I joined Floors Stud as a stud hand in 2013. I hadn’t worked a lot on the breeding side, so it was new to me and different.
I was very lucky in that I came in around the time that Laughing, bred in partnership by the stud out of Comic, was winning her Grade 1s in the US. Comic was also the dam of Viva Pataca, a champion in Hong Kong, and then in 2014, she supplied Floors with its first million- guinea yearling, so she was a fantastic mare.
Attraction’s offspring were also starting to take off in the sale ring [the mare has had three seven-figure yearlings in recent years]. The stock have sold well but while it’s one thing to produce a sales horse, you have to produce a racehorse as well and Floors has a good record in that department too, with Attraction’s son Elarqam being a recent highlight.
The Duke had a wealth of knowledge and the stud also had a great team of people working there at the time.
I was lucky enough to work under David Trouton and Peter Henderson – I learned a huge amount. The Duke was a real enthusiast about the whole game, he loved every aspect of it. He loved the horses – whenever he visited the stud, he would always have polos for the mares and would leave with a smile on his face.
I think that the success of the sales and the quality of the stock is testament to all of that, his knowledge and the respect held for him.
I became Stud Manager in January 2020. We knew early on that it would be the last year of operation so yes, it was bittersweet.
On the other hand, we also had time to digest it and to enjoy it. The team worked incredibly hard on the yearlings, no stone was unturned to have them showing at the top of their game and looking the very best that they could. It was good to see all the hard work rewarded when they came to sell.
We knew we had a strong group of horses but you’re never sure how they might be received until you get to the sale.
When you’re working with them everyday and looking at them so closely, you start to wonder if they are as good as you hope they are. But when we actually stood back and took a look, yes, we knew we had a very nice draft.
With everything going on in the world, we headed down to Newmarket wondering what the market at Tattersalls would be like.
We were on eggshells but thankfully Book 1 was a good sale and then so was Book 2. The Dubawi colt out of Cushion [who sold for 2,100,000gns] was the one who excited the Duke as a foal and it was great to see him justify those hopes in the ring.
To sell six for an average of over 600,000gns, including the Dubawi colt and the Frankel out of Attraction [for 1.1 million guineas], was a fitting tribute to the Duke. I think he would have been proud of it all looking down.
I’m very grateful to get the opportunity at Floors Stud. A lot of thanks also goes to Ed Sackville for the help and advice he has given me.
In a normal year, it would be challenging coming into the breeding season with a new venture but we also have Covid and Brexit to contend with too. But we’ll keep our heads down and work hard. We have six horses at the minute including a couple of yearlings and boarding mares.
As it turns out, one of the mares that the Duke owned in partnership, Prance, came back to board. It’s great to have a mare like that on the place – she’s a half-sister to Magna Grecia and St. Mark’s Basilica and you could see with the Lope De Vega colt that we sold out of her last year [for 400,000gns] that she gets nice stock.
We’ve also got a pinhooking partnership going with a few local people. It’s just something to get people more interested and involved, and hopefully that’s something we can build on.
I would like to build up to having five to seven boarding mares and ten to 15 weanlings.
Ultimately, I would like to be known as a consignor of yearlings. It’s such a well set up stud with 23 boxes and 80 acres of land, which the Duke split into 16 different paddocks. It’s amazing land.
We all know how important land is when it comes to raising horses and this stud has produced Classic winners, Group 1 winners and million-guinea yearlings.
We also have a lunge ring, horsewalker and of course, it’s situated on a lovely estate where we can walk the yearlings. We hand walk them all over the estate – there is a good hill round the back of the castle and we’ll take them up there during prep.