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Sunday, July 16, 2000


Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, which forms ownership syndicates, captured its first classic at the Curragh this afternoon when Petrushka returned to form with a vengeance in the Kildangan Stud Irish Oaks.

The 11-2 chance eventually had five and a half lengths to spare over the favourite Melikah, with the 100-1 chance Inforapenny running the race of her life to claim third prize.

Johhny Murtagh, the winning jockey, said: "Kieren Fallon told me to sit and wait with Petrushka, there would be no problem with the trip and she would win."

The has also won the Vodafone Derby and Budweiser Irish Derby on Sinndar.

It was his third Irish Oaks winner in the past four seasons.

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute said: "She showed in the Nell Gwyn at Newmarket in April what a good filly she was.

"But she was not firing when she ran third in the 1000 Guineas the following month, while at Epsom she ran on bravely to be fourth after being shuffled right back at a crucial stage.

"Nothing went right at Epsom but this is the real Petrushka and Johnny Murtagh gave her a lovely ride.

"The Yorkshire Oaks is a possibility but we'll see how we want to end the season with her and make our plans accordingly."



ch f Unfuwain (USA) - Ballet Shoes (Ela-Mana-Mou)
Owner: The Library Syndicate of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Ltd Form: 1-1341
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute Jockey: Johnny Murtagh Breeder: Airlie Stud

An IR110,000 guineas (a guinea = £1.05) John Warren purchase at the 1998 Goffs Orby Sale, Petrushka became the most expensive yearling ever bought by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, although her price has since been surpassed by a 155,000gns Bering colt last October.

Petrushka, who is out of a half-sister to the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Spectrum, ran once as a two-year-old, beating 18 rivals in a seven-furlong Leicester maiden on October 11.

She jumped to the front of the betting for both the Sagitta 1000 Guineas and Vodafone Oaks following her initial Newmarket outing this season, when running away with the Group 3 Shadwell Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes, with Seazun four lengths behind in second.
She was 6-4 favourite for the Group 1 Sagitta 1,000 Guineas, the first classic for fillies, and finished a respectable third to Lahan at Newmarket on May 7. However, her trainer and jockey felt that she had not quite shown her best form.
She started at 9-2 for the Group 1 Vodafone Oaks, the other British classic for fillies, at Epsom on June 9. Ridden by Kieren Fallon, she broke well and was initially in a good position before being shuffled back in the field and only had one behind her at the top of the hill. She made up a lot of ground to finish fourth, beaten less than four lengths by Love Divine, but had come from an impossible position.

Today she won the Kildangan Stud Irish Oaks easily under Johnny Murtagh.

Race Record: Starts: 5; 1st: 3; 2nd: 0; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £68,085 plus IR£112,425

Sir Michael Stoute

Born in Barbados on October 22, 1945, where his father was chief of police, Michael Stoute came to Britain in 1965 to nurture his love of racing. He joined Pat Rohan at Malton before moving to Newmarket three years later to work for Doug Smith and then Tom Jones.
Stoute took out a public licence to train in 1972, recording his first success that year when Sandal won at Newmarket on April 28. Since then he has been at the top of his profession and has been champion trainer five times - in 1981, 1986, 1989, 1994 and, most recently, in 1997 when his two older horses Singspiel and Pilsudski proved great ambassadors for the yard. Pilsudski added four Group One races to his impressive portfolio - the Coral-Eclipse, the Irish Champion Stakes, the Dubai Champion Stakes and the Japan Cup, while Singspiel won the Dubai World Cup, the Vodafone Coronation Cup and the Juddmonte International.
Stoute, who has won the Vodafone Derby twice - with Shergar in 1981 and Shahrastani five years later - has landed the 1,000 Guineas once before, with Musical Bliss in 1989. His long list of big-race successes also includes the 2,000 Guineas (three times), King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (twice), Vodafone Oaks (now twice), the Irish Derby (three times), Irish Oaks (now six times), Irish 1,000 Guineas and Irish 2,000 Guineas (three times) as well as many other races across the globe.
Stoute, who was knighted in 1998 for his services to sport and tourism in Barbados, has 190 horses in training this year at his Freemason Lodge yard in Newmarket. Champion jockey Kieren Fallon became the stable's retained rider this season but was injured at Royal Ascot and is likely to be out for the season.

Johnny Murtagh

Born May 14, 1970, Johnny Murtagh was apprenticed to John Oxx and became Irish champion apprentice in 1989. Weight problems forced him to relinquish his position as stable jockey to Oxx but Murtagh overcame those difficulties and in 1993 finished runner-up in the Irish jockeys' championship.

