April 2017

My travels since the last newsletter have taken me to Dubai for the World Cup and then on to Melbourne and Sydney for racing and sales. I love Australia which boasts a thriving racing industry that is the envy of many other countries. Dane was there with me and we started our trip with a really interesting visit to David Hayes's Lindsay Park facility north of Melbourne. David showed us every aspect of his set up and it was a real thrill to see Foundation looking so well and being showered with compliments from David and his team. We had a jolly and delicious dinner with share owners at Saki Restaurant on Southbank in the city, before then heading on up to Sydney for the sales.

I had planned to buy one filly and, as John Warren couldn't make the journey, I once again used Adrian Nicoll who bought us Pageantry last year. Pageantry won on…

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I had planned to buy one filly and, as John Warren couldn't make the journey, I once again used Adrian Nicoll who bought us Pageantry last year. Pageantry won on her debut and then went on to finish third in a very hot listed race at Morphettville in Adelaide which was a great thrill and she looks to be a filly with an exciting future as a three year old.

The last yearling to sell under the famous Morton Bay Fig Tree at Inglis' Newmarket facility in Sydney.

This was also the last year that the Inglis sale was held at their Newmarket facility in Sydney, which is home to the most amazing heritage listed Morton Bay Fig Tree that overlooks the sale ring, and there was a sense of real sadness as it sank in that the last yearling would soon be going through the ring. The filly we bought by Stratum was an absolute corker with a proper pedigree and she will be trained by top Aussie handler Ciaron Maher. There is a share available should some Aussie action be of interest as this filly has such a good pedigree with limited downside to investing in her.

Adrian Nicoll shares a laugh with Tom Magnier after securing the Stratum filly for Highclere Australia.

On return from Australia it has been all go with the start of the flat season proper here with the Craven meeting at Newmarket followed by the Greenham at Newbury. Highclere, I am delighted to report, have got off to an absolute flyer with plenty of winners (at a healthy 30% winners to runners!) and those that haven't been winning have been regularly hitting the board.

With the Guineas meeting now upon us there is so much to look forward to as the season gathers pace!

Harry Herbert, Chairman

On The Track

It’s been a busy few weeks in the Highclere camp, with nine winners across the board – certainly a great end to the National Hunt season, and start of the Flat season!

On the National Hunt side of affairs, Whatduhavtoget put in an emphatic performance at Ludlow where she won by sixteen lengths, before ending her seasonal campaign with a creditable second…

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On the National Hunt side of affairs, Whatduhavtoget put in an emphatic performance at Ludlow where she won by sixteen lengths, before ending her seasonal campaign with a creditable second place at Ayr during the Scottish National Festival.  Dan Skelton was also represented by Cabaret Queen who, after impressing at home in her preparations, finished third on her Highclere debut at Southwell.  Another mare that looks to have a bright future ahead of her is If You Say Run, who won her maiden outing at Chepstow in great style. Finally, we were delighted to see St Saviour return to the winners enclosure at Stratford, where he was reunited with his number one fan in the form of his jockey, Tom Cheeseman, who also looks after St Saviour at home and affectionately refers to him as Mr Bojangles!

The flat season is now well underway, and we have hit the ground running both in the number of runners and the number of winners thus far!  The older horses have been flying the flag in the early stages of the season with two of the four year olds both winning on their seasonal debuts; Commodity rewarded the patience of his owners when getting his head over the line in front at Windsor under a masterful ride from Ryan Moore, who also partnered Raucous to victory later in the month at Chelmsford, where he broke the six furlong track record. Commodity has since come out in front again at Yarmouth during the week and looks like a horse who will continue to find the winners enclosure for his Wellington Syndicate. 

We recruited a new trainer to the ranks in the form of Sylvester Kirk, when purchasing Family Fortunes in partnership with Richard Hannon Snr and Sylvester himself.  This son of Paco Boy came to our attention when winning his maiden in February in impressive style, and following our purchase of 50% of him he bounced out to win again at Kempton last month before only just missed out on making it three from three at Lingfield on Thursday! Keep an eye out for him at the Royal Meeting... 

