We’re finally home after a month of mare and foal sales concluding in Deauville this week. William and I have always enjoyed buying horses at Arqana and we certainly didn’t come home empty-handed this time. A lovely three-year-old Peintre Celebre filly (pictured below) and a High Chaparral mare in foal have joined the small band of mares Jenny and I own, and we also bought a Siyouni filly as a breeding prospect and a gorgeous colt foal by Walk In The Park as a National Hunt pinhooking prospect for two separate clients. It was great to work with John McClenaghan for the first time and I hope his colt is very lucky for him when he comes to reoffer him at the store sales as a three-year-old. This is the final blog I’ll write from Clairemont Stud as Jenny and I are starting the process of moving to Granham Farm in Marlborough with Clairemont having now been sold. It’s hard not to feel some sadness in leaving a lovely place which had been our home for three years but we will always look back on our time here with pride at what we achieved – from turning an old chicken farm into a thriving stud business to some notable sales highlights for Clairemont-consigned horses, not least Dancing Rain and Shalaa.
But life is about looking forwards, not backwards, and we have much to be thankful for as we head into a new year at a beautiful farm close to Manton and Beckhampton. Jenny and I are thrilled to have been given the chance to lease Granham from David and Dawn Hearson and look forward to settling in there in the coming weeks. Our hope, of course, is that we, or one of our clients, can breed a horse as good as the Hearsons’ Group 1-winning miler Aqlaam, who was born and raised at Granham. It’s been a real boost to us both to have received such support from friends and fellow breeders and we’re delighted to be taking under our care a select group of mares, foals and spellers from the Hearsons, Roger Charlton, Ben Sangster, Harry Dunlop Dan Tunmore, Zorka Wentworth and John and Emma Berry in the early stages of our new business.
I’ve been thrilled with the performances of the offspring of my Hernando mare Villabella this year, with all three of her runners of racing age having saluted the judge. Vallila started the ball rolling by recording her fourth victory in France in February, but she was soon trumped by her younger brother El Campeon (pictured right), who has won five times this season for Simon Dow. The youngest of the clan, the two-year-old Prince Alay, sealed a very good year for the family with a win on Tuesday in Spain – the second of the season for him after he won on debut back in July. I hope the new year brings plenty more success, not just for our homebreds but for all readers of this blog. I’ll be checking back in next year with a new posting on our revamped website but for now I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas.