John Greetham was one of those breeders to add immensely to the fabric of British racing but sadly also of an ilk that has become in increasingly short supply in the current era. British owner-breeders, as we are often reminded, are dwindling, especially those with a leaning towards the enjoyment of middle-distance horses. Lincolnshire-based farmer Greetham was one such breeder, as might be expected from someone for whom success emanated from a mare by the stout stamina influence Bustino.

Much Too Risky, the mare in question, was bred in 1982 by Greetham out of Short Rations, a winning daughter of Lorenzaccio who would later foal the popular stayer Arctic Owl. It was obviously a very different time, not least because there wasn’t quite the market fixation on speed that there is today (a horse like Bustino would have struggled to gain traction). Nevertheless, this family has stood the test of time as a consistent source of middle-distance quality. It might not come as a surprise to anyone to read that it has been aided in that cause by a respect from Japanese interests, enough to see a number of its representatives head to that nation – and with excellent results.

However, the Much Too Risky line remains prominent elsewhere as well, primarily as a result of Godolphin’s investment, something which has yielded Measured Time, who became Frankel’s 34th Group/Grade 1 winner when scoring in the Jebel Hatta at Meydan in late January. In turn, he is a half-brother to 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Rebel’s Romance, who added the H H The Amir trophy in Qatar to his significant haul last month, making their dam, the Street Cry mare Minidress, an increasingly important member of the Godolphin broodmare band.

Minidress is out of Short Skirt, the last of six black-type horses bred by Greetham out of Much Too Risky. Like most of the family in later years, Much Too Risky was trained by Sir Michael Stoute and looked potentially useful at two when winning both her starts at Leicester and Haydock. Given the promise of that campaign and her physical scope, a pair of low-key outings at three must have come as a disappointment, but the talent was obviously there and she more than made up for it at stud.

Both Whitewater Affair and Rich Affair went on to exert a considerable influence at stud in Japan

She worked well with Machiavellian, to whom she produced the Prix de Pomone winner and Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Whitewater Affair, the Listed-placed Rich Affair and minor winner L’Affaire Monique. Both Whitewater Affair and Rich Affair went on to exert a considerable influence at stud in Japan; Whitewater Affair as the dam of champion three-year-old and older horse Victoire Pisa, winner of the Dubai World Cup, and fellow Group 1 winner Asakusa Den’En and Rich Affair as the granddam of champion two-year-old Robe Tissage.

An affinity was also forged by Much Too Risky with Known Fact, the sire of her Listed-winning daughter Seductress (who also clicked with Machiavellian to produce Godolphin’s Listed winner Swiss Law). The Known Fact affinity also extended to his best son Warning, the sire of Greetham’s Princess Of Wales’s Stakes winner Little Rock, and then to Diktat through Short Skirt. As several of those names suggest, Greetham had fun naming his horses with a nod towards the various indiscretions attached at that time to former US President Bill Clinton.

Diktat was a popular horse with breeders during his early years as a Darley stallion in Newmarket. After all, he was one of a handful of Group 1-winning sons left behind by Warning prior to his export to Japan, and one quick enough to win the Haydock Sprint Cup. Short Skirt was from his second crop and wound up as one of the best of his 14 Group race winners. Successful in a Newmarket maiden by six lengths on her debut at two, she started off her three-year-old season by defeating Alexandrova in the Musidora Stakes at York to seal her place in the Oaks. That day at Epsom, she met a different Alexandrova, who dominated to win by a wide margin. But by running third she did at least fare better than her sibling Whitewater Affair a decade before when unplaced behind Lady Carla.

Having later run second to Alexandrova in the Yorkshire Oaks and won the St Simon Stakes, Greetham sent Short Skirt to the Tattersalls December Mares Sale, where she sold for 1,400,000gns to John Ferguson on behalf of Godolphin. She had two starts in the all-blue, highlighted by a win in the Severals Stakes at Newmarket on her belated four-year-old debut, before retiring to stud.

Minidress was her first foal and a talented one at that, with a Listed-placing and Newmarket maiden win among her achievements. The best runner out of Short Skirt, though, was Volcanic Sky, a brother to Minidress who was a Group 3 winner in Dubai.

Asides from Whitewater Affair and Short Skirt, various other daughters have passed into the hands of good breeders including White House and L’Affaire Monique

Yet patience on that seven-figure investment has been required and nearly two decades on from her entry into the Godolphin fold, there is the reward of Minidress. Rebel’s Romance, the mare’s fourth foal, had a low-key season last year following his annus mirabilis in 2022, when he captured the Grosser Preis von Berlin, Preis von Europa and Breeders’ Cup Turf within a three-month period. But he is back on the right foot now following wins in the Floodlit Stakes at Kempton and H H The Amir Trophy at Doha, in which he wasn’t really challenged to win by three lengths. While he deserves to take his place in the Dubai Sheema Classic, Measured Time is reportedly on course for the Dubai Turf, allowing for the distinct possibility of a Group 1 double on Dubai’s biggest night of racing.