With the launch of our new breeze up syndicates last week, it couldn’t have been timed better when one of last year’s breeze up purchases, Adamant, won at Salisbury on Sunday.  This son of Dalakhani has now won twice for his owners in the Lord Tennyson Syndicate, and looks to be an exciting horse to follow for the rest of the season.  Selection, another past breeze up purchase, also crossed the line in front when winning with a lot in hand at Kempton, before following up with a game third at Ascot during the week, looking like a horse who will improve over more ground. 

The Royal Ascot Racing Club have had their share of excitement too, when Comprise stormed to victory at Southwell, before bouncing out again at Yarmouth where, to our dismay, he was beaten into second in the final strides!  One of the Club’s two year-olds for the season, Headway, also made his first appearance on the racecourse when running at Newbury and putting in a storming late run to snatch second place on the line.  With Projection set to make his debut at Newmarket on Sunday the Club has plenty more action ahead!

Out And About With The Highclere Camera

(Please click on the photographs to expand and see captions)

Highclere Australia

It’s a funny old game this horse racing business… In the space of consecutive races on Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick we got to experience the highs of seeing the world’s top rated turf horse, Winx make a quality Group 1 field look like a bunch of handicappers pulling carts in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Only to back up in the following race to witness the lows, after Almoonqith broke down passing the post for the first time in front of a 25,000 strong crowd in the Group 1 Sydney Cup, causing the race to be abandoned mid-race. 

Winx demolishes her rivals in the QEII to make it 17 straight wins.

Our very own Libran was lucky to not be brought down in the mishap, as he was travelling closely behind the ill-fated runner but, with thanks to some quick thinking…

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Our very own Libran was lucky to not be brought down in the mishap, as he was travelling closely behind the ill-fated runner but, with thanks to some quick thinking by Australia’s leading hoop Hugh Bowman, he avoided the pile up which also brought down Who Shot Thebarman.

With the race rescheduled for two weeks later, we were back at Royal Randwick to watch Libran try his hand for redemption in the Sydney Cup, only for Randwick to produce one of the worst surfaces ever fabricated at the iconic venue. A bottomless and shifty Heavy 8 surface which Libran didn’t appreciate in the slightest and therefore saw him race accordingly to the disappointment of share owners who had travelled from far and wide to be there on the day. The good news is that Libran pulled up sound from the race and will be back to target numerous top class staying events through the Sydney and Melbourne Spring Carnivals including the Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap, which Highclere Racing's Opinion won in 2014. Let's just pray for some better ground in the Spring for Libran! 

While we endured a forgettable racing trip, we were delighted to come away with a quality filly from the 2017 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale after teaming up with Australia’s most promising young trainer in Ciaron Maher. The Stratum ex Flamboyance filly, sold as Lot 140, is a full sister to two Group 2 performers including the Aquis Farm bound colt Attention, who was recently placed at Group 1 level this season. A high-class filly who boasts an outstanding physical with great residual value after her racing career, which is only in its infancy as she begins her breaking in at Wangarratta this week.

The latest edition to the Highclere Australia roster, which now stands at eight across New South Wales and Victoria, is continuing to grow on the back of the imported Regal Monarch and Foundation, and the three yearling filly purchases we secured this year which have sold in encouraging fashion as we continue to increase our presence Down Under. 

Please Click Here to see the interview with Harry during his time in Australia. 

Rolf's Ramblings

See Rolf's thoughts on the upcoming Guineas meeting at Newmarket

Winston Churchill’s staff were constantly annoyed that their bosses’ horses went off at short odds; they could never get their money on because the Churchill colours were the nation’s favourites. Since Churchill died in 1965 a stream of horses have been named for the great leader, worldwide. The latest is short-priced favourite for Saturday’s Qipco Two Thousand Guineas. 

