Newsletter October 2020

On Sunday we showed off our new yearlings through our first ever live stream broadcast from Highclere Stud.

It was a surreal experience arriving at the stud knowing that instead of a fabulous gathering of our owners for a sausage or bacon bap before parading the yearlings that…

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It was a surreal experience arriving at the stud knowing that instead of a fabulous gathering of our owners for a sausage or bacon bap before parading the yearlings that instead there would be just the HTR team, John and Jake, the trainers and a film crew!

Behind the scenes at the Yearling Parade

It's fair to say that Jake and I didn’t exactly excel in the rehearsal and two or three of the yearlings also needed the practice! Thankfully when we went live it all came together and I was thrilled with the end result. It was so important that everything looked as good as if our shareowners were there and that the horses could be shown off to best effect. Of course it wasn’t the same but looking back at the coverage, those yearlings gave me a proper tingle again!

The sales season was really difficult in that even at Doncaster we just couldn’t afford those short listed horses and that was with the sale being down nearly 30%. To be fair there wasn’t a number of nice horses needed for a few to slip through the net, and we knew that the vendors had sent their best horses to Newmarket and that would be our best hunting ground. As it turned out we really struggled to land a blow on day one of Book 1 as the market soared beyond everyone’s expectations with Sheikh Mohammed buying like a man possessed! Thankfully one yearling did fall into our price range and that was an absolutely stunning son of New Approach from the Highclere Stud draft that we bought for 120,000gns.

New Approach ex Darting colt

It would be another 321 lots before we would strike again when out of the blue we bought a very handsome son of Wootton Bassett for 62,000gns.

Wootten Bassett ex Shaloushka colt

It's moments like this that make you want to dance and shout around the sales ground but of course one can’t be seen to get too excited and it was quickly on to the next one which, as it turned out, wouldn’t be until lot 551 in Book 2. Lot 551 was a seriously strong and racy son of Starspangledbanner whose dam had already produced a Listed winner.

Starspangledbanner ex Ach Alannah colt

He has Royal Ascot written all over him and John Warren himself stepped up to bid for the horse so anxious was he to secure him! We have a few shares available in this colt so do click here and take a close look as he could be very smart.

Another 300 lots later and at last the hammer fell to us again, this time we nailed a very handsome son of Holy Roman Emperor for 60,000gns and Charlie Fellowes was over the moon to hear that he was training him. Please click here for more information.

Holy Roman Emperor ex Hail Shower colt

Its incredible to think that Holy Roman Emperor has sired the winners of 2,000 races and some £48,000,000 in prizemoney. On then to lot 1161 and another beautiful filly joined the Highclere team, this time by first season sire Profitable. We thought we had her bought at 50,000gns but someone out there hidden in the ring or outside was determined to have her. We eventually secured her for 90,000gns and as we stepped outside the ring it was John Gosden who revealed himself as the underbidder. “I am sorry that I cost you a few quid but I thought that she was one of the best fillies in Book 2”. High praise indeed from the Champion trainer! Again, we do have a handful of shares available in her so please click here to have a close look! She will be trained by Simon and Ed Crisford.

Profitable ex Romie's Kastett filly

First season sire El Kabeir’s stock had constantly made our short list so we were really excited to eventually buy one and what an absolute belter he is! Bred by super successful German breeder Philip Stauffenberg he hails from the family of Champion sprinter Dream Ahead. Click here to take a look at the parade footage of him as he oozes class and athleticism. His breeder and their team were raving about him which is always good to hear and of course Philip thought that we had stolen him at 85,000gns!

El Kabeir ex School Run colt

There was one horse in Book 1 that we couldn’t get out of our minds and that was a son of Le Havre that we wanted to buy but which we just didn’t bid enough for, mainly because he was early in Book 1 and at that stage everyone was still wondering whether the market would fall. Well it didn't and when we learned that he had been bought back by the vendor we started negotiations to try and buy him. Thankfully Jake got the deal done at 120,000gns and this absolutely gorgeous son of Le Havre from the family of Danehill was heading back from Ireland in time to join the team for Sunday’s parade.

Le Havre ex Flower Of Life colt

The final twist in the yearling sales came as watched a very beautiful daughter of Mastercraftsman from the Highclere draft go through the ring. We had watched her all week and were determined to buy her but despite bidding over 100,000gns she went well beyond our limit and was knocked down for 140,000gns to Dermot Farrington.

