Chapel Stud Close at Heart

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New Chapel Stud stallion Bangkok | Racingfotos.com

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Nestled near the Malvern Hills in the west of England is Chapel Stud, a 70-acre stud farm owned and managed by Roisin Close. As well as offering services from boarding, sales preparation to breaking and pre-training the stud now boasts a dual-purpose stallion roster with new recruits Walzertakt (Ger) and Bangkok (Ire) joining the stud's three existing and established stallions, Planteur (Ire), Indian Haven (GB) and Hellvelyn (GB). Close formerly owned Bucklands Farm and Stud but when the business outgrew the facilities at that farm a move was needed.

“Chapel Stud is actually an extension, or a following on from Bucklands Farm,” said Close. “We outgrew the farm, so we needed to find a new premises. We found a farm about half an hour north of where Bucklands was and over the last three years we've slowly been putting in all the relevant needs for horses. I have all sorts of plans going forward but at the moment it is serving every purpose that we need it to serve.”

Prior to owning her own stud, Close gained experience across the world with time spent at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky and a 13-year stint at Tweenhills Stud. Along the way she has gained valuable friendships and appreciates the amount of support she has had throughout her career and with setting up her enterprise.

“I'm so lucky that along the way everyone has supported me and backed me and allowed me to get where I am,” said Close. “That includes people I've worked for, people I've worked alongside, my family, my friends, they have all allowed me to get where I am.”

Having previously owned stallions outright Close knows the financial and physical demands that are required to make a horse successful. Three of the stallions, Planteur, Bangkok and Walzertakt, calling Chapel Stud home are owned by Simon Davies and for Close having a team member like Davies is not lost on her.

“With the sprint stallions that I stood beforehand everything was always on a budget,” Close said. “Simon has really gone in in a big way, from advertising to promotions and or sponsorship. It's been really lovely to deal with someone that has that same kind of passion and really wants to make a success of things.”

Spearheading the stallion roster is Planteur, a horse who started his stud career with Al Shaqab and was purchased by Davies in 2020. Trueshan (Fr) is the stallion's classiest offspring and has become a staying star for trainer Alan King.  Aside from that multiple group winner, Planteur is also the sire of G2 winner Road To Arc (Fr) and is operating just shy of 58% winners to runners.

Davies has added National Hunt stallion Walzertakt to his bloodstock portfolio at Chapel Stud having purchased him from Haras de la Croix Sonnet. The German-bred Group 2 winner is bred along similar lines to Camelot (Ire), being by Montjeu (Ire) out of the Kingmambo (USA) mare Walzerkoenigin (USA) and has yet to be tested with his eldest progeny only being four.

Coming in as a dual-purpose stallion is Bangkok who is standing his first season at stud this year having previously been quite a talking-horse for King Power Racing.

“He's a very attractive, quality son of Australia (GB) out of a blue hen mare, Tanaghum (GB),” said Close of the bay horse. “He's a half-brother to Group 1 winner Matterhorn (Ire) and his half-sister Mujarah (Ire) is the dam of Ribchester (Ire). Actually, all of Simon's stallions have looks and temperament as well as an excellent pedigree.”

The six-time winner has run over seven furlongs to a mile and a quarter and raced from the age of two to five with international trips under his belt too.

“Andrew Balding, who trained him, said 'he was a tough, sound and consistent horse with a stallion's pedigree,' ” Close remarked. “He's absolutely the type of horse that people should be embracing to breed racehorses. He should be able to breed you a top-quality horse across the board.”

With a bonus scheme available to those breeders who breed his first 2-year-old winner and his first black-type 2-year-old winner it is no wonder that Close is bullish about the type of horse she envisions Bangkok could sire stating that he is a horse who offers “toughness and soundness.”

While new stallions bring excitement to any stud farm, Close has a sparkle in her eye talking about her boys new and old with Hellvelyn getting a special mention. With something on offer for everyone, Chapel Stud could continue to grow in stature much like the hills that surround its pastures.

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