JAMES GARFIELD RETIRES TO STUD
I’m delighted but also admittedly a little sad to report that James Garfield will be leaving us shortly to begin the next chapter of his life as a stallion at the excellent Rathbarry Stud. It’s hard to know where to begin when summarising what James Garfield means to me; he’s been instrumental to the start of my career and also such a wonderful character in the yard for the past two years.
He was Stakes placed over 5, 6, 6 ½ and 7 furlongs with Group wins in the Mill Reef at 2 and the Greenham Stakes at 3. My favourite moment during his first season was seeing him break the 2-year-old track record at Newbury over 6 furlongs – considering the long role call of excellent horses that have run at Newbury, it’s quite an achievement.
He took me to my first Breeders Cup, and although very unlucky he ran a respectable race. He also provided me with a very proud moment when becoming my first Classic runner in the 2000 Guineas here at Newmarket beaten just 4 lengths and his epic run in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest when being collared on the line earnt him an official rating of 118 and a Timeform rating of 125.
It’s incredibly special that he was bred just outside the house where Polly and I live, on Bill and Tim Gredleys Stetchworth and Middle Park Stud. Unwanted at the sales as a yearling Bill decided to send him to me with the idea he might be an early horse for the yard. He certainly was, I'm enormously grateful to the Gredley family for the opportunity.
James' overriding characteristic is his strength and desire to beat other horses. He’s barely missed a day’s training during the two years he’s been with us at Saffron House and he’s certainly always been the biggest character in the yard.
I’m unbelievably proud to be sending a horse to Stud so early in my career and I couldn’t think of a better place than Rathbarry; who are a wonderfully run family stud in Ireland. I hope that he’ll be a worthy companion to the mighty Acclamation with whom they have enjoyed huge success standing.
It’s not often that I get emotional in these situations, but it will be a sad day saying goodbye to my stable star and great friend to the yard. Thank you to all of my staff, especially Fletcher who has looked after him and Alex my assistant who puts up with his constant playful abuse in the box! This has been a true team effort and has showcased perfectly the capabilities of the yard moving forward.