The Fugue is luckless in defeat

12 December 2013

LORD and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s top filly The Fugue did us proud again on Sunday morning when finishing second in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin.

Although she has put up another terrific display, we were left thinking what could have been, as jockey William Buick was blocked at a crucial stage allowing the eventual winner, Dominant, to get first run.

Once in the clear, The Fugue showed her trademark turn of foot and flew home down the outside. Sadly the line came too soon and she failed by just under a length.

Simon Marsh, general manager of Watership Down Stud, said: “She's ran an absolutely fantastic race. She never seems to put a bad one in.”

“She was last entering into the straight so she's done very well to finish where she did. She's run a huge race again."

“Hopefully she's okay and we can look forward to a really good year next year.”

All at Watership Down Stud were thrilled to see that Daana Qatar broker her maiden at second time of asking when winning maiden at Le Mans in France earlier this month.

The three-year-old comes from one of the stud’s most successfull families and sold for 430,000gns as a yearling in 2011.

She is by Galileo out of Evita, a half-sister to champions Dar Re Mi and Rewidling among other high-class performers. She is descended from Watership Down’s top foundation mare Darara.

The Fugue in good form ahead of Hong Kong

22 November 2013

THE Fugue’s jet-setting is set to continue as she prepares for a tilt at the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase on December 8. Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s filly was last seen running a terrific race when second to Magician in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and we are hoping she can go one better in Hong Kong.

Simon Marsh, general manager of Watership Down Stud, said: “The Fugue had a very good trip back from the Breeders' Cup and has been absolutely fine. She is in very good form and we are very happy with her.

“The track and conditions should suit her ideally in Hong Kong. She won the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, which is a right-handed track and the ground should be fast, which she loves.”

“The idea would be to keep her in training next year. She is very talented and we are lucky to have her.”

Trained by John Gosden, The Fugue has been better than ever this year. In addition to her gallant second in America, she also landed the Yorkshire Oaks at the Ebor Festival in emphatic style as well as beating the likes of Al Kazeem and Trading Leather in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

So close for The Fugue

04 November 2013

THE Fugue ran her heart out to finish a gallant second to Magician in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Saturday evening.

Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s filly travelled supremely well in behind the leaders under William Buick before striking the front rounding the final bend.

She looked like the winner the whole way up the straight until Magician came flying down the outside to get up with 50 yards to run, winning by just half a length.

Trainer John Gosden said: “William did everything right, but Aidan's horse came wide and was having its first run since June, which made him difficult to assess."

“But I was delighted with the way my filly ran and hopefully she will come back next year.”

The Fugue has been a credit to connections this season. She has won twice at the top level; the Irish Champion Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks, as well as earning over £300,000 in prize money when runner-up on Saturday evening.

The Fugue arrives in LA ahead of Breeders’ Cup

28 October 2013

THE Fugue has arrived safely in Los Angeles ahead of her tilt at the Breeders’ Cup this weekend. Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s filly holds entries in both the Filly And Mare Turf over 1m2f and the Turf over two furlongs further. At this stage, trainer John Gosden is favouring the latter.

Twelve months ago, The Fugue finished an unlucky third in the Filly And Mare Turf and she heads into this year’s meeting better than ever with victories in the Yorkshire Oaks and the Irish Champion Stakes on her last two starts.

Soft ground has prevented her from running again in Europe this autumn but she heads to the US a fresh filly and looks to have an outstanding chance.

Gosden said: “They all flew from Stansted on Saturday. She seems to have travelled well. It's early days, and we know from travelling horses long distance you have to be careful."

“Her first preference is stated as being in the Turf over a mile and a half against the colts.”

“She seemed happy in herself when she left. She had a solo breeze on Friday before flying on Saturday.”

Shamshon, who was sold by Watership Down Stud as a yearling last October, has also made the trip to America to contest the Grade 1 Juvenile Turf.

Owned by Sheikh Joaan Bin Haman Al Thani, Shamshon won his first two starts including a Listed race in France, before failing to handle very soft ground at Newbury in the Mill Reef Stakes.

Fastnet Rock colt tops Thursday’s session at Book 2

23 October 2013

THE strong trade for yearlings continued at Tattersalls last week with their Book 2 Sale. Watership Down Stud enjoyed another successful week headed by lot 1335, a colt by Fastnet Rock who topped Thursday’s session when selling to Charlie Gordon-Watson for 180,000gns.

