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Small breeder success at Tattersalls set to fund wedding and a house deposit

Ellie Harrod and Tom Pennington celebrating a big profit with Chrissycross

Chrissycross and her elated former owners (l-r) Kim and John Harrod, Tom Pennington and Ellie Harrod
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The sale of Chrissycross to Eaton Sales for 95,000gns in the opening session of breeding-stock trade at Tattersalls on Monday caused little more than a ripple in the overall results, but for her small-breeder owners it was a life-changing event.

The ten-year-old daughter of Cape Cross, sold in foal to Tasleet, was owned by Ellie Harrod, advertising and marketing manager at EBN, and her fiancé Tom Pennington, formerly a bloodstock journalist at the Racing Post and now marketing and nominations manager at Shadwell, with Harrod's parents John and Kim.

A three-time winner out of a daughter of Xaar and the Strensall Stakes second Badawi, she was bought for buttons by Micheál Orlandi. However, in a fairytale twist, the Equiano colt foal she was carrying when she came into the Harrods' ownership was sold as a foal for just €15,500 but turned out to be this season's Phoenix Sprint Stakes winner Gustavus Weston.

“You couldn't write it,” said an emotional Harrod after bidding farewell to Chrissycross. “It's all down to Micheál, I asked him to source a mare as my dad wanted to get into breeding and he found her – she's a smashing looking mare and was our only one.

“We sold Gustavus Weston as a foal to Pat Donworth, and he did a great job with him and resold him to Joe Murphy for €55,000. We watched his first run and he got left behind in the stalls and our hearts sank; but he ran on really strongly and you could tell he had some talent.

“Then we saw he was getting stakes entries, and was running well in some of them, and then we watched him win his Group 3 on TV in August. We got through a fair few bottles of wine that evening!”

An elated Harrod was trying her best to keep her feet on the ground, and added: “I fully appreciate people do this for years and lose lots of money, so I know how lucky we've been, and today was hard – we loved the mare.

"We never bought her thinking we'd sell her for profit, but we realised our financial limitations as she deserves much better covers than we can afford.

"We owe Byerley Stud a lot of thanks for doing such a good job of prepping her for the sale."

The loss of Chrissycross is mitigated by the family having her Equiano filly foal, a sister to Gustavus Weston, who will be kept to race and hopefully be bred from in the future.

In the shorter term, Harrod's share of the proceeds will go towards funding her forthcoming nuptials.

“The wedding's back on,” Harrod laughed. “We've got a fun year to look forward to now, and can even look at a house deposit. It's no overstatement to say Chrissycross has changed our lives.”

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I fully appreciate people do this for years and lose lots of money, so I know how lucky we've been

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