Archive for August, 2014

The Sundon mare Lunar Landing and those breeding from her deserve a big tip o’ the hat. All of her foals to date (three) made it to the finals of the Australasian Breeders Crown this year.

They are:

  • Spidergirl (by Yankee Spider) a 19 win 4yo mare bred by Sheron Park, Vic. who won the 4yo mares trot in grand fashion. She could well be a superstar trotter over the next couple of seasons.
  • Illawong Moonshine (by Yankee Spider) a 3 win 3yo filly bred by M L Hartnett, Vic. who got a flat tyre and no luck in the 3yo trot.
  • Illawong Armstrong (by Majestic Son) a 4 win 2yo gelding also bred by M L Hartnett, Vic. who showed gate speed and real talent but spoiled his chances with a mistake. Did remarkably well to finish 6th, and he will have a good career ahead of him.

It is a great feat for a broodmare to achieve in one year.

Lunar Landing has missed the past couple of years, and also missed when she started breeding in 2008 – it seems a common issue with her female siblings as well, most of which are being bred from.

Lunar Landing herself was bred by L E Newbound, Vic. She had just one start for a last as a racehorse. She’s from the Enterprise mare Maorimoon who in turn is from the good winning mare Maori’s Glory (27 starts for 14 wins and over $100,000 stakes).


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I never knew they had harness racing in Argentina!

A 3-year-old son of Shadow Play was victorious in the elimination and final of the Nacional Cup at the Hipodromo de Cintra in Cordoba province, Argentina.

His name is Chucaro Acero Blue Chip. You can google that for a bit more information, although the link I liked best was this one (and I don’t speak the lingo)

Check out his pedigree here, and he doesn’t have any of the Shadow Wave / Adios double ups that I mentioned in a previous blog, but his maternal line is quite a classic of course with Lismore sitting there on the very bottom line.


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Congratulations to Harness Racing New Zealand – they have split the Harness Racing Weekly into (1) a more user focused update and (2) a monthly glossy magazine with great production values along the lines of Hoofbeats.

In the monthly magazine called “Harnessed” there is a section that focuses on breeders’ issues and news, and that has more or less taken over from Breeding Matters (and again that will be a more user focused information newsletter).

I will have a regular article in the new magazine, which will start by looking back at some good races 10 and 20 years ago, and see what has happened to the breeding careers of the fillies and mares who featured in them.

The first issue of Harnessed magazine excited me because it presents harness racing in a very professional way, and with a range of articles that even the casual supporter would find “a good read”.

With over 100 pages, it is much more than a quick flick.

The subscription rates are available here but I would suggest like most magazines the online sub is the best option if you are not someone who wants the handle the very professional magazine itself.

Well done to all those involved, including HRNZ and the NZSBA for launching this industry flagship.


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NSW’s Richard Prior has been a b4breeding blog follower for some time, and a thoughtful breeder for much longer than that. So when a horse he bred, Intransit, started to show up with a string of wins, I asked him to share the story through my blog.

The giant (16.3h) gelding Intransit has had 13 starts for 6 wins, 3 seconds  and $21,928 to date, most recently a string of good form at Mildura for new owners in Shayne Cramp’s training stable.

Intransit – breeder: Richard Prior (NSW, Australia)

I noticed an Artiscape mare in foal to Pacific Fella a few years ago.  I initally passed as I’m no fan of Pacific Fella. The mare, Valley Whisper is pretty well bred as her mother Make An Impression is a ½ sister to Impressionist ($427,005), but had left nothing in the barn to Meadow Skipper/No Nukes line stallions and I really thought that with Valley Whisper being by an Adios line stallion, I could possibly straighten out the pedigree if I sent her to another suitable Adios line stallion.

After I purchased the mare, the previous owner was playing funny buggers and was very slow weaning the Pacific Fella filly off the mare, so I ended up buying the filly as well. I had Valley Whisper and the filly shipped across from WA to SA as the horses were located at my sisters place in the Clare Valley . I later recovered the extra expense that I outlayed for the filly and I now had a mare that cost $300.

The previous season I had lost a day old Sealed N Delivered filly. So Sealed N Delivered was the stallion of choice for Valley Whisper and he was a little taller than his father, Falcon Seelster. [Bee’s note: Sealed N Delivered is by Falcon Seelster out of Dana L Almahurst, a Nihilator mare, the same cross as McArdle. He was a top 2yo performer and has stood both in USA and Australia).

