Childwickbury Stud, St Albans, racing ahead with first new foals in five years

The first foal to be born at Childwickbury stud for five years stretches its legs in a paddock

The first foal to be born at Childwickbury stud for five years stretches its legs in a paddock - Credit: Archant

Five years after taking over a prestigious farm and embarking upon an extensive revamp, Childwickbury Stud has welcomed its very first – and extremely cute – foal.

The long-legged filly, nicknamed Lilly, was born just over a week ago, under the careful watch of stud manager Max Weston, who described her birth as “textbook foaling”.

Her birth marks a major step forward for the farm - once the home of brood mares belonging to both the late Queen Mother and the Queen herself- which last year officially reopened for business.

The site is a prestigious piece of St Albans horse racing history, through its connections with former owners Sir John Blundell Maple, Jack Joel and his son Jim, followed by the Marquesa de Moratella.

Since being taken on by new owners Mr and Mrs Flatt in 2011, Childwickbury has been offering a number of services including permanent boarding for mares and young stock, and to foal mares at the beautiful and historic location.

Max said that the filly’s thoroughbred mother, Cameo Tiara, has been a “model parent” despite being a first-time mum, adding, “She has been very attentive and looks after her filly.

“Lilly is the first foal to be born to the stud in five years. It’s great news as it is a new generation running the farm, and a new era for the stud.”

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There are CCTV cameras in place to monitor mares about to foal, along with ‘sitting up rooms’ right next to large, straw-filled foaling boxes, where Max and other staff station themselves to assist when needed.

Lilly was born - weighing in at 52kg - after a short labour, standing within 45 minutes of birth, and feeding within an hour.

Her five-year-old mother is by an Epsom Derby winner, and the filly’s father, Lilbourne Lad, stands at stud in Ireland.

Max and the team at Childwickbury Stud will monitor Lilly’s legs, watching for - and thus rectify - any potential problems, because she will grow very quickly.

Her daily regime includes exercising in a special enclosure twice daily – under the watchful eyes of her mum, not to mention the odd noisy pheasants when the Herts Advertiser visited last week.

While the sprightly Lilly was kicking up her hooves, Max said: “Her boldness will hopefully translate onto the racecourse.”

She will start eating grass within a few weeks, and will be weaned after about six months.

A further eight mares are due to have foals shortly.