For the trio of other owner-breeders I normally follow (M H Dixon, Cliveden stud and Lady Howard de Walden) these are years of flux. The owner-breeder going through the least flux (maybe) is Cliveden Stud. For years the key mare has been Independence (now 20), who has been on and off the only ancestor of Cliveden’s Derby winner’s ( that’s Reference Point) dam Home on the Range in the stud. She has bred many winners including the Group winners Mount Nelson and Monitor Closely. In addition Cliveden have had sold many yearling colts (and fillies) for good prices, and mares are in other studs. Meanwhile Cliveden retired the winning filly Singersongwriter to their stud but after producing a filly foal the mare died, leaving Cliveden in a precarious position with this family. So a filly from the family was bought last year for 82,000euros. She is a Slade Power filly out of a Refuse to Bend half-sister to Independence called Inspirational and she is in training with Ed Dunlop. Dunlop also trains Singersongwriter’s daughter Melodies. By Ifraaj, she showed some promise as a 2yo but to me appeared a little weak. If she has done well over the winter she can win her maiden. Her dam won over 10f, so I’d be looking for a win over 8f at least. Independence’s 2yo colt by Oasis Dream (called Valence and in training with Ed Dunlop) was sold as yearling and there is a full-brother yearling this year while the mare is due to foal to Golden Horn. Last year’s best horse for Cliveden was the filly Horseplay, who is by Cape Cross out of a mare called Mischief Making. She started last season by winning the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket and followed that up with a 4th in the Oaks. She then ran another 4th in a French Group 2 before running down the field in her final start. She remains in training with Balding and it will be interesting where they aim her. She has not won over further than 10f yet ran three races over further last year. I would like to see her starting in another 10f race, for example the York May meeting Group 2. Cliveden sold Horseplay’s dam so she is the sole member of the Francfurter family (bought in the late ‘80s to provide a suitable mare for their Derby winner Reference Point) in the stud. It would be good to see her win a listed winner and I believe she is capable of that. Her half-sister More Mischief, a good listed winner trained by Jedd O’Keefe for Sam Spinner’s owners, was up to Group level. The most established family in the Cliveden Stud is that tracing back to the sisters Mils Bomb and Milly Moss, who were wonderful fillies trained by Noel Murless. There are currently 4 mares from this family owned by Cliveden but only one filly in training this year and that is the unraced 3yo Exeat. By Oasis Dream out of the Street Cry mare Brevity she is half-sister to Balding’s twice winning Brief Visit (now at stud). Cliveden would be delighted if Exeat can do a little better than her Fastnet Rock sister, who similarly was unraced as a 2yo. Much is hoped for Brevity as she has a yearling colt by Muharrar and is due to Kingman. Brevity’s dam is Cut Short. Her 2yo filly was sold as a yearling which is rare for a Cliveden filly. She is by Kingman and called Rux Power and trained by Balding for King Power Ltd who seems to have become King Power’s leading trainer (see later).: no wonder Balding has become a Leicester City fan! Cut Short is due to Muharrar this year. More of this family later but I would really like to see this family produce another star horse. It is beginning to look as if the De Walden name is signing off as regards horseracing, which is a great shame. Last year was a blank for the owner and the Avington Manor Stud. In addition it now looks as if the stud is down to one mare (that mare is Gravitation although she may have a daughter but that is not clear at the moment). Two mares seem to have moved out of the stud in 2016/7 season, which was a surprise. Gravitation is beautifully bred being by Galileo out of Guaranda, who just happens to a half-sister to Fame and Glory and Legatissimo’s dam. She has been a good mare without being an exceptional mare. This mare’s best produce has been the Cape Cross colt Gibeon, trained by Hannon. This year, her Lawman colt Gendarme should follow up his 2yo promise with a maiden win: and then hopefully some handicaps. There is currently a 2yo full-sister to Gibeon called Gamba, who is currently not placed with a trainer (but it’s likely to be Hannon or Beckett). Gravitation’s yearling is the wonderfully named Grinling (being by Mastercraftsman), while she should produce a Holy Roman Emperor foal this year. The missing daughter is a filly called Gemina (by HRE) who ran twice as as a 2yo winning once. She did not run again so I do not know if she survived. The last offspring of the Magic Flute/Grand Lodge line is Parisian, but this gelding does not look up to much. Hopefully Gendarme will bring some sparkle this year The final owner is Dick Hollingsworth’s nephew Mark Dixon. 2017 was a pretty dull year (with just one owned horse win) until Newmarket’s yearling sales, when his yearling filly by Frankel out of Prowess (part owned with the Ashbrittle Stud) was sold for 1.75 million guineas (a record for a Frankel yearling). This half-sister to their Oaks winner Talent was purchased by King Power and uninspiringly called King Power and put into training with Balding. Prowess has a yearling filly by Dubawi called Deft (being already named it is likely this filly will be retained) and is due to New Approach this year (so a full sister or brother to Talent). Unsurprisingly Prowess is to return to Frankel this year. Talent has her first foal Ambition (by Dubawi) in training this year with Hughes. She is worth a great deal though it will be surprising if she attains the heights of Talent. Talent won as a 2yo and I’d expect Ambition to be a 2yo winner. Talent has a yearling colt by Dansili and is due to Dubawi before visiting Sea the Stars: exciting times. Surprisingly ambition is the only Ashbrittle partnership horse in training, whereas the Mount Coote partnership has 4 horses in training. The mare most represented is La Spezia who became a black type mare in 2017 through the Royal Ascot 3rd by Thomas Hobson, who at the same meeting won the Ascot Stakes. Dixon has a 4yo called Palermo who doesn’t appear up to much, while the 3yo is an unraced Arakan colt called Fearless who is likely to be with Osborne. The 2yo is the attractively bred Lara who is by Camelot and to be trained by Beckett. An interesting prospect but likely to be a 3yo rather than a 2yo. La Spezia has a Born to Sea yearling colt and visits Australia this year. The Mount Coote/Dixon partnership also owned the now deceased mare Lakatoi, she was a daughter of Hollingsworth’s 1980 Oaks winner Bireme. She has a 2yo Zebedee gelding called Last Rock who is yet to be placed with a trainer. She did produce a final filly by Power, already named Punting, who I’m sure Dixon would hope carries on this other Felsetta/Bireme line. We shall see her next year. The other mare with a horse in training this year is Jumpship, and again she is a slightly different Bireme line as she descends from a different daughter of the Oaks winner (a sister to Prowess’s dam called Lightship). She is solely owned by Dixon and has produced winners but not of the class of Prowess or La Spezia. This year she has an unraced 2yo called Climb Aboard (by Mayson) with Morrison and has interestingly sent a Mukhadram filly called Waterfall to Lucy Wadham. She obviously pleased Dixon with the way she handled another of his horses, Bari, a few years back. I do not expect Waterfall to be a 2yo but I would not be surprised to see her being a reasonable 3yo. These are key years (2018-20) for Dixon, as the stallions he has used are in a different league to those used 10 years ago. This year’s stallions are Frankel, Sea the Stars, Ifraaj, New Bay (a son of Dubawi), Zarak (a son of Dubawi), Australia, New Approach and Spill the Beans. When you look at a list like that you realise these are sires out of the top drawer. The choice of the two Dubawi sons is interesting and can only be explained by satisfaction with the Dubawi foals they’ve had. Maybe 2019 and 2020 will be more exciting but 2018 is a key year for the Dixon horses.