Archive for September, 2013

I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on glossy TV advertising where a sire struts his stuff in “slow mo” and to rousing music.

I don’t think Tintin In America would like that anyway. He was never a show pony. He was a racehorse who wanted to win.

Remember how he stood so still at the start of a race, almost in a world of his own. Other horses would be walking around, or getting tweaks to their gear, waiting, waiting…

Not Tintin. Driver David Butcher tapped his inner will to win. And after his prelims, he would stand quietly, ignoring other horses around him, slightly apart, arrogantly in his own world.

Like a very top athlete does before an event.

The calm before the storm.

Tintin In America

Tintin In America winning the 3yo Breeders Crown.

Just hold that picture of Tintin In America in your mind now. That’s the image I have of him – and then a picture of him low flying down the home straight, so damn fast and wide on the track, passing other good horses like they were … well, like they were in “slow mo”.

Here are some very good reasons why you need to consider Tintin In America for your mare this season.

And if you look at the foals he is leaving so far – the ones I have seen are striking types, good size, athletic – it’s a damn good bet.

Here’s what Tintin In America can offer your mare:

  1. a multi-Group 1 performer who raced at the top level as a 2, 3 and 4 year old, and at sprint. middle and long distances
  2. possessed almost freakish high speed
  3. had absolute determination to compete and win
  4. comes from an outstanding maternal family, speed in the immediate family, and has In The Pocket as his damsire
  5. has a genetic structure that will allow many mares to potentially ‘click’ with him
  6. has high fertility
  7. is leaving very attractive, athletic types (oldest have just turned yearlings)
  8. is affordable – but has an x-factor that will make his offspring appealing to buyers.

I have put my money where my mouth is (I am leasing a mare to put to him this year and buying a half share in a yearling filly by him).

I bred Tintin In America – but those who follow my blog know I think hard about breeding and sires. I have no financial interest in Tintin In America but I have confidence in his potential to be an outstanding sire.

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Casie Coleman, your horse still runs damn fast! even on my slow computer! Congratulations!

Most days I love living rural in New Zealand and therefore having the scraps of broadband coverage.

But sometimes I really find it frustrating.

Little Brown Jug day –  my favourite day (which I attended when Mr Feelgood won it.)

But seeing it, catching up on it this year from Cambridge New Zealand is so difficult, and in the end I gave up.

These big North American races or the big European races are still hard to follow for those of us who have to work around other parts of our lives and can only get poor internet coverage of the events in rural NZ.  For the harness racing journalists here it is easy. But  I work full time and live semi rurally on a realistic budget, so  “live streaming” or watching race replays later that evening or even posting up my blogs, are dependent on my wifi broadband connection from a semi-rural location.

Even getting into Google is iffy, and the connections are as slow as “dial up” many times of the day.

In real terms this means I have yet to see any decent video of the Little Brown Jug, without constant stopping of the race to download the next part which totally disrupts the flow of the race. “Downloading” can be a long loop.

Which means in practical terms, I am sitting at my computer sometimes physically holding my T stick into the ether to catch the “wind” of our service provider aka Telecom. “Ello, ‘ello? anything there???”

It’s hard to feel the excitement of a very exciting day when everything is in slow-mo.

Casie, when Vegas Vacation stopped for several seconds in the race and did so many times –  so did ALL the other horses in the race, so I think that was okay, right?? – It’s a problem at our end, not yours!

Perhaps we need more “horse power” out here!! (Ok I know you have sent Betterthancheddar down here and I think that might help!)

P.S. Resistance Futile, Little Brown Jug heat winner, is a son of Capelo Rose who is a Camluck daughter of former superstar New Zealand mare Tuepelo Rose. Resistance Futile is her third foal. Her second foal is Marcepello Rose (Mach Three) who is the winner of $558,953 (1-51.3). However he broke in final when appearing to improve wide under pressure and came last.

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Sharing these photos I took, with a word or two that sums up what these sires expressed as they paraded at Alabar on Sunday.

And guess what? I was lucky enough to draw the free service to Gotta Go Cullen/Great Success/Elsu – more of that later.

