Good Morning Bloodstock

Elwick Stud's emerging blue hen honouring the memory of the farm's late founder

Martin Stevens speaks to Gary Moore about Stream Song and plenty else besides in Good Morning Bloodstock

The courtyard at Elwick Stud's stallion barn
The courtyard at Elwick Stud's stallion barnCredit: Elwick Stud

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Here, Martin Stevens speaks to Elwick Stud's Gary Moore following an excellent couple of days – subscribers can get more great insight every Monday to Friday.

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Elwick Stud’s magnificent weekend double through homebred half-siblings Iron Lion and Lava Stream meant an awful lot more to the team at the County Durham operation than prize-money and upgraded pages. 

That’s because their dam, the emerging blue hen Stream Song, happened to be the last mare selected by late Elwick Stud founder Geoff Turnbull, whose dark blue and pink silks were carried by stars Lord Glitters and Mondialiste. 

Stream Song (pictured below), a Mastercraftsman half-sister to British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes heroine Journey and Group 2 winners Indigo Girl and Mimikyu out of Prix Royal-Oak victress Montare, was bought from breeder George Strawbridge for 440,000gns at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale of 2019, eight months before Turnbull passed away at the age of 74. 

“Once he’d sent us down to have a look at her and we’d said we liked her, I don’t think he was going to stop bidding until we got her,” remembers stud manager Gary Moore with a fond smile. “He wanted her and that was that. 

“It’s a fantastic page, one I know well as I used to manage Whatton Manor Stud when Mr Strawbridge’s mares were there. She’s also a big, strong mare who was highly rated and won at two, which was important for us. On top of that she was in foal to Roaring Lion, so she made a lot of appeal.” 

Docket duly signed by Peter Nolan and the Elwick Stud team, Stream Song was taken to the operation’s picture-perfect base of Sheraton Farm in County Durham. Just over two months later she gave birth to the Roaring Lion colt who would eventually be retained by the breeders and named Iron Lion. 

Now four, he was the decisive winner of a hot Haydock Class 2 handicap over 12 furlongs on his 11th start for David O’Meara on Saturday. 

“He was a fine, big colt but when we took him to Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale he just didn’t make quite enough money, so we took him home at 120,000gns,” says Moore. “With him being the first foal out of the last mare that Geoff bought, it was a sentimental decision as much as anything. 

“He’ll probably go for the Old Newton Cup now, and if he runs well there we will probably go for the Ebor. That’s a ‘win and you’re in’ race for the Melbourne Cup so if he were to win that we’d have to go to Flemington.” 

Catching himself getting a little carried away, he adds with a laugh: “But obviously there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then. We’ll see!” 

Stream Song’s second foal, the three-year-old Too Darn Hot filly Lava Stream, sprang a bit of a surprise when finishing strongly to take the Listed Agnes Keyser Fillies’ Stakes at Goodwood on Sunday. She had been sent out by O’Meara to score in a Class 5 handicap at Doncaster on her previous start.

Moore wasn’t that shocked that she took the big step up in grade in her stride, though.  

“We wanted her to win at two, just because it helps her profile as a broodmare,” he says. “She ran well in fourth at Haydock first time out. She then went straight into a Listed race at Sandown and it was kind of a bit too much too soon. She was quite unruly that day and didn’t run her race.

Iron Lion and Jamie Spencer after winning at Haydock on Saturday, with Elwick Stud's Gary Moore on the right
Iron Lion and Jamie Spencer after winning at Haydock on Saturday, with Elwick Stud's Gary Moore on the rightCredit: JOHN GROSSICK

“But she won nicely at Ayr at the end of the season, and she absolutely cantered all over them before winning at Donny last month. The plan was to aim for black type, and David said she did a really nice piece of work last week. 

“So while it was a surprise that she won, as we didn’t think we’d be able to beat the favourite, it wasn’t a surprise that she ran well. David had always told us she would definitely get black type, and he’s not a man to mince his words. If he didn’t think so, he would have no problem telling us.” 

Moore said that the long-term plan for Lava Stream would likely be the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot at the end of the season. 

“It would make sense, as her mother’s sister Journey won the race; but, again, we can only hope and dream at this stage,” he added. “David will have a plan.” 

Stream Song has no two-year-old, as she lost a foal by Sea The Stars, but she has a yearling colt by the same sire.  

