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Monday, December 15, 2008


The 2008 Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) Awards acknowledge the notable achievements of a diverse selection of British breeders, and are announced today, Monday, December 15, 2008. The awards will be presented at the TBA Annual Awards Lunch in London on January 6, 2009 and will follow the 92nd Annual General Meeting of the TBA, being held at the Hyatt Regency Churchill Hotel in Portman Square, commencing at 10.45 a.m. A few places for the awards luncheon are still available and anyone wishing to attend should contact the TBA office immediately on 01638 661321.

Prince Khalid Abdulla’s Juddmonte Farms has, for the fifth time this century, won the Queen’s Silver Cup, awarded to the leading British-based breeder (Flat) who has accrued the most prize money in Great Britain and Ireland from mares normally resident in the UK.

Juddmonte’s success halts the march of Cheveley Park Stud, winner of the award in both 2006 and 2007.

African Rose and Promising Lead were the pick of the Juddmonte homebreds in 2008. The former won the Group One Ladbrokes Sprint Cup at Doncaster in September, while Promising Lead literally led the way with victory in the Group One Audi Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in June. The latter had previously won the Group Three Middleton Stakes at York.

Khalid Abdulla’s operation was rewarded further thanks to the remarkable achievement of Promising Lead’s dam Arrive who follows her full-sister Hasili in winning the H. J. Joel Silver Salver as the British-based Broodmare of the Year.

Arrive, winner of the Listed Bahrain Trophy in July, 2001 when trained by Roger Charlton, is also the dam of Visit. The homebred Oasis Dream three-year-old filly, already a Group Three winner as a juvenile, enhanced her mother’s reputation with a fine victory in the Group Three Oak Tree Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in August and went on to run third at the highest level in both the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes and Hollywood Park’s Matriarch Stakes as well as finish fourth in the Fly Emirates Breeders’s Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita Park.

Pivotal maintains his position as the top British-based stallion, taking his third successive Barleythorpe Cup for the leading Flat sire in terms of individual winners. The Cheveley Park Stud stallion sired 55 individual winners in 2008, four more than his nearest rival Oasis Dream.

The homebred son of Polar Falcon repeats another success of last year in receiving a second consecutive BBA Silver Cigar Box, given to the leading British-based stallion according to earnings. Pivotal’s progeny in Britain accrued £1,828,187 in prize money. He collects both awards for the third time, having also completed the double in 2004.

Pivotal’s top performer on the track during the year was the Boylesports Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Halfway To Heaven. The Aidan O’Brien-trained filly gained further Group One triumphs in the Blue Square Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

Lucky Story receives the Tattersalls Silver Salver as the leading British-based first season Flat sire with six individual winners of 10 races and total prize money of £165,419. His best performer was the Michael Bell-trained Art Connoisseur, successful in the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and runner-up in the Group One Phoenix Stakes.

Lucky Story is a stallion at David Redvers’ Tweenhills Farm & Stud, which also stands Ishiguru who went close to winning this award in 2006 after Hellvelyn also won the Coventry Stakes and was second in the Phoenix Stakes. Trade Fair and Sleeping Indian make up the stud’s stallion quartet.

Redvers said: “I’m thrilled because it is a hard job competing with higher profile, more expensive stallions so it is great for a small value horse to come through.

“He has a reasonable bunch of two-year-olds from this year and a couple of yearlings that I have bought for clients, so I would think he should build on what he has done and it is very exciting.

“He was every bit as good a racehorse as his brother Dr Fong - rated exactly the same - and he stands at half the price. In my opinion, he is a better colour and has a great temperament, so there is no reason why he should not end up standing for more than he is at the moment.”

Roisin Close, who works at Tweenhills, is a deserving winner of the TBA Annual Stud Staff Award, sponsored by New England Stud. She has been with the stud for 10 years, during which time it has expanded significantly. Close started out looking after Tweenhills’ stallions and helping with sales preparation but after only a year in the job was appointed stud groom as a reward for her selfless dedication.

Redvers continued: “Roisin thoroughly deserves this recognition. She came originally to do the stallions and has continued to progress and take control. She eats, breathes and sleeps the job and is a vital cog in the operation.”

Lawn Stud enjoyed Classic success in 2008 thanks to the brilliant Oaks victory of Look Here. The homebred filly also finished runner-up in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, a race in which her close relation Kayah was successful, and rounded off her season with a good third in the St Leger behind Conduit.

Look Here’s exploits have clinched the TBA Silver Rose Bowl for the stud, owned by her owner/breeders Julian and Sarah Richmond-Watson. The accolade is a discretionary award presented to the Flat breeder of the Year.