Mastercraftsman ex Il Palazzo filly

We asked Dermot who he had bought her for and when he said “oh she is for my father in law, trainer Martyn Meade" we asked him whether Highclere could buy 50% and when the answer came back from Martyn with a resounding “yes!” we hollered with joy and that as they say concluded the 2020 yearling sales season.

Thank you all so much for your very kind comments post parade and I’m thrilled that it went so well and that the horses paraded so beautifully. Hopefully next year though we will be back to normal! If you weren't able to see the parade then just click here for the full show which I hope you enjoy. 

Harry Herbert, Chairman

On The Track

By Alex Smith

It has been an exciting time since our last newsletter with plenty of winners! Nicklaus bounced back to form with a really gutsy display under a fabulous ride form jockey…

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It has been an exciting time since our last newsletter with plenty of winners! Nicklaus bounced back to form with a really gutsy display under a fabulous ride form jockey of the moment Tom Marquand (arguably now eclipsed by his girlfriend Hollie Doyle!) to win at Yarmouth. Nicklaus has brought a huge amount of enjoyment since we bought him from William Haggas in 2018 running on twenty one occasions, winning on four of those and getting into the frame seven times! He will be much missed as he heads to the horses in training sale at Newmarket next week.

Nicklaus winning at Yarmouth

Ascension has done nothing but improve since being gelded and stepped up in trip.

Ascension winning at Ayr


He followed up on his Newmarket win with an impressive display at Ayr before finishing third in a very hot contest at Leicester. His main target will be the Lincoln next season. His win at Ayr coincided with another gutsy performance from Union at Newbury, also trained by Roger Varian and bringing a double on the day!

Mary Neale with Paul and Carol Bennellick in the winners enclosure

Host has been knocking on the door, finishing second on his last two runs and looks sure to get his head in front very soon. Operatic followed up on her exciting victory at Windsor with another impressive display at Kempton, accounting for a highly fancied Godolphin two year old. She will now head for a Listed race at Newmarket at the end of the month. Affable nearly made it two in a row when making a huge step up in class at Newmarket on her next outing. She seemed to be going best of anything about two furlongs from home but couldn’t quite do enough, eventually finishing fourth.

Culture winning at Kempton

Culture has been a revelation since getting stuck in the mud at Goodwood, winning back to back races under two brilliant rides from Adam Kirby. He too will be much missed by his owners having notched up four victories under the care of George Baker and wish him well for the future.

Sermon winning at Wolverhampton

A horse who consistantly tries his heart out is Sermon, trained by Tom Dascombe. His final run in the Highclere colours was a very well deserved win under Richard Kingscote at Wolverhampton. He has given his shareowners so much fun over the two years and has only been out of the top four a total of three times from fifteen runs.

Another impressive winner came from Prince Imperial at Bath, where stepped up in trip he cruised to victory under David Egan. He crossed the line very strongly and looks sure to be a leading player over staying distances next season.

Prince Imperial winning at Bath

The National Hunt scene begins to hot up this weekend with both Ballywood and Hijack both in action at Cheltenham.

Mistaken Identity

By Rolf Johnson

“If a 6 turned out to be 9 I don’t mind” - so sang Jimi Hendrix - one of his biggest hits. For Newmarket’s Group One Bet365 Fillies’ Mile had…

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“If a 6 turned out to be 9 I don’t mind” - so sang Jimi Hendrix - one of his biggest hits. For Newmarket’s Group One Bet365 Fillies’ Mile had Snowfall (JPN) been number 6 you could (sort of) understand the wrong saddle cloths being put on the wrong horse because stablemate Mother Earth (IRE) was number 9. But Snowfall was 5 – a good story ruined.

At the last count there have been eight Aidan O’Brien Derby winners though even the great trainer may not recall some of the dozens of also-rans he has saddled for the race since Galileo’s triumph in 2001. There were just the six of them in the latest renewal and since Serpentine was a 25-1 turn up, you have to wonder whether he was the intended ‘one’.

Serpentine winning the Derby

The master of Ballydoyle has won five Fillies’ Miles. This year he had two bay fillies. William Buick was booked for Snowfall and James Doyle, Mother Earth.  But mistaken identities saw Buick’s tack going on Mother Earth and Doyle’s on Snowfall.

