The British dual-purpose market has received a very welcome shot in the arm with the addition of Golden Horn to Overbury Stud. A brilliant performer who lit up the 2015 season with victories in the Derby, Irish Champion Stakes, Eclipse Stakes and Arc, his move to Overbury last summer coincided with a productive run as a Flat sire highlighted by the win of Botanik in the Grand Prix de Deauville and Haskoy’s gallant performance when second past the post in the St Leger.
At the same time, Golden Horn’s reputation as a jumps sire continued to blossom; think high-class hurdlers First Street, Stag Horn and Nusret. As such, the son of Cape Cross makes a lot of sense from a dual-purpose perspective off his new fee of £8,000.
Making his place at Overbury all the more welcome is the fact he is standing on behalf of a new investor in Jayne McGivern’s Dash Grange Stud, thereby further underlining the ambitious undercurrents striving to push the British industry forward.
“He’ll be very busy,” says Simon Sweeting of Overbury Stud. “I don’t know how many he’ll end up covering but he has over 170 booked so far.
“There are some really super mares among them. Jayne is supporting him tremendously. Concertista [the high-class hurdler who was bought for €220,000 by Dash Grange Stud in December] is just one of the mares that Jayne is sending and Put The Kettle On is also coming from Dahlbury.”
He adds: “It’s great to have a horse like Golden Horn in the UK. It shows that there are people in Britain who want to invest in jumps stallions, which is great. The likes of Jayne, Simon Davies and Brian Mayoh have been very important and have each a done a lot to keep good mares over here now. It puts the British jumps industry on a strong footing going forward – it’s a much brighter picture than it was 20 years ago.”
Golden Horn isn’t alone in promoting Overbury as an elite National Hunt sire source, however. The imposing Jack Hobbs (£3,000), who ran second to Golden Horn in the Derby prior to running away with the Irish equivalent, has long attracted good-sized books, with breeders no doubt taking confidence from his Group 1 race record, looks and outcross pedigree.
The first stores by the son of Halling sold for up €110,000 last year while on the Flat two of his four runners have won led by The Gadget Man, a 91-rated gelding who subsequently sold for 310,000gns to continue his career with Chris Waller in Australia.
“Jack Hobbs obviously had The Gadget Man on the Flat last year and he ended up selling very well,” says Sweeting.
“Trainers like his progeny and I keep hearing the Irish point-to-point lads like them as well. Next season will tell us more but he’s had a few run well in bumpers.
“Jack Hobbs is such an imposing horse and a wonderful outcross. He’s always had big books so there’s plenty coming through.”
“Trainers like his progeny and I keep hearing the Irish point-to-point lads like them as well. Next season will tell us more but he’s had a few run well in bumpers.”
For just £1,000, breeders can also access a Group 1-performing son of Dubawi in Frontiersman. A half-brother to Australia out of Ouija Board, the four- time winner has consistently received good support following the arrival of his first foals. In the meantime, his only runner on the Flat, Miss Dolly Rocker, has shown fair form, notably when falling only a neck short of winning on her debut against a black-type rival last September
“Frontiersman is a great-looking horse,” says Sweeting. “He got 65 mares in his first year and then the foals started appearing – they’re very good-looking and that excited breeders. He got 105 mares the next year off the back of that. I sent my best mare Rosita Bay [dam of Thyme Hill].”
Finally, following last year’s passing of Kayf Tara, to whom British jumps breeding owes such a great debt, the mantle of Overbury veteran has fallen on to 20-year-old Schiaparelli (£2,000), that ever-reliable source of winners. “Schiaparelli has his fans,” says Sweeting. “He keeps having winners and Indefatigable and Ronald Pump are still around. He’s been wonderful to us and he’s lovely to have around.”