Abacus Counts the Cost

Another month of Summer has passed by in a flash – but at least with the increased

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Yearlings are being fed hay in August

rainfall we now have something resembling grass on the paddocks.  As with all livestock owners, the stud industry has been feeding both hard feed and hay to the horses which would usually be enjoying the green stuff at the moment.  This will inevitably increase production costs, at a time when the initial sales figures for 2019 are not looking promising.

The BHA have recently increased the number of races, and therefore the demand for horses, to record levels for 2019 and yet the market for horses seems to demand the cheapest possible price.  We received an offer for a yearling recently for £2000 – on a covering which cost £5000 – let alone the associated costs!  How can that be sustainable

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Fixtures increased & sale prices under pressure – not a good combination

for breeders?  The increase in races, together with the slump in market prices will lead, in my opinion, to one of three issues (or a mixture of all of them) –

  • either the same horses will race in them and increase the risk of injury as a result,
  • or field sizes will be small due to lack of fresh runners,
    • Both of the above due to breeders cutting their production
  • or breeders will breed cheap horses  for the lower level market leading to a reduction in the quality of the pedigree and a potential chasm between the group / listed races (10% of the calendar) and handicaps (the vast majority of races) by way of breed quality and accessibility to non-millionaire owners.

The last point will inevitably lead to lower prize money and an even greater feeling of “them and us”.  It will also reduce the number of good stallions, at currently good prices, as many stallion handlers will find it unprofitable to keep them.

Syndicate buyers and smaller owners must realise that whilst they dream of “bought cheaply and wins a Group 1” horses, the reality is that there is a difference between cheap and unsustainable prices.  It seems that buyers and their trainers are happy to drive prices down from breeders, but then make few allowances in their own training fees.  As the old saying goes “it costs as much to train a bad horse as a good one.”  Look at the horses which win the classics – few, if any of them are cheap buys!

Goodbye Little Mo

As some of you who follow me on Twitter will have seen, we sadly had to say goodbye to our broodmare Littlemoor Lass.  She suffered a training injury which prevented her

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Littlemoor Lass as a yearling – she will be missed.

racing, and was retired to stud by  us as a result.  The daughter of  Derby-winner Motivator, she was a beautiful looking animal who produced two colts and two fillies in her all too short career.   We loved her from the day I bought her as a 9 month old, to the day I held her for the vet.  The pain of loss is a measure, I hope, of the affection we had for her.  Rest easy lass.

 

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Pancake Day – First out of the stalls

In the first of our look at the Abacus Bloodstock bred runners for 2017, it is only right that we start with our first runner and winner as breeders –  Pancake Day.  Born in February 2012, on Pancake Day, his name was almost assured from that day.  His dam is successful sprinter Fangfoss Girls, who as a double

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Pancake with his dam as a foal

winning 2 year old was her father Monsieur Bond’s first winner.  She was always going to be a good choice to kick off our breeding program and so she has proven to be.

 

Pancake Day is the son of Mullionmileanhour and part of that sire’s first season crop.  He was to go on to copy his dam and deliver his father’s first winning 2 year old – and then to do the same as a three year old, a four year old, and earlier this year he did the same as a five year old!  That in itself is a massive feat and probably unique in the thoroughbred racing world.

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A day old – born on Pancake Day

As a foal, Pancake was a placid type.  He was very friendly and loved a fuss – something which was to prove a massive boost to his career as a racehorse.  Stable staff and trainers like nice horses with manners and indeed Pancake proved so easy to train that it was only when he reached the end of his fourth year that he was gelded – and then only because it made him easier to house next to fillies rather than for any behavioural reasons.

 

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Delivering another win at Southwell in the colours of Abacus Bloodstock owners Stuart & Sarah Matheson

Initially trained in Yorkshire by Jason Ward and running in the colours of our senior partners Stuart & Sarah Matheson, Pancake Day made his debut at Ripon coming last behind subsequent group 2 winner Toocoolforschool.  Not the most promising of starts but as it was to prove, Pancake would go on win his ninth race earler this year – scraping into his 2 year old season by just a few days with a first win at Southwell in December 2014 – and race in the UK a total of 42 times.  24 runs on the all weather have yielded 4 wins, 3 seconds and 3 third places – in the money 14 times in total.  His turf runs totalled 18 and led to one win at Leicester, one third and a further 4 runs in the prize money.  In total Pancake has won over £18000 in the UK and was the punters’ favourite due to his frequent placings and wins – particularly at his favoured track Southwell – returning each way dividends in over half his runs. Having moved to new trainer David Griffiths in November 2016, and winning yet again, he was sold at Doncaster sales in January of 2017 and travelled to Germany to join champion trainer Christian von der Recke, and owned by Mr. & Mrs. Berg.  Within 10 days he was to come third at Dortmund followed by a second place a few weeks later.  Another first for Pancake Day as his sire’s first overseas runner and also the first horse bred by Abacus Bloodstock to do so.

 

Pancake Day continues to be a great favourite with everyone who meets him.  He has proved

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Enjoying his new German home

consistent, albeit not at the highest levels, but he has given his owners regular visits to the winners’ enclosure.  He has led the way for us at Abacus Bloodstock, and has remained the genuine, never-say-die racehorse he shows himself to be in all his races.  His tenacity and fight to the line, usually leading from the front, is a pleasure to watch and we are so proud of this little horse, with a massive heart.  Still going strong with 45 races in just three seasons, we await his return to the track after a well deserved rest in the last few months.

 

Good luck to him and to his owners and connections.  We will watch with pride and much love.

 

 

Abacus bred horse in first sale of 2017

Abacus Bloodstock bred Pancake Day (Mullionmileanhour x Fangfoss Girls) featured in the first day of sales at the recent Goffs UK Doncaster HIT sale.  The 5 year old was the first foal of multiple two year old winning mare Fangfoss Girls and

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Pancake delivers another win @ Southwell

sired by the debut sire Mullionmileanhour.  Pancake Day was the stallion’s first 2 year old winner and has gone on to be the first winner for him at 3, 4 and 5 following a win at his favourite track Southwell on 10th January.

He was sold to German owners Anja & Phillipp Berg at a bargain price and will be trained

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Pancake Day as a foal with mum Fangfoss Girls

by Christian von der Recke.  Christian has been champion trainer in Germany on both the flat and over jumps on many occasions.  Pancake could not be in better hands as he delivers another first for his sire, his dam and for us at Abacus Bloodstock in becoming the first to race overseas.

Pancake Day was raced by Stuart Matheson, director of Abacus Bloodstock,  initially and then was purchased by Trojan Racing partnership.  He has delivered wins every year and his place scores are consistently high.  And to say he is tough is an understatement with him running 42 times with 5 wins (12%), seven 2nds or 3rds (17%) and a massive 45% times in the money!  He was trained first by Jason Ward and then by David Griffiths.  Winning over £18k, the amount is more a reflection of the poor prize money available rather than his success on the racecourse.  A new career in Germany will hopefully see better returns in this respect.  We sincerely wish his new connections the very best of luck as he runs his first race at Dortmund on 4th February.  Keep up with his exploits on our website.

His full brother Roll on Rory, now a four year old, has been an even better performer and is yet another trailblazer for connections: first stakes horse, highest rated and best wins to runs ratio (36%).  He has also been placed 3 times and been in the money in 72% of his runs.  Despite being a full brother, Rory has performed best on turf and is the current holder of Mussleburgh’s Royal Scots Cup.  More on him when he starts his 2017 turf campaign…….