Just a quick reminder – these updates of the U7 family descendants in Australia and New Zealand are not meant to be examples of how any U7 family descendant is somehow capable of performing breeding miracles! We all know how hard it is to breed successfully, even from well-credentialed mares and good families, especially if they are not part of the strongest branches. The idea is to share some interesting stories and give us some younger mares or progeny to follow in their careers on the track and in the breeding barn over the next year or so.

Trilogy Franco / Glenisla & Balcatherine

This family traces back to Three Diamonds and the Adora/K Nora branch of the U7 Miss Duvall family, via Touche Franco and her dam Trilogy Franco and grand-dam Tropez Lobell, a Brittany Farm USA mare and daughter of Three Diamonds. It looks like Wayne Francis bought and imported Trilogy Franco to New Zealand as a young mare, tried her a few times at the races for ok results, then retired her for breeding. (Her half-brother Franco Terminator was imported from USA to stand at stud in Australia in the early 2000s – for not much result.)

Wayne Francis died in 1999 and Trilogy Franco continued to be bred from by his Nevele R partner Bob McArdle. Trilogy Franco’s first foal was Touche Franco (b2000) by Holmes Hanover. She had 6 starts for 1 win and then also went to the broodmare paddock. Trilogy Franco had a number of foals (including Twice Again Franco and Triple Franco whose breeding results you can track in the Australian Harness website), and more recently another clutch of filly foals for the Harrisons in Timaru, which will be interesting to follow.

But back to Touche Franco – after not much success for her first foals, she was sold by Bob McArdle to Brent and Sheree McIntyre (Macca Lodge) in 2008 and their subsequent breedings have been very successful. Of particular interest for the breeding future are her two daughters Glenisla (by Panspacificflight) and Balcatherine (by American Ideal) – two sires who also descend from good branches of the U7 family. As racemares currently in Australia, they have turned in some excellent results, including a Group 1 for Balcatherine late 2020.

Read the story in more detail on Macca Lodge website.

Glenisla end her racing career with 19 wins and $86,402, while 5yo Balcatherine is still racing and has chalked up 10 wins from 24 starts and $208,048.

Glenisla’s breeding career has got off to a slow start with one dead foal and one missed breeding. But both of these representatives of a wonderful branch of the U7 Miss Duvall family will be interesting to follow in their future breeding career.

Next time – Tasmcmanian

As branches of the U7 family starting showing up consistently in North American breeding, a number of male and female members of that family were imported to Australia and New Zealand, mainly by larger breeding establishments like Bromac Lodge / Spreydon Lodge / Nevele R Stud, and Roydon Lodge in New Zealand, and Farquharson Pty Ltd and Cold Mountain Stud in Australia. Some were stallions with a U7 maternal line like Nevele Bigshot who was available in New Zealand for more than a decade from 1976, or Bookmaker in Australia. Others were mares brought here to enhance the breed or to give a sire standing locally a chance with a mare from such a well related family.

Alas, the best mares of the best U7 branches were not available to us – mainly we got the half sisters, nieces, non-performing daughters, presumably at more affordable prices, and always with the hope that quality would kick on.

If Rodine Hanover (b1982) had been imported here as a mature mare, would things have been different? Would her foals from Holmes Hanover or Vance Hanover or Andrel or OK Bye or a colonial bred sire have set the Kiwi breeding world alight for years to come? Who knows, and it is only a fascinating “what if”. The reality is we got mares who were distant relatives (vertically or horizontally) of the best performers of U7. Our closest access to the top U7 femalelines has almost always come through good sires like Life Sign, Art Major, What’s Next, American Ideal and a bunch of others as covered in my previous blog.

Tracking the results from the imported U7 mares over a number of generations is not easy reading. Many lines have quickly died out or left a trail of disappointing results.

In some cases, there’s been enough to keep the line going to the present day, and I want to look at some examples.

But overall the results tell us that being part of the U7 family (or any of the best standardbred families) is not enough in itself. Unless the subsequent breeding keeps adding in value and building on strengths, any possible influence from Willola (b1940) or Romola Hal (b1946) or Adora (b1952) would have quickly become diluted. And as breeders know, not all foals from a mare are born equal. Even full brothers and sisters do not share identical genetic makeup, let alone identical ability on the racetrack or in the breeding barn. So starting with mares who were not the U7 family stars and bringing them to sires who were not the world’s best was always going to be a tricky task, particularly in earlier decades.

