What there is to see and hear (Part 2) – Turf Talk: 21 November 2016
LAST week, readers of this column joined our special guests on Part 1 of their tour of “HQ” – Newmarket, UK.
No sales were “on” which is the best time for meeting senior people who run the various institutions. It was during the week before Goffs Foals and Mares over in Kildare with – as it turned out – at least one of the 7 selling days running for a full-on 12 hours. Then more of the same for 12 days at Tattersalls where seemingly the whole bloodstock world or its UK representatives gather.
A good chat and a laugh or two in Wavertree House at The National Stud was a perfect example, followed by a tour of the sprawling, autumnal property. The unusual history was brought to life, showing off the 60s working buildings and the statue of mostfamous-resident-MILL REEF.
We were introduced to a smart example of the INVINCIBLE SPIRIT line, newly retired Gr1 2yo (Racing Post Trophy) winner MARCEL by LAWMAN. “Vince” has been right at the top of the
tree for many years and stands for €120,000 over at The Irish National Stud. South Africa would benefit from a lot more of that line which has lashings of speed plus class.
On Duchess Drive, Sheikh Mohammed owns everything on the right for miles but David and Patricia Thompson own much of what is on the left. Cheveley Park Stud, is another gorgeous property whose star and very senior resident PIVOTAL was there to greet us as we had a close look at his grandson, new boy TWILIGHT SON (by Kyllachy). Although PIVOTAL did some southern time covering, nowadays Cheveley neither covers southern time nor do their stallions shuttle. But we could still benefit from more of their families in South Africa. KYLLACHY could be as good a broodmare sire as PIVOTAL or better. Some of his fillies are already in SA through ourselves. MEDICEAN is knocking on but this writer happily bought a mare by him at the CTS Elite Mare Sale – from a top end family, in foal to VISIONAIRE. Anything that brings MACHIAVELLIAN backed up with a(nother) cracking female line goes on the list! We also saw LETHAL FORCE a double Gr1 winning sprinter by the fabulously successful DARK ANGEL who retired at 2 and went to stud at 3. That stallion dynasty is centred on ACCLAMATION (€30,000 previously €50,000 at Rathbarry) and now DARK ANGEL (started at 12,500 now full at 60,000 at Mor-ristown Lattin) is loaded with speed. LETHAL FORCE is in Newmarket at £8,000. Is he next?
Then, as our gracious guests said: “The best until last” amongst the grander stud farms. Juddmonte – Banstead Manor Stud – the UK headquarters of the great owner/breeding operation. The approach to the stallion area is through a lovely garden, walking past the ducks enjoying the little lake in quintessentially English surroundings. Orange leaves falling onto the bright green lawns. Privet hedges. Soon the impressive stallion boxes are ble, arranged around the far side of the area. The new pair, one of which now houses FRANKEL, cost £500,000 to build. The gleaming brass door furniture could be gold.
Here, only one stallion stands at a working man’s price – and a cracker he is too. BATED BREATHmight take over from his ageing dad DANSILI who nevertheless still looks good. And if FRANKEL were not there, there would be almost as much excitement in seeing KINGMAN after the first season of this brilliant miler.
Juddmonte does a great job of accommodating visitors who beg to see him yet would never use any of the stallions there, let alone FRANKEL. Showing times are heavily restricted and operated to the minute. Don’t be late!
But of course many breeders will use the other stallions and have every right to see “the lot”.
OASIS DREAM is eye-catching as one of the world’s top sires now down to £50,000 from £75,000 after quieter year than usual.
Hard bitten professional or not, you have to smile seeing these brilliant horses – who never shuttle – in beautiful surroundings, dealt with by a squad of expert handlers happy to engage in conversation with professionals and Frankel-fans alike.
We had a quick stop off in twilight at Tattersalls for a chat in the arena under lights, standing below the rostrum discussing bidding spots, techniques, auctioneering styles and the extraordinary scrum at the acorns through which most horses march unblinking. Most of the 44 acres can be seen from high up ?that bloody hill? which forms much of the 10 miles or 16 km a day some of us walk. The vets walk farther.
The tour ended with a relaxed evening at Abington Place on the Bury Road only half a mile from the Clock Tower. The South African owned training and spelling base which is larger than most in the town has been remodelled and improved extensively. Presently, only a few horses are there. One of them is SMART CALL whose story will be well known to most readers. She is such a well made individual that one can only hope for a big comeback. Late that night, wrapped up in a rug up to her ears, with soft, warming lights on, she looked very content, half buried in straw.
Her visitors had, in the meantime, checked out the wine cellar courtesy of mine hosts and – guess what – had a braai in about 25 degrees cooler temperatures than when that word is used most often! – tt.