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November 2018

There is always a rather sad moment when the yearling parades end as so much goes into the three days and when everyone has gone we all feel a bit bereft! Of course this year we were blessed with fabulous weather every day and the yearlings showed themselves off beautifully in the warm Autumn sunshine. John and Jake did an amazing job of buying us lovely horses in what was a seriously hot market which of course made life mighty tricky on the buying front. Seeing the yearling show themselves off so well was a real thrill. 

We do have a few shares available in the Northern Syndicates should you fancy having a horse with either Mark Johnston, Richard Fahey or Tom Dascombe. All  are extremely racy…

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We do have a few shares available in the Northern Syndicates should you fancy having a horse with either Mark Johnston, Richard Fahey or Tom Dascombe. All  are extremely racy early/summer two year olds and have gone through the breaking process with flying colours. Please click here for more information on the David Hockney, George Stubbs and Antony Gormley syndicates.

Libran with Harry and Chloe

I left for Australia and the Melbourne Cup carnival soon after the parades and made my annual pilgrimage to this great city where my oldest daughter, Chloe, is now living and working. I took her there last year and she fell in love with the place and now works for a really cool advertising company called Taboo and is set to stay for another two years. Catching up with her was amazing and we both were beautifully entertained by Amanda Elliott and her team at the Victoria Racing Club. I made a speech at the Chairman’s Dinner which saw the opening of the magnificent new grandstand at Flemington. This grandstand will be the one that racecourses around the world will come to get inspiration from in years to come as it not only is a great place to watch the racing but also it serves as a meeting place for members of the VRC to gather on non race days and enjoy all kinds of activities. Sadly we didn’t have any runners in the Cup but our old stalwart, Libran looked better than ever when Chloe and I went to see him at Chris Waller’s stable. We also got a sneaky glimpse of the great mare Winx who was being led back in to the stable whilst we were photographing Libran. She is a truly great racehorse the like of which I doubt I will see again in my lifetime. Can you imagine any horse being unbeaten in 29 races whilst competing at the highest level?!

2018 Cartier Awards - Harry Herbert with Laurent Feniou (Managing Director of Cartier) and Ed Chamberlain

From Australia it was back to London for the Cartier Racing Awards which are in their 28th year. It makes me feel very old to think that I have hosted the evening every year since the start having helped Tim Vigors found them all those years ago. To have a luxury goods company of the stature of Cartier involved in racing sponsorship for that length of time is amazing and now we head on to the 29th year in 2019!

Since then I have been out looking at the yearlings before they head on to their respective trainers as well as watching our jumpers perform with great credit in what promises to be a thrilling NH season. We have a share available in Felony with Nicky Henderson and one or two in Alfie Corbitt with Kim Bailey. Both are real corkers so if National Hunt is your game give us a call for more information.

Alfie Corbitt - 5yo gelding in training with Kim Bailey

This will be our last newsletter before Christmas so here’s wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and much luck for the season ahead in 2019.

Harry Herbert, Chairman

On The Track

As the flat season wound down, so too the number of Highclere runners on the flat, some of whom were running for the last time in the light blue silks. Archetype finished on a high when winning for the fifth time at Chelmsford. His record showed just what a consistent performer he was, winning or finishing in the frame in no less than nine of his fourteen starts. He had become hugely popular with his owners who were naturally sad to see him sold at the horses in training sale at Newmarket. However the decision to sell was vindicated when he went through the ring for no less than 335,000gns which was the sale topper for the day! 

Mam’selle also bowed out at Bath, where a large number of her owners were present to see her last run before being prepared for the mares sale next week. Confederate…

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Mam’selle also bowed out at Bath, where a large number of her owners were present to see her last run before being prepared for the mares sale next week. Confederate continued his progression with a second solid performance at Kempton and will surely be at his best when he steps up in trip. Grandstand’s run of poor luck was extended at Chelmsford when he was badly chopped having come with an eye catching run on the rail, but he will continue to run on the all weather and his day will surely come soon.

The patience of the owners of Reconcile was rewarded in real style when he put up a winning performance on his debut at Newcastle. Simon Crisford and his team have done a fantastic job of bringing him back from an early setback and there could well be more to come from this horse. Nantucket looked to be an exciting prospect for next year following an encouraging debut at Kempton where she was given a very considerate ride.

Our National Hunt season has got off to a flyer with a number of winners. Posh Trish showed that she has improved since last year when winning a very competitive Mares Novice Hurdle at the first big Chepstow meeting before finishing second in an even tougher contest at Newbury. This mare is quickly building a loyal fan club and looks sure to win again before too long. Paul Nicholls trained another of our mares to win first time out when If You Say Run was an impressive winner of a very valuable Mares Handicap Hurdle at Wincanton, despite hanging markedly inside the final furlong. The same issue almost certainly lost her the chance of following up at Kempton next time where she eventually finished second, but she continues to improve and go forward.

Clondaw Anchor put up a brilliant jumping display to win emphatically at Carlisle on his debut for Highclere and was a solid third at Lingfield next time where he possibly did too much of the hard work from the front. He jumped very well again and Dan Skelton is confident that he will be back to winning ways when stepped up in trip. Style de Garde also made all and seemed to have pulled himself out of contention before finishing strongly for a highly encouraging victory on his chasing debut. This son of Kapgarde jumped with real fluency and seems to have taken to fences with ease. Crievehill made a very solid start when finishing second at Uttoxeter in conditions that were far from ideal. He will hopefully head to Aintree where he will jump the Grand National fences (hopefully in heavy ground!) in the Betfred Grand Sefton on Saturday December 8th.

