Archive for May, 2014

I’ve been too busy doing the day job, feeding mares afterwards and getting dinner ready to really focus on any analysis of the Harness Jewels fields in terms of breeding, so I won’t even try until afterwards. What I will be most interested in, is what sort of broodmares are producing good horses (any horse that makes the fields). Are they the top performers? Are they the great long-standing families? Are they middle range mares who have become consistent producers? Are they out-of-left-field mares?

But on the day ( Saturday 31 May), I’m just enjoying myself. What a day it is – our local equivalent of Little Brown Jug Day – and once again it looks like Cambridge will put on a cool but bright, sun-shiny day for the event where aged/sex group pacers and trotters go around a mile for high purses, record times and prestige than endures.

I will be there around the open public area, and will have a few bets on my sentimental favourites despite draws, just because this is a day to enjoy and get into the spirit of harness racing.

Catch up with you later – and don’t forget to check out my competition (last blog) and start THINKING about your entry.

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Here’s a competition to test your skills in matching sires and mares.

I’d like your input into the next match with my mare The Blue Lotus, after she foals in October.

This is your opportunity to win a 5% share in the resulting foal – and no further contributions!

It’s also a way to have a bit of fun and get those little grey cells exercised.

The Blue Lotus mare

6yo The Blue Lotus enjoying TLC at Isa Lodge

The Blue Lotus is a Grinfromeartoear mare from my top mare Zenterfold (In The Pocket dam of Tintin In America, Destination Moon etc). Some more photos of her at the bottom of this blog, as well as one of her first foal.

She is probably 15.2hh, athletic build and has been heart scored at 120. She was 3rd in the 3yo Sires Stakes Fillies Final and has a best time of 1.56.6. She was retired with 2 wins and 5 places after only 15 starts due to a tendon tear.

The Blue Lotus’ first foal was a Bettor’s Delight filly, which sold for $26,000 at the yearling sales this year. (So if you do the maths, you can see that a 5% share in that foal would have resulted in a $1000-plus prize.) The Bettor’s Delight x Grinfromeartoear cross is the same as the good North American pacer Vegas Vacation, but probably the main driver for selecting Bettor’s Delight for The Blue Lotus was commercial, plus adding speed to a stamina type mare, and the fact that the syndicate members who made the choice both had good experiences with Bettor’s Delight progeny.

The Blue Lotus is currently in foal to Shadow Play, and I have blogged about why I made that choice and see the match as a good one. I would look closely at returning her to Shadow Play, if his performance as a sire of racehorses develops.

But I am definitely open to other ideas and would appreciate some thoughtful comments that may help me decide. Among other sires I have had a quick glance at are:

  • Western Ideal
  • Somebeachsomewhere
  • Jereme’s Jet (lovely cross but no longer available)
  • Well Said and others from the Western Hanover line. I am not sure about the double up of Artsplace that many of these bring)
  • Some of the locally bred sires.

But I am truly undecided and open to your suggestions – given that the sire you propose must be

  • available this coming season in New Zealand
  • be rated commercially or, if a new sire, the offspring be likely to rate commercially at yearling sales

I’m looking for thoughtful, well explained suggestions based on pedigree, type, statistics, or any other factor or mix of factors you want, so long as you explain your recommendation. No mysterious theories that you can’t share, please. It is the reasons you give for your choice rather than the sire you choose that I am most interested in. So don’t feel constrained by the ones I have mentioned above.

My overall goal is to breed the best racehorses I can. My aim would be to sell the resulting foal  profitably at the sales.

You can contact me if you wish to ask any questions about the mare or her family that may help you, but you can also search this information on my blogsite, as I have posted up quite a bit about Zenterfold, The Blue Lotus and others in the family like Tintin In America over the years.

Keep your suggestions to less than 400 words per sire if you can please and of course you can include a Pedigree Partner/Tesio chart if you want. (I am fairly relaxed about length if the entry is interesting and on topic).

One sire per entry, but you can put in more than one entry.

Get your ideas to me by end of July 2014.

How? By email to bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz, or you can use the response/comments facility at the bottom of this blog.

Any entries received as blog comments/responses will not be published until after the competition is closed.

Please include your full name, location and email contact.

If I feel there is a stand-out entry (whether I follow its suggestion or not) I will donate a FREE non-transferable 5% share of the 2015 foal, formalised on the ownership papers, and no further contribution to expenses is required.

