplification that borders on, if not exactly descends into, dumbing down. One only has to look at an example from another sport to see the possibilities of harmful publicity emerging from the rush to toss aside tradition. The Hundred is cricket’s attempt to make the sport more accessible to a new audience. Its introduction has, like the Racing League’s, been held up by the coronavirus pandemic, but the barrage of opposition to which it was immediately subjected has not gone away. Indeed, the groundswell of criticism from the press box and members’ area returned recently, when the promoters let it be known that some of the descriptions of play best known to existing followers of the sport would be ditched. Initial amazement had come from the introduction of rules demanding that bowlers should change ends after ten balls, instead of the usual six, and allowing the possibility of there being two bowlers per over. Now, the chief cause of renewed tension is the fact that ‘outs’ will replace ‘wickets’ to describe the departures of batsmen – sorry, batters, which is being brought in to reflect these gender-neutral times. ‘Outs’ is a term used in baseball, but it also applies to cricket, if not in the way that The Hundred promoters are suggesting. So, that makes it all right then, does it? Maybe not, if the 75 per cent of those 800 readers who responded
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to a Daily Telegraph poll, saying they would not attend one of these matches, carry their disinterest into the language. Interestingly, one of the rights holders for The Hundred is Sky Sports, which is covering the Racing League, after initial attempts to use Jockey Club Racecourses’ tracks was abandoned in favour of Arena Racing Company, and whose gung-ho approach to any sport appears to be in grave danger Oisin Murphy: participating in of finding its way into ITV the new Racing League Racing’s presentation. Most sports have a language of their own and attempts to popularise usually involve taking a close look at wordage. Indeed, The Hundred’s change of emphasis towards ‘outs’ is said to have been developed on the back of focus group reaction. Racing, and the Racing League in particular, should resist the temptation to follow suit. Some words in common usage in racing probably do require expunging – whip comes to mind immediately – but let’s keep others as a nod to heritage and tradition for newcomers to learn as they get deeper into the subject. Revolutionaries would probably start with such as the furlong, a measure that seems to have no place anywhere else. It has about as much general relevance as the chain, which, of course, is a measure of 100 links, or 66 feet, or 22 yards, the length of a cricket pitch. Just don’t tell the English Cricket Board, which dreamed up The Hundred.
way under a system whereby 30-plus states have their own rules for putting on the sport. For an example of how the lack of a strong central authority can fail the system and engender rivalry between major states, look no farther than Australia, where the presence of a strong personality often adds fuel to the fires of passion. Business at the over-arching authority of Racing Australia, chaired by ex-BHA Chief Executive Greg Nichols, was definitely not ‘as usual’ recently, when tensions between Racing Victoria and Racing New South Wales, its two most powerful members, boiled over into the postponement of a board meeting, which had been due to discuss a report from one of its committees, after canvassing opinions on the use of the whip. Racing Australia’s consultation process coincided with the staging of a number of restricted whip races by Racing Victoria, which argued that changes in use would simply meet community expectations. Racing NSW, led by its forceful and often flagrantly outspoken Chief Executive Peter V’Landys, and some other states disagreed, preferring to rely on better community education and a change of name for the whip to riding crop. The resulting stalemate does neither state any credit, especially since both have the right of veto on Racing Australia’s board. Meanwhile, the impasse currently being played out in the US goes way beyond the bounds of racing regulation, with
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“For an example of how the lack of a strong central authority can fail the system, look no farther than Australia” the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association having filed a federal lawsuit in a bid to halt the all-embracing Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. HISA, which was signed into law last December, is a unique attempt to bring the US into line with most other international jurisdictions by agreeing a common set of rules through the creation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. Among its chief innovations is the introduction of medication control by the US Anti-Doping Agency, whose most recent achievements include bringing down the cheating cyclist Lance Armstrong. The HBPA, which is the largest horsemen’s representative association in North America, with nearly 30,000 members, says it remains in favour of uniformity but, according to General Counsel Peter Ecabert, is “doing its due diligence to make sure that any fundamental change to the running of horseracing has a solid legal foundation.” Journalist Ray Paulick’s popular daily podcast conducted a non-scientific poll, asking readers whether they supported or opposed the HBPA lawsuit, and with multiple entries allowed, he reported: “Turns out more than a few people tried to ‘stuff’ the ballot box, with one IP address responsible for more than 1,000 votes.” It seems there is something to be said in favour of Britain’s centralised, if occasionally fractious, system. Or perhaps it just shows that pollsters should check the option to prevent multiple entries more carefully.
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The Big Interview
The patient PERFECTIONIST Nothing is left to chance at Coombelands Stables in West Sussex, where David Menuisier employs an old-fashioned approach to training, eschewing the obsession with speedy runners to focus on the more staying types favoured by his growing band of owners Words: Julian Muscat • Photos: Bill Selwyn and George Selwyn
or aspiring trainers in the modern era, the formula is simple. Recruit as many precocious two-year-olds as you can, run them hard, and hope to make an impact by the numbers. Except that David Menuisier has done it the other way round. His first horses needed time, his early numbers were insignificant. He trained a solitary winner in 2014, his debut season, and just five the following year. Yet he starts 2021 with a string of more than 70, half of which are two-year-olds. How on earth did he do it? Menuisier’s numbers only tell part of the story. His biggest triumphs have largely been gained outside Britain, which don’t show up on the stats. Only two of his eight Pattern-race triumphs have been gained at home. In prize-money terms the £266,000 he has banked from big-race wins in Britain pales by comparison to big-race earnings abroad in excess of £620,000. When viewed through this prism, it becomes clear that Menuisier’s career graph is rising steeply. He has achieved it by espousing old-school values. Horses come first at the Coombelands Racing Stables he rents from Guy Harwood, whose daughter, Amanda Perrett, also trains on the property. They are given all the time they need. A morning with Menuisier, 40, amplifies the point. Born and raised in France, he has lived in West Sussex for the last 15 years and developed an amusing line in derivatives of British idioms. He is
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emotional by nature with an understated sense of humour. And he is fastidious around horses. Menuisier contrived his meticulous training regime by drawing on what he learnt under the wings of three worldclass trainers. “From Criquette HeadMaarek I took everything,” he says. “It’s a philosophy; being aware of things. It’s not a job you learn from the books – it is nearly black magic. Criquette made me aware of what a trainer should feel. In some ways it is very old-fashioned. There is not much science behind it.”
“It’s not a job you learn from the books – it is nearly black magic” From France he moved to Richard Mandella in California. “Richard was the most hands-on of the three,” Menuisier says. “He is a proper horseman; he never trains more than 40 horses at one time so he can make sure every single horse has individual treatment.” After Mandella he ventured to Britain to work for the late John Dunlop. “From
John I took confirmation that time is your best ally,” he reflects of seven years at Arundel. “And also, exploring and getting the taste of the handicap system, which I found very exciting. Without John, I would maybe not be as keen on British racing. With the handicapper it is like a game of cat and mouse.” He couldn’t have asked for a finer tutor than Dunlop, who trained for plenty of British owner-breeders in an era when stamina wasn’t a dirty word. He’d start his staying three-year-olds over a mile, knowing full well they would flourish over longer trips. This ethos has rubbed off on Menuisier, who understands that a horse which antagonises the handicapper in its early runs is a lost cause. Nevertheless, his respect for handicappers runs deep. “Sometimes they puzzle me but they are rarely wrong by very much,” he says with a smile. “I mentioned how I enjoy this game of chess on television last year and the handicapper must have been watching. The next time he gave a horse of mine a mark, it was 4lb too high.” This aside arises during third lot, when horses go out of sight as they limber up to canter on a quiet Monday morning. Menuisier is all eyes when he is in their midst. Not a word is spoken as he assesses each one in turn. They then make their way to the gallops, which offers the opportunity for another observation. “You can see that Guy Harwood was a genius,” Menuisier says of the retired
Looking to the future: David Menuisier enjoyed his best season for UK winners in 2020 but is not afraid to send his runners around the world in search of the biggest prizes on offer
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The Big Interview The trainer explains his thoughts to his work riders during morning exercise, while below, four-year-old Flyin’ Solo is put through his paces by Emily Darby
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trainer who numbered Dancing Brave among a herd of turf luminaries. “There are little things about what he built here; how horses must pass through a starting stall to get to one of the gallops. Unbelievable man. Very ahead of his time.” When the horses reappear they have trotted for seven furlongs, after which they are reassessed as they file past. They then breeze a first time, after which Menuisier speaks to each rider individually. “If I am not completely happy, the horse will go in,” he says. “The rest will do a second canter.” And after that second canter, horses walk up and down a
driveway to cool off, rather than round in circles. “I prefer that,” Menuisier says. “Otherwise I think they get bored.” It’s a time-consuming process for all, including the staff, who still “do their three” every morning before riding out. But it has served Menuisier well. It has been a long and patient journey for him and his horses to get this far. He is not about to compromise. “I feel that if horses don’t have the strength, they cannot improve and are more likely to get injured,” he says. “I’d rather give them time to come to themselves. Then you can be ahead of the handicapper.” This approach contradicts the assumption that today’s owners want an assessment of their horse sooner rather than later. How does Menuisier break it to an owner that his back-end three-year-old is never going to cut it when the owner has already paid two years’ worth of bills? “Ah, no,” he replies. “Sometimes you have to wait until a horse is four, but even if it is backward, it will show you something one morning. It’s the spark that
makes you wait until you see it on a more regular basis. If they don’t show me that spark, I will tell the owner to pull the plug. “We do things in our own time,” he continues, “and the owners we attract are of a similar view. People tend to put a tag on you, and to be fair, backward horses
“If we get a good horse we don’t have the pressure of the media here” are the kind I prefer if I had the choice. I’d be happy to have precocious two-yearolds but I love horses that race over a mile and beyond. With sprinters you are in the hands of God. You need everything to go your way.”
He also savours the privacy of Coombelands, where he pulls out at different times to Perrett. “And if we get a good horse we don’t have the pressure of the media, as they do at big training centres,” he says. “Horses are not like clockwork. Even Thundering Blue as a five-year-old didn’t always work well.” Mention of Thundering Blue takes Menuisier back to when it all started. His first owner was Gail Brown, who he knew from his time with Dunlop, and whose racing club sent him two of the four horses he started with in 2015. While with Dunlop he also met Clive Washbourn, who promised Menuisier he would back him if he proved he could train winners. “I said to Clive it was a Catch-22,” Menuisier reflects. “Without horses, I cannot win races. He told me I would find a way.” When he did, Washbourn was as good as his word. “We won our first race at Newcastle on August 25, 2014,” Menuisier relates, the date seared into his memory. “Slunovrat was the last horse my parents bred and it was magical; the best day of my life.
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The Big Interview
›› The next morning Clive called to say well
done, and asked me to buy him some horses.” Thundering Blue was among the first of them. Bought at the breeze-ups, the roan didn’t win his first race until halfway through his four-year-old campaign but caught fire thereafter. The following season he won the Group 2 York Stakes and finished third in the International Stakes. From there he rebounded to win the valuable Stockholm Cup before finishing runner-up in the Canadian International at Woodbine. The following year Menuisier saddled Danceteria, part-owned by Washbourn, to win the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis in Munich. He was well on his way. Menuisier’s regular sorties to France may have boosted his bank balance but Menuisier pays little attention to the ongoing prize-money debate in Britain. “I’m not a politician,” he says, “but everyone knows what the problem is. What I do know is that it would take someone like Winston Churchill to sort it out, or maybe Margaret Thatcher.” It is British racing’s prestige, rather than prize-money, that enamours Menuisier. He cannot imagine living anywhere other than West Sussex, which he and his partner, Kim Johnstone, find idyllic. There was never any inclination to start his career in France. “I always say I love the weather in Britain,” he says, grinning. “But no, we have the best of both worlds here because France is so close. We should never take it for granted but Britain is where the big owners want to be. It’s also very hard to build a stable from scratch in France, like we have here. Young trainers there are struggling even if they are well connected.” Some big owners have now gravitated to Coombelands, where Menuisier can rent barn space as and when his numbers warrant it. Recent converts to his corner include the enthusiastic Saudi patron Abdullah Al Maddah, the Coopers’ Normandie Stud and Andrew Black’s Chasemore Farm. He enjoys training for owner-breeders, who account for around half of his string. “They share the same mindset as we do,” he says. “That was always our aim, rather than to be fashionable. I feel blessed, I really do. We have been very lucky with our horses and our staff. We couldn’t have asked for more.” Luck has played little part in Menuisier’s achievements to date. The man who dared to swim against the tide in accordance with his beliefs is reaping his just rewards.
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Wonderful Tonight will be campaigned with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in mind
Iron lady targets Paris again Last season marked a breakthrough for David Menuisier on many fronts. His tally of 18 winners in Britain was a personal best but his handling of Wonderful Tonight, owned by music impresario Chris Wright, took the plaudits. It showed he knew exactly how to get the best from a top-class horse. Having won a Saint-Cloud maiden by a short-head at two, Wonderful Tonight advanced to win two Group 1 races at three, the second of them at Ascot on Champions Day. The daughter of Le Havre was thus an enticing broodmare prospect, so it came as a huge vote of confidence when Wright asked Menuisier to campaign her again this season. “Before she ever ran I told Chris she was the best filly I had ever dealt with,” says the trainer who assisted the likes of Criquette Head-Maarek, Richard Mandella and John Dunlop. “She is amazing. Even when she was very weak as a twoyear-old, she was made of iron. Her temperament; everything about her was exceptional. But what I really like about her is that she is all Montjeu
[who is her broodmare sire].” Menuisier comes close to tears when he recalls last season’s highs: how he stood alone before a television set at Lingfield in August, cheering like a man deranged as Wonderful Tonight won the Group 3 Prix Minerve at Deauville. He could barely speak after Wonderful Tonight landed the Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day. Having won the Group 1 Prix Royallieu on Arc weekend, all roads now lead to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe itself. Menuisier has yet to plot a precise course to Longchamp but will be governed by the filly’s penchant for easy ground. “I am trying to delay her seasonal debut,” he says. “She’s not one you can train, give her a break and start again. She has to keep running when she is in good nick but there are only so many battles you can fight. I don’t want her to fight the wrong ones.” If the ground at Longchamp in October is anything like as testing as it was in the previous two years, the filly could well give connections a night to remember.
