Behind The Breeds #6
In his latest Behind the Breeds column breeding expert Don Rae casts his eye around the trials at Manawatu, Addington and Winton.
At Manawatu earlier this month (Nov 7) Scott Dickson had two qualifiers in solo heats - Dothelocomotion (3yo G Love You ex Shell Seeker) and That Maj Ya Look (2yo F Art Major ex There's A Dancer) and there were three trotting qualifiers that sparked interest from the Addington Cup Day trials - Ready Set Jet (3yo G Quaker Jet ex Lochabelle), Idle Lilly (2yo F Majestic Son ex Idle Wishes) and Midnight Diamond (3yo F Royalty For Life ex Lady Midnight).
Dothelocomotion's dam, the C R Commando mare Shell Seeker won twice for Kevin Townley in 2014 with Dexter Dunn in the cart. From seven live foals, she has left two winners, the handy Aiguille (four wins so far for Kevin Townley) and Princess Sadie (one win from three starts for Matty Williamson).
The grand-dam of Dothelocomotion is Solar Fire. By Yankee Reb from the Roydon Boy mare Sunsong, Solar Fire was a top juvenile trotter.
From 48 starts she recorded 14 wins, 10 seconds and 2 thirds, and won $214,200 in stakes. At two, she won the NZ Sires' Stakes 2YO Trotting Championship and ran second in the New Zealand 2YO Trotting Stakes. At three she would be dominant; during a magical four months in New Zealand and Australia; she first won the NZB Standardbred Harness Million Trotters Final, then followed by wins in the New Zealand Trotting Derby and Northern Trotting Derby and a second in NZ Sires' Stakes Trotting Championship behind John Lischner's Gee's Pride.
She then went across the ditch to win five races in Australia as a three year old including the Group 1 New South Wales Trotting Derby, the Group 1 Victoria Trotters Derby, the Group 2 Holmfield and the Group 1 Victoria Trotters Oaks. As an aged mare, she won the Group 2 New Zealand Trotting Championship before leaving her mark as a broodmare.
Her best offspring was undoubtedly Sheemon who won 19 races. Like his mother, he was a precocious juvenile and was able to win at two, securing the Group 2 Sires Stakes 2YO Trotting Championship. He also ran second in the Group 3 New Zealand Trotting Stakes and the 2013 Group 1 2YO Ruby. At three placings in the big races were to be his lot; third to Paramount Queen and Saratoga in the Group 3 Hambletonian Classic, third to Royal Aspirations and Prime Power in the Sires Stakes 3yo Trotting Championship, third behind Blitzemcalder and Habibti in the Northern Trotting Derby and second in the 3yo Trotting Ruby in the wake of Prime Power beaten just over two lengths.
Fortunately for his patient connections, at four he finally cracked winning a Ruby. He also won the 2014 Group 3 Greenlane Cup, the 2014 Group 1 National Trot, the 2015 Group 1 Anzac Trotters Cup, and the 2015 Ordeal Trotting Cup. Sheemon amassed 80 starts, 19 wins, 19 seconds, 12 thirds, and lifetime $548,064 in stakes.
Another good trotter left by Solar Fire was Fratellino (Monarchy). He won eight races from 48 starts for a record of (2.02.6T,S* and 1.58.6T, 1M* AUS) 48 starts, 8 wins, 6 seconds, 6 thirds, Lt $75,544. Firenze also won five races, Hot Vacation won twice and Solar Spark once giving Solar Fire a breeding record of thirteen live foals and six winners.
Solar Fire's dam Sunsong was unraced and only left the one live foal from seven attempts and just as well one of the matings worked!
Many may recognise the name of Sunsong's dam Sungait Song. By B F Coaltown from Princess Diller, she was imported from America by Sir Roy Mackenzie to his Roydon Lodge stud and has proved to be one our most influential broodmares ever. Not only did she leave super-horse and super-sire Sundon (27 wins from 60 starts), she also left Arnsong (8 wins), Roydon Arnie (9 wins), Sungait Reb (15 wins and another excellent juvenile trotter), Sunning (8 wins), A Touch of Sun (5 wins) plus two other minor winners.
