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Hitting The Woodwork

Posted 10/7/2020

Gift List on the left just fails to get up on debut at Ripon - Photo by Racing PostGift List on the left just fails to get up on debut at Ripon - Photo by Racing Post            My football team Leeds United hit the woodwork three times last night and fortunately twice the ball went in for a goal in a 5-0 demolition of Stoke whereas James Ortega Bloodstock has had three runners it has bred in the last two days and all three came close without succeeding narrowly missing out on some nice Plus 10/GBB bonuses. I don't mind too much until Leeds seal promotion and then I don't mind if the horses come in and the ball goes out for a couple of weeks. Is it a deal?

            An interesting couple of days started with 2yo filly Gift List running an excellent race at Ripon on Wednesday coming second on her debut. Trained by Karl Burke and ridden by Ben Curtis, the daughter of Bated Breath and our Group 3 winning Machiavellian mare Birthstone did not have the swiftest of starts and she took the first few furlongs of the 6f race to get used to her new career. However, once she had sorted out what she had to do and despite being somewhat left alone in the middle of the track, Gift List knuckled down to the task in hand and came home very well only to be beaten a head. She is the first offspring of Birthstone to even run at two years old and clearly still has some growing to do so with any luck she could develop into a useful performer and, who knows, become the fourth winner from four we have bred of racing age by Bated Breath. 

            Later on the same day saw the debut of Twilight Calls, who is by Twilight Son and out of Invincible Spirit mare Zawiyah. He is trained by Henry Candy, who also trained his sire, and was ridden by David Probert in the 6f Newbury contest. After a reasonable start he was taken towards the rails and held up behind another couple of runners. Travelling very well, he was then pulled out from behind those rivals with about 2f to go and was going so well that he traded at 1.12 to win on Betfair! Unfortunately when sitting quietly came to push Twilight Calls could not get the job done and he faded to come in 5th beaten just under 4 lengths. I had mixed emotions after the race as, on the one hand, he clearly has ability and a high cruising speed, but on the other hand could not see out the final furlong. It was Henry's first two year old runner of the year and he is a trainer who gives his charges the opportunity to develop so I am pretty sure that Twilight Calls would not have been given a hard time getting ready for this race and indeed David Probert gave him a sympathetic ride leaving the whip well alone. Clearly he has been showing a lot at home and that was signalled by early money for him when he opened at 14/1 the night before and was soon trading around 5/1 finally setting off at 4/1 which cannot have happened to many Henry Candy debutant two year olds! Perhaps they have an eye on the Goffs Sales race over 6f at York on August 20th for which Twilight Calls holds an entry and this opener was part of the preparation in which case we may see him out again towards the end of July. Alternatively, after this race they may give him more time to strengthen up or drop back to 5f and give the York race a miss, but it was certainly an exciting first appearance for this very good looking horse.Twilight Calls as a foal. He showed exciting potential at Newbury on debutTwilight Calls as a foal. He showed exciting potential at Newbury on debut

            Finally, Thursday saw 3yo Zephron have his second race this year at Navan in a 5.5f maiden acquitting himself very well to come a close up 3rd after a fairly awkward start. Trained by Dennis Cullen and ridden by Mark Gallagher, Zephron is by Ivawood out of Rip Van Winkle mare Amarylis and is a first foal. He has shown ability in all four of his races to date and usually shows plenty of speed before not quite getting home. certainly this half furlong less than his previous races seemed to suit and it would not surprise me to see him out over the minimum trip next time out. Hopefully he runs out a winner fairly soon and continues on an upward curve.Zephron as a yearling. Ran another fine race at Navan coming a close up 3rdZephron as a yearling. Ran another fine race at Navan coming a close up 3rd

            So three good runs from our stock and, whilst it's frustrating that at least one of them didn't get over the line first, it is very encouraging for the future as, like all racehorse breeders, we want to breed good, healthy horses who demonstrate ability on the racetrack. Still, the football team keeps winning and as they say, "You can't have it all"

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Almost There!

Posted 18/5/2020

Bated Breath x Aureana 20c at 1 week oldBated Breath x Aureana 20c at 1 week old            Whilst we are all struggling as best we can through the pandemic that is COVID-19 and starting to come to terms with a new world, it is always a welcome relief to finish the breeding season with all foals on the ground and healthy and mares covered and in foal. Without wishing to tempt fate, James Ortega Bloodstock Ltd is almost there bar our 18yo Group 3 winning mare Birthstone who for one reason or another is proving difficult to get herself in shape for a cover by Sea The Moon. We still have a couple of months to go and hopefully she is ready to cover by the end of May which, if she gets in foal, would probably mean an early May foal at best. That does not worry us, and if she does not get in foal we have no issue to re-cover her in June or beyond as we aren't hellbent on getting an early 2yo type especially considering the sire whose offspring are likely to be better at 3yo. I think that there is far too much emphasis placed on having an early foal although I do understand the commercial drivers that largely drive it. Anyway, come on Birthstone!

