Swordlestown Little Team Say Soft Ground Key To Arrest’s Derby Claims

Swordlestown Little’s Mariann Klay, who along with her husband Des Leadon bred the impressive G3 Chester Vase winner and new Derby favourite Arrest (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), says that soft ground will be key to the Juddmonte colt’s Epsom challenge. 

Arrest, trained by John and Thady Gosden, shot to the head of the Derby market after sluicing up in his favoured testing ground at Chester on Wednesday. 

That prompted bookmakers to propel Arrest to Derby favouritism at odds of 6-1, usurping 2,000 Guineas disappointment Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}).

Klay described breeding a Derby favourite from the brilliant bargain buy Nisriyna (Ire) (Intikhab) as a dream and said the success could provide inspiration for smaller breeders in the future. 

“It’s wonderful–it’s what everyone dreams of and, when it comes off, it’s amazing,” she said after the race on Wednesday. 

“It’s special because the odds are always stacked against you and so much can go wrong. It doesn’t matter how well-bred they are or what trainers they are with, things can go wrong, so when it actually does happen, it really is special.”

Klay added, “Arrest loved the soft ground so, if Epsom came up soft, that would be great. I don’t think he would run on anything other than soft ground but he is a very good horse, there’s no doubt about it. The lovely thing is, he is a very good horse for the future, even beyond this year. He could be an exciting older horse.”

Nisriyna was snapped up for just €2,000 by Klay and Leadon at the Goffs November Sale in 2010. It has proved to be money well spent with the mare producing six individual winners, including three black-type performers who achieved ratings of 110 or more. 

Indeed, the standard in which Arrest was held in by Juddmonte was evident at Goffs last November when the internationally acclaimed owner-breeders snapped up a Wootton Bassett (GB) foal out of the mare for €340,000. 

Going back to the beginning of the success story, Klay said, “Des and I used to ride out at John Oxx’s [where Nisriyna was trained but never raced], hence I knew Nisriyna’s family, which allowed us to go for her at the sales. It was just one of those lucky days that we made a lucky call. 

“It doesn’t always happen but I suppose it will give hope to small breeders as we only have five mares and it shows you don’t always have to spend a lot of money.”

Nisriyna is also the notable producer of Dinozzo (Ire) (Lilbourne Lad {Ire}), a winner of over €1 million in prize-money in Hong Kong, and the talented sprinter Spring Loaded (Ire) (Zebedee {GB}). 

The 16-year-old darling of Swordlestown Little is reported to have a Dark Angel (Ire) colt foal at foot and, after scanning successfully in foal to Juddmonte’s Kingman (GB), Klay and Leadon have ever more reason to dream.

Klay said, “She’s actually in New England Stud as we speak. She has been scanned in foal to Kingman and has a nice colt by Dark Angel at foot. Obviously I can’t wait to have her home! It would just be lovely if we could have a filly out of her now.”

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