Occasionally it’s great to leave the stud so that the whole team can share in the ultimate racing dream, says Lucy Procter.
This week Last Royal, a year younger full brother to superstar racehorse Honeysuckle – and also bred by The Glanvilles Stud (TGS) – was running in a Novice Hurdle at Wincanton, so we took the staff to watch. The girls raced through morning stables, got changed and drove to the racecourse in time to join the trainer in the parade ring. Everyone was delighted to watch Last Royal dominate the field and win by a frankly astonishing 42 lengths!
Last Royal was named because his dam, First Royal, died when he was just three months old – hence he was ‘last of the Royals’. Luckily, when he was orphaned, he was just old enough to thrive without supplementary milk as he had already been eating grass, hay and hard feed so was able to join some older weaned foals without needing a foster mother. Being an orphan, he was always much loved by the girls and has always been known as Romeo at home.
Where it begins
At Wincanton, our entire team got to see the ultimate goal of what we do; winning races. Meanwhile, in Worcestershire, I was at the start of the cycle, with homebred mare, Glanvilles Guest, visiting Planteur, her chosen stallion this year.
Our vet, Paul Legerton, had been scanning the mare over the previous week and had determined from her follicle size and oedema (blood thickened womb) pattern, that she was well ‘in season’, meaning that she should be receptive to the stallion, and would most likely ovulate in the next 48 hours.
A hot date in the diary
With the cover (mating) booked for midday, we loaded Glanvilles Guest with her 4-week-old
Scalo colt into the lorry at 9am to travel to the stallion. Mares and foals generally travel very well together, on a thick bed of straw and without a partition so they have the full double space – a stable on wheels.
The mare travels tied up with a haynet to munch, and the foal is left loose, free to happily drink, wander around or lie down and sleep. The covering usually takes around 30 minutes and then we are loaded again and on the way home. The next stage is to scan for pregnancy and to make sure the mare hasn’t conceived twins and this we do at 14 days after covering. So, it’s fingers crossed that she scans in foal first time. Raising young Thoroughbreds is so dependent on the hard work of our staff and it was great to be able to share with them, Last Royal’s win at Wincanton today. At this time of year, the excitement is, that every new foal being born or conceived could be the next 42 length winner.
by Lucy Procter