The colt, who is out of an Indian Ridge mare in Green Castle, is a half brother to Listed winner Ithoughtitwasover and Greenisland, the dam of exciting juvenile Shamshon.

Gordon-Watson said: “This could look cheap in a year’s time. He is by an excellent stallion and is a very good type.”

Another good result for Watership Down was lot 1124, who sold to Shadwell Estates for 120,000gns.

This colt is by Dark Angel out of a four-time winning mare in Caster Sugar. His relatives also include the likes of Yorkshire Oaks winner Only Royale and Place D’Etoile.

Dar Re Mi colt sells for 850,000gns

12 October 2013

THE first foal out of Champion racemare Dar Re Mi sold for 850,000gns at Tattersalls Book 1 yearling sale yesterday. The colt, by leading stallion Oasis Dream, was knocked down to agent Charlie Gordon-Watson. Watership Down Stud-bred Dar Re Mi won three Group 1s on the racetrack and heralds from one of the most prolific ‘black type’ producing families of all time.

In fact, this colt’s catalogue ‘page’ featured no less than 21 Group 1 performers including the likes of Rewilding, Darshaan and Daliapour.

Gordon-Watson said: “He's got a stallion's pedigree through and through, it's the best pedigree in the book, he's a special horse.”

Another yearling with a stallion’s pedigree was a colt by Oasis Dream out of Oaks winner Love Divine. He is a half-brother to St Leger hero Sixties Icon and top stayer Native Ruler.

This colt was secured by John Ferguson for 300,000gns.

The same price was paid by Anthony Stroud for a filly by the great Galileo out of Hoity Toity. This filly is a half-sister to multiple Group 1 winner Lillie Langtry.

Tattersalls Book 2 sale gets underway on at 10.30am Monday. Watership Down Stud are selling 14 lots.

Wedding Ring scoops another big prize

07 October 2013

WEDDING Ring secured her second big prize inside a fortnight when taking the £300,000 Tattersalls Millions 2YO Fillies’ Trophy at Newmarket yesterday afternoon. The daughter of Oasis Dream was sold by Watership Down Stud at last year’s Tattersalls Book 1 to John Ferguson for 310,000gns.

Trained by Charlie Appleby, Wedding Ring also won a similar event over a furlong shorter two weeks ago.

Yesterday’s victory was even more impressive seeing that she came from the rear, passing all her rivals to win with ease under jockey Martin Lane.

She showed a smart turn of foot to put the race to bed and ran out a ready winner by three-quarters of a length.

Appleby said: “We were a bit worried about the seven furlongs but they didn’t go much pace and this has suited her. Martin gave her a lovely ride and she could now head to Dubai for a race like the UAE 1000 Guineas.”

Wedding Ring is out of Cast In Gold, who finished fourth in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury. Cast In Gold is a half-sister to Classic winner Rule Of Law.

Yearling sales almost upon us

02 October 2013

In terms of quality, we feel this is one of the strongest drafts we have ever put together with half-brothers and sisters to 14 Stakes winners, including six Group 1 winners.

Lot 354, the first foal out of multiple Group 1 winner Dar Re Mi, by leading stallion Oasis Dream. This colt is bred to be a champion and traces back to the mighty Darshaan among countless other Group 1 performers.

Our homebred, The Fugue has emerged as one of the leading middle-distance performers in Europe this season taking her Group 1 tally to three with emphatic victories in the Yorkshire Oaks and the Irish Champion Stakes. Her half-brother, by top Darley stallion, is lot 197, selling on Wednesday, October 9.

We are excited to be selling lot 326, a filly by Shamardal out of Claba di San Jore. She is a full-sister to Group 1 winner Crackerjack King and a half-sister to two further Group 1 scorers in Jakkalberry and Awelmarduk.

Another yearling with a Classic pedigree is lot 506, a colt by Oasis Dream out of the Oaks heroine Love Divine. He is a half-brother to St Leger winner Sixties Icon and the highly-regarded Touch The Sky.

To see our Book 1 yearlings on Sirecam, please visit the tattersalls website or follow the link below.

Book 1 Yearlings can be viewed from 8.30am on Saturday, October 5.