Had Ballydoyle jockeys Wayne Lordan and Seamie Heffernan (oh to have been sat with them watching the race on the tele) been booked they would have known which was which, having been aboard on the two fillies’ previous outings though Ryan Moore had ridden Mother Earth when they were third in the Albany. As luck would have it in the Fillies’ Mile, Moore partnered Shale for Donnacha O’Brien – which finished sixth, with the number 8.

‘Snowfall’ finished third and ‘Mother Earth’ eighth – or to be more precise, the other way around. Easily done? No matter they’ll both be disqualified. There’ll be no appeal. As Aidan O’Brien, back in Ballydoyle minding the home fires, said, holding up his hands: “What happened was that our lads put the wrong saddles on the wrong fillies.”

Pretty Gorgeous- Shane Crosse (second left) wins. James Doyle (left) number nine saddle cloth for Aidan O’Brien’s Snowfall in third, but in fact on Mother Earth.

Never mind ‘the lads’ (no not those lads), the Coolmore triumvirate of John Magnier, Derek Smith and Michael Tabor re-occupied their ‘rightful place’ in the winner’s enclosure when St Mark’s Basilica took next day’s Darley Dewhurst. One presumes he was the one to be on (number 2) as opposed to his runner-up and stable companion Wembley (12) though the latter was shorter odds…

Many years back, say around 1980, on a stormy winter night, two geldings arrived at our stables in Hampshire. They’d come from Norway – one of them starting his journey in faraway Poland - and were rushed into warm boxes. They were the property of an eminent Scandinavian gentleman, not a noted horseman but who ‘liked a bet’. This was going to be one massive double.

They couldn’t have been more unlike: a smallish chestnut and a well-proportioned bay, though memory can play tricks. The next morning, a clear day, they went for a stretch and were established in the string as Great Oak (IRE) and Driving (POL).

As time went on the trainer, consternation rising, informed Oslo that while the one – Norway’s Champion hurdler – hadn’t made much impact “except demolishing my hurdles” the other, with the CV of a complete novice, “is a natural”. The owner couldn’t shed any light: colour wasn’t mentioned.

Came the day, the one was sent to Nottingham, the other to Devon & Exeter (subsequently renamed ‘Exeter’; Nottingham held jumps meetings in those days). As luck would have it, due to circumstances beyond my control (that’s my story), I was absent from the yard that morning, so the passports accompanying the two horses to the races weren’t necessarily the ones which had accompanied them on their peregrinations around Europe.

This much was obvious to the vet on duty at Nottingham where the stewards were in no mood to listen to the travelling head lad’s protestations. Whorls are one thing; different colours quite another.

(Talking of statutory inspections, have you noticed your bags are no longer inspected entering the racecourse? You couldn’t get in with Corvid-19 but you could safely smuggle pounds of gelignite or an automatic – dismantled - rifle).

Communications between courses, pre-mobile days, was not what it is now so news of the Nottingham withdrawal didn’t reach Devon & Exeter where the other half of the coup emerged late into the parade ring – whereupon the veterinary officer drew the trainer’s and, of course, the stewards’, attentions to the fact that the beast in front of him in no way corresponded to one in the passport.

The trainer was a giant of the West Country circuit - as big a player as Martin Pipe was to become in that neck of the woods. The Devon & Exeter stewards shared many interests including hunting and shooting – skittling was big in those parts too. They surrendered to the trainer’s blandishment, bamboozled by a blizzard of excuses.

You’ve guessed the outcome; said horse won, easily, overturning a substantial gamble on the bookmaker-owned runner-up was. The Norwegian punter was in Valhalla – more so because he was able to pull it off a second time when the same horses (both) ran under their correct names – without the encumbrance of penalties!

The Jockey Club was more forgiving in those days and the minimal fine was imposed, paid by the owner: we await to see how condign the punishment authorities mete out to Aidan O’Brien.

There have been the several cases of mistaken identity before and since – Millie’s Kiss, Yarmouth 2017, another genuine mistake: Francasal at Bath 1953 and Flockton Grey, Nottingham 1982 were out and out ‘ringers’. Gay Future 1974 was a stroke of genius – but incompetence among the plotters let the cat out of the bag.

Microchips are supposedly the future failsafe  for identification - but for all we know in the past the successful ones are the ones that got away.

