A Highland stallion once described as an “ugly duckling” landed the £1,000 Torne Valley Supreme Ridden Mountain and Moorland title at the North of England M&M Show on Sunday, July 12, held at Arena UK in Lincolnshire.
Melanie and Gemma Stanford’s charismatic Ben Breac Of Croila has enjoyed an exceptional run of form this season, taking the supreme ridden M&M title at Royal Windsor in May. For the previous two years, the now eight-year-old had stood in-hand M&M supreme at the same venue.
Ben Breac was bought from renowned Scottish breeder Cameron Ormiston — who died in August last year aged 85 — as a yearling, but was only intended to be a “field companion” for another.
“My mum [Melanie] really liked the other colt, so we took Breac as well,” recalls Stanford. “She flew up to Aberdeen, did it in a day, and rang me to say, I’ve just bought two yearlings, totally untouched! Breac was so gangly, and he took a long time to mature and blossom, as Highlands often do, but he did have amazing limbs and frame.”
And blossom he certainly did — winning almost from the start.
“I didn’t show him until he was four but he won at his very first show,” said Stanford proudly. “Then in 2013, he won championships at Royal Windsor, Royal Highland, Royal Cornwall and Royal Norfolk — to do the four Royals in one year was fantastic.”
Stanford has always shown him in-hand, but Matt Cooper rides him in the ring. There was more success for the team at North of England, as Cooper rode the Stanfords’ Highland Tower Clyde to head a huge HOYS qualifier.
“Am I dreaming or do dreams actually come true?” smiles Stanford.
The £1,000 Kellythorpe Stud Supreme In-Hand honours went to Billy Moran’s Tiger Attack, the three-year-old colt’s third supreme this season. Tiger Attack is by the renowned sire Dolphin Supreme and finished second in the Cuddy In-Hand Horse of the Year 2014 at HOYS.
As Moran says, “He went amazingly at Arena UK.”
Image: Ben Breac Of Croila, Real Time Imaging/Steve Dawe