WALDGEIST. THE BEST GALILEO SINCE FRANKEL
OUTSTANDING FIRST FOALS IN 2021
Bay Filly ex BARKAA (Siyouni)
Chesnut Colt ex SO UNIQUE (Siyouni)
Bay Filly ex SOUND OF GUNS (Acclamation)
BARKAA won the Gr.3 Prix Vanteaux and L Prix de la Californie and is a half-sister to two champions
SO UNIQUE was a 2yo winner and placed in Gr.3 Prix Miesque From the family of Gr.1 winner LORD GLITTERS
SOUND OF GUNS was a 6f 2yo winner and placed in the 5f Gr. 2 Flying Childers S. From the family of Gr.1 Cheveley Park S. winner REGAL ROSE
BALLYLINCH STUD Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
Te l : + 3 5 3 ( 0 ) 5 6 7 7 2 4 2 1 7 • i n f o @ b a l l y l i n c h s t u d . i e • w w w. b a l l y l i n c h s t u d . c o m
U NEED A BREEZE UP HORSE 2020 was a sensational year War Of Will A’Ali Trueshan Red Verdon Ubettabelieveit The Lir Jet Far Above
1st Gr.1 Maker’s Mark Mile (also won the 2019 Gr.1 Preakness Stakes) 1st Gr.2 Sapphire Stakes and Gr.3 Coral Charge 1st Gr.2 Long Distance Cup 1st Gr.2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil 1st Gr.2 Flying Childers Stakes Waady 1st Gr.2 Meydan Sprint st 1 Gr.2 Norfolk Stakes Steel Bull 1st Gr.3 Molecomb Stakes st 1 Gr.3 Palace House Stakes Umm Kulthum 1st Gr.3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes
THE OWNER BREEDER
Heart of GLASS Years of careful management at Bearstone Stud are being rewarded by the deeds of Glass Slippers – and with the promise of much more to come Words: Martin Stevens
he wheel of fortune has certainly spun in Bearstone Stud’s direction in recent seasons, and it isn’t just those on the Shropshire farm who are celebrating the fact. Mark Pennell — the long-serving manager of Terry and Margaret Holdcroft’s operation, a true bulwark of the British breeding industry — says there has been a wave of good will in the wake of its wonderful run of success, headed by brilliant homebred sprinting mare Glass Slippers. “Everyone has been congratulating us at the sales, even trainers and breeders who we haven’t had a lot to do with before,” he reports. “It’s been amazing. I think it’s because we’re a relatively small stud and everyone’s just so happy that Terry and Margaret are being rewarded for all their hard work.” Glass Slippers’ pedigree bears the hallmarks of the Holdcrofts’ breeding acumen and wise investments. The Kevin Ryan-trained five-year-old, who has won three top-level contests culminating in a thrilling victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last November, is out of the winning Night Gypsy, a daughter of former Bearstone resident Mind Games — himself by the stud’s foundation stallion Puissance — and the judicious broodmare purchase Ocean Grove. Pennell says that the daughter of Dream Ahead gave an early clue that she could be the crowning glory of Bearstone Stud’s breeding efforts. “She was her dam’s last foal, so the idea was there to retain the bloodline for the farm, but as it happens she might have been kept anyway,” he says. “She absolutely shone in the paddock as a foal
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and as a yearling. “She always looked more like an athletic colt, with a feminine head but a masculine body on her. She was quite muscular even before she came in to be broken and prepped. She always looked ready to run, really.” Glass Slippers has lived up to those early expectations, and how. She has won seven of 17 starts, including the Prix de l’Abbaye by three lengths at three, and the Flying Five Stakes and that famous Breeders’ Cup success at Keeneland at four. She will surely deliver the stud more silverware yet, as she remains in training with a slightly adjusted programme in mind for her. “Glass Slippers is still improving, so we felt she was worth returning into training for another year,” says Pennell. “We’re going to push her to six furlongs and see how she goes. She’s not always the quickest out the gates, and often does her best work at the end of her races, so although she’s won her three Group 1s over five or five and a half furlongs, she looks a filly who’ll get six.” He adds that we might see Glass Slippers earlier in the season than expected, too. “Some people think she’s a lateseason filly but I’m not sure
Glass Slippers, pictured winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint under Tom Eaves, represents decades of successful breeding at Bearstone Stud, owned by Terry Holdcroft (inset) and his wife Margaret
that’s justified,” he says. “We’ve only ever started her late, and she’s seen the season out well each time. It was probably our mistake that she didn’t have a run before the King’s Stand last year and she didn’t quite last home, although she also had a poor draw to contend with. “She’ll be going to Royal Ascot with a run under her belt this year and I think it will make a massive difference for her.” Glass Slippers is aided not only by her elite pedigree and powerful physique, but also by an amenable temperament. “She loves racing and she loves travelling,” says Pennell. “The last time I
brought her home from Kevin’s for the winter I put her on the horse box and by the time we were 100 yards down the road she had her head down and was asleep. She could go anywhere in the world and get off the box as bright as she got onto it. “She’s a relaxed mare when she’s at home and loves people, especially when they make a fuss of her, but she starts to let you know when she wants to get back into training. The first few months she’ll go out, stroll around and graze, but when she’s ready to go, you’ll turn her out and she blasts around the paddock.”
Glass Slippers’ rise to the top serves as a reminder of the benefits of a long established stud nurturing a family over several generations through careful observation of its members’ characteristics and qualities. Pennell and his colleagues have done just that in this case since Bearstone Stud bought Ocean Grove at Tattersalls in 1996. The winning Fairy King mare was a granddaughter of Shellshock, who ran third to Mysterious in the 1973 1,000 Guineas. “Terry’s a big believer in keeping these pedigrees going, as quite often they’ll miss
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Bearstone Stud ›› a generation but come back,” he says.
“There are two or three of our pedigrees now where we’ve bred the whole family on the catalogue page. It’s very rewarding to see those. “We quite often speak to trainers who we’ve sold yearlings to, to give them an insight into the family. When you’ve worked with the pedigrees for as long as we have, you know what ground and what trip they’re likely to need. “Glass Slippers’ family is a good example. They never look like two-yearolds; they’re generally quite narrow and tall, so a lot of trainers think they’d better not push them. But they will go on and do it early if the trainers do prep them that way, and buyers often appreciate hearing that.” Glass Slippers was only the tip of the iceberg of Bearstone Stud’s fine run of form in 2020. It also bred and sold Group 3 Prix Miesque winner Lullaby Moon, a daughter of Belardo and Weatherbys Super Sprint runner-up Bold Bidder (by the farm’s former stallion Indesatchel) and Group 3 Summer Stakes scorer Queen Jo Jo, by Gregorian out of River Song, a USwinning daughter of Siphon. The stud was early off the mark this year too. Insomnia, the three-year-old Due Diligence half-brother to Queen Jo Jo, made a pleasing impression when successful on debut in a Lingfield maiden for Richard Spencer, while Gravity Force, a four-year-old by another former resident
sire, Fountain Youth, scored on his first start for Pia Brandt in France. Bearstone’s loyal clients have also been in clover. Mike and Tina Bullock’s Crossfields Bloodstock have bred the likes of Motakhayyel, Tis Marvellous, Ventura Rebel and Well Done Fox from only a dozen or so mares based on the stud, while stakes winners Mattmu and Vintage Brut were also raised on the farm for James Bowers and Deborah O’Brien respectively.
“Terry’s a big believer in keeping these pedigrees going” Asked to put his finger on what the reason for Bearstone’s purple patch might be, Pennell says the operation has spent a lot of time and hard work in recent years on the matings — “looking for the best possible matches, even using some stallions we might not have used before”. But the natural advantages of the stud, spread across three farms over 400 acres of land, have also stood it in good stead for consistently producing robust,
talented athletes for the last four decades. “We make all our own haylage here and do paddock rotation so that every paddock gets a rest every two or three years, which you really need with horses as they can sour the ground,” says Pennell. “We’re on a sandy base soil, which is good in winter as it drains so well, and all three farms were originally dairy farms, so they have quite rich pasture, always with ample grass.” He adds: “We also have our own water supply as we’re set on a massive underground lake that, luckily, we’ve been able to drill into legally. “One of our main priorities is land management. If you get that right, the good horses will follow.” The Holdcrofts’ astute equine acquisitions have also paid recurring dividends down the years. Puissance, Mind Games, Firebreak and Indesatchel were all leading first-season sires in Britain and have given Bearstone some significant broodmares – as proven by Glass Slippers and Lullaby Moon. One of the inaugural mare purchases also proved to be of utmost importance, as Pennell explains. “The boss went to the sales to buy some nice mares in the early years and he came back with a daughter of Danehill who had never raced for 20,000gns,” he recounts. “That was My First Romance and she turned out to produce 13 winners from 14 runners including three individual
Inquizitive and her Washington DC filly share a moment with Mark Pennell and assistant manager Hayley Mayer
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Bearstone Stud ›› Royal Ascot winners — Romantic Myth
“We are averaging 50 winners bred on the stud each year now” Lodge. He won six races including the Windsor Castle Stakes and Phoenix Sprint Stakes, and finished second in two Group 1s, once when hard on the heels of Marsha in the Prix de l’Abbaye. “We haven’t looked to find another stallion just yet because of Covid,” says Pennell. “We’ve seen how many studs are struggling to fill stallions at the moment, and when you see there are big operations having to wheel and deal who’ve never done so before, you know things are difficult.” The chance for breeders and purchasers of Washington DC’s fillies – the
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Washington DC: first crop are yearlings
and Romantic Liaison, who both won the Queen Mary Stakes, and Zargus, who scored in the Balmoral Handicap.” The family wasn’t quite sure at first whether Terry had done the right thing, buying an unraced mare for a not inconsiderable sum, but those results blew away any doubts. The decision also blessed Crossfields Bloodstock with one of their best mares. Mythicism, who is out of Romantic Myth, has produced five winners for the Bullocks led by sprint aces Mythmaker and Tis Marvellous. It should be no surprise that the Holdcrofts have an eye for a good horse, though. The whole family are keen horsemen who used to hunt and were originally more interested in National Hunt racing before they specialised in producing horses who excel at the opposite end of the distance spectrum. “Terry started out owning jumps horses with Ray Peacock and Reg Hollinshead, but there were so many injuries and disappointments that he moved onto the Flat horses,” explains Pennell. “He adopted the theory that anyone can breed a slow horse but it’s harder to breed a fast one, and so has always had sprinting stallions and mares.” Today the stud is home to 80 mares, 26 of whom are boarders, and the stallion Washington DC, a son of Zoffany from the family of champion two-year-old Grand
oldest of whom are yearlings – to win a £20,000 boost to prize-money thanks to the Great British Bonus is marketed enthusiastically by the stud. “We try to promote that as best we can for the TBA,” says Pennell. “It’s just a great thing for the British breeder. What better incentive is there to buy a filly? Everyone will come out of it a winner. I know Kevin Ryan is now actively picking horses who qualify for it. Fillies had been difficult to sell, but we had some nice prices for ours last year and I’m pretty sure that’s partly down to the bonus scheme.” Bearstone Stud enjoyed a good set of results at the sales last year generally, despite the spectre of Covid, as its excellent results on the track bestowed some of its lots with all-important pedigree updates. Among its top-selling yearlings were a Kodiac half-sister to the useful Dan Troop sold to De Burgh Equine for 120,000gns, a Showcasing colt out of the Firebreak mare Bereka sold to Alex Elliott for 110,000gns, and the Ribchester halfbrother to Lullaby Moon knocked down to Richard Ryan for £82,000. “We came out of the sales season very well,” says Pennell. “We had a vintage crop of yearlings and they weren’t all by the most expensive stallions, so we couldn’t complain. “Unfortunately it seemed more difficult for those who had to sell in online sales last year. It was always going to be hard to sell horses without buyers being able to see them in the flesh.”
Bearstone Stud has embraced the digital era in other ways, though, with assistant manager Hayley Mayer diligently posting pictures of the farm’s young stock and notable racing results to social media. “Hayley’s got us lots of followers through that, and it does no harm at all,” reasons Pennell. “It’s great to get our foals seen out there, and hear feedback on them. We also like to promote the races Glass Slippers has won. It all helps.” Bearstone Stud’s success in recent seasons has not gone unnoticed beyond the realms of Twitter and Facebook, either. The operation was honoured with the Langham Cup for Small Breeder of the Year at the TBA Awards last year and also received a special merit award from the organisation last autumn, while Glass Slippers was named Yorkshire Horse of the Year for 2020. “It’s been lovely for all the staff on the stud who work so hard,” says Pennell, “And it’s a great tribute to Terry and Margaret, who have put in so much time and hard work with the horses. We’re averaging 50 winners bred on the stud each year now, and some years we’ve been well above that. It’s very rare we’re under that number.” Bearstone Stud is well and truly enjoying a boom. But don’t go thinking that the farm will be resting on its laurels. “Terry’s as keen as ever, and still very ambitious,” says Pennell. “He’s as enthusiastic about the business now as he was when he and Margaret founded it in 1979.”
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For Sheikh Sultan Al Deen bin Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa, who races his horses under the banner of AlMohamediya Racing, the 2021 Flat season has got off to a promising start. Two-year-old Khunan (pictured) cost just £18,000 at last summer’s Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale, but on his second start in mid-April showed an abundance of potential and tenacity to register an early career win at Ripon for his Bahraini owner, who is one of British racing’s most prominent and highly valued investors from the geographically small but influential Gulf state. The son of hardy sprinter Twilight Son was signed for by his trainer Richard Fahey, alongside Robin O’Ryan, and it was the same combination who picked out Khunan’s now stablemate, Adeb, for £34,000. Also making his debut in the AlMohamediya Racing silks in April, Adeb raced greenly and was unable to get on terms with the winner, but saw the Nottingham contest out well to take the runner-up spot and, like Khunan, looks a nice prospect for the summer’s juvenile sprint contests. Of course, the Doncaster yearling sale has historically been a happy hunting ground for Sheikh Sultan, for it is where Clive Cox signed for his 2020 Gr.1 Commonwealth Cup winner-turned-stallion, Golden Horde. To win a Group 1 at Royal Ascot in just your fourth season of ownership in Britain is a wonderful achievement. To do it with a colt who was purchased for £65,000 makes it even more significant. Then again, Cox has a knack of unearthing raw talent at Britain’s yearling sale curtain raiser, having also signed for Group 1 winners Harry Angel (£44,000), Reckless Abandon (£24,000) and, more recently, Supremacy (£65,000). No doubt this track record has not gone unnoticed by Sheikh Sultan and his racing manager, Peter Harper. While AlMohamediya Racing has historically been most closely aligned with the Lambourn trainer, Sheikh Sultan has supported a total of 10 British trainers over the last five seasons, and this year has a team of 18 horses spread across the country with Cox, Fahey, Andrew Balding, Mark Johnston, David O’Meara and Karl Burke. A strike rate of 47% with the 32 horses to have raced in the red, white and gold braid silks thus far for Sheikh Sultan points to a measured and well thought out strategy; long may his success on Britain’s racecourses continue.
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38 THE OWNER BREEDER
Nancy Sexton Bloodstock Editor
How Britain is indebted to ‘extraordinary’ Dubawi
t is remarkable to think that Dubai Millennium’s legacy once hung by a thread. When Sheikh Mohammed’s brilliant homebred succumbed to grass sickness in the spring of 2001, he left behind just a single crop with which to exert an influence. To suggest that a breed-shaper might have been lurking within those 56 resulting foals was a fanciful one to say the least. However, powered by the might of that breed-shaping son Dubawi, the sire line has never been stronger than today. Britain, in particular, would be all the poorer without him. Records fall easily in Dubawi’s world and the Darley stallion was back in the spotlight last month when hitting the milestone of 200 black-type winners. The landmark in question arrived courtesy of Philomene’s success in the Prix Penelope at Saint-Cloud on April 6. Appropriately, the filly sports the famous blue of co-owner Godolphin, who have campaigned 12 of Dubawi’s Group 1 winners to date. Time will tell whether Philomene, a half-sister to Group 1 winners Chicquita and Magic Wand, will join that list but she appears to be highly regarded by trainer Andre Fabre. “When this journey started at Darley, the objective was to develop stallions,” says Sam Bullard, its Director of Stallions. “So for Dubawi to become one of the best to stand in Britain is something to be very proud of. “It’s his head that stands him apart. As a stallion, he’s extraordinary – he has an amazing constitution and never misses a day. That’s something that we see in many of his stock. They just want to eat and work, and so often we see that will to win as well.” Dubawi’s first stakes winner was notched in August 2009 when Sand Vixen, bred by Mette CampbellAndenaes, landed the St Hugh’s Stakes at Newbury. Several weeks later, she struck again to become his first Pattern winner in the Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster, just a day before another first-crop runner Poet’s Voice won the Champagne Stakes. By that stage, it was well apparent that Darley had a potentially important stallion on its hands, a notion that was swiftly confirmed when another first-crop
Dubawi: Darley stalwart hit the recent milestone of 200 stakes winners
colt Makfi took the 2,000 Guineas the following spring. As a top miler with a fine female pedigree, Dubawi had every right to succeed. Still, it is amazing to recall the suspicion with which the market initially viewed his stock; for instance, Sand Vixen was an inexpensive 30,000gns yearling purchase in 2008, the year before Dubawi’s fee sunk to a low of £15,000. Of course, that is all now very much in the past. A stud record highlighted by 44 Group 1 winners, among them Ghaiyyath, Too Darn Hot and New Bay, has propelled him into an elite commercial bracket that was again illustrated last year by a yearling average of 607,632gns. He has stood for £250,000 since 2017 and last year’s 155-strong book consisted of over 40 Group 1 winners and/or the dams of Group 1 winners. “One of the great things about him is how well his sons are doing now,” says Bullard. “Obviously we have Night Of Thunder, who is doing tremendously well, and there is a good word for the first two-year-olds by Postponed. Ghaiyyath is also very exciting. It almost goes without saying that we’re hugely indebted to Dubawi.” Darley has plenty to look forward to from the next generation of this line but in the meantime it remains business as usual for Dubawi. At the time of writing, his stakes-winning total had risen to 203 and included the winners of four stakes
races – My Oberon, Highland Avenue, Master Of The Seas and Declaring Love – in as many days during the week of Newmarket’s Craven meeting.