            As for the rest, well it's been another filly fest with the first four this year all being that way inclined following on from all four foals in 2019. Indeed if we add on the last foal from 2018 that made nine fillies in a row! You can imagine there was some relief when Aureana produced a Bated Breath colt (left) on April 2nd to make it 4-1 to the fillies for the year. Not that I have anything against fillies and indeed four of the five black type racehorses we have bred have been fillies and anyway, after 56 foals the score is 28 all between colts and fillies so we can hardly complain about luck when considering our ten year breeding history. The key thing is that it appears that they are all healthy and doing well as are their dams.

            First up this year was a Jan 30th Ultra filly (below left) out of Mount Nelson mare Lady Macha who comes from the prolific Purring family who I think have their best years ahead of them with three black type daughters being dams including Lady Macha's dam Lady Francesca and 111 rated Purr Along whose 3yo Starcat won on his only outing at two and has an entry in The Derby. Lady Macha's full brother, 96 rated Bartholomeu Dias, is now plying his trade in Australia with up and coming trainer Ciaron Maher. The foal was born at Haras Du Logis in Normandy but is currently at Manor House Farm Stud in the UK as mother has visited Outstrip and is in foal. 

Ultra x Lady Macha 20f at 4 weeks oldUltra x Lady Macha 20f at 4 weeks old

            Next was Redskin Dancer who foaled a strong looking Oasis Dream filly (below) on Feb 10th before visiting Bated Breath whose foal she is now carrying. Redskin has two winners from three runners including seven time Listed winner Lincoln Rocks who herself has had a Churchill filly in 2020. This is her first foal and now she has been covered by Saxon Warrior. Oasis Dream x Redskin Dancer 20f at 5 weeks oldOasis Dream x Redskin Dancer 20f at 5 weeks old














            Feb 29th only comes around every four years and this year it was the date for Zawiyah's fourth foal who is a filly (below) by Twilight Son and hence full sister to her two year old colt Twilight Calls who is in training with Henry Candy. I like her physical as much as I liked the one of Twilight Calls and so Zawiyah went off again to the same sire and is in foal to him for the third time. Twilight Son x Zawiyah 20f at 7 weeks oldTwilight Son x Zawiyah 20f at 7 weeks old




             Finally we had the mother and daughter combination of Going For Gold and Aureana who were both in foal to Bated Breath. Goldie foaled a filly (below), who is a full sister to 98 rated Kaanoon, on March 29th before we finally got the colt from Aureana. Goldie is now in foal to Havana Gold who I think will be a good physical and distance fit for her, whilst Aureana stayed on the stud in Normandy and was covered by Ultra.Bated Breath x Going For Gold 20f at 1 week oldBated Breath x Going For Gold 20f at 1 week old

             So there we have it! A couple of full sisters to colts we have bred before, one of whom has won three races at a smart level (Kaanoon) and the other of which we have high hopes (Twilight Calls).  With the racing season about to start its belated 2020 version we await to see what the families of this quintet can do on the track. If successful the value of these foals will be enhanced but it will also provide encouragement to us in terms of what we might be able to expect from them as well. As always........Time Will Tell!

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Night Of Thunder Surprises again whilst Golden Horn will blow his Trumpet in 2020

Posted 20/2/2020

            Richard Hughes opted for 15/2 shot Toormore for the 2014 2,000 Guineas but it was 40/1 shot Night Of Thunder (NoT), ridden by Kieren Fallon, who literally swung home to beat Kingman by half a length. Current fellow sires Charm Spirit, War Command. Kingston Hill, Australia, Outstrip and The Grey Gatsby were behind him that day and, judging by his first season at stud they, could very well remain behind him in their new careers. With seven black type winners and over 50% of his first season 2yo runners being winners the son of Dubawi has surprised us again and in my book is by far the best first season sire from the 2019 brigade. Not a surprising conclusion many will say, but look at the chart below where progeny performance is measured relative to mare quality and you can see how much clear of the field he was. eg from a book of mares on average 10lbs below Muharaar his progeny were on average 7lbs better. That is significant.

