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July 2018

I am writing this from beautiful Wyoming where my mother grew up. It is without doubt one of the most stunning places in the world and it is steeped in wonderful Wild West history. My mother’s grandfather came here back in 1890 - the second son of the Earl of Portsmouth. It was a brave decision to say the least that he elected to head to Sheridan, Wyoming where the Indian wars had only recently been settled.

He fell in love with the breathtakingly stunning countryside and decided to raise horses and cattle having bought Canyon Ranch. His first big break was an order from the British…

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He fell in love with the breathtakingly stunning countryside and decided to raise horses and cattle having bought Canyon Ranch. His first big break was an order from the British government to supply them with 20,000 horses during the Boer war. I have often wondered what it would be like now to have an order for that number of horses let alone then when all my great grandfather had was a couple of horses of his own and one railroad back east! He became great friends with Buffalo Bill Cody and spent many an hour trying to defeat him at shooting silver dollars thrown in the air with a Colt 45 pistol!

Being out here on holiday gives one time to think and reflect as well as plan for the future especially after such a busy week at Royal Ascot. Although we didn’t get in the frame at the Royal Meeting it was such fun to have five runners and of course to see so many of our owners each day for a glass of champagne or two before racing. It’s at times like this as well  as some of those exciting overseas trips such as the one recently to Coolmore Stud in Ireland that one realises how special it is for everyone to catch up and compare notes on how the season is progressing. I had fun at Ascot helping NBC with their Royal Procession commentary alongside Nick Luck although rest assured that I will definitely be sticking to the day job!

Harry Herbert, Chairman

On The Track

Scintilating set pulses racing with her highly impressive debut win at Newbury last week. This beautifully bred daughter of Siyouni travelled powerfully through the race and quickened away from her field in the style of a very useful filly in the making. Her Floors Castle syndicate have much to look forward to as she heads to The Princess Margaret Stakes (Gr 3) Ascot on Saturday 28th July.

As the hot summer continues to reduce the usual number of runners on the flat, the HTR National Hunt string rolls on! Whatduhavtoget and Cabaret Queen, both recording really good…

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As the hot summer continues to reduce the usual number of runners on the flat, the HTR National Hunt string rolls on! Whatduhavtoget and Cabaret Queen, both recording really good victories at Warwick and Uttoxeter. Whatduhavtoget followed up on her fine display at Warwick when outjumping the Queen’s horse Forth Bridge and running out a facile winner. TV pictures picked up on a rare sight as Harry was seen celebrating at a National Hunt track! Cabaret Queen also did the double, first at Uttoxeter and then at Worcester making Dan Skelton, who trains both mares, a very popular trainer with our owners!

On a very sad note, Peculiar Places looked sure to win a race having finished second on three occasions, before making a calamitous mistake at the third last at Market Rasen after which he was pulled up. He suffered a serious tendon injury in the process which brought to an end a promising career and we are in the process of finding a home for him.

On the flat, Flamenco (Victoria Pendleton Syndicate) made a very encouraging debut at Newmarket to finish fourth and looks sure to be in the winners’ enclosure soon. Luminate, the other half of the syndicate, looked set to run a big race in the Prix de Diane (Group 1) at Chantilly, but having led for much of the race, couldn’t sustain her effort to finish down the field. Freddy Head and the large number of owners in attendance were naturally disappointed on the day but soon buoyed up by Freddy’s desire to run her in Deauville in August, for which plans are already in place, not least where we will have lunch!

Whitehall finally made it into the winners’ enclosure at Nottingham coming from last to first under a power packed ride by Pat Dobbs. This horse looks capable of winning again soon.

Sibirica had been showing plenty at home and the word form Charlie Fellows was to expect an exciting debut, but she ran inexplicably badly and never featured. She was later found to be heavily in season so thankfully the owners in the Princess Iris syndicate had a valid explanation for her poor performance. She is back in fast work and will be ready to run again very soon.

