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VALENTINE BLOODSTOCK NEWS

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May 2024

Feels like spring has finally arrived and the horses here are all thriving on the grass and in their exercise programmes. At the time of writing all our 2YO’s are in a winding down stage after an intensive month of work during May, which we hope has set the foundations for their racing careers in the not to distant future. They’ve all been schooling, completing strong but collected canters on the ring gallop and all of them have shown up nicely. Our group this year are probably more backwards types of horses in comparison to previous years, so it’s been really nice to see them progress mentally and even when finding tasks set challenging they've all shown great attitudes and will finish this block exactly where we want them to be in their development and skill set. We think they’ll improve again for a break and then return in the late summer for another 6-8 weeks work refreshed and ready to learn a bit more! 

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Le Breton (Hunters Light) & Eaubatie (Bathyrhon)

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Apollon Forlonge (Karaktar)

Each year we sell a 2YO we own through public auction, Don Virginia made £32,000 at Doncaster August Sale in 2022 and Deception Island n21. got £25,000 in Doncaster September Sale 2023. This time round we’ve been preparing APOLLON FORLONGE, but this year it’s Arqana not Doncaster. Apollon Forlonge has been earmarked for this sale for the last year, he’s a seriously classy individual that for us ticks nearly every box, he has size, scope, pedigree, looks in abundance and we’re very much looking forward to seeing how he is received. Channel Consignment will sell him on our behalf and he ships to France for his final preparation in the coming days. We’d rank him right near the top against horses we’ve had through our hands and are sure whatever happens in July he’ll go on to having a successful racing career.

In terms of runners we’ve bought through May, it’s been understandably quiet. LUMINO BELLO ( Goliath Du Berlais ) returned to a racecourse off a short 19 day break and maybe ran a bit flat at Compiegne, given this it was very encouraging to see him finish 2nd behind another Goliath Du Berlais horse Early Mist and in front of an expensive & well regarded Doctor Dino horse of Noel Georges, back in 4th was a next time out winner as well. This wasn’t a bad run by any means, being AQPS bred he’s almost a certain improver for time and duly be given a break now until the autumn season commences in Paris. He sits just outside the top ranking Males 3YO’s on his 2 starts and remains an exciting prospect this autumn and well beyond. 

Lumino Bello at Compiegne

At the end of my latest trip to France to buy foals I scheduled in 2 days in Paris to attend the jewel in the crown meeting of French NH racing – Grand Steeple De Paris weekend at Auteuil and it didn’t disappoint! This was my first time attending the fixture and the crowds were notably greater than any other day I’ve been to at the home of French NH Racing, the atmosphere was brilliant, the love for the horse evident. On both days but especially the Sunday the stands and concourses were filled with avid racegoers alongside families enjoying the day out, I think British racecourse’s could learn a lot from the mix of people they attracted at this meeting. At the centre of it all the main lure was the racing and the horse’s themselves which for those already in love with the sport it felt like a real celebration of what we all do this job for – trying to find the best horses and crowning champions. 

Louise Carberry took the GSDP with Gran Diose (Planteur) he’s been steadily progressing the last few years and probably taken this length of time to fill his exceedingly tall frame! This is Louises’ 2nd GSDP after her Doctor Dino horse won it a few years back and that’s a remarkable achievement for a stable of her size – so bravo Lousie, her team and jockey Clement.

Cokoriko finally claimed his maiden Grade 1 victory through his son Kolokico, who started off in Pau earlier this year and won a G1 5 months later decisively . Cokoriko has been banging on the door for a while now, he’s always had a high profile as a sire and last year took the French Champion NH Sire title, a G1 winner had eluded him but no longer and this will surely be the first of many.

