Garrowby, York, YO4 1QD
Owner:The Earl of Halifax
Garrowby Stud is owned by The Earl Of Halifax, who's family the Wood's have a long and interesting history. This is covered briefly below, or you can go straight to the history of the stud.
Garrowby Stud with the Vale Of York behind, July 2005, click for a larger image
Later used by Garrowby for a brochure, without permission !
The Wood family are a long established Yorkshire family, with a strong sense of public service and duty. They are actually descendants of Charles Montagu, the first Earl Of Halifax (of the first creation), thus the (by then extinct) Halifax title was chosen when Edward Wood was granted an Earldom in 1944, as it had earlier chosen been by his grandfather, when he was created a Viscount.
Sir Charles Wood (1st Viscount, 3rd. Baronet) was a Liberal MP between 1826 and 1866 (when he was raised to the Lords as the first Lord Halifax of the second creation) and was, at various times, Chancellor of the Exchequer, First Lord of the Admiralty (during the Crimean War), Secretary of State for India (he transferred the Government of India from the East India Company to the Crown), and Lord Privy Seal. Born in 1800, he died in 1885.
His son (also Charles), the 2nd Viscount, was born in 1839 (his mother was a daugher of Earl Grey, and thus a relative of Lady Jane Grey) and was well known for his work in trying to bring the Catholic and Anglican churches closer together, for more information on him see this article. He lived at Hickleton Hall (that estate having been bought by Sir Francis Wood in 1828, and was eventually sold by the family in 1947), where, following the opening of the Hickleton Main colliery, he drew a substantial income as the owner of the mining royalties, this is the original source of much of the family fortune, although they had always been reasonably wealthy. He built the remarkable parish church at Goldthorpe for the local mining community. He died in 1934 at Hickleton Hall having just returned from visiting his son at Garrowby (originally Garraby).
The First Earl of Halifax, Edward, (3rd Viscount, 5th. Baronet), was born in 1881 (he was actually the fourth son, but the first to live beyond early youth) at Powderham Castle in Devon (his mother was a daughter of the Earl Of Devon) and was Viceroy of India (as portrayed by Sir John Gielgud in the film 'Gandhi') for six years (1926-31), having previously held numerous government posts including President of the Board of Education and of the Board of Agriculture. He had inherited the historic country house of Temple Newsam from his aunt in 1904 at the age of 13, this was sold in 1922 and between then, but prior to his appointment as Viceroy of India, he was made Baron Irwin of the second creation, thereby maintaining a link with Temple Newsam (historically owned by the Lords Irwin - the Ingram family). Lord Irwin is now the courtesy title held by the son and heir to the Earldom. He succeeded his father as Viscount Halifax in 1934, and became Conservative leader of the House of Lords in 1935, serving also as Secretary of State for War (1935) and Lord Privy Seal (193538). As Foreign Secretary (193840) Halifax implemented Chamberlain's policy of appeasement towards Germany. Following Chamberlain's resignation he was considered by many as a potential contender for Prime Minister, indeed he was most people's idea as the successor, including King George VI, but both Halifax himself and Churchill had other ideas. However in 1940 he became a very successful British Ambassador to the United States, and held this position until 1946, having been created First Earl of Halifax in 1944. Arguably one of the most significant figures in British and Colonial political life of the twentieth century, he died at Garrowby in 1959.