Over the next few blogs I will check some of the U7 family descendants who have made a go of it Down Under and even have progeny worth watching for on the track at the moment.

I’m hoping some of you will chip in with local updates as observers or breeders, either by leaving your contribution as a comment or emailing me at bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz

Let’s make a start…

All My Art / Millwood Liberty / Millwood Susie

This family traces back to Rochelle Hanover, daughter of Romola Hal. There are many generations inbetween, but All My Art’s thread passes through some pretty classy contributors – Misty Raquel by Meadow Skipper (b1973, 1:55.3US $484,463) a very good racemare and a good producer. She was the dam of Misty Bretta by Bret Hanover whom we know as Sands A Flyin’s dam. Misty Bretta was also the dam of many other really talented horses who either won good money on the track or produced some very good earners themselves or both.

One of her daughters, Celerity by No Nukes, is the dam of Lil Sweet Art by Artsplace, who was imported to New Zealand by Dave Carville. Her first foal was All My Art by Falcon Seelster. All My Art went on to produce some excellent racehorses from a range of sires – Ohoka Nevada (1.51, $505,757) by Sands A Flyin so a double up to Misty Bretta, Ohoka Du Nord (1.52.7, $200,760) by Bella’s Boy, Ohoka Squire (1.54.8, $177,386) by Christian Cullen, and the wonderful Millwood Liberty (1.49.8, $303,449) also by Christian Cullen. There was also a 2012 colt foal by Real Desire who got 3 wins and 3 places, then several years of bad luck getting the mare in foal and two dead foals.

Finally in 2018 the mare’s last foal, a filly by He’s Watching called Millwood Susie was born. Owner Katie Carville says the mare was having trouble inside so the filly’s gestation was 12.5 months and she arrived looking “like a dog with long legs”. However her conformation turned out to be perfect. “She was a miracle filly in the fact that she survived. I was lucky to keep her alive. I did break her in and she paced beautifully, but I have decided to put her straight into foal as I wanted a mare to breed from.”

The choice of the first sire for Millwood Susie is Downbytheseaside, whose maternal line is also U7 from the Hobby Horse Tar branch.

Just going back to Susie’s older half sister Millwood Liberty – she is a broodmare in Australia now, and has had two fillies, both by Bettor’s Delight. Can Can Dancer (b2018) has had 6 starts including a 4th in the APG 2yo Fillies Gold in April this year. Millwood Liberty’s second filly is named Liberty Bell (nice!) so keep your eyes out for these two in the next few years.

Next time….

Trilogy Franco / Glenisla & Balcatherine

U7? Me2

How can you not be a huge admirer of the Miss Duvall (U7) standardbred family. Born in 1868 this big black mare was fertile ground from which a massive tree has grown. There are several key branches that seem to continue to grow in strength. A good summary of the family’s influence in sires who did stand or are standing in Australasia is in this article from Harnessbred.com

Among the established classics from the Romola Hal branch are Art Major, Perfect Art, Real Artist, Panspacificflight and Captaintreacherous; from the Willola branch are Silent Majority (sire of Abercrombie), What’s Next, Sportswriter; from the Adora branch are Life Sign, American Ideal, Western Ideal, He’s Watching.
Note that these are descendants of the female line, and don’t include the sons of these sires who have stood at stud, including newbies like Vincent, unless they also include a U7 female line as well.

There are also familiar names from some of the less active branches – Road Machine, Big Jim, DM Dilinger.

But Miss Duvall doesn’t stop there.

The strongest U7 branches keep providing “engine room” value on the maternal line of top colts who go on to become potential top sires.

It is the branches with proven record that continue to produce the strongest and most potent maternal lines. The branches are sorting themselves out. Not every twig is going to be a branch.

In terms of the smaller branches that we got “Downunder” I’ll look at updating that in my future blogs, but if you have a few hours to spend, then researching through the main Australian Harness Racing website (Horse Search) or Harness Racing New Zealand (Info Horse/Horse Enquiry) will give you a starting point of local interest. Start with something basic like Romola, and watch yourself go down the rabbit holes!!!

Or refresh with search on this blog for Romola Hal and my series of what was current in this part of the world 5 years ago. I will be updating this in my next blog – but would love comments from those who know more information.

Looking through the latest Register of Standardbred Sires NZ, it’s clear that the U7 momentum continues.

