We’ve had a hectic spell of late, both here on the farm and travelling around to the breeze-up sales. The warmer weather followed by a good drop of rain has been welcome but of course it means the grass is now growing faster than I can cut it, so plenty of hours are being spent on the mower.
With all our foals now safely delivered there have been trips back and forth to Newmarket, to Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud and Darley’s Dalham Hall Stud, to get the mares back in foal, and we still have two to go in this regard.
William and I were set the task of finding a breeze-up horse for a client of James Fanshawe and our search began at Tattersalls’ Craven Sale in mid-April. We were outgunned on the couple that we liked there and decided to keep our powder dry until the Guineas Sale back in Newmarket. In between the two I travelled down to France with Emma, who was reporting from the Osarus Breeze-up Sale for the TDN.
I’ve said before how much I like shopping for horses in France and this was another enjoyable trip, even though I ended up coming home empty-handed. I’ve always liked the stock of Sunday Break and one of the two-year-olds that really caught my eye at the Osarus sale in La Teste was by one of his young sons at stud, Never On Sunday (pictured above). He ended up being bought by Jean-Claude Rouget, as did a number of the horses I liked on the day, and I look forward to seeing how he gets on. Although we didn’t manage to buy anything this time, William and I bought a number of horses at the Osarus September Yearling Sale who are now in training with Christophe Ferland, Luis Urbano and John Berry. We also found a really nice store horse for Mickley Stud from the November Sale in Le Lion d’Angers. I’m sure we’ll have plenty more trips to both venues in the future as there are nice horses to be found there and some real value to be had.
On the way down to Bordeaux, Emma and I stopped in to see two Berry mares at Haras de la Cauvinière. I was really sorry to lose a foal this year by one of their stallions, Rajsaman, but I’m hoping to send a mare back to him next season. After that nice coffee break it was on to La Motteraye to see more horses and have lunch with Gwen and Lucie who have been great friends to Jenny, William and me ever since we sold Léaupartie, a subsequent Group 3 winner and Group 2-placed filly, in their first ever sales draft. They did us a good turn again this year when selling foals really well for us and for John Berry, and they currently have two of our mares at the farm plus a Jukebox Jury foal I bought last year for Dan Tunmore and who is developing into a really nice individual.
One of the mares at Gwen and Lucie’s is an absolute beauty named Stellar Rose (pictured above), whom William and I picked up inexpensively at Arqana’s February Sale. She has subsequently delivered a filly foal by Dabirsim, who is every bit as good looking as her mum, and it’s a relief to finally have a foal by Dabirsim as I had bad luck trying to get two mares in foal to him last year. However, this season looks more hopeful as a mare Jenny and I bought from the Juddmonte draft last July, named Clutter, has recently returned from Germany and is now safely in foal to him.
From Bordeaux, we sped back up the motorway, giving Emma’s new car a proper test, to make it up to Newmarket in time for the Guineas breeze on Thursday morning. This time around we got exactly the horse we wanted – a colt by Le Havre, who is already named Benoitville. It’s always a pleasure to work with James and Jacko Fanshawe, who run an extremely professional stable in Newmarket. James is a gifted horseman and is one of the most versatile trainers you could ever find, having trained champion sprinters, champion hurdlers and pretty much everything else in between. We were delighted to see his Hors De Combat, whom we purchased as a yearling, run so well on his seasonal debut last week and we’ll look forward to watching the progress of the Le Havre colt, who, coincidentally, had been sold by Gwen and Lucie as a yearling. Let’s hope he’s lucky for all of us and especially his new owners.
Anyway, that’s probably enough waffle from me. There’s grass to be cut and horses to be fed – as always!