While it remains very early days, Overbury Stud has every right to be excited over the start made by its young stallion Ardad, the sire of four first-crop winners and counting as this magazine went to press. Ardad was a quick horse who won the Windsor Castle and Flying Childers Stakes and was therefore expected to sire sharp stock, perhaps in a similar mould to his sire Kodiac. That is duly proving to be the case, with an early buzz from trainers and breeze-up vendors translating into some eye-catching results on the track. They include debut winners Blue Collar Lad, Arboy Will and Vaunted, none of whom attracted much interest at the sales – as an example, Blue Collar Lad was purchased by trainer Robyn Brisland for just 1,000gns as a Book 4 yearling while the John Bridger-trained Arboy Will failed to sell at 1,500gns as a foal. Another nice aspect of Ardad’s start is that each of those winners also represent the work of smaller breeders. That is particularly true of Ripon scorer Vintage Clarets, who became the sixth winner bred out of Enchanted Princess by Michael Broughton, a real enthusiast who sadly passed away last year.
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Sales Circuit • By Carl Evans
Satisfactory start to breezeup circuit in Newmarket
This sale-topping daughter of Practical Joke is returning to the US after selling for 360,000gns to Alex Elliott on behalf of Peter Brant
Tattersalls Craven Breeze-up
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run at the Royal meeting – was lost. Tattersalls rallied to the call, and came up with a £250,000 carrot linking the 2021 sale to the Royal races. Half that sum will go to a Craven graduate who wins a two-year-old race at this year’s big meeting and the balance to a horse who, having been through the sale, wins a European
Group 1 juvenile contest. One horse could scoop the lot. Add in a range of other financial incentives revolving around Tattersalls’ sales, and a shrewd buyer at this event could make a good dent, or even a profit, in their investment within a few months. Such inducements are only of mild
Disruptions to sales, let alone travel and Brexit-related red tape, means it is not all blooming in the breeze-up garden, but the first sale of the year achieved a satisfactory outcome. The 88% clearance rate was the best at the two-day Craven Sale this century, while an average price in excess of 86,000gns, albeit well down on preCovid figures, should have satisfied most breeze specialists given the current circumstances. They have other arrows to fire in France and Britain, although the decision to move the Goresbridge Breeze-Up Sale from Ireland to Newmarket will have disappointed the many Irish traders who once again face added travel, time and expense, let alone the aforementioned paperwork which has become a factor when travelling horses to Britain following its departure from the EU. Last year’s Craven Sale was held back until after Royal Ascot due to Covid, which meant one of its big selling points – a chance to buy a ready-made two-year-old who could
Regular breeze-up buyer Peter Swann came away with a 265,000gns Night Of Thunder filly
interest to some, and none at all to the buyer of a Practical Joke filly who was bought to race in the USA after topping trade at 360,000gns. Bloodstock agent Alex Elliott signed for this filly – a $185,000 foal pinhook by the O’Callaghan family of Tally-Ho Stud – on behalf of White Birch Farm’s Peter Brant. He will send his purchase to Chad Brown, the man who trained Practical Joke. It was a similar tale with a Caravaggio colt who was knocked down to agent
Alastair Donald for 240,000gns on his way to a career in Hong Kong, but it will have cheered Tattersalls that the bonus was in the thoughts of Peter Swann when he bought a Night Of Thunder filly from Star Bloodstock for 265,000gns. Swann, a regular breeze buyer for his Cool Silk Partnership, revealed he has sourced 62 winners via breeze-up auctions, and some top-ranking ones too, including Prince Of Lir and Sands Of Mali. Swann summed up the thoughts of
• The private sale to an online buyer of Kilminfoyle House Stud’s Kingman colt for 335,000gns became a point of intrigue. He was listed as being bought by Manor House Stud, a name which is not uncommon in equestrian circles, but which in this instance was presumed to be the version based near Middleham in North Yorkshire. Formerly owned by the late Lennie Peacock, it was sold to an undisclosed buyer last year. The mystery person was no less keen to avoid identification following the Kingman colt’s purchase, one of eight they made via the online service at the Craven Sale. The aggregate spend of 1,035,000gns made them top buyer. Five days later it was a mystery no more when John Dance, the head of Newcastle-based stockbrokers Vertem Asset Management, sponsors of Doncaster’s end-ofseason Group 1 two-year-old trophy, revealed he had bought Manor House Stud. He added that it would be divided, with a private training operation under James Horton, a former assistant to Sir Michael Stoute, and a “development stud” for homebred youngsters. Dance publicly stated in September that he would not
other buyers when he said: “With this filly we’ll try and get to Ascot and to win the bonus before anyone else. Tattersalls have done another good job in getting this on and we can all look forward to getting back to normal before long.” A Mocklershill-consigned colt by Lope De Vega who sold to BBA Ireland for 240,000gns, and a Dabirsim filly offered by Robson Aguiar and bought by Roger Varian for the same sum were among other big-priced lots.
be buying yearlings in forthcoming auctions, nor two-yearolds in 2021. He cited prize-money and the handicapping system as reasons for holding back, but when revealing his new plans he admitted the break had done him good. Racing and breeding should be delighted his holiday was a short one, and that he changed his mind about buying two-year-olds this year. • In the most recent pre-Covid Craven Breeze-Up Sale, held in 2019, Godolphin bought seven lots for 2,940,000gns. The septet were headed by an 850,000gns Kingman filly, a valuation far above the 360,000gns top lot – a filly by Practical Joke – achieved at this year’s sale. Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin dipped into the pool just once, spending 210,000gns on an Oasis Dream filly who was knocked down to Matt Coleman of Stroud Coleman. Sheikh Mohammed has been a free-spender and a no-spender at public auctions throughout his long involvement in racing, but he is not the young man who entered the industry. Meanwhile, the recent death of his elder brother Sheikh Hamdan has removed a key figure from the racing, breeding and bloodstock industries. It feels as if the racing landscape is starting to shift under our feet. If so let us hope governing authorities have plans for all eventualities.
Tattersalls Craven Breeze-up Sale Top lots Sex/breeding
F Practical Joke - Purr And Prowl
Price (gns) 360,000
Alex Elliott/ White Birch Farm
C Kingman - Flying Fairies
Kilminfoyle House Stud
Manor House Stud (PS)
F Night Of Thunder – Militate
Cool Silk P’ship/Stroud Coleman
C Lope De Vega - Freedom March
F Dabirsim – Ironique
C Caravaggio - Bright Sapphire
Top price (gns)
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Bugle Major has joined Richard Hughes after selling for 90,000gns
Emerging from the shadows of England’s lockdown came this new event, held in Tattersalls’ famous Park Paddocks sales ring and in front of a live, registered audience. It was another back-up to the company’s February Sale, and while 75 lots were withdrawn – which is nothing new at mixed auctions – a total of 123 walked the ring, turning over just under 1.3 million guineas at an average price of 11,682gns. Pleasingly the clearance rate achieved 89%. Online auctions held the fort during the loneliness of lockdown, but they could not prevent the abandonments of such auctions as Goffs’ February National Hunt Sale and Goffs UK’s Aintree Sale. Here, at last, was some normality, even though masks and social-distancing were obligatory and marshalled by Covid security monitors who kept their eyes
Tattersalls March Sale
The progressive Attracted sold for 82,000gns, having been unsold at 5,000gns in February
open for transgressors. The Juddmonte-owned six-year-old Flat racer Bugle Major headed trade with a 90,000gns valuation when selling to former champion jockey-turned-trainer Richard Hughes. The buyer was confident that despite being lightly-raced Bugle Major was over former niggling setbacks, and two excellent runs in France from the stable of Pascal Bary backed up that view. As Hughes said: “There are plenty of horses older than him who have won Group 1 races.” Next best was the Joe Tuite-trained four-year-old Attracted, a son of New Approach who was sold to Saudi Arabia for 82,000gns, while Newmarket trainer Stuart Williams signed for Huraiz, a 94-rated, Shadwell-offered son of Sepoy with a bid of 60,000gns. Williams was acting for the Essex-based racehorse syndication specialists Opulence Thoroughbreds.
Tattersalls March Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding
Bugle Major 6 g Mizzen Mast - Conference Call
Price (gns) 90,000
Buyer Richard Hughes Racing
Attracted 4 g New Approach – Interesting
Huraiz 4 g Sepoy – Samaah
Shadwell Estate Company
Sun Power 4 g Night Of Thunder - Sparkling Smile
Alsharq Racing from Jane Chapple-Hyam Racing
Harraton Court Stables
Elusive Treat 3 g Sepoy - Chocolate Hills
Musley Bank Stables (Richard Fahey)
Top price (gns)
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Tattersalls Cheltenham March Sale
Two Newmarket sales in one day was a format which worked successfully for Tattersalls when staging its inaugural March Sale and then an auction of pointers and bumper horses. They made up a catalogue called Tattersalls Cheltenham March Sale, which as the name implies, would have taken place at the home of jump racing in Gloucestershire but for the barriers created by Covid restrictions. In a normal year it would have been held during the Cheltenham Festival, rather than on the final day of March, and been brimming with top-spec young jumping prospects, the majority having run in Irish point-to-points. With that sport having been in lockdown on both sides of the Irish Sea since early January (it had reopened in Britain just two days before this sale took place), the horses on offer came
Gordon Elliott and Bective Stud went to £220,000 for Tipperary point winner Au Fleuron
having won a Tipperary point-to-point bumper for Wexford trainer Denis Murphy. A £37,000 store pinhook by Murphy and his mate Colin Bowe, Au Fleuron was knocked down for £220,000 to a trio involving Eddie O’Leary, agent Mouse O’Ryan and Gordon Elliott, who were working on behalf of Noel and Valerie Moran’s Bective Stud. Elliott may be serving a suspension for that social media snap which backfired so spectacularly, but he did not reach the top by being idle, and few would blame him for working with owners to secure young talented prospective jumpers for them and a future for him. Aiden Murphy: paid £130,000 on behalf of Kim Bailey for Pay The Pilot
via conventional bumpers and specialist point-to-point bumper meetings which Horse Racing Ireland had introduced as a stop-gap and staged at licensed racecourses. Once again, despite the irregularities, buyers were keen to secure the goods on offer, and of the 27 lots who walked the ring 25 were sold. Turnover achieved just under £1.8 million and while the Festival Sale in Cheltenham regularly sees an average price in excess of £100,000, the £71,160 average at this event would have satisfied most pinhookers. Top lot Au Fleuron, a four-yearold son of Crillon, came to the ring
Another Tipperary point-to-point bumper winner, Ballybough Native, a son of Shirocco was knocked down to trainer-of-the-moment Henry De Bromhead for £195,000, a feather in the cap of his young trainer, Kildarebased Ian McCarthy, while a son of Telescope – one of Britain’s key hopes for another top-line jump stallion – called Pay The Pilot made £130,000 when selling to agent Aiden Murphy on behalf of Kim Bailey. Pay The Pilot had been a €20,000 store purchase by County Wexford’s Sean Doyle, who trained him to finish runner-up in a Punchestown bumper before sending him to Newmarket.
• It is cruelly ironic that after some three months of being locked down the sport of point-to-pointing has reopened in a drought. Limited fixtures in Ireland are being strictly controlled and held on licensed racecourses, although that does mean watered ground can be provided. In Britain the point-to-point tracks do not have such technology at their disposal, but tankers full of water can be used to generate satisfactory and safe ground when in the right hands. Either way, the situation is not ideal, particularly for pinhookers with unraced four- and five-year-olds to run and sell, but no wish to jar them up on quick ground. Pointing concludes in early June, and returns in the autumn, when trainers will be keen to run their unraced four-year-olds. Any five-year-olds who have not run will be in the last-chance saloon, with trainers praying for soft ground, a good performance, and a suitable sale at which to offer such a horse. No pinhooker wants an unraced six-year-old on their books, for their value is likely to have fallen markedly.
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Sales Circuit Tattersalls Cheltenham March Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding
Au Fleuron 4 g Crillon - La Pelodette
Ballyboy Stables (Denis Murphy)
Bective Stud/Gordon Elliott
Ballybough Native 5 g Shirocco – Cullian
Grangecorr Farm (Ian McCarthy)
Henry de Bromhead
Pay The Pilot 4 g Telescope - Becky B
Monbeg Stables (Cormac Doyle)
Aiden Murphy/Kim Bailey
Complete Unknown 5 g Dylan Thomas - Silver Stream
Jonathan Fogarty Racing
Ernest Gray 4 g Walk In The Park - Emily Gray
Milestone Stables (Colin Bowe)
Tom Malone/Megan Nicholls Highflyer Bloodstock
Top price (£)
Tattersalls Online March Mixed Sale
Tattersalls returned to the online method of auctioneering for this new auction, which was effectively an addon to the company’s well-established February Sale. It had a ready-made box-office draw in the shape of a dispersal of stock formerly owned by Peter Magnier, head of the County Tipperary-based Brittas House Stud, and who died too young in January 2019 at the age of 69. Magnier was a brother to John and David of the Coolmore Stud empire, and to Anne O’Callaghan of Tally-Ho Stud. Magnier’s premier broodmare Brigid created an empire of her own, producing such outstanding foals as the full-sisters Listen and Sequoyah who became top-class breeders in their own right. Another of their Sadler’s Wellssired full-sisters, Brigids Cross, became the dam of We Are Ninety, a Listed winner in the colours of Peter Magnier’s aunt Lady Mimi Manton, and who headed this sale when knocked down to BBA Ireland’s Michael Donohoe for
Listed winner We Are Ninety topped the Tattersalls Online March Mixed Sale at 75,000gns
75,000gns. Being just eight-years-old, with a Calyx filly at foot and carrying to Arc winner Sottsass, this might prove a
very good piece of business. Brittas House Stud’s six-strong draft filled the top five places in this sale, and
Tattersalls Online March Mixed Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding
We Are Ninety 8 m Thewayyouare - Brigids Cross
Brittas House Stud
Price (gns) 75,000
Buyer BBA Ireland
Zee Zee Gee 16 m Galileo - Zee Zee Top
Brittas House Stud
F No Nay Never - Zee Zee Gee
Brittas House Stud
Combine 4 f Zoffany – Unity
Brittas House Stud
De Burgh Equine
F Ten Sovereigns - Brigids Cross
Brittas House Stud
Sam Sangster Bloodstock
Top price (gns)
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six of the top seven. The second on the list, who was also bought by Donohoe, was the 48,000gns mare Zee Zee Gee, a 16-year-old daughter of Meon Valley Stud’s excellent mare Zee Zee Top, and who walked the ring carrying a
foal by No Nay Never. That embryonic racehorse and his dam were preceded into the ring by his or her full-sister, a yearling filly who made 45,000gns to a bid from Whitehall Stables. No fewer than 100 bidders from
around the globe registered with a view to taking part in the 35-strong catalogue. Of the 29 lots on offer 19 found a buyer, generating just over 350,000gns at an average of 18,637gns.
