Irony oozes through the nomination of the Lincolnshire-based Mill Farm Stud’s nomination as TBA Breeder of the Month for March, following the 25-1 success of All The Glory in the Grade 2 British EBF BetVictor NH Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury.

Celebration of the award is muted by the fact that Mill Farm has quit breeding and its owners Philip and wife Lesley Rann, who ran their horses in training as The Rann Family, have given up racing in Britain.

Their interests began in the 2012-13 jumps season, and were shared variously among Chris Bealby, Laura Morgan and Amy Murphy. Few of the horses stayed with their trainers more than two seasons and have now been dispersed after clocking up a total of ten wins and earnings of £69,133 over the 11 seasons.

Mill Farm, which was incorporated as Broken Arrow Stud in October 2013, has had three changes of name in the meantime, and although always put through its statutory Companies House paces as a going concern, has made an operating loss each year. Its latest accounts, for the year ended 31 December 2022, show a deficit in this column of £416,428, up from £338,960 the previous year.

All The Glory was typical of the circumstances, being the produce of a €7,000 covering fee that mated Fame And Glory in 2017, the year he died, with her German dam Glorybe, a hurdle winner whose half-brother Ghizao found his way from France to Jack Barber’s point-to-to-point stables, winning a Grade 2 for Paul Nicholls along the way.

The Accountant, who raced for The Rann Family, was the best of Glorybe’s previous three foals, winning two of his last three handicap hurdles, but they came in the autumn of 2019, too late to influence All The Glory’s first public appearance at the Goffs UK Doncaster sale in January 2018, where she was led out unsold at £10,500.

Sent back to Doncaster as a three-year-old in July 2020, she was sold for £10,000 and eventually found herself in the ownership of Martin Peyton, for whom she has been a slow-burner. She won twice in 11 runs in maiden or novice hurdle company before tackling her first handicap at Newbury, where she produced a much-improved performance after a three-month break.

Typical of British jumps breeding, All The Glory has been the epitome of patience, of which Philip Rann’s has run out, hence Mill Farm comes into the category of those small studs highlighted in the last TBA Economic Impact Study, which have left the breeding industry in recent years. Rann does not mince his words about the situation.

“All the Glory has turned out to be the most successful of the colts and fillies we bred over 11 years,” he says. “During that period, we had four broodmares and would have an average of three foals a year. The person entirely responsible for the success of All The Glory is Jade Taylor, who was our stud manager from the beginning. The love and attention she heaped on our horses was exceptional.”

Then comes the sting in the tale. “Sadly, we have stopped breeding,” he reveals. “We could no longer justify the cost in a sport where the prize-money is derisory. We have horses in training in America, where we are well rewarded for our efforts. And were we to re-enter the breeding world in Europe, we would base ourselves in France and breed Flat-race horses.”

The further irony to the story is that 73-year-old Rann’s day job is in finance, having set up Totemic as the holding company for a group of financial services and IT providers in 1992. According to its website, the company that is Grantham’s largest employer has “over 700 staff over ten trading companies, with offices in Lisbon alongside the head office in Lincolnshire” with “over 100,000 clients and has distributed more than £300m to financial institutions.”

Maybe British breeding and racing should ask him if he has a solution to the much-discussed shortage of funding in the sport.