Bobby Zen

During a time where rising costs and a shaky underbelly to the yearling and foal market is causing many producers to rejig their approach to the breeding season, James Cloney certainly did his bit to provide smaller breeders either side of the Irish Sea with some much-needed encouragement when Camille Pissarro (Ire) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) entered the Royal Ascot picture by making a winning debut for Aidan O’Brien at Navan last weekend.

Sold by the breeder to Coolmore’s MV Magnier and Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm for 1.25 million gns at the Tattersalls October Book 1 session, Camille Pissarro fulfilled a dream of Cloney’s to one day produce a horse that cleared seven-figures in the ring. 

But the dream is only beginning with Camille Pissarro, a half-brother to Cloney’s flagbearer Golden Horde (Ire) (Lethal Force {Ire}), who was bred from bargain buy Entreat (GB) (Pivotal {GB}). 

Subsequent Coventry S. winner River Tiber (Ire) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) won the same maiden that Camille Pissarro picked up on Saturday and Cloney is hoping that his high-profile graduate can follow a similar trajectory. 

He said, “It’s very exciting. Even early doors, the rumours coming out of Ballydoyle was that he is in the top of the juvenile pecking order. It’s very hard for that to translate onto the track so you are always cautious with your thoughts. But it was a real relief to see him do it and it’s hugely exciting going forward. It’s quite unbelievable really because a lot of people wouldn’t have thought he would be a real two-year-old type at the sales because he’s a big, strong horse but the family has just been really good at producing those two-year-olds.”

Cloney added, “If he can be a horse for the future it would be amazing because he’s an absolutely stunning horse–very similar to his father Wootton Bassett. He’s a faultless specimen.”

Cloney’s Book 1 achievement was one of the main talking points from the sale. A pharmacist by trade, he keeps just 15 mares along with his father-in-law at their CN Farm in County Kilkenny.  The pair acquired Entreat, a Cheveley Park Stud-bred mare, at the July Sale in 2016 through BBA Ireland for just 14,000gns. Her son Golden Horde had already put the pedigree in lights with a G1 Commonwealth Cup victory but clearing a million in the ring was described by Cloney as “a dream” at the time.

He recalled, “I think it’s still sinking in! It was an unbelievable result. The great thing about horse racing, it allows you to dream about these things the whole time. I was hoping that this horse could be the one to do it. Even taking the mare to Wootton Bassett, it was a pretty big financial gamble for the farm, but when we got a nice colt, we were hoping and dreaming the whole way along. He travelled strong at the sales–anyone who looked at him was keen on him. There was a lot of competition between the Wootton Bassetts at the sale–I think there were 13 others–so, for him to outclass them all, it was something pretty remarkable and thankfully that was reflected in the sales ring.”

Cloney has been here before. Not only did Golden Horde fly the flag for the breeder, but fellow Group 1-winning sprinter Dream Of Dreams (Ire) (Dream Ahead) features among his roll of honour, suggesting such results are far from a fluke-regardless of what the modest breeder might try and convince you.

“A good dose of luck has been helpful along the way,” he says of his success. “My father-in-law is here every day and respects old farming traditions. We like buying stock with strong damlines. We’re not claiming to be any experts but there is a strong focus on damsires here and it is all about the strength in depth of a mare’s pedigree, regardless of size or conformation.”

Obviously Pivotal ticked a box when snapping up Entreat?

“In a big way. Pivotal would have probably been at the top of our list. It’s very exciting going forward now because Entreat is in foal to Justify. That was a big risk–not only by sending her to America but financially as well. Thankfully she is in foal on an early cover so hopefully there is more excitement to come. After the sales result, it was nice to be able to go and do something a little bit special. Even before the sale of Camille Pissarro, it was earmarked that we would send the mare to Justify. The stallion has gone from strength to strength and, the morning she arrived, he went on to have winners at the Breeders’ Cup. She went to America late last year and the plan is for her to return home here in the coming weeks. We can’t wait to have her back here. There is another dream attached to her now. We’ll be holding our breath until she returns back to the yard safe and sound.”

It begs the question; for a farm that was built on securing value at the sales, is there a temptation to dabble in the higher-end stock, now that the bank balance might allow you to?

Cloney explains, “We are still bargain hunting. We added three mares to the broodmare band after selling Camille Pissarro. We bought a Pivotal mare from Cheveley Park, which we stretched the budget to buy at 40,000gns, a Siyouni (Fr) and then one sexier mare called Minoria (GB) [for 115,000gns]. She might not have been for everyone, given she is by Harbour Watch (Ire), but she has already produced a Group 3-placed filly [It’s Showtime Baby (GB) (Showcasing {GB})] from her first foal. We know how hard it is to produce black-type horses so, when she did it from her first produce, we said we’d try and buy her. It looks a promising family.”

He added, “Selling Camille Pissarro did allow us to reinvest. Sometimes I think we have more imagination than what the market wants so it was nice to be able to get those mares over the winter. In general, the principals will stay the same.”

When Dream Of Dreams burst onto the scene, Cloney was at a very different juncture of his life. The breeding business was just getting off the ground and there was a small matter of a wedding to pay for. As it transpired, the farm was forced to sell the dam of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained sprinter. While Cloney acknowledges that there is a different kind of pressure hanging over the operation some years later, he admits to being able to enjoy the emergence of his latest start that bit better. 

He explained, “We’ve actually put ourselves under similar pressure. When we produced Dream Of Dreams, we were a little bit tight on grazing ground, so we relocated only a mile away but it meant getting a new farm up and running and putting in new facilities. There was a home found for the Camille Pissarro money very quickly! But we are in a place now where we can breed for a lifetime. It’s a top-class area for producing racehorses and that has been proven by a lot of our neighbours here in Kilkenny.”


The post Breeder James Cloney Excited By Royal Ascot Prospect Camille Pissarro appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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