ITV Racing presenter Francesca Cumani makes breeding breakthrough
The TV star bred impressive Nottingham winner Cool Exhibit
There could be a new breeding superpower in town on the evidence of the first race at Nottingham on Tuesday, as impressive debut winner Cool Exhibit provided ITV Racing presenter Francesca Cumani with her maiden success as a breeder.
The son of Showcasing is out of Frigid, who was donated to Cumani by her parents - Luca and Sara - when the daughter of Indian Ridge was deemed surplus to requirements among their boutique broodmare band at Fittocks Stud.
"It's a proper case of nepotism as my parents actually gave me the mare," laughed Cumani. "They're always trying to improve their broodmare band, but instead of selling Frigid for not a huge amount they kindly gave her to me."
Owning a mare is only half the battle, of course, and after much deliberation, and some parental advice, Cumani settled on using Whitsbury Manor Stud's upwardly mobile Showcasing.
"He was a young sire on the rise and had good-looking horses," said Cumani of the decision to use the son of Oasis Dream. "Though I have to confess that I do rely heavily on my parent's input - they've been doing it for so long that they have far more idea than I do."
Cumani sold the colt as a foal at the 2016 Tattersalls December Sale, where he was picked up by Camas Park Stud for 80,000gns. He failed to find a buyer at the following year's yearling sales, but reappeared at the Craven Breeze-Up Sale in April, where he was knocked down to Stroud Coleman Bloodstock for 50,000gns before heading into training with Simon Crisford.
"The mare also has a yearling by Toronado," she added. "He's very nice and not dissimilar to Cool Exhibit - a big, rangy type with a flashy white face. He'll probably go to the sales later this year - and this year she has been covered by Bated Breath."
Cumani also owns another mare, Blondikova, an unraced daughter of Pivotal owned in partnership with her friend Alison Jackson.
"She was unraced herself and the family has been a bit quiet which is why I got another hand-me-down!" she said. "But she's a lovely looking mare, a beautiful specimen, and obviously the Pivotal factor is a big thing. She's got a Cable Bay filly at foot - she's really nice - and I'm now waiting to find out if she's in foal to Havana Gold.
"I own her with my friend Alison Jackson. She's hasn't done much breeding before so I asked if she wanted to come in on the venture with Blondikova and it's great fun going through the process together."
Cumani said she believes that breeding is an avenue well worth exploring for those dreaming of getting into racehorse ownership, particularly as the financial rewards have the potential to rival the levels of prize-money on offer on the racecourse.
"The idea was always to breed a nice horse while running it as commercially as possible," she said. "The ownership [of horses in training] side of things - in England particular - is difficult financially, but breeding is a fun way to be involved and to try and make it at least pay for itself.
"Neither of my mares would have fetched much if they'd gone through a sale, so the entry point for buying mares and the potential exit point for selling their progeny as foals or yearlings makes the most amount of sense commercially, in my opinion.
"Obviously it's different to owning runners or being involved in the training but you still feel a sense of pride because you've been involved from the very start of the story."
Having bolted up by 2¾ lengths on Tuesday, there is every chance the next chapter of the Cool Exhibit story could come at Royal Ascot.
On the prospect of being represented by a runner at the Royal meeting, Cumani said: "There would be one excited breeder and TV presenter were he to run there!"
If you enjoyed this story you may also be interested in...