The second Earl (1912-1980) was born at Temple Newsam and was M.P. for York for seven years years and Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding and Humberside, he was also twice Senior Steward of the Jockey Club (1950-51 and 1958-59) and a noted breeder of hounds, being Joint Master of the Middleton Hunt for many years. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford he served in the Royal Horse Guards and during this period he won a selling steeplechase at Windsor as an amateur (although there were only two runners!). He re-joined his regiment at the outbreak of War and served in the Middle East. He inherited the title upon the death of his father in 1959. Along with his son (the present Earl) he was responsible for founding the stud at Garrowby. However his wife, Ruth, Countess of Halifax was, prior to her death in 1989, a very successful breeder in her own right, first in Newmarket (her Swynford Paddocks Stud was sold in 1977), and later at the 130 acre Low House Stud also on the Garrowby Estate at Hanging Grimston. Ruth was entitled to be a force in racing as her father was a Primrose (Lords Roseberry) and her mother a Stanley (Lords Derby). In fact Ruth and her half sister, Priscilla Hastings, were two of the first three female member of the Jockey Club, and Ruth and her husband were the first married couple to both be members. Low House has in the past been leased by the successful pinhooker and yearling rearer Hamish Alexander, formerly of the Partridge Close Stud (where he reared Generous), who was also training there and has sometimes prepared Garrowby yearlings for the sales. The yard has also formerly been used as a spillover by Jimmy Fitzgerald. The second Earl's brother, the Hon Richard Wood (created Lord Holderness of Bishop Wilton in 1979) lost both legs in the war and was Conservative MP for Bridlington (1950-79) and served as a Government minister in various departments under four Prime Ministers (he once was touted as a potential successor to Edward Heath), he was a Privy Counsellor and was a Deputy Lieutenant for the East Riding and died in August 2002, aged 81.
The current (third) Earl owns around 20,600 acres in Yorkshire, centered on the Garrowby Estate, as well as a fine art collection ('conservatively' valued by the Guardian at £30m) and is a close friend of Prince Charles, who often hunts from Garrowby with the Middleton. Brought up in Newmarket at Swnford Paddocks the current Earl was christened Charles, but is universally known as Peter to avoid confusion with his late father. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church College, Oxford before joining Hambros Bank, where he remains a non-executive director. Lady Halifax is 'another' Camilla Parker-Bowles, as she was formerly married to Richard Parker-Bowles, brother of 'the' Camilla Parker-Bowles's husband. The Queen stayed at Garrowby for Ascot week when it was temporarily transferred to York in 2005. Lord Halifax is also a Deputy Lord Lieutenant for North Yorkshire, High Steward of York Minster and a J.P. He is Vice-Chairman of Christie, Manson & Woods, the European Division of Christies international fine arts auctioneers,and a director of Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd. In August 2005 it was announced that Lord Halifax would be selling his Titian painting 'Portrait of a Young Man' (through Christies naturally) which it is believed could make up to £50m, making the aforementioned Guardian estimate look very conservative indeed! Maybe some of this money will be spent on bloodstock?!? Lord Halifax has been trying for a number of years to sell the painting to the National Gallery, but they were unable to raise the funds.
To see the full range of the Garrowby estate property interests see here.
One of Yorkshire's pre-eminent nurseries of the last 20 years, Garrowby Stud, is situated, literally, on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds where the Vale of York gives way to the chalk based downland. Here Lord and Lady Halifax had until recently maintained a broodmare band of around a dozen on the 100 acre stud, although more recently it has dropped to four or five mares. The stud was converted from a property formerly known as Cheesecake Farm by the current Earl and his father in 1962. Some mares were purchased at the following years December Sales. Unusually for a very successful stud the land is predmoninantely heavy clay (chalk or limestone are generally preferred). The land also supports a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle and one of the oldest flocks of Jacob sheep in the country.
Parts of Garrowby Stud, July 2005, click for larger images
Despite the 1963 December Sales purchases it was the gift, in the same year, of Daylight from Lady Ruth Halifax that was to become more significant in the long term. She was to become the dam of Grey God (Northumberland Plate), who was sold as a foal and the grandam of Bedtime. This excellent gelding was trained by Major Dick Hern to win ten races including the Brigadier Gerard S G3, Cumberland Lodge S G3, September S G3, Prix Gontaut-Biron G3 and the Magnet Cup L as well as finishing second in the Japan Cup G1 for Lord Halifax. Bedtime, along with Teleprompter (Yorkshire trained by Bill Watts) was also instrumental in changing the laws governing what sort of races geldings could run in - prior to these horses they were not able to run in Group 1 races. This family also produced two winners of the Galtres S L in Hymettus and Nibbs Point, the later was also second in the 'Fillies St.Leger' - the Park Hill S G3. More recently Nibbs Point herself has produced Border Arrow for Garrowby. This 1995 colt owned by Wafic Said won the Brigadier Gerard S G3, Magnolia S L (twice), Fielden S L, and has been placed second in the Premio Roma G1, Brigadier Gerard S G3, Gordon Richards S G3 and third in the Derby G1, 2000 Guineas G1, Coronation Cup G1 and The Dante S G2. In December 2005 Nibbs Point's previously unheralded son Baldaquin (1997 g by Barathea) won the Jebel Ali Stakes L in Dubai. Mamara Reef, a Garrowby bred winning half sister to Nibb's Point by Salse, has recently produced Storm Dream for another breeder, and this filly is a group winner in the States and was third in the Irish 1000 Guineas G1 in 2000. More recently the Halifax's have bred Dumaran (1998 c by Be My Chief - Pine Needle) from a daughter of Nibbs Point, he has won five races including the £29,000 Vodafone Corporate Handicap in 2002, he was also second in the Rosebery Handicap of 2004, and in the Shergar Cup Mile of 2002.
