Hometown support for Kameko as significant covering season approaches
Tom Peacock gets the lowdown from David Redvers about an impressive roll-call
The nationwide stay-at-home order is being extended to Tweenhills this year, with the bulk of the broodmare band remaining safely within their locale for their conjugal visits.
Now into his second decade of active ownership, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani has four stallions to stand and continues to upgrade his breeding portfolio, in turn transforming the nature of Tweenhills, the Gloucestershire family farm run by his adviser David Redvers.
Their mating plans are dictated by both fortune and circumstance; last year’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko is being afforded the best possible chance of making a flying start and Zoustar is bidding to enhance his burgeoning southern hemisphere record with a first crop of European two-year-olds to be seen shortly.
The thorny issue of transporting horses during the implementation period of Brexit has partly forced the hand too.
"Because we stand Zoustar and Kameko here, both of whom are world-class stallions, the vast majority of our mares are staying at home," Redvers explains. "Between Tweenhills, our clients and Sheikh Fahad, I think we’ve got 45 mares going to Kameko. We’re also sending a strong book to Havana Gold, Zoustar and Lightning Spear.
"We’ve got only a very small number to go outside, they were very carefully selected for specific reasons with the help of [pedigree consultant] Michael Youngs."
The current lack of a tripartite agreement for free movement of horses between Britain, Ireland and France, and the associated triggering of VAT charges and paperwork, is also a determining factor.
"We have been massively affected by the fact we have next to no Irish mares coming to Tweenhills this year," says Redvers. "There are a few French mares booked in for later, but we’re working on a scheme to help to protect them while they’re here.
"Funnily enough the biggest problem we’ve had is with Lightening Pearl’s Deep Impact two-year-old, who was due to be trained by Johnny Murtagh, but it doesn’t make any sense at all at the moment because we’ll lose the VAT element on her.
"With a filly who’s going to be, on anyone’s books, worth a million pounds, it’s a bit of a disaster as it's a large amount of money to be tied up. We’re just trying to work our way though that at the moment."
Although realistic, Redvers stresses that a clean resolution is of mutual interest.
"I think the French forget that they wouldn’t have the likes of a Siyouni without there being a Pivotal covering. They need these high-class mares to be covered across Europe if they’re going to do the best for their industry.
"The Irish obviously are desperate to get their mares back and forth and are doing everything they can to be proactive about it, but everybody’s affected.
"At the moment it’s in the back of my mind that we have a current problem that needs sorting out rather than a long-term crisis and I’m hoping that by the time we get to shipping these mares out, there’ll have been some movement.
"Nobody but nobody wins if they can’t move, but of course in the bigger scheme of things bloodstock is a tiny proportion of the trade that’s carrying on, so we’re far from being alone on this."
On their travels
The aforementioned Lightening Pearl, an early star for Sheikh Fahad who won the Cheveley Park Stakes, is already asserting influence as a broodmare.
"She’s produced the most stunning Kingman filly and is going to Siyouni," says Redvers. "She was out in Japan, produced a good horse by Deep Impact called Matenro Diva and another colt that we sold.
"She also had a Group 3 winner by Frankel called Lightening Quick, who has a lovely Zoustar yearling filly and is going to Kingman."
Joining Lightening Pearl in visiting Haras de Bonneval resident Siyouni will be Run Wild, the Amaron filly who streaked clear in the Pretty Polly Stakes and is now part of David Howden and Nick Wheeler’s Cornthrop Bloodstock banner.
Among those heading to Ireland is the illustrious Mabs Cross, the privately-purchased Prix de l’Abbaye heroine.
"She’s going to Wootton Bassett," says Redvers. "She’s due any time soon to Zoustar, a first foal out of a Group 1-winning sprinter, so that’s very exciting."
Redvers describes as "a bit of a no-brainer" that Dulkashe, the Pivotal mare and dam of Coronation Cup winner Defoe that he bought at last year’s December Sale, is booked for Wootton Bassett’s Coolmore colleague Galileo.
Qatar Racing’s sharp sprinter Wind Fire goes to Invincible Spirit, while another illustrious Irish sire is the destination of Wekeela.
