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Tuesday, December 16, 2003


Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms and Rooster Booster's sire Riverwise are among the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Award winners for 2003, details of which are announced today, Tuesday, December 16.

An excellent Flat season, which included high-profile successes for Oasis Dream, Brian Boru and American Post among others, has ensured the Queen's Silver Cup for the leading British-based Flat breeder goes to Juddmonte Farms for the second year in succession.

In addition to this prestigious award, the TBA has also decided to give Juddmonte Farms the TBA Silver Rose Bowl for Breeder of the Year, in recognition of the worldwide influence of horses bred by Prince Khalid Abdullah's operation.

Gainsborough Stud's Cadeaux Genereux takes the award for leading British-based stallion on the Flat in respect of prize money, while Darley's Machiavellian, based at Dalham Hall Stud, just got the better of Cadeaux Genereux in the battle to be leading stallion in terms of individual Flat winners, siring 42 - one more than Cadeaux Genereux.

Dr Fong has scooped the Tattersalls' Silver Salver for the title of leading first-season Flat season sire courtesy of the likes of Miss Childrey, New Mexican and Spotlight .

Meon Valley Stud's excellent record with Broodmare of the Year continues via Colorspin, dam of Group 1 Prix de l'Opera winner Zee Zee Top and granddam of Necklace, heroine of the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Nancy Ralphs of Downclose Stud in Somerset receives a special merit award in recognition of producing 11 individual winners during the 2003 season, including the Group 2 Challenge Stakes victor Just James.

"It means a lot to Downclose Stud to win this award, we only have 10 mares and have managed to breed 11 individual winners and two overseas winners during 2003 - we have had a good run! Last season we had a double at Royal Ascot and a Graded winner in the US during the same week," said Michael Falkiner, who has managed the stud since 1975.

"Just James, Pentecost, Enchantment and Dubaian Gift would be among the best we have bred in the last few years. Most of our horses are sold as foals or yearlings, so obviously a lot of credit must also go the trainers - it is all very much a team effort.

"We are only a small stud - it's just my wife and I as well one other man who has been here over 20 years. We just keep going and bought a couple of young mares at the Tattersalls December sales, so let's hope that there are some more winners coming!

"Nancy Ralphs and all of us at the stud are delighted with how thing have been going as we have been producing winners, which is after all what we like to do. It is also nice to have quite a lot of individual winners, rather than just one horse winning lots of races. We've had some good horses through our hands over the years and long may it last."

One of the highlights of Champions' Day at Newmarket was the success of Milk It Mick in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes. The Millkom colt was bred by Yvette Dixon who, with her husband Paul, breeds from Haygarth House Stud near Retford in Nottinghamshire. Yvette wins the award for small Flat Breeder of the Year.

"I am very pleased to have received this award - it is the ultimate ambition of any British breeder to win a TBA award," said Yvette Dixon.

"Last year started off badly when we sadly lost Milk It Mick's dam, Lunar Music. Fortunately, there was some compensation with Milk It Mick's success during the Flat season, which of course culminated in his Dewhurst Stakes victory.

"We have his half-sister Discoed here at the stud to continue the line while his other half-sister will be a two-year-old next season."

In the National Hunt sphere, Riverwise, sire of the 2003 Champion Hurdle victor Rooster Booster, reaps the Whitbread Salver for being the leading active British-based National Hunt stallion in terms of prize money won, representing a major achievement for Richard and Elsie Mitchell - Richard stands Riverwise with Elsie being Rooster Booster's breeder.

"We are thrilled to bits to think that Riverwise has won this award, considering the fact that he has only covered a few mares. A lot of people would say that there was not a good mare amongst them!," said Richard Mitchell.

"He's only ever really covered what would be called point-to-point mares - I just wonder what he would achieve if he was to cover some so-called quality mares."

The Mitchells also take the award for leading National Hunt broodmare as Rooster Booster's dam Came Cottage wins the Dudgeon Cup.

Richard Mitchell added: "Obviously, we are also delighted to have won this award with Came Cottage. We still have her here with us, she didn't get in foal this year but we will try again next year. She is getting on a bit now and it is probably against the odds that she will produce another foal."