            The wonderful thing about this game is that there are no certainties and one look at Night of Thunder's crooked front legs would probably result in you scratching out his name even if he cost you next to nothing to contract a cover for your superstar mare. However, as wonder mare Attraction, who had similar limb issues, pointed out to us in her excursions on the flat, theory and fact often do not coincide and clearly Night Of Thunder is passing on an abundance of ability to his offspring. Not only that but he is still, if not within the Racing Post Breeding on a Budget guidelines, at a relatively accessible nomination fee at €25,000. Accessible that is if you spoke to Darley about four months ago as for sure he is well and truly full for the 2020 covering season. Why is he such great value? Well I have already espoused the attractiveness of No Nay Never (NNN) as a sire so how does NoT stack up against him in these early days? Their 1st crops were both conceived from mares averaging around the 85 mark and NNN's progeny is a 1lb or so ahead after it's 1st year. NNN's 2nd crop was conceived from a mare quality 3lbs lower than NoT and the latter's 1st crop progeny are about 2lbs better. That, together with their relatively similar positions north of the trend-line in these analyses, says to me that we are talking about a couple of young sires performing not a million miles differently from each other and much better than their colleagues in their respective first season sire cohorts. Taking into account that NNN started out at €20,000 but has now risen to €175,000, NoT looks like the bargain of the century. Early days but you get the gist.

Night Of Thunder is the outstanding first season sire of 2019 but watch out for Golden HornNight Of Thunder is the outstanding first season sire of 2019 but watch out for Golden Horn

            Comparing black type winners for these two stallions, NoT has achieved 7 winners and four placed horses from his Northern Hemisphere offspring whereas NNN had 6 winners in the 1st year of his first two crops with 4 and 8 placed respectively which is again broadly at the same level of achievement. One could argue that NoT has not produced outstanding offspring with his sole Group 2 winner , Night Colours, having done that in Italy, which with all due respect is probably a lower level than say France, UK or Ireland. Another slightly concerning factor is that the number of his potential runners that reached the track is a bit low at 46% for a horse who showed his best form at a mile and is of average height (16.05 hands). Maybe some of that poor conformation did get passed on and resulted in some 2yo's missing the track in 2019 but perhaps I am just searching for a negative for a young sire that looks exceptional judging on first season progeny performance. 

            Who else looks promising from the 2019 first season sires? Golden Horn looks to me to be the one who will emerge from the pack in 2020. Whilst one would have expected 2019 to be a quiet year for him given that he is a horse who showed his best form at 10 to 12 furlongs, I think it was even quieter than one would expect! His best horse was West End Girl who won the Group 3 Sweet Solera but then disappointed later in the season as did his other black type winner Festive Star who won a listed event in Italy before running down the field in France. However, it was never going to be about their 2yo careers and what is noticeable is that Golden Horn has thrown a high percentage of horses who have performed very adequately in the 70 to 85 rating range with very few below average horses. You will not get rich producing horses with those types of ratings but, given the likelihood that his produce will improve significantly at three, there may be a few stars about to burst through of those who did run as 2yos as well as from the 54% who did not run. 

            Apart from the fact that Golden Horn was at his best over middle/longer distances why else should his offspring do better in 2020? First, he only ran once as a 2yo winning a late October maiden over an extended mile (rated 86) before being put away until his Feilden, Dante, Derby, Eclipse four timer as a three year old followed later in the year with wins in the Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc as well as two other close up Group 1 second places. Secondly, he is a sizable unit at 16.2 hands and if he passes that on his offspring may just need a bit more time. Thirdly, he had 46% of his potential runners turn up on the racetrack at two years old which is relatively high given his size and his need for a distance. This suggests that his progeny have good conformation in general and we can expect to see plenty of them as three year olds. Finally, whilst the 2019 group as a whole in their second season covered around 72% of the mares they covered in their first season, Golden Horn covered 91% and indeed covered around 100 mares in each of his third and fourth crops which means that he is likely to remain in focus for the next few years. Note also that he is demonstrating a higher than average ability to convert those coverings into live foals which points to a very good fertility rate. 

            Gleneagles has done ok and in Royal Dornoch and Royal Lytham one could argue has produced better horses than both NoT and Golden Horn. Royal Dornoch beat the subsequent Group 1 Futurity winner Kameko in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes whilst Royal Lytham won the Group 2 July Stakes before finishing a close up third to Siskin in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes. However you would have expected his progeny to score much higher than Golden Horn's in their 1st year considering that both stallions visited mares of roughly the same quality given that he was a 7 to 8f horse and more compact at just under 16 hands high.