Tuesday October 8:

34 – Bay Colt – Dark Angel/ Moore’s Melody

71 – Bay Filly – Oasis Dream/ Paris Winds

158 – Bay Filly – Invincible Spirit/ Snow Crystal

Wednesday October 9:

177 – Bay Filly – Oasis Dream/ Sweet Stream

197 – Bay Colt – Shamardal/ Twyla Tharp

225 – Bay Colt – Dark Angel/ Winesong

242 – Bay Filly –Acclamation/ Affirmative

245 – Bay Colt – Rip Van Winkle/ Aine

268 - Bay Filly – Pivotal/ Arabian Mirage

298 – Bay Colt – Montjeu/ Bonnie Byerly

317 – Bay Colt – Invincible Spirit/ Celebre Vadala

326 – Chestnut Filly – Shamardal/ Claba di San Jore

Thursday October 10:

346 – Bay Colt – Lawman/ Dance Of The Sea

350 – Bay Filly – New Approach/ Danehill Dreamer

354 – Bay Colt – Oasis Dream/ Dar Re Mi

358 – Bay Filly – War Front/ Dawn Chorus

392 – Bay Filly – Fastnet Rock/ Fig Tree Drive

443 – Bay/Brown Filly – Galileo/ Hoity Toity

464 – Bay Filly – New Approch/ Jouet

280 – Bay Filly – Bernardini/ L’lle Aux Loups

293 – Bay Colt – Lawman/ Launch Time

495 – Chestnut Filly – More Than Ready/ Liberally

506 – Bay Colt – Oasis Dream/ Love Divine

Monday October 14

581 – Bay Colt – Rock Hard Ten/ Moroccan Affair

634 – Bay Filly – Exceed And Excel/ Orlena

761 – Bay Filly – Arcano/ Runkerry Point

Tuesday October 15

768 – Bay Filly – Lawman/ Saga Celebre

889 – Bay Colt – Invincible Spirit/ Super Sleuth

924 – Chestnut Colt – Danehill Dancer/ Thinking Positive

932 – Brown/Grey Colt - Sea The Stars/ Tina Bull

Wednesday October 16

1124 – Bay Colt – Dark Angel/ Caster Sugar

1170 – Bay Filly – Fastnet Rock/ Cross Section

1187 – Bay Colt – Shamardal/ Dawn Dew

Thursday October 17

1264 – Bay Filly – Big Bad Bob/ Fair Sailing

1335 – Bay Colt – Fastnet Rock/ Green Castle

1364 – Chestnut Colt – Lope de Vega/ Hold Off

1452 – Bay Colt – Invincible Sprit/ Leavingonajetplane

The Fugue’s Arc bid dependent on the weather

30 September 2013

The Fugue has carried Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webbers famous pink colours to victory on her last two starts in the Yorkshire Oaks in August and last time out against colts in the Irish Champion Stakes.

Trainer John Gosden has been pleased with her since that victory and if the ground were to remain on the fast side, she could line up against the likes of Intello, Orfevre and Treve this weekend.

He said: “The Fugue worked well on Saturday and if the ground stays decent at Longchamp, she could well run.”

At this stage, the forecast is settled for the early part of the week with showers moving in towards the weekend.

The Fugue is ‘Champion’ at Leopardstown

08 September 2013

Irish Derby winner Trading Leather set an honest tempo up front and The Fugue relaxed into a good rhythm.

She moved up stylishly with three furlongs to run with Buick happy to track the run made by James Doyle aboard the 9/10 favourite Al Kazeem.

As they approached the final furlong it was clear the The Fugue was going much better than her main rivals so Buick eased her into the lead before kicking clear to win by a length and a quarter.

The daughter of Dansili, owned and bred by the Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber, is now a triple Group 1 winner with this success coming just two weeks after her easy victory in the Yorkshire Oaks.

Buick said: “She's one of the greats now. She's been so unlucky and should have won so many times last year. I'm just glad she's getting the rub of the green."

“She's always been special. She's very good and has arguably beaten the best around at the moment."

“She's beaten the colts in a championship race and it was a great performance the way she did it.”

Trainer John Gosden added: “It was a proper race. The first three went a solid gallop - Kevin (Manning on Trading Leather) didn't mess around. It was a proper, even test and she came through well."

“We'll take it a step at a time. She's in on Arc weekend but that would be dependent on the weather as we wouldn't want soft ground. I'd have thought the Breeders' Cup Turf would be on the agenda too.”

