La version de votre navigateur est obsolète. Nous vous recommandons vivement d'actualiser votre navigateur vers la dernière version.

  Latest News

Horses In Form

Posted 16/8/2019

            James Ortega Bloodstock bred horses have hit a good run of form of late including a three length win at Clairefontaine by Kokocha on Wednesday. We were not sure about running her on the soft ground as she has a good flowing action that appears to be better suited to good or faster ground. However, you never know and we plumped to give it a shot in the 1800 metre claimer worth €9,500 to the winner. Young jockey Thomas Trullier, who is having an exceptional year, took a valuable 1.5kg off her back and she broke well to lead the pack racing on the outside whilst a couple took the shorter route on the inner on softer ground. Allowed to stride on Kokocha showed she is in a fine moment of form as she raced away from the pack down the straight to win by a clear margin for her second win on the trot.

            Now comes the hard bit! Whilst Kokocha is not qualified for French Premiums and consequently less attractive to claim, there is always a risk that someone puts in a claim for what after all is a lightly raced improving three year old so after consultation with trainer Simone Brogi we made a defensive claim of €12,225 to keep her in our ownership. Unfortunately someone made a higher claim and so Kokocha is off to join young trainer Hedi Ghabri based in the north of France. I say "unfortunately" because Kokocha is a horse we like, being sound with a lovely temperament and improving form and we would have been happy to continue with her but you cannot cry about it when you enter these types of races and somebody puts a higher value on her. The price of €13,000 is fair for a horse currently rated modestly at 30.5 in kilo terms = 67 in lbs and she has the possibility to improve further. Hopefully she continues to do well and rewards her new owners to whom we wish all the best with her. Anything she does will still be a help to us as we have her half sister Azpeitia as a broodmare currently in foal to Mayson.

            Whilst Kokocha is doing so well in France our Havana Gold 2yo in the UK, Two Hearts, continues on his upward curve after his best performance to date at Musselburgh a couple of weeks back when he finished 1.5 lengths 2nd in a nursery handicap ridden by Nathan Evans well clear of the 3rd. This is his 5th run under the training of Grant Tuer in North Yorkshire and he showed good signs that he is learning the game and what he has to do in a race. It must be bewildering for these young horses when they first go to the races and it doesn't surprise me that it takes them a while to understand what to do. As a result of this second place Two Hearts has been raised from his initial rating of 43 to 49 which is still a lowly mark but is one that makes it easier to get into races and allow him to run without carrying extra weight. He's having a bit of a rest now after three fairly quick runs and we are hopeful that next time he can have a real shot at winning and continue his improvement.

            Finally, today at Newmarket was the debut of Take Me To The Sky who is by Tamayuz and is the first foal of Cape Cross mare Nassaakh. He fell out of the stalls probably thinking "what the hell is going on here?" but Jamie Spencer soon had him well balanced and moving well in a 7f novice event. I was getting a bit excited at the prospect of a Plus 10 win as Take Me To The Sky moved into contention in the final furlong but he still looked a tad green as he kept on well for a very close third place. A very encouraging run by this Ed Dunlop trained youngster who could go a couple better next time out. Whilst Ed may still be recovering from a night of celebration in San Sebastian after his Amazing Red won the Copa De Oro I am sure he will be very pleased with his 2yo's debut at HQ!Take Me To The Sky on the right in white with green epaulettes finishing 3rd on debut at NewmarketTake Me To The Sky on the right in white with green epaulettes finishing 3rd on debut at Newmarket

Read the rest of this entry »

Kokocha Flies In Whilst Two Hearts Gets Closer

Posted 24/7/2019

            Great to get a couple of runners out in the last few days and both were in the money as our 3yo filly Kokocha raced over 1800m at La Teste De Buch in France whilst Two Hearts tested himself on the tapeta surface at Wolverhamption over the minimum distance.          

