Behind The Breeds - November 24

Breeding enthusiast Don Rae continues his series of Behind the Breeds where he looks at recent qualifiers who have interesting pedigrees. In this article he looks at Millie Let Loose and Black Billie Gee.

Millie Let Loose - Mount Hutt Trotting Club meeting on Sunday, 12 November.

Qualifying second in her trotting heat was Millie Let Loose, a 2 year old filly by local sire Superfast Stuart from the Grant Our Wishes mare Foot Loose.

Foot Loose won just the once from 36 starts; her victory came at Manawatu in the hands of trainer/driver Peter Scaife paying $33 neat for the win.

She was the sole foal from the Keystone Provider mare Loosely, who was in turn out of Screws Loose by Aksarben, out of Misfit by Vagus, out of Sharp Note by Precaution, out of Fire Water (7 wins) by Calumet Axworth, out of the 1926 mare Resound by El Carbine out of Echo (1915).

Girls Let Loose (6 wins) is one of two winners left so far by Foot Loose from seven live foals; Girls Let Loose has already left a yearling colt by Creatine.

Foot Loose's dam Loosely won four times for her various trainers who included Jill Meikle, Karen Sutherland and Ewen Sutherland.

Screws Loose was a handy staying mare out of Misfit for Stewie Sutherland winning eight times from 88 starts with three of those wins (her first three wins) coming at two miles. She was a relatively shy breeder leaving just five foals and three winners.

Screws Loose was contemporaneous to and sometimes bracketed with her more illustrious stablemate Waipounamu who won 17 races and was a fixture in open class trotting ranks from 1975 to 1980. He won the 1975 Ordeal Trotting Cup, 1975 DG Jones Memorial / Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup, 1975 National Trot and 1980 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup, in between times managing third in the 1977 Dominion Handicap and second in the 1978 Rowe Cup.

Keystone Provider is worth briefly discussing; he wasn't a huge success at stud for Graham Laing of Ashburton but did leave the very good colt Samson (1981) who won ten races for owner/trainer Ted Lowe.

At two, Samson was a top performer with four wins; he won a New Zealand Standardbred Breeders' Sires' Produce Stakes (Final) (Gr1), won both the New Zealand Welcome Stakes and New Zealand Champion Stakes, and he also finished third behind Malaz and Nardinski in the 1984 New Zealand Sapling Stakes. At three, he won five times, counting the 1985 National Mutual Finance Champion Stakes (Gr3), the Firestone Eurosteel Celebrity Pace (Gr3) and an autumn double at Alexandra Park where he left in his wake such good horses as Nardinski, Frederick and Placid Victor. His final win before export came in the 1985 season-opening Kurow Cup defeating Ian Cameron's mare Aran Blaze and Richard Brosnan's Liquid Lightning.

Keystone Surprise (9 wins) and Great Provider (8 wins) were two other good winners by Keystone Provider. All in all, he was the sire of 30 N.Z. bred winners, 25 Pacers (6 in 2.00) and 6 Trotters. His broodmares left the winners of 51 races, roughly 40% of those being trotting wins and many of these coming from the good class trotter Quality Invasion who greeted the judge no less than 19 times for owner/trainer Bruce Graham. Quality Invasion won an Ordeal Trotting Cup, a Methven Trotting Green Mile and ran third in the New Zealand Trotting Free For All (Mob) (Gr1) behind Peak and The Fiery Ginga beaten just 0.3 lengths.

Further back in the Loose pedigree we find Sharp Note leaving just four foals including Misfit. The other to record is the unraced Aksarben mare Benot.

Benot left two good winners in Kimrock (11 wins, by Adorian) and Mac's Law (5 wins). Kimrock was a fixture in Southland trotting races, often competing over two miles off marks as far back as ninety metres. He once won at a Wyndham meeting off that mark and finished his career having 130 starts, 11 wins, 13 seconds, 11 thirds, and lifetime earnings $28,565. Benot also left the one win mare Sunflower, who in turn left for breeders A A Pascoe and Miss L K Pascoe the top class trotter Cedar Fella.

