Archive for March, 2014

The omens were not good when Art Official, who stands at Alabar Stud in south Auckland, had no representatives at the North Island’s Australasian yearling sale at Karaka. That surprised me, especially as his first crop of racehorses in North America had some good 2yo representatives. Simply, he is not viewed to be commercial enough. His pricing indicates that reality – he initially stood at $6000 at Stallion Station in 2010, but that was reduced to $3750 when he moved to Alabar  the following season and remains around there, which is more realistic. As a racehorse he was superb, and he is by a Falcon Seelster mare which is something New Zealanders can strongly relate to. She is the full sister to the million dollar winning mare Shady Daisy, but overall the maternal family is not as strong as some. In each generation there seems to be a standout, but other siblings are well behind that.

I think the change in Art Official’s pricing structure is also a reflection of the growing popularity of Art Major here (after several seasons where Australians loved him but New Zealand breeders and trainers were in two minds about him and he had small crops here). So like some other sires, there is an element of the son competing with the father, and that’s an arm wrestle that Art Major appears to have won.

If he was absent at Karaka, he was well represented in Christchurch yearling sale, where he had 11 yearlings, with the result of 7 sold, 3 passed in on vendor’s bid, and one that got no bid at all.

His average was $10,714 and the top price was $25,000 for Lot 235 Hashtag, a colt from a Live Or Die mare who was a bigger, bolder type.

The next in terms of price was $16,000 for a nice filly Lot 199, bred and prepared by Ray Beale at Oamaru. Again, a bigger, bolder type of horse. And the next best price after that was $11,500 for Lot 324, an attractive colt. (See photos below).


Lot 235 Hashtag an Art Offical colt

Lot 235 Hashtag, an Art Offical colt that sold for $25,000

Lot 199 Art Official filly from Wingspread mare

Lot 199 Art Official filly from Wingspread mare

Lot 324 Art Official colt from a New York Motoring mare

Lot 324 Art Official colt from a New York Motoring mare

To be honest, overall the Art Officials were not yearlings that caught my eye as a group in the same way the Changeovers did.  The “sire stamp” I could see (without examining yearlings in any detail for correctness issues) was a more elegant type of yearling, and by that I mean a finer boned horse, one whom you might see as racy and correct, but with an unknown factor in terms of strength, (whereas with Changeover, you can see more potential strength, but perhaps lacking the fineness.)

What do you think? I’d love to hear what you make of Art Official yearlings and 2yos that you have had something to do with, bred, bought or are training. Please add a comment to this blog or email me (check my email address on the About Isa Lodge page).

Photos below, a couple of the other Art Officials at the sale who went from less or were vendor buy-backs:

Lot 184 Art Official filly from Christian Cullen mare

Lot 184 Art Official filly from Christian Cullen mare

Lot 81 Art Official colt from Sokys Atom mare

Lot 81 Art Official colt from Sokys Atom mare

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The next new sire I want to look at is Panspacificflight. He’s a sire  who has always caught my eye on his breeding and the combination of size, reach and speed he had as a racehorse himself and which he has passed on to some of his progeny (there is a dvd available from Macca Lodge and plenty of videos online).

At the Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch this year I met Mark and Pauline O”Connor (of Denario breeding) and Brent McIntyre (of Macca Lodge, which stands Panspacificflight) and had a good look at the yearlings in the parade and sale. Panspacificflight had his second crop of yearlings for sale.

Last year he had 5 yearlings, 4 sold ($10,500, $17,000, $20,000, $25,000) and one was passed in.  That was a very solid start, commercially. Of the 4 sold, 2 have qualified as 2yos this season including First Flight In (see my recent blog).  Of his 23 registered 2yos, only 4 have qualified as 2yos but I think we’ll see a lot more as 3yos.

So the signs were positive for a good sale in 2014, but it turned out to be a lot flatter than his debut.

Of the 8 yearlings presented, 2 were passed in and the others averaged just $7063.

The best price was for a lovely looking, athletic black colt from 5-win mare Scherger Rein, which was bought by Brian Hughes for $17,000, a full brother to the mare’s previous foal (In Full Flight) that was sold last year at exactly the same price to John Dickie (and is now in the name of two of Dickie’s main owners).