            As we all know, Bordeaux is famous for its quality wine which improves with age as it matures. On Saturday at La Teste De Buch, a French racecourse situated to the South West of the capital of viniculture, our Kokocha continued to show signs of improvement as she works through her three year old career. Sixth on debut in February followed by a fifth, a fourth and a third, she came to La Teste with a fair chance of being in the first three and so it proved as she led all the way for a victory by one and three quarters of a length. True, it was only a modest claimer but the form of the horses in the places is not too bad and I have personally seen third placed Alexander win twice at the Lasarte track in Donostia-San Sebastian with the Spanish Jockey Club giving him a rating of 35 which equates to 77 in terms of lbs. The fancied horses finished to the fore and the time was relatively quick which leads me to suspect that the form is not bad coupled with the manner of her victory as she led all the way and, when the pursuers came to challenge, she went on again under a very competent ride by Jordan Plateaux. France Galop raised her rating to 30.5 (67) which I think is fair and, if she continues to mature like the splendid vin rouges of the area there is no reason to suppose she can not go in again.Julie leads in Kokocha ridden by Jordan Plateaux after winning at La Teste De Buch on 20th JulyJulie leads in Kokocha ridden by Jordan Plateaux after winning at La Teste De Buch on 20th July

            By taking this race, Kokocha maintained our record of all James Ortega Bloodstock's Bated Breath bred offspring winning, following in the footsteps of Ekhtiyaar, who is rated 110 and was a Group 3 second behind Blue Point this year, and Kaanoon who is rated 98. Our fourth Bated Breath horse is a yearling filly out of Group 3 winner Birthstone who will be sold at the yearling sales later this year and then we have a filly foal out of Danehill Dancer mare Chicita Banana who has already produced a stakes performer.

            It was a great day for our colours whether they were the UK or the French version. When becoming a French owner, our UK colours were already taken by Alain Chopard so we decided to make a slight adjustment by removing the epaulettes and putting a purple seam on to the silks. As one of owner breeder M. Chopard's horses won on the day both versions managed to get their heads in front!A very happy groom with the heroine chilling out after the raceA very happy groom with the heroine chilling out after the race

                        I don't think they grow too much wine near Wolverhampton but our Two Hearts came out for his fourth outing and first in a nursery handicap at the tapeta track on Tuesday. He sneaked into the race off a lowly 43 handicap and indeed was 2lbs out of the handicap, but he was still 16lbs better in with his conqueror at Catterick in his previous run when Blitzle beat him 5 lengths. Breaking well he was up amongst the front runners all the way but could not muster enough speed to overhaul the winner who appears to be on the upgrade and, according to trainer Ollie Pears, preferred the Wolves track to the Catterick one as she is a bigger type of filly not so suited to Catterick's undulations and tightness. Finishing again in third place, Two Hearts ran his race and halved the margin by which Blitzle previously beat him so we were not too disappointed although clearly he is no world beater. Whilst his dam was all speed and a 5f specialist, it may be he just needs a bit further so we are likely to test him over 6f next time out.

            Without doubt the runs of Kokocha and Two Hearts gave us more than enough excuse to uncork a nice bottle of red last night although I have to admit it was one of our favourite Ribera Del Duero versions rather than a Bordeaux. La prochaine fois un Bordeaux!





Read the rest of this entry »

Breath is a Storm at Royal Ascot

Posted 23/6/2019

            Royal Ascot has come to a close for another year with memories galore surrounding doubles by Blue Point and Stradivarius, Hayley's win and Frankie's foursome but from a breeding perspective the winner in my book was BATED BREATH who announced loud and clear that he is a sire who is around to stay with three winners from only five runners.

            It all started on Thursday when Biometric saved the bookies hides by beating Turgenev and so preventing Frankie Dettori winning five on the bounce when he stormed home in the Britannia handicap over a mile. This three year old colt out of a Zafonic mare looks a surefire future stakes performer. Incidentally, back in fourth was Awe, another Bated Breath participant who "won" the race of those drawn low in a race that favoured the highly drawn numbers on the stands side in the softer conditions prevailing on the day. Awe is out of a Medicean mare and so, like Biometric, is part of the Mr Prospector line.

