“I would have bitten your hand off to get one in the final. To have three is just incredible.”
While the limelight was inevitably focus of the McNair Kings and Queens in the early rounds of the 74th British Bred Two Year Old Produce Stakes, the Cahill, Billingham, Smith, and Ferguson kennels – to name but four – demonstrated that there is a lot more depth to British breeding than the media and bookmakers might suggest.
But arguably, the biggest stars of the competition, were the six members of the Taylor Sky/Terminator litter bred by George Burton and grandfather Mike, and trained by Kevin Hutton.
All six in the litter made it to the track – in fact made it to the second round of the Produce Stakes – where Taranaki was the first to be eliminated. Five remained by the semi final stage – of whom a maximum of four could have qualified, since three were in the same semi final. Boca Junior made it safely through behind Amka Rofe, before Lights Out narrowly held off litter comrades Liberty Belle and the unlucky Houston Main in the third qualifier.
The litter were second generation breeding for the Burtons; Terminator (Paradise Madison-Brinkleys Tinsel) was a lightly race Romford open race winner, Tinsel was A3 at Towcester.
The litter were reared by Mike Burton in Gloucester, a name that will be familiar to rugby fans with 28 caps for England and a British Lions jersey. What most dog me wouldn’t realise is that Mike was always a keen dog man, and as a teenager worked as a kennel lad for the great John Bassett.
George said: “Mike and I are the most involved, but the whole family have an interest in the litter. Mike and Patty were always into racing years ago”
In sentiments echoing those made by Rab McNair, George concedes that they aren’t even sure of the relative abilities, due to lockdown. Though the Terminator litter are even further behind than most others.
George said: “They missed out on their early races. Boca Junior had 28.09 on his card at Monmore, so we had always assumed that he was the best, but the others are improving so quickly. For example, Lights Out’s first ever race was in the first round of the Produce Stakes. Houston Main has been running in A4 at Monmore, but has been a revelation. As a litter they are quite closely matched, and they all seem to have that bit of early, like their sire, but stay on well too.
“As far as the final is concerned, we are delighted with the draw. Boca Junior probably needs to lead and with nothing on his inside, he should get a clear run. Liberty Belle and Lights Out should be in a position to follow him. We realise that if Queen Jessiej will be very hard to beat, but we will enjoy the final no matter what.
“I would particularly like to thank Kevin and Donna for all their efforts getting us to this stage, and also to Josh Sealey. It has been fantastic to see his videos and photos. We have shared them on family WhatsApps groups which has kept everyone involved. It has been very well received.”
Final draw: 1 Boca Junion, 2) Lights Out, 3 Liberty Belle, 4) Amka Rofe, 5) Queen Jessiej, 6 Acomb Winston (M).