A delighted Lady Lloyd-Webber said: “I thought we would have to wait 20 years to get another filly like Dar Re Mi but here we are and it's unbelievable. She is just so tough.”

The Fugue declared for Irish Champion Stakes

05 September 2013

Her victory on the Knavesmire was her second at the top-level adding to her success in the 2012 Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

Connections of the daughter of Dansili are praying that the rain stays away and that The Fugue will get her favoured fast ground.

A field of eight head to post for the mile and a quarter contest, including Juddmonte International winner Declaration of War and multiple Group 1 scorer Al Kazeem.

Despite such strong opposition, The Fugue’s jockey William Buick is confident that his mount has what it takes, he said: “It was great to see her back to her best at York. She is a filly everyone has always held in very high regard.”

“It’s going to be a tough race – taking on the colts – but hopefully the ground will suit and I don’t think the track will be a problem for her. Fingers crossed for a good run.”

Unbeaten Shamshon looks exciting prospect

23 August 2013

Greenisland boards at Kiltinan Castle Stud in Ireland where Shamshon was born and raised. He was transferred to Watership Down Stud last July where he underwent his preparation for the sales.

The stud’s work hand in hand to give each individual every chance to reach it’s full potential both in the sales ring and on the track.

Owned by HE Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani and trained by Richard Hannon, Shamshon made a winning debut at Sandown in July.

He then stepped up to Listed company at Deauville Wednesday 15th August where he put up an authoritative display to beat Adventure Love by three quarters of a length.

Shamshon holds entries in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury and the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. Based on his two impressive victories to date, it would be no surprise to see him make his mark at that level.

Emphatic Yorkshire Oaks victory for The Fugue

22 August 2013

This victory was arguably her most impressive ever as she travelled supremely well under William Buick, who settled her in third position during the early stages of the mile and a half contest.

As they entered York’s long straight the pacesetter Scintillula soon gave way leaving Venus De Milo in front.

At this point Buick took aim and The Fugue picked up in devastating fashion to win under hands and heels by four lengths.

The Fugue showed today that she is back to her brilliant best having returned a dirty scope following her disappointing run in the Eclipse at Sandown in July.

Buick said: “I'm delighted for the filly as she's showed everyone what she can do.”

“They went a good gallop up front and it's sometimes difficult to make the ground up when it's quick. She loves this ground though and is top class when it's like this.”

Trainer John Gosden added: “It's lovely to have a nice home-bred filly like this. I'm happy for her as I thought she'd get very near to the colts in the Eclipse but she was very ill afterwards and that wasn't her running.”

"We had to miss the Nassau as a result but it meant she was on top form for this race and it's all come right.”

Lady Lloyd-Webber said: “It’s unbelievable, a relief to see her back to her best after she wasn’t herself in the Eclipse.”

“She loves this ground and it’s lovely to see William win a Group 1 on her.”

This has been a lucky race for Watership Down Stud as fellow homebred Dar Re Mi was victorious in the 2009 renewal.

Update on The Fugue

19 August 2013

Initially, plans for The Fugue had included a bid to secure back-to-back Nassau Stakes victories but Glorious Goodwood came too soon.

Gosden pointed the way to either the Yorkshire Oaks at York on August 22 or the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville three days later. Both are Group 1 events for fillies and mares only.

Gosden said: “She ran brilliantly in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and was training well before the Eclipse.”

“I was very confident about her going into the race - her scope was perfect - then on the day she ran distressed, was full of mucus and everything.”

“I backed right off her and she is terribly well now and back cantering.”

Group 1 third for Ocovango

15 July 2013

By the time the gaps came, the impressive winner Flintshire had flown but Ocovango finished well to take third, beaten just two and a half lengths.

Fabre said: “He ran well but was a little caught for speed. He would have preferred slightly softer ground and a faster pace.”

Ocovango is out of an unraced Gone West mare in Crystal Maze. Crystal Maze is a daughter of Crystal Music, a Group 1-winning two-year-old for Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber.

The Fugue makes the frame in Royal Ascot Group

19 June 2013

THE Fugue finished third on her seasonal return in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot this afternoon. The daughter of Dansili, who carries the colours of Andrew Lloyd-Webber, was having her first start since finishing third at the Breeders’ Cup last November.