Sundon would be worth a book by himself but suffice to say as a racehorse he was of the highest class. At two, he was simply incredible winning eleven from eleven including the 1988 New Zealand 2YO Trotting Stakes, while at three he was able to win a Hambletonian Classic and the 1989 Northern Trotting Derby. His undefeated run reached fifteen starts until he was beaten in the 3YO New Zealand Trotting Stakes. In 1990 he picked up a Dominion Handicap beating Game Paul by three quarters of a length and and also the 1990 DG Jones Memorial / Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup. In 1991 he secured a New Zealand Trotting Championship and Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile.
As a stallion he was quite probably our greatest ever; he left the winners of 3116 races for stakes earnings of $32,180,419. One Over Kenny topped the stakes earners list winning 26 races and $811,194 in stakes. Names like Master Lavros, Springbank Richard, Marcoola, Allegro Agitato, Houdini Star, Pompallier, Ima Gold Digger, Our Sunny Whiz and Springbank Sam complete the list of Sundon's top ten stakes earners. It would be unfair too not to acknowledge the marvellously durable Moment of Truth who wound up being Sundon's top race winner with 29 wins over twelve seasons from aged three to fourteen, winning at least once in every season except as a three year old when he had just the one start and as an eleven year old. (His best season was as a ten year old when he won eight races, and yes, he did win a race at the age of fourteen.)
Sundon's broodmare stats are no less impressive racking up 2996 wins and $37,329,881 to date. No less than 52 horses from Sundon mares have won ten or more races. Top of the pack is Sundee's Son with 34 wins while others such as Sovereignty, Stent, Monbet, Royal Aspirations, One Over Da Moon and Prime Power showcase the ability of Sundon mares to leave top horses.
Another top horse from this family (from Focus On Me out of an unraced half-sister to Sundon in Sunny Gal) is Highgrove (11 wins from 22 starts to date). He has also been a fine juvenile winning the New Zealand 2YO Trotting Stakes and NZB Standardbred 2YO Mobile Trot while at three he has picked up NZB Standardbred Harness Million 3YO Trotters Final and the Group 1 Northern Trotting Derby, carrying on the fine family tradition in that race.
On to That Maj Ya Look, her dam is the Falcon Seelster mare There's A Dancer, who is out of the fine racemare There's A Franco, by Holmes Hanover from Tango Franco by El Patron out of the very talented Tiger Wave mare Tempest Tiger.
There's A Dancer, who won four times, had a very successful start to her breeding career leaving five winners from her first five foals, several of which have gone on to achieve very good results in Australia and USA. Ocean Ridge won three times from ten starts before being sent offshore; times like 1.52.6,1M*AUS & 1.49.8,1MUS suggest he is a very good horse. Bracken Ridge won five from fourteen before he went to Australia and McClinchie has set a best time in USA of 1.51.6,1M.
There's A Franco was certainly a very good mare, winning thirteen races in all. At three she won the 1995 Group 2 Caduceus Club Ladyship Stakes and the 1996 New Zealand Oaks. She could sprint or stay too, as evidenced by wins in the 2000m 1997 Group 1 New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stake, the 1997 Geraldine Cup (3200m on grass) and the 1998 Invercargill Cup (3200m on grit), a race in which she also placed second and third over the next two years, in 1999 and 2000 respectively.
There's A Franco would have wished for a better career as a breeder but she did manage to leave four winners with Franco The Man probably the best of them with a best time of 1.51.6,1MUSA.
Next dam Tango Franco did well as a broodmare. Not only did she leave There's A Franco, she also left This Time Franco who also won a Caduceus Club Fillies Classic. This Time Franco had a similar career to her little sister, competing in many of the same races as a two and three year-old. She ran second in both the New Zealand Oaks and Northern Oaks, but won the season defining Nevele R 3YO Fillies Series Final. Her other top wins included the 1992 Ladyship Stakes and the 1993 New Zealand Sires' Stakes Fillies Championship.