            The next day saw the very exciting juvenile filly Daahyeh who dug deep to repel Celtic Beauty after being  momentarily headed a furlong out to win the 6 furlong Group 3 Albany Stakes. This filly is out of an Oasis Dream mare which is proving a successful cross for Bated Breath and that must be a particular source of pleasure for the Juddmonte operation who own both stallions.

            Finally came three year old Space Traveller on the Saturday scooting home under an inspired Danny Tudhope to win the Group 3 Jersey Stakes over 7 furlongs. This colt, who had already been stakes placed in the Group 3 Prix Eclipse in France as a two year old, is out of a Galileo mare and you would probably back him to get a mile with ease. Remarkably, Bated Breath's other runner at the meeting, Momkin, finished sixth of the 28 runners after a troubled passage and reportedly losing a front shoe meaning that whilst Bated Breath's progeny won all three races in which he had a participant, the two who did not win also ran big races and can be marked down as future winners at a high level.

            As I have mentioned before, statistics are wonderful things in enabling you to show what you want but I make no apologies for showing below a number set listing those sires with two or more winners at this year's Royal Ascot that shows Bated Breath with a 60% winners to runners ratio well clear of the other more established, much more expensive sires.


                                                                                                     ROYAL ASCOT 2019


                                           Sire                              Runners            Winners            Placed            % Winners/Runners        Cover Fee


                                            BATED BREATH               5                        3                        0                           60%                    £10,000

                                            Shamardal                        14                       4                        1                            29%                    Private*

                                            Sea The Stars                   11                        3                        2                            27%                    €135,000

                                            Galileo                              23                       3                         7                            13%                    Private*

                                            Frankel                             15                        2                        4                            13%                    £175,000


            * Whilst listed as "Private" you can be sure you would need a six figure number for Shamardal and double that for Galileo if it was even possible to get a nomination by either sire!


            If that table doesn't scream VALUE then I do not know what does, and all within a context of the quality that comes with a Royal Ascot meeting. Sure, these are statistically small numbers but it makes the clear point that Bated Breath is capable of siring progeny that can compete effectively at the top table and off a cover fee that gives the smaller breeder a glimmer of hope. And I believe there is more to come with Worth Waiting due to compete in any one of a number of Group 1's about to take place. That would be the icing on the cake for Bated Breath in 2019............a Group 1 winner.



Read the rest of this entry »

Two Hearts Are Better Than One

Posted 9/5/2019

            Our two year old by Havana Gold out of Kodiac mare Miss Mullberry did not sell at the Tattersalls Ascot Breeze Up sale despite posting a decent time and striding out well in his breeze. Very well prepared by Tanya Browne and Reinaldo De Souza in Ireland, I was surprised that nobody would offer more than the £4000 it cost us to buy him back as he has developed well despite being on the smaller side. Sure he is a first foal and his grandam, Chaenomeles, has not exactly set the world on fire which makes the page look light in recent times but dam Miss Mullberry won at two, was rated 88 and twice came within a whisker of black type over the minimum sprint distance. Furthermore the family under great grandam Eliza, who was champion 2yo in the USA, is full of black type and includes recent champion first season sire Dialled In.        

Two Hearts at his new home in North Yorkshire at Grant Tuer's stablesTwo Hearts at his new home in North Yorkshire at Grant Tuer's stables

     Whatever, the mysterious twists and turns of this industry will always cause you to wonder if you actually have any idea what you are doing and the best thing is to listen, reflect and not be afraid to either change course or plough on regardless as nobody has the answer to everything and the experts may all be wrong! So, after due consideration we decided to have a go with this colt and run him ourselves with North Yorkshire trainer Grant Tuer. The colt, who is affectionately known as Shrimp at the stud, was quickly officially named Two Hearts the origins of which lie in Bruce Springsteen's song which contains the chorus "two hearts, two hearts are better than one"  and reflects my wife and I spending 32 years together despite my horse obsession!