The latest flowering of the Miss Duvall family tree shows up in some of the well credentialed young sires available this season.

The newer arrivals with U7 strong maternal lines are (in no particular order)

  • Bettor’s Wish – his damsire is Western Ideal; his dam is a great grand-daughter of Three Diamonds
  • Capt Midnight – Worldy Treasure is the dam of his sire Captaintreacherous; American Ideal is his damsire.
  • Tall Dark Stranger – his damsire is Art Major; his dam is a descendant of Hobby Horse Tar.
  • Luck Be Withyou – his sire is Western Ideal; his dam is a great grand-daughter of Three Diamonds.
  • Rock N Roll World – his dam is Worldly Beauty, a grand-daughter of Rodine Hanover
  • Downbytheseaside – dam’s maternal line (Hobby Horse Tar)

That’s a hugely impressive list of new/potential sires.

And not so new but current:

  • He’s Watching (still available in Australia but not NZ) – his sire is American Ideal; his dam is a great grand-daughter of Leah Almahurst
  • Sportswriter – dam’s maternal line (Hobby Horse Tar)
  • Captaintreacherous – established now, but still fresh in the market, his dam is Worldly Treasure.

You could also include those sires with Western Ideal (son of Leah Almahurst) as their damsire – McWicked, Fear The Dragon… or with Real Artist as their damsire – Rockin Image (if he becomes available here). And eventually there will be young sires with Art Major as their damsire (rather than their sire) too.

What a very old, very modern and very classy family – U7.

Tip o the hat to Miss Duvall.

Five years on

It’s the start of Spring. The “down under” standardbred breeding season is about to begin. And it is almost 5 years since I wrote a B4breeding blog. So hello to anyone who is still following me, or who stumbles across this site when searching the web on a breeding topic – as several have done over the past few years, sometimes contacting me direct or making a comment on a blog which I have responded to.

This time around, the blogs will be less frequent. A lot of the information I wrote previously is still applicable – the historical information or the blogs on key or interesting bloodlines. Dive into those older blogs and explore!

I’ve created a new page (tab at the top of the home page – 2021 Bee’s breeding) which brings you up to date with my own horses. Recently retired, I am placing realistic financial boundaries on my ‘addiction’ while still enjoying the challenge of putting theory into practice – and watching what develops.

My next blog will take a closer look at the marvellous U7 family’s influence on current sires who have been or are available to New Zealand breeders, and I hope readers will add in comments one’s that I have missed or are not available here in New Zealand.

Remember that I am not an expert, just an explorer like we all are. I don’t have a long list of champion racehorses to my name. My current band of mares are not former Group 1 winners. One’s a free lease, one cost $1000, and my most recent purchase was $500. But all have something that caught my interest as a breeder and set me a challenge to realise their best potential as broodmares, whatever that turns out to be. I’ll introduce them to you as we go.

I love a challenge, aye!

This will be the last b4breeding blog post I will write for….well, certainly for several months, and maybe for much longer. Except for one which will serve as an introduction for people who arrive at the blog home page and wonder what it is all about.

It’s time to do something different.

I’ve really enjoyed creating this blog and it has taken me on many adventures and I’ve met some very interesting, talented and friendly people through it too. Happy to keep in touch or to respond to any requests via my email bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz

The blog has covered a wide range of topics over several years, from the future of harness racing, to some of the amazing individual old time horses and families that have had such an influence on our breeding, to the potential of yearlings at the sales, to assessments of new sires on the block. I do apologise for being light on trotting analysis and knowledge and more focused on pacers, but pacing is where my own experience lies. The blog has also traced some of my own horses from newborn foals to the races, and even to another part of the world, and in other cases seen another generation start. Time flies when you’re having fun!

The volume of hits and visitors has grown steadily over the past 5 years, and I’ve had good feedback to my positive approach.  Readers come almost equally from Australia and New Zealand, with increasing number of hits from North America in recent years – and the odd one from Russia too (hello David!)

It is easy to get down about our industry and to find fault, but I have always tried to come up with solutions or fresh ideas – like being able to breed two foals a year from one mare, or using drones and GPS to find new angles that improve viewer and punter experience. I’ve tried to be encouraging and helpful, because I’ve always appreciated that in other people when I needed advice or help.