Plenty of past-their-best chasers have been sold with a view to running in the Grand National, but few went on to make a mark. Credit therefore to Balko Des Flos, a ten-year-old gelding who headed this online sale with a valuation of £110,000 and little more than two weeks later ran second in the most famous steeplechase, giving 6lb to winner Minella Times and almost spoiling the history-making victory of Rachael Blackmore. No less credit should be given to Peter Molony of Rathmore Stud, who identified the horse’s potential for the great race and bought him on behalf of a new racehorse syndication operation called Racehorseclub. By finishing second at Aintree, Balko Des Flos won some £150,000, and he should provide plenty more fun in staying and cross-country chases. According to his new owners’ website a share in him can be bought for just £80, although those who invest will be among up to 5,000 shareholders. Balko Des Flos was sent to the ring from Henry de Bromhead’s yard by Gigginstown House Stud, for whom he peaked when landing Cheltenham’s Ryanair Chase in 2018. Prior to this sale he had run at the same course in the Festival’s cross-country chase in which he unseated, ironically parting company with Blackmore, although she reported to Molony that the gelding had jumped the Aintree fences during that race with aplomb. In an indication of the topsy-turvy
Goffs UK Online March Sale
Balko Des Flos (left) led this sale at £110,000 prior to running second in the Grand National
nature of bloodstock sales during a pandemic, Molony tuned in and bought Balko Des Flos during a tour of the Irish countryside while inspecting store horses who could join Goffs’ Land Rover Sale in June. After 12 months of Covid disruption, such long-distance bidding is no longer a bizarre concept, and Goffs Group chief executive Henry Beeby reported, at the conclusion of this sale, that his company had turned over €8.6 million worth of business via online bids during the pandemic. That will have been important income for his company and many of its clients, and with 197 bids for the 62 horses on offer in this catalogue it seems online buyers of bloodstock are proliferating. A below-par clearance rate of 52% – achieved from sales of 32 lots – was a
negative, but at least vendors were given an opportunity to trade. An average price of £17,425 came from turnover of £557,600. Other notable sales included a £66,000 transaction involving five-yearold bumper-placed gelding Shallow River, who was bought by Cavan trainer and agent Shane Donohoe on behalf of clients in England, and the £64,000 sale of De Lady In Red to agent Gerry Hogan. A fiveyear-old mare, she had been placed in a 17-runner maiden hurdle before her sale. The event’s notable ‘not sold’ was the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Ballyoptic, a Grand National entrant who failed to find a new home when bidding halted at £175,000. He duly ran at Aintree and refused at the 21st fence when out of contention.
Goffs UK Online March Sale Top lots Name/age/sex/breeding
Balko Des Flos 10 g Balko - Royale Marie
Gigginstown House Stud
Price (£) 110,000
Shallow River 5 g Ocovango - Nicola’s Girl
Canterbrook Stud (Margaret Mullins)
De Lady In Red 5 m Jet Away – Inouette
The Borotown Stud
Gerry Hogan Bloodstock
Ishkhara 7 m Lady Scorpion - Loxhill Lady
Horse Flies Partnership (Harry Fry)
Buddy Rich 8 g Rock Of Gibraltar – Sharisse
Aidan O’Ryan/Gordon Elliott
Top price (£)
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Sales Circuit TALKING POINT
• A boutique online horses in training sale staged by Arqana was topped by the sale of three-year-old colt Miami Voice for €250,000 to Meridian International and Mandore International Agency. The son of Shalaa was offered by trainers Alessandro and Giuseppe Botti on behalf of Tom Whitehead having made a striking winning debut at Fontainebleau and purchased by a syndicate of four owners to remain in the yard. Out of a catalogue of six horses, three were sold.
Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale
It was back to business for FasigTipton with its flagship two-year-old auction, the Gulfstream Sale in Florida, writes Nancy Sexton. Back on the calendar following its Covid-enforced year hiatus, the auction lived up to its elite billing, turning over $25,630,000 for an average of $378,507. Rewards for those two-year-olds who jumped through all the hoops were immense, as demonstrated by the sale of 13 lots who made $500,000 or more. Yet of the 186 horses originally catalogued, 105 made it to the ring and of that group only 67 - 36% of the catalogue - actually sold. Such selectivity within the higher echelons of the American two-yearolds sales scene is nothing new, even in the pre-Covid era. The American breeze-up season is young and for those that didn’t meet the stringent demands of this early and unforgiving arena there will be other days over the next few months. For those that did pass the pre-sale
This Nyquist colt went on to sell for $2.6 million following his impressive breeze
rigours, however, demand was strong. Much of the sale ground buzz revolved around Ciaran Dunne’s Nyquist colt following his furlong breeze of 9.4 seconds and with the looks and page to match his time, he went on to command a bid of $2.6 million from Jamie McCalmont on behalf of the Coolmore partners. It was a memorable transaction for Dunne and the Red Wings pinhooking partnership, who had purchased the
Michael Tabor: owner issued a warning over the Jockeys Club’s 140-mare cap
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colt for $160,000 as a yearling. Nyquist had passed through this sale himself for $400,000 in 2015 before going on to pull off the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Kentucky Derby double. Now a stallion at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Kentucky, the son of Uncle Mo made a blistering start with his first two-year-olds last year, notably as the sire of Grade 1 winners Gretzky The Great and Vequist. Overall, it was a day that further
• As the dust settled on Coolmore’s acquisition of the $2.6 million sale-topper, partner Michael Tabor took the opportunity to issue a warning over the American Jockey Club’s controversial 140-mare stallion cap. The Jockey Club plans to introduce the measure for stallions born after 2020. “The Jockey Club stallion cap will reduce the value of these horses from next year, so it’s hard to imagine prices like this being repeated unless it is to go abroad,” said Tabor. The owner also added that he will look to review his buying strategy at upcoming sales. Three Kentucky stud farms, namely Coolmore’s Ashford Stud (as Bemak N.V.), Spendthrift Farm and Three Chimneys Farm, have filed suit against The Jockey Club and the cap on mares bred.
underlined the popularity of Coolmore’s leading sire Uncle Mo, with Coolmore and McCalmont, this time in association with agent Jacob West, also going to $1.3 million for a son of the stallion himself. Another to represent Dunne’s Wavertree Stables academy, the colt boasted fine connections as a brother to Grade 1 winner Dream Tree and had been a $335,000 pinhook by Knights Bloodstock. Michael Tabor confirmed that he would be trained by Todd Pletcher. Amir Zedan of Zedan Racing, working with agent Gary Young, had come close to securing the $2.6 million sale-topper and later had better luck in his pursuit of a first-crop son of multiple Grade 1 winner Gun Runner. A $140,000 yearling pinhook by consignors Randy Hartley and Dean de Renzo, he will be trained by Bob Baffert. While European activity was sparse, agent Alex Elliott did sign at $300,000 for a first-crop son of Coolmore buzz stallion Practical Joke on behalf of Kia Joorabchian’s Amo Racing.
Gary Young went to $1.7 million for this colt, a fine advert for his young sire Gun Runner
Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale Top lots Sex/breeding
C Nyquist - Spinning Well
C Gun Runner - Needmore Flattery
Hartley/de Renzo Thoroughbreds
Gary Young, agent
C Unclo Mo - Afleet Maggi
West Bloodstock, Jamie McCalmont, agent for MV Magnier
C Nyquist - Spirit Of The Dawn
Eddie Woods, agent
Spendthrift Farm, West Point Thoroughbreds
F Uncle Mo - Michelle d’Oro
Sequel Bloodstock, agent
Buyer Jamie McCalmont, agent for MV Magnier
Top price ($)
Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale
With a collection of 23 million dollar yearlings and average of A$368,945, there was a welcome sense of a preCovid era to the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, writes Nancy Sexton. The 2020 renewal was staged just as the potential severity of the pandemic rocked the globe. Inglis moved swiftly to split its flagship yearling sale into two rounds, the first in a virtual
format, and although the market understandably took a hit, its results also offered hope that the Australian market, which is underpinned by a buoyant racing industry, could weather the storm. Various earlier yearling auctions of 2021, such as the Magic Millions Gold Coast and Inglis Melbourne Premier Sales, had indeed demonstrated an impressive depth of market, and the Inglis Easter Sale maintained that
momentum in spectacular style, with 365 yearlings - 90% of those offered - selling for a total of A$134,665,000 (including private sales), the highest figure for 13 years. A son of Arrowfield Stud’s champion incumbent Snitzel was the star turn, selling for A$2.5 million to Hawkes Racing. Part of a typically strong draft belonging to Arrowfield, he is the first foal out of the top-class racemare Rising Romance, a daughter of the
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Sales Circuit former Marcus Tregoning-trained Ekraar who won the Group 1 Australian Oaks. While Arrowfield Stud wound up as leading vendor thanks to the sale of 44 yearlings worth A$21,850,000, it was also an outstanding few days for Vinery Stud, whose draft averaged A$624,118. The group included a son of former Darley shuttler Exceed And Excel for whom Shane McGrath, acting on behalf of Tony Fung Investments, paid A$2.1 million. The colt was bred by Neil Werrett and Steve McCann out of Group 3 winner Peace Force and will be trained by Annabel Neasham. Yarraman Park Stud’s flagship stallion I Am Invincible was never far from the action as the sire of nine million dollar yearlings, including the top three to sell on day two. They were led by a filly out of Group 2 winner Hips Don’t Lie, who
fell to Sheamus Mills on a bid of A$1.95 million. Bred by Katom and sold through Coolmore Stud, the filly is a half-sister to Listed winner Lake Geneva, an excellent two-year-old who also ran third in the Golden Slipper Stakes, and the fourth yearling out of her dam to make seven figures at auction. I Am Invincible ended the week with an average of A$615,568, a figure that was second to only Exceed And Excel, for whom a big week resulted in an average of A$732,857. Two million dollar yearlings also came the way of Tweenhills Farm and Stud’s shuttler Zoustar. Of the other European names represented, Kingman’s sole offering, a colt out of 45,000gns Tattersalls July purchase Bound Copy, realised A$600,000 to Aramco while a quartet of yearlings by Siyouni averaged
A$360,000. Five yearlings by Frankel sold for an average of A$297,000. There was also a poignant aspect in the presence of the final yearlings by Deep Impact and Redoute’s Choice to pass through a southern hemisphere sales ring. Deep Impact’s trio were led by a filly out of Group 1 winner Abbey Marie who made A$900,000 to Dean Hawthorne while the final clutch of offerings belonging to Redoute’s Choice averaged A$430,833. They included an A$800,000 colt out of Lahana who was fittingly co-bred and sold by Arrowfield Stud, the mastermind behind Redoute’s Choice’s championship stud career. “It was sad because it is the end of an era but as I said to everybody I’ve spoken to, he’s dead but he’s not gone,” said Arrowfield’s John Messara. “His legacy will live on through his sons and daughters as we see every weekend.’’
Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale Top lots Sex/breeding
C Snitzel - Rising Romance
C Exceed And Excel - Peace Force
F I Am Invincible - Hips Don’t Lie C I Am Invincible - Cosmic Endeavour F I Am Invincible - Miles Of Krishan
Tony Fung Investments
Sheamus Mills Bloodstock
Kia Ora Stud
Ellerslie Lodge/Bryce Heys
Top price (A$)
Please contact Andrew Mead (+44 7940 597573 firstname.lastname@example.org) or Bill Dwan (+353 87 648 5587 email@example.com) to discuss all your 2021 sale requirements
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Your Consignor of Choice
Yearlings, Foals, Broodmares, Horses-in-Training To discuss all your sales options throughout the year please contact: Bill Dwan | +353 (0) 87 648 5587 | firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Mead | +44 (0) 7940 597573 | email@example.com
Versatility a major element as Dubai Millennium’s legacy endures
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f asked to generalise about what constitutes a typical dirt horse, I would venture that a big, powerful, stronggalloping horse with a high cruising speed is ideal. In other words, something in the mould of the latest Triple Crown winner Justify, who combines considerable size and substance with the ability to lead throughout if required. Contrastingly, Dubawi would be much more a turf type. Medium-sized at best, with his high withers helping him measure 15.3 hands, Dubawi has the neat frame and the musculature suggestive of a horse suited to quickening at the end of his races. He also displayed an action which Timeform described as short and choppy. But few rules in horse breeding are hard and fast and Dubawi’s name has been linked to several important dirt runners this year. It was his grandson Make Believe who sired the highly admirable Mishriff, winner of the hugely valuable Saudi Cup over Riyadh’s much-admired dirt track. Dubawi was also directly responsible for a few black-type winners over Meydan’s dirt course, with Military Law becoming a Group 2 winner in Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge, Soft Whisper taking the Listed UAE 1,000 Guineas on her dirt debut and then Rebel’s Romance wore down Panadol to easily take the Group 2 UAE Derby in March. Needless to say, these winners aren’t the first big winners on dirt for Dalham Hall Stud’s star stallion. His veteran son Prince Bishop defeated California Chrome to land the Dubai World Cup (a race which was contested on Tapeta when it fell to Monterosso, another of Dubawi’s sons). Yet another son, Mubtaahij, won the Group 2 UAE Derby and was second in the Dubai World Cup before being transferred to the US, where he landed the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes. While Dubawi’s physique may suggest that he’s an unlikely sire of dirt horses, his pedigree tells a somewhat different story. He is, of course, a son of Dubai Millennium, a mighty performer in more than one sense of the word. In Rachel Pagones’ book about Dubai Millennium, David Loder was quoted as saying his first impression of the Seeking The Gold colt was that he was too big. “You get a great big horse like that, mostly they’re no good. It might make a nice jumper or
Dubai Millennium: the legacy of Godolphin’s short-lived star is in safe keeping
something. But normally they’re just too big to cope with Flat racing, or to be any good at it.” The story goes that the two-year-old colt – then called Yaazer initially reminded his then-trainer of a heavyweight hunter, but this impression was to change considerably during the second half of the youngster’s juvenile season.
“Dubawi’s name has been linked to several major dirt runners this year” Dubai Millennium was to win his only start for Loder by five lengths, before being transferred to the care of Saeed bin Suroor. In a magnificent career which included only one disappointing effort, when favourite for the Derby, Dubai Millennium was to boost his career figures to nine wins from ten starts. Possessing an extraordinary cruising speed, he proved
just as effective over Nad Al Sheba’s sandy dirt track as he had been over Europe’s turf courses. After dipping below two minutes in easily winning his preparatory race, Dubai Millennium turned in a monster performance in the Dubai World Cup, soon pulling his way to the front on his way to inflicting an aweinspiring six-length defeat on the highly consistent American horse Behrens. This time Dubai Millennium stopped the clock at 1:59.50 for the mile and a quarter. So dirt definitely held no fears for the son of Seeking The Gold, a horse whose career figures stood at eight wins and six seconds in his 15 starts, all on dirt. Dubai Millennium had other dirt horses as his sire (Mr Prospector) and grandsires (Raise A Native and Buckpasser). And, although Dubai Millennium’s dam Colorado Dancer and Dubawi’s dam Zomaradah were both smart winners on turf, they too possessed bloodlines which had found fame on American dirt. Among their ancestors were Northern Dancer, Never Bend, Hail To Reason, Raise A Native and Sir Gaylord, so perhaps it isn’t so surprising that Dubawi should sire the occasional impressive performer on dirt – especially when a number of his best winners seem to have inherited some of Dubai Millennium’s tallness.
Bloodstock world views It will be interesting to see whether Rebel’s Romance can maintain his progress if he’s sent to take on the best American three-year-olds. Now a winner of four of his five starts, his options are somewhat limited – rightly in my opinion – by his being a gelding. Why should the
Classics – which are meant to offer a level playing field – be open to animals which, presumably because of temperament or physical problems, needed to be gelded in order to show their full talent? The Americans don’t share my objections, though, and Rebel’s Romance could
theoretically have targeted the Kentucky Derby, having earned 100 qualifying points for his success in the UAE Derby. However, trainer Charlie Appleby believes the gelding needs more time, hence the substitution of the Belmont Stakes as his likely target.
White wonder Sodashi takes the plaudits in Japan Bank in the US. Nobo Jack had also enjoyed a highly fruitful 2001, reeling off six consecutive Graded races on dirt, including the Group 1 JBC Sprint, so there was good reason for Japanese breeders to support Kurofune. Support him they did, and he made an excellent start, siring a first crop which featured Fusaichi Richard, winner of Japan’s top two-year-old prize, the Group 1 Asahi Hai Futurity, in 2005. The consequence of that early success was that Kurofune was bred to 246 mares the following spring and he also covered 200 or more mares in the six years between 2008 and 2013. Obviously, he needed a steady supply of important winners to maintain this degree of popularity and among them were the fillies Sleepless Night and Curren Chan, both winners of the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes, Whale Capture, another filly who landed the Group 1 Victoria Mile, and Clarity Sky and the filly Aerolithe, both successful in the Group 1 NHK Mile Cup. The chances are, though, that Kurofune is destined to be best remembered as the sire of this year’s eye-catching Japanese star Sodashi. Not only is this three-year-old filly very good, as she has shown by winning all five of her races, including the Group 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies and the Group 1 Oka Sho, the Japanese equivalent of the
1,000 Guineas, but she is also one of those rare thoroughbreds born white. Sodashi’s dam, the four-time dirt winner Buchiko, is also registered as white, but unlike her daughter, Buchiko has a black mane (and white tail) and a body splashed with black spots. A daughter of the bay King Kamehameha, Buchiko was produced by Shirayukihime, who was registered as white, even though her parents, Sunday Silence and the American-bred mare Wave Wind, were registered as dark bay. Most of Shirayukihime’s foals were white, including four by King Kamehameha and three by Kurofune. Another of her Kurofune foals, Mama’s Dish, was grey, so presumably wasn’t born white, unlike Mama’s Dish’s sister Yukichan, winner of the Kanto Oaks and two other Listed races on dirt. Another sister, Marshmallow, passed on her white colour to her King Kamehameha colt Hayayakko, who became a Group 3 winner on dirt. Yukichan is also the second dam of Meikei Yell, winner this year of the Group 2 Tulip Sho over a mile on turf, but this grand-daughter of Deep Impact is bay. The Yukichan branch of the family has also produced white foals to the bay stallions Harbinger, Lord Kanaloa, Johannesburg, Novellist and Drefong, so it appears to be a powerful gene.