Carole’s Crusader is an extremely worthy winner of the Dudgeon Cup as National Hunt Broodmare of the Year. The 17-year-old mare resides at Paul Murphy’s Wychnor Park Stud in Staffordshire and is the dam of three exciting young jumping prospects.

Her four-year-old Sir Harry Lewis filly, Carole’s Legacy, won the Listed mares’ bumper at Aintree in April and opened her account over hurdles at Newbury on November 27. Carole’s Legacy is owned by Murphy in partnership with Carole Skipworth, in whose colours Carole’s Crusader raced to seven victories, most notably in the Charisma Gold Cup at Kempton in 1997.

Murphy, a former healthcare executive who bought Carole’s Crusader from Skipworth upon the mare’s retirement from the track, describes himself as a hobby breeder. He hit the headlines when paying 140,000 guineas for Mariah Rollins at Doncaster in 2006 and now has four jumping mares and one Flat mare at the stud.

Mad Max, Carole’s Crusader’s 2002 Kayf Tara gelding, is unbeaten in three starts. A bumper win at Newbury in January was followed by success in a Grade Two National Hunt Flat race at the same course two weeks later. Mad Max made a wining start to his hurdles career at Ascot on November 21. The mare has also had success this year with the six-year-old Jayne’s Crusader, winner of a Towcester Bumper in April.

Alflora, who stands at Shade Oak Stud in Shropshire, wins his fifth consecutive Horse & Hound Cup for the leading active British-based National Hunt stallion based on individual winners. The 19-year-old Niniski stallion had 10 winners of 17 chases, the best being Hobbs Hill, successful in the Grade Two Berkshire Novices’ Chase at Newbury and Ascot’s BGC Noel Novices’ Chase.

Another accolade heading to Shropshire is the Whitbread Silver Salver for the leading active British-based National Hunt stallion based on earnings. This award goes to Overbury who stands at Richard Kent’s Mickley Stud, whose five-strong stallion team also consists of Central Park, Beat All, Multiplex and Needwood Blade. The 17-year-old Caerleon stallion sired 23 winners of 31 races for total earnings of £223,315.

Kent commented: “It is a great honour and it is our first time winning such an award so it is very exciting for the stud. Overbury had a great year with Ballyfitz who has won three times at Cheltenham including the Pertemps Final at The Festival. We sold Ballyfitz for 2,500 guineas so he is a real rags to riches horse.

“Overbury is a very versatile stallion and sired the Irish 1,000 Guineas (2006) runner-up Ardbrae Lady. This year he had a five-furlong two-year-old winner as well as a three-mile chase winner and it is nice to see him getting recognised.

“He was a good flag-bearer for Godolphin when he raced and has always been genuine and consistent in everything he has done. He covers around 100 to 120 mares a year and has also sired the likes of Simon and Missed That.”

The Queen Mother’s Silver Salver National Hunt Achievement Award goes to Robert Chugg of Little Lodge Farm near Droitwich. A former leading amateur jockey, Chugg purchased his foundation mare, Laurello, 30 years ago and is a leading purveyor of store horses.

Ann Jenkins, who passed away in October, receives the TBA Silver Salver of Special Merit. Widely respected in the bloodstock business, Jenkins managed Heatherwold Stud in Berkshire for 45 years. Having been appointed to the position by Elisabeth Longton in 1959, she eventually became the owner of the stud before selling up in 2003.

Heatherwold famously bred 1990 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Saumarez after Jenkins decided to send his dam Fiesta Fun to Rainbow Quest. Her name was once again associated with a Group One winner this year through Lush Lashes, successful in the Coronation Stakes, Yorkshire Oaks and Matron Stakes for Jim Bolger.

Group Three winner Take A Bow and Grade One Feltham Novices’ Chase winner Darkness are other top performers to have been bred by Jenkins.

Devon breeder James Clark of Southcombe Farm receives the Langham Cup, awarded to the Small Breeder of the Year. This is thanks to the Group One winning exploits of the Robin Bastiman-trained Borderlescott who triumphed in the Nunthorpe Stakes at Newmarket and was a fine third to champion sprinter Marchand D’Or in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp.

A delighted Clark said: “I am very proud to have been awarded the small breeder of the year award. Who would have believed, when I bought Jeewan, that such a fairytale would unwind.

“It is quite a story from the breeding aspect as I bought Jeewan for only 500 guineas. She was barren at the time but had produced four multiple winners. I sent her to Compton Place because she was stoutly bred being by Touching Wood and had won over a mile and a half herself. I wanted to inject some speed into the family. Compton Place is a son of Indian Ridge, who I like a lot, and it was his second season as a stallion. The result was Borderlescott, who sold to Robin Bastiman for 13,000 guineas, which seems a bit of a steal now.”