Amazingly, reconfirming the glorious - and expensive - uncertainty of racing, from eleven live foals This Time Franco left just one minor winner. Happily to report, at least one her unraced daughters did well at stud. Silksngems left several decent winners for George Timperley"s Motu Stud. Motu Crusader (16 wins, $294,434, 1.52.9,1M* AUS) was clearly the best but Motu Treasure (6 wins), Motu Meteor (5 wins), and Motu Pocket O'Jewels (4 wins) all managed to prove that having This Time Franco in the distaff line isn't necessarily a kiss of death breeding wise. Other daughters have managed to produce minor winners of up to four races to date.
Next dam Tempest Tiger was a hugely exciting racehorse for Peter Ryder. Winning seven races from just fifteen starts, she had a blistering sprint and high cruising speed. In her brief but spectacular career, her first major win came in the 1979 Canterbury Park Four-Year-Old Flying Mile (Gr2). Her biggest win then came when she beat the boys in the 1979 New Zealand Messenger Championship Final, with Genesis, Matai Dreamer, Individualist and Trio among the beaten division. At stud, from twelve live foals, she left eight winners with OK Tiger (7 wins) being the best.
Ready Set Jet is by Quaker Jet from the unraced Lochabelle, by The Pres from Lady Eskay by Safely Kept from Lady Attewell. The foundation mare in this line is the 1933 mare Mac's Jimmy, by Maxegin. She left a good horse in Culture (8 wins) and two others who won four times each. The next dam up the chain, Nalder, left five winners with False Star (8 wins) being the best of these. To be fair, there are just four minor winners anywhere else in the pedigree above this level on the dam side but Safely Kept is surely interesting.
By Jate Lobell from an Abercrombie mare, Safely Kept is pacing bred through and through, yet in his stats his horses roughly speaking won one race trotting for every two pacing. Admittedly, the numbers aren't huge with only 131 races in total won but his broodmare stats are even more telling. Safely Kept mares are actually more likely to leave the winners of trotting races than pacing races. With 207 races in total won by horses from Safely Kept mares, 111 of those having been trotting winners.
Safely Kept trotters were actually the best of his winners with Larix (10 races won), Paris Metro (8) and Cyclone Vance (6) leading his list of successful offspring. Similarly, the best horses from Safely Kept mares are all trotters too; Massive Metro (10 wins), Commander Paris (10 wins), Cyclone U Bolt (9 wins), Cool Cobber (9 wins), Peregrine (7 wins) and Clyde (7 wins). So even while it's hard to see where Safely Kept"s trotting influences come from all I can say is that they are definitely there! And adding the French strains of Quaker Jet is quite an interesting blend. Good luck to the connections!!
Idle Lilly is next to highlight. It won't take Einstein to figure out that she is from the famous "Idle" family from whom so many good trotters have emerged. Still top of this list for my money is Idle Scott. An iron horse campaigner for Kumeu"s Dave Gibbons, Idle Scott raced fom three years until thirteen. He racked up 219 starts for 46 wins 26 seconds 49 thirds and $585,863 in stake earnings. His first major win came in the the 1988 Air New Zealand NZ Trotting Free-For-All (Gr2). He won many top races with the 1990 Rowe Cup beating Directorship and Drott Moss possibly the best of them. His record in the Cambridge Trotters Flying Mile may never be beaten; in 1990 he placed third, in 1992 it was a win, third in 1993, second in 1994, first again in 1995 to be followed by a final third placing in 1996. He also won two National Trots (1989, 1991), two Lyell Creek Stakes (1991, 1992) and was oftentimes sighted starting off long handicaps at his beloved Alexandra Park.
Among the other good "Idle "trotters have been Idle Speedster (10 wins), Idle Lilly's dam Idle Wishes (7 wins for Mike Austin), Idle Lilly's siblings Idle Monkey (6 wins), Idle Moose, Mikemaro (both 5 wins), Idle Conn (5 wins), and Idle Bones (12 wins).
Interestingly, Idle Lilly traces directly to Berthabell who was highlighted in the previous article. Certainly a family of considerable talent.