Shadai Stallion Station has been home to numerous famous stallions, including the multiple champion sires Northern Taste, Sunday Silence, King Kamehameha and Deep Impact. Between them these four have dominated the champion sire title for most of the last 40 years, so anyone could be forgiven for being less familiar with Kurofune, another of the Shadai stalwarts who died earlier this year at the age of 23. Kurofune was actually bred in the US. Foaled in 1998, this grey or roan son of French Deputy was sold for $70,000 as a yearling before coming to the attention of Katsumi Yoshida at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in 2000. Yoshida had to pay $430,000 for the colt, whose sire French Deputy was recruited to join the Shadai team towards the end of 2000. Together with the smart Japanese colt Nobo Jack, Kurofune no doubt played his part in Shadai’s decision to buy French Deputy, as the striking grey made a fine start to his racing career in 2000. After setting a ten-furlong track record at Hanshin in winning his maiden on his second start, Kurofune went on to record another impressive win in early December and finish third behind Agnes Tachyon and Jungle Pocket – future winners of the Japanese 2,000 Guineas and Japanese Derby - in a Group 3. Although Kurofune’s three notable performances at two all came over a mile and a quarter on turf, he proved at three that he was pretty versatile, both in terms of distance and racing surface. A winner of four of his six starts in 2001, Kurofune enjoyed Group 1 success in the NHK Mile Cup on turf and in the Japan Cup Dirt, over an extended mile and a quarter. By the time he retired to Shadai in 2002, his sire French Deputy was beginning to look a serious loss to the American breeding industry. After a slow start he had been represented by a string of Graded/Group winners, headed by the dual Group 1 winner Left
Sodashi: Japanese 1,000 Guineas heroine is a rare registered white thoroughbred
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John Boyce cracks the code
Dubawi consolidating his place among the greats
s if we needed any more proof as to Dubawi’s standing in the history of the modern thoroughbred, the Dalham Hall Stud stalwart has begun 2021 with a bang. By the end of Craven week, Dubawi already had 14 stakes winners in the bag, including four in four days from the start of Newmarket’s Craven meeting. This tally is significant in that it’s his best start to any year since he retired to stud in 2006. A normal good start for the son of Dubai Millennium is around six or seven stakes winners by midApril, although two years ago he did manage 12 with the help of a good showing at the Dubai Carnival. Dubawi also passed a significant milestone during April, siring his 200th worldwide stakes winner when his impressive daughter Philomene took the Group 3 Prix Penelope en route to a crack at the French Oaks. He is the first British sire to reach that milestone and has only four stallions ahead of him on the all-time leaderboard. One, More Than Ready (208), is likely to be overhauled soon and it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that he will also get close to Sadler’s Wells’ score of 294 in the fullness of time. Dubawi’s trio of stakes winners at the Craven meeting – Highland Avenue, My Oberon and Master Of The Seas – perfectly illustrated what Dubawi is all about. Master Of The Seas is a Group 2-winning juvenile on his way to the 2,000 Guineas, a race won by Dubawi’s sons Makfi and Night Of Thunder, while Highland Avenue is a progressive type with all to play for during his Classic season. But in My Oberon, there is a horse that perhaps best characterises one of his sire’s unique attributes. We know that Dubawi can sire champion two-year-olds and Classic-winning milers, but it is his stock’s ability to mature into top-class older horses that sets Dubawi apart from all other major sires in Britain and Ireland. The average Dubawi improves by 8lb as an older horse, which is remarkable compared to a sire like Galileo whose stock tend to do their best work at three. Among active sires, it is Frankel that gets closest to Dubawi, his stock showing an
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overall improvement of 6lb after the age of three. Moreover, some of his best-ever runners have made their mark at four and above. Fine recent examples are Lord North, who improved from 119 at three to 128 at four, Ghaiyyath from 119 at three to 133 at five, and Benbatl from 121 at three to 129 at four. A sire as good as Dubawi was always likely to rewrite every single British stallion record, not least as he is siring more foals than some of his top-class compatriots of the past 30 years. His tally of 33 first-crop winning two-year-olds is still the best by a British sire. Since then
“The Dalham Hall stalwart sired his 200th worldwide stakes winner in April” he has set exalting standards for the next generation to overcome. His 181 stakes winners from his northern hemisphere crops have come along at a rate of 16%, well in advance of the 12.2% of their siblings. And like most stallions, he achieves even more from elite mares, pushing his stakes winner percentage right up to 20. A figure of 10.2% Group winners to
runners is world-class and it is even better (13.1%) from elite mares. And there is only one other stallion in Europe with a more talented list of top ten racehorses – they have an average Timeform rating of 128.8 and feature four, including Ghaiyyath, that have been competing in recent seasons, a sure sign that Dubawi is still at the height of his powers. That said, the great Dalham Hall sire is at the stage of his career when words like legacy and succession are mentioned more and more. For his part, Dubawi so far has sired nine sons that have sired a stakes winner. His Guineas-winning son Makfi leads the way with 35 and although he didn’t perform well enough to remain on these shores, he still has a chance of perpetuating his line through his son and grandson, Make Believe and Mishriff. Poet’s Voice was another that didn’t gain enough traction among British and Irish breeders despite siring a fine specimen like Poet’s Word. But in New Bay and particularly Night Of Thunder, he may have found two future stars. True, we have yet to see a top-class horse by the latter, but the rate at which he has been delivering stakes winners (currently 11.6% from runners) is quite exceptional and set a new standard for a first-season sire in 2019. Moreover, judging by his books of mares in 2020 and this season, it seems that breeders are convinced he’s the real deal. But even if those turn out to be false dawns, there are the likes of Too Darn Hot and Ghaiyyath hot on their heels, not to mention any number of as yet unknown future stars by the great sire.
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THE OWNER BREEDER 53
The special section for ROA members
The rules around shared ownership including syndicates, of which Highclere is one of the best known, have been revised by the BHA
Regulation of syndicates and racing clubs strengthened T he British Horseracing Authority published plans on March 30 to strengthen the regulation of shared racehorse ownership, following an industry-wide consultation completed in the autumn of 2020. The consultation formed part of one of the nine key goals for British racing’s recovery plan. It examined the current risks and opportunities of shared ownership and how they might be addressed through enhanced regulation and improved administration. The industry plan for shared ownership, which has been developed through consideration of the consultation feedback and further engagement with stakeholders, details ten key measures that are being introduced as part of a phased implementation plan over the next 12 months. The measures are designed to support public confidence in syndicates and racing clubs and provide a solid
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foundation for the continued growth of shared ownership. Key measures within the plans include strengthening the existing Code of Conduct for syndicates, which was originally introduced in February 2017. The Code requires that all syndicates which advertise publicly or charge a management fee must provide syndicate members with a contract that covers specified areas. (All syndicates registered on or after May 1, 2021 must ensure they comply with this code of conduct. All syndicates registered prior to this date must ensure they are in compliance with the previous code of conduct, and that their contracts are updated to reflect this new code no later than April 30, 2022.) These areas will be extended in addition to the BHA increasing its auditing of these contracts. As part of the registration process, and then
through ongoing spot-checks, the BHA will annually review a proportion of contracts to ensure and monitor compliance with the Code. A Code of Conduct has also been introduced for racing clubs. The BHA will also require that syndicators disclose the percentage shares held by each member of the syndicate. Syndicate members will be able to view their own recorded shareholdings through the BHA’s Racing Administration system from early 2022. The plans also build on the existing regulation of shared ownership which already includes the registration of all individuals who wish to manage, promote or administer a syndicate or racing club. Further information will be sought as part of the registration process to better understand the financial arrangements of each entity and, in the case of a syndicate receiving
a significant amount of prize-money, syndicators will be asked to outline how and when this will be paid to syndicate members. Plans will be developed and tested with syndicators and club managers, which will help ensure the processes and systems that support implementation of the measures are effective, facilitate BHA regulation and simplify ownership administration. Throughout implementation, each phase will be communicated in advance to stakeholders with clear lead-in times, in addition to help and support for syndicators and club managers in understanding and adapting to the changes. Richard Wayman, BHA Chief Operating Officer, said: “It is vital for the future of our sport that we are able to attract and retain racehorse owners. Syndicates and racing clubs clearly have a pivotal role to play in those efforts. “The consultation responses confirmed that the sport has many extremely well-run syndicates and racing clubs who give their members exemplary levels of service. It is crucial that the public can continue to have confidence in syndicates and racing clubs, which these measures have been designed to support. “My thanks go to all of those who took part in the consultation and took the time to offer the feedback which has been central in devising this important package of measures.” Charlie Liverton, ROA Chief Executive, said: “Racehorse owners contribute over £30m a month to the rural economy and whether they are sole owners, in a partnership with friends and family, or part of a syndicate, their retention is critical to the future of the sport. “Shared ownership in horseracing is thriving across many racing jurisdictions and ensuring that those joining a syndicate or racing club have confidence in our sport is crucial. The ROA recognises this consultation as an important piece of work to build public confidence and join what is the greatest thrill – ownership of a racehorse.” The ten new measures, which will be implemented in a phased approach throughout 2021 and early 2022, are as follows: PHASE 1 – For implementation from May 1, 2021 • To extend the syndicate Code of Conduct to cover new terms, including the acquisition costs of
the horses, what will happen in the case of a horse’s retirement and the dispute resolution procedure; • To introduce a new Code of Conduct to cover racing clubs; • To require syndicators to confirm how and when prize-money received following a significant win shall be paid to members; • To facilitate the addition of syndicate members who accumulate bad debt to the forfeit list. PHASE 2 – For implementation in summer 2021 • To introduce additional questions into the syndicate registration form to better understand financial arrangements and how upfront costs will be covered; • To begin a sustained campaign to publicise the Codes of Conduct. PHASE 3 – For implementation in early 2022 • To ensure all syndicate members and their percentage shares are recorded with the BHA; • To allow all syndicate members with ≥2% share access to view their ownership online; • To begin auditing a proportion of syndicate and racing club contracts to ensure compliance with the Codes of Conduct; • To prioritise the improvement of syndicate and racing club administration systems to allow for easier compliance with new regulations and a better ownership experience. A detailed breakdown of measures, including how they will be applied and who is expected to comply, and a summary of consultation findings, can be found on the BHA website at britishhorseracing.com entitled ‘Shared Ownership Regulation: Findings & Measures’. The new Syndicate and Racing Club Codes of Conduct and detailed guidance for Syndicators and Club Managers can be found on the BHA website at https://www. britishhorseracing.com/regulation/ ownership/shared-ownershipregulation/ There is detailed guidance for Syndicators and Club Managers along with some answers to frequently asked questions. The ROA has collaborated with the BHA to update a template syndicate agreement to align with the revised Codes of Conduct. Details can be found at www.roa.co.uk/syndicates.
Richard Johnson’s retirement
Richard Johnson: superb career
It was characteristically modest of former four-time champion jump jockey Richard Johnson that he should sign off from his long and distinguished career by announcing his retirement after racing at Newton Abbot on April 3. Johnson achieved the second highest number of wins in the history of British jump racing, with over 3,800 in total, including two Cheltenham Gold Cups, a Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle and two Coral Welsh Grand Nationals. His debut win under Rules was at his local racecourse, Hereford, in 1994. The racecourse restaurant at Hereford is named after Johnson’s mount that day, Rusty Bridge. His talents in the saddle and steely will to win were matched with a cheerful professionalism and dedication to the industry. Over the past year Johnson had joined forces with the ROA as an Ambassador, a role he also undertook for the Tote. While Covid necessarily altered some of our plans, we are very grateful to Richard for his time and support and regular updates to members through our communication channels. Since his retirement Johnson has taken up a part-time consultancy role with ARC, offering advice and guidance to the teams across ARC’s 16 racecourses. As well as an ambassadorial role with sponsors and racegoers at major meetings, he will work with the group’s racing and clerking teams around the country in areas such as race planning, ground maintenance and related matters. We wish him well in the next chapter of his career and know he will continue to be a wonderful ambassador for racing.
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Hogan’s Height gave his owners (right) a thrill in the Randox Grand National, coming home in 12th place
Competitive action at Aintree Competition was fierce in the ROA champion tipster competition for members over the three days of Aintree. The free-to-enter competition awarded £150 each day. Some prizes were shared where there was a tie. Members in form were Jeff Craft, Gillian Morgan, Scott Smithurst, Alan Fairhurst, Marian Pepperdine, Paul Ibrahim and Roger Huin. Jeff and Gillian were both successful in our Cheltenham Festival competition in March, so we know who to follow next time! Our Triple Crown competition invited entrants to predict the leading owner, trainer and jockey over the three days
of racing. David Caton correctly named JP McManus as leading owner, Paul Nicholls as leading trainer and Harry Skelton as leading rider, and we were delighted to dispatch his prize of a luxury hamper. ROA’s Owner of the Day initiative gave recognition to owners with runners to tell their story. John and Barbara Cotton had runners on the opening two days. Sametegal finished ninth in the Foxhunters’ and Magic Saint was pulled up in the Topham Chase. Our Owners of the Day on Saturday were the Foxtrot Racing syndicate, owners of Hogan’s Height, who gave his 20 syndicate
Magic Saint represented John and Barbara Cotton, the ROA’s Owners of the Day
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members an experience they’ll never forget, finishing 12th in the Randox Grand National. All Owner of the Day stories can be found at roa.co.uk.
Owners thrilled to return to the racecourse Racing heartily welcomed the easing of restrictions which enabled owners back on the racecourse in England on March 29 after three long months. Owner attendance was initially limited to two per horse until April 12 when restrictions eased further to allow up to six owners, subject to local authority approval with racecourses. It was wonderful to see a number of owners able to attend Aintree with their runners during the Randox Grand National Festival and those that were able to be there were full of praise at the warm welcome they received. Marie Donnelly, owner of Shishkin, comfortable winner of the Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase, was one of many owners who provided positive feedback. She said: “We could not
Sad loss of Roy Rocket
Roy Rocket: popular grey was a winner at the ROA Awards in 2018
We were saddened to hear of the passing of 2018 ROA Special Achievement winner Roy Rocket last month aged 11. He encapsulated what the award was about – a love for the special characters that make racing the great sport it is. His owners the McCarthys and trainer John Berry and his team shared his story so willingly, enabling many to enjoy his racing journey. A Brighton specialist who won nine times at the East Sussex track, Roy Rocket was a racehorse who enjoyed a considerable following and struck a chord with racing fans. Heartfelt tributes were shared by John and his wife Emma in her online blog and in Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast, episode 201. John summed up the feeling of loss using an Anthony Hopkins quote from the film Shadowlands: “The pain now is part of the happiness then.” Roy Rocket certainly brought joy to racing fans, and in this digital age and for those unable to connect with horses as they would have liked, he brought happiness to people who would not have had the opportunity to meet him. He will be remembered with huge affection.