Lot 36 Panspacificflight out of Sir Vancelot mare Scherger Rein was the top priced yearling from the sire at the 2014 Christchurch

Lot 36 Panspacificflight out of Sir Vancelot mare Scherger Rein was the top priced yearling from the sire at the 2014 Christchurch

However the rest of the 2014 Panspacificflight yearlings sold well below that, and would hardly be covering the costs of raising them even at the sire’s very gettable $3750 service fee.

Why? There was nothing about the yearlings that put me off; in general they seemed well proportioned, long barrelled and quite leggy but they were a mixed lot in terms of size, showing as much influence by their dams and damsires as by their 16.2hh sire. For example, Lot 77 Majestic Arden was a smaller type of colt from a Bettor’s Delight mare (sold for $8,000), whereas Lot 41 Thisismylastflight from a Christian Cullen mare looked a bolder and bigger type (passed in at $7,000).

An eyecatcher was Lot 202 Milehigh Magic who is a 2nd January foal from a Falcon Seelster mare Falcon Magic, the same family as 2yo starter First Flight In. For his age, this yearling looked a good size and beautifully presented, and was a great buy at $8,500 for Wayne Adams.

Lot 257 Fugio Denario is also by a Falcon Seelster mare who belongs to the family of Tammera and Tentative (which is a family Mark and Pauline O’Connor have long admired).

The cross with Falcon Seelster is a potentially very good one – Panspacificflight has stunning maternal lines, being from a full sister to the dam of Art Major and Perfect Art, and therefore the grandson of the great Rodine Hanover. Some of Art Major’s best performers have been from Falcon Seelster mares (Art Official being one of them.) Another Panspacificflight yearling from Falcon Seelster mare was withdrawn before the sale (Lot 98 from Tuapeka Osprey).

Artsplace is the damsire of Lot 135 First Class Arden (passed in $10,000, reserve $12,000)  – and Artsplace is a sire who has successfully crossed with Panspacificflight’s dam for the 46 win gelding Thereandpanlines (won over $900,000), plus Rodine Hanover produced Real Artist by Artsplace, and of course Art Major is by Artsplace.

Another damsires working well with Art Major and his maternal line appears to be Safely Kept, and the O’Connors put their Safely Kept mare Highview Dream to Panspacificflight to get Lot 232 Comin At Ya which sold for just $6000.

So there was some really thoughtful breeding going on here which went largely unrewarded in terms of financial return but may well prove successful on the track.

Panspacificflight himself is here because of a handshake deal between Brent McIntyre and the stallion’s Amish owner to make frozen semen available at Macca Lodge.

Like his career as a racehorse (a very good 2yo and 3yo season, suspensory injury, given his 4yo year off in the hope of getting him back to his best, but retired to stud at 5yo), Panspacificflight’s career as a sire may end up a little uneven in its progress. He stands in Indiana, and by a stud that is very locally focused. He got good numbers and good results from his first couple of years, but dropped significantly for the next two (in large part due to the arrival of Always A Virgin in the area  – see the statistics below from the Indiana Harness register). His numbers then picked up again and may well fluctuate until the bigger crops start racing. But it looks hopeful that many in Indiana returned to give him another good go.


Mares     Foals/        Winners                Total

Bred        Starters     2:00/1:55             Earnings

2007-IN 161           92/71         50/29            $4,652,116
2008-IN  104          56/44          30/18            $2,084,760
2009-IN  54             33/22          14/8               $581,048
2010-IN  91             49/27            5/2                $133,111
2011-IN  192           122/- – –
2012-IN  148           35/- – –
2013-IN  52 – – –

2009-IN  159          119/101       69/42            $3,616,121
2010-IN  153          111/67          35/11            $1,143,581
2011-IN  94               50/- – –
2012-IN  65              25/- – –
2013-IN  147 – – –

In New Zealand, his numbers of live foals is very small but the arrival of his 2yos on the track – and more as next seasons 3yos – could see interest rise. We are unlikely to see his foals at next year’s yearling sales, given the trend of numbers and prices, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get some very good percentages in the long run from such small opportunities, particularly if the breeders that patronise him are thinking about the matches and giving him decent mares. As well as some of the crosses mentioned above, he’s certainly one to try with a good Live Or Die mare, in terms of latching into the top lines in his pedigree.

