Stallions Shine in Sunny Start to February Sale

Newsells Park Stud's A'Ali at the TBA Stallion Parade | Adam Houghton

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NEWMARKET, UK — It has become the tradition for the Tattersalls February Sale to be preceded by the TBA Flat Stallion Parade and this year's event contained the added incentive of a potential free entry to next year's December Foal Sale. Breeders who booked a nomination to one of the 10 stallions on the day have been automatically entered into a free draw to win one of five places at the 2025 sale for the resulting offspring. 

With nine of the 10 stallions stabled in the Left Yard at Park Paddocks, competition was fierce for the showing strips. The strapping Twilight Son (GB) made his presence felt. Stradivarius (Ire) did what he does best and strutted around looking as though he assumed that everyone was naturally there just to see him. 

He was joined by his fellow National Stud stallions Lope Y Fernandez (Ire) and new boy Mutasaabeq (GB), while the other new recruits to the stallions ranks on parade included Culworth Grounds Stud's El Caballo (GB), and Midnight Sands, the son of Speightstown who has recently joined Norton Grove Stud. Soldier's Call, recently relocated to Dullingham Park, also impressed. The son of Showcasing, who had 26 winners in 2023 and covered over 400 mares in the last three seasons, is available to breeders at £8,500 this year. 

It was naturally a male-dominated parade but the girls ruled the rostrum, with the excellent duo of Shirley Anderson-Jolag and Gina Bryce on presenting duties.

Simon Sweeting, a regular supporter of the parade who brought Overbury Stud's second-season stallion Caturra (Ire) to Tattersalls from Gloucestershire, said,  “It's good to have people feeling that they can come with no expectations and no pressure. It saves them coming out to the farm, through of course they'd be very welcome. You do more business than you realise on the day. People might ring you in three or four weeks' time having seen the stallion today.”

Like a number of stallion owners, Sweeting has found that bookings have been slower to come in so far for this season. He added, “It's a year in which people want a few stallions, and everybody wants the same, and if they are not exactly what they want then it is very difficult. It's going to be one of those years. The busier stallions will have been full in December and for everybody else it's a case of struggling through until June.”

Julian Dollar of Newsells Park Stud is also in favour of the initiative and brought A'Ali (Ire) to the parade. The sleek son of Society Rock has his first yearlings for sale later this year. 

Dollar said, “We've supported the parade every year we've been able to send stallions. It's great for us. Obviously people have started to bring stallions up in the December Sales, but you can't under-value it, especially for us even though we're only 35 minutes away [from Newmarket]. We've got 300 people seeing him today and we wouldn't get that in a year. He's a good-looking horse who walks well so he shows himself well.”

He continued, “It's great that Tattersalls have got behind the parade and I like what they are trying to do with the incentives. Harriet Collins is helping the TBA with this and I'd like to see if we can build this up into something bigger with the stallions and use it as a launchpad in the UK.

“Ireland has the wonderful stallion trail, and France has a brilliant one as well. People say that most of the stallions are around Newmarket and the rest of them are very widespread and difficult to get at, but it would be nice to try to build something, and maybe this is the way to kick it off. 

“Stallion owners, the TBA and Tattersalls have all got an interest in it. I'm grateful to Tattersalls for doing it, and the TBA have done a great job. I'm delighted that Chris [Richardson] has brought their two boys down from Cheveley Park Stud because they didn't have to do that, and I am hoping that I can persuade Shadwell to bring the stallions in from Beech House Stud next time.”

Dollar also issued an update on Newsells Park's flagship stallion Nathaniel (Ire), who was represented by two new Group 1 winners last year, and has dual-purpose appeal having also been represented by some decent jumpers in recent years, including Concertista (Fr) and Zanahiyr (Ire).

He said, “It's a strange old thing with Nathaniel. It's just taken some time for the penny to drop. He obviously had the Derby winner [Desert Crown] a couple of years ago and then with Quickthorn and Poptronic last year, I think people have started think 'this horse can't keep producing Group 1 winner after Group 1 winner and not be a good stallion'. 

“I think if you look at the stallion ranks in the UK and the price points, he does fill a good niche for a proper, proven stallion. I've probably been a bit naive and under-valued him, because by putting his price up this year even more people have come. He's about 30 mares ahead of last year, and very strong on about 130 mares. In the end he covered 170 mares last year and that was about 60/40 [per cent] Flat to jumps mares. This year there are about 10 to 12 jumps mares in his book so far out of 130.”

Dollar added, “I have no problem with him covering National Hunt mares. If people want to use him and they pay the price to use him, why not? I think it's just nice that people accept him for the very good stallion that he is.”

 

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