Archive for January, 2014

It was hard enough competing as a racehorse. Now they are competing in an even more high risk game – being a sire.

You have to be successful, have all the right connections and be very good looking, preferably good natured in the breeding barn, highly fertile and with the ability to stamp your kids with the only your best qualities and none of your poorer ones. Ideally you should leave precocious 2yos who not only perform brilliantly but are sound enough to continue their winning way as 3yos and later become all aged champions.

As our New Zealand Tui beer adverts say, “Yeah, right.” Which translated means: Really?? Not!

We ask a lot. And some horses – remarkably – deliver.

To bring ourselves down to earth, I’ve taken a look at six sires who came on to the New Zealand scene recently, and how their progeny are performing so far – Santanna Blue Chip (see blog about his return to the racetrack but also my blog about his NZ foals), Gotta Go Cullect, Gotta Go Cullen, Ohoka Arizona and then Changeover, Shadow Play and Art Official (whose oldest race crops are only 2yos).

American Ideal

American Ideal at Woodlands Stud. (Photo Bee Pears)

And then I’ve added into the mix American Ideal, whose oldest crop is 5yos, as a bench marker, a sire that came with high recommendations but been given time to find his feet, and who has not to date been an outstanding sire of 2yos in New Zealand but is building a more secure reputation for quality and percentages.

I think we are so quick to judge new sires – and so few can deliver the multiple 2yo standouts that we desire as proof of their ability. So this blog isn’t comparing these sires in a negative way at all. I have a lot of admiration for each of them, and I have chosen a sample which I believe have potential to establish themselves.

Remember that we are only half way through our racing season and with 2yos and 3yos more are qualifying, racing, winning every week – so this is a snapshot in time. Out of date probably before I even publish it!

My point is how hard it is for a new sire to get traction – and it reflects the other side of the coin from the old sires I wrote about last time who got established, contributed hugely and are still gaining our respect, getting winners and even producing new foals, long after they have passed on.

The many reasons for early success can relate to

  • the types of mares a sire gets (ironically a very speedy sire may end up getting slower/heavier types of mare looking for an injection of speed)
  • the type of breeder/owner who supports the sire (smaller breeder/owners using less pricey sires may not feel under as much pressure to try their progeny as 2yos compared to the more commercial trainers/owners with horses bought at the yearling sales, for example), and the early development of the foal may well be managed differently even at the weanling/yearling stage
  • a sire may stamp his progeny with some precocious factors – great natural gait or the conformation, growth pattern and mental maturity that can help a horse to go early rather than needing time to grow
  • the sheer weight of numbers of foals or the lack of them.

I’ve added the breeding of these sires, as several of them are New Zealand breds and therefore will not be very familiar to some overseas readers of my blog – but these are racehorses and family lines that come with a heap of credentials “down under” and are forging a great revival in locally bred sires at the moment.  Of course they will need to sort themselves out over the next few years, but it is an extremely positive sign for New Zealand breeding. A mix of top quality sires and racehorses from overseas, plus top quality sires from our own particular breeding stock. (I’ve listed a couple of links at the bottom of this blog for those who want to know more about where the new breed of New Zealand standardbred pacing sires are coming from).

Gotta Go Cullect at Alabar

Gotta Go Cullect at Alabar

Gotta Go Cullect – Christian Cullen x Elect To Live (Live Or Die)

  • Live foals 2010 (currently 3yos) 125
  • 2011 (currently 2yos) 96
  • Qualifiers to date (approx mid season) 32 (including 4 x this season’s 2yos)
  • Starters 22
  • Winners 8

Gotta Go Cullen – Christian Cullen x Sparkling Burgundy (Butler BG)

  • Live foals 2010 (currently 3yos) 29
  • 2011 (currently 2yos) 38
  • Qualifiers to date  9 (including 2 x this season’s 2yos)
  • Starters 3
  • Winners 0

Ohoka Arizona – In The Pocket x Millwood Krystal (Falcon Seelster)

  • Live foals 2010 (currently 3yos) 84
  • Live foals 2011 (currently 2yos) 25
  • Qualifiers to date   21
  • Starters 12
  • Winners 5

Santanna Blue Chip

Santanna Blue Chip at Alabar (Photo by Bee Pears)

  • Live foals 2010 (currently 3yos) 65
  • Live foals 2011 (currently 2yos) 52
  • Qualifiers to date  24 (including 3 x this season’s 2yos)
  • Starters 13
  • Winners  4

2yo crop only:

Changeover – In The Pocket x Chaangerr (Vance Hanover)

  • Live foals 2011 (currently 2yos) 160
  • Qualifiers to date   11
  • Starters 1
  • Winners 0
Art Official at Alabar

Art Official at Alabar (Photo Bee Pears)

Art Official (Art Major x Naughty Shady Lady (Falcon Seelster)

  • Live foals 2011 (currently 2yos) 49
  • Qualifiers to date 0
  • Starters 0
  • Winners 0

Shadow Play (The Pandersosa x Matts Filly (Matts Scooter)

  • Live foals 2011 (currently 2yos) 19
  • Qualifiers to date   2
  • Starters 0
  • Winners 0

American Ideal – Western Ideal x Lifetime Success (Matts Scooter)

American Ideal has foals racing who are also 4yos and 5yos, but for this exercise I’m just focusing on his current 2yo and 3yo crops.