Cedar Fella won 17 races for owners the Cherokee Syndicate. He was trained by Bryce Buchanan until breaking down in the autumn of 1995. Warren Stapleton resurrected his career in 1997 and brought him back to a peak that the owners couldn't have dreamed of. In the hands of Ricky May, Cedar Fella won no less than five Major Races from September 1997 to November 1998; the Ordeal Trotting Cup, New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All, New Zealand Trotting Championship, Canterbury Park Trotting Cup and to culminate his career, the 1998 Dominion Handicap.

Members of the wider family include the successful sire and racehorse Ripcord who won eleven races. By Quite Sure from the Wrack mare Discord (8 wins) out of Echo (1915), he ran third in the 1949 Rowe Cup and second in both the 1950 Dominion Handicap and New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All.

Ripcord's best progeny was the very good mare Queen's Cord who won 16 races including two New Zealand Trotting Free-For-Alls (1964/65), 1965 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup, and twice ran second in the Dominion Handicap (1964 and 1966). In all Ripcord sired 26 winners of 100 races. As a broodmare sire he left 67 N.Z. bred winners. 19 Pacers and 48 Trotters who included the champion trotter No Response.

Another top trotter from the family was Lament who won fifteen for Bill Doyle including the 1941 Group 1 New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All.

Others tracing to the wider family include War Talent (8 wins), Dollars To Donuts (6 wins), Tribune (5 wins), Windy Grove (6 wins), Jafracane (6 wins) and Rock'n Robin (7 wins).

Summarising, this is a family which perhaps not bred in the purple has thrown up some very handy trotters, at times very good trotters, and who knows, perhaps Millie Let Loose might be another. Good luck to the connections in any case!

Black Billie Gee, Chertsey Trotting Club, Tuesday November 21.

In the race for 2yo colts and geldings was Black Billie Gee, a gelding by freshman sire Fear The Dragon who registered his first winner at Manawatu on 13 November when at his eighth start, Obadiah Dragon ran away and hid, winning by 15 lengths.

Out of the one win American Ideal mare Billie Jean, Black Billie Gee traces directly on his dam side to the 1916 Ortolan Axworthy mare Belle Keller. From eight foals (seven fillies), Belle Keller left just one winner of one race, which certainly does not sound like the beginning of a great family. However, Belle Keller had been imported by the very canny J R McKenzie (later Sir John McKenzie) and she had trotted a mile in 2:07 ½ in America, which was a pretty good time back then.

While still in America, Belle Keller was bred to the sub two minute trotter Arion Guy. This foal, Belle Keller's sole colt was Arion Axworthy, who was also imported by McKenzie and put to stud. Arion Axworthy raced 24 times for just two thirds, yet he left 15 winners at stud for McKenzie and as a broodmare sire he nearly brought up a century of wins in New Zealand. The best son of an Arion Axworthy mare was Our Kentucky who won ten races including a Winter Cup and ran second in the 1955 Hannon Memorial.

Imported in utero to Arion Guy, Roydon's Pride was tried trotting but was soon put to Great Bingen before McKenzie next put her up for auction in foal at Tattersalls. A curly story eventuated; a well-known Edendale owner Bill McDonald first picked her up at the auction for 27½ guineas before Dinny Teahen (at the insistence of one Bobby Dunn) offered Bill an instant five quid profit on the deal and so it was thus that Dinny came home with the mare who was to leave the champion Certissimus. Bill McDonald must have regretted his easy £5 profit!!

In total, Roydon's Pride ran as a trotter six times for McKenzie and Teahen for zero result. Dinny Teahen claimed she could trot as fast as any pacer but she just became a ball of nerves whenever she got near a racecourse and as a result, was never able to reproduce anything like her best so she was put out in the paddock to breed.

At stud, she first left a filly by Great Bingen, Roydon's Gift, who incidentally became the grand-dam of Queen's Cord (16 wins) mentioned above. The second foal was Certissimus who set the racing world alight in 1941 and 1942.

Certissimus was an absolute freak of nature; he was a beautifully gaited trotter, had high speed, looked god-like and was also gifted with both personality and intelligence. Dinny Teahen claimed the horse could nearly talk.

The racing public fell in love with him too at first sight and during his brief career - 20 starts, 13 wins, two seconds - he thrilled everyone at every step. He won off long marks and smashed records. His record of 3:18 for the mile and eight furlongs (2600m) was set off a mark of 72 yards and this was six seconds faster than any three-year old trotter had gone before.

