Behind the Breeds - whos' catching the eye? #4

Behind The Breeds is a new series where breeding enthusiast Don Rae takes a deep dive into the pedigree of some of today's trotters and pacers. In today's fourth edition he casts his eye on two recent qualifiers, A Reason To Fight and Rakero Ice.

By Don Rae

A Reason To Fight, 2 B g Father Patrick - Jaw D Nancy, is bred, owned and trained by Michael Howard at Motukarara. Jaw D Nancy is by Angus Hall from Ella Powell by Earl from Eilish Mac by Out To Win and is therefore a member of the family that has met with great success for Ivan McNicholl.

Jaw D Nancy won three times for her connections and included a win on Show Day in her resumé. However she was of a somewhat nervous disposition and subsequently wasn't always able to produce her best.

Ella Powell however was a very handy racemare whose record was 77 starts, 11 wins, 6 seconds, 3 thirds and lifetime earnings of $125,849. Her best win came in the 2006 New Zealand Trotting Oaks beating Blenheim-based rank outsider Monaro Miss and Paul Nairn's Day of Reckoning. (Incidentally, in the days before First 4s, the trifecta paid a whopping $7392.65 and the on-course concession double wasn't struck at all.)

Trained throughout her career by Craig Edmonds at Motukarara and driven to victory in the Oaks by Stephen McNally, she raced several more times at group level in New Zealand without winning again. Her best was probably finishing fifth beaten just under four lengths in Springfield Richard's 2009 Dominion Handicap and she also managed a third behind The Fat Controller and Speculate in the 2009 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup. She competed and won four times in Australia, she won a Bendigo Trotters Cup and also competed in an Inter-Dominion Grand Final.

At stud, she has left just the two winners so far, Jaw D Nancy and Ellatine (three wins to date), but happily three fillies are being bred from - Tricia Powell, Ella Of Mot and Devine Ella.

Third dam Eilish Mac (Chiola Hanover - Shining Lady, by Out To Win - Sure Thing, by Bachelor Hanover - Kimmer) won just once but as well as Ella Powell she also left Harriet Hughes (5 wins from just 13 starts) and the hardy campaigner Earl of Mot who won 18 in New Zealand and another 17 in Australia, with lifetime earnings of $327,483.

In 2005 Harriet Hughes ran third behind Tozzie and Jazz Legend in the New Zealand Trotting Derby and finished second behind One Over Kenny in the NRM Trotters Championship (Gr2) for 3YO Fillies. At stud she has left four winners to date: Bert Powell (3 wins), Harriet Of Mot (15 wins including Group 3 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup, Group 3 Northern Southland Trotting Club 2016 Southern Lights Handicap Trot and 3rd in Group 1 2018 Anzac Cup), Muscles Galore (6 wins, also 2nd in 2017 Group 3 Hambletonian Classic) and the outstanding Five Wise Men (9 wins to date and the dominant three year old of his year including five Group wins at 3 - the Hambletonian Classic, New Zealand Trotting Derby, ATC 3YO Trotters Championship, Great Northern Trotting Derby, and Group One 3yo Trotting Ruby).

To fill out the breeding more, we see fourth dam Shining Lady left nine foals of which five were winners and the best of which being the excellent juvenile Shine On Me (10 wins including 1994 New Zealand 2YO Trotting Stakes, NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Trot, and in 1995 placed in Hambletonian Classic, NZB Standardbred Harness Million Trotters Final, New Zealand Trotting Derby, and Northern Trotting Derby).

Shining Lady was by the mighty Out To Win, sire of 277 NZ-bred winners, 267 pacers but just 11 trotters who won 23 races between them. His progeny included Balgove (16 wins including 1977 New Zealand Free-For-All), Wee Win (19 wins, 1979 Easter Cup, 1980 Ashburton Flying Stakes and sire of 15 minor to intermediate winners) and many other top performers such as Greg Robinson (15 wins )and Right Bower (10 wins). Interestingly, his mares left the winners of 73 trotting races proving Out To Win isn't completely a disqualifying influence when it comes to breeding a trotter. Shine On Me was clearly the best but Gusto (7 wins), Rangitawa Finale and Rangitawa Lass (both 6) wins were also handy horses from Our To Win mares.

Next dam is Sure Thing who left eight winners, the best of which was Galleon's Paradise (12 wins, 2nd 1996 New Zealand 2YO Trotting Stakes, 1st 1997 Hambletonian Classic, 3rd Northern Trotting Derby).