And if you haven’t had the fancy prices about the next three in the betting, Barney Roy, Eminent and Al Wukair traded before winning their Classic Trials, there isn’t a…

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And if you haven’t had the fancy prices about the next three in the betting, Barney Roy, Eminent and Al Wukair traded before winning their Classic Trials, there isn’t a lot of value there either.

Were Churchill to win, the son of the great Galileo’s stud value would be assured – Churchill didn’t envisage a similar career for his best horse, Colonist II. “To stud? And have it said that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is living off the immoral earnings of a horse?”

Churchill holds early favouritism for Saturday's QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

But then he had an acute eye for posterity and wasn’t always to be taken too literally. He defined tact as the ability to tell someone to go to hell “in such a way that they look forward to the trip” … he wasn’t referring to one of his horse’s staying power. Nor was he calming the nerves of MPs standing for re-election in marginal constituencies when he stated, “When you are on a great horse you have the best seat you will ever have.”

Sir Winston Churchill and his grey colt Colonist II

There’s been debate about this year’s Guineas’ favourite because of the amount of speed on Churchill’s dam’s side. Perhaps that’s why O’Brien has taken the ‘precaution’ of declaring enough runners to constitute almost a third of the ten runner Guineas’ field: and yet there is plenty of evidence to suggest this isn’t a one-horse race. For once Churchill has not been heralded as “the best we’ve ever trained” – the annual rallying call from Ballydoyle. But the trainer of seven Two Thousand Guineas winners (all, like Churchill, on seasonal debuts) did suggest that this Churchill was “probably the most imposing two-year-old that we’ve ever trained”. What about George Washington, their winner of the 2006 Guineas? Some said beforehand that ‘gorgeous George’ might be deficient in stamina too.

Barney Roy looks the main danger to Churchill in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, after winning the Greenham Stakes impressively.

Churchill is more likely to follow in the footsteps of O’Brien’s first Dewhurst winner, Rock of Gibraltar who won the 2002 Guineas and proved himself an ‘iron horse’, rather than his last three winners of the colts’ Classic who, between them, landed one subsequent race. (His first, King of Kings in 1998, didn’t win again either). Churchill though has not one but three major rivals to overcome - in no particular order, Eminent, Barney Rob and Al Wukair all of whom have all made inordinate improvement from two to three, taking their trials handsomely and in fast times. Barney Rob and Eminent were once raced maiden winners at two; Greenham and Craven winners on their three-year-old debuts. Andre Fabre’s Al Wukair won both his races in France at two and, eventually, got on top of France’s best two-year-old of last year in the Prix Djebel. Moreover Churchill is the only one of the leading fancies to have lost a race, beaten favourite on his Curragh debut.

O’Brien’s record in the Qipco One Thousand Guineas is just three victories. But Ryan Moore has won the last two and on the favourite Rhododendron he has the chance to do what no other jockey has done bar Fred Rickaby in the First World War and win the fillies’ mile Classic three times in a row. Rhododendron won the Dubai Fillies Mile, as did last year’s O’Brien Newmarket heroine Minding. The accepted British Trials, the Nell Gwyn and the Fred Darling have a miserable record in recent years. Daban and Dabyah, respective winners this season are both trained by John Gosden who has had one success in the One Thousand – Lahan in 2000.

In 2005 and 2012 O’Brien landed the Classic double. Rhododendron, favourite for her Guineas, like Churchill has been kept under wraps. Last year she swapped places with Hydrangea and Intricately and that pair came out of hibernation for the Irish One Thousand Guineas Trial at Leopardstown. Intricately is 20-1 with some bookmakers to give Joseph O’Brien his first Classic as a trainer. That could be value – the owner won the Oaks with a 66-1 shot two years ago. Riding for his father, Joseph won the Two Thousand on Camelot but never the One Thousand.

Rhododendron looks set to provide Ryan Moore with three consecutive 1000 Guineas triumphs.

