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Newsells Park Stud Sale brokered by Windsor Clive



Entrepreneur and businessman Graham Smith-Bernal has made a significant investment in the British breeding industry by purchasing the famed Newsells Park Stud.

The Hertfordshire stud was purchased by Klaus Jacobs in 2000 and has since developed into a leading operation both on the track and in the sales ring, and standing the current stallions Nathaniel and Without Parole, as well as previous residents such as Equiano and Mount Nelson.

After an initial foray into shared ownership in racehorses around 30 years ago, Smith-Bernal, 63, who has horses in training this season with William Haggas and John Ryan, became involved

again in the sport almost a decade ago, and has since become an enthusiastic and passionate owner and breeder, including as a client of Newsells Park for the last six years.

His lock, stock and barrel purchase of the stud, in a deal brokered by Windsor Clive International, includes the stud's bloodstock and the stud will remain home to the Gr.1 St James's Palace Stakes

victor Without Parole, who commenced his stud career this year, and Nathaniel, who has enjoyed plenty of Group success as a sire, most notably with his outstanding daughter Enable.

"Newsells Park Stud dates back almost a century and is part of the fabric of British and international horse racing. As an existing client, I have had the pleasure of witnessing at first hand the meticulous professionalism, attention to detail and service provided by Julian Dollar and his team, both in preparing horses for racing and yearlings for the sales ring," Smith-Bernal explained. "I consider it a huge honour and a privilege to have acquired Newsells Park and look forward to building on the legacy of Klaus J. Jacobs and the previous owners, to ensure that the Stud remains at the pinnacle of breeding and racing."

Smith-Bernal's investment is a significant boon for the British breeding industry, which has been struck this year by the deaths of such high-profile breeders as David Thompson, Prince Khalid Abdullah and Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum - albeit whose legacies are being continued by their leading operations. The purchase of Newsells Park Stud ensures that the 1,200-acre nursery will remain in full operation, continuing a legacy of outstanding breeding.

This point was underlined by Julian Dollar, general manager of Newsells Park Stud since 2006, who commented: "The team and I are very grateful for the vision and investment made by the Jacobs family to date, which has seen the stud grow to be one of Europe's foremost commercial stud farms.

"We now really look forward to working for Graham and making the most of this excellent opportunity to develop Newsells Park Stud as a leader in its field worldwide. We will continue not only breeding, raising and selling exceptional racehorses, but also offering domestic and international clients professional boarding services, sales preparation and top-class stallions."

Smith-Bernal may be a relative newcomer to breeding, but he has made an indelible mark on the business world. Having left school at 16, he became a court stenographer and established his first business, Smith Bernal International, at 23. He grew it into the largest international court-reporting company in the world within five years and in 1990, he set up a software development division which created the LiveNotesoftware, an award-winning real-time transcription used around the world. It was eventually sold to Thomson Reuters and SmithBernal formed a new tech company, Opus 2, in 2010. The world's first collaborative cloud-based platform for managing evidence in major civil disputes, arbitration and public enquiries, the platform allows lawyers and courts to function securely from global locations in virtual trials and hearings, a function that has become vital since the onset of the pandemic. The company, which employs over 200 staff in offices in London, Edinburgh, Singapore and San Francisco, was sold in March this year for an undisclosed sum to the private equity company Astorg. By pure coincidence, that company shares its name with the black-type producer Astorg (Lear Fan), one of the mares owned by Klaus Jacobs in the early years of his ownership of Newsells Park Stud.

Smith-Bernal's interest in the sport dates back around 30 years to when he had shares in a couple of racehorses with parents from his sons' school. His next involvement came nearly nine years ago, when he visited Newmarket with a friend and attended the foal sales at Tattersalls.

"After a couple of bottles of wine and a very nice lunch, we were watching the foals go round in the parade ring and I suddenly looked across and fell in love with this foal going round," Smith-Bernal

explained yesterday. "The trainer we used at the time, Julia Feilden, said 'come on then, let's go and have a look.' We managed to buy her for about 8,000gns and when we went back to the table, they said 'well you're going to have to have another one'. So we bought another one and we named one Celestine Abbey (Authorized) after our property in Italy and the other one, I called Mercy Me (Mawatheeq).

