Thursday, November 10, 2016
It’s very hard to beat the thrill of a homebred winner, and when that horse wins on debut at 80/1 then the victory is made sweeter still.
Thank you to White Valiant for providing us with one of the most enjoyable days of the year at Huntingdon on Monday when winning the juvenile bumper very nicely under a good ride from Daryl Jacob. Having been prominent throughout from a slow early pace, he soon had his 14 rivals off the bridle on the turn for home when finding another gear and kicking clear to win by two and a half lengths.
As the race category implies, he’s only three and he had been entered in a Flat maiden at Kempton last month. Having behaved calmly in the preliminaries that day and entered the stalls readily, White Valiant panicked when a horse still behind the stalls started to mess around and ended up down on his haunches in the gates. Happily neither he nor his jockey were hurt in the incident but he was withdrawn from the race and John took the view that, as he was likely to want a decent trip and was still eligible for bumpers having not come under orders on the Flat, that we’d give him some racecourse experience that way instead. What was intended as a confidence-booster for what we feel is a really nice horse ended in happy triumph and thoughts are now turned to a possible bumper run at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
We're big fans of White Valiant's young sire Youmzain but much of the credit for this lovely individual must of course go to his dam, our Highest Honor mare Minnie’s Mystery. Minnie was originally bought by John for her owner Tony Le Brocq, who lives and trains in Jersey. She was trained here as a two-year-old and then went to Jersey at three, where she raced until she was eight, winning 11 races including the Jersey Derby. When she retired, Tony gave her to John as a broodmare and she has given us nothing but pleasure since then.
Remarkably, all six of her racing-age offspring are still in training, from ages eight down to two. Her eldest Grey Panel (by another former Beverley House Stables resident, Largesse) followed the same path as his mother and has won 13 races in Jersey for Tony, who trains him. We sold Dream Walker (Gold Away) as a yearling to Keith Brown and he has won nine races, including a €100,000 handicap at the Galway Festival, and has been Listed-placed. Five-time winner Roy Rocket (Layman) is still with us here, along with Minnie’s only living daughter, So Much Water (Le Havre), who had a setback after making a belated debut at four but is back in full training now. Harry Dunlop has two-year-old Rock On Dandy (Rajsaman) who has been placed this year and White Valiant’s full-brother was sold as a foal last year to the Hernon brothers.
I’d imagine there are few, if any, mares to have so many of their progeny all in training at one time and it’s given us a huge amount of pride to see four of them win another nine races this year alone. Their collective tally is now 28 victories.
Minnie’s 18 now and didn’t have a foal this year but is back in foal to Rajsaman. She has lived in Normandy for her entire breeding career and we are very grateful to the excellent team at Haras de la Cauvinière, where she is with our other old friend Ethics Girl, for looking after both mares and their young stock so well.
White Valiant is pictured here, the darkest of the trio, with his siblings So Much Water and Roy Rocket and very happy owner, trainer and breeder.