We had three runners at Royal Ascot, two of which, Archetype and Snazzy, unfortunately finished down the field. Snazzy was also (bizarrely as she is also trained by Charlie Fellowes) found to be in season and she will now head to the Weatherby’s Super Sprint at July 21st. The Royal Ascot Racing Club’s Projection ran a blinder to finish fifth in the Diamond Jubilee (Group 1). The picnics were a huge success with a number of owners dropping in for a glass or two of Taittinger before racing!

Over in Ireland, Gustavus Vassa was unbelievably unlucky not to finish in the winners enclosure, first in the Cork Derby and then agonisingly touched off on the line at the Curragh in a £50,000 handicap. However, on the bright side he is horse on the upgrade who is sure to be winning soon.
 

Five To Follow Update

As the Five to Follow competition is now well underway, we wanted to remind you all of the wonderful holiday prizes that could be yours.

For the second year running, Oxford Private Travel have kindly donated two amazing holidays as prizes for the competition. A stay at the beautiful colonial beach resort, Anam Hotel in…

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For the second year running, Oxford Private Travel have kindly donated two amazing holidays as prizes for the competition. A stay at the beautiful colonial beach resort, Anam Hotel in Vietnam and a short break at the elegant five star country hotel - Cliveden House in Berkshire. 

This small, prestigious company prides itiself on its very personal approach to organising your travel and has a team of passionate, extremely well travelled people to ensure that every detail, however small, is taken care of. What's more, the connections and relationships they have in the industry gives you the benefit of VIP upgrades and additional perks.

Rolf's Ramblings

They thought it wasn’t all over: and it isn’t. We’re leaving the EU but still in the World Cup: last Friday the government could have sat down at Chequers and played Monopoly instead of Brexit for all the nation cared. The really dramatic meeting was in Russia, against Sweden who, like Colombia before them, wore yellow and (after going bananas) we expected to face another yellow line-up, Brazil, but they were unexpectedly nutted by Belgium. Hopefully one of our boys will soon be wearing the maillot jaune leading the Tour de France, which has just kicked off.

What about another great sporting occasion just kicked off (sorry, football on the brain) - Wimbledon? Well what with no Sir Andy Murray and supermarkets snowed under with cheap strawberries,…

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What about another great sporting occasion just kicked off (sorry, football on the brain) - Wimbledon? Well what with no Sir Andy Murray and supermarkets snowed under with cheap strawberries, Wimbledon can bellyache all they like about clashing finals – their Men’s and the World Cup on Sunday week. Anyone for tennis?

What’s all this got to do with the Coral-Eclipse, the season’s first Group One clash of the generations? Well even for the racing faithful at seven meetings from Carlisle to Sandown last Saturday; for the rowing fraternity at Henley and qualifying for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone to say nothing of the Women’s One-Day Cricket International at Headingly, 4G networks were stretched to the limit: big screens showed the big match exclusively. The Eclipse was over and done with – all but forgotten by the time we kicked off against Sweden. Crowds everywhere were as excited as politicians over fishing quotas. At least Roaring Lion’s victory made all the headlines –  if only above eulogies to our heroic lads.

Now the debate over whether we can win the World Cup will bring the nation to a standstill – more rigidly than Network Rail. We in  racing can count ourselves lucky we’ve had the benefit of photo-finishes (since 1881) to settle disputes - rather than football’s faceless VAR; can’t we? The photo finish took a long time to convince people: in 2018 we still aren’t, what with the judge at Sandown getting it wrong again on Friday, mixing up his pixels - or pixelated? The head-on camera helped decide that when Roaring Lion did his party piece - the ability to hang right as well as left - he didn’t intimidate runner up Saxon Warrior to the  extent of influencing the neck result. Maybe Roaring Lion just doesn’t like Saxon Warrior: they have met four times and it’s two apiece ( won’t go to penalties). But the proximity of older horses who would not hold a candle to Enable had she not been hors de combat; and Cracksman had he been in the mood, means the form is not such as would have troubled their Investec Derby conqueror Masar. He was an eleventh hour withdrawal through injury.

Injuries are draining an already skimpy generation of Group One quality horses. What we’ve got wouldn’t get out the Group stages (World Cup parlance). Before Masar’s late defection his trainer Charlie Appleby said he wasn’t worried about the Derby form detractors. I tend to agree with Appleby that the form is not “suspect” – it’s just that it is no bloody good! Cliffs of Moher, a Coolmore makeweight, has had nine futile attempts to win a Group One and he was right on the tails of the Eclipse principals.

