WHAT an Aintree Blue Bresil (Smadoun) had. He sired a pair of Grade 1 winners, and while Nicky Henderson’s Constitution Hill stole the limelight, Inthepocket continued his rise up the ranks with his victory in the Grade 1 Top Novices’ Hurdle.

Bred by Tessa Greatrex and David Futter from the winning Heron Island (Shirley Heights) mare Egretta Island, Inthepocket was sold as a two-year-old at the Goffs UK Yorton Farm Sale for £25,000 to Hamish Macauley.

He won his sole start in a point-to-point for Paul Cashman, carrying the colours of his mother Catherine and ridden by a young man called Michael O’Sullivan. Now both the horse and rider have gone on to greater success.

Winning debut

Inthepocket was then sold for £290,000 at the 2021 Tattersalls Cheltenham December Sale to Michael Hyde, acting for JP McManus. Sent to be trained at Knockeen by Henry de Bromhead, McManus had to wait 10 months to see Inthepocket race in his colours, and he made a winning debut last October at Wexford.

Rachael Blackmore was in the saddle that day, and has been for the six-year-old gelding’s four subsequent runs. Together they won a Grade 2 at Naas, were second to Il Etait Temps in the Grade 1 Brave Inca Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, ran fourth behind Marine Nationale in Cheltenham, and has now won for a third time over the smaller obstacles.

Matt Coleman, of Stroud Coleman Bloodstock, will no doubt be delighted that, in January, he secured a newly-turned yearling son of Arrigo (Shirocco) for £22,000.

Since that purchase the colt’s half-brother Inthepocket has now become a Grade 1 winner, while another sibling, Clovis Island (Clovis Du Berlais), at the time a placed point-to-pointer, made a winning debut last month in a bumper for Nicky Richards.

Cyril O’Hara

Egretta Island was bred by Cyril O’Hara and trained by Warren Greatrex to win over hurdles at Towcester. She was one of a pair of winners out of Ring Mam (King’s Ride), the other being The Whisperer (Supreme Leader). He cost Nicky Richards £115,000 as a winning point-to-pointer, and went on to win over hurdles and fences and earn some blacktype.

Skip back to Inthepocket’s fourth dam, Esparta (Escart III), and you will find the only other blacktype winners in the family. Her winning daughter Oakland Leisure (Lucky Brief) is the grandam of Grade 3 hurdle winner I Can Imagine (Husyan), third dam of Grade 2 chase winner Byerley Babe (Beneficial), and fourth dam of this year’s Grade 2 winning chaser Better Times Ahead (Walk In The Park).

Constitution Hill

Unbeaten in seven starts, Constitution Hill was bred by Sally Noott. Barry Geraghty bought him with Warren Ewing as a foal at Tattersalls Ireland for €16,500, and sold him to owner Michael Buckley at the Goffs UK Spring Sale in 2021 for £120,000.

Noott sold the gelding’s dam Queen Of The Stage (King’s Theatre) for £340,000 in an online sale to Jayne McGivern, and she visits Golden Horn (Cape Cross) this year. She won twice over hurdles, and was placed in a listed mares’ hurdle at Sandown. Queen Of The Stage is out of the winning hurdler Supreme Du Casse (Supreme Leader). The next dam Pede Gale (Strong Gale) bred three winners and was a sibling to six, the best being the Grade 2-winning hurdler My Sunny Glen (Furry Glen).

Joining Constitution Hill and Inthepocket as Grade 1 winners this year are Blue Lord and Good Land, all making significant contributions to their sire’s earnings. With considerably fewer runners than almost all of the stallions above him on the leading sires’ table, apart from Martaline and Jeremy, Blue Bresil still makes it into the top 12. Little wonder that he is popular with breeders down at the Cashman’s Glenview Stud where he covered a combined total of some 480 mares in 2021 and 2022.