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Jamie's Blog - April 2012

Jamie in front of Becher's Brook
Jamie in front of Becher's Brook

How time flies when you're having fun the old saying goes and nothing is more fitting to explain my time here at Cheveley. With only a couple of weeks until the Guineas weekend, then the Sunline Scholarship takes me to Coolmore Ireland, it is hard to comprehend that I have been here for the best part of two months. With everything going on, mares foaling, lectures and coverings in the evenings and trying to ride out as often as possible, it really doesn't take long for the days to blend together and a couple of weeks have disappeared. In my last blog I said I would talk about the Craven Breeze Up and Races, but firstly I would like to touch on riding out for one of the best in the business, Sir Michael Stoute.

The Famous Newmarket Gallops

With the day off that I get every weekend at Cheveley I have been trying to make the most of it by riding out whenever I have the chance. Chris Richardson kindly put me in touch with Sir Michael Stoute's yard, stating "if you want to ride out you may as well ride out for the best while you're here", and that couldn't be more accurate. Sir Michael has been the champion trainer a staggering ten times and in recent times has trained the 2010 Epsom Derby winner Workforce, and Her Majesty the Queen's Carlton House, who finished third last year behind Pour Moi. He has two properties either side of Bury Road, where some of the best trainers in Newmarket are located. Freemason Lodge is the main yard with the capacity to house one hundred horses (pictures on the photo blog) and Beech Hurst on the opposite side of the road with room for another sixty. For the past few Saturday morning's I have been up and on the pushbike to ride out the first lot at around six o'clock. Being able to go and ride out for a trainer that has won pretty much every prestigious race in Europe and America was incredibly exciting and a real privilege.
A string walk home after completing their work up Warren Hill
A string walk home after completing their work up Warren Hill

The properties were great, but the horses I've been able to throw a leg over since I've been here, have been quite simply, outstanding! The first horse I got on was a Cheveley owned two-year colt by Pivotal out of Irresistible, a daughter of Cadaux Genereus, who sired the Melbourne Cup runner up Red Cadeaux last year. This lad was very well put together with short cannons, a good depth girth and a great hindquarter, a real two year old type. Mum was good enough to be listed placed at two and went on to be a listed winner at three over six furlongs and it looks like this young fella could be in the same mould, he has a great attitude and is very laid back, but I'm sure once the pressure comes on he will handle himself well.

Frankel works on the Cambridge Road Gallop.
Frankel works on the Cambridge Road Gallop.

My second lot for the morning was another two year old colt by Dansili out of Peeress, a homebred Cheveley mare who was good enough to win the Chariot Stakes over a mile at Newmarket at four and then went on to win the Lockinge Stakes, both at the definitive group one level. He was a quality looking colt, big with plenty of stretch but is most definitely only going to get better with age. Not a natural running two year old type, I would imagine he may have a run at the back end of the season but time is going to be his best friend and he will develop into a really nice three year old. I've also been lucky enough to ride horses by the likes of Galileo, Dalakhani, Danehill Dancer, Singspiel and Oasis Dream, some of very best sires in Europe without a doubt. I have really enjoyed my Saturday mornings and hopefully I can arrange a visit to the legendary Ballydoyle stables of Aidan O'Brien when I arrive in Coolmore, fingers crossed.
Tattersalls and British Bloodstock Marketing

Recently I was lucky enough to visit Tattersalls and British Bloodstock Marketing (BBM) one afternoon to find out more about both of the respective companies. Michael Martin kindly put me in touch with Jason Singh from Tattersalls and he was only too happy to give me the grand tour of the sales complex. Somewhat of the 'go to man' for the boys on this scholarship so far, he took me out and showed me around the historical complex on a typically cold and wet English day. He explained that the auction ring was only about forty years old as all the selling used to take place on the High Street in Newmarket. He went through Tattersalls humble beginnings in Hyde Park Corner in London before they moved to Knightsbridge Green and finally to Park Paddocks Newmarket where they are situated today. He also explained the company's links to hunting, the famous rotunda that is used as Tattersalls emblem and that they still sell in the traditional guineas, which is equivalent to one pound and five pence. It was great to spend time looking around the complex and it left me hungry for when horses will fill these boxes and I get the chance to inspect some of the quality horses that pass through this ring every year.