In 1995, he became Irish champion jockey for the first time and has since gained international prominence, riding in Dubai during the winter (where he has been champion rider), winning the 1995 Breeders' Cup Mile on Ridgewood Pearl and the following year's Beverley D Stakes on Timarida. Murtagh finished runner-up to Christy Roche in the Irish jockeys' championship in 1997, regained the title in 1998 with 87 victories, although he finished only fourth behind Mick Kinane last season. This year it is his partnership with Sinndar, trained by Oxx and owned by the Aga Khan, which has hit the headlines, taking both the Vodafone Derby at Epsom and the Budweiser Irish Derby at the Curragh. Now he has achieved the Irish Derby and Oaks double.


The Library Ownership Syndicate, organised by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Ltd, came into existence in late 1998 following the purchase of four yearlings by John Warren.

Petrushka and Defiant are trained by Sir Michael Stoute, while recent maiden winner Astronaut is with William Haggas and Pompeii, who won a Warwick handicap on Monday, May 1, after taking his maiden at Leicester in April, is handled by Paul Cole.

Highclere issued 20 shares at £22,000 each to cover the purchase costs, plus training and other charges, in the first and second years, 1999 and 2000.

Most of the 20 shareholders, with family and friends, are expected at the Curragh today and they have come from throughout Britain as well as Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong and Bermuda.

They include David Mort, who started out as a docker and built up a plant hire business in Wales, Michael Brower, who co-founded Garfunkels restaurants, and Lord Hambleden.

Mort and his wife Dorothy are long-standing racing enthusiasts and previously owned horses like Varingo, who won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in 1979, and Montendre.

They were keen to be associated with further good horses and became involved in Highclere Thoroughbred Racing because it offered them a better chance of doing so without huge expense.

David Mort recalls: "It was one of the best things we have ever done. They are very professional, with good lines of communication, and their enthusiasm really struck me. Above all they are very honest - I cannot fault them.

"We have great fun and through Highclere we have met some of the most wonderful people from all walks of life."

Michael Brower, like Lord Hambleden, has been involved in Highclere Thoroughbred Racing syndicates from the beginning in 1993.

Both he and Lord Hambleden owned shares in the two best Highclere horses to date, Lake Coniston and Tamarisk.

Brower explained his decision-making process: "I always want to be involved with longer-term horses and I am in two Highclere syndicates this year.

"When they talk to you about the horses you are involved in, they say your horse and treat you as if you are their only client. I have had my fair share of luck and have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Highclere.

"They are affable and professional, keep you informed by fax and phone and their hospitality is very good. The yearling parade is a marvellous morning."

Lord Hambleden declared: "I have been incredibly lucky - I must have had 30 to 40 wins with Highclere. I have had a lovely time. Harry Herbert is such a tremendous enthusiast while John Warren has this incredible eye for horses.

"You get tremendous feedback which is not always the case in racing. Every single race is analysed for you in a fax and you are kept informed the whole time."


Highclere Thoroughbred Racing specialise in putting together small groups of people to share in a number of racehorses, usually between two and four.

The cost of a share varies from £12,500 to £22,500, plus VAT, and this includes the purchase price and all costs in the first year, with a clearly-defined top-up in the second year possibly being required. The number of people in any HTR ownership syndicate varies from eight to 30.

HTR act as personal racing managers to each of the 170 individuals currently involved in 12 ownership syndicates and provide a level of service which is unique within the industry.
Highclere's horses are trained by Michael Bell, Roger Charlton, American-based Christophe Clement, Paul Cole, William Haggas, French-based John Hammond, Richard Hannon, John Hills, William Jarvis and Sir Michael Stoute.

Harry Herbert, who founded HTR in 1992 and is the Managing Director, explained: "A high percentage of our syndicates have at least broken even, with some being very profitable, which is an excellent record considering the financial state of British racing. But the prime reason for joining a Highclere syndicate is to have fun.

"The current average purchase price of Highclere yearlings, which are chosen by my co-director John Warren, is between 60,000 and 70,000 guineas, with the aim being to secure quality horses.

"We provide a cost-effective way for people to personally participate at the highest level in racing and still enjoy a maximum level of involvement while spreading the risk.

"Our owners include people who have been previously involved in racing as well as newcomers to the sport. They come from all walks of life and are based around the world."

Horses racing for HTR have included two champion sprinters, Lake Coniston, who was purchased for 22,000 guineas and sold for £2.45 million after becoming European champion sprinter in 1995, and Tamarisk, European champion three-year-old sprinter in 1998, who was bought for 78,000 guineas and sold for £3.5 million.

Delilah was European champion staying filly in 1998, having cost 70,000 guineas, and she sold for $550,000.

Housemaster finished fourth in the 1999 Vodafone Derby and last year total prize money earnings of £193,295 in Britain were achieved by the Highclere horses.