Having enjoyed such great success with Gunner B over the years, the Hockenhull family's Shade Oak Stud in Shropshire has one once again landed the Horse and Hound Cup for leading active British-based National Hunt stallion in terms of individual steeple chase winners, this time with Rakaposhi King.

"We're thrilled to win this award again and it's very fitting as Rakaposhi King lived next door to Gunner B for 14 years," said Peter Hockenhull, Shade Oak Stud's manager. "They had a lot of respect for each other and Rakaposhi still misses Gunner B even now."

Rosie Hambro has been a tremendous supporter of British National Hunt breeding over the years as well as enjoying considerable success on the racetrack with Arctic Kinsman who carried her colours when winning the 1994 Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Rosie also bred Barrow Drive, a multiple winner in Ireland last season and has been a big supporter of the TBA over the years. She wins the National Hunt Achievement Award.

Prizes will be presented at the TBA Awards' Dinner in London on Tuesday, January 6, when the winners of two Special Awards for contributions to the British breeding industry will be announced.

Philip Freedman, Chairman of the TBA, said: "British breeders, large and small, have enjoyed considerable success over the past 12 months both on the Flat and over jumps. The TBA is proud to offer these awards to reward the efforts of all concerned and hope that their success continues in 2004 and beyond."

For further information, please contact Louise Kemble, Chief Executive of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, on 01638 661321.


1. Leading British-based Breeder (Flat)
Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms exercised an enormous worldwide influence in 2003. On the domestic front, Group 1 winners in England helped to ensure that The Queen's Silver Cup ended up in the same place as the previous season - they included OASIS DREAM (July Cup, Nunthorpe Stakes), BRIAN BORU (St Leger), and AMERICAN POST (Racing Post Trophy).

2. Leading British-based Stallion (Flat earnings)
In the latter stages of the season, it became clear that Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum's trophy room at Gainsborough Stud would be the destination of the BBA Silver Cigar Box as CADEAUX GENEREUX and GREEN DESERT vied with one another. In the end, CADEAUX GENEREUX, who boards at Whitsbury Manor Stud, prevailed - his Group winners at home comprised DESERT DEER, BONUS and CAIRNS.

3. Leading British-based Stallion (individual Flat winners)
The Barleythorpe Stud Cup for the greatest number of individual Flat winners in Great Britain and Ireland invariably produces a close contest and 2003 was no exception. In fact, entering the final week, both CADEAUX GENEREUX and MACHIAVELLIAN had 41 winners apiece, but Dalham Hall Stud's flagship stallion finally prevailed by just one winner. Among his representatives was PATAVELLIAN.

4. Leading British-based First Season Sire (Flat)
DR FONG stands at Lord Hartington's Side Hill Stud, which is managed by John Warren who was responsible for repatriating DR FONG, winner of the Tattersalls' Silver Salver. The stallion's 10 individual domestic winners include three at stakes level, MISS CHILDREY, NEW MEXICAN, and SPOTLIGHT - a very promising start indeed.

5. Broodmare of the Year (Flat)
The Irish Oaks winner, COLORSPIN, is maintaining the status quo at Meon Valley Stud in Hampshire. Back in 1986 her dam, REPROCOLOR, won the H.J. Joel Silver Salver, and now COLORSPIN has repeated the performance - she is the dam of one Group 1 winner in ZEE ZEE TOP (Prix de l'Opera), and granddam of another in NECKLACE (Moyglare Stud Stakes).

6. TBA Flat Breeder
Juddmonte Farms won the first award, which is a statistical one based on earnings in GB and Ireland, and now they have won the TBA Silver Rose Bowl for Breeder of the Year. This is at the discretion of the awards' panel and it recognises the worldwide influence of Juddmonte-breds, among them the US-bred half-sisters, SIGHTSEEK and TATES CREEK, the winners of six Grade 1 races during the year.

7. Special Merit Award (Flat)
As the awards' panel was split down the middle with regard to the TBA Breeder of the Year Award, it was decided to make this special award to the other main protagonist, Nancy Ralphs and her Downclose Stud in Somerset. So ably managed by Michael Falkiner, Downclose Stud enjoyed a tremendous season and bearing in mind the number of mares involved, 11 individual domestic winners, headed by JUST JAMES (Challenge Stakes), deserved recognition too.