Redvers says: "She’s a sister to the dam of [Breeders’ Cup winner] Aunt Pearl that we bought for 1,800,000gns at the December Sale. Aunt Pearl’s dam was Listed-placed in Scandinavia but Wekeela won Group 3s in France and America and was second in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley and the Gamely. She’s one of our most exciting young mares, she’s in foal to Kingman, has a stunning Roaring Lion colt on the floor and is going to Lope De Vega."
Smart Japanese mare Pearl Code heads to Lord Kanaloa, while Sweeter Still, dam of Kameko, has been rebooked to Kitten’s Joy along with St Leger winner Simple Verse, who has a juvenile Frankel colt with John Gosden.
Redvers is particularly enthused by Molly Malone, who produced multiple French stakes winner Morgan Le Faye before joining the fold.
He says: "We just love her, she’s as high-class a broodmare as we’ve got, I think. She won the Prix du Cadran, so she’s a staying mare, and she was placed in the Pinnacle at Haydock. Her first foal for us is by Frankel and has gone to John Gosden - you’d be worried she might be too slow but she looks like a jet. There’s a beautiful Roaring Lion yearling, she’s in foal to Dubawi and is going back to Frankel."
Pontefract Listed winner Castle Hill Cassie is owned by a Tweenhills syndicate and will be covered by Showcasing, while Secret Gaze, a Galileo sibling of Mogul and Secret Gesture out of the fabled Shastye and owned with Newsells Park, is bound for Dubawi, with a Siyouni foal on the way.
Kingman is to receive patronage through rising star An Ghalanta.
"She’s an interesting one, a Holy Roman Emperor mare who has produced Bletchley, who was second in the Albany, and Time Scale, last year’s Empress Stakes winner by Charm Spirit," says Redvers. "She’s not far off our top-core mares now."
Kameko’s fee has been set at £25,000 as he attempts to fill the shoes of another late son of Kitten’s Joy, the much-missed Roaring Lion.
Among the most aristocratic members of his list is Con Te Partiro, of whom Redvers says: "We paid a mint of money for her at Keeneland last year and she’s got more stamps on her passport than most bloodstock agents or jockeys.
"She won over four and a half furlongs at Keeneland on her first start, then took the Sandringham at Royal Ascot and two Group 1s in Australia. She’s by Scat Daddy out of a Street Cry mare, she’s quite incredible."
Granny Franny, dam of three stakes winners including Grade 1 scorer Kitten's Dumplings in the US, is a proven producer booked in along with Common Knowledge.
Redvers says of the latter: "She’s a quality mare and one of our best, with three stakes winners including Know It All and Astrophysical Jet. She’s been all the way to Japan and every one she breeds is better than the one before. We’ve probably got 40 Roaring Lion yearlings on the farm and her’s is, honestly, breathtaking."
Kameko is also to receive stakes or Group performers such as Ainippe, Beach Belle, Carolinae, Diamonds Pour Moi, Dubara, Golden Spell, Kiyoshi, Miss Sugars, Nymphea, Out Of The Flames, Purr Along, Roheryn and Ship Of Dreams.
Zoustar, who has already sired a one-two-three in a Group 1 when his chief flagbearer Sunlight took out the Coolmore Stud Stakes, has a similarly well-heeled roll-call as he enters his third season at Tweenhills.
Mares selected for him include Marygate Stakes winner Beldale Memory, who is expecting a Dark Angel foal, the similarly-mated Group 3 Dick Poole scorer La Rioja, An Ghalanta’s daughter Time Scale and May Hill winner Rich Legacy. Hollie Doyle’s first stakes winner, Gorgeous Noora, is also in the mix.
Among the established producers to visit Zoustar are Ripples Maid - dam of high-class Japanese performer Mikki Charm - and Stella Blue. The latter has particular resonance.
Redvers explains: "She’s the dam of the first horse I ever bought for Sheikh Fahad, Sirius Prospect, who we got at the breeze-ups, though the underbidder kept coming back. I told Sheikh Fahad he should take the profit and he ended up being a very good sprinter. She’s a stakes winner, a very attractive mare who already has a beautiful Zoustar yearling."
More mating plans