            Muharaar was disappointing as from a high class book of mares he finished well behind both Gleneagles and Golden Horn. On a positive note he covered in excess of 120 mares in each of his first four seasons as a stallion and has the best conversion rate of covers to foals on the ground. 2020 will be key for him to show that 2019 was not the best of him. Whilst it is still early days for this cohort of stallions it is hard to enthuse about the rest after the 1st year and the graph above does not support certain hefty hikes in stallion fees for the likes of Cable Bay, up to £15,000 from £6,500, and Due Diligence up to £8,500 from £4,000 in 2019. In both cases it is probably down to the usual market sentiment caused by excellent performer Liberty Beach for Cable Bay and three black type winners for Due Diligence as well as both getting over twenty winners in 2019. Whilst Cable Bay covered well over 100 mares in his 2nd year, that dropped off rapidly to some 30 mares in 2019 whilst Due Diligence fell away sharply in his 2nd year to less than half the mares covered in 2016 and also only covered around 30 mares in 2019. This means that things are going to go very quiet for them a year or two down the track.  Strangely Ivawood, who has been sent off to France by Coolmore and standing at about a third of his 2016 fee, comes out as having progeny on average 2lbs better than Due Diligence from a similar mare quality! Ivawood did manage a couple of French black type winners but perhaps that mercurial market sentiment isn't impacted so much by what goes on outside the British and Irish isles. Parochial, us?? Mais non. Whilst one might be tempted to punt on Ivawood as a cheap cover my worry is that he has the lowest rate of actual foals per mare covered of this lot and I wonder whether part of the fact he has been dismissed to foreign lands is down to a lower than average fertility rate.

             So, in summary, Night Of Thunder is the obvious top dog from this 2019 band of aspiring sires and that is hardly a surprise to anyone as it coincides with headline stakes performances and market sentiment. What is more, at €25,000 he is tremendous value and hopefully you managed to get in at that price because if his offspring performs as well in 2020 as they did in 2019 we are likely to see a significant hike in his covering fee for 2021. The one under the radar for me is Golden Horn and it would not surprise me at all to see him have a great 2020 for the reasons outlined above. Having said that, being under the radar at £60,000 (now £40,000) is not something in the price range of most breeders and my optimism for him this year still has to be realised. A punt on new sire and fellow Derby winner and Darley inmate Masar at £15,000 could be a better bet(This begins to sound like a Darley advert!!). Nevertheless, Golden Horn is my second best pick from the 2019 class followed by Gleneagles who incidentally covered 182 mares in 2019 and being the only one who covered more than he did in his 1st year as a stallion in 2016. 

Jim Atkinson

James Ortega Bloodstock Ltd

20th February 2020



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No Nay Never Outstanding 2018 First Season Sire

Posted 27/1/2020

            Supporters of fellow sire Kingman may take exception to the headline siding with No Nay Never but my analysis of the performance of their offspring taking into account mare quality leaves no doubt in my mind as to its veracity. Whilst most of the focus in the breeding game is on the sire, it takes two to tango and the mare input is 50% of the resulting foal. Clearly the stallion supremacy stakes is not a fair race as the top racers get the best mares and in effect is a reverse handicap where the lower rated horses are given extra weight to carry making their task extremely difficult to say the least. Top sires with top mares will usually get more than their fair share of top racehorses resulting in a positive knock on effect on the all important market sentiment which can promote or finish a sire with sometimes undue haste. This analysis attempts to uncover stallions throughout the food chain who are outperforming in the reverse handicap. Below you can find the charts for the first two crops of the 2018 first season sires measuring mare ratings against progeny ratings with a trend-line approximately indicating an average of the cohort.

No Nay Never is the outstanding sire from 2018 so far. Kingman doing very well and Sea The Moon well ahead of expectationsNo Nay Never is the outstanding sire from 2018 so far. Kingman doing very well and Sea The Moon well ahead of expectations

No Nay Never's 2nd crop not quite so dominant but still relatively the best. Sea The Moon better than 1st crop and Kingman also doing very well. Charm Spirit and Toronado not doing badly but need more top performersNo Nay Never's 2nd crop not quite so dominant but still relatively the best. Sea The Moon better than 1st crop and Kingman also doing very well. Charm Spirit and Toronado not doing badly but need more top performers 

            Basically in their first crop, No Nay Never's progeny had a slightly higher average rating than Kingman's but from a group of mares 14 to 15 lbs inferior. We will never know, but the likelihood is that No Nay Never would have done even better with Kingman's quality of mare. In their second crops, Kingman's progeny rated around 3lbs better from a 13lbs better group of mares which, whilst not so obvious still puts No Nay Never ahead when comparing to the trend-line. It is also interesting to note that No Nay Never's 1st crop progeny improved about 3.5lbs on average in their second year which is slightly more than Kingman's and somewhat contrary to many forecasts that they would not train on so well.   