"Celestine Abbey won a couple of races but Mercy Me came last in her first race, about a hundred yards behind the horse in front of her. The horse that finished second that day was called Triple Dip. We moved the horses to John Ryan and, after a couple of months, John said he thought the special one could be Mercy Me and we thought 'no way'. He said he was going to save her for the turf, but there was a race at Lingfield that March and in that race was Triple Dip, plus two other pretty much no-hopers, and our horse. The betting was 66/1, 33/1 and Mercy Me was 16/1. The favourite was 1/20! But Mercy Me went on to beat the shortest-priced favourite since the Second World War, so from that point onwards I was pretty much hooked on it!"

Smith-Bernal went on to invest in more racehorses and made the move into breeding, with Jill Lamb as his bloodstock agent.

"The mares were located at Newsells, so I have been a client of theirs for six years. I have four mares there and have gone through the process of selling their progeny at [Tattersalls] Book 1 and I just find the whole thing fascinating," he said.

"The main thing is that I have got to experience the level of quality service, attention to detail and professionalism of the staff at Newsells. We have bought all of the bloodstock as well, so it is quite an investment, but it is a highly successful operation and is home to some amazing mares. It is like a very beautiful sweetshop with some of the most spectacular sweets in the world."

Newsells Park has a rich history, dating from its inclusion in the Domesday Book, through to the establishment of the stud in 1926, when Sir Humphrey de Trafford began breeding at the historic property. Among the top horses produced by de Trafford and his family were the 1959 Derby victor and Parthia, as well as the sire Alcide, who won the 1958 St Leger and the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes the following season.

Newsells Park left the hands of the de Trafford family in 1972 and was purchased by Jacobs Holdings AG in 2000. The property underwent extensive renovation and development under the steering of the German-born Klaus Jacobs, whose coffee and chocolate empire made his fortune. Following Jacobs's death in September 2008, his family continued the stud with great success.

Nathalie Albin-Jacobs, Newsells Park Stud Chair until the sale, said:

"Newsells was a passion of my late father's. He would have taken great pleasure and pride in the stud's many successes and especially Waldgeist's win in the Arc in 2019, which would have been the culmination of his ambitions as a breeder.

"The time has come now for my family to focus on our other businesses and we know that with Graham, the stud will find a passionate and successful custodian and owner of Newsells Park for a new successful journey in both in maintaining and building further on its many achievements."

The victory of Waldgeist (Galileo), who stands at Ballylinch Stud, in the 2019 Gr.1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was just one of the numerous top-level successes enjoyed by graduates of the stud in recent years. Other Gr.1 winners bred and raised at Newsells Park Stud include the Classic winners Legatissimo (Danehill Dancer) and Masked Marvel (Montjeu), the Gr.1 Sussex Stakes winner and sire Lightning Spear (Pivotal), the globe-trotting Gr.1 winner and sire Gitano Hernando (Hernando), Gr.1 British Champions Sprint winner Librisa Breeze (Mount Nelson) and Rite Of Passage (Giant's Causeway), who triumphed in the Gr.1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. In the last decade, the stud has bred or raised 11 Gr.1 winners, as well as 13 Gr.2 winners and 26 Gr.3 winners.

In recent years, the stud's most famous graduates have been the progeny of the Listed-placed Shastye (Danehill), whose offspring have become a standing dish at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, selling for blockbuster prices. Her yearlings have garnered a staggering 14,200,000gns in the sales ring at Park Paddocks over the years, and include the famous trio Japan, Mogul and Secret Gesture, all by Galileo. Japan and Mogul have both netted a pair of top-level successes, while Secret Gesture was first past the post in the 2015 Gr.1 Beverly D Stakes and was Classic-placed in both Britain and Germany. Shastye's latest sales ring smash hit was another daughter of Galileo, purchased by MV Magnier for 3,400,000gns at Tattersalls last year.

The deal to purchase Newsells Park Stud was brokered by Windsor Clive International and George Windsor Clive, who handled the sale, commented: "We were asked to find a buyer who would want to keep the whole operation together and continue to invest in Newsells, its bloodstock and its brand. Graham SmithBernal has the funds, the enthusiasm, and the ability to keep Newsells in the premier league of European stud farms. I am delighted that we achieved the aim without the glare of a public sale."