Going further back, we find Kimmer who was the dam of the mighty Tussle (38 wins). Tracing to root, Pride of Lincoln is the founding broodmare and this has been a highly influential family for New Zealand breeders.

Even perusing just the first three generations of this direct line, one can see strong juvenile performance and multiple group performers, with the number of fillies being bred from, no doubt there are more successes to come. Let's hope the connections find every success with A Reason To Fight.

One that caught my eye from North Canterbury TOA Trials of 11 October was the Tom Bamford-trained Rakero Ice. By Sweet Lou from Ima Single Girl by Bettor's Delight from Crushem by Holmes Hanover from Elizabeth Denover by Lordship, Rakero Ice traces directly to the 1924 mare Lady Antrim.

Lady Antrim's first foal was the capable Lady Milne who won eight times and became the ancestress of a wonderful family.

Lady Milne left five winners, Trixie Milne (7 wins), Black Douglas(1949) (7 wins) and Bobby Brigade (9 wins) being the standouts.

Trixie Milne left six winners with Admiral(1959) (5 wins), Bosun(1961) (7 wins), Jack Tar(1964) (7 wins) and Ar Miss (8 wins including 1972 New Zealand Oaks and 1971 New Zealand Sapling Stakes) being the best.

Ar Miss then left the marvellous Armalight as her first foal. Armalight won eighteen times and repeated her mother's feat of winning the New Zealand Oaks in 1980. She won several major races - Nevele R 3YO Fillies Series Final, Northern Oaks, 1981 New Zealand Trotting Cup/New Zealand Free-For-All double as a four year old, 1982 Kaikoura Cup, and 1983 Auckland Cup. This is the "Arma" family from whom many fine winners descend.

Xceptional Arms is one example. She's probably the leading 2YO filly in Western Australia right now with recent wins in the $50,000 2YOF Gold Bullion Final and the $215,000 2YOF Westbred Classic (Group 1). Arma Einstein has also been very successful recently in Western Australia with 18 wins and $288,529 in earnings, he recently picked up the $50,000 4yo and 5yo Championship Pace (Group 3).

Other good racehorses in Australia from the wider family include Excel Stride $AU$769,464 in stakes, 49 starts 28 wins and 14 placings, Arma Renegade (10 wins, SAU98,688), Arma Naughty (18 wins, $118,681), O B Legal (14 wins, $AU100,277), and Arma Hotshot (11 wins, SAU119,255) just to name a few.

Back to the direct family. Like many a great racemare e.g. Delightful Lady, Bonnie's Chance, Blossom Lady, Armalight left nothing of her class but did leave an unraced mare Miss Denover, who of course left Elizabeth Denover among her twelve foals. There were six winners, Thrashem (9 wins, $AU59,440), Speedy Denover (12 wins, $AU37,603) Crackem (5 wins) and Lil's Dream (4 wins) being the best.

Elizabeth Denover was a very nice broodmare. Among her 13 live foals were Bruzem (10 New Zealand wins) and Lilly Laingtree (10 New Zealand wins, $71,713). Another foal was Crushem who left five winners including the top-class Spankem.

Spankem (1.47.7,1M*AUS) was a great horse who recently raced in the Mark Purdon All-Stars colours and won $1,902,079 from 21 wins and 32 placings. Twelve Group wins came with that tally and many Group placings, among which have been three placings in the 2019 (2nd), 2020 (2nd) and 2022 (3rd) New Zealand Trotting Cups. He was a durable and highly competitive horse who raced at the highest level from aged two until seven and could consider himself unlucky not to win a New Zealand Trotting Cup. His deeds will remain fresh in punters' minds as a really reliable racehorse who always gave of his best.

Bruzem raced in the Dean Taylor colours. At Group level he won a Methven Trotting Club 2001 Green Mile in 1:57 and change, as well as a Superstars 4YO Championship in 2000. He also won eight times in Australia for $AU182,785 in stakes overall.

Thumpem was another really good horse who won most of his races in Australia. His record overall comprised 22 wins and 49 places from 182 places, from which he totalled $449,837 in stakes money.

There are high class horses throughout the pedigree of Rakero Ice and the connections can look forward to the future with a degree of confidence if stout breeding is anything to go by.

Perhaps one concern for this commentator is how much "Arma" blood has been exported to Australia. Hopefully New Zealand breeders can continue to grow the family with suitable outcrosses and even secure Australian yearlings from within the wider family to import back into New Zealand.


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