'The Pressure Is Now Officially Off': Joe Foley Lauds Breakthrough Win For Branton Court Stud


Branton Court Stud homebred Dramatised | PA Images


The all-grey silks of Steve Parkin's Clipper Logistics have become an increasingly familiar feature at racecourses over the last two decades, and the prolific owner recently added another string to his bow in becoming a breeder. His Yorkshire-based Branton Court Stud notched a major milestone on Wednesday when Dramatised (Ire) (Showcasing {GB}) scorched home in the G2 Queen Mary S. to provide Parkin with a first homebred group winner.

“We started in racing 20 years ago and, through Joe Foley, I started a breeding operation,” said Parkin. “[Dramatised] has come from the farm and it is a huge thrill. We saw her as a baby, watched her develop on the farm, and to watch her come through like that is very special and very emotional.”

Emotions were also running high for Foley, who is better known as the doyen of Ballyhane Stud as well as for his roles on a number of Irish racing and breeding committees. He and Parkin had extra reason to celebrate as they are both involved in the third filly home, Maria Branwell (Ire) (James Garfield {Ire}), who runs for the Bronte Collection.

“Phew!” Foley said with a huge grin. “The pressure is off now. To win the Queen Mary is fantastic. Steve loves Royal Ascot. Soldier's Call (GB) was our first winner here, and then Space Traveller (GB) won, so this is our third winner. It's not all about early, fast horses though. We've had horses by Sea The Stars (Ire), Dubawi (Ire), Frankel (GB)–we'd like to come back and win the Coronation–but this filly is a very fast filly; she's out of a big, good-looking mare and we covered her by Showcasing and luckily she did it.”

That good-looking mare is Katie's Diamond (Fr), an early star performer for her late sire Turtle Bowl (Ire) who was bought by her trainer Karl Burke for just €18,000 as a yearling before going on to win the Listed Empress S. and finish third in the G3 Prix du Calvados. Burke also now trains her highly impressive juvenile daughter, while William Haggas has Katie's Diamond's 3-year-old filly Public Opinion (GB) (Dark Angel {Ire}), who recently broke her maiden at Lingfield.

Foley continued, “I went round the mare sale that year looking at all the good race fillies and I came to [Katie's Diamond] and she was such an outstanding-looking filly; I'd never really seen her before. But I remembered her running in the Marcel Boussac and she ran off going to the start, then they got her back to the stalls and she ran away in the race and she was in front 50 yards from the line and finished fifth, beaten about two lengths. I thought then that she must have been pretty good.

“We sent her to Dark Angel and her first filly is a good one. She also has a very nice Night Of Thunder (Ire) yearling filly and a magnificent colt foal by Pinatubo (Ire) and now she is back in foal to Showcasing.”

There could yet be more cause for celebration for the Clipper Logistics team in Berkshire this week, as Parkin has another five runners in his own right, including recent Listed Marygate S. winner Pillow Talk (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), the only filly in the line-up for Thursday's G2 Norfolk S. One of their leading contenders, Romantic Proposal (Ire) (Raven's Pass), had been set for a bold dual Group 1 sprint bid but she was withdrawn from the list when found to be coughing. The Eddie Lynam-trained 6-year-old will now be prepared for the G1 Darley July Cup.

Meanwhile the Bronte Collection, a syndicate set up for Parkin and friends, remarkably has four juvenile runners in stakes races at the royal meeting. Two of the quartet were bought by Foley, including the €22,000 Goffs Autumn yearling Maria Branwell, while another, Thunder Moor (Ire) (Dandy Man {GB}), was bred by his Ballyhane Stud and the last of the four, Cathy Come Home (GB) (Expert Eye {GB}), was bred by Branton Court Stud. As suggested by the syndicate name, the horses' names are inspired by the famous literary Bronte family of Yorkshire. Maria Branwell was the name of the mother of Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte, and their brother Branwell.

Foley said, “It's a fun syndicate. There are 13 guys in it with Steve and to have a runner placed in the Queen Mary is just magic for them. They are all here and they are having a ball. To have the winner and then for Maria Branwell to be placed is just fairytale stuff really. The pressure is now officially off.”

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