The pedigree looked pretty good on paper and another thing I liked was that the stallion and mare were both from the same greater maternal family, Dairy Maid.

Intransit and Valley Whisper day 1

Leggy foal Intransit and Valley Whisper

Now my mare’s family is a bit hit and miss, they can leave ordinary performers or very good ones, (Impressionist, Mount Eden to name a couple). In the lead up to foaling our family were having bets on which mare (I had 3 in foal at the time) would leave a colt or a filly; we were all wrong, 3 colts and Intransit  was the first, arriving at 4.00am on 01/11/10.

He was a striking young horse from the very get go and I was totally overcome with joy at getting a colt from his young mother.

Moving along a few months and circumstances had changed and I had to downsize and shift the young colts and a few broodmares to Victoria . My initial plan was to sell all 3 colts but only ended up selling one and Intransit just failed to reach his reserve, which was a real head shaker for me (it’s hard not to be bias but he would have been in the top 3 as a type in the sale) .

Intransit as yearling

Intransit – Preparation for sales

Ian Montgomery had prepared the horses for the sales on short notice and performed a small miracle getting them looking so good. After the disappointing sale, I offered Ian a 50% share with the young Intransit  and he did a wonderful job with the horse’s education.

Now this horse has some tricks up his sleeve and the big one is his fear of the mobile, very strange for a horse that’s 16.3 hands to be scared of anything.  After showing a bit of promise but still failing to score up properly and being put out of the draw, we decided to sell him to clients of Shayne Cramp’s and they would be over the moon as he’s won 5 from 7 starts at Mildura and with a little luck, would have won 7 in a row.

He’s no superstar but the breeding has given me immense satisfaction.


Intransit as a 2yo

Intransit as a 2yo



If you have a success story, however small – something you bred that is currently doing well on the track, whether you own it now or not – let me know at bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz

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Life Sign died a couple of days ago at the age of 24. A champion racehorse, a great sire and from such a fantastic maternal family.

For those who are interested, this blogsite has some articles that look at his siring career from a “downunder” perspective.

And I have also linked to a few of my blogs that cover off his wonderful dam Three Diamonds – she is the one that has left a huge legacy both with her sons and daughters.

Click here for: Why wasn’t Life Sign as successful in Australasia as a sire, as he was in North America?

Click here for a look at Real Desire’s career downunder – he has since stopped standing here at all.

Click here for a look at Three Diamonds and double ups to her in pedigrees.

Note: Some of these blogs were written a couple of years ago, and I have not had time to check and update the statistics.

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Zenterfold is such a character. She’s a 14yo mare but sometimes she acts like a teenager hooning around the paddock or having a tantrum when she couldn’t see Rosie, the old pony in the neighbour’s paddock. Other times she is the mature mare who had “been there, done that” and resents having any company she can’t boss around. With people she is a sweetheart, loves attention and carrots, and is the best mum to her foals which makes our lives a lot easier.

This morning Kym was up early to get Zenterfold washed, “blow dried”, “pedicured” and loaded in the float.

Kym with Zenterfold Aug 2014

Kym with Zenterfold Aug 2014

I was up a little bit later to take the photos, say goodbye to my mare and feel the pride as they drove off in the float to Breckon Farms. (As my friend Richard pointed out, you can tell by the shoes in the photos posted in my last blog who does the hands-on work around here lol !!)

I still have to pinch myself that I have got a half-share in such a wonderful mare. She has delivered good looking foals that she stamps just as much as the sire, particularly in terms of temperament and competitive attitude.

Zenterfold is due in late October, so she still has a couple of months – such important months for the foal – before then. She is in familiar territory and familiar hands at Breckon Farms, where she always foals when she is down here in the Waikato.

In future blogs I want to look at some of the other modern branches of Zenterfold’s wider family, where they are at now, and talk to the breeders, owners and trainers who are involved in their development.

But for now, getting the mares to stud is a step to giving ourselves a break away from everything during September. They will be well looked after, and we can take a holiday from this wonderful passion and hobby as well as the “day jobs” that enable us to do it.

