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Back on the sales beat

We’re coming to the end of a long foaling season and I managed a few days away from the farm last week to attend the Guineas Breeze-up Sale at Tattersalls.

We bought a nice horse there last year for James Fanshawe. Named Replenish, he has now won twice and finished second twice in his five starts, so it was great to be asked by James to find him another horse this year.

From our short list we were pleased to be able to buy a French-bred son of Haras d’Etreham’s promising young stallion Wootton Bassett (pictured). He was a very good two-year-old himself and while the colt we bought on Friday certainly looks capable of running at two, he also has the scope to go on next year and we look forward to seeing James work his magic with him.

The colt, like Replenish, was sold by Con Marnane’s Bansha House Stables. Con and his team do an excellent job year after year – their graduates of last year’s breeze-up sales include the Group winners Robin Of Navan and First Selection – and we’re always able to find horses among his consignment for our short list.

I left home early on Thursday morning knowing that our own mare Nut was the last to foal and had gone weeks over her due date. She’d been showing signs of being ready to foal and Jenny and I had been checking her through many nights, but it was still a surprise to get a call from Jenny at lunchtime to say that Nut had foaled out in the field! Happily everything went smoothly and she has produced a good colt by Mickley Stud’s first-season sire Heeraat. I’m also pleased to have my new mare High Will in foal to Helmet. She foaled early this year and had already been covered by Helmet before the turf season started so I’ve been over the moon to see him have four winners and a second from his first five runners.

So we now have a full complement of foals on the ground and just two mares left to cover. Won’t be long before the sales companies start their yearling inspections and we turn our thoughts towards yearling prep – never a dull or quiet moment!

On the racehorse front, I’m looking forward to Pharmaceutical running for Stuart Williams at Newmarket on Sunday, having bought him for his owners Happy Valley Racing at the horses-in-training sale last year. Another purchase we made for Happy Valley, Flying Fantasy, has already won twice for Stuart so we’re hoping for more of the same from Pharmaceutical.

Our winning foal pinhooks Justice Lady and Musaaid are in action on Monday and Tuesday and looking ahead to the following week, Top Beak has an entry for the G2 Dante Stakes at York. It was a terrible shame to hear that his contemporary from our 2014 yearling draft, the dual Group 1 winner Shalaa, will be out of action for the early part of the season but God willing his injury is not too serious and he’ll be back in action in the summer.

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