The last on our list is Midnight Diamond who is by Royalty For Life out of Lady Midnight and races out of the Robbie Holmes barn in the colours of Merv Neill. The merits of the distaff side notwithstanding - and believe me, with Cabaletta as the grand-dam those merits are considerable - what first caught my eye was a sire whose name I didn't recognise at all, no disrespect to the horse's connections.
It turns out Royalty For Life Is a thirteen year old US-bred stallion who for whatever reason has left a mere six live foals from fifteen servings since first being offered here in 2016. He certainly has trotting pedigree with a top line of RC Royalty, Credit Winner, American Winner and Super Bowl. On the dam side, stallions such as Donerail and American Winner (again) show up.
I mentioned Cabaletta above - she was a half-sister to Allegro Agitato (22 wins), Arpeggio (6 wins) and Rondo (9 wins). Allegro Agitato has been a handy breeder too for V Lauren and M J Lauren leaving I Got Rhythm (7 wins), Gershwin (11 wins), Lady Be Good (6 wins) and Itaintnecessarilyso (5 wins to date) amongst her foals.
Another foal from the same dam (Chiola's Lass) has been Skyvalley NZ. Unraced in New Zealand he was a Group 1 winner in Australia and recorded 24 wins from 47 starts with stakes in excess of $AU322,000. He has been the most successful colonial-bred sire in Australia over the last decade or so, and has left top horses such as Tornado Valley ($1,033,977) and Pink Galahs (AU$330,174).
Overall, Skyvalley NZ is the sire of seven Group 1 winners and has sired the winners of over $AU6.6 million including fifteen winners of over $AU100,000, and five winners of over $AU200,000. In Australia, Skyvalley NZ has a 68 percent winners-to-starters ratio and in New Zealand, he has a 73 percent winners-to-starters ratio. He remains available through Aldebaran Lodge in Australia.
Chiola's Lass traces directly to the 1951 Baffelan mare Serenelli who won eleven races for Noel Berkett. Descendants with -NELLI at the end of their names are highly likely to belong to this same family. Briganelli (7 wins), Carsonelli (5 wins) and Maxenelli were some of Serenelli's offspring, while Gypsenelli (5 wins) and Kiwinelli (4 wins) also showed up some.
Chiola's Lass (dam of Cabaletta etc) was a high class filly who won ten times from just seventeen starts. The Rosso Antico Stakes (Gr2) at Alexandra Park was probably hee best win in New Zealand but she also won three times in Australia.
There are winners in this line dating back to the 1920s and 1930s where Grattan Derby left the talented Homeward (9 wins) and Bulls Eye (8 wins).
The Winton Harness Racing Club Trials on Friday November 3 turned up some interesting qualifiers whose breeding provides the background for fertile research.
In the first heat, a 2yo Mobile Pace over 1609m, six of the seven runners successfully qualified - the other horse, Dawson, had already qualified and was previously profiled in this series.
Today we look at Wild Bull and Lydah Valley - Wild Bull being a gelding by Raging Bull from Bay Jet trained by Lauren Pearson, and Lydah Valley a filly by boom sire Sweet Lou from Extreme Force, who races from the Tony Stratford barn.
Wild Bull took my eye as much for his sire as for his dam, although her background is interesting enough. Bay Jet traces to the "Averil" family of Clarrie Rhodes who we covered in https://www.hrnz.co.nz/news/behind-the-breeds-whos-catching-the-eye-2/.
This is the family featuring 1972 New Zealand Trotting Cup winner True Averil, the unbeaten New Age Man (13 starts 13 wins for Laurence Hanrahan) plus the highly talented Extraordinaire (5 wins from 7 starts) and the exciting free-legged pacer Hondo's Dream (8 wins for Eddie Cowie).
It's Wild Bull's sire Raging Bull who really catches my eye in context of this article. He was a talented juvenile before injury checked his progress - ten starts, five wins, five seconds attest to that fact. In fact, he was only ever defeated by three Group One-winning horses: Smolda, Christen Me and Ideal Scott.
The key point apart from his high winners to starters ratio is that he is by the mighty Christian Cullen from a US-bred mare, San Sophia, who was herself a full sister to one of the greatest mares to race in America during the 1990s namely Galleria, (1:49.2; $US1,814,453). Galleria too was by Artsplace who has racked up an imposing record as a broodmare sire.
