A high point in the Welsh Pony and Cob Society’s calendar
The annual two day Fayre Oaks Sale continues to be one of the high points in the Welsh Pony and Cob Society’s calendar and this year proved no exception. The catalogue entry of 462 animals yielded an overall sale average of £803, the highest since 2007 and up £60 on the previous year.
Included within the weekend was the now well established High-Flyer Sale, the cream of which provided most of the top lots over the weekend. Topping the sale was a ‘real star’, Mr Sandy Anderson’s seven year old gelding Thistledown Eye of the Tiger beautifully produced for the occasion by Sharn Linney. For many of the ringsiders it was a case of déjà vu as the Eye of the Tiger looked so similar in many ways to the vendor’s sale topper in 2014, Thistledown Arctic Monkey, who has since justified his £8,800 price ticket, qualifying for HOYS in subsequent years. Mrs Serena Crump obviously thought Eye of the Tiger could follow in his footsteps making the final call on him at £8,500 for daughter Anna to ride.
Craig Elenor, who had produced Thistledown Eye of the Tiger as a two year old colt before Thistledown Stud leased him out to take up stud duties in Holland, on this occasion produced his own and Sara Parrott’s skewbald gelding Reylem Champagne Charlie into the runner up position. Interestingly bred, being a grandson of leading sires Harroway Mr Harlequin and Chiddock Fankino, the five year old concluded its limited novice season with the part-bred championship at the Welsh National in August. A pony whose sound conformation and movement coupled with a superb temperament should serve him well as an interesting newcomer to the HOYS part-bred and coloured classes in the future; he sold to Miss Needham from Essex at £7000.
Thistledown Velvet Touch was described as having “the most royal of lead rein pedigrees” and few would disagree being by Blackhill Picalo, the leading sire of HOYS lead rein ponies for the last two years and from a dam line the same as the 2015 HOYS champion. The seven year old mare looked every inch a lead rein and with manners to spare made her an obvious choice for those buyers with this type of pony on their shopping list.
Holly Levet was one of them taking her back to Kent at £5700. Contrasting was another simarily aged section A mare, Sarum Romance, who had an equally illustrious pedigree and would have been in the sights of those wishing a future brood/show mare. The Hendy brother’s Cledwyn bloodlines have served Stewart Franklin well; Sarum Romance being the resultant offspring of one of those, Cledwyn Red Rose, who herself traces back to the John and Roger Hendy’s foundation mare, Chieveley Silver. At Sarum, Red Rose has produced a dynasty of winners including Rosamunde, Rose Marie and the 2015 supreme ridden pony of the year, Rembrandt. Covered by Blanche Gwillym, Sarum Romance made £5000 to Worcestershire buyer Mrs S Hartland.
Unusually two roan section mares, both seven year old, attracted breeders’ attention; these were the Cwmhendy Buster daughter, Weston Liberty, a full sister to the prolific winner Weston Black Velvet (the 2016 Brightwells National Champion) and Thistledown Loreto, a lovely deep-bodied mare by Blackhill Picalo. Both mares were an eyeful on the grass making £3000 and £3500 respectively. The best of the section A males this year was the three year old colt, Colne Tibo, who arrived at the sale in top class order very ably produced by Sam Morsley for owner Ann Overton–Ablitt. Mrs Ablitt has always top of her breeding policy the need for her mountain ponies to become not only good representatives of the breed but also top class ridden ponies. Last year’s sale topper, Colne Tulip, was similarly bred to Tibo, both being by Nantdywyll Telor with Tulip out of Colne Titania and Tibo out of Titania’s daughter, Tiara. Already the yearling colt has shown signs of following in the family tradition with wins including Royal Three Counties however it will be very interesting to see how he clicks with the superb nucleus of mares owned by Henri Leeuwenhaag who had him for £3600.
