The Baileys/BEF Futurity headed to its penultimate venue of Southview Equestrian Centre in Cheshire on 14 August where a total of four elite premiums were awarded.
A dressage colt foal belonging to Darren Mattia and bred by Darren and Charlie Hughes headed the scores at Southview. Danieli (Dimaggio x Fidertanz) scored an elite premium of 9.20. Danieli’s dam, Freedom Apple has proved to be a wonderful mare for Darren. She also bred a Futurity elite scoring filly foal in 2013, Desire – a full sister to Danieli.
Darren said: “Apple has a really good damline, her grandmother is related to the former German team horse, Piccolino.”
Three-year-old colt, Hocus Pocus (Zambesi x Vancouver) scored an elite premium of 9.13 in the showjumping section for his delighted owner and breeder Joseph Hughes Jones from West Kirby. Hocus Pocus has been to the Futurity three times now and scored a higher first premium as a yearling and two-year-old before attaining his elite premium this year.
Joseph said: “I am very pleased, he is the first horse we have bred ourselves. We have gone back to the Futurity each year for the feedback and advice on whether we should keep him entire.”
Joseph plans to jump Hocus Pocus. He added: “I used to do a good bit of jumping but my horse broke, I have been waiting four years for Hocus Pocus to be ready to go out competing. We broke him in last year and I am really looking forward to jumping in the young horse classes next year. He loves his jumping. I will hopefully get him a stallion license with the AES, the breeding is an extra bonus really.”
Sarah Lucas’ three-year-old dressage colt, Heaven (Hotline x Londonderry) scored an elite premium of 9.10 in the dressage section at Southview. Heaven was bred by Lynne Crowden and he was the highest overall Futurity scorer as a foal in 2012 with an elite premium that year of 9.66. Heaven is out of a Londonderry mare, St Pr Limoncello.
Another dressage three-year-old scored the final elite premium of the day at Southview. This was Lynne Crowden and Charlotte Hughes’ colt, Woodlander Summertime Blues (Spörcken x Margue H), he scored 9.00. Summertime Blues is another youngster with a very consistent Futurity record, he also scored an elite premium at the 2014 Writtle College Futurity.
Lynne Crowden said: “We are delighted with both of these approved stallions. They have been covering this year but have plenty of energy and were clearly feeling on top form at Southview. We often see that the Futurity scores can get lower as the horses get older. But it is so encouraging to see the consistency with these two lovely horses. The different judges over different years have given them similar scores.”
Top eventer at Southview was colt foal, Jackson LG (Denver LG x Devils Jump) with a higher first premium of 8.88 for his owner and breeder Lauren Williamson. Jackson LG was bred from Lauren’s thoroughbred mare, Bounden Duty.
Lauren said: “Bounden Duty was bred by top showing producer, Richard Ramsay, she is a lovely mare and has done a bit of everything. I will keep Jackson and compete him in both eventing and dressage. He has a brilliant gallop which is why we decided to go for the eventing section at Southview.”
Lauren is hoping to bring Jackson LG back to the Futurity as a three-year-old with a view to getting him on to the equine bridge.
Highest scoring yearling at Southview was Lynn Salmon’s bay colt, Valeroyal Dankango (Danny Kannan x Aimbry Chester) who scored a higher first premium of 8.63 in the eventing section. A half-sister to Dankango, three-year-old Valeroyal Sofia (Jaguar Mail x Aimbry Chester) also scored a higher first premium at Southview. Both these youngsters are out of Lynn’s mare, Chesters Cloudy Bay.
Best potential endurance entry at Southview was Laura Pyke’s colt foal, Vlacq Zilal (Vlacq Zibaq x Shaikh Al Kuran) with a higher first premium of 8.58.
Zilal is the third generation bred by Laura and her mother Sue at their North Wales based Vlacq Stud. Sue has bred over 300 foals and has been an Arab Horse Society judge since 1999. She started out breeding Irish Draught horses and jumpers and then transferred to concentrating on Arabs.
Sue said: “It is lovely to have Zilal, we bred both his sire and dam, Quarida. In fact, he is the first foal ever born to his sire, Vlacq Zibaq. We are delighted with his first crop of foals, which also includes a show filly out of a Kilvington Scoundrel mare. We breed Arabs and Arab crosses for all round performance as well as endurance”.
Zilal’s dam, Quarida is now 19 and was a homebred herself. She is a Spanish, Egyptian cross and has bred several foals for endurance, dressage and showjumping.
Sue continued: “We are going to geld Zilal and he will be for sale to the right home. He was very good on the day at the Futurity, the vet in particular was thrilled with him.”
Sue and Laura also bred the top endurance foal in the 2014 Futurity, Vlacq Elladora (Vlacq Khazad x Shah Shadow).
The Futurity is a continually evolving process, 2013 saw the introduction of the Futurity equine bridge which is now being run as an extension of the Futurity evaluations.
The Futurity equine bridge provides top Futurity graduates with the direction and support they will need as four-year-olds so that they begin their early years under saddle in a way that allows for sustained physical and mental development. In order to be eligible for the Futurity Equine Bridge all horses must obtain a Futurity score of 8.5 or above and a high enough vet score in the in their three-year-old year.
The BEF’s Head of Equine Development Jan Rogers said: “The Futurity celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. We are increasingly seeing that breeders, buyers and riders of British bred horses are finding that a Futurity premium is a very useful aid in helping assess these horses. We are also seeing a marked improvement in the standard of youngsters entered in the futurity, which is very good news for the future of British breeding.”
The Futurity is fast becoming recognised as an important first step in the careers of many potential top level horses and provides a valuable marketing took for breeders.
Visit www.britishbreeding.org for full details and results.