The stud will forever be associated with the good Derby winner, and excellent sire, Shirley Heights (Mill Reef - Hardiemma). However his links with the stud are not are close as you might at first think . His was actually conceived (at the National Stud) and reared (at Lady Ruth Halifax's Swynford Paddocks Stud) for the first four months of his life in Newmarket, before making his way back to Yorkshire. Furthermore this was the first year that Garrowby was finally ready to keep yearling colts ; previously they had been sold as foals. As there were only two colts that year the decision was taken to keep both Shirley Heights and a Frankincense colt, whereas normally they would have been sold. Shirley Heights was sent to the Arundel stables of John Dunlop as a yearling. Having won the Royal Lodge at two he went on to win the English and Irish Derby double the following year, before injury whilst preparing for the St.Leger saw him retire early to the Queen's Sandringham Stud, Norfolk. He was syndicated for £1.6m which, given his unfashionable distaff pedigree, was a good price at the time. He proved to be an excellent sire of classic horses including top class sire Darshaan (Prix du Jockey Club, sire of Dalakhani, Hellenic, Key Change, Kotashaan, Mark Of Esteem etc and prominent broodmare sire) and the Derby winner Slip Anchor, who has himself sired that excellent racemare User Friendly who won the 1992 Oaks and St.Leger. Shirley Heights' other Group One winners include Valley Of Gold, Infamy, Arcadian Heights, Shady Heights and High Hawk. He is also grandsire of the 1998 Derby winner High Rise by the top class two year old High Estate.
Hardiemma, had been purchased for 12,000 guineas at the 1973 December Sales and was sold there three years later (in foal to Mill Reef) for 15,000gns. It wasn't until the following year that Shirley Heights would make his racecourse debut and show the error of this sale, the in utero foal fetching 250,000 guineas in the year her brother won the Derby. Luckily however one daughter was retained and she has proved to be the best of Shirley Heights' sisters at stud to date. This mare, by Blakeney, was named Bempton, she never won a race but has produced nine winners from 17 foals for Garrowby including Mr.Pintips (colt by Kris) who won the Ormonde S G3 and was 2nd.in Irish St.Leger G1, Banket (filly by Glint of Gold) winner of the Princess Royal S G3 and 2nd.Park Hill S G2 and Gull Nook (filly by Mill Reef) who won the Ribblesdale S G2. Banket was originally retained, producing five foals for the stud, including the useful Almond Rock (Won 5 inc the Ripon Rowels H, 2nd.Rosebery H) before being sold at the 1995 December Sales for 100,000 guineas.
