by Paul Simmons

" Ismala (Djelfor x Ismalya) with colt foal by Amer - both owned by Dan Brunton"

Racing is all about dreams, the dream of leading in your own winner, riding it or breeding it. For the last 10 years Michael Brunton has been harvesting his dream to one day be crowned Champion owner and breeder. 2003 was his dream year when he was leading owner beating both H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin R Al Maktoum and H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin R Al Maktoum as well as being top breeder of Arabian race horses. The admirably tough CS Al Wahed was named Leading Arab race horse by the AHS and his dam Cikada was for the second year running leading broodmare. These are just rewards for a man who has put time, money and dedication into the sport of Arab racing. He is of course assisted by a determined team of people, notably Tony and Sue Brunton who run his training establishment to such perfection in Clarendon, Wiltshire for him.

If 2003 was the highlight then 2004 was simply the icing on the cake. Tony Brunton started the season with Shahngali winning the Group 3 at Brighton (for owner Tracey Wright). The season reached a high when Tony trained The Vertuous Crusader (for owner John Cook) to win the valuable Emirates Breeders Society Handicap on Dubai day and then took his first Group 1 win when Michael’s homebred mare CS Camellia took the Hatta Mares Stakes, thus fulfilling Michaels dream of owning and breeding a Group 1 winner. They then took the Group 2 Emirates Arabian International Stakes with another homebred CS Al Wahed and finished the season with CS Patriarch being crowned top Arabian Purebred with four wins and three placings from seven runs. Cikada was once again top broodmare with her son’s CS Al Wahed winning four races including the Group 2 and CS Clarion winning the Deira Stakes on Dubai day for owner/ trainer Gordon Farr.

" Sue Brunton lunging Group 3 winner Shahngali (Bengali D'Albret x Affecshahn (Derbist)) at Clarendon - Feb '05"

“When I bought Clarendon, my son, Dan, and I wanted to have an impact on the sport of Arabian racing. We were, however, realistic about how long it would take to achieve. We knew that we could not compete on the race track at the highest level in the early years. To compete, you have to have serious fire power — and we simply didn’t have an open ended budget to buy the best. We realised we had to breed our way to the top.” explains Michael.

They started with a series of brood mares acquired from Sultan Qaboos, but they knew that only a few mares would not be enough. Tony and his wife Sue were tasked with finding suitable brood mares to expand the gene pool.

" CS Comete (Bengali D'Albret x Cikada (Klarnet)) winner of 2 Premier Handicaps
and FULL sister to Group 2 winner CS Al Wahed - with her first foal a filly by Makzan - Feb '05"

Probably their best acquisition was the illustrious mainly Russian blooded mare Cikada (Klarnet x Cider With Rosie), which they bought from Joan Ratcliffe. Cikada had already produced an International winner with her son Carrack (Galeon). The combination of French and Russian bloodlines has worked especially well for Clarendon Stud. Cikada (Klarnet X Cider With Rosie) has produced a succession of decent performers including the decent Newmarket winner CS Comete (by Bengali D’Albret), the Group 2 winner CS Al Wahed (by Bengali D’Albret) and Deira Stakes winner CS Clarion (Chndaka). Cikada was Champion Arabian Race broodmare in 2002, 2003 and 2004. (*Cikada sadly died in 2003)

The Straight Russian mare Pokrovka’s first runner CS Patriarch (by Makzan) won four of his starts and was placed in the other three during 2004 and was crowned top Pure bred.

Ciarosa with her March 2005 colt foal by Concord (Dormane)

Spanish bloodlines have always been synonymous with performance and Clarendon Studs Straight Spanish mare Ciarosa has produced some astounding stock to date including Newmarket winner CS Corsair (by Div (Peleng), Group placed CS Kadoza (by Shahil Rakkad) and the phenomenal Group 1 winning mare CS Camellia (by Bengali D’Albret) – all three have been sold to UAE.

There is also the Briery Close English bred mare Samara Bint Samurai (Golden Samurai X Shahroza) who has produced three gutsy, determined mares. The decent handicapper Jumah (by Div) who has won three races in the 0-85 Handicap bracket, Newmarket winner CS Sambisoora (by Shahil Rakkad) as well as CS Shamal (by Bengali D’Albret), who scored twice out of three outings in 2003. Her other daughter Sabarrah (by Edykt) was unbeaten in eight starts in Oman.

They stand Div (Peleng x Poprigunia) at their Stud and he has proved to be a consistent sire of decent handicap winners. “Tony approached us when Div became available and we jumped at the opportunity to buy him,” says Dan. “His first crop for us produced Jumah (out of Samara Bint Samurai), a multi race winner”.

They reacted to the move on the racing scene to the use of French blood for speed and power. They started to cover their mares with French stallions, among others.

“We have worked closely with Shadwell Estate and Umm Qarn over the last six or seven years to ensure we have used the best stallions available,” continues Dan.

It is not just the breeding that achieves the results, it is also down to a good trainer and training team.

“It has been a long journey and we’ve gone through our good times and bad times on the way. It’s not just down to me though – I have a good team of people, headed by Sue, that ensure the horses are ready to run on time.” explains Tony.

There is obviously a great deal of preparation that goes into the race schedule for each horse. The results are testament to this – from 80 individual runners in 2003, Clarendon achieved a 25 per cent win ratio.

" CS Charma (Amer x Ciarosa (Ciato)) 2 yr old colt - half brother to Group 1 Hatta Stakes winner CS Camellia (Exp. UAE) -
A star of the future?. The white faced chestnut looking on is 2004 Champion Purebred
CS Patriarch (Makzan x Pokrovka (Desant)) - Feb '05"

But what for the future? Michael is very clear in his thinking.

“For Arabian racing to continue flourishing, it needs the support of its racing members. By this, I mean dedicated breeding programmes as well as sponsorship of racing.”

“Like many of the Arabian racing fraternity, I’m not in this for the money — our winnings each season are ploughed back into the sport, without question. I am trying to further promote the Arabian breed and the appeal of Arabian racing to a broader range of equestrian people — the more the merrier !” explains Michael.

Indeed the future looks bright for Clarendon Stud, in 2005 they will have a selection of their homebred’s on the track in 2005 including: the five year olds CS Kabira (Djebbel X Ciarosa), CS Wraith (Djebbel X Waywood Ghost) who were both placed last season, the four year olds CS Khan (Khairoaun X Cikada ), CS Khamsin (Khairouan X Samara Bint Samurai) and last seasons top pure bred CS Patriarch (Makzan X Pokrovka) and his full sister who’s four, and two impressive looking 3 year old colts, namely CS Jumali (Bengali D’Albret X Jumah) and CS Malik (Makzan X Ciarosa).

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