IF you felt as though you are in a time warp when you opened page 26 opposite, you will be forgiven. It is actually a reproduction of the very first Breeding Insights column, then a one-page version, which appeared in early July, 2015. Even I was surprised that it was so long ago.

Breeding, pedigrees and the stories behind the horses have been my fascination, ever since I took an interest in the stud book during my teenage years. That passion still burns half a century later, and now I get to express myself in a weekly column.

Initially one page in The Irish Field, it doubled in size for some time, occasionally had a content that required an extra page, and now I have difficulty keeping it to ‘just’ four pages.

The past seven and a half years have seen all the major flat and National Hunt winners in Ireland and Britain profiled, stallions and sale graduates feted, and many maiden winners identified as likely stars of the future. Bargains have been highlighted, in the hope that those with limited resources will be encouraged to have a go, and all the while I have been thrilled to give recognition to breeders, large and small, for their success.

Jack Hobbs had won the Irish Derby in 2015, and graced that first column as the lead story. The son of Halling remained in training until the age of five, added a victory in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic to his Curragh success, and was twice placed in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot.

He is now at stud with Simon Sweeting at Overbury Stud, his first crop have just turned four, and he has sired a couple of winners.

Then based in France, Youmzain also featured on that first page, and my note that Sea Calisi would be aimed at a Group 1 prefaced her being placed in both the Yorkshire Oaks and the Prix Vermeille, before she won the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes. Youmzain later moved to stand at Glenview Stud, part of the Rathbarry group, and he is now a multiple blacktype sire under both rules.

The sad downfall of the Italian breeding industry was covered in a piece about Equiano’s group-winning juvenile daughter, Fly On The Night. She was a member of the stallion’s second crop, and now he is responsible for 19 stakes winners, notably getting the multiple Group 1 winning sprinter, The Tin Man, the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Belvoir Bay, and Group 2 winners Equilateral, Gustavus Weston and Medicine Jack.

Finally, for now, that inaugural Breeding Insights page listed the dozen monthly winners of the Connolly’s Red Mills/The Irish Field Breeder of the Month awards, and that group produced a single winner of the Breeder of the Year accolade. It was Jim Bolger, winning it for the second time. In recent years the Breeder of the Year is announced in two categories, flat and National Hunt.