Although it is still early days in the breeding season, we have been busy at Laundry Cottage and have foaled 8 of the 11 expectant mares over the last few weeks.

Boarding mares Velvet Vision (owned by Sarabex) has delivered Richard Merriott a cracking first foal by Mohaather while Espouse has delivered her owners an equally nice Ulysses colt.

Both are strong, correct early colts and hopefully they will continue to progress once they can get out regularly on the spring grass.

While the fields are more or less all harrowed ( including one by 6 year old grandson Cameron- under mild supervision!), the return of the rain has kept us off the tractor and so fertilising and rolling will have to wait.

The other foals owned by the stud are by Kameko (x3), New Bay, Iffraaj and Masar. Still to foal are Special Purpose (Zoustar), Brassica (Sea the Moon) and Wake Up Call (Mohaather).

Maidens Tippy Toes (Showcasing), Unnatural (Ardad) and Battery Power (Kameko) , owned by Sarabex, have all scanned in foal and we await results for DoReMiFaSol (Ulysses) and Qatar Queen (Harry Angel).

Of our boarders in Ireland, SnoozeNYouLose has been covered by Lope de Vega and Tianadargent will visit Profitable and Rubira will see Minzaal.

The other stallions being used are Havana Grey,Territories, Cracksman and Bated Breath while we will decide on a cover for black type producer Wake Up Call in due course.

It is encouraging for the stud that 7 of the 13 mares we own have either produced black type horses or have been black type performers themselves- important in the current market where quality trumps quantity.

As the TBA Economic Impact Study indicated, a majority of British breeders lose a fairly significant amount of money on their operations. For this reason, it has been important to choose stallions carefully and to try to match our expenditure to be less than our forecast revenues. This effort in itself is no guarantee of profitability when all the many pitfalls that might occur between conception and the fall of the sales hammer are considered, but doing the best to turn the probabilities in one’s favour can help a lot.

Charlotte Brandon and Sophie Comar, our excellent stud grooms (when they are not holding up the bar at The Goat in Codicote), assisted by Jenna Miles who joined us from equine college last summer have been very busy with foaling and covering , as have Melba and I. Even our eldest daughter Gina’s bloodstock agent partner Alex Elliott has been seen with a mucking out fork on a regular basis. It is a busy time and we have also been fortunate to have had a number of vet school interns and college work experience folks here to learn and to help. When she is not driving ambulances, we have former LCS employee Dempsey Powell coming in to help out on occasions. Pastoral care of horses can be very therapeutic for folks who have difficult day jobs to cope with.

Gina’s son Cameron and Charlotte’s daughter Isla have now discovered that wielding a fork on a Saturday or Sunday morning results in a tenner in the hand (don’t tell the tax man) and so they are now serious mucker- outers. Amazing what a little monetary incentive can result in.

Our son Calum’s eldest, 10 year old Valentina, is the cerebral one when it comes to bloodstock. Fascinated by stallions and very knowledgeable , she is surely destined for a job in the industry. I will try my best to put her off but will be unlikely to succeed. Valen has been devastated by the death of Havana Gold a few weeks ago (his sire Teofilo is her all time favourite). The loss of HG is a big loss to British breeding given his quality, type and price point.

We will have two horses racing for us this year- homebred Churros ( Calyx-Winter Light) with Karl Burke and Made in China (Almanzor- Consumer Credit) with Charlie Johnston as well as small shares in Loch Carron with Charlie J and Seven Pillars with William Jarvis. Maybe one will be a superstar! Or all four! Its the time of year to still be able to dream about it- until the rubber eventually hits the road. and reality kicks in!

In the meantime, if my flying lessons progress as planned, we should be able to glide into Newmarket from above by the time the July Cup comes around- or at least I will, as the lady boss says she will never set foot in a small plane driven by an imbecile- ie me!