            No Nay Never's equalling of Kingman from inferior partners is backed up in terms of the similar number of quality black type performers with Kingman just edging out No Nay Never with 13 winners vs 12 and 8 placed vs 7 in the 1st crop but No Nay Never having 10 black type performers versus Kingman's 7 in the 2nd crop. Whilst averages are all well and good, the black type performers are critical for the rapidly changing market sentiment to be improved and the proof that the sire can get truly top performers which after all is the main aim of the game. Kingman has produced some top performers including French Guineas winner and French Derby second Persian King, St James's Palace Stakes second King Of Comedy, dual Group 2 winner Headman and Coventry Stakes winner Calyx who is shortly to embark on his own stallion career. No Nay Never has had Ten Sovereigns who won two Group 1 races in the Middle Park Stakes at 2 and the July Cup at 3, Coventry Stakes winner Arizona as well as Group 2 winners Mystery Power and Land Force. Not to be outdone by Kingman, both Ten Sovereigns and Land Force have joined Calyx in the stallion ranks. 

            To be clear, Kingman is an excellent stallion and will continue to receive top mares along with his stablemate Frankel to go along with his nomination fee rise to £150,000 but No Nay Never has catapulted to approximately the same cover fee from his initial fee of €20,000 (a third of Kingman's initial fee) and will surely get a better quality of mare starting from 2019 after his initial explosion on to the scene. Those horses will hit the track in 2022 when we will see if the relatively better mare quality pushes No Nay Never into a clear lead over Kingman. Incidentally when comparing 2016 First Season Sire Frankel with these two from the class of 2018 he comes out roughly 3lbs better than No Nay Never from a mare quality 17lbs better. For me, taking a line through No Nay Never to Kingman, this indicates a slight superiority of Frankel to Kingman but No Nay Never is the best of three excellent sires when comparing average runner ratings versus mare quality.

            Leaving aside the £150,000 and €175,000 stallions from the class of 2018 what else takes the eye from that year? Sea The Moon looks to have made an outstanding start to his stallion career. His first crop were joint 5th best in their first year from the fourth best group of mares and they have progressed in their second year to be 3rd best. His second crop look even better as from a group of mares some 5lbs lower than his 1st crop they are on average 2lbs better and are 4th best from the 5th highest group of mares. That is some performance for a horse whose best form was between 10 and 12 furlongs and whose progeny you would expect to improve at three years old significantly more than most of the progeny of other sires. In fact his 1st crop progeny improved 7lbs in their second year which is double or more than Kingman's and No Nay Never's. A more relevant comparison is to look at his performance versus those of Australia and Mukhadram who also excelled as racehorses over similar distances. Sea The Moon's 1st crop after two years are around 1lb ahead of Australia's and 8lbs ahead of Mukhadram's whilst his quality of mare was around 7lbs lower and 2lbs better respectively. His second crop is repeating the medicine being 2lbs better than Australia and 7lbs better than Mukhadram from mares 6lbs worse and 2lbs better respectively. The repetition of the 1st crop performance with a largely different group of mares is solid evidence that Sea The Moon is way ahead of the game for a middle distance sire and  is proving that he can inject plenty of speed into his offspring. True he will need to overcome the market desire for sprinter/miler sires and also he may have another headwind in terms of where many of his offspring reside with a relatively large proportion in Germany. Industry insiders probably will not attach so much value to performances in top races in Germany as they would in the UK and Ireland and so market sentiment may be lower than it should be unless corroborative form is achieved in the UK, Ireland or to some extent France. German Group 3 three year old Wonderful Moon is one who could raise the profile a lot in 2020 as well as Irish Group 2 winner Alpine Star.

            When comparing with Kingman, Sea The Moon's 1st crop is about 4lbs inferior from a 12lbs inferior group of mares and I would say that is relatively as good as can be seen by their proximity to the trend-line. He has 15 black type performers versus 21 for Kingman but not at the same quality level. His 2nd crop is some 6lbs down on ratings to Kingman's from a 13lbs inferior bunch of mares but with the likely year 2 improvement in this crop I would expect his progeny to be within 2 or 3lbs of Kingman by this time next year. Given the fact that Sea The Moon's advertised fee is 10% of Kingman's it is very clear to me where the value lies.

            Finally I would not write off Charm Spirit or Toronado from this 2018 class although they are clearly behind the principals discussed above. At reduced fees of £8,500 and €8,000 respectively they are not overpriced and "just" need a couple of headline makers to raise their profile and that all important market sentiment.

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Cracking Start to 2020

Posted 12/1/2020

 Be Fair in the winners enclosure at LingfieldBe Fair in the winners enclosure at Lingfield           A couple of winners for James Ortega Bloodstock bred horses in the first nine days of 2020 mean a wonderful start for our progeny as they strut their stuff on various stages. First up was four year old Be Fair (Kyllachy x Going For Gold) who followed up a December win at Lingfield with a second win in only his sixth start on January 4th. After three fairly innocuous runs in Ireland he transferred to Tony Carroll in the UK and immediately improved to finish third before winning his two races over a mile and a half. Clearly he has needed some time to come to himself and is still only rated 65 but I think there is plenty more to come from him. He is half brother to listed placed and two time winner Chicadoro (Paco Boy x Going For Gold - rated 100) and three time winner Kaanoon (Bated Breath x Going For Gold - rated 98) and full brother to Aureana who only ran once before being retired due to injury and is now a broodmare in foal to Bated Breath in France where she will be for sale in the February Arqana sale. 

