Dubawi once again stole the show at the annual Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) Awards, which were hosted online on Thursday in a virtual edition of the event, sponsored by Weatherbys.

The event celebrated the success of the British thoroughbred breeding industry from the 2019 Flat racing season and included awards for stallions, mares, breeders and stud employees.

Darley’s flagship sire Dubawi picked up two awards; the BBA Silver Cigar Box for leading British-based stallion by prize money and the Barleythorpe Stud Silver Cup for leading British-based stallion by individual winners.

Another exceptional season for the stallion was headlined by the Group 1 victories of Too Darn Hot, who now stands alongside his sire at Dalham Hall Stud, Ghaiyyath, Coronet and Old Persian.

dubawi stallion parade

Dubawi; picked up two awards – Photo: George Selwyn

In a very close finish, he also held off the persistent challenge of Frankel to record his seventh consecutive title as the leading British-based sire by prize-money while domestically, he was represented by a total of 60 winners.

“Dubawi winning this award for the sixth year running is what as a stallion operation you want to achieve,” Sam Bullard, director of stallions at Godolphin, told the TBA. “It’s a huge result for the whole team. 

“What makes him so extraordinary is his versatility. He has horses running of all ages and over every trip. He covers the whole spectrum.

“As a stallion operation, of course one is incredibly proud to have the best stallion to have ever stood here. But actually, it’s for the breeders that it matters because they invest in these horses and if you invest in Dubawi, it’s a massive investment. 

“Too Darn Hot was an obvious highlight last year but he also had 26 individual Group winners and I think to have that many good horses as well as ordinary winners demonstrates how tough, sound and willing they are.”

In all, Godolphin won a total of four awards. In addition to the pair of accolades won by Dubawi, they also included the Queen’s Silver Cup for leading British-based breeder by prize-money and the inaugural British European Breeders’ Fund Stallion Special Merit Award for Night Of Thunder’s impressive results from his first crop of two-year-olds in 2019. Fittingly a son of Dubawi, Night Of Thunder’s first-crop were conceived when the horse stood in Ireland. He stood the past season at Kildangan Stud for €25,000.

Dar Re Mi, the dam of Too Darn Hot, recorded back-to-back wins in the Flat Broodmare of the Year category, having previously won in 2018. The Watership Down Stud resident retained the H.J. Joel Silver Salver, becoming the only mare since the award’s launch in 1982 to record multiple wins.

Terry Doherty with Dar Re Mi at Watership Down Stud – Photo: George Selwyn

“She has been a complete joy for us,” said Simon Marsh, general manager of Watership Down Stud. “This mare has just never stopped giving. Last year was an extraordinary year for her, as was the previous year. It’s a huge accolade for her to win this award twice – and you never know, she might do it again!

“She always been bred to a British stallion. After going to Dubawi several times, this year she’s in foal to Kingman and carrying a filly.”

He added: “Everything of her progeny culminated in Too Darn Hot and really for a stud of this size after 26 years to breed of his calibre really encompassed everything we’ve tried to do here.” 

Cable Bay took the honours as first crop sire by prize-money in Great Britain and Ireland in 2019. The son of Invincible Spirit made an excellent start to his stud career last season as the sire of 20 winners in Britain and Ireland led by the Molecomb Stakes heroine Liberty Beach, which led to the Tattersalls Silver Salver being awarded to the Highclere Stud, where he stands for £15,000.

Newsells Park Stud was named Flat Breeder of the Year (TBA Silver Rose Bowl). The Hertfordshire-based stud had another notable year on the racecourse in 2019 that culminated in the victory of Waldgeist in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

“It means a huge amount to all the team and for the Jacobs family,” said Julian Dollar, general manager of Newsells Park Stud. “It’s a big deal. 

“Newsells was purchased by Klaus Jacobs in 2000. It was his dream to bring the stud back up to its former glories. It came back to its original name of Newsells Park Stud, and we’ve gradually developed the farm, matured the land and developed some of the families, which has culminated in the success that’re seeing now.

“Waldlerche is from a family that Mr. Jacobs developed. He was very keen to buy into the family and bought her dam, Waldmark, as a foal. We retained Waldlerche with Gestut Ammerland and that obviously brought dividends with her son Waldgeist. It’s a family we’ll look to develop further.”

Terry Holdcroft of Bearstone Stud. Photo – The TBA

The husband and wife team of Mick and Fiona Denniff (Denniff Farms) were awarded the TBA Silver Salver for Special Merit, recognising their significant achievements as breeders of Beat The Bank and Kachy. Both descend from their noted Hill Welcome family.

“We’re absolutely delighted and honoured,” said Fiona Denniff. “It was totally unexpected. I think it means a lot to the whole team, it rewards their hard work more than anything else.

“We started with one mare and then we bought two more, one of which was Hill Welcome. We call her our blue hen mare.”

Mick Denniff added: “We paid 3,000gns for Hill Welcome at Doncaster and from her daughters, Tiana and Mary Read, we bred Beat The Bank and Dubai Bounty, the dam of Kachy.”

The accolade of Small Flat Breeder of the Year (Langham Cup), was awarded to Bearstone Stud, whose flag-bearing filly Glass Slippers capped her 2019 season with a win in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp.

“We were delighted when we got the phone call to say we’d won,” said Bearstone’s Terry Holdcroft. “We started in 1976 and came here in 1979 with two or three broodmares. We’ve got about 50 mares now and we concentrate on sprinters. Most of the mares we have now we bred ourselves and they’re by stallions that we’ve had over the years – those fast-bred mares have done us proud.

“Glass Slippers was a revelation last season. Every time we took her to France, she won.”

Jacques Prinsloo and family. Photo – The TBA

Jacques Prinsloo was recognised for his dedication and achievement in his role at Whitsbury Manor Stud when awarded with the annual Stud Employee Award sponsored by New England Stud. South African born Prinsloo who moved to the UK over 14 years ago, was presented with a perpetual Charlie Langton bronze, keepsake memento and a £2,000 cash prize.

The short-listed candidates for the Stud Employee of the Year included; Di Best (Cobhall Court Stud), Tom Hughes (Hazelwood Bloodstock), Robert McKellar (Cheveley Park Stud), Keith Warburton (Shade Oak Stud) and Sophie Watmuff (Chasemore Farm). They each received £250 in recognition of their work.

TBA Chairman Julian Richmond-Watson said: “Although we have been unable to host our usual event, we are delighted to be able to recognise the achievements of British breeders from the 2019 flat racing season. My congratulations go to all of the nominees, winners and their supporting teams, who have demonstrated such dedication to our industry. I would also like to thank all of our event supporters and sponsors this year for continuing their contribution to the British breeding industry.”

Weatherbys Chairmain Johnny Weatherby said: “We are absolutely delighted to support the TBA’s Flat Breeders’ Awards, and as a small breeder myself I am fully aware of the challenges that we all face, particularly in the current climate, and I whole heartedly congratulate this evening’s winners.”

The award winner video interviews are available to view now on the TBA’s YouTube channel.