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Big Star’s owner Gary Widdowson hopes to have secured future showjumping stars for Britain after he paid more than €70,000 (£62,500) for two Big Star embryos.

Mr Widdowson secured one embryo for €41,000, the second for €30,500 at this week’s Zangersheide online embryo auction (21-24 October)

“British showjumping is not in the greatest position right now because we’re lacking horses, but hopefully these two will now stay in the UK,” Mr Widdowson told H&H.

The first of the embryos bought by Mr Widdowson is out of Tinka’s Serenade (Tinka’s Boy x African Drum), Billy Twomey’s hugely successful showjumping ride, who was retired last year at the age of 19.

Billy partnered the chestnut mare, who is co-owned by Sue Davies, to many five-star victories, as well as at the 2012 Olympics, 2010 World Equestrian Games and World Cup finals in 2011 and 2014.

The embryo went for €41,000, the second highest price paid across the auction, after a Casall x Nabab De Reve embryo, which was sold to France for €46,000.

Mr Widdowson’s second Big Star embryo is out of Spirit T (Tornado x Carnaval Drum), the international ride of Jessica Mendoza, who was travelling reserve for the Rio Olympics.

“Tinka’s Serenade and Spirit T are fantastic mares, and good mares make a good foal, in theory,” Mr Widdowson said. “Obviously owning Big Star has a lot to do with [buying the embryos], but if we want to keep jumping going in the UK we need that quality.”

Mr Widdowson was the only British buyer at the auction, at which 26 embryos were sold.

“It is a bit disappointing that we were the only British buyer, but I’m hoping that if it works out for us, other people in this country may look into it. It’s an opportunity to get your hands on something you wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” added Gary.



The embryos are both being carried by mares from the Twemlows stud. Having been bought by Mr Widdowson along with the embryos, the mares will return to Twemlows after the foals are weaned for the same price.

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