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Cokoriko

Nietzsche Has continued on his winning path to the G1 Cambaceres in November by winning the G3 3YO C&G’s Hurdle, he won with ease if a little bit flat after taking in a few races this spring already. He’s by the top flat stallion Zarak and a female pedigree that already includes a Cambaceres winner in Nirvana Du Berlais. Right now there isn’t a 3YO that looks like they’d beat him, they say you can’t win the championship 3YO Hurdle in November without having run in the spring, so it really wouldn’t be a surprise if his victory march continues all the way through.  This would give his trainer Marcel Rolland a remarkable back-to-back victory in the race after Jigme in 2023 and we could see Nietzsche Has take up stallion duties like the aforementioned in 2025.

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We’ve been hard at work in Normandy and the central region of France this spring sourcing foals for our clients to return to us at Little Oakwell or respective client farms. This is never an easy process so it’s very rewarding to have acquired a very strong group already that will nearly fill our barn up this winter! Making new connections over there is a key ingredient to future successful purchases so the trips across the pond will by no means slow down! In the coming months we will be attempting to source Foals for ourselves and our investment syndicate we’ve operated since we started – which to date have all returned a profit for investors. In addition we’ll be sourcing Foals to stay in France for UK owners, we’ve seen an ever increasing amount of people interested in racing over there, given the fragile state of UK racing prize money right now, combined with an interest in something new we don’t see that curiosity slowing down until the BHA get their house in order.

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Karaktar x Cavalerie n24. Colt

Goliath Du Berlais x Coeur D'Allen n24. Colt

(Both Colts purchased for UK Clients)

Arqana Summer Sale as previously mentioned is now only weeks away ( July 2nd - 4th ) and the catalogue has been released already, it’s a great place to pick up a horse at any budget so would recommend to anyone that they get in touch soon for a chat if you’re interested in seeing a shortlist or want more information on what we can offer during the sale. 

April 2024

Lumino Bello - 3YO Hurdle Winner 

April is the final month of the UK & Irish National Hunt season, over in France however the Spring / Summer season is only reaching it’s midway point. We’ve been eagerly awaiting the debut of LUMINO BELLO (Goliath Du Berlais) since the season kicked off at the end of February and the wait was well worth it, after he won snuggly at Nantes this month. Given an educational ride from Clement Lefebvre, he took it up rounding the bend with ease and galloped home in a greenish fashion, leaving the impression there was plenty left on the day and tonnes of improvement to come. Lumino Bello was purchased as a Foal for his owners Gascoigne , Brookes & Allison and from the moment we put Lizzie on board in the winter of 2022/23 it was obvious he had something a bit different about him. He’s an exciting horse to be involved in and takes our record amongst the 4 horses produced at Little Oakwell Stud (having debuted) to 9 Starts, 3 Wins, 5 Places. Understandably we’re delighted that all these horses have continued their progression once leaving us and we look forward to following them as they continue their journeys!

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Prince Quali ( Prince Gibraltar ) made it two on the bounce at Chepstow, taking his UK Chase record to 4 starts , 2 wins , 2 places, starting the season off 114 and ending up on 128. He’s been a bit of star for his owners and trainer Robert Walford, earning 36k across the season and with the form of his second victory at Chepstow looking hot after Sans Bruit won the big 2m Hcp Chase at the Aintree National Festival , they can all day dream away the summer looking forward to another fun year with him. 

Our group of x6 2YO’s came back into full work at the start of the month, beginning with some road work whilst they adjust to the feeling of the rider on their backs once more, doubling down on what they were taught through the winter. Now they’ve built up a bit of fitness and rider & horse are in sync they’re all cantering away on our ring gallop, with the sole aim of getting them to relax, which teaches them to breathe properly and carry themselves well. 

All the work is done in a collected and steady tempo, our ring gallop was designed specifically for these important few months and the youngsters swiftly take to it, the development you see day on day is really rewarding. Some of them grasp this stage quickly and find picking the bridle up a completely natural process, gradually raising the tempo of the canter but never getting too carried away. The work load we demand in these months forces their skeletons to adapt and its thought within veterinary circles that stressing the more immature horses in a controlled manner, can help to improve longevity and soundness long term. The body is forced to adjust at an earlier stage before the horse becomes too heavy, causing the joints especially to struggle with the workload imposed on them by waiting until 3 or 4 before they’ve done anything of real substance. 