Raging Bull is thus a different kind of blend of colonial and imported blood. While on paper he is definitely and correctly classed as New Zealand-bred, there is also a line of American blood present through Christian Cullen's grand-dam Pleasant Evening who was by US super-sire Overtrick but from a Kiwi-bred Lumber Dream mare, Romanda. Incidentally, Christian Cullen traces through Romanda directly to the thorough-bred mare Pride of Lincoln, who was in turn dam of Thelma who proved to be one of our greatest foundation broodmares. This is a family of superstars throughout the ages; for example, Thelma runs in the pedigrees of several historical New Zealand Trotting Cup winners, Wildwood Junior (1909, 1910), Author Dillon (1916), Lucky Jack (1937, 1939) and Marlene (1940) and Invicta (1961) just to name some.
Others include Auckland Cup winner Thelma Globe (1956), Australian stars such as Rip Van Winkle (Queensland/New South Wales Derbies, Australian Pacing Championship), Inter Dominion Pacing champion Welcome Advice (also Victoria Derby), and Great Northern Derby winners Bolton Byrd (Auckland Cup) and Melton Monarch (Messenger).
More recently top trotters such as Stig (22 NZ wins), Take A Moment (31 wins), Moment of Truth (29 wins), Dr Hook (20 wins), Quite A Moment (16 wins) have all carried the Thelma blood in their pedigrees as have literally hundreds of winners in both gaits. Oscar Bonavena (54 starts, 19 wins, 10 seconds, 5 thirds, Lt $440,208) is a current flag bearer for Thelma and being entire by Majestic Son, perhaps he will get a chance at stud to carry on the proud heritage.
Raging Bull is standing in Victoria these days at Northern Rivers Equine but remains available to New Zealand breeders. From 66 foals aged four years and older, he has sired 25 individual winners. These include Wildwest (1:52.8, WA Pacing Cup, earnings of over $470,000) the Group Three-winning Our Bare Knuckle (1:51.5; $100,340) and Raupunga Lad (unbeaten in three starts).
It will certainly be interesting to monitor the progress of Raging Bull, especially in Australia where he seems to have a higher profile.
Raging Bull achieved his second win as a broodmare sire when Better Knuckle Up (out of the 8yo mare Bare Knuckle) won for the second time at Auckland, Friday 10 November, in 1:53.3. Better Knuckle Up now has two wins and a fourth from his three starts to date.
On to Lydah Valley, as we mentioned she is by Sweet Lou from a Christian Cullen mare namely Extreme Force. She traces directly back to the immensely influential 1909 mare Berthabell who was by Peter The Great out of Corona Mac. From 14 live foals, she left 11 winners among which were five who went to open class and ran and won against the best.
This remarkable list includes Great Bingen (21 wins, rated as one of the best horses NOT to win a New Zealand Trotting Cup), Peter Bingen (16 wins, New Zealand Trotting Cup 1928 and 1929), Great Peter (8 wins), Baron Bingen (7 wins), Great Parrish (14 wins, 1932 Auckland Cup) and Ringtrue (10 wins).
Bertha Bell's progeny won £34,535 in stakes at a time when this was a small fortune and her sons also sired numerous winners. Worthy Bingen sired Worthy Queen, whose mile record of 2.03 3/5 stood as the trotting benchmark for decades and 30 plus other winners. Great Bingen sired more than 40 winners, including classic winners in Taxpayer, Double Great, Refund and Great News, Great Parrish left about 40 winners, and Ringtrue over 30. Even her moderate and/or unraced fillies also had an influence; Bertha Bingen was great-great-grand-dam to champion trotter Vodka while Bertha Parrish was grand-dam to 1955 New Zealand Trotting Cup winner Our Roger (15 wins) and Lavengro (10 wins).
More recently, directly tracing to Lydah Valley along the pedigree bottom line, Sam Ballantyne had some success with the broodmare Viva Reine. Among her foals she left Graikos (8 wins from just 17 starts including Forbury Park 4YO & 5YO Championship), the great-great-grand-dam of Lydah Valley in Eastwood Jubilee (4 wins) and Rameses (5 wins).