I am not obliged to donate the prize if no entry meets the standard I am looking for.

I am not obliged to follow the recommendation of the winning entry.

By non-transferable share I mean the share cannot be sold to, shared or given to another party without my written consent.

The competition is open to all, from small-time hobby breeders to a stud farm or a breeding consultant.

All entries may be published, with names, on this blogsite after a decision is made.


“Think b4 breeding”



The Blue Lotus 2013

The Blue Lotus 2013

The Blue Lotus mare

The Blue Lotus aka Lottie wants a bit more attention please!


Amazon Lily by Bettor's Delight, the first foal from The Blue Lotus

Amazon Lily by Bettor’s Delight, the first foal from The Blue Lotus


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This is due to my service provider Telecom going through a meltdown here.

In the meantime the lack of functioning blog time on the weekend meant I dismantled my old chook run, dug over my winter garden bed, and spent time with the horses.

Destination America!

Also caught up with the news that Destination Moon has been sold for good money to America to Diamond Creek Racing (the link to their blogsite for their breeding farm is on my home page as usual, but google their full name for their main website at Diamond Creek Farm and look at their lovely range of broodmares! They are getting more active in the racing scene now.)

I understand the trainer for Destination Moon may be Linda Toscano, but that hasn’t been confirmed. She’s one of the top trainers in NY/Jersey.

He’s a horse with a huge willingness to learn and go for it! So I hope he gets over the usual road bumps there and does well. He went with Commander Galleon (also from Steven Reid’s stable) and a trotter I thought had a lot of natural speed.


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There are some good opportunities to look at and perhaps buy some young standardbreds in the latter part of this month (May), with the North and South Island weanling/mixed stock sales, and Macca Lodge’s current Southern Geared Yearling Sale.

The Macca Lodge sale is on now – and it gives people the opportunity to try before they buy. Read about it here.

Ashleighs Flight yearling filly

Ashleighs Flight yearling filly in the Macca Lodge geared sale, May 2014

One that really caught my eye was Ashleighs Flight by the Western Hanover line sire Panspacificflight from Albaglory (a daughter of Quest For Glory, and so related to Averil’s Quest, New Age Man amongst others). It’s a family that has produced some good horses over the years, but not consistently. One branch that has been showing up very well lately is Averil’s Atom, with matchings to Badlands Hanover (Western Hanover sire line) resulting in Averil’s Quest and to McArdle (who has Nihilator as his damsire) resulting in her speedy half sister Fizzi Lizzi, so this filly’s cross with Panspacificflight ticks both those boxes. I’ve blogged earlier on Panspacificflight. Just on type this yearling filly looks the part and I like what Hamish Hunter says about her.

The PGG Wrightson Auckland All Age and Mixed Sale will this year be held on Friday the 30 May at Karaka, but the inspection of the Alabar weanling draft is this Sunday, 1-3pm at Alabar Stud. The pedigrees and photos from Alabar’s weanling draft are online here. While much of the interest will focus around the siblings to Isaiah, State Of Affairs and Offtocullect, I’ll take a very quick look at two fillies that appealed to me.

Lot 44 - Shadow Play x  Splish Splash Filly

Lot 44 – Shadow Play x Splish Splash Filly

I’d be interested to see how Lot 44 the Shadow Play filly from Splish Splash turns out. My god, that mare stamps her foals with the family looks! (Although I think that Shadow Play’s sire The Panderosa was chestnut too). Like Quest For Glory mentioned above, the Splish Splash family can shoot up a really good one now and then, but she has not been a consistent producer so far. What I really like about this weanling is the cross with Shadow Play. Check out the pedigree and then my blog on crosses with Shadow Play – search the blogsite for “Shadow Play” and you will come up with a few blogs on him. On type (only from the photo) she looks a strong filly with plenty of growing to do, not pretty but quite unusually striking. In some ways she reminds me a wee bit of Classical who was a stocky, almost big boned chestnut yearling when I first saw her, and of course went on to be a champion filly. It’s hard to tell, and I don’t have such a good eye as many who can “see” the future horse in a weanling.

Lot 52 is an athletic type of filly by Real Desire from a mare that’s half to the dam of Let’s Elope and Five Star Anvil. You might be picking up a real bargain here, given the thumping Real Desire took at the yearling sales! I like the cross, and the pedigree has some of those hard working, under-rated damsires I like – Troublemaker, Big Towner, Shadow Wave as well as doses of Adios. There’s Golden Miss on the sires maternal line, and Barbara Direct on the dam’s bottom line. Those are two damn good references. 