  • Live foals 2010 (currently 3yos) 59
  • Live foals 2011 (currently 2yos) 80
  • Current qualifiers who are 2yo and 3yo   29 (including 2 x this season’s 2yos)
  • Current starters who are 2yos or 3yos   21 (all 3yos)
  • Winners  16

On type of the sire, I would’ve expected Gotta Go Cullect to have had more foals qualifing st 2yos – he was an early runner himself and is a medium sized, athletic type. Whereas I’m interested that Changeover has had a few 2yos showing up and several trainers are commenting on the natural gait and willingness of his progeny. His yearlings looked to me to be more scopey, even rangey types that might need time, and Changeover the racehorse was certainly one that just got better and better. So he is leaving some qualities (including “gait speed”, a great asset)  that will definitely help him get traction as a sire. Those are two local sires who certainly have had the numbers on the ground and will be looking for some flagship progeny over the next 12 months. Ohoka Arizona was more of a speedy 2yo type himself and is doing okay as a sire to date, but will need to have his initial big crop really step up now as 3yos to keep attracting the mares. Shadow Play will be helped by his overseas success – and he got a much better book this year in ew Zealand. Art Official has a much larger crop of yearlings on the ground than his current 2yos, and that will give him a chance to hang his hat here. He is another that will be helped by overseas results.

The newer sires have a way to go, and it will be interesting to see what sort of credits and reputation they will have built by the end of the current season.

I’ll keep an eye on it.

The stats are all via HRNZ’s Info Horse database, but the opinions are my own.
For more information about the development of New Zealand siring lineups over recent years try this previous articles of mine (in the Articles tab at the top of the blog):


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Here’s two more of our great New Zealand sires of recent times, now dead, but living on in some surprisingly young progeny.

Previously I noted a filly from In The Pocket‘s last crop – Sara Holley – who is currently racing, and there is another good horse Light Up Boss, a 3yo colt, also from that crop. See blog here from January 2013 on Sara Holley, who is now a 4yo mare with 13 starts for one win, two seconds and a third, while Light Up Boss has had 5 starts for one win and two seconds.

Then in December I got a jolt seeing a Soky’s Atom 3yo and 4yo breed by Mike Stratford that are currently racing, and blogged about them – see blog here.

Today I watched a 3yo filly Gracey Lacey by Holmes Hanover (out of Cameleon mare Janis Joplin) in her first race at Banks Peninsula. She’s shown up okay at trials, but didn’t really kick on on the grass. She’ll improve as she strengthens, as most of the Holmes Hanovers did.

There were 8 foals in Holmes Hanover’s 2010 crop, and one other has so far got to the races, Take After Me (out of Live Or Die mare Give Or Take who is from the Tabella Beth family). He’s a 3yo gelding and started at Invercargill races at Ascot Park yesterday for a good fourth. His previous start at Ascot Park on 15 January was a nice debut for 2nd.

Holmes Hanover has 22 registered 4yos, so are 10 of them qualified and 3 of those are winners.

More interestingly, he has a few still to come – 6 2yos (4 of them registered), and 3 yearlings (one of which is already registered).

Holmes Hanover was a fertile stallion and I remember comments about how robust his frozen semen was. It’s quite a remarkable feat from a sire that was humanely euthanised in 2006 at the age of 25 (see harnesslink article at the time). He remains one of New Zealand’s greatest sires and broodmare sires.

Falcon Seelster is another sire that continues to produce from frozen semen well after his death in 2011 at age of 30 (see harnesslink article at the time), and he was pretty much retired from breeding the previous year.

However his stock is so respected that the 2014 Sale Of The Stars yearling sales in New Zealand in February boast two colts by Falcon Seelster in the Premier sale at Christchurch and a filly by him in the Australasian sale at Karaka. So he appears in the catalogue as a sire, damsire and grandam sire.

He’s got three qualifiers recently as 2yos that will be worth keeping an eye on – Festive Flyer, Tintinara and The Jazz Man.

For information about the frozen semen still available from Holmes Hanover and Falcon Seelster, see the Bromac Lodge website. As they say in sport, form is temporary, but class is permanent.

In my next blog I’ll switch from looking at the very “old” current sires to the very new ones.

