Members of the thoroughbred breeding and racing community convened at Chippenham Park on Thursday to celebrate the best of British bloodstock at the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’s (TBA), annual Flat Breeders’ Awards Evening, sponsored by Fitzdares.
A total of 14 awards were presented for success in 2020 at the event which was hosted by racing broadcaster Gina Bryce, including the prestigious Andrew Devonshire Award, which is presented in recognition of outstanding contribution to the industry.
This year’s recipient was Lady Emma Balding, the wife of former trainer Ian and mother to broadcaster Clare and Classic-winning son Andrew. Balding is a former TBA Trustee and was instrumental in the creation of the Retraining of Racehorses charity by obtaining a bequest from the Mellon family.
At the helm of Kingsclere Stud she has nurtured families through generations and in Europe the stud has produced many successful performers including Racing Post Trophy winner Elm Park, German Group 2 winner Passing Glance and the Imperial Cup winner Scorned, the latter pair just two of seven black-type earners for their dam Spurned.
Further afield, Side Glance, a son of the aforementioned Passing Glance, won the Cox Plate in 2013, and more recently Urban Aspect, better known as Ka Ying Star in Hong Kong, has been a Group 3 winner.
Lady Emma Balding’s daughter-in-law Anna Lisa collected the award on her behalf.
Dalham Hall Stud employee Ken Crozier was the recipient of the Dominion Award. A key part of the Godolphin and Darley team, Crozier’s tenure at the Newmarket stud commenced in 1982. His earlier work experience included a position at Floors Stud in his hometown of Kelso and since that time his career has included work in both the northern and southern hemispheres with numerous stallions.
Two new awards were added to the evening’s proceedings with the first of those being the Filly of Merit Award, awarded to a two or three-year-old filly who had achieved significant success on the racecourse. It was presented to owner-breeder Philip Wilkins for Liberty Beach, a stakes-winning daughter of Cable Bay and who placed third in both the King’s Stand Stakes and Prix de l’Abbaye.
The second new award, the Barton Stud-sponsored Industry Merit Award, recognises those within the industry who are making progress through their business, role or personally to expand the reach of the British breeding industry by increasing engagement, involvement or developing innovative concepts to improve the thoroughbred breeding sector.
The inaugural award was presented to Highclere Stud on account of its new 50/50 and Euro4Euros stallion terms. The Warren family also collected the H J Joel Silver Salver (Flat Broodmare of the Year), for Beach Frolic, dam of Palace Pier.
Shadwell’s Ron Lott was the recipient of the TBA Stud Employee Award. Kindly sponsored by New England Stud, Lott took home a magnificent Charlie Langton bronze perpetual trophy and a £2,000 cash prize. The runners-up and recipients of £250 were: David Gardner, Greg Hooley, Antonia Neal, John Rice and Bev Woodley.
Recipient of the Langham Cup (Small Breeder of the Year) was Gaie Johnson-Houghton, breeder of last year’s Sussex Stakes and Summer Mile winner Mohaather.
The TBA Silver Salver went to Anita Wigan, who in 2020 bred a pair of Group 2 winners, Nando Parrado (Coventry Stakes), and Angel Power (Premio Lydia Tesio), from her small broodmare band.
Breeder of Glass Slippers, winner of the Flying Five Stakes and memorably of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, and French Group 3-winning juvenile Lullaby Moon, Bearstone Stud was named Flat Breeder of the Year (TBA Silver Rose Bowl).
The British EBF’s Stallion Special Merit Award was presented to Mayson. The Cheveley Park Stud resident enjoyed a breakout 2020, headlined by the July Cup success of son Oxted and the stakes winners Country Carnival, Laugh A Minute, Lesrel and Maystar.
The Godolphin operation’s flag-bearing stallion Dubawi won both the Barleythorpe Stud Silver Cup for leading British-based stallion by individual winners and the BBA Silver Cigar Box for leading British-based stallion by prize-money. The Queen’s Silver Cup for leading British-based breeder by prize money completed a trio of awards for the Godolphin operation.
The other statistical award, the Tattersalls Silver Salver, awarded to the leading British-based first season sire, was presented to Mr and Mrs Christopher Harper for their stallion Adaay.
TBA Chief Executive Claire Sheppard said: “It has been fantastic to be able to recognise and celebrate the successes of British breeders in person again at tonight’s Awards evening. Our sincere congratulations extend not only to the winners but also to all the nominees this evening for their outstanding achievements domestically and on the global stage. We are incredibly grateful to William Woodhams and the team at Fitzdares for their support of British thoroughbred breeding as headline event partner, and to all our event supporters.”