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Kodiac wins at Newbury, July 2005

Kodiac: one of the many high-class horses to have been raised at Henry Cecil's Cliff Stud in North Yorkshire


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DESPITE rarely housing more than 15 mares, Henry Cecil's Cliff Stud, situated near the village of Helmsley in North Yorkshire, continuesto uphold its position as one of the North's leading producer of racehorses.

When under the direction of Sir Noel Murless between 1947 and 1982, the stud bred or raised such stars as the Murless-trained Classic winners St. Paddy, Mysterious and Caergwyle.

Cecil, his then wife Julie (Murless' daughter) and the late Tote Cherry-Downes assumed control in 1982, since when the 250-acre stud has at one time or another been home to Coroner, Dandoun, Delfos, Filia Ardross,Olden Times and Rafha as well as her famous sons Invincible Spirit and Kodiac.

"Henry will often stay up here when racing is on at York," says Guy Stephenson, who became stud manager six years ago following an introduction to the trainer through then part owner Jose Hormaeche. "He doesn't have any mares of his own yet although he's always talked about buying some.

"Those that we have at the moment are all for clients while we take Kevin Ryan's yearlings after the sales to give them a break before training. Henry will send some of the backward horses up here for the winter too."

In it's time Cliff Stud has housed stock belonging to Sir Victor Sassoon, Daniel Wildenstein, Leonidas Marinopoulos, Prince Faisal and Gestut Ammerland. Richard Kelvin-Hughes, who is currently compiling a stellar jumps broodmare band that includes My Petra and Chomba Womba, is the latest high-profile owner to let his mares and horses in training take advantage of the stud's rich limestone land.

"The land up here is the best I've ever worked on," says Stephenson. "Limestone is the best for everything, whether it be horse, cattle or sheep, and puts great bone on the youngsters.
"We're quite happy with 15 mares. We wouldn't want too many more than that as it's important not to over horse the land."

Cliff Stud's success is not confined to the racecourse either, with the stud having sold yearlings for up to 400,000gns in its own name. And only last year, they sold Shoshoni Wind, the second home in Saturday's Empress Stakes at Newmarket.

"We've raised 16 Group winners since I've been here," enthuses Stephenson. "Given that we've never had many mares on the place, it's quite a record."




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