At lunch, Amy Bennett of British Bloodstock Marketing, who I managed to track down after getting in touch with Dennis Ryan from The Informant, joined us. I had seen her weekly column publicizing the latest happenings within the English racing and breeding scene and I wanted to get in there and see what the company was about. I went to BBM after lunch to find out how they tie in with the different auction houses, the British Horse Racing Authority, marketing of the English horse racing product and the special functions they put on. From a limited budget they perform many different functions within the industry and are particularly looking forward to their function to open the Royal Ascot meeting. It was great to be able to sit down and discuss something that I am really passionate about, the marketing of the industry. Combining my appetite for horse racing with my University degree is definitely something I want to pursue after this scholarship concludes.

The Darley and Juddmonte Tour

Amy and Laura from BBM had organized for me to go and have a look at each of these different studs, which was quite a surreal feeling. I've been to the sales and inspected yearlings with the old man a number of times and now here I am being shown some of the best stallions in the world, I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day.

At Darley Laura and I meet Benoit Jeffery, a Darley Flying Start graduate who is now selling nominations mainly in his home country of France. He gave us the grand tour firstly showing us several of the amazing stallions beginning with the Derby winning son of Monjeu in Authorized. He wasn't as big as I thought he might be, fine like many of the Montjeu's but with a quality walk and a great overstep, he just floated. Next was Poet's Voice, the QEII winning son of Dubawi was an excellent looking specimen. Much bigger than his father at 16.2 with great presence and stretch, good bone and a lovely deep girth, he oozed quality and a sire that I really liked who was very correct. Lastly was Dubawi himself, an absolute tank of a horse, just supreme muscle and power, only 15.3 and it must be said not the most elegant looking stallion I've seen. A bright bay who is short from wither to tail with immense bone. His record is second to none and he has that unique ability to leave horses that can win over any distance making him one of the worlds leading sires.

Next stop was Banstead Manor, Juddmonte where Oasis Dream, Dansili (arguably the best two sires in Europe) and Champs Elysees, Dansili's half brother stand. Some quick notes for Dansili were, big and strong with good bone, a lovely free walker whose feet weren't a perfect pair in front, but distinctive of the sons of Danehill. Champs Elysees was an outstanding individual, a real staying type of horse franked by his race track performance winning the Hollywood Turf Cup and Canadian International at 5 and 6. An interesting proposition with his oldest only yearlings, but everyone has been very impressed with them on the ground. Oasis Dream was a little finer boned than the two big son's of Danehill, but very correct and all class. Only 15.3 but a great solid shoulder and hindquarter, and a coat that just glistened. I couldn't have been more impressed with the way all three of the stallions were presented considering how very busy they are at the moment. A massive thanks to both Amy and Laura from BBM who have only been to happy to help me with anything that I have needed over here and a special thanks for setting up the opportunity to see these world class stallions.

Sales and Racing

Last week was the first race meeting of the season on the breath taking Rowley Mile course at Headquarters, Newmarket. The Craven race meeting ties in with the Craven Breeze Up Sale, recognised as the leading breeze up sale in Europe, where the horses breeze over two furlongs on Tuesday morning before being sold after the races on Wednesday and Thursday evening. Amy from BBM was again the first port of call and put me in touch with Larry Stratton who ironically Matt also spent time with last year, so off we went bright and early Tuesday morning in the lashing rain and wind to watch the catalogued two year olds breeze. After the horses breezed, a select few better than others, it was time to go and inspect some of the horses that Larry and James McHale, another Flying Start Graduate had selected from the breeze up results. Larry is associated with the HKJC and because Mark Richards had been very busy at the Sydney Easter Sales, they were not in the market for anything this year but we still inspected a number of colts and fillies just incase anything slipped under the radar.