Zenterfold off to Breckon Farms

Zenterfold off to Breckon Farms

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Destination Moon December 2010

Destination Moon as a foal with dam Zenterfold

Blog readers will have followed the progress of The Blue Lotus’s brother Destination Moon from a foal (photo with mum Zenterfold) to a strapping yearling to a winning racehorse.

He was sold to North America earlier this year, and has now made a modest but winning debut in a $14,000 race at Harrah’s Philadelphia track for owners Diamond Creek Racing, trainer Linda Toscano, and driver Tim Tetrick.

For most of the race he was pocketed third back on the rail, but looked full of running, and when the horse on his outside dropped back he got space to pull out and easily catch and overhaul the two in front of him down the straight, winning by a good length or more.

Overall time 1.52.2, last half in 55.3 and last quarter in 26.4.

Good to know he has adapted to North America conditions.

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It’s that time again, getting the mares sorted and sent to stud.

Last weekend saw Kym’s two trotting mares (half sisters Sun Isa and maiden mare Toggle) off to Alabar, joined on the Majestic float by The Blue Lotus.

Sun Isa 2014

Sun Isa is in foal to Pegasus Spur and will be going to Angus Hall.

Toggle 2014

Toggle is in foal to Majestic Son and will then have a year off.

The Blue Lotus 2014

The Blue Lotus is in foal to Shadow Play, and will be going to A Rocknroll Dance.

Next Wednesday, The Blue Lotus’s dam Zenterfold will be heading to Breckon Farms – she’s in foal to Rock N Roll Heaven for me, and will be going back in foal to whichever sire Geoffrey and Aria Small choose. We take alternate foals. Zenterfold is currently in our home paddock, and looking beautiful.

Apart from Toggle, most of them will be foaling in October.

The other mare heading to Breckon Farms is Sophie’s Choice, the leased mare I have in foal to Tintin In America. She’s looked after by Hayley and Tony Shaw, only 5 minutes from here, and they have done a great job. I have the opportunity to put her back in foal again, thanks to Lynda Mellsop who owns her, and I am still looking at that option.

We love our mares, and are very grateful for having such characters and wonderful producers.

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The Blue Lotus as a foal

You’ve come a long way baby! The Blue Lotus as a little foal in 2007.

OK it’s time to announce a winner for the Match My Mare And Win A Share competition.

Boy was that hard to judge! There was a total of 25 entries, and from 17 individuals. This was a great result, as the entries required some research and thought rather than being a “pick the name” type competition. So many thanks to you all.

What I was looking for was thoughtful advice that gave me confidence your recommended sire will tick the important boxes for my mare The Blue Lotus (aka “Lottie”).

The word limit initially was about 400 words but many of you went well over that. Although I relaxed the rules around the length, I have factored in that those who tried to keep to the rules were at the disadvantage of not being able to fully outline the details of their reasoning, particularly in terms of the pedigree matching. Where they flagged up the key elements, I have taken that as enough without the detailed analysis others provided (sometimes over several pages!)

However very short entries (like just the name of a sire, or just a sentence or two) were pretty much scratched at the start or failed to line up behind the mobile arm and didn’t really take much part in the race.

Yes I have looked at it like a race. Hope you will enjoy the analogy!

The finish was a classic, with a group of four or five virtually crossing the line together – you could throw a blanket over them.

Very close behind was another group “all dressed up and nowhere to go” as Aaron White might say.

Plus one unlucky runner in great form who broke at the start (because his suggested sire was not available).

And finally there was an exciting outsider who ran on strongly from back in the field.

In the end the result came down to a photo finish between two very different entries – Brian Cowley (A Rocknroll Dance) who was race fit and excellent over the mile (325 words covered what the sire offers, what the mare offers, commercial factors, and two key pedigree influences), whereas Mark Wilkens (Shadow Play if Real Desire semen not available) took a roundabout route to get into the clear, flagging up about 6 or more potential options before boiling it down to two. With less driver indecision in the race he would have probably got the win!

So congratulations to Brian Cowley – the winner – with his recommendation of A Rocknroll Dance.

Regarding A Rocknroll Dance, he was not a sire I had lined up for The Blue Lotus, so my decision was not influenced by my own preferences. A tip o’ the hat to John Chew, Richard Prior and Adam Wilkinson who also made a good case for A Rocknroll Dance, with slightly different emphasis – Richard had more detail on the pedigree side of things, Adam on the insights into the type and temperament, and John on compatibility of lines. But overall, it was Brian’s entry on A Rocknroll Dance which wrapped it into a short but convincing package.

