Ireland and UK were prominently represented in the 2013 Melbourne Cup; their home-trained horses filling second and third placings. Those participants on the 2012 UK/France Thoroughbred Racing Tour will recall the affection and attention that we gave Red Cadeaux at his trainer's La Grange Stables in Newmarket, England. The chestnut galloper is trained by Ed Dunlop, who was very proud to show off Red Cadeaux to us. We also saw (and patted) Ed's wonderful world travelled Group One filly Snow Fairy at La Grange Stables, who was retired to stud last year.
While Red Cadeaux was second (and also placed second in the 2011 Melbourne Cup), Mount Athos was third. Mount Athos is trained by Ed Dunlop's close neighbour, Luca Cumani, an Italian born but long time Newmarket trainer who, like Dunlop, is vying for his first Melbourne Cup win. His Bedford House Stables is another on the schedule for participants on the 2014 UK/France Thoroughbred Racing Tour next June. Incidentally, Bedford House Stables borders the beautifully appointed Bedford Lodge, which the 2014 Thoroughbred Tour will call home for three nights when visiting this historic town.
I wonder which Australian bred and trained racehorses will make the journey with usâ to race at Royal Ascot's world renowned racing carnival next June, on the agenda for the 2014 Thoroughbred Tour. This season's outstanding three- year-old Zoustar, trained by Sydney's leading trainer Chris Waller, is touted as a possible 2014 Royal Ascot contender, following his brilliant win in the VRC Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington last Spring. The poms joined our 2012 Thoroughbred Tour participants when helping us to lift our champion mare Black Caviar (and jockey Luke Nolen) over the line to win by a lip in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. Our gir Nellie was not quite herself, but still won, much to the delight of the 85,000 plus crowd at Royal Ascot that day. Sensational to witness that event, with the English naming that race meeting "Black Caviar" day.
Before the races back in Newmarket, the 2012 tour group was fortunate to view Black Caviar exercising on the "Al Bahathri" gallop (due to our inside connections), and were warmly greeted by her Caulfield trainer Peter Moody and his great mate and Albury trainer Brett Cavanough). There, we also witnessed the great Galileo colt Frankel, who the 2014 tour participants will see at stud at Banstead Manor also in the Newmarket district.
Darley owned Dalham Hall stud will be visited (where champion Australian sire Exceed And Excel serves in the northern hemisphere) and the family owned Cheveley Park, home of champion UK sire Pivotal.
During our 2012 visit the 2005 English Derby-G1 winner Motivator, and sire success Royal Applause (by one time Australian shuttler Waajib who visited Macquarie stud Wellington), were paraded for us, and unusually at the same time.
Other return visits include Britain's tiny central town and famous training grounds of Middleham where we were greeted by Scottish born Mark Johnson at his Kingsley House stables, while another visit is to Floors stud (initiated in 1948), located in the Scottish Borders region and is owned by the Duke Of Roxburghe.
In Scotland, the 2014 tour participants will attend an evening race meeting at Hamilton Park, located between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Hamilton Park is a country racecourse with a highly unusual shaped turf course with horses racing in distance races pass the finishing post twice
Over to Ireland, and there he was â€“ the famous Irish trainer Dermott Weld! We took some photographs of him at the Irish Derby races at The Curragh, which the 2014 tour will be attending. Weld was principal trainer in Ireland for hugely influential and Irish racing/breeding supporter Walter Haefner, the famous owner who sadly passed away in 2012 at 101 years in Switzerland. Among his numerous successes, Mr Haefner was the breeder of Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle. We will visit his prestigious Moyglare stud at Maynooth.
Darley stud's Kildangan stud, the Irish National Stud and Coolmore stud, near Fetherd, (and a Guinness or Pimms at its local McCarthy's Inn) will all be visited. While Fastnet Rock is a major Australian flag bearer at Coolmore stud, the Irish National Stud, near Tully, is home for retired 26 year-old Melbourne Cup winner Vintage Crop, as well as leading UK sire Invincible Spirit, sire of Yarraman Park, Scone, young sire I Am Invincible.
Ahhhhhhhhhhh France, yet another highlight. The 2014 tour participants will be treated to stud visits and racing stables, as well as seeing the Chantilly â€œgallopsâ€. Chantilly is home to about 2600 horses, prepared by some 110 trainers, who train their horses on 1900 hectares of magnificent manicured grounds that border Chantilly Forest.
For less â€œhorsey â€participants there will be plenty of free time as well as non-Thoroughbred features to keep everybody in a cheery spirit, including a best loved Paris cabaret â€“ the Moulin Rouge (sensational in 2012), a dinner cruise on the River Seine (fabulous), also Paris; fascinating visits to Edinburgh and Windsor Castles, and breath-taking drives along the Dingle Peninsula, and legendary Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland.
For booking details for the Thoroughbred Racing Tour 2016 click here.
Extremely good value and professionally organised. Studs and stables were amazingly welcoming and informative.
Kevin & Jenny Casey.