Rolf's Ramblings

Timeform Racehorses of 1952 demonstrated, in this archetypal essay, how to assess a racehorse’s true worth. Though Tulyar started his second season carrying only 8-2 in the Free Handicap he remained unbeaten throughout his three-year-old career in the Lingfield Derby Trial, the Ormonde, the Derby, Eclipse, the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the St Leger.

“What is the verdict upon him: is Tulyar a really great horse or is he not? Well if one is to judge him only upon the merit of his performances…

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“What is the verdict upon him: is Tulyar a really great horse or is he not? Well if one is to judge him only upon the merit of his performances it would be difficult to make him a great horse. We have already said, in connection with Gay Time, that Tulyar was lucky to win the Derby, and this is a considered view from which we are not to be shaken either by the results of the subsequent meetings of the two horses or by the excellence of Tulyar’s record as a whole. The evidence in the race itself (and it is in record on the film) is too strong for us. Tulyar had a good run throughout: Gay Time had a bad one: he was slowly away, was buffeted in running, came round Tattenham Corner on the outside, where he was still many lengths behind the leaders, and yet he managed to get to Tulyar’s quarters. We have not said that Gay Time is a better horse than Tulyar: what we have said is that with equal fortune Gay Time would have beaten him in the Derby.

“Returning to the question of the general merit of Tulyar’s performances, a strict and unimaginative reading of the form-book reveals a number of horses, such as Trim Curry, H.V.C., Hilltop and Kingsfold, (who were) all within 10lb and none would regard these as material fit to test a ‘great’ horse at a difference of 10lb. It is easy, therefore, to argue that Tulyar is merely the best horse in a moderate crop of three-year-olds.

“What this disregards, however, is Tulyar himself: the general character of the horse. Where would one find a racehorse more perfectly equipped in every respect? He had good stamina allied to a really effective turn of foot and splendid acceleration; he has a sound and hardy constitution, is one of the most placid-tempered animals ever seen on a racecourse, and one of the handiest and most obedient rides any jockey could wish for. This is where Tulyar’s greatness lies, in his general character, temperament and attitude to racing. He walks round the paddock soberly and contentedly, with no high jinks, bothering himself not at all with anything; in the preliminary canter he is collected and sensible; and in the race he does as he is bid with neither fuss nor flourish, wasting no energy, and producing no more than is necessary to meet the insistence of his rider. You may examine the form-book value of each of his performances individually and you will find none of them such as to push Tulyar right off the top of the handicap scale…but he kept on winning: he found whatever was necessary on every occasion he went to the post. Tulyar is lazy: there is more in him than meets the eye, and more in him than has found its way into the form-book…in general racing character he is the quintessence of what a thoroughbred should be.”

Timeform rated Tulyar 134 in 1952. The International Rankings (they didn’t exist in Tulyar’s day) of 2018 are the antithesis of what constitutes judgement of a thoroughbred – exemplified by the Timeform assessment of Tulyar - “the quintessence” of what a racehorse “is”. Timeform awarded Enable 134 after the Arc. But the so-called ‘World Rankings’ place her ninth best racehorse in the world: would you bet that in a ten-horse field of putatively the best horses in the world Enable would beat one home?

Whether she would have beaten Tulyar is one of those racing imponderables on which time is squandered. Tulyar won £76.577 in stakes, breaking the record which had stood for fifty seven years. So far Enable has amassed £8,007,026.00: a barren comparison devoid of all meaning.

Timeform, in Racehorses of 2018 will not necessarily be so fulsome in Enable’s praise as they were about Tulyar but at the same time the organization will point to the filly’s exigencies: the injury, at the beginning of her four-year-old season which kept her off the racecourse until September; the further (unpublicized) setback between her seasonal debut and when winning that second Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in a row. And then succeeding at the Breeders’ Cup where all other Arc winners had failed. Timeform’s final figure may be lower than that given Tulyar since the Halifax organization tends to ‘mark down’ horses for their annual review. But they will doubtless point to the virtues which she embodied – some similar to Tulyar’s, some different, and with a resilience that may even have exceeded the colt’s. He was retired to stud at the end of his three-year-old career.

And Timeform may well point, as others have done, to Sea Of Class being as unlucky runner-up in the Arc, as Gay Time in Tulyar’s Derby. But the rule is still, whatever ratings propose only the racecourse test disposes.

Oxford Private Travel

A huge thank you to Rupert Longsdon and his team at Oxford Private Travel for providing such fabulous prizes for our five to follow competition, won by Sarah and Alan Sherwood with Helene and Robert Bonney as the runners up. 

Taittinger Moment

This month's Taittinger moment goes to Mimi and Violet of Wadham Hesketh Bloodstock, who in their first year of business have pre-trained five of our yearlings and done an excellent job. Mimi worked for Highclere Stud before starting up on her own and her father, Justin Wadham is our solicitor at Highclere! 

Out and about with the Highclere camera

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

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