The bare numbers suggest that it was a challenging Cheltenham Festival this year for British trainers, who finished a total of six wins behind their Irish counterparts in the Festival’s Prestbury Cup challenge. The home team did, however, successfully keep three of the four Championship trophies in Brtiain, having ceded three of the four to Ireland last year, thus it was a case of quality rather than quantity in 2018.
On the breeding side of things, PRESENTING PERCY (GB) and PENHILL (GB) gave the Brits cause to celebrate when putting up two of the most impressive performances of the week.
Presenting Percy claimed a first Grade 1 victory by an impressive seven lengths in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase on the Wednesday. The gelding was already a winner at last year’s meeting in the Pertemps Final and could be a live contender for next year’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
He was bred by Johnny Weatherby’s Preston Lodge Stud out of his PRESENTING (GB) mare HUNCA MUNCA. The stud, near Oakham in Rutland, is the home of Weatherby, the Chairman of Weatherbys and the Queen’s representative at Ascot.
Presenting Percy was sired by Derby winner SIR PERCY (GB), who stands at Lanwades Stud in Newmarket. Hunca Munca is to visit JACK HOBBS (GB) at Overbury Stud later this year.
Johnny Weatherby said: “It was fantastic, he is an outstanding jumper. The broodmare is about to have a full-brother or sister any day now, so it’s very exciting. We only have four mares at the place, it’s a very small venture.”
The much bigger operation of Newsells Park Stud near Royston in Hertfordshire also enjoyed a fruitful Festival, with PENHILL (GB) and SUPASUNDAE (GB) recording a famous Cheltenham Festival result when finishing first and second in the Grade 1 Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle on the Thursday.
The pair were split by two lengths in the end, with Penhill adding to last year’s victory in the Gr1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, having not run since last April: quite an achievement, especially given the testing conditions. Supasundae, meanwhile, took the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in 2017 and was also a winner of the Gr1 Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in February.
Penhill, who was sired by MOUNT NELSON (GB) out of broodmare SERRENIA and bred in partnership with Equity Bloodstock, was sold for 24,000gns at Tattersalls October Book 2 in 2012 and again for 230,000gns at the Tattersalls Autumn horses-in-training sale two years later.
Julian Dollar, the general manager of Newsells Park, said: “We nearly had the Champion Hurdle too with MELON (GB). It’s wonderful that Supasundae has found his niche and Penhill was a good horse for James Bethell and has gone on to be really good for Willie Mullins.
“We don’t set out our stall to be National Hunt breeders but this is an extra bonus and we have to be proud of it — it’s great fun.”
British breeders were to take centre stage in Australia once again on Saturday as REDKIRK WARRIOR (GB) and HARLEM (GB) combined for a Group 1 double at Flemington.
Redkirk Warrior was claiming his third top-level victory in his new home and was making a bit of history as he was the first horse since 1983 to secure back to back victories in the Lexus Newmarket Handicap. He also won last month’s Gr1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.
Now seven, the chestnut is under consideration for Royal Ascot by trainers David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig. He is a tribute to his breeder Lenore Peacock, who died late last month aged 96.
The owner-breeder’s Manor House Stud in Middleham, North Yorkshire has produced generations of fine performers. Redkirk Warrior is out of the homebred mare FLAG (GB) and was sold for 22,000gns at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2012. FLAG has been retired from breeding but his half-brothers AZYGOUS (GB) and LIBERTY SHIP (GB) and half-sister TWOSHEETSTOTHEWIND (GB) were all multiple winners in Britain.
Regan Bayliss was racing down the stands’ side while plenty of the action was across the track, with Redkirk Warrior taking the spoils by a short-head from BRAVE SMASH.
The Hayes camp were also responsible for Harlem, something of a surprise winner of the TAB Australian Cup under Michael Walker to beat favourite GAILO CHOP.