Panspacificflight colt Lot 77

Lot 77 Panspacificflight colt from Bettor’s Delight mare

Lot 232 Panspacificflight filly from Safely Kept mare

Lot 232 Panspacificflight filly from Safely Kept mare

Lot 202 Panspacificflight colt from Falcon Seelster mare

Lot 202 Panspacificflight colt from Falcon Seelster mare

Lot 340 Panspacificflight colt from Armbro Operative mare

Lot 340 Panspacificflight colt from Armbro Operative mare

Lot 257 Panspacificflight filly from Falcon Seelster mare

Lot 257 Panspacificflight filly from Falcon Seelster mare

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I’m taking a look at some of the newer sires, and how they performed in terms of prices gained at the yearling sales.

I’m using averages this time, but where a single result skews the overall range, I will also show the average without the top price.

Overall, the sales show again how hard it is for breeders to take a punt on new sires, no matter how good their reputation – and that’s because the buying market stands back from them. And yet if we don’t support newer sires at the commercial end of our industry, we are lacking the progressive attitude that our industry badly needs.

I’ve blogged before about this (New sires trying to gain traction, 30 January 2013) and I will follow several of the same sires this time but focusing on their sales results.

Let’s start with Changeover. When I blogged about him in January he had 11 qualifiers. That has increased to 19 and it seems like his name is popping up regularly in the results of workouts and trials, and increasingly in races. He’s had 9 starters and just the 1 winner so far. But these are good statistics from a 2yo crop of just 49 registered foals, and you hear many good reports from trainers and some of the horses that are racing look like they will win before long – Prince Of Pops, Bold Ruler and Controversial are three that come to mind.

So I was expecting buyers to be interested in his yearlings at the sales. Unfortunately there was only one offered at Karaka (Australasian), and that went for just $10,000. There were 21 in the Christchurch (Premier) catalogue, and after 2 withdrawals 19 were offered but only 13 sold on the day and 6 were passed in on vendor’s bid (but none of them had a reserve higher than $12,000). The average price for Changeover yearlings over both sales was $15,577, and the median was $12,000. If you factor in the number not making their reserve, I think his reception was weaker than the sire deserves on his own merits and breeding, and on what we’ve heard about and seen of his foals so far.

His service fee has consistently been $4000 +gst, which puts him in the realistic middle range. That helps breeders, particularly those who are doing the raising and preparation themselves, to at least cover their costs. I would guess about half of them did, and half of them didn’t. But the number passed in would alter that result unfavourably, as it is likely that sales arranged soon after the auction would be for no more than the reserve.

On type, I really liked a lot of them. Most were good sized attractive types, quite long in the barrel and “scopey”. Bold, lovely heads, plenty of leg. His results in terms of qualifiers is showing he can turn out horses with enough natural ability, good gait and willing temperament to make a competitive 2yo. And as strength develops, they will become really nice 3yos.

Changeover’s results were more solid than some of the other newer sires, but I wonder how many commercial breeders will be targeting him for yearling sale foals next year? I hope some do, and  hope the sire’s statistics on the racetrack make him a sought after product. This is a sire that owners who want good potential racehorses for a reasonable price should snap up. And a “reasonable price” should be averaging over $20,000 rather than $15,000.

If part of the role of yearling sales is to showcase a sire’s progeny, then I put a tick in Changeover’s box. Very nice types.

A Changeover yearling colt from Sly Shard

Lot 48 Christchurch, Linton Shard, a yearling colt by Changeover out of Sly Shard, which makes him a half to Smiling Shard and Pemberton Shard. Bought by Cran Dalgety for $40,000. A very good looking colt.

A Changeover yearling filly

Lot 63, Arma Night, a Changeover yearling filly from Arma Phoenix (family of Armalight), passed in on a vendor’s bid of $6,000 (res $12,000) at the Christchurch sale.

A Changeover yearling colt

Lot 64, Jakarta, a yearling colt by Changeover from the 4-win Live Or die mare Tellalie. Sold for $12,000 to Neil Darlington, Australia.

