Racing Post: live blog

In pictures: Meon Valley Stud

We go behind the scenes at the famed Hampshire nursery of Meon Valley Stud

    Nestled in between Winchester and Southampton in Hampshire sits Meon Valley Stud, a breeding operation famed for producing top-class thoroughbreds over the past 30 or so years such as Izzi Top, Jazzi Top and leading National Hunt sire Kayf Tara. 
    Established in 1980 by the late Egon Weinfeld and his wife Elizabeth, it was the purchase of four fillies over the course of 1977 and 1978 who became the operation's foundation broodmares. To this day the majority of the horses trace back to the four family lines of One In A Million, Odeon, Home And Away, and Reprocolor.
    The most successful has been that of Lancashire Oaks winner Reprocolor whose descendants include Necklace, Opera House and many others.
    Perhaps the most well-known mare at the stud is Zee Zee Top, a 17-year-old daughter of Zafonic who carried the famous black with white spot silks to victory in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera in 2003. 
    Since retiring to the paddocks, she has become one of the key mares in the band and her offspring include dual Group 1 heroine Izzi Top and Prix de la Nonette winner Jazzi Top. 
    Zee Zee Top is a granddaughter of Reprocolor and is pictured above with stud manager Mark Weinfeld, who is also part-owner of Meon Valley Stud with his sister Helena Ellingsen and his mother Elizabeth. 
    Zee Zee Top delivered a filly foal by Invincible Spirit earlier this year and her Dubawi colt yearling (below) will be offered at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale later this year. 
  • Izzi Top, who joined the broodmare band at the end of her racing career, and her first mating was with Oasis Dream at Banstead Manor Stud. 
    The resulting yearling, a colt, was snapped up by John Ferguson for 1,100,000gns at Tattersalls last year. 
    Here she is pictured with her 2016 colt by Dubawi. 
  • Preparations for the upcoming yearling sales are well underway and the youngsters' routine consists of plenty of work. Here they are seen exercising in their yard.
  • With a number of yearlings set to go under the hammer, one potential star from the Meon Valley Stud draft is a colt by flying first-season sire Frankel. 
    Out of the Listed-placed Diktat mare Dash To The Front, he is a half-brother to this year's Prix Jean Romanet heroine Speedy Boarding. 
  • With an emphasis on keeping the horses outside as much as possible, the vast paddocks allow the mares, yearlings and foals to enjoy the green grass. 
    The foals even find time to play with each other! 
  • 20 mares currently make up the broodmare band and among them are Shirocco Star (pictured with her colt foal by New Approach below). 
    The Oaks runner-up is in foal to Darley's flagship sire Dubawi.
    Galaxy Highflyer (below), a unraced daughter of Galileo out of Colorspin, has produced three winners including the Group-placed Oklahoma City. She delivered an Oasis Dream colt in February and is in foal to Kingman.
    Dash To The Top, a half-sister to Dash To The Front, with her Frankel filly foal
  • Meon Valley Stud are truly master breeders, thanks to careful nurturing of those foundation families and the tranquil surroundings and lush, rolling paddocks which the young horses are raised. 
    The operation has been producing top-class horses for more than 30 years and looks set to continue doing so for many years more.
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