By Lucy Russell-Hughes

Norton Grove stud recently lost their popular stallion Monsieur Bond at the age of 19 to illness.

He was a high class sprinter and sire, breeding winners of over 500 races including two Group 1 scorers with Gilt Edge Girl and Move In Time.

It was a sudden loss for Richard and Maggie Lingwood who own the Malton premises and also have the stallions Pastoral Pursuits, Milk It Mick and Forever Now on the books.

Monsieur Bond was popular with local breeders and he will be remembered for stamping his stock with quality and longevity.

He also sired the tough and consistent performer Hoof It, who was placed at the highest level for Sheriff Hutton trainer Mick Easterby. He was trained successfully by Bryan Smart and his racing owner was Reg Bond and his son Charlie expressed how much he will be missed.

“He’s a sad loss to the family and Norton Grove Stud. He was very well looked after at the stud by Richard and Maggie, he had a very good home for his stallion career.

“He was at Malton, which was only 30 minutes away for myself and Dad, and we used to pop in and see him quite a bit.”

The Lingwood’s have since filled the vacancy after the death of their flagship horse.

A three-year-old colt named Sogann is the new addition to the ranks and he becomes the first stallion by the mighty Frankel to stand at a stud in the North of England.

Sogann is anything but a familiar name, but his pedigree speaks for itself. He is by the outstanding racehorse and now super sire Frankel and is a half-brother to the French based stallion Dabirsim.

Dabirsim was an undefeated dual Group 1 winning juvenile in France and Europe and he has already sired top class performers in his new career at stud.

The breeding season officially begins on February 15 in the UK and the Lingwood’s are hopeful Sogann can follow in his brother’s footsteps and put Norton Grove Stud on the map for potential international breeders.

“Hopefully he will be fit for covering mares when the time comes, he has got plenty of time before February. He is a grand looking horse. We hadn’t thought about replacing Monsieur Bond as we thought the time was getting late to stand a fresh stallion,” said Norton Grove Stud owner Richard.

“We were offered the chance to stand him and we’re pleased to be able to,” he added.

Sogann was bought for €550,000 as a yearling in 2017 but failed to reach the racecourse. His new career now lies at stud in one of Malton’s oldest and proudest breeding farms and plenty of interest will surround his progeny.

Norton-based trainer Tim Fitzgerald was rewarded with a rare two-year-old winner on Saturday when Locked N’ Loaded scooted to victory on the all-weather surface at Wolverhampton.

It was a smart performance from the two-year-old colt on debut for the yard having previously been in the care of trainer Richard Hannon.

Locked N’ Loaded appeared to relish the step up in trip to an extra half a furlong and he scored by over two lengths in the hands of jockey Barry McHugh.

He defeated some smart horses in the process to record his first career victory and land the class five Nursery Handicap at odds of 25-1.

“I think the step up in trip has improved him a bit more. He rode like a nice horse and he quickened well. He could have a good future. Tim is a great fella and he’s brilliant to deal with,” said McHugh.

The colt now runs in the ownership of Star Sports Bloodstock and he had a handful of runs during his time at Hannon’s, making his racecourse appearance in August. He could make a quick return to the track and looks to have a promising year ahead.

Tim’s father Jimmy Fitzgerald was an exceptional trainer of horses and enjoyed success under both codes; he was best remembered for saddling Forgive’n Forget to win the 1985 Cheltenham Gold Cup. During his time Mr Fitzgerald turned Norton Grange Farm in Norton into one of the strongest jump centres in Britain.

Whilst his son still continues the family tradition, it is great he now has a potentially smart animal on his hands in the form of Locked N’ Loaded.

There is excitement building for local national hunt fans this weekend at the prospect of Waiting Patiently returning to action and also Brian Ellison’s stable star Definitly Red tackling the Aintree Grand National fences once again.

Waiting Patiently was last seen finishing third behind the classy Willie Mullins trained Min in the Grade 1 JLT Chase at the Grand National meeting in April.

He has a number of entries for upcoming races and looks likely to drop down in trip to contest this Saturday’s two mile Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.

His trainer Ruth Jefferson said, “He is in the Tingle Creek, he’s in the John Durkan (Punchestown) and he will get an entry in the Peterborough Chase (Huntingdon). If all is well we will lean towards the Sandown race.”

Ellison’s Definitly Red is a possible runner in Saturday’s Beecher Handicap Chase which would see him contest the birch fences for the first time since his early departure in the 2017 Grand National.

The Phil and Julie Martin owned gelding ran in last month’s Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase, finishing fourth and afterwards Ellison revealed his stalwart got stuck in the Wetherby mud, but hopes are high for his trip to Merseyside.

His Malton trainer has also given him an entry in the Many Clouds Chase which is a race Definitly Red has a great record in.

Speaking after his latest run, Ellison said: “He came back very tired, but he’s fine. Obviously he’s won the Many Clouds for the last two years, but his long term aim is the National.

“It’s not as if he needs practice over the National fences, though, as the year he ran in it he was loving it before he got brought down. But that’s the National for you, that can happen.”