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Well-bred mare bought for a song whose son goes for gold in Racing Post Trophy.

WITH the benefit of hindsight, Blushing Barada was a standout broodmare prospect at the 2006 Tattersalls July sale.

The daughter of Blushing Groom's catalogue page informed prospective purchasers that, although she had failed to win, her dam had won the Galtres Stakes and her half-brother had scored in the Irish St Leger; that one of her earlier progeny, Blythe Knight, had landed the Lincoln that season; and that she was in foal to Alhaarth, whose best offspring, the 2,000 Guineas winner Haafhd, was out of a Blushing Groom mare.

Nevertheless, with all those selling points, she was sold for only 23,000gns to Jill Lamb Bloodstock on behalf of breeder Seamus Murphy. She soon repaid her new owner's faith in her when the product of the Alhaarth cover was sold at the Tattersalls December foal sale for 30,000gns, and her value has been enhanced even further by the exploits of that foal, subsequently named Morana and the winner of this month's Autumn Stakes and a hopeful for Saturday's Racing Post Trophy.

Murphy and his wife Ann own Park Stud near Kinnegad, County Westmeath, which he bought 17 years ago and was formerly the property of trainer John Oxx's father, John Oxx snr. The farm is home to seven broodmares, and although Murphy has bred useful jumps performers such as Lord Jay Jay and According To Dick, Morana is his first Group winner on the Flat.

Describing why he bought Blushing Barada, Murphy says: "She was just a lovely mare with a wonderful build and stature, and is from a solid family. But we were very lucky, too - in the year after we bought her, Blythe Knight won the first of his two Diomed Stakes. It's easy to look like an expert when things just happen to work out well!

"I've heard people say at the sales that they would not touch mares older than seven or eight, and so the older ones are often overlooked," he adds.

"Blushing Barada was 16 when we bought her, but she looked in fine fettle. It's particularly rewarding looking beyond black type. If you can buy mares who have produced winners - not necessarily stakes winners, but horses who have achieved high ratings one way or another - you can sometimes get into good families relatively cheaply."

Would Murphy be tempted to sell the mare? "Not really," he says. "We've grown very attached to her on the farm as she's done so well for us. She's so placid that she's become a pet - she's the one who gets the majority of the carrots and apples from Ann."

Blushing Barada has a yearling colt by High Chaparral, whom the Murphys sold for EUR40,000 at the Goffs November foal sale, and a filly foal by Peintre Celebre who is entered for the same auction next month. "The foal is really nice," Murphy says. "She has a lovely temperament and has no faults."

As the foal was delivered on May 24, Blushing Barada was left empty this year, but is due to be covered again in 2010. Martin Stevens


Ann Murphy with Blushing Barada at Park Stud
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 19, 2009
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