Size is not everything, but an abundance of it has helped to shape the future for Gidleigh Park, whose most recent win in an unbeaten run of four has earned Richard Kelvin Hughes and his wife Lizzie the nomination as TBA Breeder of the Month for January.

When they claimed a similar honour in April 2021 for My Drogo’s coincidentally unblemished record in his first four starts, Richard explained that their Trull House Stud at Tetbury in Gloucestershire was not noted as a seller.

However, there is usually an exception to most rules, and Gidleigh Park is one of them. Given time to mature, as is the Kelvin Hughes’ way with their jumpers, he went up to the Goffs UK August Sale in 2022, aged four, and failed to sell at £58,000. However, a buyer was soon found and Gidleigh Park represents the Eyre family on the racecourse.

“We all have to sell some,” Richard explains, “and he was sold primarily due to his size. We thought he would be a longer-term prospect.”

Whereas the majority of the Kelvin Hughes’ jumpers have begun their racing careers in point-to-points, including their flag bearer Santini, Gidleigh Park’s switch of direction included his starting off in a Chepstow bumper in March last year, which he won by six lengths.

Reappearing at Exeter in November, Gidleigh Park streaked home by seven and a half lengths, after which trainer Harry Fry stressed the size theme, saying: “He’s still a very raw horse. He’s a big, tall, rangy individual and he’ll have learnt a bit more. He’s very exciting.”

A month later he won a Newbury novices’ by nine lengths – “Another step up the ladder,” Fry told on-track reporters – and then in January came a further advance in form with a gritty half-length success in the Grade 2 SSS Super Alloys Novices’ Hurdle on Cheltenham trials day, which prompted Fry again to refer to his gaining experience, telling his website: “It was the first time he has had to battle and he will have learned plenty.”

As can happen only too often with smallish breeders, the Kelvin Hughes’ connection with Gidleigh Park’s family is dwindling, as it is with Little Lodge Farm in Worcestershire, which has housed their active fillies and mares, since the death of Robert Chugg in February two years ago.

Gidleigh Park’s dam Lindeman, who originally cost £140,000 as a four-year-old before book-ending her five runs for Nicky Henderson with wins, bred eight foals, of whom only Anguilla was a filly. She was sold for £50,000 in a Kelvin Hughes part-dispersal and won on her point-to-point debut before being sold into the Oliver Greenall/Josh Guerriero stable for £45,000.

Lindeman’s last two foals before her death last year were a five-year-old Yeats colt – “Now a gelding in pre training with Tom George, who’s a more traditional size and will go to the sales,” according to Richard, and a four-year-old Jack Hobbs colt, bought by Dan Skelton’s spotter Ryan Mahon for £50,000 in May last year, when Gidleigh Park’s catalogue entry was “winner of his only start.”

Yet the Kelvin Hughes operation is happy to bask in the reflected glory of their latest top-class produce. “We are thrilled with Gidleigh Park’s success,” Richard says. “In a delightful way he has proved us wrong, so we all get great pleasure from him. We hope the Eyre family can fly the flag at Cheltenham, but irrespective of what happens there, he is very exciting for the future.”