            Two Hearts made his debut at the back end of April at Ripon under jockey James Sullivan.  Slowly away he kept in touch with the main pack but it was noticeable how green he was as he ran around a bit but kept on pretty well to be beaten by just over nine lengths. Considering his tardy start and general bewilderment at what was going on, we were happy with his racecourse introduction. Jockey James said Two Hearts was too interested in the other horses (whether male or female!) and we have since had him gelded as we had noticed that this was a constant in his behaviour. He'll be given a bit of a break to get over that and then hopefully will show us that he can be a decent sprint racehorse in the next few months.

            The form of the race is working out well as the winner, Monolith, has since run a good third under a penalty, the third, Birkenhead, has run a close second also under a penalty and the seventh, Harswell, who was a length in front of Two Hearts has since won a Plus 10 race himself with a RPR of 72. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Kokocha Learning Her Trade

Posted 16/3/2019

Kokocha in the unsaddling enclosure after her race at Agen in March 2019Kokocha in the unsaddling enclosure after her race at Agen in March 2019

            Our three year old filly Kokocha, by Bated Breath out of Pivotal mare Leaves You Baby, had her second race last Sunday at French provincial track Agen which is roughly half way between Bordeaux and Toulouse in the South West of the country. She had run reasonably well on debut over 1600 metres at Cagnes Sur Mer where she finished sixth of eleven after a poor start. This time she was running over 1850 metres and was partnered again by top French based Basque jockey Ioritz Mendizabal. In the pre-parade ring we talked with him about her learning from that run and getting a better start whilst there was a bit of concern that the rain pouring down might not suit her as she has a nice fluid, good ground action. However, given that we have not had so much rain in February and March it could be said that the rain was somewhat welcome and that the ground would be good to soft at worst.

            At the off Kokocha started very well and possibly too well as she was up front and running a bit free for the first hundred or so metres before settling in fourth or fifth place for the majority of the race. The eventual winner was the leader for most of the way and coming off the final bend went away to score comfortably by over four lengths giving sire Gemix his first winner. Our girl kept on well enough for fifth (picking up 575 euros (£500) in the process) and we were pleased enough with that given the tight nature of the course and the slightly softish underfoot conditions. We estimate that she ran to about 29 in kilo terms which translates to about 64 in UK/Irish lb rating terms. 

            So what do we make of her first two runs? Well there is no doubt that she has run to a moderate level but there are a few reasons to hope that she can improve quite a bit given time. First, she has a fairly big frame and still needs to fill it out and strengthen up and she is only three years old at the end of March. Secondly, her dam Leaves You Baby did not make her debut until May of her three year old career and her first two runs were pretty woeful being rated around 30 on UK RPR ratings. She only got going at the back end of her three year old career and then won twice at four reaching a rating of 76 (34.5 in French terms). Thirdly, Bated Breath himself did not run at two and his progeny seem to be improving quite well with time. Indeed our Ekhtiyaar, who is five, managed to get black type and a rating of 110 last week when chasing home top sprinter Blue Point at Meydan and our other Bated Breath to date, Kaanoon, did not run at two and after winning three times at three made a very good debut at Meydan recently to start off his four year old career. Fourthly, trainer Simone Brogi is patient with his horses, likes Kokocha and seems confident that she can improve and at least win a race. Whilst acknowledging as owners the natural eternal optimism we often have in expectations of what our horses can do which subsequently can lead to disappointment, we think Kokocha is one to be patient with and given some time to show what she is truly capable of. Aupa Kokocha!Kokocha, fourth from the left, on the way to her fifth place behind comfortable winner Fureur De Vivre - photo by Robert PolinKokocha, fourth from the left, on the way to her fifth place behind comfortable winner Fureur De Vivre - photo by Robert Polin

Read the rest of this entry »

Worth Waiting for Bated Breath

Posted 27/2/2019

            Stallions do not have a great deal of time to proove themselves in today's highly charged and demanding world and if they do not produce enough stakes winners and high class two year olds in their first couple of crops they could soon be out of favour and away to lesser climes in racing industry terms. Bated Breath is a 12 year old stallion with three crops having raced and, whilst he has had some success most notably with Group 2 Railway Stakes winner Beckford, he is still to get a truly top class horse to shout out for him. He is stabled with rising superstar sires Frankel and Kingman whilst Oasis Dream has been there, done it and sent us all a postcard many times. Shining against that company is a challenge to say the least and it would be understandable if his owners, Juddmonte International, felt they had enough to focus on especially considering new boy on the block Expert Eye has joined in 2019. However, Juddmonte is a patient outfit that continues to support Bated Breath and here I take a look at what he has achieved to date, how 2019 is likely to be a key year in his stallion career and why it makes sense to persevere with him as a potential leading sire amongst those who do not cost a fortune.

