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Winning is what counts

Jenny and I have been lucky to have some good results in the sales ring over the years but we all know that it’s future success on the racecourse that counts and more than anything we want to be known for selecting and selling winners. Nothing gives us more pleasure than to see the horses we’ve been involved with in the formative stages of their lives go on to do well for the people who have either trusted me to buy a horse for them to race or to have bought one of our youngsters prepared by Jenny and her excellent team.

The last few weeks have been special in that regard. We’ve seen foal pinhook The Graduate (pictured above as a yearling) win for Mick and Janice Mariscotti, two smashing owners with Andrew Balding. He was actually a horse we lost money on but we always had faith in his ability as a racehorse and he’s now won twice for a mark of 80 and looks a decent staying prospect in the making.

The speedy Justice Lady, a Dream Ahead filly from the same draft as The Graduate, also won her second race for David Elsworth and Robert Ng and has in fact never been out of the first four in all six of her starts.

William and I have enjoyed buying yearlings in France over the years for John Paterson and it was great to see Doctor Dino three-year-old Sharjah win for him at Deauville after moving from Jonathan Pease on his retirement to up-and-coming trainer Henri Devin. Another purchase for John, Cyclone Valerie, whom he sold on after her first win, won again this week in Pornichet.

Most recently it was special to hear that the Jukebox Jury foal, now named Felix, whom I bought for Dan Tunmore as a pinhooking project, became the first winner for his sire on only his second start. We can’t claim credit for selling him as a yearling as he had French premiums so we left him in France with Gwen and Lucie at La Motteraye and then sent him to Phillip and Marion Stauffenberg to consign with their excellent draft at last year’s BBAG Sale at Baden-Baden. So it was a great team effort among friends and I’m delighted to hear that Felix has won so early in his career.

It was a busy week at the July sales and races last week in Newmarket. We sold a mare under the Norris Bloodstock banner for the Hearson family and bought a horse in training, Innicastle Lad, for Geoff Price’s Happy Valley Syndicate to be trained by Stuart Williams.

It was great to have my son Conor (above with our great friend Grant Pritchard-Gordon, ©Arqana) with me in Newmarket and to see him showing more and more of an interest in the industry. Whether or not he will pursue a career in racing I’m not sure, but he now has his first broodmare and he’s a keen form student. I’m very glad that he’s doing a degree in Business at Oxford Brookes so he may yet find a more sensible job and be able to look after his old man in later life!

Prep is now fully underway on our yearlings for the Goffs UK Premier Sale at Doncaster and we have a number of our Tattersalls October yearlings already at the farm and in the early stages of sales work. At least all the hand-walking means we sleep well at night.

Last but not least, there have been some very special new arrivals in the Norris household thanks to our gorgeous Kerry Blue Terrier, Darcey, who gave birth to a litter of six puppies (right) at the beginning of the month. Darcey is the third generation of her family I’ve bred so we’ll be keeping the only bitch in the litter to continue the line.

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