(We missed Elsu who paraded first, but have included a photo I took of him in a parade 2012)

Art Official – lovely conformation, very correct

Art Offical Alabar 2013

Art Offical – Alabar 2013

Auckland Reactor – athletic and supple

Auckland Reactor Alabar 2013

Auckland Reactor –  Alabar 2013

Big Jim – height and reach

Big Jim Alabar 2013

Big Jim – Alabar 2013

Majestic Son – powerful and lithe

Majestic Son alabar 2013

Majestic Son -Alabar 2013

Great Success – strong and square

Great Success - Alabar 2013

Great Success – Alabar 2013

Gotta Go Cullect – on-his-toes show-off with great conformation

Gotta Go Cullect - Alabar 2013

Gotta Go Cullect – Alabar 2013

Mach Three – stunningly handsome professional

Mach Three - Alabar 2013

Mach Three – Alabar 2013

Elsu – classic character

Elsu - Alabar 2012

Elsu – Alabar 2012

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Pinelea Farm is another stud with a stallion parade this weekend – on Saturday 14 September from 12.30pm, at 465 Dawsons Road, West Melton, Christchurch.

Wish I  was down there to see the three sires they have – Stunin Cullen, Charles Bronson and the trotter Mel Gibson.

If you live within cooee, make an effort and check them out. Stunin Cullen has very nice credentials under his saddle, and comes from a strong family – but strong in producing sires? Il Vicolo and Gotta Go Cullen are both from this family and were outstanding racehorses. We know what happened to Il Vicolo’s siring career, and of course Gotta Go Cullen is only just getting underway but with small numbers. This family reminds me in many ways of Rich N Elegant’s family and her own contribution as a wonderful dam of some outstanding racehorses, but for a range of reasons only one of them (Rocknroll Hanover) has converted that family foundation and success as a top racehorse into being a top sire.

Will Stunin Cullen be the one to step up for this family?

Pinelea Farm has a website worth a visit – but if you live locally, try to see the farm and the horses in “real life”.

I’ll have a look at Mel Gibson another time, when  do a bit of a catch up on the trotting side of things.


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It’s Alabar NZ stallion parade this Sunday 15 September at 1.30pm. I attend every year because it is a huge opportunity to look more closely and judge more accurately some of the factors you may want to put into the mix when you decide on a match for your mare. And how different they are. As the parade unfolds you see the tall and the smaller, the stocky and the slim, the handsome and the plain. You know each one has fantastic credentials as a racehorse and often already as a sire. Success comes in many different packages!

My interest this time will centre on seeing Big Jim (for the second time), Majestic Son in the flesh, and also to see Auckland Reactor for the first time since I was amongst the crowd cheering him at Cambridge races.  I always had the impression of him being quite a big lanky horse, but my understanding is that he is medium sized at 15.2h.  One of the best looking horses I’ve ever seen is his sire, Mach Three, who will also be parading.  He’s stamped his length of body and great gait on a lot of his foals, but many of them don’t inherit his good looks when they are young and initially that counted against him at the yearling sales. But his record has turned that around.

Talking of Auckland Reactor, how much money has gone into that advertising campaign to jog memories of his “x factor” and his speed and help us overlook the failures in his career management and the niggling doubts many people have had about his mental toughness? It shows just how much a sire’s career can be helped by owners with a wad of money to back their investment!  In a previous blog I talked about the “fashionable” new sires, and how that is a hype created just as much by the need for studs and owners to get a return and grab a niche in a competitive market, as any innate ability of the sire or even their ability to capture imaginations as a racehorse. The marketing of a sire is aiming at future buyers as well as current breeders. The foals will sell if the hype about a sire catches on. If buyers don’t buy, the breeder support can quickly fall away.

Like most of advertising, is it all about creating perceived needs rather than having a product that will meet those needs.

So breeders, it is up to us to pretty much disregard the hype and look at what is best for your mare and your aims in breeding.  Sift the advertising and the advertising for the real information you need.

That is why the opportunity to see these horses in the flesh is one to grab if you can. See these horses for yourself and talk to the people at Alabar who are closest to these wonderful sires. Graeme and his team at Alabar are refreshingly upfront about sharing insights and information.