Bee Pears, proud breeder of Tintin In America from mare Zenterfold. This photo was taken in 2006 when he was between weanling and fully developed yearling. He sold to Geoffrey Small and later trained on to be highly successful racehorse and now sire.

It is really important that we are realistic, practical but also innovative and willing to take risks. Working together and with “nous” is the only way a small industry can survive. For so long we have failed to really understand if we are an agricultural industry, an entertainment industry or a sporting event. The answer is a mix, which has made for very confusing internal, political and public perception of who we are, why we need investment and where we are going. In New Zealand, I look with growing admiration at Alexandra Park as an example of grasping this nettle and making some therapeutic nettle tea (not only good for your liver but if you add honey it tastes nice lol). Nationally, we are doing this bit by bit – a tip o’ the hat to Southland for their strong Southern Bred Southern Reared initatives and to Addington for the breeders bonuses.

Although I am stopping the blog, my own involvement in harness racing and standardbred breeding continues.

Bee Pears and Tintin In America at Nevele R Stud

Tintin In America and Bee in 2014. Years on, and after a 2yo Sires Stakes Final win, 3yo & 4yo Jewels Crown, 3yo Australasian Breeders Crown, a NZ Messenger and 2nd in the Auckland Cup to Monkey King. This photo shows him standing as a sire at Nevele R Stud in Christchurch. I’m wearing my Mum’s blue parka – she was a huge supporter of my harness racing interests and of Tintin – “his legs just flew”.

It is a big commitment for someone on a cash flow shoe-string, but somehow I’ll make it happen because I have had such a fantastic time learning to breed and race horses on a small scale, small budget but with lots of passion. It really sharpens the mind!

My biggest success is Tintin In America, but I learned so much along the way from names that never appeared in lights – like Have No Secrets, who features in my blog here with a link to the background article. It is true – you learn as much if not more from “failures” as from successes. And I don’t see those mares and foals as failures, but as horses in their own right.

Thoughtful breeding doesn’t mean being bogged down in theories and pedigree charts. It means above all knowing your mare, and knowing what you are trying to achieve. Sometimes those two simple things don’t add up and you need to be open to that and be flexible. Sometimes you can make decisions that put the odds more in your favour. Having an open mind is a breeder’s best asset, even more so than having a perfectly bred broodmare!

Many thanks to followers and blog readers who have come on this journey with me, or joined me for a blog or topic or two along the way, or just stumbled on http://www.b4breeding during a browser search. Keep using the “Search” function on the blog itself or just do random year/month to explore some blog topics you may have missed. Hindsight can be quite amusing!

I wish you heaps of success and above all enjoyment in your horse breeding and racing adventures. If you start a blog about that, let me know and I’ll follow you!

Bee Pears
New Zealand

This blog is a tribute to Bachelor Hanover whose bloodlines bring together some great rivers I have so much respect for – from his sire Nibble Hanover, his dam The Old Maid (a daughter of Spinster) plus the synergy (nick) this family has had with other great maternal lines through the influence of Breath O Spring and her offspring, through the nick of The Old Maid’s son Dancer Hanover and Romola Hanover, and of course Dancer Hanover as the damsire of Albatross.

For me, Spinster and her offspring, particularly her daughters, are one of those clusters of quality like Adora, Golden Miss, Romola Hal and many of their daughters, and the trotting family of  Goddess Hanover as an example in the North American trotting families, who have added something extra to our breeding lines well over and above what could be expected from good individuals.

In fact, they are clusters of excellent genes that have enough power as rivers of influence to cut through the rocky landscape, spread out and forge fertile valleys and tributaries. Here is a big tip o’ the hat to those wonderful families.

How lucky we were to get Bachelor Hanover in New Zealand!

Bachelor Hanover stood in New Zealand 50 years ago – a new import from America after a very successful racing career but a slow start to breeding. He stood light stud duty at the North American Symphony Acres Stud Farm and was purchased by Jim Dalgety at that establishment’s dispersal sale in 1964. Tip o’ the hat to Jim Dalgety and I will try to follow this blog up with some more personal recollections if possible.

