Elwick Stud enjoying the ride as Mondialiste's stallion career takes flight
The operation will send at least 35 mares to the Grade 1-winning son of Galileo
In a relatively short space of time Elwick Stud, situated in the County Durham countryside, has undergone a transformation from a working farm to a state-of-the-art breeding facility.
Rugged fields that were once home to grazing stock now see blue-chip bloodstock safely ensconced behind pristine post and rail fences, and rustic cattle sheds have made way for four plush, purpose-built barns. With phase two of the stud's development complete, the operation now has stabling for 140 horses, including space for 35 boarders and their foals.
But perhaps the most impressive element of Elwick's development is the stallion barn, an immaculate facility - complete with tasteful topiary - that would be the envy of most studs the world over. And it is here that yet more foundations are being laid, as Elwick is standing four-square behind the stallion barn's first incumbent, Mondialiste.
"Being in the north of England, people might have thought it would be harder to launch a stallion than it is for those who stand sires in Newmarket, but the response we've had to him from the UK and Europe has been fantastic.
"Mondialiste has been very well received and we have confirmed bookings from Ireland, France, Germany and Turkey, all of which should give him a good boost in his first covering season."
It is little wonder that Mondialiste, who has his first mares scanned in foal and begins covering duty at a fee of £6,000, has been so warmly received, as Turnbull's globetrotting flag bearer would appear to have all the necessary credentials to succeed in his second career.
Among his five victories were two Grade 1s, namely the Woodbine Mile and the Arlington Million, and those results that contributed to a prize-money haul of over £1,266,850.
He raced for five seasons, during which he repeatedly proved his resolution and soundness, and he displayed his unrelenting will to win one final time when a valiant and close-up fifth behind stablemate Suedois in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on his 31st and last outing.
He also boasts a deep pedigree, being by the dominant stallion of the era, Galileo, and out of Occupandiste, a daughter of Kaldoun who landed the 1997 Prix Maurice de Gheest and Prix de la Foret.
His immediate family also includes the likes of Prix du Jockey Club hero - and now Cheveley Park Stud resident - Intello, July Cup winner Elnadim, and champion miler Ribchester - who has joined Darley's Kildangan Stud roster for 2018.
Such is Turnbull's belief in Mondialiste, he is sending no fewer than 35 of his own mares to the horse to give him the best possible start at stud. And this is not just a case of quantity, as among those 35 are mares with some decidedly in vogue bloodlines, which of course have come at quite a cost.
Among Mondialiste's harem are the likes of Barefoot Contessa - a Dansili half-sister to French Classic winner Beauty Parlour bought for €270,000 from the Wildenstein Dispersal; Craic Agus Spraoi - a half-sister to Dewhurst Stakes winner Parish Hall who fetched 175,000gns; the €115,000 Kocollada - a daughter of Kodiac who finished fourth in the 2016 Queen Mary Stakes; Brave Times - a 160,000gns half-sister to Oh So Sharp Stakes winner Local Time; and Sibaya - an Exceed And Excel half-sister to St Leger winner Harbour Law, to name but a few.
Time and again the pairing of the blood of Galileo with the genes of sprinting mares has borne fruit on the racetrack, most notably with talents such as Churchill, Gleneagles, Winter and Frankel - no less. And with Turnbull having elected to supply Mondialiste with his share of speedy mares, he looks to be taking a well-trodden path to success.
"The aim would be to have a balance from five to 12 furlong performers," says Turnbull. "Being by Galileo, Mondialiste had a wonderful toughness, but also a great turn of foot and a real will to win.
"The intention will be to both sell and race the progeny we breed; with the emphasis mainly being on racing the fillies and selling the colts," he says in true owner-breeder spirit, before adding: "This may not always be this case, but that's the intention."
Building a broodmare band to send any stallion on his way to success must be a daunting task, but then Turnbull is no stranger to reaching dizzying heights from humble beginnings. The son of a miner, he founded an engineering and export empire that saw him awarded an MBE for his service to the UK export industry in 1991.
His business background with his company, GT Group, may well also have taught him the importance of drawing on the expertise of others.
"Obviously we look heavily into pedigrees," he says on the process of selecting mares. "But we also have a very experienced team here at the stud. Garry Moore, the stud manager, has been involved with horses since the age of two and worked for Coolmore for 12 years. He has a great eye and, along with a couple of trusted agents and top veterinary advice, we would have a discussion, along with my son Nick, about which mares to buy.
"Generally we wouldn't buy unless all parties were in agreement. Although I have always been one to take a chance, so if I see something exceptional I will buy, as was the case with Barefoot Contessa."
But despite Turnbull being unafraid to take a chance, the driving force behind the development of Elwick Stud and the installation of Mondialiste has been based on business sense rather than blind sentimentality.
The 40-strong broodmare band may have been building steadily for a number of years now, but it has not been kept on ice until Mondialiste's arrival. This means the stud now has the progeny of high-achieving sires such as Acclamation, Nathaniel, New Approach, Starspangledbanner and Teofilo to go to war with, both on the track and in the sales ring.
"This is a commercial business and so our stock, including that of Mondialiste, will be offered at the foal and yearling sales," he says. "I would expect the first consignment to be in 2018 or 2019."
There is no mistaking the headway Elwick Stud has already made. But with its first stallion in place, a burgeoning broodmare band, and the prospect of sales consignments on the horizon, Turnbull and his team might only just be getting started.
If you enjoyed this, you may also be interested in...