            On January 9th Ekhtiyaar (Bated Breath x Bayja - rated 112) won his fifth race in Meydan taking his winnings to over £320,000. Last year he ran very well to be a three length second to top sprinter, and now stallion, Blue Point in a Group 3 race in Meydan and hopefully he can push on and win a Group race this year. On ratings he needs to find three or four lengths to put himself in with a chance of winning at the top level and become the first Group 1 winner for Bated Breath for whom he already owns the highest Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 116.

            So, a promising start to 2020 for us and let's see if we can continue in this positive vein on the racetrack!Ekhtiyaar winning at Meydan over 6f on January 9th 2020Ekhtiyaar winning at Meydan over 6f on January 9th 2020

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Redskin Dancer Stays & Bye Bye Banana

Posted 13/12/2019

            A mixed result last week at the Tattersalls December Mares sale with nobody wanting to pay more than 75,000 guineas for Redskin Dancer whilst Chicita Banana and Irisijana moved on at 11,000 and 5,000 guineas respectively. Banana, who we bought at the same sale in 2010, has moved on to the Irish National Stud which was a very happy result for us as we know she will be extremely well looked after whilst Pegasus bought Irisijana which also meant a return to Ireland for the German bred mare which was also a good result. As for Redskin, I believe she is worth a six figure number minimum and perhaps the fact she was the second lot out on day two did not help our cause in finding a new home for her. I am sure that if she had been led into the ring a few hours later, Redskin would have made 100,000 guineas plus but that is pure conjecture. It seems to me that if we had consigned her with one of the bigger players in consigning terms she would have been allotted a more favourable slot with a better chance of reaching a better valuation. That is not a negative comment on Manor House Farm Stud, who did their usual excellent job in presenting her to the buyers, but rather a comment on the internal workings of this rather closed industry where you are either a face able to influence things to some extent or you are not and I think James Ortega Bloodstock clearly sits in the not category!

            Whatever, no use in making excuses or crying over spilt milk, the positive is that we still own a very good mare who has produced two winners from three runners including a seven time winner who won a Listed race and was Group 3 placed. She is also in foal to top sire Oasis Dream and we look forward hopefully to a healthy foal in February. We have arranged her cover for 2020 and she will visit our favourite Bated Breath from Juddmonte who will suit her physically and mentally very well.

            The other cover we arranged is with Lanwades for Sea The Moon to be visited by Group 3 2yo winner Birthstone who had a year off last year. Sea The Moon is exceeding expectations by producing more precocious and sprint distance winners than one might have expected and looks a very good prospect from the first season sires of 2018. 

            So, it's On On for 2020 and another year in this crazy, rollercoaster world of thoroughbred breeding!!


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Black Type Mares On Offer at Tattersalls Mare Sale

Posted 29/11/2019

            We are selling two black type producing mares and one who achieved black type herself at next week's Tattersalls December Mares Sale. This is part of an overall restructuring towards a greater proportion of horses bred to race and a higher proportion of mares based in France in order to make the operation less reliant on the sales ring and better positioned to take advantage of the French prize money, which is so much higher than the UK, as well as the valuable owners and breeders premiums. 

            First up will be Redskin Dancer (Lot 1625) who is by Namid out of a Generous mare and she produced the tough and consistent seven time Listed winner and Group 3 placed Lincoln Rocks by Rock Of Gibraltar. Lincoln Rocks is now a broodmare herself and in foal to Churchill. Redskin's second foal is Kodiac filly Kiwiana who has raced once so far for N Clement in France and her third foal is a Kyllachy colt called International Lion who has won as a two year old for Richard Fahey in 2019. We have retained her fourth foal, a Territories colt and intend to race him in 2020.Redskin Dancer, producer of Listed winner & Group 3 placed Lincoln RocksRedskin Dancer, producer of Listed winner & Group 3 placed Lincoln Rocks

            Redskin Dancer was a smart 90 rated performer on the flat and has developed into an imposing, powerful looking mare. Whilst her two year old International Lion has won as a two year old, the offspring tend to need some time and will be better at three and four as was Lincoln Rocks. In 2018 she was not covered and in 2019 was covered once by Oasis Dream on March 2nd and is in foal.

You can read more detail on Redskin Dancer and her family under her tab in the Broodmares & Families tab. 