All except one of her rivals had run this season and had the benefit of race fitness but the John Gosden-trained filly confirmed that she is up there with the best middle distance performers in Europe.

William Buick settled The Fugue at the rear of the field, which was taken along at a decent tempo by Mukhadram.

She travelled well but Mukhadram kicked off the turn, stealing a few lengths on his rivals.

The eventual winner Al Kazeen was always handy and went in pursuit of the leader. Those two fought out the closing stages but The Fugue ran on very strongly to take third.

It was a very encouraging start to the year and fingers crossed she can add another Group 1 to her CV later in the season.

Gosden said: “She's run a good race. She finished very strongly. The first two were of a very high standard coming into the race and I was thrilled with her. The key to her is fast ground. She has lots of options; The Nassau, Eclipse, King George."

The Fugue set for Royal Ascot return

14 June 2013

LORD and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s star race filly The Fugue is likely to make her seasonal reappearance at Royal Ascot next week.

Trained by John Gosden, the daughter of Dansili holds entries in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes both of which take place on Wednesday.

Last season The Fugue was among the leading three-year-olds in Britain. Her victory in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood was the highlight but she was also second in the Yorkshire Oaks before finishing the campaign with an unlucky third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

At this stage, the favoured option for The Fugue is the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, run over a mile and a quarter, the same distance at the Nassau Stakes.

Simon Marsh, racing manager for the Lloyd-Webber’s, said: “As long as the ground is in her favour, we are leaning towards the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. She is in good form and we hope she will give a good account of herself. It is a tough ask on her first start of the year but she has gone well fresh in the past and we know she is a very good filly.”

If she lines up in the Prince of Wales’s, The Fugue’s likely opposition include three-time Classic hero Camelot and Al Kazeem, winner of the Tattersalls Gold Cup when last seen in action.

Eclipse aim for The Fugue

27 May 2013

TRAINER John Gosden has indicated that The Fugue will have her next start in the Group One Coral Eclipse at Sandown on July 6.

Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s star race-filly made a pleasing seasonal debut when third to Al Kazeem in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last week.

She holds an entry in the Irish Pretty Polly Stakes this weekend but Gosden feels she would benefit from another week.

He said: “We had considered the Pretty Polly Stakes in Ireland on Sunday, but we have decided it comes too quickly for The Fugue, who we are now pointing at the Eclipse.”

Chiberta King lands Royal Ascot prize

24 May 2013

THE Watership Down Stud bred Chiberta King won the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

A son of King’s Best, Chiberta King was purchased by his trainer Andrew Balding for 30,000gns at Tattersalls Book 1 in 2007. Now seven, he has been a grand servant to connections with Saturday’s victory a career best.

He was given a good ride by Jimmy Fortune, who settled his mount at the rear during the early stages of the two and a half mile contest.

Fortune made smooth headway up the back straight before turning for home in second position.

He took over the running with two furlongs to run and Chiberta King stuck his neck out gamely to repel Shahwadi by a neck.

Trainer Andrew Balding said: “He is such a fun horse to have. So consistent and versatile. We knew he would stay and all being well he’ll be back here next year.”

Ocovango prepares for Derby assault

24 May 2013

THE WATERSHIP DOWN Stud-bred Ocovango looked in good shape ahead o f his Epsom Derby bid next Saturday when he worked at the ‘Breakfast With The Stars’ event at the track yesterday morning. This is a well-trodden path for trainer Andre Fabre, who also brought over Pour Moi for an ‘Epsom-sighter’ prior to his success in the 2011-renewal.

Prince Faisal’s colt looked in excellent condition and caught the eye of many of the onlookers as he worked over the Derby course under big-race jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot.

Fabre said: “He is a very well-balanced horse and he has a very good cruising speed. There is a small doubt about the trip as he has plenty of speed on the dam side but his sire is a good influence of stamina so I am not too worried. He is a Derby horse.”

Ocovango heads to the Epsom showpiece unbeaten in three starts to date. His last victory came in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe where he beat a strong field in authoritative fashion.

He also has a ‘Classic’ pedigree being by Champion-sire Monsun out of Crystal Maze, an unraced daughter of Group 1-winning two-year-old Crystal Music.

Darara and Claba Di San Jore nominated in the Racing Post

15 May 2013

DARARA and Claba Di San Jore have been nominated for the Racing Post ‘battle of the broodmare’s competition. The duo are among 40 short-listed mares for the award which is voted for online by the racing public.