            Frankly, his first crop overall did not shine although around 50% of runners have won and he has got four stakes placed horses in Unabated, SibilanceTake a Deep Breath and Al Johrah with the latter chasing home Lady Aurelia in that Royal Ascot Queen Mary demolition job and later running a close fourth to the same filly in the Group 1 Prix Morny. Three of these four have been effective at sprint distances gaining their black type at two years old over 5 and 6f with the exception being Sibilance who attained her listed placed at three over 1m. These performances reflected the speed that Bated Breath himself demonstrated on the racetrack and was a further positive in that he never ran at two years old yet three of his first crop achieved stakes places as juveniles. Recent impressive Meydan winner Ekhtiyaar showed promise as a two year old winning once from two starts and getting a rating of 85 and then stepped up to win a couple more races at three and a rating of 100. Whilst he somewhat disappointed at four, resulting in a gelding, he has improved again at five and reached a Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 116 (top RPR to date for a Bated Breath runner) when trouncing a field with nine black type performers behind him over 6f by over five lengths. He is now likely to go for a Group 3 race on "Super Saturday" and his first crack at a stakes race. He just could turn out to be a very smart sprinter in 2019 and certainly proove to be the best of the class of Bated Breath's 2014 born offspring.Ekhtiyaar powering home to his Meydan victory in Feb 2019Ekhtiyaar powering home to his Meydan victory in Feb 2019

            Bated Breath's second crop, which again has had around 50% of runners as winners, saw the sire gain his first stakes winners with Beckford, Worth Waiting and Vik The Billy winning Group 2, Group 3 and Listed races respectively. Whilst the latter did not really kick on from his Listed win in Italy as a two year old, the former won the Group 2 Railway Stakes then twice finished second in Group 1 events before he went to the USA and finished a creditable fifth in the Juvenile Breeders' Cup Mile and a rating of 113. He has won a race as a three year old whilst remaining over the pond but he has not run much due to injury. However, he has now recovered and has been transferred back to Ireland from where he will launch his four year old campaign in 2019. Beckford is another Bated Breath offspring who could just proove himself to be at the top end of the sprinting tree in 2019. Worth Waiting is possibly the horse with most promise as she is lightly raced turning out once late in her two year old career before improving steadily at three winning Listed and Group 3 events before finishing a respectable fourth in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille reaching a rating of 105. Unlike the other offspring mentioned so far, Worth Waiting is showing her best form at 12f being out of a Sadler's Wells mare who showed her best form at around two miles. This is important for Bated Breath as it demonstrates that he is not one dimensional distance terms and is capable of producing stakes horses at all distances from 5f to 12f. Neither Worth Waiting's sire nor dam raced at two, and it is likely that she will improve at four with trainer David Lanigan already talking of Group 1 races as being the objective for 2019. There are four other stakes placed horses in the second crop whilst Kaanoon, like Ekhtiyaar bred by James Ortega Bloodstock, won three of his six races at three over 8 to 9f having been unraced at two. He reached a top rating of 98 and is currently out in Dubai where he is expected to make his seasonal debut this Saturday over 8f on turf. Kaanoon is out of a Barathea mare who won over 12f and should be capable of getting at least 10f putting him in a similar, if slightly less exalted, bracket to Worth Waiting considering what he has achieved so far as well as the Sadler's Wells influence on distance. Whilst his dam did run a couple of races down the field in October of her two year old career, Kaanoon was not seen until reaching three and, given his imposing physique, he has potential to improve and join Worth Waiting as a stakes horse in the mid distance group of Bated Breath progeny. Fingers Crossed and I hope these ramblings haven't put the mockers on him for this weekend!Kaanoon winning at Yarmouth in 2018Kaanoon winning at Yarmouth in 2018