The top lot was a son of Sharmadal who was bought by John Ferguson on behalf of Darley for 500,000 guineas who also went to 160,000 guineas to secure a son of resident Cheveley leading first season sire Dutch Art. Caspar Netscher was bought out of this sale last year from the same vendor and was very impressive winning the Guineas trial at Newbury on Saturday and definitely won't be out of place if he takes his position in the upcoming 2000 Guineas. A big thank you to Larry for taking me around with him and teaching me what to look for, not only in regard to conformation but also temperament, breeze up action and pedigree.

On Thursday, off I went to the Rowley Mile, suited and booted ready to have a crack at these bookies. What a great day out, I went with Mark the second man from Cheveley and we also met up with some of his other friends before watching the incredible racing that was on offer. Unfortunately I could only back one winner and the only runner that Cheveley had for the day finished midfield after looking promising but only being able to hold her position up the tough rise over the last furlong. But what an entertaining afternoon with the magnificent Millennium Stand, the famous racing silks hanging as you walk onto the course (Cheveley Park are up there) as well as the banners of the winners of the previous running's of the 2000 Guineas as you drive onto the course was amazing, a real buzz. I can't wait to get back there for the 2012 running to uncover the next possible exciting young sire prospect.

Cheveley Foaling's Continued…

Having worked on the main yard since I arrived, I have had the wonderful opportunity to watch and assist with some of the quality mare's foaling. Whenever a mare has shown the signs that foaling is approaching, for example having wax on her udder or closer to foaling, sweating, walking the box or getting up and down and some of the more unique signs that come with each individual mare, Dale (Stud Groom) has been on the phone to get me out of bed and come and see what it's all about.

Last week I was able to catch Russian Rhythm foal an Invincible Spirit filly, which everyone here is rapt about as she will no doubt be retained by the stud for her racing days and then retired to the impressive broodmare band. She is of course the filly that won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Lockinge at Newbury, a truly outstanding mare and one of the very best of the Cheveley band. Chorist another group one winning mare winning the Pretty Poly Stakes at The Curragh foaled a Dalakahani foal that I wasn't fortunate to see, but was able to help with the immediate after birth care, for example making sure the foal gets up ok, was able to pass the meconium and start suckling was very interesting as I hadn't had a lot to do with this process before. I have also been fortunate enough to ride her Galileo three-year-old colt Gospel Choir in track work at Beech Hurst and he looks to have a big future, I think we might hear this name again.

As I reported in the last blog the Cheveley Stallions had a great day at the lead up to World Cup night in Dubai, but an even better World Cup Night at Meydan on the 31st of March. African Story franked his lead up form when he won the Group two Godolphin Mile for Godolphin as did Krypton Flyer when he beat the Singapore champion Rocket Man in the Golden Shaheen. In the biggest race of the evening the $10 million Dubai World Cup, Godolphin quinellaed the race with Montreosso winning for resident Darley sire Dubawi and Capponi by Cheveley Parks Medician running a gallant second. What a great night for the stud and evidence of their position as one of the top stud farms in Europe.

Unfortunately I can't write about everything I've been doing over here, but I assure you I have tried to make the most of every opportunity and it really has been an exciting stint with so much going on the time really has flown by. I must give a massive thank you to the management and everyone at Cheveley Park for being so welcoming and helping me fit in with the daily routines and allowing me to increase my knowledge of how exactly one of the very best studs in Europe is run. I hope to catch you all again soon with my intention to catch up with some friends at the Arc de Triumphe meeting before returning to Newmarket for the yearling sales at Tattersalls in October. It has been the most magnificent experience and I can't thank every one enough for making it such a memorable few months.

As always don't forget the photo blog at http://sunlinescholarship.blogspot.co.uk

Keep well everybody,

Jamie