Now Petrushka has provided the first Classic victory in the Kildangan Stud Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Statistics

March, 1993, to November, 1999
Horses raced 85
Average cost per horse £42,353
Starters 497
Races won 71
Winners and placed horses (53%) 264
Black type winners and placed horses (19%) 16
Prize money earnings £1,125,000
Cost of horses £4,150,617
Sales revenue £9,196,448


Ayr's Glasgow Fair Holiday Monday fixture on July 17 is one of Scotland's finest days of Flat racing - the main attraction on the card being the £35,000 Group Three SODEXHO PRESTIGE SCOTTISH CLASSIC (3.45pm), run over a mile and a quarter.

The day is part of the Glasgow Fair celebrations and always attracts plenty of families who come to enjoy a fine afternoon of entertainment.

First run in 1979, the Scottish Classic has been won by some useful performers over the years, including future St Leger victor Moon Madness in 1986 and is Scotland's only Group race. Last year's renewal went to the Barry Hills-trained Prolix who had finished a decent fifth
behind Dream Well in the French Derby the previous season.

Ed Dunlop's Winter Romance won the Scottish Classic in 1998 while the year before Henry Candy's Crystal Hearted obliged and then went on to further success that year by lifting a Group Two event in Germany. Other recent winners include the Paul Cole-trained Montjoy (1996), Roger Charlton's Baron Ferdinand (1995) and Geoff Wragg's Beneficial (1994), who the previous season won the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

This year the Scottish Classic has a new sponsor in the shape of caterers Sodexho Prestige. Sodexho took over at Ayr at the beginning of the year and also provide on-course catering at other racecourses in Britain. The race's value has been boosted by £5,000.

The runners tomorrow are:
1) Endless Hall
Dark Green, Red spots, armlets and cap.

2) Beat All (USA)
Royal Blue, Yellow chevron, Yellow cap, Royal Blue spots.

3) Island House (IRE)
Chocolate, Gold braid and sleeves, quartered cap.

4) Amalia (IRE)
Emerald Green, Red sash, Yellow sleeves and cap.

5) Merry Merlin
Red, Green cap and striped sleeves.

6) Night Style (FR)
White, Red chevron, hooped sleeves, Red cap.

7) Port Vila (FR)
Royal Blue, White epaulets, striped cap.

Beat All, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, runs in the Sodexho Prestige Scottish Classic at Ayr tomorrow.

The four-year-old, third in the Vodafone Derby last year, is seeking to win for the first time since scoring in a Listed event at Newmarket early last season.

Kevin Darley's mount will be one of the favourites for Scotland's only Group race, along with led hat-trick achiever Island House.

Richard Quinn, pursuing Kevin Darley and Pat Eddery in the race for the jockeys' title, rides Merry Merlin who won the Dee Stakes at Chester in May.

Endless Hall, the mount of Jamie Spencer, has to give weight away because of a Group One penalty for winning in Milan last time.

Amalia and Port Vila, Listed race winners last time, and Night Style, well beaten in the Italian Derby, complete the field.

The afternoon gets under way with the £5,000-added EUROPEAN BREEDERS FUND MAIDEN STAKES (2.15pm) over five furlongs for two-year olds. Barry Hills also had the winner of this race last year when Il Capitano was successful.

Two-year-olds are seen again in the second event of the afternoon, the GARRY OWEN NURSERY HANDICAP STAKES (2.45pm) which takes place over seven furlongs.

A seven-furlong handicap for three-year-olds is the next event on the card, the ROCK STEADY 20TH ANNIVERSARY HANDICAP STAKES (3.15pm). Rock Steady provide security at Ayr throughout the year and show their support for racing at Ayr by sponsorship of this race.

The feature race of the day, the Group Three SODEXHO PRESTIGE SCOTTISH CLASSIC (3.45pm), is followed by the £10,000-added TOTE CREDIT CLUB STAKES (SHOWCASE HANDICAP - 4.15pm) over five furlongs, which has all the makings of a very competitive handicap.

An all-age maiden brings the afternoon to a close when Rock Steady return to sponsor the ROCK STEADY EVENT SAFETY MAIDEN STAKES (4.45pm) over a mile and a quarter. Cheshire Cat landed the equivalent event last year to give the partnership of Barry Hills and jockey Richard Hughes a treble for the afternoon.

As well as good racing, with top jockeys in action, there will be plenty of entertainment on offer for the whole family throughout the day, with attractions for children and a FREE creche. Admission prices are Club £16, Grandstand £7 (for students and OAPs £4) and accompanied children under 16 are admitted FREE into both enclosures. Coach and Car Parking is also FREE. Additionally, members of the Racegoers Club visiting Ayr will receive £5 off admission to the Club enclosure.

Carol Moore, Corporate and Sponsorship Manager at Ayr Racecourse, said: "Scottish Classic day is always one of the highlights of the year and hopefully this year's renewal, which is worth an additional £5,000, will attract a quality field for our new sponsors Sodhexo Prestige.

"We are looking forward to again welcoming many families to this fixture which offers plenty of extra entertainment for children."

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

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