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Next stop Deauville for ambitious Gazeley team

WHEN David and Deborah Curran parted with £20,000 to secure their first racehorse, African Dream, following the gelding's claiming victory at Lingfield Park in February, 2004, they could not have imagined that six and a half years down the line, that first flirtation with racehorse ownership would lead them to Deauville's Arqana Yearling Sale as consignors.

African Dream went on to clinch a pair of Group 3 victories under the Currans' Franconson Partners banner, while further successes came with Montgomery's Arch in the Richmond Stakes and Mudawin's 100-1 shock in the Ebor.

Since Mudawin's Knavesmire victory in August 2006, the Currans have invested heavily in an attempt to establish a thriving breeding operation at the historic Gazeley Stud, a few miles from Newmarket, where Lillie Langtry once kept her mares.

The current Gazeley incumbents saw their first five yearlings offered for public auction at Tattersalls in October last year. Each sold, including a 72,000gns Oasis Dream filly out of the Listed-winning Halling mare Art Eyes, whose yearling half-brother by Nayef is due to become the stud's first Deauville offering when he passes through the ring on Friday.

Joining him from the 100-acre farm, which Pat McCalmont sold to the Currans in 2008, is a Manduro colt out of the Second Empire mare Three Wrens.

Stud manager Lisa Kitchen revealed the thinking behind the decision to send the youngsters to France rather than wait for Tattersalls where the Currans enjoyed such good results in 2009.

"We are looking to set up a farm in France to qualify some of our horses for French owners' premiums, so we thought that we would start consigning a couple through Deauville and these two colts are nice individuals that we thought would appeal to French buyers.

"The Manduro colt's pedigree is very French and his third dam is Three Troikas, who won the Arc. We bought him as a pinhook for 50,000gns from Tattersalls' foal sale.

"We thought the Nayef would probably sell well in France given his sire's success there already.

His dam, Art Eyes, we bought her back for 180,000 guineas at Tattesalls in 2007. Her two-year-old is in training with Hughie Morrison and is entered in all the sales races. She was a nice enough filly last year but this Nayef is really nice."

A self-made businessman who runs the telecoms company DTC Direct, Curran and his wife have relocated from London to Gazeley Stud where they oversee their expanding breeding concern.

"The farm was nearly derelict when the Currans first took it over," said Kitchen, "so they have spent that time investing a lot of money in upgrading facilities and bringing in stock.

"The stud has bought about 30 horses in the last year and we are aiming for blacktype mares to up the calibre of horses we will be consigning in the future. We now have about 50 horses in total split between Gazeley and a small second farm atWickhambrook.

"We have a very small number of outside clients and from next year we will start to consign yearlings for other people, but we won't be boarding anyone else's mares.

"The French venture is very exciting. We are currently searching for the right property and hope to have the stud farm set up in France by August of next year.

"We have come along to Deauville and we are going to see what happens. If nobody likes the colts, we will keep them and race them - Franconson has about eight horses in training. But we are here to sell and it is always good to sell so that people can see your results and see that you mean business.

"It would be great to come here, watch them go for great money and see them race because that is the business we are in, we are here to produce racehorses."

 

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