The fields around Sheriff Hutton are home to broodmares,
yearlings and foals. Keeping company with them are older horses in retirement,
and horses having a break from training.
The breeding process begins by selecting a stallion to cover the mare. Once booked in, the mare then makes the journey to their selected mate, if she has a foal then the foal will travel too.
The mare is then covered at the stud where the stallion resides and returns to the yard throughout the time she are pregnant.
Gestation will last between 320 and 370 days with an average of 340 days. Foals stay with their mothers for the first months of their lives. When they are old enough the foals will go to live in groups, looked after by the older retired horses who act as 'babysitters'. This is perfectly natural behaviour for horses who are herd animals and feel very comfortable in groups with the freedom of many acres of fields.
As yearlings, around the middle to late summer, the horses will come back to the yard to be broken in and to start their training. Some will be prepared to race as two year olds, whilst others are left to grow and
fill out before starting out on careers over jumps.
Recent seasons have seen considerable success with home bred horses bred in conjunction
with our owners, many of who keep their ex-racing mares for breeding.
The fabulous broodmare Catherine's Well produced nine times winner William's Well who flew the flag for
the yard in the early 2000s, notably winning the Great St Wilfrid Handicap
at Ripon. Half brothers Emperor's Well and Elvington Boy were also multiple winners for Catherine's Well.
Bow Peep was another successful broodmare, and
her daughter, the home bred Listed winner Bow Bridge won the Marygate
Stakes at York in 2005 and was placed in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes. Bow Bridge herself went on to be a successful dam providing the yard with a number of winners, including Bowson Fred, Towbee and Black Annis Bower.
Other home bred horses to win for the yard have been Middlethorpe, Property
Zone, Kings Square and Babouska (all bred by Alan Black) and Acomb and Happy Times (MW Easterby). Alustar has been another successful broodmare, with Black Grass and Alluring Star among her winning offspring.
We have also been to the winner's enclosure with multiple scorer and Listed winner Perfect Pasture and his half sister Perfect Peak, who are both offspring of the winning sprinter Word Perfect, and with Strong Man whose dam Strong Hand was a winner for the Easterby yard. In 2016 Hoofalong, whose dam Baymist was a winner for our yard, won the William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh.
Aside from the mares, stood stallions over the years at the nearby Norton Grove Stud. Who could forget Winter Derby winner Gentleman's Deal, who sired a number of winners at the yard, including multiple winner We'll Deal Again whose dam, Emma Amour, also raced for the yard. Gentleman's Deal was also the sire of multiple winners Alluring Star, Fame Again and Strong Man.
Our bloodstock operation continues to this day and every year, from February and March the paddocks are occupied by mares and foals as they grow to become the winners of season to come.