Mainly Stones and horses
The friendships of Julian Lloyd, in monochrome pictures
When I hit 75 after a lifetime in racing and breeding, it seemed evident that it was probably best to give up the seven-day-aweek hurly-burly of the yard and farm. I had managed Kirsten Rausing’s Staffordstown for over thirty years, a period in which it had grown from 75 to 475 acres, while simultaneously rearing some very good horses she had bred. But what next?
Earlier in my life, from schooldays onwards, I had had a brief career as a photographer and had continued to take pictures, just for the fun of it, ever since. It now seemed worthwhile to make something of the thousands of old negatives recklessly heaped in cardboard boxes.
There was material from the early 1960s, which I had long thought lost but which I rediscovered in boxes underneath my mother’s bed after she died. And then there was plenty of more recent material, mainly taken in Ireland over the next three decades or so, some of which is printed here.
Denny Cordell, with Jo and Ronnie Wood
In the 1980s and 1990s my interests in both racing and music seemed to dovetail conveniently. Our friend Denny Cordell had quit the music business in Los Angeles and set up home in Co Carlow, pretty soon equipping himself with licences to train both racehorses and greyhounds. He’d always had an interest in both: Denny’s oldest son Barney had youthful memories of being squeezed into the back of a Ferrari with both Bob Marley and a greyhound and driven out to the Californian desert in pursuit of a local rabbit.
My wife Victoria and I had some years earlier gone to stay with Denny in Malibu. There was no shortage of action. One day we were racing at Santa Anita, going to the backstretch to see horses in the care of the legendary Charlie ‘Bald Eagle’ Whittingham. What seemed like moments later, we had flown to San Francisco for the last ever gig by the Sex Pistols.
Here’s Denny with Ronnie Wood and his first wife Jo, who subsequently arrived in Ireland, buying a house from Jonathan Irwin (at that time, the boss of Goffs).
Ronnie was another racing fan. His father liked a bet and had known every racecourse in the south of England, where he had played harmonica with a bunch of jolly travelling musicians.
Ronnie had arrived in Ireland with Alchiea, an Alzao filly that he’d had in training with Charlie James near Lambourn. She hadn’t won, but Ronnie was keen to breed from her nonetheless. I was working for Sonia Rogers at Airlie Stud at the time, and it seemed sensible that Ronnie’s filly should visit Ela-Mana-Mou. The resulting filly, Joleah (named after Ronnie’s wife and their daughter, Leah), was trained by Jessie Harrington and won twice, including a Listed race at Leopardstown. Job done – not too bad!
In time, Joleah herself of course needed covering. By then, I was running Staffordstown for Kirsten. We would have all met up at some occasion or other and it was soon arranged that Joleah should visit Hernando at Lanwades Stud. The two resulting full-brothers were Sandymount Earl and Sandymount Duke, who won 13 races between them under Jessie’s care.
Ronnie was an effective breeder, greatly assisted by Patrick Harty, who is a terrific stockman and the guardian of Sandymount House. The guitarist from west London was once even recognised as leading small breeder of the year by the Kildare branch of the ITBA.
Given the wonderful successes that Kirsten has had with Alpinista this season, it’s appropriate to review this image. It was taken in Jamaica 25 years ago, a few months after the first of Alborada’s two Champion Stakes wins for her owner-breeder. There was a gang of us on holiday with Kirsten. Over repeated toasts to the little grey filly’s success, our spell in the Caribbean became officially entitled “The Alborada Conference”.
One has such vivid memories of these beautiful grey fillies during their times growing up at Staffordstown. Of course there’s no stud farmer who can predict with any certainty which of the youngstock has a great future ahead, but both Alborada and Alpinista had an arresting presence as yearlings.
Here’s Charlie in Ronnie’s Co Kildare studio. Everything you might ever have read about Charlie is true. His skill was obviously extraordinary, yet his beautiful manners were matched only by the speed and subtlety of his wit.