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As readers will know, over the past few years I’ve used the idea of a “virtual stable” of yearlings from the New Zealand yearling sales to track how hard it is to pick a good horse to buy at yearling sales and then to make something from it. The point being that those who do, regularly, deserved much credit. It has also been a way to encourage all breeders to take opportunities to look at a number of progeny from sires and families, and learn.

It has been a big part of my learning curve, and I try to attend sire parades, yearling, weanling and all aged sales when I can (work and budget allowing).

This year I journeyed south to Christchurch to view the two days of Premier yearling sales because the range of sires was greater than at Karaka’s Australasian Classic. (I’m still going to do a blog on the overall sale – mainly how sires fared. But I just need some time between day job, spraying paddocks, feeding out mares, cleaning out chook houses etc to do the numbers).

I ended up taking a less-than-virtual interest in one yearling, which I now have a quarter share in. His named is Father Frank, and he was lot 223, a Real Desire colt out of an Armbro Operative mare who is the grand-daughter of Our Stretto, the 35-win mare who performed very consistently in Australia in the late 1980s. Father Frank was bought by Frank and Ann Cooney for $12,500. He was one I had picked out for myself on type as much as breeding, and neither the Cooneys nor I have anything bad to say about the Real Desires. My own one (sold at Karaka) was a cracker of a yearling and I have much admiration for what the sire adds to the right mares. I approached the Cooneys after the sale to see if they would welcome my interest in him. Of course Frank co-trains and the Cooneys part-own the Real Desire racehorse Let’s Elope, whose run in the Auckland Cup was full of merit I thought, with a patient drive by Maurice McKendry allowing him to be (with Saveapatrol) the only horses really running on strongly behind Terror To Love and Adore Me in a 28.2 last quarter.

Two other yearlings in Christchurch interested me enough to make some serious enquiries – lot 142 Magnifico Denario, an Art Major filly from Averil’s Atom which makes her a half to Averil’s Quest. She went for $46,000 to

Lot 288 One Big Fella by Mister Big

Lot 288 One Big Fella by Mister Big

Australian buyers, which was outside the budget.  The other one was lot 288 (One Big Fella) an outstanding youngster by Mister Big from Falcon Seelster mare Killarney (dam of Bondy) also caught my eye enough in the parade to get him checked out. The only lot by Mister Big in the sales, he is a 20 December foal but very well put together and a lovely temperament. I wasn’t the only one taken by him – in the end he went to Nigel McGrath for $54,000.

So I’ve got 3 Christchurch yearlings for my virtual and not-so-virtual stable sorted.

Lot 36 Christchurch - Pacific Arden by Panspacificflight from Scherger Rein

Lot 36 Christchurch – Pacific Arden by Panspacificflight from Scherger Rein

Among many others from Christchurch that could easily have put their hooves in my stable were lot 31 (Freedom Fighter), a springy colt by Courage Under Fire from New York Motoring mare Rafiki, bought by Robert Dunn for $48,000; lot 36 (Pacific Arden), a lovely type of colt by Panspacificflight from 5-win Sir Vancelot mare Scherger Rein, bought by Brian Hughes for $17,000; lot 42 (Trusty Bromac), a Falcon Seelster colt from Badlands Hanover mare Taffeta Bromac, one of the Burgundy Lass family which sold for $11,000; and lot 128 (Al Coda), an athletic looking colt by Changeover from a Washington VC mare, bought by the McCutcheons for $21,000.

And for fillies, Lot 327 (Champagne Reign), an lovely alert strong filly by Christian Cullen from Camtastic mare Mainland Reign, which went for $60,000; lot 302 (Loren Franco), a good sized filly by Changeover from a Bettor’s Delight mare from a good branch of the Lancia family that was passed in to vendor’s bid at $6000 (reserve $12,000).  That was tempting! I liked lot 199 (Don’t Pass I’m Fast), an Art Official filly from Wingspread mare Fast Winger who has had 6 foals to race for 6 winners but the one that looked the most promising (Almost A Christian) died at 3. This was a bigger type of Art Officials, whose yearlings I thought generally were selling for less than they should because we struggle to like the finer but very correct type he is producing. Mind you, it was hard to get a line on buyer preferences for type, as some of the bolder types of Changeovers and Shark Gestures went for less than what I thought they were worth too. More on that later, when I look at the overall trends.