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Sorry about lack of blogs last week or so. Just a reflection of busyness at my day job (it earns the money) and that I have been writing an article for the next NZ Standardbred Breeding Assn magazine Breeding Matters on the “down under” connections with the family of the great producing mare Shy Ann. Will post that up on my articles tab (top of my blog home page) when it is published.

And of course as Isa Lodge we are right in the middle of prep for the yearling sales. Two lovely colts – a trotter (Lot 19 Karaka) and a pacer (Lot 39 Karaka), who reside just outside my bedroom window.  I don’t do the hands-on work, that’s the expertise of Kym Kearns that adds so much value to getting a really good foundation for racehorses. But it is still a busy time for support crew – and keeping an eye on the mares who are positive in foal now. “Those also serve who stand and feed.” lol

I have a couple of blogs coming up shortly on the yearling sales – looking at the representations of sires (a topic I come back to again and again), profiling some lots from new sires and some interesting breeding choices, so hopefully I will be delivering on that over the next couple of weeks.

Keeping checking in, your feedback and discussion is always welcome.

In the meantime, try looking back at some of the past blogs you may have missed like the ones I have done about influential broodmare sires who punch above their weight like

Or go to the Articles tab at the top of my blog page and lets look at how the hugely improved range of NZ sires might go over the next sales and racing season.


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Isa Lodge has two yearlings this year, both colts.
One is from pacing mare Zenterfold, the other from trotting mare Sun Isa.

Real Desire x Zenterfold

Thephantomtollbooth Lot 39 Real Desire x Zenterfold

yearling colt by Pegasus Spur from Sun Isa

Isaputtingonmytophat Lot 19 Pegasus Spur x Sun Isa

That makes them a half brother to Tintin In America, and a full brother to Flying Isa.

You can see photos, profiles and insights into the families and the breeding choices on the two new pages which also show as tabs at the top of my blog. There’s even some background about the names.

Of interest might also be Amazon Lily, a Bettor’s Delight yearling filly bred by The Blue Lotus Syndicate (Ken Breckon, Dom Zame, Bee Pears and Kym Kearns) and she is Lot 34 in the Breckon Farms draft.
View video on PGG wrightson Sale Of The Stars upcoming sales website.
The Blue Lotus is a daughter of Zenterfold, and a half sister to “Milo”, and was 3rd in the Sires Stakes Group 1 Final as a 3yo behind Carabella and Under cover Lover. She is currently in foal to Shadow Play.

View also the recent very good recent win from Flying Isa on HRNZ website – “Bert” is his full brother.

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You know my interest in Tintin In America. I bred him, and I think he has the potential to be a good sire.

With that in mind, I have bred a mare to him (Sophie’s Choice which I blogged about before). I have also bought a half share in a Tintin In America x A Legend yearling filly bred by Brian West of Studholme Bloodstock.

Be A Legend

Be A Legend, yearling, November 2013

She was chosen mainly on type and family, rather than specific pedigree matching. I think it is really important as a breeder not to be so caught up in any pedigree matching theory that it dominates close observation of family and type, and a clear thinking process about why you are breeding and what you want out of the result. That’s why I like Brian West’s approach to managing his fillies; he has a good process which he follows to  discover the filly’s potential and allow good decisions to be made. That’s not the same as being ruthless or rigid. It is being clear headed and thoughtful, and he’s definitely a role model for me in that regard.

I’ve included the details of the pedigree match below. The closest duplications are Niatross and Albatross in the 4th and 5th generations. Both the sire and the dam have a 5×6 Tar Heel in good places. Other than that, there is the common stack of Meadow Skipper in the background (5th generation and further).

So let’s look at type and family.

I was visiting Brian earlier last year, and wanted to see some Tintin In America weanlings. He is willing to try new sires that showed that x factor on the track, and bred to Tintin in his first and second year as a sire. (I blogged on a couple of the current foals I saw in November at Studholme Bloodstock.)

Tintin In America x A Legend

Be A Legend – head takes after her damsire Safely Kept.

In the paddock with her filly friends, this yearling filly really caught my attention. She has “a head like Betty” – “Betty” being Bettor Cover Lover (who is no relation at all). I love horses with that look. There is something tough and noble about them. This filly gets the roman nose from her dam’s side. A Legend is by Safety Kept and he has a beautifully ugly head, very much the same.

A Legend is a half sister to the top horses Bit Of A Legend and London Legend. These are both horses I’ve followed and admired.

A Legend has a more modest record of 1 win and 1 place from 8 starts but showed ability. Her win was coming three wide from the back, sitting parked and fighting on hard. I like that sort of toughness.

The yearling is named Be A Legend, and will be broken in soon and trained by Cran Dalgety, who knows the family well of course. I’m lucky to get the chance to share in this adventure.

Tintin x A Legend

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