Ian Kellit, the joint-breeder of Lossiemouth (Fr), a short-priced Triumph Hurdle favourite who is expected to extend her unbeaten record to four for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend at the Dublin Racing Festival on Saturday, has revealed that he was totally unaware that a jumps filly could be so valuable before the gorgeous grey came along.
Lossiemouth bolted up in the Prix Geographie Hurdle at Auteuil for Yannick Fouin on debut, at which time she was part-owned by Kellit, the Scottish native who has resided in France for over 30 years.
While Kellit has sold many good horses back to Britain and Ireland, he never managed to make any money from a filly; that was before Lossiemouth, who he describes as “a bit of a life-changer,” came into his life.
Kellit said, “I was back in the UK when she won on debut at Auteuil but Nicolas Madame, my racing partner, phoned me after the race to tell me that his phone hadn’t stopped ringing ever since she crossed the line in front. We thought she’d run well. But did we think she’d do what she did? I don’t think so.
“I never realised that a jumps filly could be worth so much money, simply because we had never sold one for big money before. She could be a bit of a life-changer.”
The dream could well have been over before it ever began for Kellit and his crew as Lossiemouth went through the sales ring at Arqana back in November 2020. Thankfully for Kellit, Lossiemouth, who he bred from bargain mare Mariner’s Light (Fr), was led out unsold at €14,000 before selling for multiples of that figure to Rich Ricci, for whom she is a warm order to land the G1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Kellit recalls, “She went with Yannick Fouin with two or three others but Yannick got pretty excited about Lossiemouth from about January last year. The vibes started to get really good from there. He went straight for the Prix Geographie and off she went–luckily Jeremy Da Silva managed to stay on after she jumped to the left at the last and she went on to win 10 lengths.
“We’ve got Springcroft (Fr), the half-sister to Lossiemouth, and we are looking at sending her to a much more fashionable stallion this year for obvious reasons. Before Lossiemouth came on the scene, we were wondering about breeding from her again but now we definitely will. It’s such a long game. It’s a bit like wine. You start with an idea and it’s not until four or five years down the line where you can see what you’ve got.”
He added, “The tendency has been to sell the males and keep the females. Lossiemouth is the outlier. She is probably the first female that we sold–the rest were more or less given away.
“We’ve bred a few black-type horses, including Tocca Ferro (Fr) and Le Bec (Fr), who did well for Emma Lavelle. That goes back the best part of 20 years. We also owned a good Martaline (GB) mare, Martalette (Fr), who won a Grade 3 at Auteuil but Lossiemouth is the best of them.”
Mariner’s Light has turned out to be Kellit’s shrewdest investment yet and she didn’t cost a whole pile either. That’s because her Group 1-winning brother Lord Glitters (Fr) had yet to appear on the page when Kellit acquired her.
Kellit said, “Nicolas had a share in Mariner’s Light with Yannick Fouin while she was racing. When they retired her from racing, they asked if I wanted to pick her up, which I did for next to nothing. Nobody knew about her half-brother Lord Glitters back then so the page became a lot more interesting after I bought into her.
“She produced a few before Lossiemouth, but this is the first decent horse that Mariner’s Light has bred. She’s not in foal this year but she’s going to go back to see Great Pretender this year. It seems like it could be a good idea!”
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