Giant Snowman

I bought a foal on Friday – by Nayef out of a Bahri mare called Patacake Patacake. She’s extremely well related – her three brothers to race all achieved black type and two of them had best Timeform ratings north of 110. Consistency is the thing for me – I think any mare can produce a group performer if the cards fall right but if a mare is consistently delivering the goods then it’s fair to assume she’s passing on something worth having in the genes. I paid £50k which I thought was very reasonable – she’s the second Nayef filly I’ve bought this year as I bought one in the yearling sale.

I broke one of my rules with this purchase. Nayef is a very big stallion and he tends to produce big foals. I did some work a while back looking at big stallions and old and young mares – in Nayef’s case I concluded that the odds are only with you if you are buying the offspring of a reasonably young mare. Patacake Patacake was 13 when she foaled my filly down – too old by my rules but the rest of the picture was excellent and I was thinking more about her as an eventual broodmare in any case.

I bought two yearling fillies in the sales to add to the three I have bred that are coming through – I also have a share in a Dalakhani colt;


The above is by Nayef out of Princess Luna, I paid a hefty £100k for her in book 2. She passes the mare rule as her mother was 8 when she foaled her down. She is from a solid German family and a sister to Space War, who has won since I bought her.


This is my Selkirk first foal out of Rose of Petra, an 85 rated dual winner from the family of Islington and Hellenic. She’s tall and has improved a lot since this picture was taken.


This is my Byron out of Veiled Beauty – a sister to The Cheka from a good Juddmonte family, related to Zafonic.


This is a Dalakhani out of Everlasting Love. Dam a decent performer. Brother to Ankh who we had previously owned – Ankh died on the gallops after breaking her pelvis and severing an artery in the process.

I have two more fillies – one, out of a sister to Rainfall, is in a field in Newmarket. The other, by Dutch Art out of Baldovina, is currently at Manor House – I saw her on Sunday and she looked superb.

Sunday was our yearling parade at Manor House. We had a big marquee and various guests – existing owners and others we were hoping to tempt into the game. I was up early for the long trip up north – I met up with some familiar faces on the train. It was a good day out. I sat next to Marwan Koukash at lunch. I got to see a few of my horses before rushing to the station to catch the train back.

Monday and Tuesday were busy days in town, meeting with bankers, property people and various characters looking for financial backing for their businesses. I got stuck in the middle of Trafalgar Square for a while on Tuesday surrounded by protesting students and about 500 police officers. We had heavy snow on Tuesday night which caused total havoc – Jane was stranded for four hours and we heard worse stories from other mothers trying to get home from the local school.

There’s still a lot of work going on at the farm, but the snow is heavy on the ground and we’ve had to stop a lot of what we are doing. I’ve got the builders building an enormous snowman to pass the time – we’ve got a digger and a telehandler to move the snow around and lift any oversize snowballs. It’s a work in progress – picture to follow if we finish the job but I think it’s odds against – it may just end up as a small snow mountain.

I put a fair bit of money into gold yesterday. I used – an impressive business put together by a friend and Betfair investor called Paul Tustain. Paul was the first person I showed my Betfair prototype to back in 1999 – he was an enormous help in us setting the strategy for the company and putting together the first cut of the site. I’m a shareholder in BullionVault – I wish I’d put more in than I did as the business is flying. Gold is close to an all time high – it goes against the grain for me to pay top whack for anything but it’s a hedge and it feels like it can go a lot further than it has.

I had various runners declared this week, but I doubt there will be much action so I won’t write them up. Mick has pointed out that my horse list has become embarrassingly out of date – I’ve had to cancel all my meetings as I’m snowed in, so time to tidy it all up.

I now have 16 mares that I intend to breed from on an ongoing basis – 6 of these are currently in foal. The planned list is as follows;

Baldovina (2011 Winker Watson) : Areion
Bea Menace : Winker
Blast Furnace : Raven’s Pass
Lilac Moon (2011 Winker Watson) : Major Cadeaux
Looby Loo (2011 Zamindar) : Nayef
Max One Two Three (2011 Compton Place) : Linngari
Park Acclaim : Selkirk
Peintre D’Argent : Winker
Princess Aurora : Azamour
Quaker Parrot : Winker
Shawhill (2011 Gentlewave) : Winker
Teia Tephi (2011 Winker Watson) : Panis
Transvaal Sky : Major Cadeaux
Valley Aunt : Samum
Veiled Beauty : Mr Greeley
Western Eyes : Lord of England

There is one tragedy on this list. Veiled Beauty is in the US awaiting a service from Mr Greeley – unfortunately the old boy was put down yesterday due to ongoing laminitis issues. Back to the drawing board.

Three of the mares are heading off to Germany for a little sortie, and several are off to France.