            Next up on the Wednesday will be German bred Irisijana (lot 1928) who is by Diktat out of a Rainbow Quest mare and was listed placed in her racing career. She has produced two winners including Jahaafel who was sold at the Arqana breeze up sale in 2017 for €400,000 and James Ortega Bloodstock will be racing his 2018 full brother in France next year. The other winner Irisijana has produced is Manduro mare Identity who is now a broodmare and recently had her own first winner when 2yo I Promised Myself won in Italy on her fourth outing by no less than six lengths despite being heavily eased towards the finish. Irisijana comes from a strong black type family with colt siblings Irian and Ibicenco both being Group 1 performers whilst half sister Inez has produced Group 3 winner and Group 1 placed Sceptre who herself is now a broodmare which is also the occupation of her three half sisters Stacey Sutton, Fortuities and Molly Mayhem. Besides Inez, Irisijana has four other half sisters who are broodmares themselves or have progeny who are broodmares which means that this top German family is likely to continue to produce stakes performers in abundance. Irisijana, black type placed and producer of two winners from three foals of racing ageIrisijana, black type placed and producer of two winners from three foals of racing age

 You can read more detail on Irisijana and her family under her tab in the Broodmares & Families tab. 

            Finally the next lot (1929) will see Chicita Banana go through the ring. She is by Danehill Dancer out of a Night Shift mare and has produced three winners including listed placed Banana Split who is herself now a broodmare whose latest foal by Sea The Moon went through the sales ring this week and sold for 45,000 guineas. Banana Split also has a 2018 Showcasing filly to run for her in 2020 and has been covered by Intello. Chicita Banana also produced a Cape Cross mare (Dainty's Daughter) who is three quarters in blood related to Musidora Group 3 winner Joviality. Dainty's Daughter was unraced and is now a broodmare having produced a Dariyan filly in 2019 and covered by Lightning Spear in 2019. Chicita Banana's also produced Nathaniel colt Perfect Illusion who reached a rating of 88 and won three times when trained by Andrew Balding before being sold to race in Australia in 2019. She also has a 2018 Awtaad colt and a 2019 Bated Breath filly and is in foal to Charm Spirit.

            Chicita Banana is closely related to one of the outstanding newcomers of 2019 in Palace Pier who is out of a half sister (Beach Frolic) and is one of the favourites for next year's 2000 Guineas Classic races. Beach Frolic also has 2018 & 2019 colts by Camelot and Highland Reel on the way to race for her. Another half sister, The Madding Crowd, is also a broodmare so there is plenty of action going on under both Chicita Banana and her 1st dam Night Frolic.

You can read more detail on Chicita Banana and her family under her tab in the Broodmares & Families tab. 

Chicita Banana, producer of three winners including black type placed Banana Split & closely related to very smart juvenile Palace PierChicita Banana, producer of three winners including black type placed Banana Split & closely related to very smart juvenile Palace Pier

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Bated Breath Ten Up

Posted 21/9/2019

Kaanoon winning at Yarmouth in 2018Kaanoon winning at Yarmouth in 2018            Kokocha won at ParisLongchamps today leading all the way and winning on the nod over 1800m in a time that was faster than the Group 3 fillies and mares race which took place over the same distance just the race before. That's three wins on the trot for the daughter of Bated Breath out of Pivotal mare Leaves You Baby that we unfortunately lost in a claimer after she won at Clairefontaine. Congratulations to new owner and trainer Hedi Ghabri and hopefully she continues on the upward trend.

            The win was also an important milestone for James Ortega Bloodstock as that makes ten wins for the three Bated Breath horses we have bred of racing age accumulating prize money of around £300,000. Ekhtiyaar, rated 110, has won four and has been Group 3 placed whilst Kaanoon has won three and reached a rating high to date of 98. Needless to say Bated Breath is quite popular with us! And there are more to come as we have a yearling filly by the sire out of Group 3 winner Birthstone as well as a filly foal out of Chicita Banana who is closely related to very promising juvenile Palace Pier who has won two from two in impressive style. Looking forward to next year we have no fewer than three mares in foal to the sire and if we can continue with the success to date we will be more than happy!

            So what is it we like about Bated Breath? Well apart from the obvious that all three have won at least three races each, and whilst three horses (five including the youngsters) is not statistically a big number to be making comments on, I would say that they appear to have good temperaments as well as sound physiques. Ekhtiyaar was a bit buzzy and thought plenty of himself which he has proved he was entitled to do, whilst Kaanoon is a gent and Kokocha is a lovely, well mannered filly. I also think Bated Breath, a sprinter himself, fits well with mares who were middle/longer distance themselves as well as with sprinters. Ekhtiyaar's dam falls into the latter category whilst Kaanoon's and Kokocha's fall into the former. He's a solid individual and he passes on his frame to his offspring it seems to me.

