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Edward Player of Whatton Manor Stud: "lucky to be supported by owners"

  PICTURE: Racing Post  

Whatton Manor toasts bumper spell for alumni

LAST Saturday's four afternoon meetings offered something for everybody, with Wetherby's card containing the Charlie Hall Chase, the first major jumps race of the season, and Newmarket closing its racing year with two Listed races.

However, enjoying a bumper afternoon under both codes was Peter Player's Whatton Manor Stud in Nottinghamshire, which bred or raised no fewer than six winners during the day including Wetherby's big race scorer Deep Purple and Take It To The Max, who outbattled Anhar to take the Zetland Stakes by a head.

The stud also bred Secrecy, an impressive five-length winner of the 1m handicap on Newmarket's card, and raised Ascot winner Zabeel Palace as well as Starry Mount and Bosamcliff, both of whom were successful at Ayr.

Another Whatton Manor graduate, Teeky, was successful at Newmarket last Friday.

Remarkably, Take It To The Max, a son of Bahamian Bounty, was the third winner in five days out of the stud's homebred Up And About following Park's Prodigy and Wake Up Call, who won at Catterick and Kempton respectively earlier in the week.

"It's not very often that a mare produces three winners in a week," says Player's son Edward of the daughter of Barathea. "It started on Tuesday when Park's Prodigy won and then the mare's three-year-old by Noverre, Wake Up Call, won her maiden by five lengths on Wednesday - she looks quite exciting.

"Take It To The Max ran in the Brocklesby and he's done nothing but improve throughout the year."

Player took over ownership of Whatton Manor in 1980, since when it has raised the likes Derby runner-up Eagle Mountain, Prix du Cadran winner Invermark and Hungarian superstar Overdose.

Several high-profile operations also take advantage of the stud's boarding facilities while the Players recently launched their own beef business with their own 200 head of cattle.

"We're lucky to be supported by some successful owners and breeders," says Edward, who had a stint working in the city prior to returning to the stud.

"We try to keep everything as close to nature as possible, and it's very exciting when you have days like last Saturday - it's rare to have six runners in a day let alone six winners."

It is apt that the bulk of the Saturday's success hails from Up And About, a granddaughter of Peter Player's foundation mare Gay Charlotte. The daughter of Charlottown was acquired for £8,000 during the time that Player operated from Camas Hall Stud in Newmarket, and during her 13 productive years at stud, produced seven winners including Upend, who carried Player's colours to victory in the St Simon Stakes.

Upend later produced the Listed winner Musicanna as well as the dam of Contraband, while Gay Charlotte herself is also the ancestress of Royal Gait and Whatton Manor graduate Overdose.

Player also hit the jackpot with another acquisition of that time, Jungle Queen, who went on to produce Lowther Stakes winner Prickle after having been purchased for just £100 and a case of claret.

Whatton Manor's notable month on the track has also been complemented by a successful autumn of selling led by the sale of an Invincible Spirit colt who topped Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Sale whenselling for 260,000gns to Shadwell Estate.

"We've had a good year at the sales and selling the top lot of Book 2 was a big boost," says Edward. "Last year was also good, and days like those make it all worthwhile, especially for the staff."




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