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'We've been fortunate in that a number of Shadwell staff live on site'

A new series looking at how industry members are managing in self-isolation

Richard Lancaster: becoming accustomed to using Whatsapp for communication
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Shadwell stud director Richard Lancaster tells us about how he is managing – both personally and professionally – with the UK government's lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus. 

How is life at Nunnery Stud ticking over?

We're all having to adjust to a situation which none of us could have anticipated. I suppose we're better prepared than some as we do at times have to adopt quarantines when confronted with equine diseases.

At least the stallions are still able to cover and naturally foals are being born, so with the extra precautions in place life has to go on.

What new measures have you brought in for biosecurity?

We are very much following the government guidelines and carrying out recommended hand washing and sanitising. We're stressing the need for social distancing and issuing extra protective kit where appropriate.

Is it easy for stud staff to maintain social distancing?

No it isn’t, as some of the work with the vet and farrier necessitate holding the animal. In those cases, extra precaution is essential and protective kit has to be worn.

Are office staff working from home, and are you managing to stay in the loop with one another?

The office is virtually closed, though we are fortunate that some staff live on site. The management group have a morning conference call which allows us to react to any new directives and to sort out any basic administration.

With a large staff there are a lot of things that have to be considered with our duty of care. We are also getting accustomed to the use of Whatsapp for the smaller groups.

On a personal level, how are you keeping yourself busy during lockdown?

As we are very spread out I like to get to at least one of the locations each day to check that the staff are managing – all the time very conscious of social distancing and in most cases out in the fresh air.

I've also got a pile of reports to read thoroughly – the sort of things you normally only have time to flit through. It's also going to allow me to get on with some of those jobs that come up later in the year but always have to do in a rush.

With the fine weather there is a lot of paddock work to do so its great to be able to get out and walk the paddocks.

Any film, TV or book recommendations for getting through home confinement?

I really enjoyed The Two Popes – a wonderful insight into the friendship that developed between two very different characters. Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce were fantastic.

What is the availability of groceries and essential products around Nunnery Stud like?

Now that the initial rush has passed the supermarkets seem to be able to supply most essential items.

What are you most looking forward to when the Flat season returns?

Just to get back to normal, whenever that is, will be a relief.

But I'm looking forward to seeing Muhaarar’s three-year-olds in particular. I think everyone was expecting so much from his two-year-olds last year. They certainly looked more like three-year-olds and I hope this will prove to be the case.

I'm also looking forward to seeing Adaay’s two year olds. Shadwell still have an interest in the stallion so it will be nice to see his two-year-olds get off to a good start.

More on the coronavirus crisis

Essential information for studs: TBA issues Covid-19 lockdown protocol

Arrowfield stuns industry by pulling entire draft from Ingles Easter online sale

Sales companies take a watching brief as Inglis Easter heads online

Arqana optimistic of hosting breeze-up sale in conventional format

BHA issues guidance for studs and yards in response to UK lockdown


I really enjoyed The Two Popes – a wonderful insight into the friendship that developed between two very different characters
E.W. Terms