Parts of Garrowby Stud, July 2005, click for larger images
Gull Nook has done an admirable job continuing the Hardiemma family at Garrowby as she has produced 9 winners to date including Spring (Premio Roma Vecchia G3, 2nd.Prix de Pomone G2, John Porter S G3 etc.) and Pentire. This Be My Guest colt was sent up from Side Hill Stud to the Houghton Sale of 1993 and was knocked down for the bargain price of 54,000 guineas to Mollers Racing, who put him in training with Geoff Wragg. He was a top class colt who was champion older horse in Europe in 1996. He won 8 races and £865,719 including the 1996 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth II Diamond S G1 (having been runner up the previous year) and the 1995 Guiness Champion S G1 as well as the Great Voltigeur S G2 and the King Edward VII S G2 both also in 1995. He was placed seven times including third in the Coral Eclipse S G1. Gull Nook won the H.J. Joel Silver Salver at the T.B.A. awards as 'Flat Broodmare of the Year' in 1995 when Pentire was three. Gull Nook's 1997 yearling filly by Barathea sold (via Low House Stud) for 300,000gns at the Tattersalls Houghton Sales. Meanwhile Spring has produced the useful Inglenook (1997 c by Cadeaux Genereux) for Garrowby, he won the Heron S L and the Prix le Fabeleux L and has been placed in a number of group and listed races, principally second in the Badener Meile G3. Another Gull Nook daughter, the stakes placed Kittiwake was sold but has produced Konigstiger (Gran Criterium G1, Oppenheim-Union-Rennen G2 and Fruhjahrspreis des Bankhaus Metzler G3) and Kitcat (JRA Trophy L) for her new owners. Incredible as it may seem this family now only has two active broodmares at Garrowby (although there are younger fillies in the pipeline) namely Panna (1998 filly by Polish Precedent - Gull Nook) and the aforementioned Spring, with Spring's daughter Puffin having been sold at the December Sales 2004. Panna's best produce so far is The Twisler (2012 c by Motivator) sold out of Highclere Stud for 10,000gns in 2013, who landed the March Stakes L in 2015, she has also produced useful hurdler Hot Diamond.
A third family to do well for the stud has been that of Eyewash. This ageing mare was given to the family by Marcus Wickham-Boynton of Burton Agnes Stud and she is grandam of the mare Mountain Lodge (by Blakeney) who won the 1983 Irish St.Leger G1 and the Tote Cesarewitch Handicap in the Halifax colours. Mountain Lodge has produced five winners to date with the best being Compton Ace. This son of Pharly was sold to Eric Penser for 18,000gns at the Tattersalls October Sales. In 1999 he won two races from five starts including the Gordon Stakes G3 and was third in the Ascot Gold Cup G1. Mountain Lodge's half sister Fiddle-Faddle produced the useful El Conquistador for the Halifax's, and this line of the family has also produced good horses for other breeders' most notably Frenchpark (Hollywood Turf H1) and his half sister Pearly Shells (Prix Vermeille G1), both of whom were bred by Lord Harrington.
Another mare who has provided sterling service in recent years is Wanton (Kris - Brazen Faced), a decent juvenille sprinter (placed third in the 1985 Flying Childers in Lord Halifax's colours). The Halifax involvement with this family dates back 35 years to when the third dam, Maurine, was purchased for Swnyford at the December Sales from Burton Agnes Stud, for whom she had already produced Nelion (later dam of Recupere, Prix du Cadran). Wanton was homebred at Garrowby (her dam was sold for 14,000gns at the 1989 December Sales, and later produced stakes winner Easy Option for her new owners) by Lord Halifax, she was sent to the 1986 December Sales where, bizzarely, she was purchased by Lady Halifax !! (who uses the name Givendale Stud, after their home on the Garrowby Estate before moving to the main house in 1981). To date Wanton has produced nine winners including the 1997 Irish 1,000 Guineas G1 winner Classic Park (by Robellino), who's half sister Rumpipumpy (by Shirley Heights) won six races including the Diana Handicap G2. Sold as a yearling, Classic Park was later the dam of Walk In The Park who was second in the 2005 Epsom Derby G1. Wanton's most recent good runner is the Tim Easterby trained (and Halifax owned) filly Birthday Suit who won her first two races in 2003 and, on her third start, was a good third in the Cherry Hinton Stakes G3. The following year her best effort was third in the Ripon Silver Bowl Fillies Stakes L.
Other recent additions to the stud (over and above retained mares) include some from Ruth, Lady Halifax such as Cape Chestnut, who is dam of Moogie (Won 2, 2nd.Venus Fillies S L, 3rd.Prix Chloe G3) who is herself already dam of Catwalk (Sweet Solera S L) who was a rare yearling filly sale, at 26,000gns. Moogie incidentally is the nickname of Halifax's daughter, Joanna. Other relatively new blood includes the Lyphard mare Lycia, the winning Mill Reef mare Horseshoe Reef who has produced 4 winners to date (including tough handicapper Warning Reef winner of 5 races including the Cumberland Plate, and placed second in the Knavesmire Handicap) and the High Top mare Hocus, from a famous Holliday family, who has produced 7 winners to date, most notably the Vincent O'Brien owned top-class handicapper American Gothic (who won the Irish Cesarewitch in 2002) and is the second dam of the decent Halifax black-type performer White Rabbit.