Marie Donnelly enjoyed her day out at Aintree watching top-class chaser Shishkin
praise enough the arrangements for us at Aintree. “From the minute we arrived everyone was so friendly and courteous and looked after us so very well. We had the best meal in beautiful surroundings with that wonderful view
and felt very safe. It was the first day out for us in a long while and we could not have been happier.” Owners had to show even greater patience in getting back on course in Wales. Chepstow was the first to welcome back owners on April 10 and
Phil Bell and the ARC team did all they could to provide a warm welcome. Roger and Sarah Bush, owners of Jack The Farmer, conveyed their appreciation, saying: “Our experience as guests was outstanding from the minute we arrived in the car park. The car park steward showed us where to park, and then we were guided to the reception room. There was clear, explicit advice regarding Covid safety and where within the concourse we could go. Two excellent members of staff in the grandstand/paddock were very helpful. The catering provided was excellent, served by very friendly and helpful staff. It was a most enjoyable experience.” Regional variations are expected to continue as access is subject to agreement with local authorities. News and updates relevant to owners returning to the racecourse, both with and without runners, will be shared with members through ROA online channels. If you aren’t receiving our daily Inside Track ebulletin, please let us know via email@example.com.
THE OWNER BREEDER 57
Douglas Livingston continues to build on his success with Themaxwecan
ast month witnessed the very welcome return of owners to racecourses in Scotland, when Musselburgh staged its Easter Saturday card, which was live on ITV4 and highlighted by the Betway Queen’s Cup. The feature contest had been won by the Mark Johnston-trained Austrian School – Tiger Roll’s half-brother – the last time it had been staged in 2019, and it went the same way this time, only with the extra delight of the winning Scottish owner, Douglas Livingston, being there to see his predominantly blue and white silks carried to victory. Themaxwecan, having his first run since September and now gelded, proved best of the Johnston quintet, staying on strongly under Ben Curtis to score by a neck and set his owner up for an exciting crack at the Chester Cup this month. Livingston is owner and founder of DCL, which has joinery, contracting and renovation elements and has been trading successfully since 1995. Part of the operation is based in Grangemouth, a few miles from Falkirk and less than an hour from Musselburgh racecourse with a fair wind. “My line of business is joinery and construction, mostly within the social housing sector,” says Livingston. “We have over the years been based all over the country, although these days we are predominantly based within the central belt of Scotland. “As with every business at the moment, we have been badly affected by the pandemic, but I’m confident we’ll all come through it slowly but surely and have many more great days’ racing.” Before setting up in business, Livingston was a Royal Marine – possibly not the worst grounding for a racehorse owner as a school of hard knocks! His interest in horseracing goes back a long way, as he explains, saying: “I have always had a keen interest in racing since I can remember, mostly from a gambling perspective.
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Douglas Livingston, sporting a tie to match his racing silks, receives his trophy at Ascot after Themaxwecan’s victory in the 2019 Brown Jack Handicap
“However, I would always take the opportunity to go to the races whenever possible, mostly to Hamilton, where the ‘Saints and Sinners’ meeting was. It was always a good night to look forward to.” As for ownership, which has extended now for 15 years, in the case of a horse ending with the words ‘wecan’, there’s a fair chance
“The Royal Ascot winner we crave still eludes us but we’ll keep trying” Livingston has been involved. He says: “I have owned around 20 horses in all now, all trained by Mark Johnston in Middleham, and recently have joined forces with my good friends David and Jane Newett, and since enjoyed some success – with a lot more hopefully to follow. “My choice of trainer was twofold I guess. The Johnston success story speaks for itself, coupled with the fact that around 2005 – Mark would argue that it feels a lot longer than that! – I moved a substantial part of
my business to Leeds, so logistically it made perfect sense.” Given Johnston is a consistent record breaker and Britain’s winningmost trainer – and has been since 2018 – his owners are almost guaranteed to bank some magical moments, and Livingston is no exception. “I have been very lucky as a small owner to have had almost 50 winners, including Ifwecan in the 2015 Carlisle Bell, Renfrew Street in a Listed race at Cologne in 2017, and Themaxwecan in the 2019 John Guest Brown Jack Handicap at Ascot and of course most recently in the Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh,” he says. “The Royal Ascot winner we crave still eludes us, but, as the stable motto goes, we’re always trying – and we’ll keep trying!” He adds: “When asked about special moments, though, one always springs to mind. On the occasion of my 50th birthday, Mark very kindly supplied his private plane for the day to travel to Ffos Las with his assistant trainer Brian [‘Jock’] Bennett and Joe Fanning. “It was for a fairly ordinary handicap but we duly won it with Becausewecan. There were some folk in Middleham who suggested I stayed there until my next birthday – which I felt was grossly exaggerated!” Isolation has been a sad but necessary theme of modern-day life
News in brief ROA board election for more than a year now, and, like his fellow owners, Livingston was especially pleased to get back on the course, and will look forward to social distancing barriers coming down so that camaraderie can return. He says: “The best thing about racehorse ownership is the social element as we have met so many nice people and made many great friends through racing. We always look forward to meeting up whenever possible, especially at the larger festivals such as Ascot and Goodwood, where we usually take the whole family for both weeks and enjoy a party atmosphere – win or lose! “We also in normal times take in the Dubai World Cup, where we have a number of foreign owners we look forward to catching up with. It’s always something to look forward to after a cold Scottish winter!” It isn’t, of course, always a bed of roses, and there’s no worse heartbreak for an owner than losing a horse, an experience that Livingston and his family have sadly gone through. He says: “The worst thing about racehorse ownership is undoubtedly when a horse is fatally injured during a race, which unfortunately I have been on the receiving end of twice. When this happens, you feel an unbelievable sense of guilt. Thankfully such instances are a rarity in the game and very seldom is there any blame attached to anyone.” He adds: “The only other negative element of ownership is the prizemoney issue in comparison to our costs, although in that respect it’s vital to decide from the outset whether it’s a commercial venture or a purely fun, affordable venture. In my case it was always the latter.” To that end, it was great to see some fun back for owners this spring, following their return to the racecourse. Fingers crossed the important social side of the experience continues to improve as 2021 rolls on.
There are ten candidates standing for three places in this year’s ROA board election which will be held next month. Each year, if the number of applications to be an elected director exceeds the number of vacancies, a ballot takes places among members. The ten candidates standing for election this year are David Carey, Mark Albon, Philip Davies MP, Celia Djivanovic (re-standing), Mouse Hamilton-Fairley, Richard Gurr, Kevin Hart, Alexandra Lofts, Peter Swann and Martin Warren. Details of the candidates and their manifesto pledges have been sent to members this month. The outcome of the election will be announced at the ROA AGM on June 29, and the successful candidates will join the board at their July meeting.
Aftercare of Racehorses
The International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) hosted four scheduled virtual webinars during April and attracted a live audience of almost 200 attendees from over 20 countries. The sessions covered topics under four different headings. The first, ‘Aftercare – Racing’s Responsibility’, was organised by Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) and moderated by Nick Luck. The panel comprised Yogi Breisner MBE, Jessica Harrington, Graham and Anita Motion, owners of Herringswell Stable in the USA, and Nemone Routh of Aga Khan Studs, France. The USA, Hong Kong and Australia members organised the three other sessions: ‘Aftercare for Racing Administrators and Regulators,’ ‘Global Insights on Aftercare’, and ‘Aftercare for Racing Industry Participants, Owners, Breeders and Trainers’. All are available to view on the IFAR website https://www. internationalracehorseaftercare.com.
The Racecourse Association has advised that ROA members should retain their 2020 car park label for use throughout the remainder of 2021. Car park labels are not
currently activated for use but we wanted to ensure you had these as we come out of lockdown. We will inform you via our ebulletin service and usual channels as soon as we know when parking labels will be reactivated with racecourses.
Details of a new prize-money distribution model effective from March 27 were outlined last month. Owners are reminded that a breakdown of owners’ net prize-money can be found in the race conditions published in each fixture’s racecard. The ROA shares links to each day’s digital racecard in the Inside Track ebulletin. If you would like to receive the ebulletin please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the time of writing plans for the ROA’s social events remain fluid and subject to the confirmed easing of restrictions. Any details will be shared when we have them through our usual channels. If you are keen to hear news of any specific events do email us at email@example.com.
Cycle ride challenge
Do you want to be part of one of the biggest cycling challenges of the year? On August 17, 100 riders will set off from Carlisle racecourse on an incredible journey, cycling the length of the country and raising funds for Racing Welfare. Five days later, having cycled through some of England’s most scenic countryside, they will find themselves finishing to a rousing reception at Newton Abbot racecourse. The Great Racing Welfare Cycle is a chance to take on an exceptional challenge whilst raising much needed funds for Racing Welfare. The entry fee is £250 and minimum sponsorship amount is £2,000. See racingwelfare.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reminder of address
All ROA and Owner Breeder mail should be sent to 12 Forbury Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 1SB.
THE OWNER BREEDER 59
York and Pontefract make prize-money commitment
Thunderous (nearside) wins the 2020 Dante Stakes, which is worth £165,000 in 2021
York racecourse has confirmed that the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes on May 13 will be run at a prize fund of £165,000, a return to its pre-Covid prize-money levels of 2019. This leading Group 2 contest is the flagship race of the Dante Festival and has proved an important form pointer to the Cazoo Derby, with ten horses completing the Dante/Derby double. The purse is three times the level that it was for the delayed Dante in July 2020, when won by Thunderous for Mark Johnston and Highclere Thoroughbred Racing. Johnston has Gear Up, a potential Derby contender and already a twice winner on the Knavesmire, entered in both the Dante and Derby and is bidding to be the first northern-trained Derby winner since Dante himself achieved the feat in 1945. The Group 1 Juddmonte International, run on Wednesday, August 18, will also return to its preCovid level and offer prize-money of £1 million. There will be three other races that offer six-figure prize-money funds over the three days of the Dante Festival. On Wednesday, May 12 the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Stakes has £100,000 on offer for the leading sprinters, and on Thursday, May 13 the top older fillies and mares have £100,000 to chase in the Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Stakes. The final day sees the stayers’ division sharing £120,000 in the Group 2 Matchbook Yorkshire Cup.
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These three contests were a victim of the truncated start to the 2020 season. The Dante Festival is set to be run in the last week of the government’s Stage 2 plan and therefore set to remain behind closed doors except for owners and racing professionals. Aggregate prize-money over the 21 races of the Dante Festival approaches £1m, which is 80% of the 2019 level. In making this commitment, in what remains an uncertain climate, the York Race Committee wanted to show its faith in high quality racing and so hopes the contests will be rewarded with the participation of top-quality horses, to produce high-quality renewals for racing fans to enjoy. The unstinting support of race sponsors such as Malih Al Basti, Tattersalls, Clipper Logistics and Matchbook, as well as of so many other supporters of York racecourse, is most gratefully acknowledged. William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, said: “York racecourse is proud of its record of investing in prize-money to help sustain the wider industry and attract the best horses to the Knavesmire. This is a time when that strategy needed to be confirmed and we are pleased to be able to return the Al Basti Equiworld Dante to its pre-Covid level of £165,000. “Clearly, the world is still in a difficult place. However, we wanted to make a positive announcement that reflects
what York believes is in the shared best interest of the sport that everyone involved with the Knavesmire loves. We look forward to the return of owners and then spectators to the Knavesmire.” York racecourse has added new en-suite facilities to all the rooms in the main accommodation building for racing staff at the stableside site situated behind the back straight of the Knavesmire. The hardworking stable staff who bring horses to the Dante Festival will be the first people to stay in the upgraded and refurbished rooms. This capital project follows investment in recent years in the stables themselves and other equine facilities. Most members of the racecourse team have been involved at some stage, with Raceday Clerk of the Course Anthea Morshead lending a hand with painting, William Derby helping to tile, and even Chairman and racehorse owner, Bridget Guerin, assisting in laying the new floors.
Pontefract must also be commended for its commitment to owners to offer total prize-money within £150,000 of its 2019 level this year. The challenge of uncertainty around when spectators will be able to return and in what numbers has made budgeting for the season challenging. Managing Director Norman Gundill said: “We’ve got our prize-money up just under £1.1 million. That compares to £1.23m in 2019, so we’re not far off that. “We’re absolutely chuffed to bits with that and I hope it demonstrates to owners that we’re doing everything we possibly can to help them. “As always, we do everything we can to put as much as we can into prizemoney. It was very difficult last year but we’re able to do that this year.” The first of the track’s five Listed races is the £40,000 Sky Bet Pontefract Castle Stakes on June 20, the day before all restrictions on social contact are due to be lifted. Pontefract will also hold its stayers’ championship in 2021 for all races run over a distance of more than two miles. Points will be awarded for the winners, second, third and fourth-placed runners of the eight qualifying races this season. The owner, trainer and stable of the winner of the championship will each win £1,500. There was no championship during 2020 but the winner of the 2019 championship was Rubenesque, trained by Tristan Davidson and owned by Tony Noble and Andy Bell.
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The special section for TBA members
Mares to the fore as quartet of British-breds win at Cheltenham M Honeysuckle recorded a sensational victory in the Champion Hurdle
uch has been written about Honeysuckle over the past couple of years and the brilliant mare produced another performance of star quality when taking the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Jumping slickly and efficiently, the daughter of Sulamani, who was bred by Dr Geoffrey Guy at The Glanvilles Stud in Dorset, took her unbeaten record to 12 as she extended away to a six and a half length win, having cruised into the lead rounding the home turn. Thirty-five minutes later and the Rowland Crellin-bred Black Tears got up in the shadows of the post to take top honours in the Grade 1 David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle. A first toplevel win for the seven-year-old, she thrives in the spring and was adding to her first Graded victory outside of handicap company in the Grade 3 Quevega Mares’ Hurdle 15 days previously. There was further Cheltenham Festival success later in the week. The Cedric Brookes-bred Sky Pirate (Midnight Legend) has been mustard dropped back to the minimum trip this season and won the Grade 3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase, whilst Quilixios maintained his unbeaten record when winning the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle, the opening contest on
the final day. On March 6, Dragon Bones made quite the hurdles debut when winning the Listed mares’ novices’ hurdle over three miles at Doncaster. The daughter of Passing Glance was bred by All Things Rural. The same day, My Drogo extended his unbeaten record over hurdles in the Grade 2 Premier Novices’ Hurdle at Kelso for owner-breeders Richard and Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes. The six-year-old followed that up with a
brilliant success in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree. Come the end of the Grade 2 EBF Mares’ ‘NH’ Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury at the end of the month, the first four home were all British-bred, headed by Bourbon Beauty. Bred and trained by Alex Hales, the six-year-old made all and kept finding after the last to deny Robert and Jackie Chugg’s homebred Marada, with the John Lightfoot-bred Lilly Pedlar back in third.
Top stayer Subjectivist starts off season in superb style The 25th Dubai Carnival came to a crescendo at the end of March and British-breds scooped two of the prizes on offer. The Mascalls Stud-bred Subjectivist got his season off to the perfect start with a highly impressive victory in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup. Last season’s Group 1 Prix RoyalOak victor took the lead five from home and proved not for catching, winning by nearly six lengths. Thirtyfive minutes earlier and Secret Ambition, bred by Darley, used gate two to his advantage. Breaking smartly, he was soon front rank and made most to take the Group
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2 Godolphin Mile on dirt, his third attempt at winning the contest. Earlier in the month on the grass at Meydan, Walton Street, bred by Darley, had taken the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold by three and a half lengths. In Japan the British-bred Kingman filly Elizabeth Tower dead-heated in the 1600m Group 2 Tulip Sho, one of the main prep races for the Japanese 1,000 Guineas, while in the Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes at Santa Anita, the Clarendon Farm-bred Gregorian Chant gained his first win in Graded company. Meanwhile, down in Australia, the
Juddmonte Farms-bred Ironclad, a five-year-old son of Dubawi, scooped Listed honours in the C S Hayes Memorial Cup at Morphetville and in the Golden Mile at Bendigo. Mr Marathon Man was the winner of the Canberra Cup. Back in Europe there were Listed victories for Apollo One, bred and trained by Peter Charalambous, in the Spring Cup Stakes at Lingfield Park, Global Giant, bred by brothers Martin and Lee Taylor, in the Magnolia Stakes at Kempton Park, and Anasia in the Prix Rose de Mai at Saint-Cloud. Results up to and including March 31. Produced in association with GBRI.
