Buchanan Hits the Headlines – BloodHorse

Jane Buchanan hit the headlines at the recent Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale when signing for the $700,000 session-topper Belgrade , on behalf of Carl and Yurie Pascarella. A graduate of the British Horseracing Board’s development program, she has made her name in the United States as a bloodstock agent and key member of Graham Motion’s training operation. She tells us about her background and current roles.

Racing Post: What’s your backstory with horses and how did you make racing/bloodstock your career?

Jane Buchanan: It came from my father’s side of the family. From a very early age I was riding and grew up doing pony club and then eventing. My father dealt in showjumpers but his family always had an interest in National Hunt racing. My brother Peter was a point-to-point rider in Ireland before becoming a professional jump jockey.

In my last year at university, I applied to the British Horseracing Board’s graduate development program and was accepted. It was a great course and it really springboarded me more into flat racing.

RP: Tell us about your role with the Graham Motion yard.

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JB: I am his racing manager. Unlike in the UK and Ireland, every US racetrack schedules its own races and writes its own conditions book. Each track also has its own jockey colony. I help Graham pick races for our horses and try to put them in spots where they will be most competitive, often switching around entries and horses throughout the morning.

All of this is done on the phone, unlike the entry system at home. In the summer when we are busy I could be looking at condition books for up to 12 tracks. I handle all our entries, nominations, and jockey bookings at each track.

I also attend all the major sales and offer purchase/selling advice to some of Graham’s owners.

RP: And in bloodstock, who do you represent, and do you have your own clients?

JB: I mainly represent Graham’s owners. I have some great clients who enjoy racing in Europe, so we have a few horses over there. I also enjoy a friendly association with BBA Ireland and will help them from time to time in the US

RP: Who has been the biggest influence in your career so far?

JB: My first job after the BHB course was at Dalham Hall Stud and their satellite farms. After some time there, Liam O’Rourke persuaded me to go to the US to further my experience in the industry. It would not have been on my radar at the time but I listened and off I flew to Lexington for what was meant to be just a year.

I went to work for Liam’s brother Garrett at Juddmonte. After a few years, Garrett suggested that I should go and work on the racetrack, which I did.

I was very lucky during this time to work for such reputable organizations and to be introduced to great people. I really have both Liam and Garrett to thank for where I am today.

RP: Be it racing or bloodstock, name one thing that’s better about the US than the UK/Ireland, and one thing that’s not.

JB: Better in the US—the prize money. Luckily I have some clients who enjoy racing in the UK and Ireland and understand the prestige and difficulty of winning a race at a premier track, even if they earn very modest prize money. It is a shame but unfortunately, it is a very hard sell to buy a horse in the UK or Ireland for a US client and persuade them to keep it there to race, when they can bring it back to the US and run in $80,000 maiden races, or for even more.

Better at home—you just can’t beat a good winter’s day out jump racing.

RP: What’s your most memorable moment to date in working in racing/bloodstock?

JB: I’ve been very lucky to have been around a Kentucky Derby (G1) winner, a few Breeders’ Cup winners, a Dubai World Cup (G1) winner, and numerous other grade 1 horses.

There is, however, nothing more special than watching your family’s homebred win a maiden point-to-point. We have a very small family-run breeding operation. Dad does most of the day-to-day chores himself and my brother Peter does all the pre-training. We have been lucky enough to win a few competitive Irish point-to-point races.

RP: Do you have a favorite sire or one to look out for in the future?

JB: Gun Runner looks like he could be the real deal.

RP: And what about a racehorse to follow in 2022?

JB: Hopefully I can name a few. Miss Carol Ann, who is with Roger Varian. She was an impressive Maiden winner at Newmarket. Unfortunately, she didn’t handle the very testing conditions at Newbury in the Radley Stakes. Villanova Queen is another, she’s with Jessica Harrington. A winner at the backend of last year at Leopardstown, she will appear in a trial race this spring.

In the US we are very excited about Divine Huntress , who will make her next start in a Kentucky Oaks (G1) prep race. And we have a promising 3-year-colt called Belgrade who looks like he could also be fun this year.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Belgrade in the ring at the Keeneland January Sale

RP: What are your early impressions of trade at 2022 sales?

JB: The January sale here was solid enough for the right types. I have just spent some time in Ocala looking at 2-year-olds. I think these sales will be more of an indicator of things to come for the rest of the year. Yearling prices were through the roof last year, so it will be interesting to see the return on investment, although fast horses will always attract money.

RP: Tell us about something on the Buchanan bucket list.

JB: The great thing about horse racing is that it can take you all over the world. One place I have not been to, however, is Australia. I would love to get down there at some stage.

Closer to home, to stand on the winner’s podium at Royal Ascot would have to be right up there on my list as well!


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