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Royal Dino 2YO

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Apollon Forlonge 2YO

We waved goodbye to x2 3YO’s who had been with us since the Autumn of their foal year, Livingit Du Large (Nirvana Du Berlais)  &  L’Air Du Large (No Risk At All). 

 

They were bought from the same field at Pascal Noues’ Haras de La Hetraie in the summer of 2021 and have been together ever since, so it was a rather sad day when the horses parted company in Mid-April, although our business revolves around the horses moving on, it’s never easy to see them leave. Both horses passed every test we gave them across the nearly 16 months of ridden work on and off, so we are sure they will flourish in their respective new homes with trainers Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerrieo (L’Air Du Large) and Jane Williams (Livingit Du Large) best of luck to all connections.

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The maestro Willie Mullins reigned supreme once more at Aintree, bagging 4x Grade 1’s and the big one in the Grand National. Although the battle for the UK Trainers title rolled on until the end of the month, he’d effectively secured it when I Am Maximus crossed the finishing line in front that Saturday afternoon. He was never going to let that lead slip when victory in the trainers championship was within his grasp, launching an armada from his stable at several ‘smaller’ meetings in the subsequent weeks. Myself and Lizzie were lucky to visit Clossutton last autumn and got the chance to have a light hearted chat with Willie over a cup of tea half way through the morning, his success and dominance in his own words the result of exponential growth in the last few season, that was never a conscious or intentional move, just a result of more owners wanting to use him and cautious not to say no after the Gigginstown exit one suspects. It’s a perfectly oiled machine, with the obvious top horses and a human team around him to match the equine talents. His success has impacted the sport, its impossible to ignore that his buying power and lure to new owners isn’t affecting others within the sport negatively, however racing like life is a cyclical thing so it will no doubt come round, in the mean time we must keep working hard to identify the equine talents earlier before Willie gets his hands on them! 

 

Back to Aintree for a brief “Bloodstock Review” out the 19 PremHcp > G1 races FR breds were responsible for x11, IRE x5 and GB x3. x10 Grade 1s were run across the meeting and FR Breds collected x7 of those, IRE x2 and GB X1. Authorized, Diamond Boy, Walk In The Park and Kayf Tara won x8 races between them, x2 each respectively. 15 different sires had the winners of the 19 races, which just like after Cheltenham reminds us to keep looking for new or existing sires outside “fashion”. 

 

Sadlers Wells was prominent within 3 gens of 11 o/o 19 winners, which is the usual prompt to nod at the massive influence that horse has had, not just with Montjeu as a NH sire but Galileo – who although seems to be subject to regular scorn as a NH sire – has proved himself to be a rather positive impact and now a sire of sires within NH spheres. His sons include Feel Like Dancing, Mahler, Nathanial, Telescope (mentioned in previous newsletter) , Galiway and Order of St George , he’s also the Grand-Sire (through Australia) of Mare Australis who looks to be producing some beautiful foals this year over in France. 

 

Hats off to JP McManus who bred x2 Grade 1 winners at the meeting in Inothewayurthinkin and Mystical Power, backing up his successful Cheltenham as an Owner / Breeder. 

 

From French exports we saw x4 winner’s, Impaire Et Passe & Il Etait Temps coming out of smaller tracks Vichy & Nancy and Sir Gino your stereotypical ‘export’ out of an Auteuil 3YO spring hurdle obliged as he should in the G1 Juvenile after missing Cheltenham. The final ex-French was Sans Bruit, who wouldn’t be your typical export having raced over 10 times for D Cottin in the same ownership before arriving in the UK.

 

Ex-Irish Pointers took home 6 winning prizes, x2 expensive purchases in Jonbon & Gerri Colombe and a “cheapy” for 16,000 in Colin Bowe graduate Arizona Cardinal winning the Topham for Stuart Edmunds and Ciaran Gethings. 