Another colt on breeding and type that I liked (and there were many) was lot 313 Goforjack out of the great mare Laurent Perrier. He looked big, boyish and a delightful racing prospect (photo bottom of this blog) but was sold to the Mitchells of Timaru for only $14,000.  A steal!

There were so many nice horses in Christchurch, a credit to preparers, and a bonus for the buyers who got many for less than cost. I had a feast of looking in Christchurch, and most of my picks are this time based on type alone. I took a lot of photos and I will share more and look at the new sires next week. “If dreams were horses, I’d have a stable…”

Please feel free to use the comment/response function to add your “tips” and “picks” of the yearling sales 2014. I will still keep tracking them as we go along.

Lot 191 Art Official filly don't Pass I'm Fast

Lot 191 Art Official filly Don’t Pass I’m Fast

Lot 313 Goforjack Real Desire colt

Lot 313 Goforjack Real Desire colt

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Tip o’ the hat to long-term trotting sire Armbro Invasion who died recently of a heart attack at 27 years of age.

Harnesslink carried an article which reminds us of the top quality trotters he produced over many years.

The most recent highlight was Stig winning the 2013 Rowe Cup at the great age of 11. A hugely popular victory.

Armbro Invasion is best remembered as a sire for consistency and durability of his own siring record and the qualities of his progeny. His New Zealand statistics reflect that. His first crop was born in 1993 and he’s had over 800 live foals here over those 18 years. His time at stud was in parallel to the great Sundon, and the cross has been well used as a blend of durability and speed.

Just looking over the past 10 years his starter to winner ratios have been hovering around the 2:1 – 3:1 mark annually.
2005 (86/40), 2006 (92/47), 2007 (81/41), 2008 (79/38), 2009 (80/50), 2010 (84/37), 2011 (80/44), 2012 (57/26), 2013 46/24) and so far this season 41/17.

That’s why a lot of owners and trainers enjoyed his trotters – if you have a starter, you have a good chance of a winner.

He was never known as a producer of early types or high speed, but once they got going they were often tough and durable. His youngest crop here (before he moved to Australia) are now 3yos, and one recent qualifier I will be watching is the filly Rattle (Ambro Invasion – Scuffle) who is a grand-daughter of the great Tussle, one of my favourite racemares ever.

He’s done a great job as a broodmare sire too – one of his best known credits here is Charlemagne, the dual Jewels winner bred by Tony Dickinson of Alta Lodge and owned/trained by Colin Butler in the Waikato.

Armbro Invasion’s own breeding was tops – by Speedy Crown from the great mare Delmegan (by Super Bowl) who won $469,593, and his grandam was Delmonica Hanover (by Speedy Count) who was a sensational racehorse winning $832,925.

His family is an interesting one to track on Classic Families database (free access on Peppertree Farm website) to see how other branches of his great dam and grandam have fared both in America and Europe.

Armbro Invasion was by no means the best performer of Delmegan’s foals. His own record is only 14 starts from 2 to 4yo and a total stakes of only $13,226. These days he would probably never be given a chance at stud!

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My eye was caught by tomorrow’s Gore harness meeting on the grass – Race 4, a 2yo by Panspacificflight will be racing.



I’m just about to do a blog on Panspacificflight, having seen quite a few of his progeny at the yearling sales this year, and following the 2yo starters he’s had to date – which is is oldest crop here in New Zealand. He’s a sire that impresses me.

The young gelding racing at Gore is named First Flight In, and his formline so far reads 747, which is a lovely coincidence when it comes to airplanes. This horse has a wee bit more ability than that formline shows, and he’s certainly no Fokker Friendship labouring down the runway.

He’s won a couple of Invercargill trials. He was 7th when he galloped at the beginning of his first start and lost all chance. His fourth looked promising. And his last race for 7th was the Kindergarten Stakes where he drew 8 and was never near the front but stuck on well to take a personal best time of 1.55.3.

His maternal family is an old one tracing back to Dream Star, Royden Dream and other Roydon Lodge broodmares.  His immediate dam is Sharjanter, a Christian Cullen mare, and her dam Falcon Magic was also leased by Brent and Sheree McIntyre a few years ago for two breedings to Panspacificflight. A Live Or Die half sister to Falcon Magic is Love To Live, the dam of Terror To Love.

