Edited press release
The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association celebrated the tenth running of its annual NH Breeders’ Awards on Monday evening in front of 150 breeders, owners and trainers. Sponsored by Goffs, leading broadcaster and breeder Nick Luck, who hosted the evening, was the surprised recipient of the Queen Mother’s Silver Salver, the highest honour bestowed by the TBA’s NH Committee.
A member of the TBA’s NH Committee for several years, Luck is an ever-enthusiastic participant in the awards evening, having superbly steered the rudder of the evening since its inception in 2015. Other TBA-related activities have included comparing the Bangor-on-Dee staged NH Stars of Tomorrow Foal Sale, which ran from 2013 through to 2018.
A member of the Aintree race committee, host of the Nick Luck Daily Podcast and an award-winning broadcaster, Luck is also a breeder, his latest winner, Run For Harry, scoring at Kilbeggan on Friday evening. He also played agent for his late mother Maggie, purchasing the Terimon mare Grainne Ni Maille in the Doncaster sales ring in 2014. She subsequently produced this past season’s Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase scorer Gentlemansgame, bred in partnership with Yorton.
Luck commented: “I was absolutely not expecting that, and I’m bowled over. Thank you to all of you for your support. I am very privileged to work in this industry – I love all parts of it and thanks to a very supportive family am allowed to keep doing it.
“This room tonight represents the very best of this industry. We have heard from people who have bought horses for relatively little money and have ploughed good money after bad for generation after generation in the hope that one day one of these wilting flowers will bloom into a magnificent rose and it’s happened to so many people. We’ve heard such inspiring stories here this evening and as a broadcaster, I am just lucky to communicate these stories to what we hope will be an ever-growing audience.”
TBA National Hunt Committee Chairman Simon Cox said: “The NH Breeders’ Awards Evening is a key event within the NH breeding community and last night provided us with some wonderful and inspiring stories.
“As ever, these Awards have been hosted superbly by Nick Luck since inception and we were delighted to present him with the Queen Mother’s Silver Salver. Each year, Nick flies back from covering the Preakness for this event, and we are grateful to him for steering and ensuring the continued success of the awards each year and his ongoing commitment to promoting NH breeding on a global scale.
“Not only did we celebrate this year’s winners and the shortlisted candidates, but yesterday’s awards also looked back at the successes that British breeders had achieved over the past nine years – amongst them Cue Card, Thistlecrack and Honeysuckle. Success breeds success and with improved British-bred NH foal crops coming through, British breeders’ successes will be even greater and equally celebrated.
“Finally, thanks to Goffs, for its continued support of the event, to Nick Luck for hosting, Alne Park Stud for the champagne reception and to each of the evening’s sponsors whose support is greatly valued and appreciated.”
The first two awards of the evening were reserved for stallions. Overbury Stud resident Schiaparelli landed a fourth successive Horse & Hound Cup, which is awarded to the stallion responsible for the most individual chase winners during the season.
One of Schiaparelli’s most promising horses through the season was the eight-year-old Marsh Wren. The mare, who won a Listed contest at Thurles and was third in the Liberthine Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham, was crowned leading Chase Mare. She was bred by the Exors of the late Renee Robeson. Trainer Stuart Edmunds was on hand to collect the Midnight Legend Trophy.
Schiaparelli’s former stud mate Kayf Tara’s influence is still being felt on the track and he was doubly represented on the evening – sons Romeo Coolio and Edwardstone both winners of their respective categories.
The Will Kinsey-bred Romeo Coolio, runner-up in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, was awarded the Overbury Stud Trophy for leading NHF performer, whilst Game Spirit Chase winner Edwardstone, bred by Robert Abrey & Ian Thurtle, retained his leading Chaser title, which was this year sponsored by Highflyer Bloodstock.
There was a second award for Will Kinsey of Peel Bloodstock on the evening, as along with David Futter, the pair were awarded the Mickley Stud Trophy for leading Novice Hurdler on account of breeding High Class Hero, a son of Sulamani, trained by Willie Mullins.
The second stallion award of the evening was the Whitbread Silver Salver. Awarded to the leading active British-based stallion by prize money accrued, this year’s recipient was Passing Glance. The 25-year-old Batsford Stud resident is owned by David and Kathleen Holmes, whose Midnight Legend had taken the honour previously.
For the leading Hudler title, for which the Shade Oak Stud Trophy was presented, the R Rainbow and Sons homebred Strong Leader was rewarded. The Olly Murphy-trained seven-year-old ended his campaign with victory in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree.
Earlier in the evening the Rowland Crellin-bred Embassy Gardens was crowned the leading Novice Chaser and awarded the Batsford Stud Trophy.
Having been awarded leading NHF performer at last year’s awards evening, the Sarah Turner-bred Casa No Mento was this time around crowned the leading Novice Hurdle Mare, for which her breeder was presented the Peel Bloodstock Trophy.
In what was a tightly contested award, Paul Sandy, who breeds under the name of Pump & Plant Services Ltd, was awarded the Yorton Trophy for leading Hurdler Mare. The Sandy-bred Luccia won a valuable and competitive handicap hurdle at Ascot before Christmas, before running third in the Champion Hurdle.
This year the Special Achievement Award (Eric Gillie Ltd Trophy) was presented to Kevin & Anne Glastonbury. The Herefordshire-based breeders have a small number of mares, but achieved a number of successes through the season, including with Lunar Discovery, a dual winner who obtained black type.
Jane Makin was on hand to collect the Dudgeon Cup, awarded for NH Broodmare of the Year. Makin bred Listed winner and Grade 1-placed You Wear It Well, the Graded-placed Answer To Kayf and the NHF winner Audacious Annie, out of Annie’s Answer, with her late husband Reg.