8. Small Breeder Award (Flat)
If a small breeder wins the Darley Dewhurst Stakes and the Somerville Tattersall Stakes he (or she) can expect to win the Langham Cup as the season's most meritorious small breeder! Few people would have predicted such a sensational double for MILK IT MICK, who was bred by Yvette Dixon, and races for her husband, Paul - they have a small stud at their home, near Retford, in Nottinghamshire.

9. Leading active British-based NH Stallion (earnings)
The earnings of ROOSTER BOOSTER, hero of the Champion Hurdle after winning the Bula and Agfa Hurdles, has earned his sire RIVERWISE the Whitbread Silver Salver. This is a tremendous achievement for the Mitchell family from Dorset as the gelding's former trainer, Richard, stands RIVERWISE there, and his wife, Elsie, is ROOSTER BOOSTER's official breeder.

10. Leading active British-based NH Stallion (individual 'chase winners)
Only days after the Hockenhull family had received both the Whitbread Silver Salver and the Horse & Hound Cup yet again last year at these awards with GUNNER B, the grand old stager died in January, having just celebrated his 30th birthday - he is buried at Shade Oak Stud which has now won the Horse & Hound Cup for a fourth consecutive time, with RAKAPOSHI KING.

11. Leading NH Broodmare
Winning the Dudgeon Cup represents another tribute to Richard Mitchell and his family - ROOSTER BOOSTER and COCKATOO RIDGE are two winners out of their mare, CAME COTTAGE. Like that pair, CAME COTTAGE was bred and conceived in Dorset, and she is named after a property owned by her breeder, Nigel Martin. She won four point-to-points ridden by one or other of the Mitchells' two sons, Nicholas and Timothy.

12. National Hunt Achievement Award
Rosie Hambro from Gloucestershire is probably best known for the grey ARCTIC KINSMAN, who carried her colours to victory in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, and more recently, BARROW DRIVE, a Grade1-winning chaser in Ireland, who finished third in the 2003 Royal & SunAlliance Chase. The late Queen Mother's achievement award goes to Mrs Hambro, a great supporter of British-based stallions, not only for her breeding exploits, but also in recognition of her considerable behind-the-scenes contribution to the TBA over the years.


All roads lead to Wetherby for the traditional two-day Sky Bet Christmas Meeting on Boxing Day Friday and Saturday (26 & 27 December). With record prize money of £177,000 on offer over both days, this prestigious fixture is set to attract several of the country's top horses as preparations continue for both the Cheltenham and Grand National Festivals in the Spring.

For the second year, all bar a couple of races over the two days are sponsored by Harrogate-based Sky Bet – one of the leading horseracing and sports betting companies in the U.K. In every one of their sponsored races, Sky Bet will provide £100 for the person who looks after both the best turned-out horse and the winning horse.

The principal race on Boxing Day, The skybetvegas.com Castleford Chase, is a Grade 2 contest for steeplechasers over the minimum distance of two miles, offering increased prize money of £50,000. It's acknowledged as a major trial for The Queen Mother Champion Chase at The Cheltenham Festival in March.

Saturday's big race is the £30,000 skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase over three miles and one furlong. This Listed race has been synonymous with Wetherby's Christmas Meeting for many years, and commemorates a former clerk of the course, who officiated between 1919 and 1947.

Former Dunkeswick-based trainer, Tony Dickinson – whose son, Michael, is now a leading trainer in the United States – is remembered with a Novices' Handicap Chase named in his memory.

Regular sponsors, the Rocom Group of Thorp Arch – leading suppliers of telecoms and I.T. products in the U.K. – support a £20,000 race for hurdlers on both days. Boxing Day's contest is a Handicap Hurdle for stayers over three miles and one furlong, while three-year-olds are in action in The Rocom Introductory Juvenile Novices' Hurdle (two miles) on Saturday.

Attractions for young racegoers in the Course Enclosure on Boxing Day include a face-painter and a penalty shoot-out!

Racing on Boxing Day is scheduled to begin at 12.50 p.m., while theaction on Saturday starts at 12.45 p.m. This popular meeting is sure to be well-attended and racegoers are advised to arrive early, particularly on Boxing Day.

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

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