I took some time away from the farm this week to spend a few days in Newmarket selecting some horses in training from Tattersalls’ July Sale for regular client Geoff Price of Happy Valley Racing & Breeding.
We’ve bought a number of horses for Geoff’s team over the years and have a good strike-rate with those purchased in training, most of whom are expertly trained by Stuart Williams, who also gets involved in the selection process. Hopefully we have some more to follow for this season and beyond, with two nice three-year-olds, the classy Via Serendipity and good-looking Maratha (right), both joining Stuart’s stable from Hugo Palmer and Simon Crisford respectively.
In fact, Maratha’s pedigree received a very quick update on Saturday when Aidan O’Brien’s Gustav Klimt won the G2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket. Maratha’s dam Middle Persia is a half-sister to Gustav Klimt, while another half-sister is the dam of this season’s Lingfield Oaks Trial winner and Ribblesdale third Hertford Dancer. So it’s a very current family, which also boasts two excellent stallions and half-brothers, Invincible Spirit and Kodiac.
It was good to be able to spend a few days at the sales with Conor, who is currently spending a fortnight’s work experience in Newmarket at the EBN and seems very keen to pursue a career in the racing and breeding industry.
Just before the yearling prep steps up into full gear, I was also able to make a quick overnight trip to Normandy with Emma to visit various mares and foals we have at boarding farms at France. William and I have a Kendargent filly out of Plebeya, the dam of juvenile winner Prost, at Haras de Maulepaire, while I also keep Clutter with our friends Gwen and Lucie at La Motteraye. She has a big strong filly foal by Rajsaman (below right) and it was good to go on and see Rajsaman himself, as well as his celebrated stud mate Le Havre, at Haras de la Cauviniere after a nice lunch with Mathieu Alex, who is always good company.
However, after a couple of fun trips, it’s real nose-to-the-grindstone time now for us all. We have 27 yearlings to consign this season, starting with six at the DBS Premier and Silver Sales, and those are now in full prep as the youngsters for Tattersalls October continue to arrive. These next few weeks and months are what really matter for sales consignors: we can’t afford to have too many hold-ups but at the same time, it’s a balancing act, and we have to be mindful that we are dealing with young, green horses, some of whom will take to what we ask them to do quicker than others. In many ways, it’s a bit like training – you can’t force them, the horses have to come to hand in their own time, but with a sales date looming the yearlings really only get one chance to shine.
We don’t necessarily expect to be topping Book 1 as we did last year with Normandie Stud’s Glorious Journey, but we once again have a lovely bunch of horses to bring to the sales and it will be a relief when they all get there in one piece and looking good.
Of recent graduates of ours, it was great to see the speedy Dream Ahead filly Justice Lady win for the fourth time for David Elsworth at Doncaster recently. Sales results pale into insignificance next to racecourse results, so we’ll be hoping that Glorious Journey, who now runs for Godolphin, takes up one of his fancy entries in the coming month. Another juvenile Group 1 winner like our old friend Shalaa would be just the job.