Clodagh's New Book And Recipe Of The Month

By Clodagh McKenna

My new book Clodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen is published this week, and I am thrilled to say that it is already a best seller in Ireland, hooray! I have been wanting…

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My new book Clodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen is published this week, and I am thrilled to say that it is already a best seller in Ireland, hooray! I have been wanting to write this cook book for years. These recipes are a collection of all my favourite ‘go to’ dishes that I cook up during the week when I don’t have a lot of time or energy to pull together a big supper, but still want something delicious, nutritious and satisfying.

Writing this book during lockdown was for me the perfect time to really perfect these recipes – with us all going through the same dilemmas of not being able to go to the shop, cooking at home 7 days a week, and the worries of all that was going on. Meal time became this wonderful hour to look forward to everyday. I started a daily IGTV cookery series on the first day of isolation, and over the 4/5 months tested all these recipes in my cookery videos. There are over 100 recipes in the book, all easy and stress free. I have organised the recipes into six different chapters.

Clodagh's Weeknight Kitchen

Quick Fixes - recipes on the table in less than 30 minutes - perfect for when you've been stuck in the office and need a quick fix when you get home like the soul lifting Chicken Noodle Soup or Gruyere and Ham Baked Eggs. One and Done - a variety of one-dish dinners, including roasting tin meals, one-pot stews and casseroles and one-pan recipes – less wash-up and some great batch cooks like the Bella Bean Casserole or the Spiced Chicken and Chickpea Curry. Meat-free - vegetarian dishes for meat-free Monday (or any other night of the week) - Harvest Salad with Kale, Apple, Beetroot & Grilled Halloumi and one of my most favourite recipes in the book Roast Pumpkin, Mozzarella & Chilli. Store-cupboard stand-bys - recipes based on basic store-cupboard staples like pasta and tinned tomatoes, which don't require a long list of ingredients – Margherita Risotto and our house favourite Prawn Chilli Linguine. Friday Night In - satisfying and substantial dishes that can feed 6-8 people for weeknight gatherings of friends and family – Fish Tacos with salsa and guacamole and Ricotta Meatballs with polenta and cavolo nero.

Finally Desserts – easy delicious desserts like my Chocolate Rosewater Mousses or the Lemon Cheesecake that became one of my IGTV hit episodes! I have also done a section on Store-Cupboard Essentials, a curated list of ingredients that I know will make cooking life so much more enjoyable, and three of my most used sauces – Basil Pesto, Hollandaise Sauce and Pepper Sauce.

My dream is that this book will transform your weeknight cooking – make it more fun, make you more happy and dance away while you spin around the ingredients in your simmering pot! If you would like to purchase a copy for yourself or perhaps as an early Christmas present please click here. 

Here is one of my favourite recipies from my book for you to enjoy!


Sliced Steak with creamy mushroom linguini

Serves 4


2 x 300g sirloin steak

1 tbsp olive oil

400g linguini 

For the creamy mushroom sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

1onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed  

200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

200ml double cream

juice of ½ lemon

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



1.      Remove the steaks from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking them, to allow them to come up to room temperature.

2.      Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Then stir in the onion and garlic and cook for two minutes. Next stir in the mushrooms, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – continue to cook for ten minutes, tossing every minute or so. Add the fresh rosemary and lemon juice, cook for another minute. Pour in the cream, stir, reduce the heat to low and cook for five minutes.

3.      Put a large saucepan of salted boiling water over a high heat, stir in the pasta and cook for ten minutes or until cooked. Then drain, holding back a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water.

4.      To cook the steak. Heat a griddle or frying pan over a high heat, until smoking hot. Lightly brush the steak with a little olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the prepared steaks on the hot pan, and cook to the following times.

Blue: 1 minute each side

Rare: 1½ minutes each side

Medium rare: 2 minutes each side

Medium: 2¼ minutes each side

Medium-well done: 2½ – 3 minutes each side

5.      Let the steaks rest for about two minutes before serving, to allow the juices that have been drawn to the surface to relax back into the meat.

6.      Place the cooked pasta back in the large saucepan over a low heat with the reserved pasta cooking water, and the creamy mushroom sauce. Toss together and serve in warmed dishes. Thinly slice the steaks and serve alongside the creamy mushroom linguini.


Clodagh xx

Taittinger Moment

This month's Taittinger moment has to go to Paul Scope who celebrated his 100th Highclere winner when Nicklaus won at Yarmouth. Many congratulations Paul from all of us and here's to the next 100!!

Out and about with the Highclere Camera

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