The name Downland is legendary within the Welsh Stud Book and many section B ponies bearing the prefix have topped the Hereford Fayre Oaks Sales in the past for the late Mrs Kathleen Cuff. It was therefore appropriate that the prefix should feature at the top again, this time with Downland Watermark bred by her daughter Rosemary Rees. A three year old colt, his back breeding contains most of ‘the greats’ associated with yesterday year including Downland Chevalier as a great-grandsire. As a yearling he was champion at Royal
Welsh Winter Fair and champion colt at Lampeter as a two year old. Donald Cooke, having been a Welsh Pony and Cob Society member since 1973, would be one to appreciate this breeding paying £4000 for his Bureside Stud in Norfolk.
Mrs Debbie Barr is a Fayre Oaks regular sharing both roles as a vendor and buyer. As a vendor this year she consigned the eight year old stallion, Nefydd Ablwch, who displayed a fabulous temperament under saddle. He came with a useful portfolio of winnings both in hand and ridden including qualification for most major championships and was the choice of Miss Chadwick at £3100.
Last year Gunn Johansson bought the part-bred gelding Balfour Toreador for her riding centre near Gothenburg in Sweden. This time fellow Swede Mats Olsson bought his full brother Balfour Valentine for £2800;his aim being to use him to cross on his larger section B mares. This should be a very interesting project for Mr Olsson as his purchase carries some of the finest bloodlines from the British Riding Pony Studbook including Twylands Troubadour and Bwlch Valentino while his own section B mares carry the cream of Downland and Coed Coch lines. Gunn Johansson however was back in the market, this time investing £1900 to secure a ‘project’ of her own. Going back to Sweden was the three year old part-bred filly, Tondupark Annabell, an attractively marked piebald that certainly knew how to step. With a leg at all corners she looked the sort to develop into a very useful all-rounder and one that would be a great advert for the Part-bred register abroad. Another overseas bound part-bred was Gillian Sells skewbald yearling colt, Priestwood Indiana Jones, another coloured with free movement but very different in type. Though 50% Welsh from his dam, he was by the Pintabian sire, Tac Absoluteflash, which boasts 99% Arab blood which could be clearly seen in his make and shape. This obviously appealed to Dutch Part-bred enthusiast Erik Koele who had last shout at £1600.
In total 81 animals were sold for export: Holland 45, Germany 13, France 11, Sweden 7, Denmark 3. Ireland 2.
From an entry of 121 foals, 5 foals made four figures with Telynau Black Swan and Hilin Primadonna sharing the top spot at £1600. The Telynau prefix is more usually associated with the section B pony however Black Swan was every inch a mountain pony carrying desirable lines tracing back to Penual Mark, Clan Pip and Revel Choice. She was the choice Mr Stansfield from Wakefield. The top section B filly, Hilin Primadonna, had further to travel being bought by Linda Cheyne from Aberdeenshire who will no doubt have this Hilin Carnedd daughter out on the northern show circuit. Dewi Evans also had £1000 for the dun filly Hilin Charm by Carwood Orpheus and out of a full sister to Hilin Carnedd. The Glyncoch annual draft of foals always impress and this year their leader was the palomino filly, Glyncoch Spring-Tide, which exuded Welsh character and carried three crosses of the prolific sire Friars Rupertino. Mr Morgan of Builth Wells made the successful bid at £1250. He also had at £1050 another palomino, this time the section B filly, Birtley Royal Michelle by the Dutch bred Kenwoods Royalist.
There was an interesting selection of geldings on offer and it will be interesting to watch their progress as Brightwell graduates. Sisters Gemma and Lucy Morris had a project running alongside their other showing commitments and this was the section B gelding Llanwarne Arcade Player. Now a five year old he had matured well and was ready to contest the novice classes where his lovely movement should serve him well; he remains in Herefordshire being bought at £2500 by Mrs Julie Green. A gelding with more mileage under its belt was another section B, Thistledown Los Angeles; also a five year old, his obvious potential for both native and show hunter pony classes was spotted by Mr Hobson from Farnworth who had him cleverly bought for £2200.
The next Fayre Oaks will be the 64th however it will be without the steering genius of Terry Court who steps down after being involved for sixty two years. Following the High-Flyer sale, a presentation was made to him to recognise his outstanding contribution. The spontaneous standing ovation he received from the hundreds present laid testimony to the respect he commands.