Hales raises a glass following Bourbon’s win in EBF Final Trainer Alex Hales has had his best season training, bettering his previous best number of winners, and in March his fledgling breeding operation flourished thanks to the progeny of the Karinga Bay mare It Doesn’t Matter. “She is the first mare we bred from and now we have two and a bit,” said the Oxfordshire-based trainer and breeder. “She is based with an owner of ours, Jane Way, an enthusiastic small NH breeder, who looks after her for us. "We bred from her out of stubbornness. She was bought as a foal [£4,800 at 2008 Goffs UK January Sale from Fin and Aoife Kent] to run with another foal that was owned by a client, and came into training, showed plenty of promise, but she got a sacroiliac injury. “She had an enormous amount of problems and has had two or three sinus operations.” Unraced, she was sent to Passing Glance for her first cover and the resultant foal was the gelding Millers Bank, who supplemented a Kempton Park win in January with a ten-length rout of the opposition at Newbury in early March. Sent to Aintree at the
beginning of April and the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle, the seven-year-old was a fine staying on third. Hales continued: “We used Passing Glance as we had seen that he upgraded mares and we thought we would get an early type. We got the opposite. We sold three-parts to an owner, Steve Bocking, who has allowed us to give him the time he needed. He was always going to be a chaser, so we are in bonus territory with him now over hurdles.” The mare’s second foal is Bourbon Beauty. Listed-placed in bumper company last season, she won at Kelso in December and then made just about all the running to score in the Grade 2 EBF Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury at the end of March. She was upholding family tradition, as her dam’s full-sister, Lady Karabaya, had been third in the race nine years previously. “She is much more compact,” said Hales. “She is good looking and has done nothing wrong from day one, she is hard as nails and we knew there was more improvement in her, we haven’t reached the top yet either. I think the bit better ground suited her and it was always the
Bourbon Beauty: Grade 2 winner at Newbury
plan to give her a break after Warwick [third on New Year’s Eve], but she is a stuffy filly and takes plenty of work.” On sending his mare to Great Pretender, who at the time stood at Yorton Farm, Hales said: “I knew I wanted to use him as a son of King’s Theatre, there were good vibes about his stock and he was a lovely looking stallion. It is a great shame that he was only here for a year.” Bourbon Beauty is owned by the Old Stoic Racing Club, whose members all went to Stowe school, which is also where Hales and Bourbon Beauty’s jockey, Harry Bannister, spent their formative years. The syndicate, managed by Henry Kimbell, provides bursaries into the school and also has horses on the Flat in training with Jonny Portman. The benefits of breeding are not lost on the trainer, who said: “It is a happy coincidence and we had put so much into her, we thought we would follow through. We are a small yard, I’m a small trainer and have been very lucky to get a Grade 1-placed horse and a Grade 2 winner with our first two foals. “Having two mares [also owner of five-time-winning Midnight Legend mare Stepover] is plenty, but it has given us access to a better class of horse – I couldn’t afford them at the sales – and I am enjoying it.”
TBA URGES BREEDERS TO ASSIST IN CALCULATING 2021 BUSINESS RATES Stud owners will have received a letter from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) headed: Request for rent, lease or ownership details. This letter is used to set rateable values (RV) for non-domestic properties in England and Wales and
those rateable values are used to calculate business rates for the next three years. It is imperative that this form is completed online, as failure to do so within 56 days may result in a monetary fine.
An article, written by the TBA’s business rates advisor Ian Smith, outlines recent and potential future developments concerning business rates and is an important resource, featured in the members’ area of the TBA website.
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Study for environmental sustainability improvements on stud farms announced A pilot study to investigate the environmental impact of stud farms was announced on April 22, Earth Day, by the TBA and the Racing Foundation. The project, instigated by the TBA’s Environmental Sustainability Working Group and funded by the Racing Foundation, will include impact assessments of two stud farms in different regional locations. Formed in November 2020 following the passing of the Agriculture Bill, the TBA’s Environmental Sustainability Working Group seeks to collaborate with industry professionals on grassland management practices that enhance air and water quality, improve soil health, mitigate flood risk and increase biodiversity, while also reducing the carbon footprint of stud farms. The project’s results and recommendations will be used by the group to encourage environmentally sustainable practices and provide guidance to those managing pasture for equines who wish to access government funding via the Environmental Land Management Scheme. TBA Chairman Julian RichmondWatson said: “This study reinforces the TBA’s commitment to improve the industry’s long-term sustainability and develop positive environmental changes on stud farms. “As a low-input sector with active carbon sequestration in paddocks, it is very likely that stud managers will have solid foundations on which to introduce new protocols and technologies. Also, where farms are
The pilot study is a collaboration between the TBA and the Racing Foundation
densely located it may also be possible to achieve biodiversity gains with bordering properties to bring about more significant changes across a landscape. The new Environmental Land Management Scheme presents opportunities to improve local ecosystems and habitats on stud farms whilst also rewarding good practice with financial assistance. “We are extremely thankful to the Racing Foundation for its support with this project and look forward to sharing updates with breeders as we progress to enable them to make informed decisions on how they can best improve their landscapes.” Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of
the Racing Foundation, said: “At the Racing Foundation, our mission is to be a catalyst for improvement in the horseracing industry through our grant giving activity. “The Racing Foundation made a commitment in its 2021-2023 strategy to seek opportunities to support environmental sustainability alongside people, equine welfare and community engagement. "We are therefore pleased to grant £20,000 to the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association to assess the environmental impact of stud farms and further the industry’s understanding of issues fundamental to the long-term prosperity of racing.”
Charlie Newton joins TBA team
Charlie Newton: GBB co-ordinator
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Charlie Newton has joined the TBA team as the Operations Executive for the Great British Bonus scheme and will be based out of Stanstead House. Charlie will oversee the day-to-day running of the scheme and is the go-to person should breeders, owners or trainers have any queries about the scheme, which has thus far paid out just over £2 million in under 12 months. She will be in attendance at sales and events and will also oversee the conclusion of the Plus 10 scheme.
Charlie has ten years of very relevant and proven work experience in a variety of sales, marketing and event management roles outside of the industry, including for Floors Castle, and is passionate about the sport and the scheme. She said: “The Great British Bonus is a wonderful and important initiative for the entire racing industry, so I am thrilled to be able to help deliver it and monitor its ongoing success. It has had an unbelievable impact in year one alone so I am excited to see what mountains we can climb!”
Members to benefit from collaboration with National Horseracing Museum The TBA is excited to announce a new collaboration with the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket. All members can now purchase an annual subscription at a discounted rate. The package includes: • Free entry • Exclusive invitations to previews, private viewings, lectures and tours • 10% discount in the Tack Room Restaurant • 10% discount in the NHRM shop (restrictions apply) • Access to special Friends events • Quarterly membership newsletter • Visitors accompanying annual Friends will be offered concessionary rate entrance • Life membership includes a free guest admission Special rates: • TBA annual individual membership £30 • TBA annual family membership (two adults and two children under 16) £60 • TBA individual life membership £275 • TBA joint life membership £350 (two named adults) The museum tells the story of horseracing from its earliest origins to the worldwide phenomenon it is today. Explored through amazing works of art, silver, bronzes, and artefacts, and using the latest interactive and audio-visual displays, the museum also takes a different look at the sport, examining the physical attributes of the elite equine athlete and the importance of thoroughbred pedigree. To find out more about what Newmarket's National Horseracing Museum has to offer visit www.nhrm.co.uk. For an application form contact Annette Bell on abell@ nhrm.co.uk.
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 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.
A long-standing regional representative for the Wales and West Midlands area, Hazel West says: “I was lucky enough to be brought up with ponies and hunting in Norfolk, progressing to wonderful seasons with Leicestershire at its very best. My parents were joint masters of the North Norfolk Harriers. My father enjoyed riding under Rules until a fall at Fakenham put a stop to his riding. My mother continued as master until changing course to hunt her own pack of hounds at home in Norfolk. “My interest in racing started by riding out from Beverley House thanks to Humphrey and Lola Cottrill. After several years I was allowed to ride in the Newmarket Town Plate in 1978, and was lucky enough to win it. “I have been a regional rep for a great many years and trainers and stud owners have been kind enough to give us some really interesting regional days. I feel it is of huge importance to support the smaller and enthusiastic yards and I hope that they feel that they can get in touch with me with any queries.”
“I have been involved in racing for a number of years, rode as an amateur for 16 years and spent two years with Captain Tim Foster,” says Robert Robinson, one of the regional representatives for Scotland. “We set up Distillery Stud in 2000. At present we have 12-14 broodmares, all of which will foal on the farm, and many youngsters running around. “Occasionally we have some horses in training under Distillery Stud, while we also run Distillery Racing Club, comprised of friends or friends of friends, where the aim is to try and introduce new people into racing. “There is always a selection of youngsters for sale from the farm – Aye Right was bought privately off us as a three-year-old.”
A new regional representative for the south west region is the Marlborough-based Karina Casini, who says: “Born in Belgium, I trained as a chemical engineer, and with French as my mother tongue, I moved to the UK in 1989 for work reasons. Having embraced hunting, eventing and team chasing, it was only logical to carry on my passion into breeding National Hunt horses. “The acquisition of Greenlands Farm, near Marlborough, ten years ago, gave me the chance to expand that journey to a further level. It is our family home, for me, my husband and our three children. “We have about 20 horses at any time on the farm, broodmares and young stock, from foals to three-year-olds, and make a point of keeping numbers small to give each horse the attention they deserve, as I believe it increases the probability of success. We have a handful of valued clients who keep their mares with us. “Our best produce to date is De Rasher Counter, who won the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in 2019. We try to support UK-based stallions as much as we can and take mares abroad to Ireland or France when barren. We currently have two fillies in training with Emma Lavelle and try to produce our future broodmares that way and promote our existing ones.”
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The number of mares in training has increased over the last five years
Ever evolving and improving jumps programme for mares Rewarding British success on the track, the TBA Award Evenings return later in the year
TBA Award Evenings return
For the second successive Cheltenham Festival, the evolution of the mares’ race programme was clear to see. At the 2020 meeting there were seven winning mares and in March this had increased to eight, which represented over a quarter of the races run over the course of the four days – both years there being five mares winning outside of mares-only company. Ahead of the inaugural running of the Grade 2 Liberthine Mares’ Chase, which witnessed a thrilling finish between Colreevy and Elimay, the TBA produced a video highlighting the improvements that have happened over the past decade and showcasing how the TBA and the BHA are working to further
improve opportunities for jump mares. Featuring interviews with TBA NH Committee Chairman Bryan Mayoh and BHA Racing Operations Manager Stuart Middleton, the video explains what has happened to incentivise breeders, owners and trainers to get more mares racing. As a proportion of the population, five years ago 20% consisted of mares and today it stands at 24%, with aims of getting it up to 30% by 2030. During the 2013/14 season there were less than 1,800 jump mares in training, which has increased to 2,278 at present. The video can be found on both the TBA’s Twitter page (@TheTBA_GB) and also on the TBA’s YouTube channel.
30-day foal notification reminder TBA members are reminded that breeders are required to notify the General Stud Book (GSB) of the birth of all foals within 30 days of their birth date. Notifications can be managed through the Weatherbys GSB online system – www.weatherbysgsb.co.uk. If you are unsure as to whether a foal has been notified, visit selim. britishhorseracing.com/potro 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.
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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.
Set to make a welcome return in 2021 are the TBA’s annual award evenings. The Flat awards celebrate and reward British-bred success from the 2020 Flat season, while the NH awards evening celebrates the success of the 2020-21 season. Taking place at Chippenham Park, near Newmarket on Tuesday, July 13, tickets are on sale now for the Flat awards and can be purchased via the events page on the TBA website. The evening will consist of cocktails and canapes, before a two-course meal and then the awards ceremony. This year’s NH Breeders' Celebration Dinner, which is supported by Goffs UK, will take place on Wednesday, August 4 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Doncaster. Tickets for the event, which will see a dinner precede the presentation of awards, can also be purchased from the events page later in the month.
Great British Bonus yearling deadline Breeders are reminded that May 31 is the yearling deadline for the Great British Bonus. The yearling nomination stage is open to Britishbred fillies, Flat and National Hunt, who were nominated into the scheme at the foal stage. The cost of the nomination stage is £200. Late entries will not be accepted. The payee of the yearling stage needs to be the registered General Stud Book owner. Should the yearling be owned by someone other than the breeder and the ownership of the yearling not have been updated, there is the opportunity to do this whilst paying the yearling payment of the Great British Bonus. For more information on GBB visit www.greatbritishbonus.co.uk.
Sir Michael Oswald 1934 - 2021
he former Royal Studs Manager Sir (William Richard) Michael Oswald died last month, shortly before his 87th birthday, a date he shared appropriately with The Queen. A self-effacing man, who was known to be a great raconteur, regaling wonderful stories which normally involved a level of mischief, he was a gentleman who earned the respect of people from every level of society. Sir Michael spent 36 consecutive years on the TBA council and was President of the association between 1996 and 2001. In 1998 his contribution to the British breeding industry was recognised and he was awarded the Andrew Devonshire Bronze. Sent to Canada as a child during the Second World War whilst his father was in active service, including on the staff of General Eisenhower, Sir Michael was schooled at Eton, where there were unflattering reports of his academic and sporting prowess, though he never admitted to being a decent oarsman. He joined the Army and the 1st Battalion King’s Own Regiment and served in Korea. He was also a Captain in the Territorial Army. After the army, in 1954, he read English at King’s College in Cambridge. A lover of military history, he dieted to allow himself to fly in modern jet fighters and had connections with both RAF Mildenhall and RAF Marham. At the latter he was Honorary Air Commodore of 2620 (RAuxAF) Regiment Squadron. Sir Michael learnt his new trade for the Macdonald-Buchanans, primarily at Lordship and Egerton Studs, working his way up from the normal duties of a stud hand/student to being Manager of Egerton Stud in 1962. He joined the Royal Studs in 1970 as Manager, when Hampton Court provided one of its centres. At this time he took over as Racing Manager to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Great success was had, highlighted by Special Cargo’s victory in the 1984 Whitbread Gold Cup. Sandown was clearly the course of success, as between Special Cargo and The Argonaut they won the Grand Military Cup at the Esher track
Sir Michael Oswald with The Queen at Epsom in 2008
four times. After the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, Sir Michael oversaw the transfer of selected National Hunt stock into Her Majesty’s ownership. Enthusiastic of every winner, following his appointment to the Royal Studs there was a purple patch for the purple colours of Her Majesty. From 1971 to 1987 there was at least one blacktype winner from every year of foals produced, including the dual Classic heroines Highclere, winner of the 1974 1,000 Guineas and Prix de Diane, and Dunfermline, successful in the Oaks and St Leger in 1977, the year of her owner’s Silver Jubilee. Other winners produced at Sandringham included Fillies’ Mile scorer Height Of Fashion, who was by resident stallion Bustino. In addition to Bustino, at the Royal Studs he oversaw the career of Shirley Heights, one of the first stallions to command a six-figure nomination fee. Previously he had managed the careers of Abernant and Owen Tudor at Egerton and Lordship Studs. It was not just the great horses that Sir Michael presided over; through his management he also provided a great
foundation for many high-level careers, with students reporting that he was great fun, always having time to explain the intricacies of the business, always supportive and following their careers with interest. Amongst those whose early years were nurtured include the late Sir Philip Payne-Gallwey, Michael Goodbody, Simon Marsh, Angus Gold, Hugo Lascelles, Richard Lancaster and Clive Webb-Carter. An accomplished artist when he had time, especially during royal visits to Scotland and mainly landscapes, he rose to the highest level of the Victorian Order, a very personal and special appointment by The Queen, the Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in the 2020 New Year honours. Sir Michael always recognised the support and guidance of Lady Angela, a long-standing lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother, who he met at Royal Ascot and married in 1958, and whom he affectionately called ‘The Commander in Chief’. As well as Lady Angela, he is survived by their two children, Catherine and William, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
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Breeder of the Month Words Howard Wright
BREEDER OF THE MONTH (March 2021)
British and Irish bookmakers, and close connections of Black Tears, were not the only ones cheering when she floored the odds laid on Concertista in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, ending a run of winning favourites on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. Welsh farmer Rowland Crellin was also able to claim credit, which has resulted in his being named TBA Breeder of the Month for March. Crellin, who operates from Brook Farm at Penhow, near Newport, recalls Black Tears as “a nice foal,” who fetched €36,000 when sold to agent Bobby O’Ryan at the Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale in June 2017. However, his highest praise is reserved for Black Tears’ dam Our Girl Salley, whom he bought privately in 2013 after she had won three bumpers under Katie Walsh and four hurdle races, including a Grade 3, and been placed four times over fences. “Salley was a tremendous racemare,” Crellin says. “She had a presence about her, but more than that, she’d done it on the racecourse.” Our Girl Salley was in foal to Jeremy with Black Tears when Crellin bought her, and he has subsequently sold two half-sisters to his champion mare, the six-year-old Our Girl Katie for €20,000 in 2018, and a Flemensfirth four-yearold for €155,000 to Sue Magnier in August last year. Casting his eye over Our Girl Salley’s current progeny at Brook Farm, Crellin says: “She has a three-year-old gelding by Vadamos, who will go to the Goffs Land Rover Sale in June, a two-year-
Black Tears: out of the classy Our Girl Salley
old Getaway filly and this year we were lucky to have a Walk In The Park filly foal. We didn’t cover her in 2019 because she had a late foal the previous year, but she has now been to Nathaniel. “We have about 20 mares, and despite Brexit, which is a disaster in terms of the paperwork and extra expense in sending horses out of the UK, about 12 are going to Ireland, but the better mares have gone to Nathaniel, who’s impeccably bred and proven at the highest level. “The UK needs top-class stallions and at the moment Nathaniel is the only one we’ll use. People might not like to hear me say that, but it’s my view.” Crellin, 66, who has cut down his flock of sheep by nine-tenths to 1,000 in order to concentrate on raising thoroughbreds with his partner, Treasa O’Keeffe, adds: “Our policy is to buy the best mares and we send them to the
best stallions. We wouldn’t send mares to second- and third-rate stallions just to make horses we cannot sell. “If we can’t cover to the best stallions, we’ll leave the mares empty. We won’t put them in foal just for the sake of having a foal. “I’m not frightened of putting my hand in my pocket to buy the best mares, because I don’t want anything else. I don’t want to be associated with second- and third-rate horses. I did that years ago, but I cleared them all out and started again. The first mare I bought was Wicked Crack, who cost €120,000 and gave us Cue Card. We’ve constantly upgraded the mares ever since.” Crellin’s most recent acquisitions have included the Grade 1-winning hurdler Airlie Beach (bought for €140,000), who died at the age of nine, her replacement the six-time and Grade 2 winner Camelia De Cotte (€140,000) and the Grade 1-winning hurdler and Graded-placed chaser Adriana Des Mottes (€145,000), all trained by Willie Mullins. “We’ve got some nice mares,” Crellin says, anxious not to overstate his purchases. “There’s only the two of us here, so our horses are prepped away from the farm and go to the Derby and Land Rover sales. In the main we don’t sell in the UK, because there are more customers in Ireland. It disappoints me, but I’m afraid that’s the nature of the beast.” Summing up, he says: “It costs the same to feed a good ‘un as it does a bad ‘un, so we paddle our own boat. In the main we buy proven mares and go to proven stallions. So, if we make a mess, we pay the financial costs.”
