Braced for foaling season


As the due dates passed, everyone at The Glanvilles Stud was on tenterhooks for the delivery of the first foal, says Lucy Procter

This Showcasing filly, unable to keep her eyes open, is just 12 hours old. All images: Courtenay Hitchocck

January saw us sitting up through the night, watching the cameras for the imminent arrival of our first foals. However, the mares had other ideas. Calculated due dates came and went and although the early mares were bagging up, they remained relaxed, quietly munching hay all night.
On 2nd February, the first foal – a feisty Walzertakt colt – finally made his appearance.
There was no rushing the other mares though – it was almost two weeks before we welcomed another colt. This one was sired by the exciting new stallion Stradivarius and, according to The National Stud where he stands, this was his first-born colt.

Doug and Lucy’s youngest has just returned from six months working in Australia and, in his honour, the foal’s stable names this season are all based on Oz place names. This Planteur colt, kicking up his heels, is known as Darwin at home.

The legendary Stradivarius had an exceptional middle-distance flat-race record, winning predominantly over 1m6f to 2m4f. But the Flat racing industry values speed over distances of five furlongs to one mile, and the National Hunt breeding industry values size. Stradivarius was a mere 15.3 hands and, coupled with his middle to staying-distance race record, he would not have been an obvious stallion choice for breeders.
Stallions these days usually retire to the breeding shed at two or three years old, as soon as they have proved themselves by winning a big race or two. ‘The Strad’, as he was affectionately known by racing fans, was unusual in that he was kept in training and raced for seven seasons, winning three Gold Cups and four Goodwood Cups.

This Stradivarius colt, stable name Gawler, really does enjoy being outside very much, thank you … you can probably tell …

Retiring Stradivarius to stud in 2023, his owner/breeder knew that he still had an uphill battle to prove himself in the covering shed so, in an attempt to attract the best mares, he offered generous incentives to the breeders of Stradivarius’ first winning foals: £250,000 to the breeder of any Group 1 winner in Britain, Ireland or France, with £100,000 to the breeders of any Group 2 and Group 3 scorers.
Not to be outdone, the third foal arrived just two days later – a long-legged Planteur colt, half brother to the Cheltenham Festival-entered, TGS-bred Triple Trade, who is in training with Joe Tizzard in Milborne Port. Since his first win this season in November, we have enjoyed watching Triple Trade (better known as Trevor at home) race three times, including winning a good handicap chase at Ascot just before Christmas.

Gawler, the Stradivarius colt, being shown by mum how to stretch his legs in a far more controlled manner
Sydney, our Walzertakt colt, showing off his paces next to mum.

Foster needed
A few days later, we were swiftly brought back down to earth with the sad loss of a mare, shortly after she produced a huge Golden Horn colt, due to foaling complications.
For the first 36 hours we fed the ever-hungry-for-milk colt from a bottle – every 45 minutes or so, day and night – while we searched for a suitable foster mare. Happily, by the start of the second night, we had successfully introduced our orphan to a mare who had had a late foal in 2023 and who had been very recently weaned, so she was still producing milk. Although the no-longer-an-orphan colt is now happily feeding from his new mother, he still optimistically greets any person who goes into his stable with a ‘so where’s my bottle then?’ nudge!

The fluffy, no-longer-an-orphan colt, with his huge grey spectacles and grey nose.

To add to his fluffy cuteness, the colt (opposite) has huge grey spectacles and a grey nose. With flecks of grey throughout his coat, it is clear that he will gradually, over the coming months, turn from bay to grey like his mother.
This is the first time in four years that we’ve gone into March without our hopes pinned on Honeysuckle’s chances at Cheltenham. However, with plenty more mares to foal, and those that have already foaled needing to be taken to visit this year’s chosen stallion, there will be many more sleepless nights to come through March.


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