Second place by a whisker goes to Mark Wilkens who really engaged my interest with his easy-to-read outline of his own selection process which I thought showed a balanced analysis of several different factors, not just pedigree matching. His first choice of Real Desire was, by chance, a sire that I had also looked at for Lottie, but after checking with Alabar I confirmed that Real Desire semen is not available here at all. Luckily for Mark he had predicted that and offered Shadow Play as his substitute. Although Shadow Play is a sire I like and have already tried for The Blue Lotus (she is foaling to him in October), it was Mark’s overall approach, his analysis of The Blue Lotus’s pedigree and his balanced view of Shadow Play that appealed to me. He weighed up some of the other factors including the likely commercial demand for Shadow Play in a few years’ time.

Then was a wall of horses (entries) finishing very close up in this competition, and many of them showcased your ability to analyse bloodlines and match pedigrees at a level of detail and using formulas (such as Norman Hall’s) which I am not very familiar with myself. You guys rock! I really appreciated your entries, and I found them very interesting. The amount of research done on identifying the best pedigree matches was incredible – Kevin (McArdle and Badlands Hanover), Alana McKay (Rocknroll Hanover), Noel Eade (Art Major) and David Sinclair (Rock N Roll Heaven), your knowledge and detailed analysis in this area is fantastic and I take off my hat to you. It has given me heaps of food for thought, and identified some outstanding options for the future. My only comment is that although some of you included a double up of Artsplace (Darryl Lawlor for Western Terror, Noel for Art Major, David for Rock N Roll Heaven) you didn’t reassure me on that score, in spite of me flagging it up in my blog. But that’s a minor point.

Several entries (Darryl, Gavin Anderson and Kevin) suggested McArdle partly on the demonstrated compatibility of The Blue Lotus’s family with the Falcon Seelster line and the speed McArdle can inject into his very best, like the outstanding McWicked in North America. And there is the commercial link with The Blue Lotus’s half-brother Tintin In America. However as Darryl rightly says, McArdle is a hard one to pin down in terms of commercial appeal and although his percentages are consistently good overall for starters/winners, he still lacks the outstanding individuals he really needs in each crop. I agree, though, it is a tempting proposition.

However now I come to (almost) the complete outsider in the field of entries. Mike Finlayson put forward Tintin In America as his recommended match for half-sister The Blue Lotus. At first glance I thought “woops, a mistake here” – but I should have known better, as Mike is an astute breeder and sure enough he was making a very controversial but well thought out case for such close inbreeding. His entry kept popping up in my mind – not because I want to try it, or because he was suggesting a sire I had bred, but because it is a great example of fearlessly thinking outside the square and backing that up with good reasoning. Mike’s entry is the horse in the field that comes from a seemingly impossible position at the back to fly down the outside. So Mike Finlayson sticks a cheeky neck out on the line to get third place in the competition! Closer in breeding is something Charlie Roberts of Woodlands Stud is trying lately as well. And look at the pedigree of A Rocknroll Dance, with the double up to strong maternal influence Wendymae Hanover, although Mike’s proposed match is a lot closer than that. Half brother and half sister is still a step too far for me. Great, provocative entry Mike!

There are a few others I’d like to acknowledge and respond to:

David Sinclair’s first choice of Tell All didn’t even score up behind the mobile as Tell All (a son of Real Desire from a Jate Lobell mare) is only available to Australian breeders. However his recommendation coincided with my own discovery of Tell All as a potential sire for Lottie. Snap! A great entry. The match really got me really excited until I checked with Ron Burrell and found there was no chance at all of getting semen here. Tell All has done a good job so far as a sire in North America. In spite of the commercial question marks here, I would love to give it a go. David’s substitute runner was Rock N Roll Heaven and he advocated long and hard and well, but it just didn’t resonate with me in the same way as Tell All did.

Sam Langrope made a passionate and well thought out case for Lis Mara, which thoroughly entertained me. However Sam, I see Lis Mara as being similar in type to Grinfromeartoear – not really a sire of speed, even though he was very quick himself. The Cam Fella line seems to do that, leave sires who are extremely fast on the track but can’t seem to pass that on to their offspring consistently. Cam’s Card Trick/Bettor’s Delight being the obvious exception, but the maternal line plays a real role there.

