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South-west breeders to the fore as awesome Honeysuckle scoops up more silverware

Other winners at the TBA NH Breeders' Awards included My Drogo and Sky Pirate

The winners at the TBA NH Breeders' Awards evening in Doncaster on Wednesday
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Honeysuckle, who ended the 2020-21 season as the highest-rated hurdler in Ireland and Britain on a mark of 165, added more gloss to her glittering CV on Wednesday night at the seventh annual TBA NH Breeders’ Awards.

The unbeaten Henry de Bromhead-trained Champion Hurdle heroine retained her grip in the Leading Hurdler Mare category (Mickley Stud Trophy), but more significantly became the first mare to be crowned Leading Hurdler, for which Doug Procter of The Glanvilles Stud, representing breeder Dr Geoffrey Guy, picked up the Highflyer Bloodstock Trophy.

Nick Luck presided over the presentation of 14 awards at the event, held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Doncaster, and breeders from the south-west collected the majority of the prizes, which celebrated British-bred success in the 2020-21 campaign in Britain and Ireland.

Another south-west stud to celebrate a double success was Simon Sweeting’s Overbury Stud.

The first trophy collected was the Horse & Hound Cup, awarded to Schiaparelli, who was the leading British-based active stallion for individual chase winners. This was the seventh successive time the prestigious trophy has headed to Overbury, which has monopolised it with the now retired Kayf Tara.

The second trophy was the Dudgeon Cup, awarded to Rosita Bay, dam of Thyme Hill, who was crowned NH Broodmare of the Year.

The Overbury Stud-sponsored trophy awarded to the Leading Novice Hurdler Mare went to Bryan Mayoh, breeder of Grade 2 Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle winner Anythingforlove.

The Batsford Stud Trophy, for Leading Chaser, also went to the south-west. Dashel Drasher, a son of Passing Glance bred on Exmoor by Camilla Scott, wife of trainer Jeremy, was unbeaten at Ascot in three starts there last season, culminating in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase.

The mares’ equivalent, the Peel Bloodstock Trophy, went to the Goldford Stud-bred Chilli Filli, a dual Listed winner last season. 

With a mark of 155 in the Anglo-Irish rankings, My Drogo was the highest-rated British novice last term and was acclaimed as the Leading Novice Hurdler (Shade Oak Stud Trophy). He was bred by Richard and Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes. 

The Leading Novice Chaser award was sponsored by David and Kathleen Holmes in memory of their late stallion Midnight Legend. Appropriately, it was won by a son of Midnight Legend in Grand Annual Handicap Chase winner Sky Pirate, who was bred by Cedric Brookes. 

Berkshire-based breeder Rita Vaughan was the recipient of the Yorton Stud Trophy, which recognised Elle Est Belle, a Listed winner and third in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, as the Leading National Hunt Flat Mare.

The geldings’ equivalent, the Distillery Stud Trophy, was awarded to John and Alice Dawson, breeders of the Trans Island gelding I Like To Move It, a dual winner and Listed runner-up at Newbury.

The Whitbread Silver Salver had a new sponsor in Beswick Brothers Bloodstock. The award, given to the Leading Active British-based Stallion (2020-2021 National Hunt earnings), was collected by Julian Dollar for the accomplishments of Nathaniel.

There were also two special recognition awards. The first, the Eric Gillie Ltd Trophy, was awarded to Seeyouatmidnight. The son of Midnight Legend came back from retirement and ended his career on a high as a newly turned 13-year-old when winning the Veterans’ Chase Final at Sandown. 

The last award of the evening, the Queen Mother’s Silver Salver, was presented to Henry Cole, who has been breeding jumpers for half a century. Success with the likes of Desert Queen, Dubacilla, Just So and Mister Malarky all stems from his first mare purchased, Just Camilla, in 1969.

TBA NH Committee chairman Bryan Mayoh said: "Last season witnessed some brilliant performances from British-bred horses and it's been great to be able to host a dinner this year to celebrate them. Last year we were able to deliver an online event to recognise the successes of British breeders, and this received great feedback, but we're pleased that government guidelines allow for events to return.

"Thanks to TBA initiatives such as NHMOPS, the Great British Bonus and the Elite Mares’ Scheme, National Hunt breeding in this country is in a much healthier state. We've worked collaboratively with the BHA on improving and promoting the race programme for mares and are incredibly thankful to the Levy Board for its support."

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Last season witnessed some brilliant performances from British-bred horses and it's been great to be able host a dinner this year to celebrate them
E.W. Terms