'It’s a great opportunity to promote breeding to the wider racing industry'
Andrew Black on Sandown's breeders' day and Chasemore Farm's involvement
Chasemore Farm supremo Andrew Black is looking forward to helping promote the bloodstock industry to a wider audience at Sandown's inaugural breeders' day on Wednesday.
The Listed Chasemore Farm Fortune Stakes takes centre stage as the curtain comes down on Sandown's 2021 Flat programme, with Whitsbury Manor Stud, the National Stud, Blandford Bloodstock, Coln Valley Stud, Highclere and Barton Stud the other race sponsors.
Breeders' day is a new initiative staged by the Jockey Club in conjunction with the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association during what is National Racehorse Week.
The aim is to provide racegoers with insight into the breeding industry, through competitions, interactive displays, a QR code trail, a retired racehorse parade, interviews, giveaways and trade stands.
Students and those considering a career change can learn about the National Stud's 'Entry for Stud Employment' programme, which trains people for roles in the bloodstock industry.
Black, who co-founded Betfair, said: “I came into it from a betting perspective really, which seems odd. I’ve always been a punter and that’s been my interest in racehorses. I think analysing and deciding which horses to back is a similar sort of thought process to deciding which horse to mate with which other horse.
"For me it’s mostly about the matings, because that's the one area where I've a real input because everything else is handled by other people. I don’t have a great deal of involvement, other than I walk through the farm every day and watch the horses growing up - I do take a great deal of pleasure in that."
He continued: “You plan out a mating and watch the horse grow up, thinking is this going to be the animal I wanted it to be? Is this the animal that I intended to breed? Asking yourself, ‘Are we going to keep this one or are we going to sell it?’
“I never stop trying to understand the animals here - what they are, what they can be, what we can learn from them about the other progeny and their brothers and sisters to come. For me, seeing an animal you bred winning a big race is as good as it gets.”
Surrey-based Chasemore Farm has had a number of high-profile homebred runners in their green and purple silks, including Chesham Stakes scorer Arthur Kitt, Prestige Stakes winner Boomer and French Group 3 victor Brad The Brief.
Black's wife, Jane, hopes Sandown racegoers, and the sport, will benefit from Wednesday's initiative.
She said: “It’s great for us to be involved with the day because we sponsor the owners' and trainers' facilities there. It’s our local course, we go there a lot, have a box there, and it’s a great opportunity to promote breeding to the wider racing industry.
“Our big mare was Ceiling Kitty and we were there to see her win at Royal Ascot [Queen Mary Stakes in 2012] and then a few years down the line her last foal also won there [Arthur Kitt in the 2018 Chesham Stakes] - it’s just great to see what all the family do."
She added: “I think breeding doesn’t get an awful lot of exposure, not in the same way racing yards do. It’s a really interesting part of the industry and I think if the wider audience learned a little bit more about it then it would only be good for racing.”