Breeding success: From stud farm to winner's enclosure

Story highlights

  • Winning Post presenter travels to Newmarket
  • Meets Pivotal at historic Cheveley Stud Farm
  • Talks to breeders about meticulous work

Aly Vance is the new host of Winning Post — CNN International's monthly horse racing program. For March's show, Aly traveled to Newmarket and Dubai examining what it takes to become a winner on the track. The views expressed in this blog are entirely those of Aly Vance.

(CNN)What a busy show!

This month, we trace the career of a racehorse from birth to what is the intention for all thoroughbreds -- race day.
    And when it comes to a race day, few can match the glamor and prestige of the Dubai World Cup Carnival -- which forms the backdrop to March's show.
    Racing is the final and most important piece of the jigsaw when it comes to a thoroughbred racehorse. It all starts with meticulous planning by breeders, as they decide which bloodlines should be crossed to produce what they hope will be a champion.
    Every foal that's born has the potential for greatness, which is what makes breeding racehorses so exciting.
    For me, the highlight of this month's show was visiting Cheveley Park, the UK's oldest stud in the famous racing town of Newmarket in Suffolk.
    aly vance blog
    Horse breeding dates back hundreds of years at Cheveley Park, it is claimed, and today the stud -- famous for its red stable doors, historic buildings and rolling parkland -- looks stunning.
    There are seven stallions on site including Pivotal -- one of Europe's most successful sires.
    We filmed him on a chilly February day, but he looked so well, that you'd have never guessed that he's now 23 years old. Perhaps it's all the loving care and attention he gets each day from head stallion man, John Rice.
    Pivotal certainly lives in the lap of luxury with his palatial stable that was once home to Isinglass, the famous English Triple Crown winner in the 1800s.
    Isinglass was born at the stud and died in 1911 after which his skeleton went to London's Natural History Museum where it remains to this day.
    Another highlight was visiting the stud's yearling division at Strawberry Hill. These youngsters will start their formal training towards the end of the year, so Strawberry Hill is like pre-school for them. They were learning the basics of being handled with plenty of time to "play" in the field.
    Amongst the group of yearlings we filmed, was a bay filly by Frankel. The thoroughbred trained by the late Henry Cecil was unbeaten during his 14-race career and is easily the most famous racehorse this century.
    Does the small, yet unnamed filly know what she has to live up to? As she walked around the yard with her mates, she looked like she couldn't care less who her father was!
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