EXCELLENCE IN EQUINE NUTRITION
The Foundation for Future Success
For Optimum SKELETAL DEVELOPMENT & CONFORMATION
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We did it! £2 MILLION in GBB bonuses paid out in less than one year 114 winners of 138 races, including 18 multiple-bonus winners GBB mare, Martello Sky, is first winner of FOUR GBB bonuses Next deadline for registering 2020 GBB fillies for stage 2 is Monday 31st May GBB Jumps winners:
GBB Jumps bonus payments:
GBB Flat winners:
GBB Flat bonus payments:
Total bonus payments:
GBB mare, Honeysuckle, wins the Champion Hurdle Particularly since the launch of the Great British Bonus and MOPS, [owning a mare] seems to have caught the imagination. There are some high-profile cases of mares winning multiple bonuses. It is a big encouragement. Doug Procter, The Glanvilles Stud
Trainers getting their slice of the pie Richard Hannon
Venetia Williams Neil King
3 Michael Scudamore
Jumps bonuses won
5 Lucy Wadham
Alan King Hugo Palmer
6 Flat bonuses won
Mark Johnston Fergal O’Brien
Buy and race GBB fillies and mares. More than 850 races to go for this Flat season For more information on eligibility, visit greatbritishbonus.co.uk TBA GBB TOB Mailers A4_May.indd 1
Information correct at time of going to press
Vet Forum: The Expert View
Equine pregnancy loss
CHARLOTTE SHILTON, ANNE KAHLER, MANDI DE MESTRE
ith a thoroughbred (TB) broodmare having to produce an average six foals per seven years in order to be financially viable, a lost production year (either through failure to conceive or pregnancy loss) represents a major financial burden. Given the recently reported financial challenges face by TB breeders (TBA Economic Impact Study 2018)1 these lost production years represent an area that could be improved. Research into the risks and causes of pregnancy loss are therefore important to relieve the economic burden felt by breeders, and improving the welfare of the animals involved (reducing covering to live foal rate for example). Approximately 80-85% of TB pregnancies result in a live foal. The majority of these losses occur between days 15 and 65 of gestation (approximately 8%), closely followed by losses between October and foaling (approximately 4.5%).
What can cause pregnancy loss?
Risk factors for any disease by their nature are much easier to identify than direct causes. By far the greatest risk factor for early pregnancy loss (EPL) is maternal age, a finding similarly found in other species such as human and cattle. There are a few known causes of pregnancy loss in equines including uterine and placental infections, uterine structural abnormalities, and umbilical cord abnormalities, most often presenting at the later stages of gestation. Despite such high prevalence, many cases of EPL (up to 65 days) in the mare do not have a known cause. With the lost pregnancy often not identified until a mare is found empty, EPL is a much more difficult problem to address and find direct causes associated with it. Work in human medicine indicates that genetic abnormalities are a significant contributor to losses at earlier gestational ages. A handful of cases of chromosome abnormalities have been identified in adult mares who experience recurrent EPL, and therefore we believed that genetic abnormalities significantly contribute to EPL in the horse.
Thanks to the efforts of attending veterinarians across the UK and Ireland, and the support of over 30 stud farms, the Equine Pregnancy Lab based at the
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Figure 1 Development of the equine fetus. The top row shows reproductive scans from early equine pregnancies, with red boxes indicating the whole embryo (tissue that gives rise to the fetus and all the placental membranes, left) and only the embryo proper that gives rise to the fetus (day 33 and 44). On the bottom row are the matched equine fetuses within the red boxes at 33 days (left) and 40 days (right), showing the profound developmental journey of equines within just ten days. E = eye, FL = forelimb, HL = hindlimb
Royal Veterinary College has built up a large bank of tissue from pregnancy losses (across the whole of gestation). In a series of studies (funded by the TBA and the Alborada Trust), we are beginning to shine a light on causes of pregnancy loss, rather than just risk factors. Here we will review our progress in understanding the underlying causes of EPL, an essential first step to minimise the impact of pregnancy loss in the thoroughbred.
Fetal developmental problems
The simple embryonic structure your veterinary surgeon visualises in the uterus around day 15 after cover will embark on a profound developmental journey over the ensuing four weeks. By day 40, a fully formed fetus possessing all its main body organs exists, supported by four distinct placental membranes each playing an important role supporting fetal development (Figure 1). Given such extensive changes over a relatively
short timeframe, it is not surprising that this process can go wrong and result in pregnancy failure. Exactly how these processes are disrupted and the consequences for the developing fetus had not been well described in the mare. To address this, Anne Kahler (assistant veterinary surgeon), who led the work, spent hours looking down a microscope assessing the characteristics of early embryo/fetus from 27 cases of EPL submitted to the laboratory. She asked: Are all the organs present? Did they develop normally? Was the embryo/ fetus of the expected size for its age? Is bacteria present? The most common problem she identified was abnormalities of the developing brain. One fetus had a profound abnormality; failure to close the neural tube (the early formation of brain and spinal cord) is well known to lead to pregnancy loss in other species. Whether the other abnormalities of the brain fully explained their pregnancy
By Charlotte Shilton, Equine Pregnancy Laboratory, The Royal Veterinary College cause. We have some exciting additional targets, which we hope to share in the near future.
loss is still being investigated. We also found evidence of Inter Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR). IUGR is diagnosed when a fetus has all the developmental features expected for the stage of pregnancy, but is of a smaller size than would be expected. Whilst this has been described in late pregnancy, we were not expecting to see it quite so early in development and it is a good reminder of the importance of the environment of the early embryo. These results offer the first glimpse into a congenital abnormality that almost certainly contributed to the pregnancy loss. We hope to expand this research by combining with genetic analysis to find a genetic cause for these congenital deformities. Full details can be found in the Equine Veterinary Journal.2
Genetic Reason for Early Pregnancy Loss (EPL)
As mentioned above, we postulated that the most likely reason for EPL in the horse is a genetic abnormality. Therefore, Charlotte Shilton (PhD student) set out to identify genetic changes that could explain EPL. The first of her work, published in August 2020,3 found aneuploidy in 20% of the EPLs, a similar level to that in human miscarriage studies. Horses have 31 pairs of chromosomes (plus XY) in comparison with humans having 23 pairs (plus XY). Aneuploidy is the incorrect number of chromosomes, with two main types: monosomy is the loss of an entire chromosome, and trisomy is the gain of an entire chromosome. As chromosomes are the source of the genetic building blocks required for normal cell function, the imbalance of gene numbers caused by aneuploidy are rarely tolerated to term. The most well known exception to this is Down’s Syndrome (trisomy 21) in humans,
What does it mean for industry?
In all honesty, if we don’t know the cause of problems, we can’t work to fix them. By undertaking these research studies, we are building up our knowledge of direct causes of pregnancy loss and will therefore be in a much stronger position in the future to offer not only diagnostic tests, but also advise on mating decisions and management interventions to reduce the chances of pregnancy loss. Exciting advances in human medicine allow the non-invasive detection of genetic abnormalities of a fetus using a blood draw from the mother. It is hoped that this technology may be transferrable to equine medicine, therefore providing an option to mare owners and veterinary surgeons to monitor fetal health and pregnancy viability. In the meantime, breeders (with support from their veterinary surgeon) have the opportunity to investigate the presence of aneuploidy by assessing the placental tissue of mares that suffer an early pregnancy loss.
Figure 2 Abnormal cell division resulting in aneuploidy. During cell division, chromosomes are initially duplicated before the cell splits into two daughter cells, usually with equal number of chromosomes. However, sometimes the chromosome split is unequal, leading to monosomy (single copy of a chromosome - incompatible with life) and trisomy (three copies of a chromosome usually lethal)
How to contribute
although this can also result in pregnancy loss. Aneuploidy most often arises during gametogenesis (formation of sperm and egg; Figure 2), and therefore while it is inherited from one of the parents, it is mostly a sporadic event of a single sperm or egg and therefore the future reproductive outcome for the mare or stallion is optimistic. Indeed in our study, mares who suffered from an EPL that was found to have aneuploidy were more likely to end the same season with a live foal. Charlotte is continuing to identify other genetic abnormalities to explain the remaining 60% of EPLs with no known
If you would like to contribute to the ongoing research studies conducted by the Equine Pregnancy Lab of the Royal Veterinary College, please contact Dr Mandi de Mestre (email@example.com). References 1 https://www.thetba.co.uk/wp-content/ uploads/2018/09/TBA-Economic-ImpactStudy-2018.pdf 2 https://beva.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ doi/10.1111/evj.13340) 3 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598020-69967-z
Support the mare and developing foal through pregnancy and lactation with key minerals and antioxidants FEATURES & BENEFITS > Calcium & > L-Lysine Phosphorus > Silicon > Vitamin E > Chelated Copper > Manganese > Zinc
Supporting the mare and foal through pregnancy and beyond, for benefits that last
IDEAL FOR In-foal or lactating mares
BREEDING SUPPLEMENTING FOR SUCCESS
T +353 (0) 1 626 8058 E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.foranequine.com
THE OWNER BREEDER
The Finish Line with Brian Eckley Welsh cattle farmer Brian Eckley, 68, breeds, owns and trains a select string of racehorses at his stable next to the Brecon Beacons. In March he saddled homebred seven-year-old Liberty Bella to win a mares’ novices’ chase at Warwick and in addition to prize-money he collected an extra £20,000 under the Great British Bonus, an incentive scheme for British-bred fillies and mares instigated by the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, which has so far paid out more than £2 million in under 12 months. Interview: Edward Rosenthal
train next to the Brecon Beacons near the village of Llanspyddid on 230 acres. I was 13 when I came to the farm in 1966. I did 37 years of dairy farming and always loved the breeding side with the cows – one of my heifers became a British champion. Now I’m a stock farmer. I started training under permit in 1979 – I was also riding then and had 17 pointto-point winners and six winners under Rules. I still ride out now. My father bred racehorses but only had one broodmare. I took over the breeding operation when he died in 1983. My mother was also very involved, helping me select the stallions – she only passed away three years ago. We used to visit the studs together to look at stallions. When it comes to choosing a sire, the stallion must be out of a really good dam line. The female genes are all important. Librettist, Liberty Bella’s sire, has sired a mare that has produced a Group 1 winner. You also need a good broodmare sire. I’ve used Yorton Farm’s Masterstroke – his dam [Melikah] is a half-sister to Galileo. Liberty Bella earned almost £28,000, including her Great British Bonus winnings, when she won at Warwick in March. The bonus money is a huge, huge help to an operation like mine and means
November, will go hurdling later this year. We also have a very nice three-year-old by Frankel’s full brother Proconsul out of Timeforagin. He is gorgeous – I’m really looking forward to seeing him run. I think I can do as good a job at training them as anybody.
an awful lot. I have four broodmares and the money helps keep the show on the road. The cash is there ready to put into stud fees. Jaunty Flight, a Listed winner after being sold, was rated 145 but Liberty Bella is the best I’ve ever bred. She is usually an awesome jumper which is why her fall at Cheltenham [on April 15] was so disappointing. Robbie [Dunne, jockey] thought that the track had been overwatered and she couldn’t handle it. When she can’t bowl along her jumping isn’t as good. She’s a nice big mare and square with it, 16.2hh. We want to keep her in training for one further season before she joins the broodmare band on the farm.
I’ve kept the operation going by selling a number of horses over the years. I have sold the likes of Tomwontpayalot to Martin Pipe, Jaunty Flight to Oliver Sherwood, Jaunty Flyer to Tim Vaughan and Jaunty Warrior to Gordon Elliott. But Liberty Bella is not for sale. She is going to become my next broodmare. Unfortunately, Liberty Bella’s mother, Classy Crewella, is no longer with us. At present I have four broodmares: Jaunty Walk, Jaunty Spirit, Jaunty Clementine and Timeforagin. In the late 1980s we bought a mare out of Jaunty Jane and that’s where the name comes from. Including the mares, horses in training and youngstock, we have 24 horses on the farm – plus 200 cattle.
After her fall Liberty Bella was very lame. I feared the worst but luckily it was only a minor foot problem so it’s good news. We’ll chase more black type and try and win another bonus. I’m not a wealthy man by any means so the Great British Bonus is a terrific incentive to breeders to keep these mares in training.
I have three excellent staff members who assist me with the horses. James Hussey does a superb job breaking in the horses for me. Jacqueline Jenkins and Lucy Ward also help me on the farm.
Horses that I’ve bred and trained have won at 33 racecourses in Britain and two in Ireland. But I’ve never had a Cheltenham winner and that annoys me! Libberty Hunter, a half-brother to Liberty Bella who won his bumper at Hereford in
Liberty Bella: talented mare
72 THE OWNER BREEDER
I’m still dealing with a constant threat to my horses from neighbours that want me out. We have to be vigilant 24-7 – I’ve got CCTV installed everywhere although it is difficult to cover all the fields. My horses and cattle have been targeted multiple times. Ten years ago, my barn burned down and two broodmares died in an arson attack. The house nearly went too. In 2015 one of my mares was shot in the face. I’ve also been subjected to a drone attack on the horses. They’ve never convicted anyone. But I won’t be bullied – the only way I’m leaving here is in a box. For more information on the Great British Bonus see greatbritishbonus.co.uk
A late f lourish
This century, well over 500 G1 races have been won by European-bred horses foaled after a May or June covering — including quite a few young Darley stallions. If you’ve got a mating in mind, don’t let the month stop you.
Find out more at darleystallions.com