              The third Bated Breath crop is again showing a solid performance with four stakes placed horses so far in Viadera, Space Traveller, Breath Of Air and Feel Glorious. Added to that promising list can be Could Be King, who twice finished fourth in Group races reaching a rating of 103 as he is likely to be stakes placed in 2019 if he steps forward even marginally. French runners L'Ecriture and Hold True are two others who could join the black type club after both being beaten into fourth by only two lengths or less in Group 3 events. The third James Ortega Bloodstock Bated Breath offspring, Kokocha, who is trained by Simone Brogi in France, has just made her debut as a three year old at Cagnes Sur Mer finishing a reasonable 6th in a decent maiden after blowing the start. She is out of a Pivotal mare, has some size and scope about her, and will probably not be fully strengthened up until she reaches four years old. 

            In summary, we must remember that Bated Breath himself, whilst of average height, is  a well built powerful unit and did not run as a two year old, was decent at three but showed his best form at four and five. It is likely his crops need relatively more time than those of other primarily sprint sires to reach their potential. His first and second crops are now five and four years old respectively and we may see two or three that have developed over time become Group level winners with maybe one winning that elusive Group 1. I would suggest that Worth Waiting, Beckford and Ekhtiyaar are the ones that have the best chance to do that but there are quite a few darker horses from his second and third crops who may surprise us and provide that confirmation that Bated Breath can produce top horses capable of winning some of racing's best prizes. Despite the fact he did not run at two, he has shown us that he is capable of getting smart two year old sprinters which is key for any stallion in today's market. Having said that, there are also signs that he can produce horses capable of winning in the mile to 12f bracket, is not "just a sprint sire" and that breeders of longer distance horses could use him with confidence. Bated Breath has already done well as a stallion, is excellent value amongst those at £10,000 or less and 2019 could be the year that he prooves he is truly worth waiting for.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nordic Lights Up At Meydan

Posted 8/2/2019

Nordic Lights winning at Newmarket in 2018Nordic Lights winning at Newmarket in 2018            Four year old Nordic Lights, by Intello, improved for his first run at Meydan with an all the way win yesterday at the UAE track and looks to be improving. An expensive buy at the 2017 breeze up sales, he won a couple of races in the UK before slightly disappointing when upped to stakes class. Following a 2018 gelding he was given time to recuperate before his January reappearance when running fresh but holding on for second place in a 10f event at Meydan. Yesterday he got to the front quickly and kicked into a three length lead at the final bend before coming home over two lengths clear of stablemate Desert Fire over nine furlongs.

            Trainer Charlie Appleby will now take stock and possibly aim at the 9f Group 1 Jebel Hatta in early March although that would be a step up from yesterday's handicap win which Nordic Lights won off 104. He has been re-rated to 109 and the son of Marju mare Marika has a promising three year old half brother in Kick On. That colt is with John Gosden and ran a creditable fifth in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity at Doncaster at the back end of last season and is an exciting prospect for 2019. Nordic Lights's half sister Sabratah also has a stakes performing three year old Frankel colt in French based Syrtis as well as a two year old Frankel colt who sold for €600k last year. Another half sister in Invincible Spirit mare Zawiyah is one of James Ortega Bloodstock's broodmares who has just foaled an Equiano filly after a Twilight Son colt in 2018. Her first foal, a 2017 Kyllachy colt, is in training with Eoghan O'Neill in France and she is going to return to Twilight Son to be covered in 2019.

            Marika revisited Intello in 2018 so, all being well, Nordic Lights will soon have a full brother or sister and, judging by this family's rising profile, will be a valuable sibling for the future and can carry on the good work!.

