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CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL BREEDER BRIEFING; Stephanie Hanly of Grange Hill Stud, breeder of Weatherbys Champion Bumper entry Drumbaloo (6yo g Flemensfirth-Supreme Baloo (Supreme Leader)) and Spinal Research Supreme Novices' Hurdle hopeful Oscar Whisky (5yo g Oscar-Ash Baloo (Phardante)).

Tell us about yourself My husband and I own Grange Hill Stud in Nenagh, County Tipperary.

We board mares and have several Flat mares of our own, generally selling their produce as yearlings. The best we have bred in that sphere is Hurricane Alan, who won the Group 2 Mile at Sandown twice.

I also have 14 jumps-bred mares, all of whom are from the same family of Ash Baloo and Supreme Baloo, who are half-sisters.

We usually sell their offspring as stores. How did you acquire the mares Ash Baloo and Supreme Baloo? I used to work for the late Tote Cherry-Downes when he was managing Lord Dunraven's Fort Union Stud in Adare, County Limerick, in the 1970s.

The stud was going to get rid one of its mares, Salle Privee, a daughter of Big Game who was 23 at the time, but I took a shine to her and took her, with a view to having a go at the breeding game myself.

She was sent to Lucky Brief, a winner of the Dante by Counsel, and the result was Lane Baloo, who in turn has produced Ash Baloo and Supreme Baloo.

The family has also produced Kahuna, who won a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Punchestown in 2004. Who other offspring do Ash Baloo and Supreme Baloo have? Ash Baloo has a four-year-old filly by Milan who goes to the Tattersalls Ireland Derby sale - she really is a smasher - and a filly yearling by Milan. She is back in foal to Oscar.

Supreme Baloo is in foal to Royal Anthem. She has a yearling colt by Royal Anthem and is in foal to Golan.

Why did you choose Flemensfirth and Oscar? Flemensfirth is a fine, big, good-looking horse and with Oscar, I just wanted a horse who had won over 1m4f, as I was aiming to breed more of a two-mile horse in Oscar Whisky than a dour chaser.

But breeding is a game of patience - you have to wait through many slip ups and when things do work out, a lot of luck is involved.

What were Drumbaloo and Oscar Whisky like as foals? We have so many foals born here from their family it's hard to remember them all individually, but Oscar Whisky sticks in the mind, as he was a very taking, lovely, really strong foal.

Do you fancy their chances at Cheltenham? Dunguib should be very hard to beat in the Supreme Novices', but it would be great if Oscar Whisky could at least reach the places.

I've heard very good reports on Drumbaloo from his trainer [James Lambe], but these Cheltenham races are so competitive you can really only hope.

To be going into the festival with two fancied runners who are unbeaten in all their completed starts is beyond my wildest dreams.

I won't be going over to Cheltenham as I would be far too nervous, but I will be glued to the telly!


Oscar Whisky was 'a very taking, really strong foal'
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 12, 2010
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