He also served a few mares as an early four-year old while still racing and managed to leave eight offspring. One of these, Acclamation, won the 1949 Dominion Handicap. Another, Bellissima, won eight times and ran second in the New Zealand Champion Trotting Free-For-All. Yet another, Flame, left seven winners from eleven foals including Alight (seven wins), Flaming Way (twelve wins including the 1963 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup and the 1964 Dominion Handicap) and Inflammable (seven wins). It's hard to imagine that Certissimus would not have been a major success as a stallion based on these early results.

Certissimus' last race came at the New Brighton course in early 1942 where he ran fourth off 120 yards. Sadly, soon afterwards in a training accident he stumbled and fractured a leg while jogging on the road, and despite best efforts to save him, a few days later he had to be put down. A once in a lifetime horse, Certissimus will still be remembered by those who were lucky to see him and his premature loss is still mourned. It was a story of what might have been.

Back to the Beller Keller story, her third foal was the unraced Past Memories by Author Dillon. Past Memories left just two fillies, both of whom won races, one of whom was Scapa Flow (by Man O'War) who managed five wins. At stud she left just one foal, Grand Fleet by Quite Sure (the sire of Certissimus), who won just three times from 57 starts.

The line at this stage held on by slender threads and, of Grand Fleet's three fillies, it was the unraced Peggy Hanover (by Lucky Hanover) who was the only one to breed on. She left three winners from ten foals, one of whom was Jim Herring's good class trotter Flagon Wagon (ten wins, incl. 1975 Cambridge Trotters Flying Mile). But, most importantly, Peggy Hanover also left the unraced trotting-bred Double Tested (by Great Evander).

It is with Double Tested that the modern legacy of some of our greatest horses solely rests. Descending from Double Tested, and only through her Able Bye Bye daughter Tabella Beth, a galaxy of top horses owe their existence to this line. Lazarus (37 wins, 1.48.6,1MUSA) and Self Assured (23 wins, 1.50.3,1M*AUS) head this list.

Stars And Stripes (15 wins, 1.51.2,1MUSA) Light And Sound (1.50.4,1MUSA, 11 wins, Garrard's Sires' Stakes (Final) [Gr1], four wins at Group 2), Star of Dionysis (12 wins incl. a Group 3), Vega Star (21 wins, 1.50.6USA), Star of Memphis (15 wins), Star Galleria (14 wins, City of Auckland FFA (Mobile) (Gr2) many times placed at Group level) all descend from Tabella Beth.

So too, The Raconteur (1.51.4,1M*AUS), Asoka (1.53.4,1MUSA), Betterzippit (11 wins, 1:48.6M*AUS), Mitch Maguire (1.50.2,1MUSA), Victory Spirit (12 wins, 1.53,1MUSA), Captain Webber (1.52.4,1MUSA) and Star Of Isis (8 wins).

There's a book in itself waiting to be written on how Dave Phillips, of National Bloodstock Corporation fame, came to breed from Tabella Beth. And how her fillies bred on. And how some of the stallions he imported, the likes of Soky's Atom and Chiola Hanover spring to mind, went on to make a lasting impact on the New Zealand standardbred.

And so back to Black Billie Gee who traces to Tabella Beth through his grand-dam Divine who was out of the Tabella Beth mare Soky's Sunday.

Soky's Sunday didn't manage to pay a dividend from five starts but she did leave the talented Niobium (15 wins, 3rd in 2000 New Zealand Welcome Stakes, 2nd in 2002 Methven Green Mile behind Oaxaca Lass), Davy Maguire (5 wins) and Harrison Maguire (5 wins). Aardiebytheseaside (7 wins, 1.53.6,S*) incidentally is the eleventh and best foal from Divine and still racing well from the Telfer barn.

Which brings us back to Black Billie Gee, who has also happens to have a younger yearling half-brother called Pepeha owned by M T Martin who is registered in the colours of Hastings trainer Tracey Cadwallader.

Trained by the Whites at Ashburton, Black Billie Gee is bred and owned by J W Geary and Mrs J M Geary. They'll be hoping that some of the stardust of Lazarus-like genes may be sprinkled their way.


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