 

Some further stats relating to the Dams of the 19 PremHcp > G1 Winners

 

  • Average age ( of Dam ) at conception of winning horse 9 YO

  • Average races ( of Dam ) 11 Races

  • 7 Winning Dams 

  • 4 Black-Type Performers or Winning Dams 

 

The UK season has come to a close and we can now reflect on how the horses we’ve bought have performed. The 23/24 NH Season was our first season with a decent number of horses running and it’s been the debut year for our initial group of Little Oakwell graduates ( bought & pretrained at home). In numbers we’ve had 20 individual runners with 12 individual winners, they’ve won or placed at strike rate of 45% and the young horses (as mentioned above) produced here have set a standard we now feel we need to keep delivering on. We’ve had winners in France, UK and Ireland , bought winners for 7 different Trainers and seen 2 of our yard grads place in black-type races. Our personal report would read “done well, shows promise but needs to keep trying” …… which of course we will.

March 2024

The French National Hunt season bounced into action in March and we’ve already seen multiple meetings held at the big tracks, Auteuil, Compiegne & Fontainebleu and it’s been hard not to notice the super-fast  start GOLIATH DU BERLAIS ( Saint Des Saints ) has made with his debut crop of runners. We’ve always been a huge fan of this horse and for a multitude of reasons, his pedigree, physical and race record are as close to being a blueprint for brilliance as you can get. Combine the aforementioned with the success of his sire (Saint Des Saints) earlier stallions sons JEU ST ELOI & CASTLE DU BERLAIS,  you look at Goliath Du Berlais  with a superior profile to JSE & CDB and think the sky could be the limit for him. He’s set a strong pace with his first few runners, x9 Runs, x2 Winners, x7 Places and at present ( Newsletter written 12/04 ) he currently sits top of the tree for 3YO Races on Prize Money Earned. We’ve been lucky to handle some of his stock at home and they have remarkable minds on them, love to work and keep coming back for more and we’ve heard the same from others who’ve had them. As long as he keeps breeding them, we will keep trying to buy them.

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Goliath Du Berlais (Saint Des Saints ) 

Another sire who has made a really good start to the season is BEAUMEC DE HOUELLE ( Martaline ) after a less than ideal start with his runners in 2023, he jumped back into action on the opening day at Compiegne with a Winner and 2nd in the Fillies and then Colts 3YO Hurdles respectively. He also sired the winner of 3Yo Hurdle at Auteuil at the opposite end of the month, taking his record to the month with 3YO’s only to x4 Runners, x2 Winners, x2 Places and La Marquise took her winning tally to x2 wins this season for Jamie Snowden in the UK. Beaumec De Houelle was a champion 3YO Hurdle, winning the G1 for 3Yo’s at Auteuil in November, he’s from a nice pedigree and represents a strong sire line through Martaline – in fact he’s almost the spitting image of his father. There’s a lot to like about the him, in his first 5 seasons at Haras de Montaigu he’s covered at an average of 115 mares per year. Those numbers would place him in the higher percentile of mares covered by French stallions in recent years. The number of foals produced from those mating’s and some good early momentum in 2024 should help him maintain the reputation he retired to stud with. I for one think he’s very much one to keep onside despite his slightly underwhelming start in 2023, he produces a nice type of horse, many of which have his tall, well balanced body with a strong and athletic silhouette.  

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Beaumec De Houelle (Martaline)

I spent 6 days in France the week after Cheltenham touring the North-West region, seeing upwards of 100 foals at around 15 different farms. It’s a demanding process, but a highly rewarding one, especially when you find a Foal that ticks a few boxes! This time round we came away with two foals, for two new buyers to us, a Filly by Motivator from the direct family of recent Cheltenham winner Fact To File and a Mare Australis Colt , Half-Brother to Listed Winner Kel Du Large and from a family and breeder we’ve had good success from in the past. There were plenty of foals that reached the shortlist, mainly ones that were very young and need to be seen once more before decisions can be made on purchases, if you’re considering a purchase do get in touch before we go back in April. 

