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Futurity Five and Six Year Old Eventers Lead The Way
London, England

Now in its third year, the Baileys Horse Feeds/British Breeding Futurity Young Horse Evaluations series is coming of age with more horses across all age groups being enrolled than ever before.

Generously supported once again by Baileys Horse Feeds, the Futurity seeks to identify elite horses to be brought to the attention of the World Class Equine Pathway as well as providing information and feedback for breeders and producers regarding their horses, as well as encouragement and as much promotion as possible. The Futurity is open to potential performance sport horses and ponies from all disciplines from foals at foot to six years.

With 100 horses enrolled in 2005, 200 horses in 2006 and 320 in total this year, the Futurity's process of evaluating young performance sport horses and ponies to identify whether these equine athletes have the talent to excel and are likely to be able to withstand the rigours of modern competition, is becoming a household name. Says the British Equestrian Federation (BEF's ) Head of Equine Development Jan Rogers, "facilitating comparability between evaluations and making their objectives clearer is part of the Strategy for the Horse Industry in England and Wales, so these figures are encouraging and indicate that we are on the right lines in terms of encouraging participation and informing breeders".

The 2007 five and six year old sections were dominated by eventing winners with Sophie Noon's bay gelding Leo's Star (bred by Hazel Bramley) topping the bill in the five year old section with a consistent set of results from a limited number of outings. Leo's Star (by Bardsey Zodiac out of Red Ruby by Lord David S), also ridden by Sophie apart from one outing with Nicola Baguley, did Cumbria proud when the evaluators determined that his results merited a win in this section. Leo's Star currently has one BE point and won or was placed second in four pre novices in 2007.

A close second was Lucinda Ainley's animated chestnut mare My Evolution, owned and bred by Lucinda herself in North Yorkshire. My Evolution is by Lucinda's own up and coming TB sire Revolution out of My Abyssinia by Welton Ambassador. Lucinda also presented other Revolution progeny at the Futurity throughout the season with consistent results in the eventing section. My Evolution was ridden by Lucinda herself, winning four pre novices out of slightly more outings than Leo's Star.

Recognition in the five and six year old sections is not on results alone. The evaluators are looking to ensure that young horses have not been over exposed beyond what could be considered reasonable for a horse of their age and base their judgement on this combination of factors.

In the six year old section Sue Browne's home bred Millie on Air took the honours. Bred by Sue by Mill Law out of Primitive Rising mare Triple Echo, the bay mare's impressively consistent record impressed the evaluators. Millie on Air, ridden again this year by Nicola Baguley, now also has 22 BE points and has been enrolled in the Futurity since 2005 when it began.

Concludes Jan, "we have had good deal of feedback this year, both positive and otherwise and every point made has value and will be used to improve the series over the coming years. The Futurity is part of the Strategy, it's here for the long term and we need to get it right".

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