Three foals scored much sought after elite futurity premiums in the 2017 Baileys Horse Feeds/ British Breeding/British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Futurity. The popular Futurity series for foals to three-year-olds bred in the UK for competition in eventing, dressage, showjumping and endurance ran from the 14th to the 30th August at nine venues across the country.
An elite premium indicates that the horse has the potential and outlook to perform at international level and a higher first premium indicates that there is potential for national level competition. Two-percent of the 155 youngsters that came forward in the eventing section in 2017 were awarded elite premiums, and 48% took home higher first premiums.
The 2017 Futurity saw strong entries across the four disciplines with the first increase in the number of horses entered for each day of evaluations since the effect of the recession on breeding was felt in 2011.
Hannah Iddeson’s colt foal, Verona’s Buddy B Good (Ramiro B x Hamlet) was the highest scoring potential eventer at the 2017 Futurity with an elite premium score of 9.42. First time breeder and sports massage therapist Hannah said: “I thought the foal was really quite nice and that I would put him in the Futurity to see how he compared to other foals. The evaluator said to me that he had made minimal notes as he couldn’t take his eyes off my colt.”
Hannah has owned Buddy B Good’s dam, Verona V since she was 6. The pair have competed up to newcomers and foxhunter before Hannah decided to put Verona in foal. Hannah continued: “Verona is by the same stallion, Hamlet, as the great showjumper Hickstead so she is pretty well bred. We really wanted to go to the Futurity as I think that it can only be beneficial for my foal. I would like to break Buddy B Good in myself and get him going, but then I will seriously consider approaching a top rider to continue his career.
Filly foal, Wellpark Zephyra (Hallmark DS x Silvano) took home her elite premium of 9.00 for her owner and breeder Sharon Dudden from Cornwall. Sharon bred this chestnut filly from her mare Generous DS. She said: “We are delighted with Zephyra and I thought she had the edge that would earn her an elite premium and it is a compliment to us to know that we are breeding along the right lines.” Zephyra is the second foal bred from Generous, her first attained a first premium at the Futurity. Sharon’s daughter Georgina Dudden rides the horses bred by her mother who continued: “Georgina is really looking forward to competing the horses we are breeding.” The eldest horse that Sharon has bred, the seven-year-old Wellpark Minnie Me has begun her eventing career.
Also scoring an elite premium of 9.00 was Nick and Amanda Gauntlett’s filly foal, Saxon Party (Party Trick x Jaguar Mail). Saxon Party’s dam, Saxon Legacy evented to intermediate level and his maternal grandmother, Saxon Love was campaigned at advanced and three-star level by Nick who said: “Saxon Love was my young rider horse and I rode Party Trick’s sire, Chilli Morning to four-star level. It is great to now be breeding horses who’s grandparents on both sides I have ridden. I started breeding to carry on the line. When Chilli Morning left our yard, we looked for a long time for another stallion and having bred Party Trick, we couldn’t fault him. We now have 13 lovely mares in foal to Party Trick for 2018. I am delighted that Saxon Party scored her elite Futurity premium, the Futurity gets the foals out and provides a good shop window. I have huge respect for the opinion of Futurity evaluator Chris Hunnable.”
Heading the eventing yearlings this year was Elizabeth Clarke’s colt, To Bed With The Wren (Up With The Lark x Gordios) with a higher first premium score of 8.92. To Bed With The Wren is the first horse Elizabeth has bred, she said: “I am just delighted with him. My mare, Gordini has been my hunter for the past 10 years with the Rockwood Harriers. She had previously bred three foals before I had her, so the plan was for her to have a foal when she retired from hunting. It took three years for her to get in foal though, so she was 21 by the time To Bed With The Wren was born. David Dixon from the Stanley Grange Stud has given so much help throughout the entire process, and they presented him beautifully at the Futurity as well. I asked David how he thought we would get on and he was very quiet and non-committal and then after the evaluation, he admitted that he thought my yearling would do really well.”
One of Gordini’s older progeny, Kudini, evented with international rider, Sam Griffiths several years ago. Elizabeth continued: “We recently won a competition to spend the day with Sam Griffiths at Gatcombe. It was a great experience and I spoke to Sam about Kudini. It would be wonderful in a few years time if To Bed With The Wren could also head to Sam to be produced.”
Primitive Midnight Tiger (Primitive Academy x Fortune Z) was the highest scoring three-year-old eventer in the 2017 Futurity for his joint owner-breeders, Juliet Whatley and Sam Smith. Known as Tiger Tim, the horse earned a higher first premium of 8.89. Sam who combines being a McTimoney
practitioner with eventing said: “Tiger Tim is a lovely horse, his dam Easy van t’Molenvondel was a great mare to breed from. We have been breeding one or two for a few years now and the eldest of the homebreds, Grafenstar – who attained an elite Futurity premium as a foal – is now four and will begin eventing next year. Tim has grown to about 16hh and will be too small for me to ride so he will either be sold, or we will get him produced for the four-year-old classes. The Futurity is very educational for young horses and being a small-scale breeder, it helps let us know we are on the right track with the breeding.”
Lucy Gillingham’s two-year-old gelding, Native Duet (Native Ruler x Denounce) was top of his age group in the eventing section with a higher first premium of 8.79. Native Duet was bred by the Louella Stud’s, Mark Maserella. Lucy said: “I was pleased with Native Duet’s score. It was his first time off the farm so I was very pleased with how he coped.” Native Duet is the second foal bred from his thoroughbred dam, Destiny of a Diva, who won three times on the flat and was placed over hurdles. Lucy continued: “Destiny’s first foal is now three and she has a yearling and a foal at foot that are by racing stallions. Native Duet is for sale but if I keep him I will send him to a professional to back and hopefully event.” Lucy works at her family’s farm where they also breed racing pigeons, cattle and sheep.
She added: “I like concept of the futurity. I took Native Duet because I thought it was a nice outing to aim to take a youngster to and it is interesting to hear other peoples’ opinions which hopefully confirm what you already think about the horse. I also thought I would get some good pictures of him too which will help with me trying to sell him as would a good score.”
The BEF’s Head of Equine Development Jan Rogers said: “2017 has been a great Futurity year with the number of entries for each venue increasing for the first time since 2011. We have looked carefully at breeders’ responses to the survey at the beginning of the year and as Futurity moves into its new chapter, we are keen that the standards and integrity that Futurity offers are maintained and built upon. We have received expressions of interest from a number of organisations for the running of Futurity and we are looking at the detail of how this happens. We are excited about the possibilities for the future, both for Futurity itself and for the competition successes of Futurity graduates who are up and coming in the performance arena”.
The 2017 Futurity evaluations run nationwide from the 14th to the 30th August.
Futurity scores are used by many breeders as a credible marketing tool for their young horses, adding value to a young horse whilst it is still too young to have achieved a performance record.
For more information, visit www.britishbreeding.org.