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Honeymoon period yet to commence for ambitious team; Edward Prosser talks to James Read, whose fledgling business breaks new ground next week.

THIS promises to be an unforgettable month for James Read, who not only got married a couple of weekends ago but on Sunday heads to Doncaster to begin a career he has been building towards for much of his 28 years.

There is a dearth of young people in Britain joining the competitive sales-consigning business, but Read goes to south Yorkshire with a homebred Medicean filly and pinhooked Dark Angel colt who he hopes will prove the foundations for Selwood Bloodstock.

He and wife Fiona, an eventer who also pre-trains horses, work from his parents' 20-box, 100-acre farm near Wincanton and he admits that without that opportunity his career aspirations would never have come to fruition.

"We're very lucky that we've been given a chance by my parents and I don't know how anyone without money behind them could start a small breeding or consigning operation without land that they can use," he says. "If we had to pay rent then it would be suicide in the first few years as it's difficult to get people to send you horses when you haven't proved yourself."

There was no swish honeymoon for the couple as everything is focused on the two yearlings next week. The Dark Angel (lot 475), a 14,000gns foal purchased in partnership with Sam Hoskins, got a useful update recently when his half-sister Djumama was second to Dancing Rain in the German Oaks.

"We came straight back from the wedding to prep the yearlings and perhaps if one were to sell well we could go away in the autumn," adds Read. "On our wedding list we just asked for vouchers towards fencing so that we could have more paddocks. Every little bit of money you get you use to improve the facilities."

Although his father, an antiques dealer, and mother were not directly involved in racing, Read's grandfather Bernard Dennett owned horses, such as Hops And Pops and Kates Charm, with Robert Alner and Ron Hodges.

After a history degree at St Andrews University, Read was put off a city career after doing internships in his summer break, and gained experience at Beechtree, Kingwood, Cheveley Park, Springcombe Park and Trickledown studs. He also went on the Irish National Stud course.

"The course was great and I met people like Sam Hoskins and George Stanners from DBS there. The Thormans taught me a lot at Trickledown and I sold my own Royal Applause foal for 41,000gns at the 2009 Tattersalls December sale when working for them.

"That enabled me to buy a few bits of mares, but I think I spent the lot the following week, which I shouldn't have done. With the vets' and other bills you soon start to appreciate the costs involved and that's been a learning curve.

"But keeping everything crossed, I'm hoping that Doncaster might be the first time that we get funds to reinvest again."


James Read and friends: start of a new venture next week
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 25, 2011
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