We need nine words to describe domestic gloating over Germany’s expulsion from Russia by South Korea – “satisfaction from witnessing the troubles and humiliations of others” to translate one - “schadenfreude” – which made for headlines everywhere bar our Parish magazine. From Hamburg to Munich it was German fans’ turn to wallow in “freudenschaft” – “distress and sorrow at seeing the success of others”, the ‘others’ including our lads who, for once, have progressed further than our sworn (football) enemies.

The Gulf Arabs’ presence in racing has wrought more schadenfreude than freudenschaft because simultaneously such success as they’ve had has been bought, shockingly (to some) expensively and has been attended by a surfeit (relatively speaking) of failure. The detractors overlook the vast sums Sheikh Mohammed and his family have contributed in many fields other than ones with furlong markers.

Memories of the  2013 doping scandal at the Ruler of Dubai’s Newmarket stables linger though, so the extent of the vicarious pleasure with which the British racing public acclaimed the first Godolphin Derby victory of Masar and took to heart the Sheikh’s unbridled delight was something of a surprise. We can take pride too that the world’s greatest race, the Derby, could so affect such a normally composed figure as Sheikh Mohammed.   And sympathy was not in short supply for Masar’s setback.

But, on this almost unique occasion, back to World Cup betting. Bookmakers’ patriotism stops at the changing room door and before the semi-final with Croatia we’re still third favourites behind France and Belgium. Before the quarter final I looked up the Swedish for schadenfreude – just in case; it’s “skadegladje” – no need for headline composers to scratch heads over that one. Now it’s Croatia’s turn: I’m not even going to look up their word for it.

Coolmore Stud Visit

We had our very first (and hopefully not the last) trip to Coolmore. Wow! Following a long(ish) coach drive from Dublin airport we arrived at the Minella Hotel located not far from the stud in time for a pint or two of cooling Guinness.

The weather was so beautiful that we were able to eat outside by the river as the sun set on a stunning day. We retired to bed as very happy…

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The weather was so beautiful that we were able to eat outside by the river as the sun set on a stunning day. We retired to bed as very happy travellers and full of anticipation about out visit to the stud the next morning. We were not to be disappointed and following a full Irish breakfast (well at least for Captain Mark Kershaw!), we arrived at Coolmore to be met by Tom Miller. We began by going around the museum, a truly extraordinary collection (sadly no photographs allowed!) of trophies, old photographs and interactive videos of their numerous successes. To a man we all agreed that we could have spent a day just looking around this amazing place, but we needed to fit in a trip around the stud to see some of the stallions who are on duty at Coolmore.

We were treated to none other than the sensational Galileo who was paraded in front of us and looked incredible for his age.

Tom then showed us how he likes having his teeth scratched! Then followed the likes of Australia, Camelot, Holy Roman Emperor, Zoffany etc. an unbelievable sight to behold and all within a few feet of our group!

We then headed off to Coolmore’s own pub! Mikey Ryan’s in Cashel, a beautifully restored pub where had a truly excellent and delicious lunch (once again outside) and further pints of Guinness (and of course a little rose). It was the perfect way to end a very special trip and we all returned to Dublin not quite believing what we had just seen…

The Taittinger Moment

This month's Taittinger moment goes to Louise Cornwell- Managing Director at Longholes Stud in Newmarket. Lou is responsible for the brilliant team there who look after our horses so well and give our owners such a good experience when they go and visit.

A huge thank you from everyone at Highclere for all her hard work!

New Addition To The Team

A big welcome to Archie Bannister who joined us a few weeks ago having just graduated from Edinburgh University. Archie has a family background in racing, his brother Harry is a National Hunt jockey and he has grown up with a foot on the racecourse! He is big racing enthusiast and being so hot on form we will be pitting his wits against our own Rolf Johnson!! We are delighted to have Archie with us on an internship until the end of September. 

Out and about with the Highclere camera

(Please click on the thumbnails to enlarge photos and see captions)

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