Charlie had a link to horses, the purebred Arabians that his wife Shirley bred to great effect. When Shirley and Charlie went to Oman on horse business, it was to the latter’s great delight that nobody paid him the slightest attention. He was free to wander about in utter anonymity.
Jerry Hall once kindly took me backstage at a Rolling Stones concert at Wembley. We were hidden behind the backdrop, just feet away from Charlie and his drumkit, when Shirley Watts appeared. Jerry introduced us to each other as two people with a common interest in horses.
On one side of the cloth the Stones were in full flow, making a fantastic racket. Meanwhile, on the backstage side, Shirley and I had a detailed conversation on the subject of laminitis and whether either of us thought that homeopathic treatment might be of any benefit.
As a racing fan, I find it impossible not to hold a great jockey in some sort of awe of the sincerest kind. I mean, how do they do it? Some jockeys, as was clearly the case with Lester Piggott, can not only do things that nobody else could, but also think of doing things that nobody else would ever have thought of.
We all have our favourites – Tommy Carberry, Cash Asmussen, Andy Turnell and Michael Kinane are just four who immediately take my mind away from the mundane world.
And so it is with my regard for musicians. It’s impossible not to love the bearer of a great musical gift, especially when it is demonstrated with the ebullient generosity of Paddy Moloney, whose tin whistle was always in a state of readiness whatever the occasion.
Paddy founded The Chieftains in 1962 and held the band together through thick and thin. Here he was at the Wicklow funeral of Garech Browne, his brother-in-arms and the founder of Claddagh Records.
Marianne is one of those people who has suffered the misfortune of incurring the often unkind attention of the British tabloid press. In contrast, the Irish public always held her in affection and Marianne could often get concert tours or best-selling records in Ireland whilst being overlooked elsewhere.
She came to stay frequently and after a number of years rented a cottage orné in the grounds of Carton House. This is just a spur of the moment snapshot of Marianne, with a setting summer sun behind her as we turned towards Dublin on the Maynooth road.
In the front seat is John Hurt, who was also living in Ireland at the time. On this same strip of film, there are some very funny pictures of him turning round and looking as deliberately sinister as it’s possible to get without laughing.
The Cranberries – pictured here in the Guinness Brewery in Dublin – were an inspired signing by the father-and-son team of Denny and Barney Cordell. Denny had gone back into the music business but still had an active stud farm. I think it must be one of the few occasions when a bloodstock breeder signed a best-selling rock ‘n’ roll band of the future, and asked a stud manager to take photographs of a record label’s new act.
The Cranberries were originally a Limerick band and Dolores O’Riordan, their wonderful vocalist, later lived over the hedge from the Lillingston family’s Mount Coote Stud.
When Nick and I set out for a walk on Harlech Beach in the early winter of 1968 I could never have imagined the weight that this photograph would prove to carry. It’s no exaggeration to say that a multitude of fans unhesitatingly place him in the ‘genius’ category as a singer-songwriter.
The volume of work he left behind is slim, abbreviated by a cruel illness. The number of available photographs of Nick are correspondingly limited. I did one other session with him, an image from which was requested by the National Portrait Gallery in London, where it now lies safely.
Dog and stone circle
The lurcher cost £7 as a pup and came from a Cheshire horse fair, attached to a piece of baler twine. She was called Gwynt – Welsh for wind. The stone circle lies on high ground above the beach in the Nick Drake photograph.
This is a moment from the early days of Victoria’s and my courtship. Our Golden Wedding anniversary is due this December, so it’s all some time ago.
The bum tree
I have put this in as it usually raises a smile, for obvious reasons. In addition, it provides some contrast with the portraits elsewhere. It was a dark winter’s afternoon at Wormsley, Sir Paul and Lady Getty’s estate in the Chiltern Hills, which I was commissioned to survey in photographs. There was no light and I was about to pack it in and go home for tea.
It’s one of the constant rewards of black and white photography that a good result is still possible against all odds. I took some colour shots at this same moment but they simply don’t take your eye at all