“He’ll probably go to Book 2 this year,” reported Moore. “He’s a really nice athletic horse but he’s not one of those big, strapping colts by Sea The Stars, so we think he might get a little lost in Book 1 as there’ll be ten or 15 of those there. We want him to stand out. There’s nothing wrong in being a big fish in a smaller pond.” 

The mare’s next produce is a filly foal from the first crop of Sea The Stars’ brilliant champion son Baaeed. 

“She’s really nice,” says Moore, vocally italicising the ‘really’ in a way that leaves no doubt about the fact that he has fallen head over heels in love with her.

Not for sale then?  

“I’d think she’d be kept as a broodmare,” he admits. “Not unless someone offers us serious money for her. It’s the same with Lava Stream. Don’t get me wrong, I’m already planning matings for her in my head, but you can’t turn down obscene money for any horse. That’s the case for Iron Lion too.” 

Stream Song is now in foal to world champion Ghaiyyath. His sire Dubawi is responsible for Journey, Indigo Girl and Mimikyu, as well as Too Darn Hot, the source of the well named Lava Stream.  

Lava Stream  and Danny Tudhope win the Listed Agnes Keyser Fillies' Stakes at Goodwood on Sunday
Lava Stream and Danny Tudhope win the Listed Agnes Keyser Fillies' Stakes at Goodwood on SundayCredit: Edward Whitaker

“The Dubawi line works really well with the family, and we thought he was very good value this year,” says Moore. “He’s a big boy too, so might put a bit more strength into the foal.” 

Stream Song and her yearling and foal offspring are among 40 mares and their followers on the 200-acre Sheraton Farm. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a queen of a mare, and one who has the enigmatic Montjeu as her broodmare sire to boot, she likes to get her own way.  

“She’s a little bit contrary when it comes to getting her in from the field, but that runs in the family,” says Moore. “Her grandma and ma were hard to catch too. The family definitely has a quirk but at least it’s a manageable quirk. 

“A lot of your good fillies are a little bit naughty, but maybe that’s what makes them good fillies.” 

Accompanying Stream Song on the stock list are some youngsters who have caught Moore’s eye. 

“We’ve got a very nice Harry Angel yearling colt out of Lady Poppy who’ll be going to the Goffs Doncaster Premier Sale or Tattersalls Somerville,” he says. “He’s a big, strong horse, built like a bull; just what you want for those sales. He’ll be prepped at home before going out to a consignor. 

“There’s also a Sea The Stars colt foal out of Makawee, a daughter of Farhh who finished second in the Lancashire Oaks, and a couple of smashing Palace Pier foals. There are some really cracking horses on the place.  

“The plan is to keep the fillies and sell the colts, and if the colts don’t make what we think they’re worth we’ll race them and maybe sell them with form on them. It was a hobby for Geoff, his dream really, but the family is now trying to be a bit more commercial.” 

You don’t get more commercial than Stream Song, a young mare whose first two foals are both highly rated runners. Geoff Turnbull’s dream is in safe hands at Elwick Stud. 

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“It was really people saying it’s so nice for someone to strike a blow for the small breeder; it’s not all the Aga Khan, Sheikh Mohammed and Coolmore,” says Stuart McPhee, breeder of Metropolitan, who won the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp a month ago.

Pedigree pick

Bella Love and River Blackwater, both making their debuts in division two of the five-and-a-half-furlong two-year-old fillies’ maiden at Wetherby on Tuesday (6.00), have remarkably similar profiles. 

Bella Love, trained by Craig Lidster for the Paul Hanagan-supported Good Racing Company, is by Kodiac out of the Dark Angel mare Nations Alexander, a Group 3 winner at two in the Sweet Solera Stakes. She was bought by Finn Kent for 30,000gns from Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. 

River Blackwater, in the care of David O’Meara for Jinky Farms and friends, is bred on the reverse cross, being by Dark Angel out of a Kodiac mare. Her dam Shaden was also a Group 3 scorer at two, in the Firth of Clyde Stakes, and she cost a similar amount, being purchased by Jason Kelly for 32,000gns from the Tattersalls Somerville Yearling Sale.

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Good Morning Bloodstock  is our unmissable email newsletter. Leading bloodstock journalist Martin Stevens provides his take and insight on the biggest stories every morning from Monday to Friday.

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