Wootton Bassett needs no introduction at Musley Bank, they loved him from the moment they bought him as a yearling and he went on of course, to win the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère as a 2yo for Richard Fahey before being retired to stud. He's a son of Iffraaj, who himself is a prolific sire of horses which generally excel at distances up to a mile.
Wootton Bassett has made a fantastic start to his stallion career in France and alongside Le Havre is just about the best young stallion there is out there. His Champion Almanzor, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget is testament to his ability in his new career as a sire. His stud fee has quadrupled since first retiring to stud and we are very lucky to still be able to afford his yearling progeny. So upwardly mobile is this fantastic young sire, this may not always be the case. Let's enjoy the opportunity while we can. See his stallion page here: http://www.etreham.com/eng/fiche-etalon-haras.php?nom=wootton-bassett
Ace bloodstock agent Bobby O'Ryan, who has been awarded a lifetime achievement award by Doncaster Bloodstock sales and who ironically bought Wootton Bassett as a yearling, was so struck on this colt at the Arqana sale, that he pleaded with us: "If there's one thing you do, please buy this horse for Richard to train." Fortunately, we loved the horse just as much as Bobby and together with Richard Fahey we struck the winning bid at €68,000, fending off another ace bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley of Highflyer Bloodstock. Needless to say, we were thrilled to land what we perceived to be the main catch of the sale as far as we were concerned.
So why was Bobby so insistent? He says "I just loved this horse from the moment I first saw him. He's got a great step to him (great walk/movement). He's the makings of a strong, robust but hopefully high class 2yo. I just think he could be great value." High praise indeed from the man who purchased the 2017 Coventry Stakes winner Rajasinghe, no less.
Add to the super conformation that this colt possesses, the fact that his dam has already proven herself capable of producing high class, black type performers and we really have something a little bit special to go to war with, ironically in the form of Wootton Bassett. Time will tell obviously, but it would be no surprise if he were to go some way towards emulating Rajasinghe's 2yo achievements, this time for us in 2018. The world really could be this colt's oyster.
Mr Fahey is as taken with this colt as much as we are, so much so in fact that he has purchased a share in him himself. Now that’s a fairly big endorsement indeed!
He is also 'French race premiums' qualified. France is well known for its lucrative system of Owners’ premiums on top of already generous prize-money. On the flat, a 2 or 3-year-old can earn an extra 64% on top of the race purse, so we would expect to be taking full advantage of this initiative.
Trainer Update (26th July): He is due to work on the grass gallops in the very near future. We would imagine that he will require a few of these pieces of work, as he is a fine big horse. This will also require going for an 'away day', so he will therefore learn plenty from this experience.
Pedigree update (3rd June): Nancy Sexton of Racing Post Bloodstock quotes "The Prix du Jockey Club also served to further underline the talents of Wootton Bassett, sire of 2016 winner Almanzor in a 1st crop of 17, and today’s runner-up Patascoy out of a 3rd crop of 43 - that crop also contains Wootton."