Read the rest of this entry »

House Of Cards

Posted 25/11/2018

            Some sobering sales results for recent weeks will have left many vendors for the coming Tattersalls December Sales wondering about whether they will be able to move their stock on for a reasonable return and, longer term, what is the future of the racing and breeding industry. Prize money in the UK especially is too low and consequently owner demand is too low and this is clearly telling the market that it doesn't want a substantial number of foals, yearlings and, by knock on effect, broodmares that are being put up for sale. Luke Lillingston is probably right when he says one third of British & Irish bloodstock is worth nothing.

            Is this a cyclical phenomena or something more permanent in nature? Market correction is not always a bad thing as it ekes out the weaker elements in the industry (eg broodmares that should not be covered) and ensures the core remains strong. However I suspect, with regard to the UK, that the adjustment about to come is of a more permanent nature and that the industry is on the verge of a significant shrinkage unless more owners can be encouraged to take a pot shot at owning a racehorse. Potential owners know that they will probably not make money from racehorse owning but they are enticed by the dream of buying into a relatively low value horse, whether solely or in a syndicate, that could win a race at the local track and give great enjoyment to themselves, friends and family or even end up winning a big race at Royal Ascot! However, I suspect that many become totally disillusioned with the paltry returns that indicate they can expect to receive back on average about 8% of their outlay and after a few legs in various horses they give up. Some will look at that 8% return statistic for the UK and not even start. Would they give up so easily and would we be able to attract more owners into the game if that average return was 50%? I think so, but obviously easier said than done and it needs all parties to pull together with one vision.

            If this owner demand does not increase then production will plummet, perhaps not in 2019 as broodmares have already been covered in 2018 broadly along the same lines as before, but in 2020 and beyond. This will mean not enough horses for the recently increased UK racing programme which we are told is needed for the levy or replacement thereof to fund racing. Eventually the racing programme will need to be adjusted down unless we want a slew of six runner races which nobody wants as it will also impact betting turnover and hence funding for the sport and the downward spiral continues. We will end up in a few years time with a significantly slimmer racing and breeding industry even more dominated by a few super rich players than it is today. We may not return to the "Sport Of Kings" but it will become the sport of a few very rich people reminiscent of the old days which is a shame.

            In my view, we need to capture the betting part of the UK industry within a Tote or Pari-Mutuel style framework along similar lines to France and control the funding of the industry through the new racing authority taking over that role from the levy. Opportunities have been missed before to do this but better late than never. The new racing authority also needs to be the one mouthpiece of the industry otherwise we will continue with healthy parts within a struggling whole that needs all its constituent parts to prosper.

            Whilst there has been progress in recent years to work together, there are too many players in this racing and breeding industry all following their own interests but in the end taking too much out of the game relative to what is needed to be put back in to expand it. You can blame gambling companies but they are run on commercial lines and understandably look out for themselves but there are others in the industry who, again understandably, look out for their own interests and they are also part of the problem. Unfortunately the sum of all these interests is missing the main point that we need to attract more people to demand the product otherwise it is a one way scenario to an ever reducing industry in the UK that will shrink at the lower end leaving the top players and a fragile middle; a veritable House of Cards that is in the end of interest to nobody.




Read the rest of this entry »

Kick On Likely To Do That in 2019

Posted 29/10/2018

            A very good run by Kick On, who is half brother to our broodmare Zawiyah, in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday. It was only his third run but he kept on well for a sixth position beaten around three lengths against horses with more experience. Perhaps he could have been more prominently ridden but when the pace increased he was not far behind the winner Magna Grecia who showed a better turn of foot to win the event. Maybe Kick On needs 10f or so or perhaps it was just his greenness that caught him a bit flat footed because he was going as well as anything at the line.

            Nevertheless, another promising run by this Charm Spirit colt who received a Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 107 for his effort and I would expect to see him improve again as a three year old in 2019.

