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VALENTINE BLOODSTOCK NEWS

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January 2024

The New Year bounced into action for us at HQ Cheltenham , with SORCELEUR ( Saint Des Saints ) finishing a credible 3rd in the Listed Bumper. He was purchased as a Yearling in Arqana 21 November Sale, spent 18 months with us at Little Oakwell Stud being Broken & Pretrained before moving on to Paul Nicholls. He’s yet to get his head in front from 2 runs but looks a certain winner at some stage this season. His jumping whilst with us was exceptional, so we have high hopes for him when the 24/25 NH season comes round as he should hopefully find Novice hurdling much to his liking!!

 

We didn’t have to wait long for a New Years winner, KEEP RUNNING (Turgeon) got off the mark at Taunton for Warren Greatrex. The horse has taken well to fences this season, albeit he knuckled on landing and Unseated Harry Cobden on debut earlier in the season, he’s looked to enjoy the larger obstacles. It’s believed he’ll probably improve further when he tackles an intermediate trip either this season or next. He’s given his owner Mrs Julie Fowler some fun since he arrived from France and it was great to see him notch up a second victory in her colours. 

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Keep Running wins at Taunton

PRINCE QUALI ( Prince Gibraltar ) moved from France in February 2023. We bought him with Robert Walford and we all knew he had a small issue that would require some time off the track before resuming his career in the UK. He’s made an encouraging start hitting the frame over an inadequate trip at Wincanton this past month, he’s a big horse and despite having run a good few times in France in the past, the feeling is he could continue to improve on these shores under the right conditions. 

 

At home the 2YO’s – all ridden away in November / December as Yearlings - did another short block of work this past month, we saw some promise and appetite to do more at the end of 2023 so we gave them the opportunity to do a bit more. We introduced them gently to the gallop following an experienced horse, walking, trotting and a light canter round our All-Weather ring. They all went about it nicely, some of them more forward than others and no buttons even close to being pressed, but it’s great to see these young horses showing themselves off and it already has you dreaming about what might be in 3 ,4 ,5 years’ time! It’s certainly one of the most enjoyable parts of what we get entrusted to do by our clients and we take immense pride introducing the raw product to their future lives.

We’ve been busy organising several Broodmare movements to France this new year, notably a clients Black-Type winning Mare to visit the sensation Doctor Dino. The Stallion Scene in France offers breeders plenty of choice and in some cases truly great value, especially if they’re hoping to race the progeny. This year we’ll see the premier crop of both Goliath Du Berlais and Nirvana Du Berlais hit the track, they’ve been busy since they retired from the track covering strong numbers of mares each year. Like many out there we’re tipping them to be successful sires, they both have strong black-type maternal families and represent already successful sirelines in Saint Des Saints & Martaline respectively. In addition both their race records feature wins at the highest level possible, with GRADE 1 Victories in the Champion-3YO Hurdle (Nirvana) and Champion-4YO Chase (Goliath). If you’re considering where to send your mare there’s still plenty of time to secure a move, we’re able to assist in Stallion Choice, Nominations and finding a suitable & trusted farm for your mare to board, either permanently or for the season in 2024.

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Goliath Du Berlais (Left) & Nirvana Du Berlais (Right)

In France, Kassell Allen was a Listed Winner at Cagnes-Sur-Mer for Hugo Merriene and Owner / Breeder Bruno Vagne. I must add now that we have no connection with this horse other than a strong interest in his genetic make-up. Kassell Allen is by up and coming sire Castle Du Berlais and from the Haida II Family, she was a prolific winner in AQPS Bumpers nearly a quarter of a century ago in her native France. She is more likely to be remembered for the legacy she leaves as a broodmare however – especially when her genes have been matched with the multiple champion French sire Saint des Saints, Kassell Allen falls into this sample through his Grand-Sire of course and is joined by other black-type horses GELINO BELLO G1W, ELFILE G1P, VLADIMIR LW. The total yield when the match up of Haida II blood either direct or through daughters or granddaughters with Saint de Saints occurs, sits at 29% Runs / Wins, with an average rating of 63FR / 126BHA and every horse that’s run in the nick has Won. It’s got to be seen as impressive that Haida II Family x SDS have  consistently produced a horse of Avrg > Decent level ability and nearly 50% of runners have achieved Black-Type status. We were lucky to buy a beautiful Goliath du Berlais( Saint des Saints) colt as a foal in Arqana Nov 21 named LUMINO BELLO, now in training with Donatien DBS in France, he hails from the HAIDA II family as a great-grandson. Here’s hoping he can uphold family tradition….

Looking forward into February, firstly it would be great if we could get a slight change in the weather, this has felt like a very long and wet winter and by the end of the month we’ll start thinking about when the Yearlings can get out on pasture 24/7. It certainly needs to dry up before then and the long range forecast suggests maybe some colder weather before the sun comes out for the spring – so patience will have to be observed. Next week the Arqana Feburuary Sale mixed sale takes place in Deauville (13th & 14th Feb) if any readers wish to receive a shortlist prior to the sale please let us know, there’s still time to discuss any requirements and get organised. Although the catalogue doesn’t boast the substantial quality of the Summer or November Sale for NH stock, it still features plenty of interesting horses and probably represents a good place to pick up “value” types. 