            There is no doubt in my mind that Bated Breath is the best value sire around at the moment and we hope to have a few more winners down the line from him!Ekhtiyaar winning at Newmarket on the July CourseEkhtiyaar winning at Newmarket on the July Course

Kokochawinning at ParisLongchamps on Sept 21 2019Kokochawinning at ParisLongchamps on Sept 21 2019

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International Lion Keeps The Run Going

Posted 10/9/2019

            International Lion (Kyllachy x Redskin Dancer 2017 colt) continued a great run for James Ortega Bloodstock Ltd bred horses when he won at Thirsk on Saturday over a mile becoming our third horse to win their first race in the last 25 days. Trained by Richard Fahey and ridden by Paddy Mathers, he fell out of the stalls and lost 10 lengths at the start making a win look improbable. However, International Lion charged down the middle of the straight to win by a neck and, as the Racing Post pointed out, looks to have a progressive profile. There is certainly every reason to believe that he can improve and he is currently ahead of where his half sister, listed winner Lincoln Rocks, was at this stage of his two year old career. 

            That win followed the wins by Simone Brogi trained Kokocha and Grant Tuer trained Two Hearts in August and means that James Ortega Bloodstock has now bred 15 individual winners from 27 who have run for a success rate of 56%. Of those 27 runners five have won black type including Group 3 and Listed wins. 

            Today, another James Ortega Bloodstock yearling is up for sale at Tattersalls Ascot being Lot 39 Awtaad x Chicita Banana (2018 colt) and he is very closely bred to impressive Sandown Park winner Palace Pier who won for the Gosden/Dettori team on debut and has an entry in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes in October. The dam of the Awtaad colt is half sister to the dam of Palace Pier and both colts sires have Green Desert as grandsire. He looks a two year old and is half brother to three winners from the three other runners that Chicita Banana has had. 


Redskin Dancer, in foal to Oasis Dream, dam of Listed winner Lincoln Rocks and recent Thirsk 2yo winner International LionRedskin Dancer, in foal to Oasis Dream, dam of Listed winner Lincoln Rocks and recent Thirsk 2yo winner International Lion

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Two Hearts Gets The Job Done

Posted 6/9/2019

            Bruce Springsteen sang "Two Hearts girl will get the job done" in his 1980 song Two Hearts, and our two year old Havana Gold boy Two Hearts certainly did get the job done at Wolverhampton racecourse on Friday 30th August when holding on by a nose under jockey Rossa Ryan to win his first race on his seventh outing. He was very close to a second head bob loss in a few days having been beaten into second at Ripon on Bank Holiday Monday by a short head and a second close defeat would have been tough on him and connections. On both occasions he seemed to think he had done enough once he was in the lead and appeared to idle a bit whilst the others caught up. We believe he enjoyed the extra furlong in these 6f events and, as well as continuing to learn about racing with every run, he is showing an admirable consistency and desire to try his best. Perhaps he just needs to be delivered a little later in his challenge before he starts thinking about waiting for his mates!Two Hearts holds on to beat Port Noir a nose at Wolverhampton over 6f. Photo:- J HipkissTwo Hearts holds on to beat Port Noir a nose at Wolverhampton over 6f. Photo:- J Hipkiss

            Having started off with a 43 handicap rating after his first three runs, he was elevated to 49 following a good run at Musselburgh earlier in August. The Ripon effort could be qualified in the sixties given it was not a handicap and he was beating horses rated quite a bit above him. Friday's effort could also be rated around the high 50's/60 mark so it seemed fair enough when the handicapper raised him 8lbs to 57 following these two efforts. I believe he has a bit more improvement in him especially given his running style and would not surprise me to see him get to 65 or so in the not too distant future.

            After four good placed efforts, Two Hearts, based at Birkby near Northallerton in North Yorkshire with trainer Grant Tuer, has broken his maiden on his seventh outing and has shown that he has inherited some of Kodiac 88 rated dam Miss Mullberry's speed and ability. In fact Miss M almost won black type on two occasions in addition to winning three races over the 5f distance. He has improved 14lbs in the last month or so and, whilst he is demonstrating his friendly nature by waiting for the others once he hits the front, his running style, consistency and head carriage suggest that he is trying hard and is a genuine horse. He will now have a short rest and then hopefully we will see him back on the racecourse later in the month to continue his improving career.      Jim Atkinson, Rossa Ryan, Kath Tuer & Grant Tuer in the winners' enclosure with hero Two Hearts after his win at Wolves Photo:- J HipkissJim Atkinson, Rossa Ryan, Kath Tuer & Grant Tuer in the winners' enclosure with hero Two Hearts after his win at Wolves Photo:- J Hipkiss


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