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Don Virginia , Captain Marvellous & Sorceleur at Little Oakwell Stud 2022

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Cheltenham has been and gone and what a fantastic meeting it was, highlighted by that ultra-tough display in the blue ribbon event the Cheltenham Gold Cup by Galopin Des Champs. This was a dominate display by a horse at the peak of his powers and it was talent, toughness and class that won the day. Gaelic Warrior was scintillating  in the Arkle, Ballyburn announced himself as the “next big thing” In the Ballymore and Golden Ace gave GOLDEN HORN a well deserved first festival win in the Mares Nv Hurdle, beating a very classy field of young mares. When all the shouting was done, it was the FR bred horses that came out on top with 11 victories from the 24 Premier Hcp > G1 Races across the week, Irish breds took 10, German breds 2 and the GB bred horses 1 with the aforementioned Golden Ace. The living legend Saint des Saints shared top honours with another legend Shantou both gaining x2 victories, 

 

Yet again it should serve as a huge reminder that there were so many different sires represented with winners, including those that are deemed unfashionable. Slade Steel (Telecope) won the supreme in good style and I am sure 6 months earlier you wouldn’t be able to give away a Telecope foal. Now he’s shown his ability to get a good one – will the sales fashion driven market in the UK & Ireland follow the advice the racecourse gives us, time and time again? 

 

7 of the 24 victors came through Irish P2P’s and it should be noted that only 2 of these were available to purchase through a sale, with the other 5 changing hands privately. Another 7 came through the buoyant  French HIT market, all sold privately to their current connections. 

 

Some further stats relating to the Dams of the 24 PremHcp > G1 Winners

 

  • Average age ( of Dam ) at conception of winning horse 10YO

  • Average races ( of Dam ) 13 Races

  • 12 Winning Dams 

  • 5 Black-Type Performers or Winning Dams 

February 2024

We can’t start this month’s update any other way than congratulating Robert Walford, his Owners and his team at home for the success of Prince Quali (Prince Gibraltar) at Chepstow in the Class 2 Hcp Chase over 2miles. Running away with the race shortly after jumping the first in the home straight, the horse showed his usual enthusiasm and pinpoint jumping to win snuggly from the second  who was closing, albeit all to late. The result therefore never looked in doubt and since his “warm up” over hurdles late last year Prince Quali has performed consistently for Robert. Placing on 2 occasions and winning on this third start - all over fences. He’ll certainly win more races in the UK and went up just 4lbs for this win, if it keeps raining you wouldn’t rule out him entering the winners enclosure again before the seasons up.

Sorceleur (Saint Des Saints) took in a Taunton bumper and won in dominating fashion. After a short break since his Listed 3rd at Cheltenham on new years day, he made a good reappearance winning with complete ease by 15 Lengths for his Owners John White & Anne Underhill. We cannot envisage a scenario that he doesn’t take a big step forward next season over obstacles. This victory also gave us the notable accolade of buying winners for both the Champion trainer in the UK ( Paul Nicholls ) & Ireland ( Willie Mullins ) within one season, something we’re very proud of!

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Prince Quali wins at Chepstow

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Sorceleur winning connections at Taunton

It was satisfying to see Hermes Boy (Diamond Boy) win again at Wincanton, after looking like he’d completely lost his way. In Feburary 2023 he was well fancied to run a big race in the Lanzerote where he ran no race and then on all subsequent runs until this victory. It was a never say die ride from Ciaran Gethings who got the best out the horse galloping home very strongly with 2L’s back to the 2nd and a further 26L’s back to the 3rd! He’s threatened a good level of ability all his career and he has shown that on occasions, we hope he continues in this form!