Finally our thoughts go out to all those that were close to Keagan Kirkby, who sadly lost his life at Charing last Sunday. Rest In Peace Keagan. 

December 2023

WELCOME – firstly we hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year break, the racing over the Festive period was brilliant and we’ll touch on that later in this update. Our new year’s resolution was to offer some insight in to what we do at Little Oakwell Stud, in addition expect updates on Valentine Bloodstock purchases, future sales, visits to France and any insight we can offer on the French Racing & Bloodstock scene, plus more. We hope you enjoy reading the first addition……  

 

Since moving into Little Oakwell Stud, December has been the month we start taking the cars out the show garage onto the roads for the first time – it’s yearling ( Now 2YO’s of course ) breaking season, the wraps come off and we start to find out what we’ve got. We’ve got six this time round and I like to think each year we’ve upped the quality, both on physical and on pedigree. Our current client base continue supporting us to buy these types and it’s a real privilege to work with such quality animals year in year out ( I won’t add the pedigree’s here, but if you scroll to the bottom you’ll see the list of all our current 2YO’s )

 

The breaking of these horses follows two very basic principles, get them to listen, get them to relax, when they master those two bits, they learn very quickly. The majority of these horses have been with us since weanlings, so they’re used to us and we know their personalities. Being able to read our horses “tells” is a huge benefit to us and also to them, the better we know them the easier it is to know which buttons to press and how early. The horses will always tell you if it’s too early for the next step or indeed they want to do more and progress through the levels quicker! They’ll all start being driven in long reins , out the yard up the drive and back, the distance travelled progresses each day if the horses is cooperating. We’ll incorporate lots of turning and figure 8’s, this is giving them their “mouth” listening to the bit, we’ll stop them, ask them to walk on and keep them guessing – so they have to pay attention to the long reiner and not just march forward like head less chickens. It’s not always smooth sailing, some will take a day to master this, others much longer! Then it’s Lizzie's job to get on their backs for the first time, once they’re happy with the fact she’s up, they’ll take their first steps with a rider on. Firstly within the safe confines of our front yard, once mastered and everyone is content with the new arrangement they progress from a short walk around the barn to a 10-15 minute lot with a rider on boardup the road. Once they're competent and enjoying their new jobs we stop until March / April time… easy as that!   

Now further afield it was great to see a number of horses we’ve purchased win races in December. JUDICIEUSE ALLEN was up first, winning a Limerick Maiden Hurdle for Willie Mullins and Thurloe Thoroughbreds – a much needed winning tonic for the owners, who have had a rough year losing high profile horses through injury or retirement notably BUZZ. JUDICIEUSE ALLEN took nearly every inch of the 2m4f trip to get her nose in front, getting up in the shadow of the post. Expected to appear again on a racetrack late January she rates an exciting prospect for that team. IMAGINARY DRAGON won up at Kelso for Charlie, Nicola and Sandy Thompson, making his 4th start in the UK since transferring from David Cottins via Arqana 2022 May Sale. He ran out a ready winner by just under 10 Lengths and really it never looked in doubt throughout the race. He’s a lovely horse who should provide his very keen owners plenty more days fun days out. Then to Taunton where MOKA DE VASSY finally did the business and in style, this should give him the confidence to go on and fulfil all his potential having placed in a G2 as a Juvenile. 

 

 

 

 

 JUDICIEUSE ALLEN  wins at Limerick

Happy owners after IMAGINARY DRAGON wins at Kelso

 

Our Christmas Racing Highlight away from the success of the horses we had involvement in, had to be the jaw dropping, spine tingling display from IL EST FRANCAIS, this was something special. It’s no surprise he’ll miss Cheltenham in favour of a tilt at the equally prestigious Grande Steeple De Paris in May , if he stays the trip he'll take some beating. Both IL EST FRANCAIS & MOKA DE VASSY are sired by the latest sensation to emerge from Haras Cercy KARAKTAR. Who alongside the aforementioned horses sired x3 other individual winners during December in the UK & IRE. He’s a stallion that’s been bubbling away nicely with winners in France the last 2yrs and at the same time covering lots of mares. This combination provide the horse with strong momentum to go on and scale new heights as a sire, with a horse like IL EST FRANCAIS listed amongst your progeny the sky is the limit for the son of High Chapparal. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haras De Cercy - Karaktar 

 

As mentioned above, this is the list of 2YO’s currently residing at Little Oakwell Stud who have just been broken in;

 

- ROXIMAN – KAPGARDE EX. ROXINELA 

 

- LE BRETON – HUNTERS LIGHT EX. MAM'ZELLE NITOUCHE

- EAU BATIE – BATHYRHON EX. EAU PERLEE 

- APOLLON FORLONGE – KARAKTAR EX. LA KALICI FORLONGE

- ROYAL DINO – DOCTOR DINO EX. QUEEN CRYSTAL

 

- MILLEVIC ALLEN – CHOEUR DU NORD EX. SUNNY VIC

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