Godolphin isn’t the sole custodian of the Much Too Risky line, however. Asides from Whitewater Affair and Short Skirt, various other daughters have passed into the hands of good breeders including White House and L’Affaire Monique.

For the Swinburn family’s Genesis Green Stud, the Pursuit Of Love mare White House became the foundation of their line responsible for the Group 1-placed two-year-old Cappella Sansevero. As for L’Affaire Monique, she became a multiple stakes producer for Aston House Stud, with her quartet of stakes runners headed by the Group 3-placed Short Affair. In turn, she is the great-granddam of last year’s Solonaway Stakes winner Flight Plan, bred by Jane Keir out of the Pivotal mare Romp.

With Group 1 targets also on the agenda for Flight Plan, this isn’t a family that is going to be too far away from the headlines again this season.

Short Skirt lands the St Simon Stakes in the colours of her breeder John Greetham. She later sold to Godolphin, for whom she has forged a successful dynasty. Photo – George Selwyn


It is no secret how highly French breeders regard stallions who showed ability over jumps. It’s a logical approach and one granted great weight given the deeds of Saint Des Saints, Kapgarde, Great Pretender and Cokoriko among many others.

That list provides just a snapshot of the various jumpers who have excelled over the years at stud in France and contrasts quite significantly with the stallion landscape in Britain and Ireland, where the middle-distance Flat horse tends to take precedent.

Scouts searching for talent to campaign on this side of the Channel are naturally well in tune with the younger French sires making a name for themselves and it won’t have taken them long to identify Choeur Du Nord, another to have raced over jumps, as a name worth following. The horse was represented by his first runner in Britain and Ireland only in the spring of 2022 but there have been plenty others – the majority of them French-breds – since then including Jeriko Du Reponet (below) and Heart Wood, whose recent successes in the Grade 2 SBK Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle and Grade 3 O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey Leopardstown Handicap Chase have firmly pushed their sire into the spotlight.

Another youngster, five-year-old Centreofattention, also recently made a winning debut in a Wincanton bumper for Nicky Henderson and JP McManus, the same connections behind Jeriko Du Reponet.

We often reminded that a good horse or stallion can come from anywhere but that seems especially true of French jumps stallions. Choeur Du Nord belongs to the Lomond branch of the Northern Dancer clan, and thereby represents a line that is barely in existence nowadays. Lomond might have been a Classic-winning half-brother to Seattle Slew but unlike his famous sibling, who became a champion sire in the US, failed to leave much of a lasting impression at stud.

The Aga Khan Studs, with its deep families and understanding of them, have bred a number of top horses by lesser stallions over the years and Valanour, one of the best sons of Lomond, is a case in point. Winner of the Grand Prix de Paris and Prix Ganay, Valanour was not hugely successful at stud, eventually standing for €1,000 in a dual-purpose role. However, he did leave behind the Criterium de Saint-Cloud and Prix Lupin winner Voix Du Nord, a favourite influence among the British and Irish jumps community whose own stud record includes Defi Du Seuil, Taquin Du Seuil and Vroum Vroum Mag, all of whom won Grade 1s at the Cheltenham Festival.

Choeur Du Nord is one of a handful of sons of Voix Du Nord at stud in France and is certainly bred for the job as a son of the talented jumper Cardoudalle, whose daughters are between them responsible for Cokoriko and the top hurdling mare Benie Des Deux. In typically French fashion, Choeur Du Nord was out early as a hurdler in the spring of his three-year-old campaign, winning his debut at Auteuil before following up at the same course at the expense of Fixe Le Kap, subsequently an useful performer for Nicky Henderson. He was retired after finishing second on his third start, again at Auteuil.

Choeur Du Nord started stud life at Elevage Lassaussaye Guillaume for just €1,500. However, he has not lacked for popularity, with books north of 50 covered since his retirement. Results were swiftly forthcoming. His first crop, foaled in 2017, produced Listed-winning jumper Baladin De Mesc while the Grade 1-placed Iceo Madrik and Listed winner Imprenable sit alongside Heart Wood, who also won the Listed Prix Univers II Handicap Hurdle at Auteuil prior to joining Henry de Bromhead, as highlights from his second. Jeriko Du Reponet and Listed winners Jipcot and Vision Du Rheu belong to a third crop of around 75.

Choeur Du Nord now stands under Guillaume Lassaussaye’s Haras de Ligneres banner and covered over 130 mares last year. He underwent a minor fee rise up to €6,500 for 2024 and it would be no surprise to see several British or Irish breeders start to take advantage of him. As it is, his select group of offerings in Ireland last year included a store who was sold by Lakefield Farm for €90,000 to Paul Holden at the Goffs Arkle Sale.