PGG Wrightson Autumn Weanling & All Age Sale at the Canterbury Agricultural Park is on tomorrow, 15 May, and I’ll be keen to see how some of the lots sell. You can see them on the Nevele R website, at least for now

Tintin In America colt from Arma Class

Tintin In America colt from Arma Class

– a good range of established and newer sires. Of particular interest to me are the Tintin In America weanlings of course, and I thought Lot 52 (colt) and Lot 54 (filly) were very nice looking types. He does seem to leave good lookers, well proportioned. See my blog on Tintin In America as a sire and on my own yearling filly.

I was also  interested to see photos of the Vintage Masters (and in Alabar’s draft the Big Jims) as they were such different types of stallions and racehorses themselves, although both sons of Western Ideal. At Nevele R I like the look of Lot 58, a colt by Vintage Master from Emma Grace (from the Vicario family). Lot 74 is another nice looking Vintage Master from the good producer Nemesis Choice. The two Changeovers (Lot 55  a strong looking filly and Lot 55 a long barrelled colt) also appeal. The colt may lack a bit of depth of chest but having seen the way Changeovers develop into strapping yearlings, I can visualise him looking quite bold as he grows – and I’m a sucker for those roman noses.

I’ll make some additions to this blog after the sales.

Post script 15 May:

Just had an initial look at results from the PGG Weanling and All Aged Sale today, and the prices show how much this is a buyers market. Apart from a few exceptions, prices would hardly cover the feed costs for most of them. So weanling and all aged sales are still in the era of  “clearance” sales, which is not where we want weanlings to be. Weanling sales are a huge opportunity to even out the buyers and producers return on investment, to make a reasonable sale price that delivers fairly to both. But the balance so far is not fair. “Fair” of course is an emotional term, so in my next blog I will look at why the lack of definition in our industry about “What we are” is creating a very confused market for all.

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Graeme Henley from Alabar reckons at its peak we were probably getting access to about 20 sires in New Zealand via shuttling from the Northern Hemisphere. Now it is almost half that.

Why? And is the decline a problem, or part of a solution?

In the past decade or two, shuttling has given us access to a wide range of North American sires and potentially gave the owners of retired top racehorses a chance to maximise their returns through the breeding barn in two hemispheres. But decreasing breeding numbers and increasing costs of shuttling have reduced the amount of shuttle sires in recent years. Add to that the loss that many breeders take at yearling sales when they have supported new shuttle sires, because buyers here are even less willing to experiment with newcomers than the breeders are.

The biggest challenge of shuttling is purely commercial – the owners need to cover the costs of the shuttling itself, marketing and staking the sire. Unless the sire brings a big international reputation with him (Rock N Roll Heaven, Somebeachsomewhere) breeders here need to be introduced to the horse, reminded of races we may not have seen and family pedigrees we are not so familiar with. So the marketing is important and that includes the pricing, which must be incredibly tricky to agree on. And the insurance costs must be almost prohibitive.

Another issue can be the effect of shuttling on fertility or general wellbeing. Jereme’s Jet’s fertility over the 4 years he stood here hovered around 70%, a less than desirable result when the books of mares are below 100 and every missed opportunity to get foals on the ground will hurt the stallion. He’s not alone in that. So moving from one hemisphere to another and breeding two seasons in a year can be a physical challenge for some horses.

And finally, there is the massive challenge of competing against other sires of similar worth “on paper” – relatively unproven sires and of course the more established popular sires. When there are a limited number of mares and a generally conservative approach by New Zealand breeders, this is a hard ask. The rising popularity of “home grown” sires in New Zealand has added another dimension to these challenges – the costs of standing these sires is considerably less and their familiarity to breeders is considerably more, so the stallion owners start on the front line rather than on a 30m handicap.

Do the maths. If a stallion gets 80 mares at $5000, it’s probably going to be worthwhile standing again. But half that number, and the costs and risks maybe are not worth it. Price a stallion lower than $5000 and you may get more takers, but have less chance of being viewed as a top commercial type attracting good mares for the yearling sales type market. Price him too much higher, and breeders will want to wait and let others take the chance.

