It was a fitting tribute that Primmore’s Pride, partnered by Pippa Funnell, should have been selected last week for the Athens Olympics in August and claimed victory at Chatsworth this weekend, in honour of his sire, the great Mayhill, who died last week aged 20.
Clarissa Bleekman, a part-owner, explains: “Mayhill slipped on the ayrd and broke his pelvis, and had to be put down there and then. It was one of those freak accidents which just proves how horribly mortal horses are.”
The prolific stallion stood at Whorridge Farm Stud in Devon, and sired a host of successful offspring, of which Primmore’s Pride is indubitably the leading light, but his full brother, the stallion Primmore’s Pioneer has competed successfully at intermediate level, and with several up-and-coming youngsters in the world of eventing and show jumping, Mayhill’s name will live on for many years to come.
The New Zealand Thoroughbred, by Auk out of Blonde Oak, was owned by former Olympic Gold medallist Mark Todd and competed with the New Zealander to three-star level until he was retired to stud in 1996. Edward and Clarissa Bleekman, who are based at Whorridge Farm Stud, Cullompton, Devon, were very impressed when they saw Mayhill with Mark Todd, and became part-owners of the stallion.
Mayhill won the Highest Riser award at the Supporters of British Breeding’s awards ceremony in 2002, confirming his status as one of the country’s leading sires, whose progeny have been rising through the eventing rankings.
Clarissa added that “Mayhill had an extraordinarily busy season lined up this year. Thankfully, and it is a small mercy, we have Primmore’s Pioneer here, and as a brilliantly successful son of Mayhill’s, most mare owner’s have opted to use him.”