Darara needs little introduction. She was purchased as one of Watership Down Stud’s foundation mares for 470,000 Irish Punts at Goffs in 1992.

Darara had already demonstrated that she was a top-class racehorse, winning the Group 1 Prix Vermeille in the colours of her owner and breeder, HRH Aga Khan. In fact, she comes from one of his most prolific families being a half-sister to champion Darshaan and Dalara, dam of multiple Group 1 winner Daliapour.

The first two foals she produced under Watership Down-ownership sold for 500,000gns each. Kilimanjaro, a colt by Shirley Heights, was second in the King Edward VII Stakes while Rhagaas, a colt by Sadler’s Wells, was third in Prix du Jockey Club.

In 2000 her colt by Sadler’s Wells sold to Demi O’Byrne for 3.4million guineas at Tattersalls Houghton Yearling sale – a record which still stands for a yearling sold in Europe. Diaghilev won a Group 3 in France before being sold to Hong Kong where, under the name River Dancer, he took the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup.

The best was yet to come and in 2005 produced Dar Re Mi, by Singspiel. She went on to become Darara’s third individual Group 1 winner, following River Dancer and Darazari, who had been top class in Australia.

She landed the Irish Pretty Polly Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks as a four-year-old before winning the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic the following year, taking her career earnings to £2.7million.

Darara’s final foal in 2007 was Rewilding, a colt by Tiger Hill. He was bought at Tattersalls for 500,000gns by John Ferguson and went on to become one of the leading middle-distance colts of his generation. He won the Great Voltigeur Stakes at three before following in his half-sister’s footsteps and taking the Dubai Sheema Classic in 2011.

Rewilding then went on to claim the scalp of Australian champion So You Think in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

In total she produced 12 foals, four individual Group 1 winners and two more who were Group 1 placed, earning a combined total of £7,250,000 in prizemoney. Her progeny that were sold as yearlings made a total of 4,900,000gns. She died last year, aged 29.

Claba Di San Jore is a new mare to the Watership Down - roster having been purchased at last December’s Tattersalls Sale for 575,000gns.

Claba di San Jore, a 14-year-old daughter of Barathea, has already produced Awelmarduk, winner of the Italian Derby, Crackerjack King, who won last year’s Premio Presidente della Repubblica, and Jakkalberry, a Group 1 winner in Italy and a Group 2 in Dubai.

Along with her three Group 1 scorers, Claba di San Jore has also bred a Listed winner and a Listed-placed performer from just six foals.

Bois Joli, one of Claba di San Jore’s winning daughters is the dam of Celticus, a leading contender for this year’s Italian Derby. The son of Stroll was the impressive winner of a Listed race in Milan last month.

She has a Shamardal filly yearling and a foal by the great Dubawi.

Watership Down Stud Foundation Mare Silver Lane Dies

07 May 2013

SILVER Lane, the last of Watership Down’s four founding broodmares, has died, aged 28 at Paca Paca Stud Farm in Japan.

A daughter of Silver Hawk, Silver Lane was the first broodmare to take up residence at Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber’s Watership Down Stud in 1993.

On the track, Silver Lane ran in the colours of Ecurie Fustok. She won the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte over a mile at Longchamp before finishing third behind the dead-heaters Melodist and Diminuendo in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

She fitted the bill as a perfect foundation broodmare as not only was she a top-class racehorse, she also had looks to match and a blue-blooded pedigree.

She was one of 12 winners out of her dam, Straight Line, an unraced daughter of Chieftain II. Straight Line also produced Hawkster, a multiple Grade 1 winner in America and the Group 1-placed Silver Kite.

Silver Lane exceeded all expectations and was a key factor in the expansion and promotion of Watership Down Stud.

In 1994 she foaled a colt by Nureyev called Black Hawk. He ended up as one of the leading performers in Japan winning two Group 1s and earning prizemoney of over £3.5million.

She also produced another Group 1 winner in Pink Cameo (French Deputy), who took the NGK Mile Cup in Tokyo 2007.

Her other Stakes performers include Starmaniac, Kauai Lane and Shakespeare.

Her progeny also reached lofty heights in the sales ring most notably Shakespeare (Rainbow Quest) who sold for 2.2million guineas as a yearling in 1998.

