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A warm welcome in Wales as Yorton Farm's replenished roster goes on parade - Racing Post

James Thomas of the Racing Post sees the likes of Masterstroke and Scalo strut their stuff.

There’s something fitting about the location of Yorton Farm, with the operation based at the historic Leighton Farm site, a sprawling Victorian property which sits in 300 acres of verdant Powys countryside on the edge of Welshpool.

Construction work began on the geometric labyrinth of red-brick barns back in 1847, and once up and running its custodians employed rational farming methods, including techniques derived from science and industry.

Experimental farming methodology may no longer be central to the institution’s running, but Yorton Farm is now applying its own holistic approach to the business of standing stallions and raising young thoroughbreds.

Yorton Dec 2019 4442 2

Given where Yorton sits on the map, fine weather is far from guaranteed in deepest, darkest December. However, with the ebullient David Futter at the helm, a warm welcome is much more assured, and on Thursday the operation threw open its doors for a parade of its stallions and youngstock.

Plenty has changed since Yorton last hosted this event, not least the stallion roster, with Gentlewave returning from Haras du Lion, the upwardly mobile Blue Bresil departing for Glenview Stud, and Masterstroke and Scalo joining the line-up, which is completed by the redoubtable Norse Dancer and young gun Pether’s Moon.

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There has also been a new manifestation of Futter’s forward-thinking approach, as the nursery hosted the inaugural Yorton Sale back in September. The Goffs UK-backed boutique event laid down foundations that were almost as solid as those belonging to the tastefully restored Grade 1 listed buildings of the farm itself, as turnover hit £711,000 for 29 sold lots.

The price list was headed by a two-year-old son of No Risk At All who was knocked down to Dai Walters at £105,000.

But if the sale was for buyers, the parade is very much an event for breeders. The business of planning matings is a tricky one, even if the British National Hunt breeder is no longer as spoilt for choice as once was the case. But Yorton’s parade aims to make those tough decisions that little earlier, by showcasing not only its stallions, but also their young progeny too.

The event began with Futter taking to the microphone and addressing the crowd, among which stood the likes of celebrated bloodstock agent David Minton, leading trainer Henry Daly and breeder Karina Casini, who was still beaming following the Ladbrokes Trophy success delivered by De Rasher Counter.

Among the numerous parties Futter paid tribute to were his two sons, Lester and Riley, the latter of whom has not long departed for Australia to further his education and understanding of the thoroughbred industry. “From the videos I’ve been sent, I’m not quite sure what he’s getting experience in, but he certainly assures me he’s getting lots of experience!” said Futter with a broad grin.

After further contributions from Robert Waley-Cohen and the recently appointed Goffs UK managing director Tim Kent, it was time for the stars of the show to take to the stage.

First up was one of the new arrivals in Masterstroke, winner of the Grand Prix de Deauville during his racing days. The ten-year-old son of Monsun, who is out of Galileo and Sea The Stars’ half-sister Melikah, is a notably athletic type who bears so many of the physical hallmarks associated with his sire line.

His pedigree, physique and some eye-catching early results with his French-bred runners - who were conceived at Haras du Logis, with his oldest crop now four - should ensure Masterstroke receives his share of support.

Fans of the Monsun sire line are well catered for at Yorton, as next up came another stallion son in Gentlewave. The 16-year-old is held in especially high regard at Yorton at present having supplied Yorton Racing with a memorable Cheltenham winner in Easysland, who claimed the cross country event during the International Meeting by no less than seven lengths.

Yorton Dec 2019 4048

Having also supplied the likes of Kerry National scorer Poker Party and the smart Pearl Swan, Gentlewave has plenty going for him during his second stint at Yorton, having stood 2018 and 2019 in France.

France Sire’s Arnaud Poirier was among those to have journeyed to Welshpool for the parade, and the Frenchman showed his multitasking skills by not only hosting a live stream of the parade, but also taking to centre stage to provide an insider’s account of how Yorton’s French recruits have been faring across the Channel (all delivered in fluent English, of course).

Poirier was not the only one to offer up a good word for one of the newcomers in Scalo, who has been the subject of plenty of positive whispers on the sales circuit of late, with word having got out about the striking good looks he possesses.

Those who saw him strut his stuff on Thursday seem certain to have felt that hype is well justified.

Dark and rangy, standing at 16.1 hands high, the son of Lando ought to prove popular, not least because he has already supplied a Group 1 winner from his time on duty at Haras du Logis Saint Germain (he stood 2019 at Haras de Gelos), with his son Laccario having landed this year’s German Derby.

“Not many Group 1 winners go on to breed a Group 1 winner,” Futter says of the Preis Von Europa hero, before noting the similarities between Scalo and Blue Bresil, not least that they share the same damsire, Exit To Nowhere.

There’s something fitting about the location of Yorton Farm, with the operation based at the historic Leighton Farm site, a sprawling Victorian property which sits in 300 acres of verdant Powys countryside on the edge of Welshpool.

Construction work began on the geometric labyrinth of red-brick barns back in 1847, and once up and running its custodians employed rational farming methods, including techniques derived from science and industry.

Experimental farming methodology may no longer be central to the institution’s running, but Yorton Farm is now applying its own holistic approach to the business of standing stallions and raising young thoroughbreds.

Given where Yorton sits on the map, fine weather is far from guaranteed in deepest, darkest December. However, with the ebullient David Futter at the helm, a warm welcome is much more assured, and on Thursday the operation threw open its doors for a parade of its stallions and youngstock.

Plenty has changed since Yorton last hosted this event, not least the stallion roster, with Gentlewave returning from Haras du Lion, the upwardly mobile Blue Bresil departing for Glenview Stud, and Masterstroke and Scalo joining the line-up, which is completed by the redoubtable Norse Dancer and young gun Pether’s Moon.