My personal connection is through my mare Zenterfold (In The Pocket x Zenola Star). Zenola Star is the grand-daughter of Zenover who was 3×4 to Spinster through her sire Bachelor Hanover and her grandsire on her maternal line, Light Brigade. When I went into a deal to breed Zenterfold with Aria and Geoff Small I noted that Aria said: “The family likes The Old Maid”. That was the only tip I got, but it has served me very well. It is why I have kept a Grinfromeartoear mare as a broodmare, who is delivering good progeny so far.  I’m surfing the river currents. If you are interested, check out the pedigree of my latest foal from Shadow Play x The Blue Lotus, just arrived and a full sister to the colt I sold previously, and you will understand why I went with this match. I may end up surfing to Somebeachsomewhere lol. (Note for North American readers, the Grinfromeartoear brother racing up your way is called Destination Moon N)

Back to the Bachelor

Bachelor Hanover courtesy of Addinton Timeline

Bachelor Hanover, son of The Old Maid, half brother to Dancer Hanover and a really great contributor to our “down under” bloodlines.

Bachelor Hanover was a very good racehorse – amongst many other achievements he was 2nd in the first American Messenger Stakes ever run: 1956 Messenger – 2nd behind stablemate Belle Acton (Harnesslink), a good sire and a really potent broodmare sire. This harness racing video shows Bachelor Hanover and Stanley Dancer in the very first edition of the Messenger Stakes in 1956 at Roosevelt Raceway link

His presence in pedigrees of New Zealand families gives us a link back to one of the finest and most influential modern maternal families – Spinster, a daughter of Spencer and the Belwin mare Minnetonka. Spinster’s legacy includes another sire so influential in NZ pedigrees, her son Light Brigade (by Volomite). But also Lady Scotland and Vixen (by Scotland), and the sire Thunder On (also by Scotland).

Her daughter The Old Maid, the dam of Bachelor Hanover, has proven a potent influence in many pedigrees, and a line with some quite specific preferences as well as generic great genes. As well as Bachelor Hanover the Spinster line has produced many top horses and solid families (a detailed legacy is better traced on Classic Families).

Just some of the results of The Old Maid branch:

Frugal Gourmet, French Chef, Sutter Hanover, Plat du Jour, Kentucky Spur, Thorpe Hanover, Clever Innocence, Tylers Best, Bettor Be Perfect, Jimmy Nail, Motu Hatrick, Kiwi Scooter, Major In Art, Man Around Town, Dave Palone, Wakizashi Hanover…In no particular order and missing a lot of really interesting highways and byways of this family and plenty of other top performers.

Bachelor Hanover is well known down under, but his Adios half brother Dancer Hanover was the North American star – he nicked so well with Romola Hanover so appears in many topline modern sire pedigrees, and he is the damsire of Albatross.

Like many of these really pivotal families you can find as many weaker branches as successful branches, and sometimes there are unexpected later eruptions of talent from either one. What helps is where breeders keep adding quality and more importantly compatibility to a line.

Just “coping” with the good “guy”

The sire of Bachelor Hanover is Nibble Hanover. For someone like me, who often focuses on the maternal lines of horses, my exploration of Nibble Hanover’s contribution in so many quality pedigrees has been a relevation. Check out my various blogs in the series starting here. What did Nibble Hanover bring to the match with The Old Maid? Added his classic families –  dam Justissima with her double dose of Expectation/Miss Copeland, including on the maternal side the wonderful broodmare Fruity Worthy who deserves a blog of her own. And remember Nibble Hanover is part of the Guy Axworthy sire line, and what a potent horse Guy Axworthy was. That’s the same sire line that comes through with The Old Maid, via Guy Abbey. And through Guy Abbey’s maternal line, The Old Maid gets that incredible Princess Royal maternal influence I have blogged about before. And her damsire Spencer also pulls down the Guy Axworthy sire line, plus brings in that other great (x factor) line of Ethelwyn/Kathleen.

Going way back in Bachelor Hanover’s pedigree you find that both Nibble Hanover and The Old Maid have strong influences from the U2 family of Minnehaha. In Nibble Hanover’s pedigree it come via two sons of Beautiful Bells – Chimes and Belwin. Belwin is buried in his sire’s line as the damsire of Calumet Chuck, and Adbell more accessible in his maternal line as the sire of Fruition. With Bachelor Hanover’s damline,  The Old Maid brings Minnehaha in again twice via her sire Guy Abbey (Chimes on his sire and maternal line), and twice from her dam Minnetonka. (There is also another reference from Spinster’s sire Spencer, tracing to a sire called Bow Belles from a daughter of Minnehaha.