Shuttling has given our breeding industry a huge boost in the past 15 years. There are some great examples of how success downunder can give a sire the opportunity to “click” with a different genetic pool of mares, a type of racing that might suit the strengths they pass to their foals.

The shrinking market over the last 5 years has triggered some changes as breeders, stallion owners and studs adapt. The rise of homegrown sires; the potential collaboration of Nevele R and Alabar studs; the call for improvements in fertility rates…. these are just some of the responses so far.

I think we may find the cost of frozen semen will start to come down and become a more viable alternative to shuttling – particularly if we can’t improve fertility rates for local chilled semen from shuttle sires dramatically.

When making a decision as a breeder, one of the things I now consider regarding new shuttle sires is the likelihood of them remaining available here for at least 3 or 4 breeding seasons. So if an Australian or NZ stud has a financial interest in the sire, that certainly reassures me a bit more.

Where are we headed with shuttle sires?

What do you think the next 5 or so years will show us?

Do fewer sires mean less choice for you as a breeder? Or does that mean more chance for some sires you like to establish their credentials?


Add you comments to this blog or email me on bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz

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My top broodmare Zenterfold, the “shuttle mare”, was delivered to Isa Lodge by Geoff and Aria yesterday, after the Cambridge workouts.

She’s looking great. She’s in foal to Rock N Roll Heaven.

As readers may know, I alternate foals with the Smalls. The latest 2yo from Zenterfold is Breanna Rose (bred by the Smalls and sold as a weanling for top dollars) is now starting her career with trainer Nathan Williamson down in the South Island. So far she is not disgracing herself at all, and her last start, although 5th, showed tenacity to run home well.

Destination Moon is, as my last blog showed, doing very well and showing that family speed and competitive nature.

So far, all of Zenterfold’s foals have qualified as 2yos – and of her 6 foals of racing age, all except 1 have raced successfully as a 2yo.

Talking with Ray Green, who bought her yearling colt Thephantomtollbooth, at this year’s sales, he is breaking in fine and Ray describes him as a lovely colt.

The McArdle foal just weaned was bred by the Smalls, who describe him as leggy and very friendly, a lovely type.

Zenterfold is now 13 years old and in great trim. She’s certainly broadened out from the fine and fiesty 2yo she was herself.

Read more about Zenterfold here

Bee with Zenterfold May 2014

Bee with Zenterfold May 2014

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With the change of seasons and daylight savings finishing, its been a rush to complete some tasks and get other schedules organised before winter really sets in.

Thank heavens the mini-drought in the Waikato ended with some really good, consistent rainfalls, and while other areas of New Zealand (like our compatriots in Christchurch) have had to deal with flooding, we are just grateful to see the paddocks turning green again and the temperatures holding up to allow some decent grass growth.

One of the most enjoyable things about being breeders, is following the horses we’ve sold as they develop and race. The highlights in the past month or so have been two lovely wins by Destination Moon (Grinfromeartoear x Zenterfold) at our local Cambridge raceway, and then yesterday morning’s workouts in Cambridge we caught Angus Fogg (Angus Hall x Sun Isa) having a learners heat as a 2yo trotter – looking a very handsome fellow and getting around without any mistakes. He was bought at th 2013 sales by Lincoln Farms and trained by Ray Green, who intends just to keep giving him experience and education without any pressure to race early.

In both his wins at Cambridge, Destination Moon totally dominated the field and showed his very good speed at both ends of the races. He now has 5 wins and 5 places from 16 starts and just over $27,000 in stakes. Whether he will make it into the Harness Jewels field (Emerald) is hard to tell. With a good draw over a mile at Cambridge he would be a real chance to get in the money.

Photos below: Top, the winners circle on 27 March, with driver Josh Dickie and co-trainer Simon McMullan, and if you look carefully, there is a very proud breeder leaning over the picket fence behind Destination Moon.

Below that, is a shot taken during his race on 17 April.

Both photos were taken by Phil Williams of Fokus Harness Photography who records all the Cambridge races and does a fantastic job – check out the site at www.fokusharness.co.nz

Destination Moon, winner Cambridge 27 March 2014. Photo: Fokus Harness Photography

Destination Moon, winner Cambridge 27 March 2014. Photo: Fokus Harness Photography



Destination Moon, winner at Cambridge 17 April 2014. Photo: Fokus Harness Photography

Destination Moon, winner at Cambridge 17 April 2014. Photo: Fokus Harness Photography


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