ONE million pounds sterling. Last week you would have had to add a few pounds to it, £50,000 to be precise, to purchase the most expensive foal at the Tattersalls December Sale.

She was a filly by Kingman, a half-sister to the Group 1 winner Chaldean. Even if she never had a saddle on her back, she is worth that kind of money as a breeding prospect. In other words, she has an enormous residual value, even without performing on the racecourse.

For exactly £1 million in 2020 Cheveley Park Stud took ownership of a pair of four-year-old geldings (no residual value here), both winners of their only outings in point-to-points. Classic Getaway (Getaway) cost £570,000 at the Goffs UK December Sale at Yorton Farm, while Grangeclare West (Presenting) was a ‘more modest’ £430,000 purchase.

I had the pleasure of sitting for lunch recently with Cheveley Park Stud’s Richard Thompson, and he told me about his, and his late father David’s, passion for National Hunt racing.

His mother, Patricia, is the inspiration behind the stud and flat racing enterprise. The distinctive silks of Cheveley Park are familiar in the winners’ enclosures of all the best flat and jump tracks in Ireland and Britain.

The record-priced Classic Getaway won his only bumper, but it is fair to say that he did not wow anyone with his time hurdling, comprised of four starts and a single success. However, the manner of his debut win over fences in a beginners chase at Gowran Park will have connections once gain dreaming of big race glory.

Fogarty family

Bred by Daniel Fogarty, Classic Getaway made three sales appearances, all at Doncaster.

He sold as a newly-turned yearling to Brendan Bashford for £24,000, showed a profit when bought by Monbeg Stables for £65,000 as a three-year-old, and made Donnchadh Doyle very happy when he sold 18 months later to Tom Malone and Gordon Elliott.

One of a pair of winners out of a mare by Classic Cliché (Salse), Classic Getaway’s grandam is an unraced daughter if a sprinter – not your classic National Hunt breeding. Classic Getaway’s half-brother Alminar (Arakan) won his fourth chase early last month, and their bumper and point-to-point-placed dam is a half-sister to five winners.

The only blacktype winner in four generations of this female line appears under the third dam, Chantry Bay (Marshal Pil). That seven-time winner on the flat produced four winners, the best of which was Kristenson (Menelek). Foaled in 1977, and also bred by Daniel Fogarty, his eight wins over hurdles included the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot as a seven-year-old. Trained by Roger Fisher, he was also runner-up in that race.

King’s horse

JP and Leonard King bred Grangeclare West, and he too was a three-time sale ring visitor.

As a foal, Richard Frisby spent €29,000 at Goffs to buy him, he resold as a three-year-old at the Derby Sale from Glenwood Stud to Joey Logan Bloodstock, and then Denis Murphy sold him finally to Cheveley Park for £430,000.

He has a perfect race record to date, winning his only start between the flags, his bumper at the 2021 Punchestown Festival, and now his maiden hurdle at Navan at the weekend. In the latter he beat Firm Footings (a €220,000 store purchase from Glenwood Stud), Kudasheva (a £370,000 buy at Cheltenham in March), and My Trump Card (a €230,000 store buy). They were all chasing a winner’s purse of €8,850.

The dam of Grangeclare West was purchased as a six-year-old, having placed in a few bumpers, by JP King for €6,000, carrying Coeur Joyeux (Beneficial). He got his money back when that gelding sold as a yearling for €15,000, and then went on to win a couple of races over fences, and be placed in Grade 2 chases at Punchestown and Naas.

Every generation

Hayabusa, the dam of Grangeclare West, is the dam of three winners, while her sons Ashton Court (Court Cave) and Hands Of Stone (Shantou) have been placed eight and seven times respectively. This is a female line that throws up at least one good horse every generation.

Hayabusa’s half-brother Gunner Welburn (Gunner B) won the Listed Rowland Meyrick Chase and placed in the Grade 3 Welsh Grand National, and their dam Vedra (Carlingford Castle) was a half-sister to the Cheltenham Festival winner Celtic Giant (Celtic Cone), successful in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase.