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What do names like The Sheik, Cataloochee, Al Nitak, Sarabande, Zambuca, Zubulon and more recently Bull Valley have in common? They were all raised by Dr Marianne Thomson at Ambiance Stud, represented by a filly and a colt at this year’s Cape Premier Yearling Sale.

A few years ago Thomson moved from her original Worcester farm to a smaller stretch of land and, with that, planned on wrapping her successful breeding operation. However, she attributes still being in the industry to a “twitching muscle in her arm” and told, in her trademark humorous manner: “Every time I go to a sale my arm starts shaking, so I have no option but to raise it and make a bid!”

She’s already had two dispersal sales of her own, but said: “I tried to get out of the game, but I can’t. I sold a few mares, but I kept some too. I just can’t let go, I love them too much!”

Thomson has again built up a band of 18 broodmares based at her new establishment, Ambiance Te Nuy, in the ‘Nuy’ region between Worcester and Robertson. She supplied us with a photo of her farm, but said: “There are no pics of my horses, buyers can come and see them in the flesh at the sales complex. They are very nice.”

“I still have mares from the family of Cataloochee and Al Nitak, and I’ve bought a few new mares since my dispersal sales. Patricia Divine also gave me one, an old, problematic mare, the dam of JJ The Jet Plane. I managed to get her in foal to Master Of My Fate and she produced a very correct filly I decided not to sell. I will be breeding with her, sometimes racing takes too much out of fillies.”

This year’s Ambiance sales filly is Lot 146, Still Love You, by Elusive Fort from a half-sister to Gr1 winning sprinter, Van Halen from the family of Rock Opera. “She’s just very pretty, a lovely filly,” said Thomson.

Lot 91, the colt, is a Querari offspring from Shira, by Captain Al, a first foal named Que Shiraz.  “He’s big, well grown from a big Captain Al mare,” she said.