Archive for July, 2014

You still have time to put an entry into my “Match My Mare and Win A Share” competition.

You can win a FREE 5% share in a foal from a very commercial family – the mare is a half sister to stunning racehorse (now a sire) Tintin In America, and she was 3rd in the 3yo Fillies Sires Stakes Final behind
Carabella and Bettor Cover Lover. She has had a Bettor’s Delight filly (sold at yearling sale this year for $26,000) and is currently in foal to Shadow Play.

Who should she go to next? That’s what I want you to tell me.

You have no fees or costs to pay, and will get 5% of any earnings or any sale, whatever that might be.

The competition is open to anyone, anywhere. Entry is free.

Match My Mare

I’d like more entries, and remember that I’m looking for thoughtful entries that explain why a particular sire is a great match for my mare The Blue Lotus.

It may be reasons of pedigree, type, crosses of gold, commercial savvy, a mix, or something quite outside the square.

There is no right answer. I’m judging this on the quality of the thought going into it. You can ask me additional questions about the mare and family if you want further information.

Send your entries to me by email or by a comment on this or the original blog below, which explains the competition in more detail, although I have become relaxed about the length of entries so long as they are well written and interesting.

What the competition is about, the rules and how to enter. 


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Another son of Christian Cullen joins the siring ranks, and that makes 6 of his sons at stud to date – and 3 of those are from the Rosehaven maternal family.

Those 3 sires are

  • Gotta Go Cullen (from Sparkling Burgundy, and 4th dam Rosehaven’s daughter Nancy Iola)
  • Stunin Cullen (from Vicario, a half sister to Sparkling Burgundy)
  • and now Alta Christiano (from Right This Time, who traces back to Nancy Iola’s half sister Black Watch).
Aberfeldy when she was 31

Aberfeldy when she was 31, with Ken Breckon

The Rosehaven family has been a dominant force in New Zealand breeding for decades, and breeders Sandy and Jan Yarndley established many of its branches and sold many progeny through the yearling sales at very good prices. Right: Picture of Aberfeldy (daughter of Black Watch) in 2009 when she was 31. Lovely article about her and a painting of her on Harnesslink 2006.

A trait of the family seems to be prolific breeding and long life – Rosehaven had 12 foals, Black Watch had 16, Aberfeldy had 18, Nancy Iola had 10, Burgundy Lass had 15, Vicario 10, Sparkling Burgundy 12 to date, Corbie 15 to date, which is a credit to the way these mares have been handled. Black Maire already has 9 foals on the ground and she’s only a 15yo.

The sheer numbers of branches and foals, plus the Yarndley’s preference for proven sires, and the quality of the family’s genes has led to a good many very top performing horses arising from the Rosehaven line – far too many to list here but they include the tough older mare Coburg,  the speedy fillies Megaera and Ciccio Star, the sensational Lauraella, the wonderful racehorse Il Vicolo.

In recent times, some of the branches haven’t kicked on much at all, but others have – and hence Alta Christiano brings the line back into the spotlight.

This branch of the family has been under the astute breeding eye of Tony Dickinson (Alta Breeding Co Ltd). Alta Christiano’s dam was the Fake Left mare Right This Time (now dead), and one of her daughters Alta Camilla (by In The Pocket) has already left the very handy son of Jereme’s Jet called Alta Jerome (currently 4 wins from just 11 starts, the last one just a week ago at Forbury Park). Another of her daughters (by Elsu) has been reitred from a pretty average racing career and bred to Mach Three.

When you compare the Rosehaven maternal line with some of the great maternal lines – like Golden Miss and Romola Hanover – that are powering great racing colts and sires, you can see how hope springs that Rosehaven blood can do the same here and produce one or more champion sires.

It wasn’t Creegan (a Smooth Fella son of Black Watch).

It wasn’t Il Vicolo (a Vance Hanover son of Burgundy Lass).

Gotta Go Cullen is struggling for numbers, with just two winners (but 20 qualifiers) from 123 live foals to date, although only about half of that number are of racing age.

Stunin Cullen has been reasonably well received with over 60 mares in his first season, so he has a chance.

Or could it be Alta Christiano?


PS Alta Christiano was one of my virtual yearling stable picks in 2011 (just had to brag…)

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The passing of Matt’s Scooter has been flagged up to me by Standardbred breeding for all website – it’s on their Facebook page, with a good summary of his top achievements as a sire.

One of his most incredible achievements is to leave a son as brilliant as Mach Three, who is now (mainly through Somebeachsomewhere) extending the Matt’s Scooter line at the very highest level. That is such a hard thing for any good racehorse and good sire to add to their credentials.

And as Standardbred Breeding For All points out, in addition what a great contribution he makes as a damsire. Well Said and Shadow Play just two of the upcoming sires with that influence.

Tip o’ the hat to Matt’s Scooter.

Matt’s Scooter was, like In The Pocket, the “last chance” for the Direct Scooter siring line (and beyond that for the Volomite line really). What they offered was outcrossing from Hal Dale lines at a time when it was desperately needed, and they added something else, an almost undefinable physical and mental toughness, a will to win. In many of his races Matt’s Scooter was parked out. “The more I pushed him, the more he responded” said Mike Lachance of his world record time-trial.

His passing sent me scurrying to John Bradley’s book Modern Pacing Sire Lines where he has a chapter. Some quotes from that which give an insight into the horse’s attributes:

When you saw Matt’s Scooter on the track, you just knew you would not forget his remarkable, long-reaching stride.

Matt’s Scooter was bred by Max Gerson of New York City and sold for $17,500 at the Fall Classic yearling sale held at the Meadowlands in 1986. Gerson also bred Matt’s Scooter’s dam, the Meadow Skipper mare Ellen’s Glory. The yearling sale catalog page for Matt’s Scooter was not impressive; he was the third foal from a non-record mare whose first two foals had not earned a penny at two and three. He sold for about $4,500 less than the average-priced Direct Scooter colts that fall.

Being the fastest horse ever made Matt’s Scooter “a marked man” as every other driver and owner wanted to beat him. As a result, Matt’s Scooter suffered many parked out trips but continued to show his speed and courage.

Let that be magic to many a disillusioned breeder’s ears!

Other words that stand out about Matt’s Scooter: “He was sound and just kept getting stronger.” (Mike Lachance)

“He was the best gaited pacer I ever drove when he was in high gear.”  (Mike Lachance)

Another interesting observation from John Bradley is Matt’s Scooter’s affinity as a sire with mares who carry connections to The Old Maid/Spinster/Lady Scotland et al. Not dissimilar to In The Pocket and his love of what he found here with our mare’s genetic pool of Bachelor Hanover and Light Brigade.

The photo of Matt’s Scooter “prancing” in John Bradley’s book is so very like the photos many of us will remember of adverts for In The Pocket as a sire – I will try to post them up in a day or so if I can.





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