Other performances this month include Keep Running (Turgeon) maintaining his strong season by hitting the frame at Hereford, he’s now 2 places and a win from 5 starts. Captain Marvellous (Masked Marvel) ran a great race in the Grade 2 Adonis finishing 3rd under Ciaran Gethings, it’s likely he didn’t enjoy that ground, he’s a free going type and relishes bouncing off a sound surface. He’ll go into next season as a novice and he remains a very exciting horse for his connections. Don Virginia (Walzertakt) made his debut for Jonjo O’Neil at Hereford in a Junior Hurdle, running the Listed Bumper winner Kel Du Large very close after looking green throughout. This was an extremely taking debut for a horse we always thought would need some time and this view is shared by his trainer. We can’t wait to see him out again, based on his debut it wouldn’t be beyond imagination for him to end up a high class novice hurdler next season. 

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Captain Marvellous 3rd in Grade 2 Adonis Hurdle

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Don Virginia 2nd in Junior Hurdle at Hereford

Don Virginia’s debut completed a full-house of runners from our first group of Little Oakwell Stud graduates. We set our stall out in 2021 that buying Foals or Yearlings was the way to access a better level of horse if you didn’t have a 6 figure budget. So to be writing this at the end of February 2024 after seeing how the first crop have performed fills us with immense pride and satisfaction. Of course these horses need to continue progressing next season and beyond, which we’re sure they can and will do. Their current combined record reads as 7 Races , 2 Wins and 5 Places plus Grade 2 & Listed Placings, we feel we’re setting the foundations for delivering on a promise to those who invested in us. Both Don Virginia & Captain Marvellous were purchased for <£20,000 as foals from a field in France and Sorceleur was a €35,000 yearling purchase at Arqana.

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Don Virginia , Captain Marvellous & Sorceleur at Little Oakwell Stud 2022

In the same vain we started, we can’t not mention the upcoming Cheltenham Festival as we head into March. We hope to be represented by one runner this year, in the form of Judiceuse Allen for Willie Mullins. She was a shade disappointing last time out  when stepped up into G3 company, however the tacky ground was given as a plausible excuse and a sounder surface typically found at Cheltenham should suit her. She’ll have to improve plenty but it’s not impossible to imagine her running a big race if the ground has some “good” in it. 

 

‘FR’ Bred horses managed 11 wins at the 2023 Festival and with 13 market leading horses at the time of writing, its not inconceivable they could match or even better that tally this year. Heading into Cheltenham FR Breds have won 53% of G1>G3’s ran in the UK & Ireland and 67% of all Grade 1’s. The festival usually provides us with a reminder that plenty of different sires can get a good horses, last season the only sire to notch more than one winner was the legendary Shantou, with all other race’s won by a different individual sire! Walk In The Park has had a great run this season with his stock taking 16 G1 > Premier Handcap Races so it will be interesting to see if they can do it on the grandest stage, Firefox of Gordon Elliot’s looks to have a decent chance and I wouldn’t rule out seeing the best of Facile Vega again if he goes up in trip. Of the active French Sires, Doctor Dino has three live chances in Jade Du Grugy (Mares Nv Hurdle), Dinoblue (Mares Chase)and State Man (Champion Hurdle), the latter could be the beneficiary of Constitution Hill not making the festival and if that happens Doctor Dino could well take the title of top sire at this year’s meeting. Other festival hopes and their French sires to keep an eye on,  Jeriko Du Reponet  for Choeur Du Nord, currently near the top of the market in the Supreme for Nicky Henderson, won the Supreme Trial at Haydock and represents connections who do well in this even. It would be a minor miracle if he ran, but if Iroko gets to the Turners Nv Chase he would give Cokoriko a live chance of bagging his first Grade 1 win , he was mighty impressive on chase debut so fingers crossed for the Greenall Team they get him there. Jeu St Eloi could also have a crowning moment should Kargese roll over Sir Gino in the Triumph with her valuble fillies allowance, I’m not convinced she can but her father Jeu St Eloi is certainly a sire going in the right direction. There will be a bumper crop of foals available to purchase from France this coming spring, he covered a big book of mares in 2023 before he transferred to stand in Ireland this year. The sire has shown an aptitude to sire a racehorse of quality, despite not possessing the greatest of race records himself, he’s certainly passing down those legendary Saint Des Saints genetics!

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Choeur Du Nord

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Jeu St Eloi

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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