Crikey, that kind of really old pedigree tracing back is not usually my “go”. These duplications probably reflect the small world that standardbred breeding was back then – and still is now. But it also is an example of successful line breeding to quality maternal and paternal influences. “Form is intermittent but class endures”. Often it needs a fresh kick up the arse along the way, a wake up call on type and ability, but if you time it right, reaching back to really strong quality influences and repeating them (or what they love) seems to work wonders. I recommend you spend a lazy hour just grazing this amazing family back and forth on Classic Familes, the free database that gives successful (as defined on the site) offspring of sires and mares.


Bachelor Hanover died in 1975 but he had made a great contribution to our breed – read about him on Addington Raceway Timeline here which is a lovely summary of his career and contribution.

A real test of our choices as breeders is if you are as pleased to get a filly as a foal. My latest foal on the ground is at Macca Lodge and is a nice filly from a totally underrated sire but $3 million earner Mr Feelgood and from my Dream Away mare Dreamy Romance.

I’ve done heaps of blogs on Mr Feelgood and still cannot understand why NZ breeders are not queuing up for this sire.  Bloodlines to die for and so currently of interest, with his maternal line tracing direct to Leah Almahurst and then to K Nora! And then Grinfromeartoear’s pedigree is chokka of older strong elements in his maternal line – classic lines of Golden Miss and Breath O’Spring. Wow! The match with Dreamy Romance is exactly what I wanted, for reasons I have blogged about before.

So I am really pleased to get a filly as she will have access to a load of good things in this match.

Now I’m interested in linking up with others who would like to have a filly to race and breed from, carrying on this match from great bloodlines, and having the goal of making the best Romola Hal branch in this part of the world.

The filly (to be named My Feelgood Romance) is from the mare I bought at a dispersal sale a few years ago from Roydon Lodge – Dreamy Romance (by Dream Away) and a descendant of the great Romola Hal, one of the few maternal branches of that amazing American family in New Zealand. So I am delighted to see a healthy filly foal on the ground at Macca Lodge. This is the branch of Romola Hall that produced good race horses Roymark, Precious Romance, and Beyond The Silence. But its mares have not really had breeding opportunities to the right lines, in my view.

I’m putting my resources where my mouth is and breeding the mare to sires I can afford but which really fit the bill for compatibility and stepping the mare up.

As usual for the mare this filly looks a good size and attractive – the previous filly foal I bred was by Big Jim and a very nice type with Kirsten Barclay. I believe this branch of Romola Hal can step up again and with careful selection we can get a great family going. Read my blog on both these matches here

If anyone would like to become involved, let me know.  I’d love to build a small syndicate around this, for racing and breeding.

Contact me on bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz if you would like to be involved.

Mr Feelgood filly

My Feelgood Romance – a filly by Mr Feelgood from Dreamy Romance

I was interested to read about a pilot in Canada using drones to monitor races and give stewards a better view of what happens during a race. Read Harnesslink article 

There are a lot of issues to consider including any disruption to horses and drivers, but like an older style blimp over a sporting event, there is now more potential than ever to offer punters and others just wanting to be entertained a more comprehensive and exciting coverage of races.

Back in November 2012 I blogged about how we could make the harness racing product more entertaining and competitive with other forms of betting and entertainment, and I see drones as being a technical breakthrough that can really assist, if we are willing to experiment.

In that 2012 blog some of the ideas I suggested were:

  • Improvements for remote viewing might involve GPS tracking devices on horses/drivers so individual punters can select and follow a horse’s position through a race (it is often not easy to see what is happening during a race, which can be a factor in viewers losing interest), but it could be even more personalised so a remote viewer (via smart phone or live streaming) can view the race in several different modes simultaneously to follow their horse/s’ progress. The race caller and cameraman are good, but could be combined with today’s technological advances.
  • Much improved camera angles – the high wire camera at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day blew me away – I got a much better understanding of the early part of the race, distance between runners, interference etc than I ever had from a side on or head on camera. Yes, putting overhead cameras on courses would be horrifically expensive, but what a selling point, what a product!
  • Developing some very cool apps for smart phones might include packages where you can place a bet and order the product (race) to be delivered to your phone live or recorded. No need to interrupt what other entertaining you are doing, you will be reminded at the time and the race sent to your phone in the format you selected – “GPS overhead view plus voice commentary with results/time/dividends.” Or whatever suits your needs. Subscriber services could have a field day – perhaps this is already available somewhere?

