Alan King’s novice hurdler Yanworth proved one of the stars of Trials Day at Cheltenham.
His success was great news for the trainer and connections, but also for the Yorton Farm Stud, home to Norse Dancer, the sire of the talented young hurdler. A dual group winner and runner-up in three Group 1’s, he is still a relative newcomer to the breeding game. Nevertheless, he is making quite an impact, providing bumper winners for Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson and now producing his most exciting National Hunt runner in Yanworth.
Big, strong and very athletic are typically words used for Norse Dancer offspring, and that’s certainly the case with King's Cheltenham winner, who now looks the one to beat at the Festival in March.
Yorton Farm is very much the new kid on the block when it comes to the stud industry. Based at Leighton Farm near Welshpool, in 300 acres of the most beautiful Powys countryside, Yorton has become one Britain’s fastest growing breeding operations. Run by the husband and wife team David and Teresa Futter, it’s very much a family affair.
They have quickly gathered a group of top-quality stallions and are dynamic in their approach. Indeed, the arrival of Coronation Cup Group 1 winner Pether’s Moon and the young French National Hunt stallion Blue Bresil, is evidence of their ambition in the industry. The latter has joined the stud from Haras de la Croix Sonnet where he had already sired the likes of Ibis De Rheu, Bol D'Air and Le Prezien.
Blue Bresil appears to fit the Yorton blueprint of the perfect stallion. He is already renowned for producing precocious young jumpers who have size and athleticism. He was a Group 2 performer on the flat in France, and hit similar lofty heights over the jumps.
“It is our on-going aim to build a stallion roster that delivers choice to both the commercial breeder and those who breed for the love of National Hunt," said the ambitious owner David Futter. “We’ve been fortunate to secure two top-quality young stallions in Pether’s Moon and Blue Bresil, who we hope will both have exciting futures and further extend the choice available to the British Breeder.”
Anthony Bromley from Highflyer Bloodstock also appears excited at the progress being made by the UK stud, saying: “Blue Bresil’s first crop of four-year-olds has really impressed and I have purchased five so far who are above average performers. He is a major coup for the British National Hunt Stallion industry and he has been brought over at the perfect time for British Breeders to capitalise on this.”
All this has come about from the humblest of beginnings when foaling mares for nearby contacts. The business quickly expanded and the move to Leighton Farm took place towards the end of 2013. Futter was originally an equine dentist and worked part-time at various studs in Shropshire.
The enterprise is not exclusively National Hunt driven, with the owners still willing to take horses from the flat. Sulamani is a successful stallion on the roster capable of producing quality over the jumps and on the flat. Rule The World is one such offspring who has already been runner-up at the Cheltenham Festival, whilst Mastery won the St Leger back in 2009.
Gentlewave is another popular inmate, imported from France to Yorton in 2015. The son of Monsun won the Italian Derby and finished runner-up to Dylan Thomas in the Irish equivalent. Pearl Swan has proved the most successful Jumps progeny to date, but the Neil Mulholland trained Pinkie Brown is also making an impact as a juvenile hurdler, and may well take his place in the Fred winter next month. Futter and his team will be confident of many more to come from this powerfully built stallion.
With top-class facilities, quality stock, and all set in magnificent Powys countryside, this is a business flourishing at a rate of knots. Exciting times lie ahead for Yorton Farm Stud.