It is a rare article on racing at the highest level that doesn’t nod to Frankel. England expects – that Frankel, whose own 2011 Guineas win is the yardstick by which all winners of the race since its inception in 1809 (five years before the first One Thousand) are measured - must soon sire his first Classic winner. Churchill is bred on similar lines to Frankel – by Galileo out of a speedy mare. Eminent gives Frankel a chance against in the colts’ Classic; Fair Eva, placed in last year’s Rockfel and Lowther is his representative in the One Thousand. 

Frankel has passed on ability and fire and looks to his offspring. “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man” said a reflective Churchill. Handsome is as handsome does. When a lady heckler accused a politician of being “disgustingly drunk” the response was: “My dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.” It was voted the most famous put down of all time. It was of course Churchill’s.

Upcoming Events In May

Dante Box - Thursday 18th May
We were delighted to see the level of interest in joining us for the historic Dante meeting at York this month, as we gear up for an exciting days racing in the Dante Box on Thursday 18th May. To accompany this visit, we have also added visits to Mark Johnson, Richard Fahey and Kevin Ryan’s yards for those brave enough to get up early before a full day of racing at the iconic York racecourse.

We still have a couple of spaces available in the Dante Box, so please do get in contact with if you would like to purchase a ticket to join us for a fun day of racing!


Newbury Box – Friday 19th and Saturday 20th May
The Highclere Box at Newbury will be open to share owners for the upcoming Starlight Charity Raceday and Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Day on Friday 19th and Saturday May 20th.  The highlight on Saturday, as the name suggests, the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes which is drafting a superb cast of four year olds, headlined by last year’s champion filly Minding, and Group 1 winner’s Ribchester and the Al Shaqab owned 2000 Guineas winner, Galileo Gold. 

York's Dante Meeting - a highlight of the UK racing calendar.

Royal Ascot Racing Club - A Racing Experience Like No Other

Champagne anyone?

The Royal Ascot Racing Club was formed in 1998, the brainchild of Harry and the Duke of Devonshire who was Chairman of the racecourse at the time. The idea was simple: form a club with a room situated in the best part of the racecourse and overlooking the winning post. The room was to be decorated to the highest possible standard and would provide members with delicious food and wines in total comfort. The icing on the cake would be a number of racehorses running in the club's colours.

Today the club consists of two rooms (following the rebuild of Ascot), one overlooking the winning post and boasting a private terrace from which members can view the racing. The…

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Today the club consists of two rooms (following the rebuild of Ascot), one overlooking the winning post and boasting a private terrace from which members can view the racing. The North side also has a bar which makes for a buzzy and exciting atmosphere. The south side, overlooking the paddock, has a calmer, quieter feel which some members prefer. Both provide extremely comfortable surroundings and delicious food catered by Rhubarb, one of the best outfits in the country. The "house" champagne is Bollinger (Rose is also available) which really sets the standard in what the club is trying to achieve.

The club is a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the racecourse. Arriving on the second floor of the grandstand, to be greeted by the familiar face of Sarah Ward (former PA of Harry!) members will find newspapers and race cards waiting for them, time to sort out their bets for the day (private bookmaker is also on hand) over a chilled glass of champagne. All this is part of the membership fee, as is access to the course for every race day of the year (of which there are 27) and perhaps even more surprising, includes all five days of the Royal Meeting. 

RARC overlooks the winning post on level two of the Ascot grandstand. No better view on the racetrack.

In addition the club has five horses in training managed by Highclere. The Club has enjoyed success at the very highest level with the historic win of Motivator in the 2005 Derby, sparking scenes of joy (and chaos!) when nearly all two hundred members tried to get into the winners enclosure! In addition the club's horses have enjoyed success at the Royal Meeting when Revenue won the Windsor Castle Stakes in 2002. Members are provided with regular updates on the club's horses as well as the opportunity to attend stable visits to see the club's horses in training.

There is no doubt that the club offers quite a unique package of benefits which is unparalleled in the racing world. If you might be interested in finding out more about it, please get in touch so that we can arrange a taster day. Once inside you won't want to leave!


