Edited press release

The ninth annual TBA NH Breeders’ Awards Evening, sponsored by Goffs UK, took place on Monday evening and the big winner of the evening was David Futter and his Yorton Farm operation.

Hosted by Nick Luck, a total of 14 awards were presented at the event, which was held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Doncaster. Over 140 members of both the British National Hunt breeding and racing fraternities converged.

The event’s most prestigious award, the Queen Mother’s Silver Salver, was this year awarded to David Futter for his outstanding contribution to the British National Hunt bloodstock industry.

Futter, an innovator in the industry whose determination to showcase and sell stock earlier in their careers was the drive behind the creation of the Yorton Sale each September. A keen advocate of bringing new entrants into the world of bloodstock he has facilitated both breeding, pinhooking and racing syndicates, with successes including Easysland, French Dynamite and Gentlemansgame. Inthepocket, co-bred with Tessa Greatrex, became his first top-level winner as a breeder when landing the Grade 1 Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last month.

The stallions which have been housed at Yorton – firstly at its base near Shrewsbury and latterly, for the past ten years, at its current home near Welshpool – have equally been innovative in nature. Blue Bresil was acquired to stand his first season at the stud in 2016 whilst Honeysuckle’s sire Sulamani, along with Great Pretender and Clovis du Berlais, were also given time on the farm’s roster.

David Futter (right) pictured with sons Riley (left) and Lester – Photo: Carl Evans

Earlier in the evening, Futter and Greatrex received the Peel Bloodstock Trophy when Inthepocket was crowned leading novice hurdler. The six-year-old son of Blue Bresil was also a Grade 2 winner in Ireland late last year.

Futter also picked up the Whitbread Silver Salver, on account of Blue Bresil, who was crowned the leading active stallion by prize-money accrued during the 2022-23 season for progeny sired in Britain.

The Yorton Trophy, awarded to the leading novice chaser, was presented to Simon Sweeting (Overbury Stallions Ltd), breeder of Thyme Hill, winner of the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. Sweeting later collected the Horse and Hound Cup, which was won for the third successive time by Schiaparelli. The prestigious prize is given to the leading active British-based stallion by individual chase winners.

Super mare Honeysuckle was suitably crowned the season’s leading hurdler mare (Mickley Stud Trophy). The daughter of Sulamani, who memorably bowed out at Cheltenham, was landing her seventh trophy for breeder Dr Geoffrey Guy and the team at the Glanvilles Stud.

The Highflyer Trophy, presented to the leading hurdler, was awarded to Constitution Hill and breeder Sally Noott was on hand to collect the award. Now unbeaten in all seven starts under Rules, which included a quartet of Grade 1s last term, his dam, Queen Of The Stage, was named broodmare of the year. Noott was presented with the Dudgeon Cup, which this year was sponsored by Alne Park Stud.

This year the leading chaser award was sponsored by Batsford Stud and the prize went the way of Edwardstone. So impressive in the Tingle Creek Chase last December, the son of Kayf Tara was bred by Robert Abrey and Ian Thurtle. The latter was in attendance to collect the award with his two daughters Alice and Katie.

Having been shortlisted the previous two years, the third time proved a charm for Pink Legend in the leading mares’ chaser category. Frank Mahon’s homebred daughter of Midnight Legend was a dual Listed winner, was third in the Liberthine Mares’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and defied top-weight, giving away upwards of 17 pounds, in a Class 2 handicap at the track in April.

In what was a competitive category, the Midnight Legend mare You Wear It Well, a two-time Grade 2 winner, was the recipient of the Midnight Legend Trophy, awarded to the leading novice hurdler mare. The six-year-old was bred by Jane Makin and her late husband Reg.

The special achievement award, the Eric Gillie Ltd Trophy, was presented to Camilla Scott, breeder of Dashel Drasher. The son of Passing Glance re-invented himself as a hurdler this past term, where his performances included a gallant front-running attempt to win the Stayers’ Hurdle.

Opening the awards presentation section of the evening were the National Hunt Flat awards. First, the Overbury Stud Trophy (Leading NHF mare), was presented to Sarah Jane Turner, breeder of the Hereford scorer Casa No Mento, who was then narrowly denied in Listed company at Sandown Park. The second, the Shade Oak Stud Trophy (Leading NHF horse), was awarded to Liz Lucas of Swanbridge Bloodstock Ltd., breeder of the impressive Goffs UK sales race bumper scorer Crest Of Glory.

TBA National Hunt Committee Chairman Simon Cox said: “The British National Hunt breeding community is a tight-knit group and it is only fitting that it comes together to celebrate each other’s successes. This past season was certainly the passing of the baton from one sublime British-bred hurdler in Honeysuckle to another in the shape of Constitution Hill.

“The evening’s most prestigious award, the Queen Mother’s Silver Salver, was given to David Futter. A valuable member of the TBA’s NH Committee, the award recognises David’s forward-thinking nature, the energy and innovation he has brought to the NH breeding industry, and passion for widening its audience.

“National Hunt breeding is accessible by all, and this year’s recipients are testament to that – from one-mare entities through to some of the larger operations in the game. I would like to not only congratulate each award winner, but also to each of the award nominees.

“Finally, thanks go to Goffs UK for its continued support of the event through sponsorship, to Nick Luck, for hosting the evening, and also to each of the evening’s sponsors – their support is greatly valued and appreciated.”

Constitution Hill: breeder Sally Noott picked up the Highflyer Trophy. Photo – Bill Selwyn