Trainer Phil Devery bought him on type at last year’s yearling sales (Lot 253 Christshurch) for about $11,000, but he proved not easy to break in, being a bit of a nervy type. Phil says he’s a good gaited horse with ability, and it will just be a matter of waiting for him to “grow into his mind and get a bit of maturity.” Looking at the videos of his races, I’d agree with that. He’s got a lovely stride, good reach, but as Phil says it will be a bit unknown on the grass at Gore particularly as he has drawn bang in the middle of the mobile gate, so there is no unruly mark to assist if he gets stirred up.

Phil says he will have to get a line on him over the next month or so and see whether it is worth keeping on for the bigger races or giving him a break and bringing him back as a nice 3yo.

Although his sire is well over 16hh, Phil says First Flight In is not a big horse, but is a good looking one.

So not a Jumbo Jet and not a Fokker. I will be watching tomorrow to see how the formline develops!

From article by Matt Smith Otago Daily Times when the horse qualified late December 2013:

Macca Lodge sire Panspacificflight sired his first qualifier at the Roxburgh Trotting Club trials on Sunday.

The American-bred sire, who won his first four starts as a 2yr-old, left a similar ability to run early on his 2yr-old crops in the United States. The son of Panderosa is only available through frozen semen at the Gore-based breeding operation, but has produced 62 live foals from 102 mares served in his three seasons in New Zealand.

His first qualifier, First Flight In, is out of the unraced Christian Cullen mare, Sharjanter. First Flight In’s time of 2.01.5 for the one mile was a comfortable 4.9sec inside the required time to qualify for driver Andrew Armour and Invercargill trainer Phil Devery.

Update post race: Phillip Devery would have been a bit frustrated as the race gave no better line on the real ability of this horse, with a false start caused by another horse probably stirring the youngster up. When they got underway again, he broke and caught the field easily, but broke again and was out of play after that. If he can develop some maturity to handle that sort of situation, he will change his formline around. I’m not the only one noting him – he went out favourite.

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Kym with Sun Isa

Kym with Sun Isa

The Pegasus Spur x Sun Isa colt bred by Kym Kearns is the new Australasian record holder for the mile trot.

As Michael Guerin says, it indicates how unlucky he was to miss a spot in the big trot on Interdominion day.

Congratulations to the owners, some of whom bought the full brother at the Karaka yearling sales three weeks ago.

Read more about Kym and the Sun Isa family here

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On the same day as the Interdominion Final and Chariots of Fire was run, I also checked out the harness racing at Addington for the Cheviot Club and spotted two well regarded Falcon Seelster youngsters going around. The first was Free Falling, a 3yo colt who blitzed his field by over 12 lengths and a 57 last half, and then there was a 2yo Falcon Seelster filly who went out favourite and got 3rd, but looks a nice sort indeed. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, there are still a few hitting the racetracks each year, even though the sire himself has passed away in 2011.

Falcon Seelster is available via frozen semen.

So if you have a mare or can lease a mare that is a good potential cross with this sire, this coming season will be one of the last opportunities.

Bob McArdle says he has about 50  straws here and 50 in Australia – the details/contacts are available here on the Bromac Lodge/Stallions web page. Or talk with Bob direct, his phone number is on that website.



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Post Interdominion Finals day it is nice to see that the spoils were shared around, and there were some nice return to be had if you punted outside the “obvious” horses. Did you like the run of Seel N Print for second in the big race? What a patient drive and a good finish. Well, I have to have a little brag at picking that one out to highlight in my last blog, and I did have a sneaky bet on him.

One of our New Zealand Trackside continuity announcers, admittedly a galloping enthusiast, kept saying what a great day it was for the great sire Bettor’s Delight.  Yes Bettor’s Delight had two wonderful wins, which is probably appropriate for his dominance in terms of numbers and quality, but other sires got a look in – and not just ones many might see as “the next best thing”. As I said last time, that’s why the great staying races and the top sprints for top horses tend to find quality wherever it comes from.

