ay marks the end of the foaling season for Watership Down and Kiltinan Castle. Thankfully, it’s been a successful season with lots of healthy foals on the ground. We are very grateful for the staff who have worked with true professionalism during the Covid-19 pandemic. They have made sure that the guidelines are adhered to and have maintained the high level of care that the mares and foals demand.

The foals are relishing the long summer days, basking in the sun and growing no end. Flaxman Stables, Ireland welcomed the safe arrival of a Galileo filly, out of Bocca Baciata. She was a very successful race mare in her own right, winning five races including the G2 Kilboy Estate Stakes and G3 Dance Design Stakes, in addition she has been placed no fewer than eight times including second in the G1 Pretty Polly Stakes. This filly foal joins a yearling filly by Darley’s flagship sire, Dubawi.

An exciting son of Frankel arrived at the beginning of the month for North Hills Co Ltd’s out of the young mare, Follow A Dream. She is an own sister to Destin, Vexatious and Creative Cause and this is her first foal. Follow A Dream is out of G1 winning Dam, Dream Of Summer.

Rifa Mustang had two new foals this month including a Gleneagles colt out of Zibeling. Zibeling herself is out of a G3 winning mare Zelding who has produced ten winners and three of those are multiple G1 winners including HYDRANGEA. Zibeling is now safely confirmed in foal to Harry Angel for 2021.

One of the Watership Down stalwart mares Claba Di San Jore safely delivered a colt by Juddmonte’s popular young stallion, Kingman. ‘Claba’ needs little introduction, she has produced nine winners, including a trio G1 winners Awelmarduk, Jakkalberry and Crackerjack King. Her 2012 progeny listed winning Joyful Hope, is now a successful broodmare in her own right with a Dubawi filly a foot and is jointly owned with Andrew Rosen.

G2 winner The Miniver Rose foaled a Dark Angel colt at New England Stud at the beginning of the month. She is a half-sister to another G2 winner Belle De Crecy. Her striking colt joins a very active family including two-year filly and yearling colt both by Dubawi. The mare is owned by Rifa Mustang Europe Ltd.

Australian breeders have wasted no time showing their support for Too Darn Hot. He has been setting the tone according to the Darley team and looks forward to a full book of classy mares upon his arrival in the Southern Hemisphere. This is opening up exciting new expansion opportunities for Watership Down Stud and has already begun to show, with recent purchase of the maiden filly; Fine Scent. Simon Marsh explains that she has been purchased specifically to send to Too Darn Hot and will reside at Yarraman Park Stud.

Fine Scent was purchased at the Inglis Chairmans’ Sale earlier this month, after the hammer fell at $210,000 AUD. She has had a good career on the racecourse, winning a total of three races and earning her black type coming second in the Breeders’ Classic at Bunbury. She is a half-sister to G1 Golden Slipper winner, Polar Success and hails from a progressive family with fifteen active mares in 2019 under her first dam alone. She is currently in foal to Coolmore’s unbeaten triple crown winner Justify.

Our attention now turns to the yearlings of 2020. We are delighted to see that the Government guidelines look to be softening, albeit slowly. However, with the uncertainty that the Coronavirus has caused surrounding the bloodstock sales this year, Watership Down will be revealing the horses from an early date to establish a sense of clarity, that isn’t often shown in the lead up to the sales. This will give potential buyers the opportunity to watch the horses online in their paddocks, gain valuable insights from Simon Marsh and notable key figures from the stud.

A more unusual approach needs to be adopted this year to showcase our yearlings with the current restrictions in place. In order to appeal to the international buyers, we must demonstrate transparency and progression throughout the season to reassure potential purchasers. This is an unfamiliar approach in comparison to tradition, but we are very far away from normal times at the moment.

Watership Down will be offering invitation only yearling viewings at the farm, with designating viewing slots and by abiding to the current social distancing measures. This allows potential purchasers to see the horses in the flesh within a safe environment. We hope that this, in conjunction with video content and photographs, will give our yearlings the very best chance to sell well and fill our purchasers with confidence.