So although I am neither young nor techie by nature, that won’t stop me thinking ahead. We all need to, for the sake of our industry.

You can read the full 2012 blog here: A race – the short form of the game

From a thought to a foal

As you know, my mantra is “think b4 breeding”, hence the name of the blog as well as being my name Bee.

A lot of the magic of breeding and the challenges is to turn your thoughtfulness into a product that becomes what you wanted – or in some cases, not what you expected but a good result. For example, you may have bred for early speed, got a foal that turned into a “work in progress” but later went on to become a really good and fast aged horse. That’s not what you expected, but the underlying factors came through in the end.

So we are always trying to work with mother nature and our own knowledge and intuition, but there are no guarantees. Not even following a recipe is a sure signpost to success, because with horses both genetic and environmental factors create so many variables. More so than baking a cake. But I do think the analogy is useful because with cooking and with breeding, it is really hard to know from the outside what are important factors. Who would have said tiny quantities of salt and baking powder or chilli and garlic, for example, would transform a dish? And yet we know they can and do.

I’m right at the point (again) where a concept becomes reality – a breeding match on Tesio or wherever becomes a real living (if all goes well) foal on the ground. And after that, there is such a long, long road to negotiate successfully. But at least, there is a start and a reality rather than just a dream.

The Blue Lotus

The Blue Lotus with her Shadow Play filly foal

For me, today, it was a visit to Alabar NZ at Waiau Pa near Auckland, New Zealand.

This is the result of my breeding The Blue Lotus (Grinfromeartoear x Zenterfold) to Shadow Play, the second time I have gone for this particular match. The first is now a 2yo renamed as Blackened who last I heard was having time out after a very positive start in education. The new owner in Australia loves him, and his trainer is positive so far and is paying up for the 2yo races on what they see.

That’s one reason I was pleased to find today a very similar type of foal – sharp, energetic, streamlined. She reminds me a lot of the colt, who just loved to move and play and run. What will this filly turn into, well, who knows. It could be – like her Shadow Play relative over in America right now, Lady Shadow – a fantastic strong stayer. Judging by those long, long legs, she may take time to grow into her full size! But I won’t be setting any goals for her just yet. I’m so pleased to see her on the ground, looking lovely and long legged, and my mare all glowing with pride.

Step One is healthy foal on the ground, and a mare that is doing a fantastic job as mum.

Thanks to Alabar NZ, always a great team to deal with.

The Blue Lotus with her Shadow Play filly

The Blue Lotus with her Shadow Play filly

Tough, tough, tough. Character and toughness are the best outcomes for Grinfromeartoear progeny. It doesn’t always happen. But he has super genetics as a sire, and if he gets the right match and strikes it well, you get exactly that – tough and good.

Massachussets is one place I haven’t seen, unlike the Bee Gees song of the same name. But I have watched videos of a good few races from Plainridge Racecourse in the state. For those of us who, like me, have to Google to find where some of these racecourses are located (and to be honest, where some of the states are) basically Plainridge is up and off to the right from New York city, on the eastern seaboard, and part of a group of states known as New England.

So yes, that’s on my list of places to visit one day. Geegees and haunting lyrics from the Bee Gees.

These days my point of interest is one special horse I knew as “Duncan”, a Grinfromeartoear gelding from my good mare Zenterfold and so a full brother to The Blue Lotus. I’ve blogged about him before because I’m really proud of his exploits in North America – low key but really consistent and paying his way with some stout performances. Like most Grins, getting better with age, character.

Destination Moon

Destination Moon, upstanding and strong type – as a yearling

In his latest race he was a very close second, but took a time of 1.51.3, which I believe is the fastest he has ever gone. His winning record is 1.52. So I am rapt to watch him doing a good job without a lot of pressure.  In the same race new comer Jay Bees Grin N another import from NZ and another Grin horse, still has to learn how competitive it is up there, and wisely didn’t press from the widest draw. But will find his mark up there well I reckon.

So although the time is not a shattering one, it is good and solid and what I bred the horse to do, and also good to see him performing and looking well for a stable that has picked him up and put some thought into him.

He’s repaying that.

Latest stats: US$37,000 this season so far and his total in America is $106,815 and with his NZ earnings added (in US$) $136,342. I’m proud of him.

In my next blog I will introduce his latest half-brother, his sister’s foal (just born) and her next potential foal – which may be a little outside the square but very exciting.

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