Scalo Yorton Dec 2019 4192

There has also been a new manifestation of Futter’s forward-thinking approach, as the nursery hosted the inaugural Yorton Sale back in September. The Goffs UK-backed boutique event laid down foundations that were almost as solid as those belonging to the tastefully restored Grade 1 listed buildings of the farm itself, as turnover hit £711,000 for 29 sold lots.

The price list was headed by a two-year-old son of No Risk At All who was knocked down to Dai Walters at £105,000.

But if the sale was for buyers, the parade is very much an event for breeders. The business of planning matings is a tricky one, even if the British National Hunt breeder is no longer as spoilt for choice as once was the case. But Yorton’s parade aims to make those tough decisions that little earlier, by showcasing not only its stallions, but also their young progeny too.

The event began with Futter taking to the microphone and addressing the crowd, among which stood the likes of celebrated bloodstock agent David Minton, leading trainer Henry Daly and breeder Karina Casini, who was still beaming following the Ladbrokes Trophy success delivered by De Rasher Counter.

Among the numerous parties Futter paid tribute to were his two sons, Lester and Riley, the latter of whom has not long departed for Australia to further his education and understanding of the thoroughbred industry. “From the videos I’ve been sent, I’m not quite sure what he’s getting experience in, but he certainly assures me he’s getting lots of experience!” said Futter with a broad grin.

After further contributions from Robert Waley-Cohen and the recently appointed Goffs UK managing director Tim Kent, it was time for the stars of the show to take to the stage.

First up was one of the new arrivals in Masterstroke, winner of the Grand Prix de Deauville during his racing days. The ten-year-old son of Monsun, who is out of Galileo and Sea The Stars’ half-sister Melikah, is a notably athletic type who bears so many of the physical hallmarks associated with his sire line.

His pedigree, physique and some eye-catching early results with his French-bred runners - who were conceived at Haras du Logis, with his oldest crop now four - should ensure Masterstroke receives his share of support.

Fans of the Monsun sire line are well catered for at Yorton, as next up came another stallion son in Gentlewave. The 16-year-old is held in especially high regard at Yorton at present having supplied Yorton Racing with a memorable Cheltenham winner in Easysland, who claimed the cross country event during the International Meeting by no less than seven lengths.

Having also supplied the likes of Kerry National scorer Poker Party and the smart Pearl Swan, Gentlewave has plenty going for him during his second stint at Yorton, having stood 2018 and 2019 in France.

France Sire’s Arnaud Poirier was among those to have journeyed to Welshpool for the parade, and the Frenchman showed his multitasking skills by not only hosting a live stream of the parade, but also taking to centre stage to provide an insider’s account of how Yorton’s French recruits have been faring across the Channel (all delivered in fluent English, of course).

Poirier was not the only one to offer up a good word for one of the newcomers in Scalo, who has been the subject of plenty of positive whispers on the sales circuit of late, with word having got out about the striking good looks he possesses.

Those who saw him strut his stuff on Thursday seem certain to have felt that hype is well justified.

Dark and rangy, standing at 16.1 hands high, the son of Lando ought to prove popular, not least because he has already supplied a Group 1 winner from his time on duty at Haras du Logis Saint Germain (he stood 2019 at Haras de Gelos), with his son Laccario having landed this year’s German Derby.

“Not many Group 1 winners go on to breed a Group 1 winner,” Futter says of the Preis Von Europa hero, before noting the similarities between Scalo and Blue Bresil, not least that they share the same damsire, Exit To Nowhere.

Futter was joined throughout the parade by ‘Le Stallion Man’ himself bloodstock agent Richard Venn, who was on hand to supply all manner of insight, from pedigree pointers to reports from the lesser-known studs and racecourses of Europe.

As Scalo was being paraded, Venn waxed lyrical about the strict criteria stallions must meet to stand at stud in German, needing to be conformationally correct, have achieved a suitably lofty rating, and be sound of wind and limb, to which Futter quipped: “And that’s why Richard could only stand in France and not Germany!”

The last stallion on show was Pether’s Moon. It has been well over four years since the son of Dylan Thomas got the better of Dolniya and Flintshire to land the Group 1 Coronation Cup, and the soon-to-be ten-year-old has let down into a most imposing model in the intervening period.

A recurring theme when Futter speaks about his stallions is temperament, as, he notes, sires can not necessarily be relied upon to pass on their looks or ability, but that it is more common for a horse’s attitude to be replicated in his progeny.

Futter says that Pether’s Moon not only possessed a potent turn of foot during his racing days, but has a cast iron temperament to boot, even adding: “We could stand him in the marquee and have a pint with him afterwards!”

With his debut crop turning three in 2020, and with noted judges such as Donnchadh Doyle and Peter and Ross Doyle having already purchased his young stock, Pether’s Moon looks a sire to keep a close eye on in the near future.

Each of the four stallions on show was followed into the ring by two examples of their young progeny, ranging from foals to two-year-olds, which provided a clear - and occasionally lively - example of just what the Yorton sires are producing.

Whose progeny most impressed was a hot topic of discussion among the crowd who huddled from the persistent drizzle beneath the stripped timber beams of Yorton’s showing area.

Once the final thoroughbred had returned to their stable, guests headed for the marquee to get the circulation flowing in their fingers again as opinions were traded and potential mating plans discussed.

Two kegs of local beer were also sighted, so one suspects that all the talking shop did not last too long, even if its a safe bet that the party rumbled on well into the small hours.

James Thomas | Racing Post | Dec 2019

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