Her yearling colt by Darshaan was also sold as a yearling for 400,000gns at Tattersalls in 2003 whilst in Japan Pink Cameo was sold as a yearling for 71,000,000 JPY and Kauai Lane for 35,000,000 JPY.

Simon Marsh, general manager of Watership Down Stud, said: “Silver Lane was the first foundation mare at Watership Down Stud. She was a very good race filly and transferred much of her ability into her offspring, which included two Group 1 winners in Black Hawk and Pink Cameo.

“Not only did her progeny do us proud on the racetrack, they also allowed us to develop Watership Down and Kiltinan Castle Stud after Shakespeare sold for 2.2million at Tattersalls in 1998.

“She was the last survivor of our four foundation mares and it is the end of an era now they have all gone. Thankfully, we have a number of their daughters and grand-daughters and their legacies are continuing through them.”

Silver Lane was soon joined at Watership Down Stud by Darara, Crystal Spray and Sumoto, making up their quartet of foundation broodmares.

Darara went on to become one of the best broodmare’s ever, producing four individual Group 1 winners, including Rewilding and Dar Re Mi. The latter is now in foal to champion Frankel.

Crystal Spray produced Group 1 winner Crystal Music, among other Stakes performers, and is the great grand-dam of this year’s Derby hope and recent Group 2 winner, Ocovango.

Sumoto’s legacy is living on through her daughter, Twyla Tharp, who sold for a sale-topping 1.7million at last season’s Tattersalls December Sale and through her daughter The Fugue, winner of the Group 1 Nassau Stakes.

Last year’s Tattersalls December Sale purchase, Claba di San Jore was bought to inject a new bloodline into Watership Down Stud.

A daughter of Barathea, Claba di San Jore had already proven herself to be a prolific producer with her sons Jakkalberry, Crackerjack King and Awelmarduk all winning Group 1s. Just last weekend the family received another boost when Celticus was the impressive winner of a Listed race in Milan. Celticus is out of Bois Joli, a winning daughter of Claba di San Jore. He is now being aimed at the Italian Derby.

Ocovango Remains Unbeaten

06 May 2013

OCOVANGO is firmly on target for a bid at Classic glory having taken his unbeaten record to three with a commanding win in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud on Saturday.

The Watership Down Stud-bred colt races in the colours of Prince Faisal and is trained by the French-maestro Andre Fabre.

Following his impressive Listed win last month, Ocovango was sent off the odds on favourite for Saturday’s contest and won in cosy fashion under jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot.

Boudot established an early lead aboard Ocovango and set a decent tempo up front.

He had many of his rivals stretched with over three furlongs to run and it was only second-favourite Bravodino who mounted a challenge.

That challenge however, was short lived and Ocovango went on to score well by half a length.

He is now the second-favourite behind Dawn Approach for the Epsom Derby on 1 June. Fabre also used this race as a stepping-stone to Derby glory with 2011 winner Pour Moi.

A son of champion sire Monsun, Ocovango is the first foal out of Crystal Maze, an unraced daughter of Group 1-winning two-year-old Crystal Music.

Ocovango in Listed strike

01 April 2013

He confirmed that yesterday and oozed class when tracking the pace under Pierre-Charles Boudot. He took up the running 200m from home and soon went clear before being eased down to record a length and a quarter-victory over Park Reel.

Ovovango carries the colours of Prince A A Faisal and is trained by multiple- Champion trainer in France, Andre Fabre.

He is the first foal out of Crystal Maze, an unraced Gone West mare who herself is a daughter of Group 1 winner Crystal Music

Group 2 triumph for Jakkalberry

11 March 2013

AKKALBERRY, a son of Watership Down’s mare Claba Di San Jore, landed the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold at Meydan on Saturday.

By Storming Home, Jakkalberry has won a group 1 in italy as well an american st leger and finished close third last season’s melbourne cup.

He beat a high-class field in Saturday’s race, earning a tilt at either the Dubai Sheema Classic or the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup Night (30 March).

He was ridden by Ryan Moore who always had Jakkalberry in a handy position before striking the front inside the closing stages.

Once in front, Moore just kept his mount up to his work and the pair recorded a half-a-length victory over Await The Dawn.

