Stainsby Girl, whose success in the Listed mares’ hurdle staged at Haydock earned Clarendon Farm the nomination as TBA Breeder of the Month for February, is a perfect illustration that jumps breeding is a long game.

Bred by John Haydon, who owns Clarendon Farm, near Salisbury, with his wife Sarah, in April 2014, she was sold to Alastair Duncan for €5,500 in November that year and claimed her first Listed victory in February almost ten years later on her 26th outing.

Haydon reflects: “It’s very true that you need patience in this business, and there are so many variables that come into play, more so in jumping than the Flat. Ground dependency, distance and preference for racecourse; if you could get everything right on the day, maybe success can come earlier.”

Looking back to the day he passed on Stainsby Girl, Haydon recalls: “I sold her as a foal because that was our policy at the time. We took her to the sales with a number of other foals, and she was the only one I owned on my own.

“The rest were owned by a syndicate and I think I concentrated more on their horses, trying to do a good job for everybody else, and probably didn’t put as much into her as I should have done, but she was a relatively inconspicuous chesnut filly, although she had an incredible temperament in that she was a kind, easy filly to do, up for everything.

“We were trying to put together a nice bunch of jumping mares. We had Double Trigger at the time and wanted to get him going.”

The pairing with Double Trigger, while not blessed with huge overall success, has had lasting consequences for the Haydons, as John points out: “When we bought Stainsby Girl’s grandam Forest Pride, she hadn’t bred a winner, but she went on to give us seven winners from her nine foals to race, three of them by Double Trigger – Pairtree, Charmaine Wood and Double Pride.

“In fact, Charmaine Wood provides the link between our two studs – East Burrow Farm in Devon, where she was bred and Double Trigger stood, and now Clarendon Farm, near Salisbury, to where we all moved in 2010.”

Having leased Charmaine Wood to Alan King for the Let’s Live Racing syndicate, Haydon picks up the story: “She was useful enough, winning a bumper and two hurdle races, but Alan didn’t think she’d quite make black type, so we decided to have her back, but she struggled as a broodmare.

“We couldn’t work out for long enough why we couldn’t get her in foal and she missed a lot of years with what proved to be a cell tumour. She did breed eventually but very infrequently.

“I’ve got Charmaine Wood’s last foal, a filly by Frontiersman who will probably go to the Goffs UK May Sale at Doncaster. I ought to keep her, really, because she’s the final direct connection with the family, although it goes a long way back.

“I’ve also got Persian Forest, a half-sister to Charmaine Wood who has a Masterstroke yearling. She was also leased to Let’s Live Racing and has since bred four winners, of whom perhaps the most interesting is Persian Time, who is with Nicky Henderson and is approaching black-type.

“Next year could be Persian Time’s year, but for now it’s Stainsby Girl’s year. What fun to be involved, even at a distance, with a cracking little mare who tries her heart out every time. She didn’t cost a lot but what a lovely story for the Alexanders to have a mare who got to black-type status and has now been retired to stud. So, the story goes on.”