“I'm Absolutely Loving It” – Poste Excited By Debut Breeze-Up Consignment

Francesca and Charlie Poste | Tattersalls

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Respected point-to-point handler and ex-jumps jockey Charlie Poste says that he is “absolutely loving” his first endeavours into the breeze-up business and looks forward to consigning his first draft at the upcoming Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up and Goffs UK Doncaster Breeze-Up sales. 

Poste trained over 100 winners between the flags in Britain, including talented chaser Third Time Lucki, but explained how the broad international market for breeze-up horses compared to the parochial feel to the point-to-point game made it a no-brainer to try his hand at the former. 

The early indications are that Station Yard, the banner in which Poste consigns under and where he is based near Stratford-upon-Avon, is here to stay in the breeze-up game such is the level of enjoyment he has got out of the Flat additions to the stable. 

He explained, “I'm very excited about the whole thing. We have two in the Craven, two in Donny and then another couple for the Guineas Sale. There is a saying in life that a change is as good as a rest and that is certainly true in this case. The horses have been very well received by Jerry McGrath, Matt Prior and Freddy Powell during inspections and Gordon 'Flash' Power, who is going to ride them at the breeze-ups, came over on Sunday to give them all a little bit of a twist. We had a little away day and 'Flash' was very happy. Being completely honest, this is a new project for Francesca [Poste's wife] and I. We are not going to pretend that we have all of the answers, but I have been very encouraged by having respected people coming in and being complimentary about how the horses are looking and with 'Flash' being very happy with how the away day went, so that gives us a lot of confidence.”

Poste, who operates Station Yard alongside Francesca, will be represented by a filly and a colt by Blue Point (Ire) at the Craven Sale. The couple will also consign fillies by Calyx (GB) and Kodiac (GB) at Doncaster and expect to be represented in the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale as well. 

Speaking to TDN Europe at the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale last year, Poste explained how he had gathered up a team of 10 investors to attack the yearling sales with the help of Blandford Bloodstock's Tom Biggs, and how he planned on putting his own stamp on how he produced the horses for the breeze-ups. 

Tom Biggs | Tattersalls

He elaborated on Wednesday, “The similarities between the point-to-point and breeze-up projects is that you are working with young, inexperienced athletes who are expected to perform to a high level without the benefit of match practice. Where there are massive similarities between the two disciplines is that you need to do all that you can to get as much life experience into the point-to-pointers and the breezers so that, when they go to there without any prior experience, they are streetwise enough to show whatever ability they have in their race or their breeze, whether that be good, bad or indifferent. What you don't want is a good horse not being able to showcase its talents because they are too green to deal with the occasion. With that in mind, we have done a lot of cantering around the farm with the breezers and have brought them to a lot of different places.”

He added, “We're fortunate enough that we rent a farm that offers us the ability to do a lot of different things and, beyond that, they've been in the lorry and have had away days. It's all about going to different places, introducing them to different scenarios and making sure that they can mentally adjust and cope with everything. That way, when they get to the breeze they can adapt and help 'Flash' do what he needs to do to make them go quickly.”

The decision to branch out into the breeze-up market could prove to be a timely one. At the Cheltenham February Sale just gone, all of the key figures took a hit, and Poste says that the flimsiness of the middle tiers in the National Hunt game in Britain is what ultimately forced him to change course.

He said, “We're definitely seeing a correction in the National Hunt market. Yes, there's no doubt that if you are in that top five per cent, you're still going to get well paid and people are falling over each other to buy those. But if you are in the middle market which, invariably, as the industry builds, the British point-to-point sector is in, it becomes tricky. It is definitely becoming tougher to know where you are at and to get those horses away for what, maybe three or four years ago, you'd be expecting them to make. In that respect, we are very happy to have a new potential revenue stream for the business with the breeze-up horses. The excitement, and maybe even the nerve-wracking part of it all, is the finality of the whole project. There is only one day, really, and you are preparing them for that day alone. There are no excuses.”

He added, “But I'm absolutely loving it. The changes in these horses in just a week or 10 days is very different to dealing with a store horse. These Flat horses seem to transform within a blink of an eye, which is really exciting for all of us.”

Poste was keen to heap praise on Biggs for helping source a rock-solid debut draft of breeze-up horses and says “he couldn't be more chuffed” by the quality of the horses he is working with.

He said, “Tom is immensely professional and is well-respected, hence why we asked him to come on board and help buy these horses. We couldn't be more chuffed by what he selected and bought for us. Fingers crossed, given he works closely with the Blandford Bloodstock group, who are big buyers from the breeze-ups, he may even put some of these horses up at the other end of this scenario.”

Poste added, “We've got fillies by Calyx and Kodiac for Doncaster. The Calyx looks very quick–everything has come very naturally to her. The Kodiac filly has a scopier action and has been shaping up very well at home. Neither of those have missed a beat. Both appear to be quick and should be ideally suited by the sale that they are in.

“With Blue Point, the sire speaks for himself. It's very exciting to have a filly and a colt by him going to the Craven Sale in our first draft and hopefully that shows people that we are serious about this venture moving forward. The Blue Point colt seems to be a really quick, professional horse who has thrived with work while the filly exudes class. Again, it's probably credit to Tom with the horses he's bought but everything just seems to come very naturally to all of them.”

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