The sires of the winners on Interdom Final day were (in order of the racebook): Armbro Operative, Presidential Ball, Jereme’s Jet, Village Jasper, Art Major, Artsplace, Bettor’s Delight, Bettor’s Delight, Dr Donerail for the trot, and Aces N Sevens. In terms of overall results, Art Major had a good day as a sire, as did American Ideal. Great to see Live Or Die and Courage Under Fire still flying good flags.

The Interdom winner is a bit of a stranger for me regarding his maternal line, and I’m hoping some of my Australian readers can throw light on that – Beautide is by Bettor’s Delight from Gorse Bush, a very nice producing mare who won 10 races herself. She’s by an American bred sire called Ticket To Heaven whom I’ve not heard of before, and from a mare by another American bred sire called Holly Sand. I am not sure at what point the family or these sires came out to Australia but would love to find out more.

Please let me know.

(Update: Thanks to Gary Newton I know a heap more about Beautide’s family – check out his comment below)

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Big day at Menangle today, but rather than analyse the form or predict the race tactics, I’ll just give a quick overview on the breeding side of things.

Here is a gathering of many of the top horses in Australia and New Zealand and they are performing at staying distances.

That’s a true test of a horse.

What appeals to me is that, in spite of the dominance of some sires over the years, the fields for these sorts of races always display a range of breeding choice.

So although the Chariots of Fire will be a cracker of a race over the mile, half of that field is either by Bettor’s Delight or Art Major.

But in the staying races, it is a lot more evenly spread.

In the Interdominion Final, there is a 14 horse field, with 3 Bettor’s Delights, 2 Art Majors, 2 Courage Under Fires, and the rest have just one representative – Washington VC, Dream Away, Falcon Seelster, Christian Cullen, Famous Forever, Mach Three and Western Terror. Or looking at it in terms of siring lines – the Cam Fella line has 5 runners representing it (Bettor’s Delight, Washington VC and Famous Forever), the Direct Scooter line has 4 (Christian Cullen, courage Under Fire and Mach Three), the Abercrombie/Artsplace line has 3 (Art Major, Dream Away), and the others are from the No Nukes/Western Hanover line (Western Terror), and Bret

Seel N Print (Falcon Seelster 6yo from a Go For Grins mare) was an outsider when winning his interdominion heat but has $406,000 to his name and a good draw in the final.

Seel N Print (Falcon Seelster 6yo from a Go For Grins mare) was an outsider when winning his interdominion heat but has $406,000 to his name and a good draw in the final.

Hanover/Warm Breeze line (Seel N Print).

On the maternal side, there is a mix of deep families and families that have popped up a brilliant one almost from nowhere. However there are some quality damsires adding value here: Soky’s Atom (Im Victorious, Wartime Sweetheart), In The Pocket (Livingontheinterest and The Gold Ace), Safely Kept (Keayang Cullen, Smolda, Caribbean Blaster), Falcon Seelster (Mach Beauty and did have the first emergency Franco Nelson), plus Fake Left (For A Reason), Bookmaker (Forever Gold), DM Dilinger (Restrepo) and Go For Grins (Seel N Print).

Overall, the message for breeders from top staying races is that so-called golden crosses are really about statistics for larger populations of horses. They don’t help us predict which horses will rise above the rest and become an Interdominion champion. And they don’t necessarily work for particular families and mares.

The NSW Oaks field today also throws up a wide range of sires. Bettor’s Delight and Art Major have 2 each in the 10-horse field, and sheer weight of numbers of foals means that should be no surprise. But one of the favourites will be the McArdle filly Nike Franco, out of the great staying Badlands Hanover mare Nearea Franco who belongs to the Shy Ann family. There’s also a Live Or Die filly, a Jereme’s Jet filly, a Troublemaker filly and yes, even a Flashing Red filly.

The NSW Derby is a little different. Art Major has 3, Christian Cullen has 2, so that is half the field. But after that you get a good smattering of others with 1 each – McArdle, Bettor’s Delight, American Ideal, Jereme’s Jet, and Julius Caesar, the much less commercial brother of Christian Cullen.

There are many breeders and owners whose aim is still to breed horses that can win those classic staying races – the oaks, the derbies – and who love seeing their horse given the time to mature into a potential cup and interdominion type.

History shows that the interdominion and major cups winners can fly the flag for sires and families that would struggle to get a bid at the yearling sales!

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