Trainer Marco Botti said: “He was due to run last week but was a bit quiet so we waited for this. He will have needed that so it was a bit of a surprise. We could step him up in trip for the Gold Cup or run in the Sheema Classic again.”

Jakkalberry is one of three Group 1 winners out of Claba Di San Jore. She was purchased for Watership Down Stud at the 2012 Tattersalls Breeding Stock Sale for 575,000gns.

The Fugue remains in training at four

10 March 2013

LORD and Lady Lloyd Webber’s champion filly The Fugue has been kept in training as a four-year-old.

Trained by John Gosden, the daughter of Dansili emerged as the best of her generation last year with her win in the Group 1 Nassua Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, the obvious highlight.

That day, under a cool ride by Richard Hughes, she swept from last to first to win cosily, beating four individual Group 1 winners (Timepeice, Was, Nahrain and Izzi Top).

She was mightily unlucky to have recorded just one top-flight success last season and will go down as one of the unluckiest losers of a classic ever when a fast-finishing third in the Oaks at Epsom, having been hampered on a number of occasions.

She also went down to Shareta by a narrow margin on unsuitably rain-softened ground in the Yorkshire Oaks before finishing her season with another third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita. Once again, the expression ‘dressed up with nowhere to go’ applies as The Fugue was full of running but the gaps never came for jockey William Buick and he passed the post still on the bridle, beaten just over a length by Zagora.

The Fugue’s Nassau Stakes triumph added to her tremendous placed efforts and her win in the Group 3 Musidora Stakes at York saw her crowned Cartier Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.

Plans for The Fugue are in fruition but there is an exceptional programme for older fillies in Europe and fingers crossed she can add to her tally of wins this year.

Lady Madeleine Lloyd Webber said: “I am delighted that The Fugue remains in training. We do not retain that many yearlings each year so to get one as good as her is very special.

“She gave us some wonderful days last season and fingers crossed she can do the same this year.”

Treasury Devil strikes at Gulfstream Park

04 March 2013

TREASURY Devil provided Watership Down Stud with a winner ‘across the pond’ when scoring at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, 2 March.

The son of Bernardini won an Allowance Optional Claimer worth just shy of $58,000. Up in trip to 1m3f, Treasury Devil covered the ‘firm’ turf course in 2:13.53, beating Exclusive Strike by a length and a half.

Thomas Brandebourger, assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, said: “He has improved since his last race and is more fit as well. He ran great. We're very happy with him. He likes the distance and we knew with the longer distance he would do better.”

Now five, Treasury Devil was formerly trained in the UK by John Gosden. As a juvenile he won twice and as a three-year-old he was placed on every start, including a decent third behind Ocean War in the Listed Newmarket Stakes at Newmarket.

Dar Re Mi to visit Frankel

01 January 2013

ALL at Watership Down Stud are excited to be sending multiple Group 1-winning mare Dar Re Mi to Frankel this spring.

Dar Re Mi is a daughter of the stud’s foundation mare Darara, who bred no less than four individual Group 1 winners.

The daughter of Singspiel is expecting a foal by Dubawi any day now and she will then travel to Banstead Manor Stud near Newmarket to be covered by the world champion.

Watership Down Stud manager Simon Marsh said: "We think he [Frankel] really will suit her well, and inject plenty of speed. She's by Singspiel, so both Sadler's Wells and Danehill are far enough away in the pedigree."

Dar Re Mi landed three Group 1 races during four seasons on the track, including the Sheema Classic, a race won by her Tiger Hill half-brother Rewilding the following year.

Dar Re Mi’s half-sister Evita (by Selkirk) is heading to the Irish National Stud to be covered by top-stallion Invincible Spirit.

She has a foal by Manduro and her two-year-old, by Oasis Dream, is likely to head to the breeze-up sales later this spring.

Group 1-winning two-year-old Crystal Music is in-foal to Dubawi and she is penciled in to return to the leading Darley-stallion again this season.

Crystal Music, winner of the Fillies’ Mile, is the dam of Stakes-performer and recent US-winner Treasury Devil (Bernardini).

Claba Di San Jore, who was bought at last year’s Tattersalls December Sale, will also be covered by Dubawi.

Marsh added: "Claba Di San Jore is in foal to Dubawi and will visit him again this year. The Dubawi/Barathea cross works extremely well. She's already the dam of three Group 1 winners and she's only 14 so she's a great addition to our broodmare band."