Amongst the more obscure culls in recent years was the 5yo mare Acidanthera (Alzao - Amaranthus) in 2000 for 3,000gns, she late found fame as the dam of Olympic Glory who in 2013 won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes G1 as well as being runner up in both the Prix Jacques le Marois G1 and Prix du Moulin G1, having won the Grand Criterium G1, Vintage Stakes G2 and Superlative Stakes G2 the previous year. This wasn't a vintage 'Garrowby' family however, indeed Acidanthera's dam Amaranthus was sold for 6,500gns as the following lot.
Garrowby Stud, July 2005, click for larger image
To keep numbers down and the money flowing in the right direction the Halifax's are frequent sellers of yearlings, fillies out of training and mares. They are therefore a quasi commerical stud, selling yearlings whilst still retaining some (almost exclusively fillies in recent years) to run in their own colours with Geoff Wragg, Luca Cumani, John Dunlop, Tim Easterby, James Given and James Fanshawe (primarily the later three recently). The stud had shares in Shirley Heights (naturally) and also in Be My Chief and Salse and 1/2 shares in Barathea, Kris and Polish Precedent, and in recent years they have used Zilzal, Alhaarth, Marju and the admirable Dr Fong (in whom they also own a share) often. Indeed both in stallion selection and mare/filly disposal Garrowby seem to be attempting to bring more speed into the old families, but without taking the, often fatal, step of mating extremes; to this end a lot of stallions best over around a distance of around mile seem to have been utilised. Having said that In 2005 they purchased a share in Derby winner Motivator, although he did show top class form at 1 1/4 miles and was a Group One winning two-year-old.
Amongst the young homebred mares recently retired to stud are High Barn (a daughter of Shirley Heights and Mountain Lodge), Panna (2nd.Galtres S L, daughter of Polish Precedent and Gull Nook), the 1/2 sisters Cashmere (a winning Barathea 1/2 sister to Classic Park) and the aforementioned Birthday Suit and also stakes placed White Rabbit (1999 f by Zilzal - Trick).
Stud groom at Garrowby from it's inception until his retirement in August 2000 was John Johnson, who also owns the nearby Bishop Wilton Stud. He has now been succceeded by David Trouton, who formerly worked at the Biddestone Stud, where Mtoto was bred. Yorkshire born Newmarket trainer Mark Tompkins leased the stud from 2006 to 2014, with the Halifax mares remaining in residence. In early May 2014 it was announced that the stud with 37 boxes (16 in American Barns), 100 acres, a bungalow and two flats would be available to lease from 1st July 2014 for a flexible period of upto 10 years. At the time Lord Halifax commented that they currently had 4 mares, but were hoping to increase the numbers to 6, and that they would be staying at Garrowby, essentially the Halifax's would become customers of their tenants, a continuation of the previous policy. However the stud was not leased and is now going it's own way and accepting boarders. The Earl Of Halifax, via John Warren, purchased six year old Irish maiden winner Starlet (Sea The Stars - Treasure The Lady by Indian Ridge) for 160,000gns at the 2017 December Sales, her dam is a listed placed half sister to High Chaparral. This is already looking like a good buy ; her first foal, Raakib Alhawa (Kingman), has won twice to date including the August Stakes L, whilst the second foal, Love Locket (No Nay Never) also won twice including the Leopardstown Fillies Trial G3. This duo were not Garrowby bred, but they are certainly promising results ! This was further underlined in 2019 when Starlet's Garrowby bred colt by Loup de Vega sold (via Highclere Stud) for 825,000gns at the October Sales. There are also retained homebred fillies Geminga (2018 by Awtaad) - placed from six runs and Moogie (2020 by Mastercraftsman) who won on her racecourse debut in May 2023.
To see an aerial photo of the central part of the Garrowby Estate with the Hall and Stud click here.
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Copyright 2002 Stephen George-Powell
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