Badminton winner Paulank Brockagh welcomes filly foal, in the stable she was born in

  • Badminton winner Paulank Brockagh has given birth to her first foal in the same stable that she was born in.

    “Brocks”, who won Badminton in 2014 with Australia’s Sam Griffiths, safely delivered a filly by thoroughbred sire Centennial on Wednesday morning (19 May) for her breeders Paula and Frank Cullen.

    Paul told H&H all the mare’s connections are “so excited” about the new arrival and “Brocks the wondermum” is loving her new role.

    She added “all was great” when the foal arrived, with Brocks whickering to welcome the filly. Then in a moment of sudden surprise, it dawned on Brocks when they both got to their feet that she had become a mother.

    “It was almost like she thought ‘what is this and what am I meant to do here?!’” said Paula. “But she’s fantastic, absolutely great [with her] and everything was natural and all went according to plan.

    “Brocks was born and bred here and now her baby has been too — in the same stable that her mother was born in.”

    Brocks (Touchdown x Triggerero) is one of just five mares to have won Badminton in its +70-year history, and she completed the Gloucestershire five-star six times in a row, from 2013 to 2018.

    She was gearing up for her seventh start in 2020, with the plan to retire her on the final day, but when Covid forced Badminton to cancel, her owners and Sam decided it was in the mare’s best interests to call time on her career.

    Paula said Brocks’ owners, the Posfords, and Sam had always kept in touch during the mare’s time with them.

    When Paula sold the mare in 2010, she made two requests: the first was that they kept her prefix, which is an amalgamation of Paula and Frank’s names, and the second was that they would consider allowing them to have one of her foals in the future.

    “A lot of this was dreaming as A, she wasn’t a Badminton winner 11 years ago and B, nobody knows what the future brings,” she said.

    Dinah Posford called Paula on Brocks’ retirement and asked whether she would like the mare to retire to live with them at home in Co. Wicklow.

    “I didn’t need to be asked twice!” said Paula, adding that Brocks has come full circle and has the “happy ever after” the Posfords wished for her.

    Paulank Brockagh and her filly foal

    The foal’s sire, Centennial (Dalakhani x Lure), ran successfully on the Flat for John Gosden with wins and placings in Group races, and spent a season with Jonjo O’Neill before retiring to stud in France. He is now standing at John Varley’s Coolin House Stud in Co. Galway.

    “He isn’t over big and he has quite small, neat features,” said Paula, adding that was an important factor considering this was Brocks’ first foal.

    Frank said they also wanted a thoroughbred stallion with a proven performance record.

    “He fitted the bill for us on that and he is a nice-looking horse,” he said. “We had a foal by the same stallion out of a different mare and people described her as ‘pretty as a chocolate box picture’, so we know he produces nice foals.”

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    Brocks’ stellar eventing career started in Ireland under Joseph Murphy, Daryll Walker and Heidi Hamilton, before she joined Sam.

    The combination made their mark on the eventing world with eighth place in the seven-year-old World Championships at Le Lion 2010. As well as their phenomenal Badminton record, the pair’s top results included leading the Australians to team bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where they finished fourth individually, and competing at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. The mare was also seventh at Luhmühlen 2019, eighth at Pau 2017, ninth at Burghley in 2015 and 13th there in 2013.

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