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Tavistock continues the Mrs Moss story

It comes as no surprise that Group One Mudgeway Partsworld winner Tavistock (Montjeu-Upstage) was bred by Bloomsbury Stud, established in New Zealand in the 1990's by the then Lord Tavistock who, before his death in 2003, became Robin the Duke Of Bedford.

Four years after his death Henrietta, the Duchess of Bedford, made the decision to scale down her breeding operation in New Zealand and Bloomsbury Stud was sold and the stock dispersed in 2007.

A fellow Englishman, Richard Craddock, a friend of the Duchess was at the sale and purchased the Quest For Fame mare Upstage (ex Pedestal) in foal to Shinko King, and subsequently returned an interest in the mare to the Duchess.

"It was a family I knew so much about and I was lucky enough to be able to buy into it – in fact I bought two mares that day, the other one being Upstage's half sister Worship (Irish River – Pedestal), in foal to Pins, and for good measure I also bought Bible Class (Volksraad-Worship) to breed from as well," said Richard Craddock when interviewed following Tavistock's win.

"This is the Duchess's wonderful Mrs Moss (Reform-Golden Plate) family from whom she bred the likes of the Japan Cup winner Jupiter Island, Precocious, Pushy and Krayyan, and a family she is still nurturing now. It's one of the best families in the world."

In fact Richard, a member of the Waikato branch of the NZTBA, is so wrapped up in this family he has been keeping an extended pedigree chart of Mrs Moss and all her descendants for the Duchess since they were introduced by a mutual friend around 25 years ago. It makes truly fascinating reading. It covers the 316 foals of racing age including the Northern Hemisphere two-year-olds in 2009, 6% of whom are Stakes winners (20), a further 11% are black type performers (35), 51% of the live foals of racing age are winners, and there are 162 individual winners of 425 races and over $12.5 million. Recent stakes performers besides Tavistock include Rainbow Dancing in France, and in the Southern Hemisphere; The Raj, Precedence, Jewelled, and Veldt.

After Richard purchased Upstage, her first foal Inertia (Danasinga) became a winner and just recently the next foal, Over Play (No Excuse Needed) has also won. Tavistock was the next foal, and the Captain Rio three-year-old Campinas has been named in Australia but has not yet raced. The Shinko King filly was sold as a weanling and is now a two-year-old.

"It was a connection with this family that started my friendship with the Duke and Duchess. I owned one of the biggest thoroughbred advertising agencies in Europe and Henrietta asked me to help her launch Precocious (Mummy's Pet- Mrs Moss) when he went to stud in the mid eighties, and that was when I first became interested in the family.

"That's probably part of the reason why, after Tavistock won his first race in March last year, I rang Henrietta and congratulated her on breeding him. She graciously thanked me and quipped back 'ah but you have the mare', to which I replied that I might let her back into the horse, after all I wouldn't be here in New Zealand if it wasn't for Henrietta's influence.

"In July 2006, when things went slightly awry for me in England, Henrietta invited me down to New Zealand for a three week holiday. By the time I had been here five weeks I had bought four mares at the August brood mare sale and a house! I stayed for 12 weeks, and returned the following year and things have grown since then," Richard explained.

Richard is currently breeding from seven mares in the Southern Hemisphere, three of whom are owned in partnership with Bloomsbury - Upstage, My Queen (Manntari –Tbaareeh) another descendant of Mrs Moss, and Like Me Wild (Cape Cross- Hayley's Abbey). He has still has a couple at stud in the Northern Hemisphere. He has a 70 acre property - Point of View Farm on the outskirts of Matamata - where he now lives and is slowly developing into a boutique horse breeding operation.

He had 'officially' retired in England from a successful career in the bloodstock world, but has found himself still working while here in New Zealand to assist in his immigration process.

"I started out as an amateur rider in England and worked as an assistant trainer for about 10 years. I rode as an amateur in Hong Kong for about three months as well. Following that I became a publisher's assistant to the Bloodstock Adviser on the equestrian magazine Horse and Hound. From there I was head hunted by one of the finest gentleman in racing - Robert Sangster - to become the Advertising Manager for Pacemaker, where I advanced to Advertising Director, before leaving to establish the first thoroughbred advertising agency in England," he said.

Richard was involved in this line of work for the next 20 years or so, and also started a statistical data company known as Hyperion Promotions. Over the years he also dabbled in horse breeding, racing and trading. He still maintains a shareholding in Hyperion Promotions, consults to the Irish National Stud, and publishes the "James Underwood's Review", an annual magazine which analyses the past European racing season with both editorial and statistical data.

He has bred a number of good horses in both hemispheres including the listed winners Assertive Lady, (Assert - Cairene) the winner of the Labour Day Cup at Morphetville, and Almond Mousse (Exit To Nowhere-Missy Dancer) the winner of the Prix Ceres at Saint Cloud who was also placed in the Group Two Sun Chariot Stakes, and Group Three Edmond Blanc and Prix Fille de l"Air.

But right now he is focussing on the forthcoming breeding season, and where he will mate his mares.

"Upstage missed to Zabeel last season and is most likely going to High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells-Kasora), obviously for the Sadler's Wells cross. I am sending Worship and Bible Class who is in foal to No Excuse Needed to Guillotine (Montjeu-Refuse The Dance) for the Montjeu cross. Guillotine is only arriving this week and I will go and inspect him, who knows if I like the look of him I may switch Upstage there as well.

"My Queen (Manntari-Tbaareeh) produced a filly to One Cool Cat last week and she will visit Sakhee's Secret. Her half-sister Jewelled (Zabeel) was stakes placed as a three-year old last season. Another of my mares going to a first season sire is Secret Miss (Zabeel-Office Affair) she will visit Alamosa. She has a yearling by O'Reilly and is due to foal to Patapan. I also have a Mozart mare Light Mozart (ex Footlight Fantasy by Nureyev) in foal to Show A Heart.

"It's amazing how your luck changes in this thoroughbred game, I was having a really bad run, with mares being empty, and losing a smashing Don Eduardo colt out of Bible Class, then at the end of July one of my racing mares Elusive Chik (Elusive City-Qwikchik) won at Waipa and things have looked up ever since.

"Last weekend was no exception, especially with Tavistock winning the Group One race, and shortly after that Denman (Lonhro) winning the Golden Rose, as we have Like Me Wild due to foal to him, before she visits No Excuse Needed. It could well be a spring to remember."


- Michelle Saba