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Hindsight is a glorious thing.

And in hindsight we will be able to sort out the strange situation we have at the moment where a sire like Grinfromeartoear, who is not a glamour boy in the siring ranks, now has 3 sons at stud in the southern hemisphere*, while Bettor’s Delight, who has been incredibly popular and serving big crops here for 6 years has had only Kenneth J and now this season Betterthancheddar borrowed from the northern hemisphere and having a go downunder in a truly commercial way – and of course his brother Roll With Joe.

Kenneth J  has had reasonable but not large foal crops so far – there was a huge lack of interest in New Zealand (4 live foals), but more traction in Australia with 63 foals in his first season, 51 in his 2nd season and 49 in his 3rd season for a total of 163. So the earliest foals have only just turned 3yo, and it is hard to tell yet what those results mean. He’s had 18 starters from his first crop of 63, for 6 winners. The 6 in Australia who won as 2yos cover a range of earnings from $4,625 to $82,544  – the latter being a filly called Im Bella Jay, from Belturbet (a Barnett Hanover mare out of Chivasso, a New Zealand bred Save Fuel mare.  Chivasso is of course the dam of NZ very good mare Donegal Delight by Bettor’s Delight).

Check out some other sire lines here: Mach Three now has Auckland Reactor and Sir Lincoln as local representatives, as well as access to Somebeachsomewhere.

Both Christian Cullen and Courage Under Fire (by In The Pocket) were exceptional racehorses and sires, but look at the differences when it comes to sons at stud. Christian Cullen has already got several “options” at stud, while the Courage Under Fire has only got a freshman sire about to start. Courage Under Fire is an oddity – and yet not unlike Bettor’s Delight in this debate – such a remarkable horse and sire, but has taken many years to get just one son, Lanercost, finally standing at stud. For all the very good horses he has left, none have had breeders drooling at the prospect of sending their mares in that direction. And like Bettor’s, some of his best have been geldings. Compare that with Christian Cullen who has half a dozen options (not all will make it) but the range of potential inheritors is at least maximising Christian Cullen’s chances of leaving a successful son at stud.

What makes a siring line get traction with breeders?

Is it breeder/buyer perception in a commercial sense? (In which case why has Grinfromeartoear got the jump on Bettor’s Delight?)

Is it the domination of the dad that make it hard for the sons to compete? (In which case why have Christian Cullen sons been so willing to line up as sires as soon as possible, while Bettor’s Delight sons have held back?)

Is it the quality of the potential sire as a racehorse that make the difference?

That is an intriguing question, when you look at Bettor’s Delight.

What an amazing sire. And yet if I ask the question: So which of his outstanding sons in NZ, now 3, 4 5 or 6 years old, would you name as potential sires….what names spring to mind? (Even taking geldings into account?)

Highview Tommy, an entire? A racehorse I love and his owners do too. Gutsy little guy, proven. But a sexy sire that would attract mares? An inheritor of Bettor’s Delight’s mantle as a sire here? I can’t see that happening commercially.

Border Control and Five Card Draw are the only real contenders in New Zealand to date – and woops, both are geldings.

It is an interesting puzzle. Why some sires produce a legacy of sires. What will happen with the siring line of Bettor’s Delight?

Then again, numbers are not everything. Some of the most potent sire lines have held on by a single (sometimes relatively unfashionable) sire.  While others have had to spawn many in the search of a successor. Life
Sign is a good example of that, a fantastic sire who has struggled to leave a son/s to carry on his line. Real Desire has that chance and I personally like him a lot, but he has a battle now to show it, given his “here today, gone tomorrow” history as a sire in New Zealand.

But I still find it unusual for such a hugely successful sire, with such large numbers of foals on the ground, to have yet to produce a potential successor in this part of the world.

Perhaps, in the end, it is horses for courses. Some are just amazing sires.

And that is enough.

Having said that, I will check out Betterthancheddar in a blog soon. He’s got a pedigree that will intrigue many breeders here.

* Mr Big, Mr Feelgood, Smiling Shard – plus his own continuin performance as a sire!

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