Start ’em young and keep ’em keen

Eight-year-old embarks on breeding enterprise

The TBA’s ‘youth movement’ started life almost a decade ago as the Next Generation Committe and, now known as The Thoroughbred Club, continues to reach, educate and encourage younger racing fans which we need to become the breeders of tomorrow.

Eight-year-old Nell Kent is not shy when it comes to regaling her teacher and classmates with tales of the farm’s most recent stallion recruit, Proconsul

Of course, in breeding, as in farming, there has always been a tradition of children following their parents into the business and in the case of at least two British stud farms there’s a strong belief in sparking that interest from an early age.

Nell Kent, the eight-year-old daughter of Richard and Claire at Mickley Stud, is apparently not shy when it comes to regaling her teacher and classmates with tales in rather colourful detail of the farm’s most recent stallion recruit, Proconsul, and she now holds the distinction of almost certainly being Britain’s youngest successful breeder.

Nell’s homebred Multiplex two-year-old, which she named Pastamakesufaster, was the five-length winner in September of Goodwood’s TBA Small Breeders’ Fillies’ Conditions Stakes – perhaps the only time the race title can be taken literally – providing a double whammy for the TBA in boosting both a small breeder and a young breeder at the same time.

For those of us of a certain vintage, it’s no longer just the policemen who look young but also bloodstock agents. At the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale back in August there was a new generation of the Player family pounding the beat as 11-year-old Freddie, son of Ed and grandson of Peter, worked the sales ground with Geoffrey Howson.

The latter has already struck up a good working arrangement with a bright young thing in his business partner Matthew Houldsworth and, judging by the intent with which Freddie Player was making copious notes in his catalogue on the yearlings put before him, Howson & Houldsworth Bloodstock could yet become Howson, Houldsworth & Player.

Incentives welcome
This transitional issue of the magazine went to press as we were anticipating the final Group 1 race of the season at Doncaster and some of the big names from the jumping world were about to spring back into action.

The Flat season which has just concluded marked the second year of the very welcome EBF and TBA initiative aimed at keeping a better level of filly in training for longer, the EBF Fillies’ Series, which culminated in four valuable finals over different distances at Newmarket in early October.

It’s all too easy to give up on a filly who falls short of black-type class but this series has undoubtedly incentivised owners of fillies in the 70-100 rating bracket to have a shot at some decent prize-money throughout the season, plus the chance of a £25,000 nomination voucher from the TBA for winning finalists who have won or placed in a qualifier.

That useful bonus went this year to Lady Caroline Lonsdale, whose homebred Peach Melba took the mile final worth £31,125 to the winner. That victory capped a successful year for Lady Lonsdale, who co-bred leading juvenile Havana Grey with Mickley Stud and also enjoyed a French stakes triumph when Izzy Bizu, whom she co-owned with former BHB Chairman Peter Savill, won the Listed Prix Six Perfections in Deauville. Izzy Bizu, who, like Peach Melba, was trained by Mark Johnston, was subsequently sold for €290,000 at the Goffs Champions Sale.

Make sure you mop up
With the focus now switching to National Hunt, the TBA is reminding breeders to register filly foals of 2017 for the NH Mare Owners’ Prize Scheme (MOPS).

To enrol a filly in the scheme is free for members and with potential bonuses of £10,000 for qualifying chases and hurdle races and £5,000 for mares’ bumpers, it is, as they say, a ‘no brainer’ to sign up. More than £130,000 has already been won through MOPS this year alone.

British-bred or -sired fillies of 2017 can be entered until January 31, 2018. Full details can be found on www.thetba.co.uk.

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