‘That is my retirement plan!’ – Stephen McCluskey on Summerstorm Bloodstock | Bloodstock information

Stephen McCluskey

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Stephen McCluskey: Founder of Summerstorm Bloodstock

Stephen McCluskey

By Kitty Trice 6:12 PM, July 17, 2021

A lifelong love of horses and years of careful planning have gone into Summerstorm Bloodstock, Stephen McCluskey’s new venture, which picked up four fascinating lots at the recent Tattersalls July auction.

McCluskey, a land developer with a number of successful businesses, owned and built a racetrack in Scotland (now the home of Keith Dalgleish) over 20 years ago, but sold it before starting a family with wife Vicki.

He said: “We have always had horses and owned and built Belstane Racing Stables in the late 1990s, which brought Ian Semple back to Carluke, Scotland.

“We were probably a decade ahead of our time and tried to lure the owners back to Scotland to have their horses trained on site.

“We knew the top coaches in Newmarket and we knew this was the heart of the whole blood industry, but we wanted a Scottish base and we wanted to put money back in the Scottish Circle.

“That was probably a step too far, as we couldn’t take the stable to the next level at the time, and so we sold it on after five years.”

Stephen McCluskey

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Stephen McCluskey with his first thoroughbred, Arkley Surprise

Stephen McCluskey with his first thoroughbred, Arkley Surprise

Stephen McCluskey

A central tenet in McCluskey’s professional life has always been the importance he placed on looking ahead, and the burgeoning Summerstorm Bloodstock is the result of years of planning.

He explained, “It’s a long-term plan and I’m the type who plans five to ten years in advance. I’m starting in the minor league and I want to work my way up to the Premier League for breeding.

“We know you have to run before you can run, but everyone started somewhere and I think we made some excellent purchases while selling.

“I’m a land developer and that [Summerstorm Bloodstock] is effectively my retirement plan! I’ve had different businesses that I’ve bought and sold, so I know a lot about running different businesses, but that’s really my passion. ”

The Tattersalls July Sale was seen as the obvious place to go to find potential broodmares, and while the breeding stable will ultimately prove the long-term plan for two of the three mares – the other, Spinning Dreams, bought for 22,000g, is already in foal from Juddmonte’s Expert Eye.

McCluskey is tacitly hoping a few races and even some black guys can be won with newcomers before looking any further ahead.

“I have five am [Tattersalls July] sold last week and we took care of some nice breeding prospects for Frankel, “he said.

“Some we will keep in training with Sean Woods, Iain Jardine and Jim Goldie as we develop the blood stick site over the next few years and match them to the right stallions and give us time.

“I’ve provided them with coaches to look after their long-term skills. These fillies have the potential to get a black guy. If they get that, they’ll be instantly retired.”

Stephen McCluskey

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Act Naturally galloping two days after their date in the Tattersalls ring

Act Naturally galloping two days after their date in the Tattersalls ring

Stephen McCluskey

Among the comers to Park Paddocks is Newsells Park Stud-bred Act Naturally, a triple-placed daughter of Frankel and listed Sea The Stars mare Anipa, bought by McCluskey for 28,000 gns.

It’s a Nick who produced this year’s Hampton Court Stakes striker Mohaafeth, and McCluskey is excited about the three-year-old’s future, both on the track and later at the stud.

He said: “She is a little filly, but well built and has tried her heart. She has an excellent pedigree on both sides, she has Sea The Stars on her mother’s side and has Galileo and Frankel on her father’s side.

“She has all the skills and I think Sean will find her ideal distance. I always believe that when it is in the heart and in the breeding, they have what it takes to win.”

He also bought the two-time Lochnaver from the William Haggas-Hof, a daughter of Frankel out of the US Grade 3 winner Strathnaver and the racing gelding Grand Canal, who scored twice for Tom Clover.

McCluskey also dreams of opening his stud in Scotland at some point, although a lot depends on family matters. However, it is all a challenge that he is happy to face.

“Because we have quite a lot of developments in the north like Inverness where we have a clam company, we have quite a variety of companies, but at the same time I’m not ruling anything out,” he said.

“Until my three boys [aged 13, 16 and 17, including Christopher who is about to join the paratroopers] will be ready to leave the nest, I have no set ambitions but my ultimate goal is to have a place in Scotland for a stud.

“We’re going to start a UK company and a Scottish company because we have both and they work together.”

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