HARLEM ran in France for Andre Fabre until the summer of 2016 and had won a Gr3 at Caulfield during a stint in Australia in which he had not quite fulfilled his promise.
He was bred by the Juddmonte operation, by CHAMPS ELYSEES (GB) out of the NAYEF mare CASUAL (GB), a home-bred three-time winner in Ireland. A half-brother by Banstead Manor’s OASIS DREAM (GB) called TURNABOUT (GB) won a maiden in Ireland last season. CASUAL has a yearling colt by DANSILI (GB) and the mare was sold for 130,000gns after being covered by SHOWCASING (GB) at the Tattersalls December Breeding Stock Sale in 2017.
Of Redkirk Warrior, David Hayes told racing.com: “We were confident he’d run a mighty race but he had to lump that weight. We’ll see how he pulls up, he’s invited to Royal Ascot, we might go there, we’ll just sleep on it and make a few decisions. He’s Hong Kong owned and they might want to go to Hong Kong, and then go back to England.”
He added of Harlem: “He lost his way as a colt, we gelded him and he ran great behind Gailo Chop, then second up we thought he’d run well again but he had a couple of coughs, his blood was a bit off, so we took him back to the farm and he spent a lot of time in the paddock.
“I think the Tancred Stakes is our go then we’ll look at the Sydney Cup because they were both (Harlem and third-placed Ventura Storm) bought to be Melbourne Cup horses.”
British-bred TIME WARP (GB) claimed his second top-level victory in the Far East after an excellent front-running performance in the Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Already a winner with a powerful display in December’s Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Cup, the chestnut is a fine tribute to his stallion ARCHIPENKO, who died from a short illness soon after that earlier win.
TIME WARP was bred by Kirsten Rausing, whose Lanwades Stud in Newmarket stood ARCHIPENKO as a stallion. He started off with Sir Mark Prescott and won Listed races in France at two and three before a new career with Tony Cruz began just over a year ago. He was already his late sire’s third individual Gr1 winner following MADAME CHIANG (GB) in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes and FORTY ONE in Argentina’s Gran Premio General San Martin.
TIME WARP was a private purchase by Martin Siu through GBRI Asia representative SackvilleDonald. His dam is HERE TO ETERNITY, who won a maiden in the care of Peter Chapple-Hyam, and his breeder was effusive in her praise of her latest star.
Kirsten Rausing said: “Time Warp was always an outstandingly good-looking individual. He was a more than useful two-year-old, winning four times including a Listed race in France. He then opened his three-year-old career with another Listed race win in Paris for Sir Mark, before being sold to Hong Kong, where the rest is history.
“Time Warp is of course line bred to the great broodmare Special, who appears three times in his pedigree. This pattern has previously been successful with another Lanwades-bred offspring of Archipenko’s, Ascot Group 1 winner Madam Chiang.
“Time Warp’s dam and granddam were also bred by Lanwades and are still here. His dam has a now four-year-old own brother, Glorious Forever, twice a winner for Ed Walker and highly rated but now in Hong Kong, where he has recently arrived. The mare’s three-year-old Jack Crow was second in his both starts at two for Eve Johnson Houghton and her now two-year-old Heatwave, a filly by Leroidesanimaux, has been retained and is with Sir Mark Prescott. She has no yearling but is due to foal to Oasis Dream.
“Time Warp’s second dam, Stakes Winner Heat Of The Night, has a yearling three-quarter brother to him. He is a magnificent testament to his late, much lamented sire Archipenko, whose untimely loss in December last is still very keenly felt. From limited opportunities he has so far sired three individual Group 1 winners.”
Some exciting 🇬🇧British Trained and British-Bred 🇬🇧entries for the HK Champions Mile. Including LIBRISA BREEZE (GB)… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/976841370617999360
about 4 hours ago
The Theakston Stud bred ROMAN IMPERO (GB) made it three wins since November 2017 at Happy Valley yesterday… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/976757729518907392
about 9 hours ago