Franco Enforce was a top horse in this line recording 1.55.7,1M* & 1.57.8,S*AUS and 1.50.6,1MUSA. He raised $343,105 in stakes with 11 wins from 21 NZ starts, 3rd 1988 New Zealand Trotting Cup, 1st NZ Sires' Stakes Final, and was placed in both New Zealand and Great Northern Derbies. Franco Emirate was yet another good horse from this wider family. His 14 wins included the Cup Day Group 3 Ricoh Free-For-All, the 2011 4YO Harness Jewels (male) and the 2011 Group 1 New Zealand Messenger.
Lydah Valley therefore has noble ancestors both near and far and no doubt the owners, as do all owners of recently qualified horses, will be looking forward to the future with excitement and optimism.
The last horse to note from this day at Winton is the 5yo Superfast Stuart gelding Our Superfund. Racing out of the stable of Stephen Balloch, he is out of the Majestic Son mare Majestic Dream, out of Whispering Dream by Chairmanoftheboard from the Lumber Dream mare My Dream.
This is the family with which Oamaru's Noel Taylor enjoyed considerable success. Most notable was the durable and consistent Live The Dream who was by Live Or Die from a Lumber Dream mare. Live The Dream won 14 times from 132 starts over 11 seasons. He won three pacing aged three and four but over the next nine seasons trotting he racked up 11 wins, 26 seconds and 27 thirds from 108 starts trotting. Just a whisker off the best classes, his best runs were possibly his fourth beaten four and a quarter lengths in the 2009 Group 1 New Zealand Trotting Championship in behind One Over Kenny and third in the 2012 Ordeal Cup .
Live Or Die was nearly exclusively a pacing influence; his pacers won 2372 races while his trotters won a mere 32 times. Similarly, while on a much smaller scale Chairmanoftheboard left the winners of 51 races pacing and just two races trotting. Perhaps the trotting influence descends from Lumber Dream who managed to leave a hair over ten percent of his 764 wins as trotters (77 wins).
Other trotting winners recently from this family include Fast Whispering (4 wins to date), Fake Whispering (2 wins), Whispering Champagne (3 wins), Pegasus Dream (7 wins) while Boyz Invasion, out of an Armbro Invasion daughter of My Dream is another to shine as a trotter with 11 wins thus far.
Going two steps further back from My Dream we find the U Scott mare Arahina who left seven winners from ten live foals including Best Bet (12 wins trotting including 1977 New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All, 2nd 1977 Dominion Handicap behind Nigel Craig beaten just a quarter of a length) and the free-legged pacer Best Dream who won eight races.
Arahina in turn was a half sister to top colonial bred sire Local Light (9 wins, 2nd 1953 Great Northern Derby, sired the winners of 629 races). Her dam Local Gold also left the very good horses Arania (12 wins) and Golcourt (9 wins, 1st 1964 Thames Pacing Cup, sired 20 NZ winners including Gallio 8 wins and Wild Briar 7 wins). Arania won the 1959 New Zealand Oaks and ran third in the New Zealand Derby that year too. As an older mare she won the 1961 Dunedin Festival Cup for George Noble and managed third in the 1961 Inter-Dominion Pacing Final behind Massacre and multiple New Zealand Trotting Cup winner False Step.
As her peak offspring, Arania left Hurrania at stud among her six foals and three winners. Like her mum, Hurrania won the 1974 New Zealand Oaks and also ran third in the 1974 Northern Oaks. Others descending from Arania fillies include Galaxy Scott (8 wins), Hurricane Star (7 wins). Coma Berenices (7 wins including 1986 Caduceus Club Fillies Classic), Deimos (6 wins), Sagitta (6 wins) Classiesistar (11 wins) and Cala (10 wins), just to name a few.
Wrapping up on Our Superfund, it can be seen that the immediate family is well and truly trotting oriented while further back there are strong pacing performers albeit sometimes with a trotting streak.
As usual, the proof will be in the pudding with all these qualifiers but certainly there are grounds on pedigree to look forward to race-day starts for all of them.