Legacy of Johnny Barnes to live on

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  • Heart of a champion: Johnny Barnes, winning his final race at the Grosvenor Sport Handicap at Goodwood in West Sussex last August, has retired to stud

    Heart of a champion: Johnny Barnes, winning his final race at the Grosvenor Sport Handicap at Goodwood in West Sussex last August, has retired to stud

  • A real coup: Lorgnette is the standout broodmare purchased by Bermuda Thoroughbred Racing. A Galileo, bought for 200,000, Lorgnette will be taken to Touget, where Johnny Barnes is based, next year

    A real coup: Lorgnette is the standout broodmare purchased by Bermuda Thoroughbred Racing. A Galileo, bought for 200,000, Lorgnette will be taken to Touget, where Johnny Barnes is based, next year


The racing days of Johnny Barnes may be over, but it is hoped his legacy will live on after he was put out to stud.

The Bermuda Thoroughbred Racing’s flagship horse enjoyed a successful four-year career, including finishing runner-up in a group one race at Saint-Cloud in Paris and winning a group three at Deauville, Normandy.

Given his French connection, it seemed only fitting, says BTR chairman Simon Scupham, that Johnny Barnes will be based at a stud farm in Touget in the southwest of France, where he has already proven his virility by fathering a foal.

“Johnny is well known in the French racing circles; it’s where he has done all of his best work,” Scupham said. “He comes from a very good pedigree and if someone inherits his heart and ability ... Not many horses go to stud as a stallion unless they have won a group one race. His trainer John Gosden said he was definitely worth marketing and that he had done enough.

“Although we bought six horses, it’s always been about Johnny; he’s always been the leader in the pack.”

Scupham said BTR has maintained significant interest in Johnny Barnes and has already purchased three broodmares of impeccable breeding, with a view to racing its progeny in the Bermuda pink and navy blue silks. The standout among the trio is Lorgnett, a Galileo mare who was sold for €1 million ($1.2 million) at the Arqana August yearling sale in 2014. BTR picked her up for €200,000 at the Deauville Sales.

“You have to bring broodmares to the stallion so you can get foals yourself,” Scupham explained.

“[Lorgnett] is already in foal and that baby is by a well-known stallion called Le Havre, who was a very successful French racehorse. She will go to Johnny next year. We already have two other broodmares staying with him at the stud farm.”

Scupham said the long-term plan was to race some of the foals sired by Johnny Barnes in France, where there is a 60 per cent premium paid for French-bred racehorses.

“If you see a horse you’ve bred win a race, it’s even more exciting, an even better story,” he said. “The Johnny that we all knew perpetuates.”

Purchasing new horses every year was an unsustainable business model, says Scupham, who admits BTR will inevitably sell some of the foals produced by Johnny Barnes and his band of mares.

“If we decide not to sell [the foals], we can syndicate them,” said Scupham, who is also the chairman of Shoreline Insurance Managers in Hamilton.

“A lot will depend on what the foal looks like and the experts’ view on racing potential. It will be a mixture; some we will keep and some we will sell.”

Having sold three of its five horses last year — Castle Harbour, Horseshoe Bay and Paradise Lake — BTR will have just one horse, Great Sound, in action this season.

Scupham said he had high hopes for Horseshoe Bay, who switched from Flat racing to National Hunt, before his longstanding injury problems returned.

“Horseshoe Bay was going to be the great white hope, but unfortunately he had a recurrence of his tendon injury and at that point there was no point going back to the drawing board,” Scupham added.

“We’ve found him a wonderful home and his owner keeps sending me e-mails, she’s so overwhelmed by this horse. It’s like she’s found a new husband! It’s disappointing because he could have been very special.”

Great Sound, previously trained by Gosden, with two wins under his belt, has moved to Richard Hughes’s stable in Lambourn, Berkshire, and is expected race in the next month or two.

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Published Mar 7, 2018 at 12:01 am (Updated Mar 7, 2018 at 11:51 am)

Legacy of Johnny Barnes to live on

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