Five to Follow Competition 2017

This years Five to Follow competition prizes have been offered by Oxford Private Travel (01993 899 430). Oxford Private Travel is an industry-leading luxury travel specialist. Innovative and driven, they are not just another ‘luxury tour operator’. 

They place a great importance on personal knowledge of the properties that they feature, and know the best suppliers for luxury travel experiences all over the world, so when you…

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They place a great importance on personal knowledge of the properties that they feature, and know the best suppliers for luxury travel experiences all over the world, so when you speak to one of their team you will be speaking to a travel expert with extensive, accurate and in-depth knowledge. As well as helping clients to find their perfect destination, they take care of every aspect of their stay, to create a truly memorable holiday.

The Anam, Vietnam

1st Prize 
A five night stay at the beautiful 5 star colonial beach resort of The Anam, Vietnam. A simply philosophy is echoed here 'No Shoes. No News. No Stress' - a wonderful place to relax and unwind.

This prize is for two people in a sea view pool villa (150sqm) to include:
• Daily breakfast included
• Airport transfers
• 1 mother cooking or seafood BBQ dinner (subject to arrival dates - Mother or Mumma cooking as they refer to it is when Mothers of the The Anam staff team cook a traditional family Vietnamese dinner for guests)
• 1 x 60 minutes treatment for 2 people

Date restrictions apply.

The Vasolicos, Santorini

2nd Prize 
A three night stay for two people at the truly elegant The Vasilicos, on the island of Santorini, Greece, in one of their incredible Honeymoon Suites. Perched high on the Caldera cliff, in the exclusive yet central area of the Agios Nicolaos Monastery, the hotel consists of a constellation of cave-like structures typical of Santorini architecture that have been transformed into 8 stunning suites with exceptional Caldera views.

Your stay will include:
• Daily breakfast included
• All suites boast stunning Caldera views and private terraces
• Each suite features a private outdoor jacuzzi, heated plunge pool, or swimming pool
• Indoor lounge area with log fireplace and home cinema
• Interior dining room
• Yoga/massage room equipped with light exercise equipment
• Reception with concierge facilities

Date restrictions apply.

Breeze Into May With This Outstanding Colt

Harry, John and Jake were out to the Tattersalls Breeze Up sales last month where they managed to buy this outstanding Kodiac colt who not only breezed brilliantly, but who also boasts the looks and pedigree to be a serious racehorse. This colt won’t be waiting long until he sees the racetrack and represents excellent value at a price point under £10,000, so naturally this is one horse we feel will be suitable for a first time share owner who is ready to start dipping their toe into the racehorse ownership experience.

This two year old colt is by leading sire Kodiac, who is so well known for getting fast precocious horses. As you can clearly see from both the photograph and…

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This two year old colt is by leading sire Kodiac, who is so well known for getting fast precocious horses. As you can clearly see from both the photograph and video (please click here), he is an absolute corker with real strength and presence. He also has an excellent pedigree being out of Solace who is a daughter of Songerie who won the Prix des Reservoirs (Gr 3) and who was placed in the Park Hill (Gr 2) at Doncaster. This is only her second foal.

This colt will go into training with Simon Crisford, whom we have been so impressed with since starting his training career and, like us, this colt was Simon's pick of the sale so he is naturally over the moon to be training him for the Solace Syndicate, which consists of twenty shares at a cost of only £8,500 plus VAT per share which we think is fantastic value for a horse like this.

Taittinger Moment

Emma Banks retires after 18 years of loyal service to the Royal Ascot Racing Club.

This month's Taittinger Moment holds a bitter sweet note as we farewell one of the Royal Ascot Racing Club's longest serving members in Emma Banks. Emma has served as RARC's Manager for the past 18 years and has helped build RARC into one of the finest racing clubs in the world. Emma has been an intergral member of the team over close to two decades and included Motivator's impressive Derby win in 2005. 

From all the team at Highclere, we would like to thank Emma for all the dedicated work and loyal service to RARC over the years and wish her all the very best in her pursuit of a career in dressage from her home in Devon. 

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