Y’all know I can’t resist a 5* field, and Bicton being a bit of a one-off plus containing a fair number of first time 5* starters, I definitely had to take a closer look at the field. It’s a small group for a 5*, we started with 39 entries and are down to 33 as of this writing, but there are still some interesting horses and breeding to look at here. The course looks great, H&C will be livestreaming – what more could you want?
The first thing that stood out to me was the number of horses that have a full TB parent. There aren’t any full TB’s in the field, but 11 horses (33% of the field) have one full TB parent. As far as which side of the pedigree the blood is on, it’s split pretty evenly – 5 have a full TB sire and 6 have a full TB dam. If you go back one more generation, an additional 6 horses have a full TB damsire and another 3 have a full TB sire’s sire. Even with no full thoroughbreds in the field, the importance of TB blood in the modern event horse is still very evident, and it doesn’t necessarily seem to matter where in the pedigree the blood comes from. None of them share the same thoroughbred either – you see everything from the classic sires like Imperius xx and Hand in Glove xx to more modern sires like Tajraasi xx.
The average blood percentage for the field is 60%, higher than the usual 55-56ish that we’re used to seeing at the European 5*’s. MHS King Joules (by Ghareeb xx out of a Cavalier Royale/Morwood xx mare) has the highest blood percentage, around 84%, and Finduss PFB (by Saffier out of a Sarantos/Purioso mare) is the lowest around 33%.
As far as where they were bred, as usual Ireland gets to stake the biggest claim, with 48% of the field having been bred in Ireland. Despite that, only three of the 16 Irish-breds are fully of traditional Irish breeding, the other 13 have continental European warmblood heritage (mostly Selle Francais and Holsteiner – the magical combination). Of the three traditionally bred Irish Sporthorses, they have a lot of blood in there to balance to Irish Draught – Alfies Clover is 72% TB, Diamond Ructions is also 72% TB, and Majas Hope is 77% TB. The other two countries that have bred the most entrants are Great Britain and Nederlands, with 6 horses each.
While none of the horses in the field share the same sire, we do see a few stallions appearing in multiple horses’ pedigrees. Clover Hill shows up in 4 different horses, once as the sire’s sire, twice as the damsire, and once as the dam’s damsire. Namelus R is the sire’s sire of two horses, with Rock King and Cavalier Royale in the damsire spot for two horses.
We see a lot of jumper bred horses in the field, as usual, as well as some purpose-bred eventers. Top level 1.60m showjumper stallions Carambole, Iroko, Camiro de Haar Z, Hermes de Reve, Touchdown, and Tangelo vd Zuuthoeve are the sires of one horse each. Advanced level eventing stallions Mill Law and Jumbo both have one offspring each, and 5* eventing stallions Oslo Biats and Chilli Morning also have one each. Interestingly perhaps for US breeders, there are two sires of horses in this field that are now over here breeding in North America – Valentino (sire of VIP Vinnie) and Billy Mexico (sire of Billy Walk On).
Looking on the damside we also see some excellent performance horses. RSH Contend Or’s dam showjumped to 1.60m level and Fonbherna Lancer’s dam showjumped to 1.40m level. Two horses in the field have top level eventing dams – Chilli Knight out of 5* mare King’s Gem, and Mr Fahrenheit out of 5* mare Little Tiger.
In addition to performance mares we also see some who didn’t compete in sport themselves but have proven to be tremendous producers. MHS King Joules’ dam produced 10 foals – 2 eventers competing 3* and 5* and 5 showjumpers competing from 1.30m up to 1.60m. HHS Noble Call’s dam produced 5 foals – one 4* eventer and 4 showjumpers competing from 1.35m through 1.60m. Pencos Crown Jewel’s dam has also produced a whopping THREE 1.60m showjumpers. Billy Walk On’s dam produced 3 other eventers that have competed through 3* level. Mr Farenheit’s dam Little Tiger has also produced another 4* eventer, making her a excellent producer as well as a top performance horse. The same can be said of Chilli Knight’s dam King’s Gem, who already has produced one other 5* eventer a well as a 3* eventer.
I can’t wait to see how this new course shakes out and who finds themselves on top at the end. Who are your Bicton picks?