This chestnut filly who is just three weeks old has an incredible claim to fame — both her parents are Badminton winners.
She was born as a result of an embryo transfer from Vanir Kamira, Trevor Dickens’s mare who won Badminton last week under Piggy French. Her sire is Chilli Morning, Chris Stone’s stallion who took the Badminton title in 2015 with William Fox-Pitt.
In 2017 and 2018, Vanir Kamira won the Twemlows Burghley Scholarship — a prize of two embryos transfers offered by Edward Matson’s stud Twemlows to the owner of the highest-placed British domiciled mare finishing in the top 20 at Burghley.
“The idea is to encourage owners to breed from the best mares,” said Edward, adding that Classic Moet is another mare who had foals on the ground by the time she won Badminton last year as a result of winning the Twemlows scholarship at Burghley.
Vanir Kamira’s owner Trevor Dickens told H&H: “I was always going to breed from ‘Tilly’ anyway — you can’t have a mare as good as Tilly and not breed from her. When you’ve got fabulous mares, you’ve got to get some offspring and if you don’t do it now, in another couple of years it might be too late.”
Using embryo transfer — the process by which Twemlows surrogate mares carry foals which are biological daughters of Tilly — means the Badminton winner can continue to compete at the top level while becoming a mother, which Trevor said is “perfect”.
Trevor also has two embryo transfer foals at Twemlows by Jaguar Mail out of his home-bred Grafenstolz mare Graf Cavalier, who finished second in the CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at Houghton in 2018 with Piggy — beaten by the stallion Upsilon, who is ridden by France’s Tom Carlile.
Graf Cavalier’s dam was Rosealier, by Cavalier Royale, who was produced to three-star (now four-star) level by Trevor’s son Greg and then competed at this level with Lucinda Fredericks and Harry Meade.
“When breeding, you always try to improve the mare — Rosealier was probably the fastest horse in the world, but she didn’t stay sound so the reason we used Grafenstolz is he has more bone, so we wanted to put more bone onto the foal,” said Trevor. “The reason Tilly went to Chilli is that if the foal came out like Chilli we’d be delighted, if the foal came out like Tilly we’d be delighted and if it came out half and half we’d be delighted.”
Vanir Kamira has two more foals due this year — one by Jaguar Mail due on 18 August and one by Upsilon due on 15 September.
“I chose Chilli because Tilly was a close second at Burghley and Chilli had won Badminton, so I thought a second and first at that level was not a bad choice,” said Trevor.
“I had used Jaguar Mail on another mare, but the foal had Wobblers Syndrome and had to be put down. But that foal was magnificent so he was one I always wanted to use. And when I saw Upsilon at Houghton and he pipped my mare by 0.2 of a penalty, he was special — he moves, he jumps, he gallops.”
Vanir Kamira returns to Twemlows next week in the hope she will conceive another foal by Upsilon and Trevor also plans to try for another Chilli Morning baby as he is so impressed by this filly.
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Of Vanir Kamira’s Badminton win, Trevor said: “I haven’t come down yet. She’s an incredible mare and deserves it. It’s what you hope for and what you do it for.”
Full report on Badminton in the issue of H&H on sale now (dated 9 May).