Stable lunch

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Weird weather means the mares are still out, and the Glanvilles Stud team had to magic up a pop-up restaurant, says Lucy Procter

All images: Lucy Procter

The warm sunshine and heavy downpours that I wrote about in September continued in October and November. With night-time temperatures rarely dropping below ten degrees the soil remained relatively warm and the grass continued to grow unseasonably late, with the result that many of our mares and youngstock are still living out, supplemented with hard feed but not yet requiring any hay to top up their grazing. Our January and February foaling mares are already coming in at night, however, as we need to ensure they have extra hard feed during the last three months of their pregnancy.

What a difference a day makes – one day playing in the sunshine, and the next a dusting of snow on the ground. November looks to be going out with more seasonably chilly weather.

The rest of the mares will be in from 1st December, so that we can have them ‘under lights’ to help shorten their gestation period and bring any barren mares into season earlier.

The Glanvilles Stud pop-up
A few weeks ago I was struggling to erect a substantial marquee in the front paddock. With the help of three of the stable girls, it was girl power that got the marquee up in the end, two days ahead of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA) members visit, which included lunch and an afternoon tour of the stud. With the unseasonably mild weather we had been having, lunch in a marquee in late October had seemed like a fantastic idea when we originally planned it.

It was a frosty morning on the stud …

However … the night before the visit, one of this autumn’s many named storms arrived in Glanvilles Wootton.
On the morning of the visit, we woke to find the marquee flooded. Unless we were to ask our guests to eat lunch wearing their wellington boots, inches deep in water, there was no chance of food being served in there.
A plan B was needed – and fast! A brief panic was followed by frantic cobweb hoovering and picture hanging, and we started setting up the tables and chairs in the mares’ barn.
Thankfully, since the annual deep clean and disinfect of all the stables in the summer, those in the main barn had not yet been bedded up for the winter and quickly our Glanvilles Stud Pop-Up-Restaurant took shape.
Once Rebecca Green Catering had arrived, and spotless white tablecloths, sparkling glasses and gleaming cutlery had been laid, all was ready for our guests – just minutes before they all descended! We were the second stop on the members’ itinerary – they had spent the morning visiting champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ yard.

Triple Trade before winning at Cheltenham in November

Wine flowed, a most delicious cottage pie was devoured, and the mares and foals that we had brought into the barns adjacent to the lunch barn calmly enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the visitors!
After lunch, our vet, Paul Legerton, demonstrated scanning a mare in foal and answered questions about his methods of scanning the mares in the lead-up to their being covered by a stallion.
With the stud as waterlogged as the marquee, we paraded foals in the barn, and in between showers paraded some of the mares and the racehorses we have in pre-training on the yard outside. Despite the disastrous start, we had a lovely afternoon with the TBA members, with everyone commenting that it was one of the best stud visits and lunches they had been on and certainly memorable!

When he grows up, he plans to be a giraffe …
Woolstone One’s colt foal – or Onion, as he is known at TGS. Readers may recall that this year our foals were named after salad-related ingredients (Onion’s field companions are currently Cress and Mayo).
Having sold our half share in Onion during the summer, Onion’s owner has renamed him Toulouges, a type of French Onion which originates from the town by the same name. This may well remain as his registered racing name – so look out for a Toulouges on the racetrack in a few years time.

Triple Trade
A November highlight was shouting home another TGS winner at Cheltenham, the Joe Tizzard-trained 7yo, Triple Trade, sired by Norse Dancer and out of Doubly Guest – a mare we have in foal this year to a stallion called Planteur.
After a promising second on seasonal reappearance at the Cheltenham October meeting, everything fell into place for Triple Trade’s first-time owners Simon, John and Simon (SJS Racing), with a first Cheltenham win. He came out again eight days later to run in the £125,000 Hurst Park Handicap at Ascot, where he was a brave third. Fingers crossed he will keep on improving for the rest of the season and perhaps we will see him in one of the handicaps at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.
With Doug at the mare sales in Newmarket (he’s looking for new owners as much as broodmares), some top quality racing and the small matter of Christmas, December will fly by.
Before we know it, we’ll be sitting up through the night in January, watching for those first foals.

The Glanvilles Stud

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