If you work within the Northern Hemisphere Breeding industry, this has to be the very best time of year. Just even a very casual glance at your social media feeds will confirm what you already know, that your Christmas has arrived and it’s foaling season.
Photos and videos flood Twitter, Instagram and Facebook displaying, legging, fluffy and overall cute foals taking their first uneasy steps into the world. Go on, admit it, you can’t scroll past any of these without leaving a ‘like’. That’s the case for us, too; we love to see all these new potential stars find their feet and follow mum around the paddocks. This year, as well as continuing to enjoy the images of new arrivals from across the hemisphere, we’ll be welcoming a record number of Phoenix Thoroughbreds bred foals, with some of our mares now well established. We, of course, can’t ignore there’s another reason to enter this foaling season with the excitement of a child going to Disney World for the first time; we are seeing the first progeny of our three-time Group One winner Advertise being born.
By all accounts, he had a stellar book of mares to cover in his first season, some of those our own. We were always confident he would prove to be as much as a hit in the stallion shed as he was on the track and his very first foal looks to have set the tone for the rest. A strapping colt born at the Cumani’s Fittocks Stud is described as “strong, attractive and well put together”, and that can be said for his offspring that have followed.
Meanwhile, the arrival of our first Advertise foal marked a significant moment for our breeding operation. A foal sired by a stallion, we’d raced to triple Group One glory born to one of our own mares. This moment was the fulfilment of the plan set in motion when we first had a runner back in 2017. The newly minted colt in question carries with him an impressive pedigree. Mum, Valetta Gold just happens to be a half-sister to sprinting sensation Battaash, which brings in to play leading Shadwell bloodlines through the likes of Tasleet and Etlaala.
Now that we have been at this for four years, some of our broodmares are starting to show they could be the foundation of leading ‘Phoenix Families’ for years to come. As physical specimens go, it’s proving hard to top the foals produced by our Bertolini mare Glade. In the two previous seasons, bore strong and athletic progeny of Showcasing, while this year’s Advertise colt certainly follows in that mould. He’s an absolute belter. Coming packaged complete with his sire’s trademark blaze, he is from the same family as 1000 Guineas heroine Billesdon Brook.
That’s just a snapshot of some of the foals to have arrived so far in the UK. We are looking forward to many more pictures of cute and slightly fuffy babies appearing in our email inbox from our partners, letting us know we have welcomed another to the Phoenix fold. One such image we are eagerly awaiting is that of the first foal of our first ever Royal Ascot winner Signora Cabello. Due at the end of March, she is carrying very precious cargo, the legendary Galileo’s progeny. Make sure you follow our social media accounts for the latest if you are looking forward to this birth as much as we are!
2021 also marks a big year for the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate as they became breeders for the first time. You may recall ‘PLS’ hit the ground running, winning races with their first two runners and they appear to have carried that knack of getting off to a fast start with their first foal. Out of Street Sense mare Ariette Du Rue their Advertise colt is a handsome and strong-looking individual who the Ladies will have high hopes for. Related to Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner and multiple Grade One winner Personal Ensign, the new arrival’s pedigree includes a fascinating mix that could give a proficiency on dirt and turf. Also, the Ladies will see two-time Group One placed Forever In Dreams kick off her broodmare career in the next few weeks when Advertise will cover the gorgeous grey girl.
If the arrival of the first foals by Advertise was a significant moment for our breeding arm in Europe, then the birth of Dream Tree’s first foal in the US held equal importance. The daughter of Uncle Mo is the first Grade One winner we’ve had in our broodmare band (she has since been followed by Loving Gaby) so, it was with a mixture of excitement and a pinch of relief when her Curlin filly arrived, not just in one piece, but looking like an excellent addition to the team. And it appears we weren’t alone in our joy. Social media posts about the ‘well balanced’ and ‘quality’ young lady became some of our most popular ever.
Although we have only mentioned a few ‘highlights’ from this current foaling extravaganza, we regard each new arrival as something special and a privilege to be involved with. To see each foal grow and develop gives a real insight into just how magnificent a racehorse is. We’ll enjoy watching some head off to new homes and await their results with interest while we’ll see others race in our colours and hopefully become the future of our breeding team. Whichever path these foals end up on, we couldn’t do this without all the hardworking teams behind the scenes, from our bloodstock advisors to the staff braving all weathers at the stud farms. To all of you, we say thank you.