Bastiman’s shrewd purchase turned out to be a very smart performer. Borderlescott won the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood in 2006 and went on to finish a short-head second in the same race in 2007. The six-year-old gelding was a close third under top-weight in this year’s renewal of the prestigious six-furlong handicap prior to hitting the big-time.

Clark continued: “Jeewan’s next foal was by Josr Algarhoud but it was a disastrous foaling. Jeewan and her foal, Four Penny Road, survived but the mare suffered a hernia and was retired. After Borderlescott won the Stewards’ Cup in 2006, I had the vets revisit Jeewan’s problem and our local vet suggested we send her up to Rossdales in Newmarket for a scan. That proved to be a success and we were able to send her back to Compton Place. Even though she was 22 and had not had a foal for six years she went into foal okay. In April, she had a filly full-sister to Borderlescott, which we are very excited about. Four Penny Road has a colt foal also by Compton Place and both foals will be sold as yearlings in 2009.

“Going back to the day when we paid 500 guineas for the dam, a Group One win seemed a world away but at the start of this year I dared hope that there might be something like that coming along. Borderlescott had been tried at Group One level over six furlongs and I thought his day would come. This season, Robin Bastiman found out that five furlongs was his trip and the rest is now history.

“Being associated with a horse like Borderlescott has been an amazing experience and his Nunthorpe victory took the story to an even higher level. For a small stud with only three working mares to have a Group One runner is excitement enough and I am just so proud of him and excited about the future. I can't believe that at home I can now look out of the window and see a full-sister to a Group One winner.”


TBA Silver Salver (Special Merit) - The late Ann Jenkins
The Langham Cup (Small Breeder of the Year) - James Clark
Queen’s Silver Cup (Leading British-based Breeder - Flat earnings) - Juddmonte Farms
BBA Silver Cigar Box (Leading British-based Stallion - Flat earnings) - Pivotal
Barleythorpe Cup (Leading British-based Stallion - individual winners) - Pivotal
Tattersalls’ Silver Salver (Leading British-based first season sire) - Lucky Story
HJ Joel Silver Salver (Leading British-based Flat Broodmare of the Year) - Arrive
TBA Silver Rose Bowl (Flat Breeder of the Year) - Lawn Stud
Whitbread Silver Salver (Leading Active British-based NH Stallion, earnings - Overbury
Horse & Hound Cup (Leading Active British-based Stallion, individual chase wins) - Alflora
Dudgeon Cup (NH Broodmare of the Year) - Carole’s Crusader
HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Silver Salver (Outstanding contribution to National Hunt racing and breeding) - Robert Chugg
Duke of Devonshire Award - Announced on January 6
Dominion Award - Announced on January 6


Paolo Figini has become the first Italian winner of the Godolphin Seven Stars competition.

The 44-year-old, a marketing director who lives in Milan, gains the first prize of US$50,000 as well as two business class return flights to Dubai with Emirates Airline and five nights in a luxury hotel for the 2009 Dubai World Cup in March.

In a thrilling finish to the 2008 free-to-enter online racing competition, Paolo Figini amassed 319 points, just seven more than runner-up Masaya Tokiwa, from Japan, with Samir Beldjilali, from Algeria, in third with 306 points.

Paolo Figini commented: “I am thrilled to win the Godolphin Seven Stars. I have entered the competition for each of the past seven years and it is a great opportunity to get involved with Godolphin’s horses.”

Cocoa Beach, who recently recorded her second Grade One victory of the season in the Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park on November 30, was his highest scoring Godolphin horse, notching an impressive total of 103 points.

Mr Figini acknowledged the huge role played by the four-year-old filly and the keen racegoer went to the prestigious Breeders' Cup meeting at Santa Anita, USA, in October to see Cocoa Beach take on American filly of the year Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

He explained: “I picked Cocoa Beach on the basis of her runs at the start of the season at Nad Al Sheba. It was hard to weigh up her form in Chile, but I thought she ran a really good race against colts when third in the UAE Derby.

“I was lucky to put her in the third leg of the competition and she really made all of the difference.

“I never thought that I could win the Godolphin Seven Stars until Cocoa Beach started running in the United States. After she won at Saratoga in August, I started to think that I could finish in the first three.

“Towards the end of the competition, I was printing out the top 100 names on the leaderboard after every Godolphin runner so that I could see who was catching up with me.