Read the rest of this entry »

Yearlings Move On

Posted 24/10/2018

            after a long week at Tattersalls Book 2 and 3 yearling sales, which started with our Tamayuz x Nassaakh colt being sixth lot on Monday sold to Ed Dunlop for 10,000 guineas and ended at 8pm on Friday after our Mukhadram x Leaves You Baby colt left the ring bought in, I can only confirm what everyone is saying about the selectivity of the market. Tamayuz x Nassaakh 2017 coltTamayuz x Nassaakh 2017 coltTop end sires, yearlings with smart pedigrees that look the part conformation wise and also look like making the track in reasonable time as two year olds were well sort after and sold very well. Scratch under the surface and its a real struggle lower down with basically not enough demand from those without bottomless pockets given the overall economics of owning a racehorse whether it be as a syndicate, partnership or sole owner. Enough words have been written to fill a library about why this is but its pretty obvious that as you can expect to receive prize money of about 8% on average in the UK on the cost of your racing venture then the thrill of winning, no easy feat in itself, is unlikely to last too long as your bank account begins to reflect the downside of your racing dreams. It isn't that owners are investing in racehorses to make money and probably the majority accept that overall they will lose money on the pastime, but the equation needs to be less brutal if we are to see an increase in demand from the general public in owning racehorses that would filter through into better prices for yearlings that don't meet all the supposed perfect criteria yet could still turn out to be decent racehorses.

            So how did the James Ortega Bloodstock yearlings do? The price for the Tamayuz out of Nassaakh was disappointing as I was hoping for around 20k not 10k but the positive thing is that he has gone to a good trainer and will get his chance to show what he can do. He is the first foal for Cape Cross mare Nassaakh and clearly important for her broodmare career. Second up was Lot 636, a listed winner and Group 3 placed Lincoln Rocks's half brother by Kyllachy out of Redskin Dancer. Kyllachy x Redskin Dancer 2017 coltKyllachy x Redskin Dancer 2017 coltHe had lots of interest and showed a tremendous temperament to deal with all the showing and distractions in the sales complex eventually being knocked down to Robbie O'Ryan dealing on behalf of Richard Fahey for 58,000 guineas. Again, I am very happy with the trainer this yearling has gone to and he should have every chance to do well. The following day we sold our Kyllachy x Zawiyah colt(Lot 857) for 19,000 guineas to Eoghan O'Neill who trains in France. As with the Tamayuz, I thought he would fetch around 10,000 more but it was not to be for this first foal out of the Invincible Spirit mare. As for the other two, this is a good result as Eoghan is a successful trainer and the colt has every chance. The final yearling was in Book 3 (Lot 1944 Mukhadram x Leaves You Babycolt) and I was worried as he was late on Friday evening when a lot of the purchasers have either filled orders or gone home anyway. My worries turned out to be real as I had to buy him back for 3,000 guineas which was disappointing as he is a fine stamp of a horse with plenty of scope and a lovely long, flowing walk. However, he does not look an early type and Mukhadram is not exactly a first season sire on fire although from my perspective he was never going to sire pretentious early 2yo types as he himself never raced at two and I would expect him to pick up next year. Whatever, our colt ended up unsold and headed back home to Hertfordshire. 

            Apart from Newmarket we have sent yearlings to Doncaster Goffs and Tattersalls Ascot where both colts were bought in, again reflecting the tough nature of this business at the lower end. The Havana Gold x Miss Mullberry first foal colt looks an early two year old type and is now in Ireland with Tanya Browne training up for the breeze up sales next year. I believe he will show us plenty of speed and be in greater demand next year than he was at Doncaster in August. Finally our Ivawood x Amarylis colt failed to sell at Ascot and was subsequently privately sold. Again disappointing as he should race at 2yo and no reason why he could not show up well, but the market has spoken and you have to play with the cards you are dealt with!

            In summary, not a vintage year for us for yearling sales but we have sold two black type winners for £20,000 in the recent past and another was bought in for that sum only £20,000 to sell for £52,000 in the breeze ups, so the market rejection of three yearlings  doesn't mean they won't be any good! Let's see.  

            Finally, thanks as always for the hard work by Mandy, Nick, Tash & Jo of Manor House Farm Stud who did an excellent job in getting the yearlings to the sales and showing them at their best. 


Read the rest of this entry »