“Two days before the Breeders' Cup, I was tempted to go to Santa Anita and watch Cocoa Beach run in the Ladies' Classic. So I booked the flights and hotel and saw her finish second to Zenyatta.”

As well as Cocoa Beach, Paolo Figini was able to see two of his other Seven Stars selections, Grade One E P Taylor Stakes heroine Folk Opera (102 points) and sprinter Diabolical (6 points), in action at Santa Anita.

“It was fantastic to see all three of them in the flesh. I selected Folk Opera, who finished ninth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, because she is by Singspiel and I saw on the Godolphin website that she was going to be one of the first European runners of the season.

“Folk Opera is a very tough filly and she’s a real fighter. Her last race was not her true form but she had been kept very busy throughout the season and had previously won a Grade One race in Canada. She also won a Group Two at Deauville and I was delighted that I chose her for my stable.

“I thought Diabolical was going to win the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and he was unlucky to get beaten on the line. I was disappointed that I had left him out of Challenge Three, when he was second in a Group Two, so I was still pleased to pick up some points with him in Challenge Four.”

As well as closely examining the form of every Godolphin horse, he also scrutinises their breeding and he admits to having a soft spot for the offspring of Kingmambo and Godolphin’s 2002 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry.

“I love to look at the genealogy of horses and I always take a close look at horses by Street Cry and Kingmambo. Three of my selections this year were related to Kingmambo, including Alexandros, who I saw finish third in the Prix Morny at Deauville last year.

“Creachadoir, a son of King’s Best, who is by Kingmambo, was another automatic choice for me. He ran a great race in the Hong Kong Mile and I thought his victory in the Lockinge was fantastic. I was hoping to see him run in some of the big races throughout the season, but unfortunately he got injured like another selection of mine, Ramonti.

“The other horse with a connection to Kingmambo is Sagara, whose mother was a daughter of Kingmambo. I have to give thanks to Ted Durcan, who gave Sagara such a great ride when he finished second to Veracity in the Group Three Jockey Club Cup at Newmarket in October. The points I gained from that race gave me the lead in the Seven Stars competition for the first time.”

Paolo Figini, who has been to Epsom Downs, England, several times to see the Derby and attended Royal Ascot in the same country for the first time earlier this year, has been interested in horses all his life.

He first went racing in his home town and continued to be fascinated by the sport after his family moved to Belgium when still a young child.

He said: “Varese is a small city and there is very little to do in the summer apart from go racing. My parents used to take me to the racecourse because it was a big social occasion in the evenings and I was always very excited about going racing.

“When we moved to Belgium, I used to force my father to take me racing on the weekends. I love my job but I think that it's important to have something else outside of work and horseracing has always been a passion.

“I actually own, with my friend Franco, a horse called Echad, who is trained by Maurizio Guarnieri. She's a three-year-old filly who has won five races this year and her sire is the Epsom Derby winner Kris Kin. Hopefully, she can race in Pattern company on her next start and we can see how good she is.

“My favourite horse is Banks Hill. My wife spent a week working in Paris in October, 2000, shortly after my eldest daughter was born, and I went with her to go racing at Maison-Laffitte. I was fortunate enough to see Banks Hill make her racecourse debut. I remember thinking she was such a beautiful filly and she went on to win at the highest level in the Coronation Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and the Prix Jacques Le Marois.

“I also love Street Cry. I put him in my Seven Stars stable when he was a four-year-old and his victory in the Dubai World Cup was superb. I always look out for horses by Street Cry, such as Zenyatta, who beat Cocoa Beach at Santa Anita.

“My other favourite Godolphin horse is Librettist, who is a half-brother to another great, Dubai Destination. I remember him winning at Nottingham in June, 2006, and I told all of my friends that he would go on and take the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville later that season. I took my parents to see him win that race and the victory paid for the whole holiday!”

Paolo Figini is looking forward to visiting Dubai for a third time and hopes that he will be able to meet his favourite rider and Godolphin's retained jockey Frankie Dettori.

“I have been to Dubai twice before. My wife Barbara and I enjoyed our honeymoon there in 2000 and I also stayed in Dubai in the mid-1990s on business. I went racing at Nad Al Sheba and loved it, but that was before the Dubai International Racing Carnival so I can’t wait to see some top-quality racing action. I have seen a great deal of the city in the news recently and would love to see how it has changed since I last visited.

“It will be great to see the Godolphin team at work in Dubai as well, especially Frankie Dettori. He is the best jockey in the world at the moment and I love that he’s such an emotional rider and the fact that he's Italian of course!”

There is a photo of Mr Figini available on request.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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