Andrew Lewis put a plug in for Elsu which is definitely breeding back to the family, although not as closely as Mike suggested with Tintin In America. Elsu was a magic horse and leaves great “bread and butter” horses. Two things that didn’t convince me for The Blue Lotus – if I am looking to inject more speed into The Blue Lotus, I don’t see Elsu has providing that. And also the cross with Zenterfold and Elsu has been tried by Geoff and Aria Small, to get a lovely, big colt who did qualify at 2yo but never showed the real zip of speed needed to be competitive, even though given plenty of time, and had ongoing stifle problems. Commercially, it would be all risk and possibly little reward.

Colin Harris suggested Changeover (whom I love as a sire) but perhaps needed to convince me more about why the match would suit The Blue Lotus, compared to other options. I wouldn’t be adverse to that double up of In The Pocket as he appears in quite different parts of the pedigree. But having seen some of his yearlings, I wonder on type if he might duplicate the sort of scopey type that The Blue Lotus is?  He is definitely one I would keep in my mind, though.

Barry Abbott’s two entries were for Roll With Joe and Falcon Feelster. The Blue Lotus’s first foal is by Bettor’s Delight, just turned 2yo,  and Ken Barron reports on her very favourably so far. I think if I was going down that pedigree path I would return to the more proven, commercial brother rather than Roll With Joe. But Barry, your point about Falcon Seelster is a very good one, and has got me thinking. There are some lovely duplications there.

Graeme Whelan recommended Mach Three and mentioned Sportwriter. Although I agree with Mach Three’s quality, I needed more reasons why the match would be good. Same for Sportswriter –  the Jate Lobell maternal line could be a good match for a Grin mare, but there is that Artsplace double up that I want to be convinced about.

The complete outsider of the field, probably taking a short cut through the pylons, was Elizabeth Thorne-McKenzie from America, who is a huge Crazed fan. Yes, that’s Crazed the trotting sire. I know there are a few trotting mares who have been put to pacers for good results (I’ve blogged on Googoo GaaGaa and Blitzthemcalder as examples), but very few have gone in the other direction except where a pacing-bred mare turned out to be a natural and good trotter. So it is not something I would consider at all. However it raises an interesting point – that the maternal line of The Blue Lotus is rich with good trotting blood, and not that far back. Her great granddam is Now And Zen, a Chiola Hanover mare. The family of Zenith has left both trotting and pacing branches. And of course Zenterfold’s sire In The Pocket brings more excellent trotting blood via Tar Heel and Direct Scooter. There’s a locker-full of Volomite and Star’s Pride and Scotland blood there. But let’s pretend I was choosing a trotting sire for The Blue Lotus – I would not choose Crazed, Elizabeth, even though he was such an excellent horse and I am sure will be a great sire. I would go for something that resonates with the best trotting blood my mare’s family can offer – which for me would be looking at trotters with Chiola Hanover and Noble Victory (Star’s Pride/Scotland) blood, so I’d probably go to Muscles Yankee, Muscles Hill, Skyvalley, or even Continentalman.

Once again thanks to all participants in the great Match My Mare race.

The PDF of all entries that met the criteria is posted here (in the Articles page of my blog).

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Pure Power at Cambridge workouts 2014

Pure Power at Cambridge workouts 2014

The giant Grinfromeartoear gelding Pure Power, now an 8yo and with more than $300,000 to his name, made his first appearance in New Zealand since November 2012 when he turned up at the Cambridge workouts this morning.  It was lovely to see him, shaft spreader on top to fit his massive frame, spreaders on his front legs to help his chronic knee hitting action, striding out around the Cambridge track with co-trainer Dave McGowan in the bike.

A modest three-horse workout today saw him lead Bute Mach and Delight Brigade in a slowish time and a sprint home for a last half in 56, with Pure Power doing it easy and winning by a couple of lengths.

He looks fit and very well.

The plan is to send “Sarge” as he is known to beach training down south with Robert Dunn, and with Samantha Ottley being asked to build a relationship with him as driver and generally look after him.

Pure Power wins workout 9 August 2014 Cambridge

Pure Power wins workout 9 August 2014 Cambridge

The beach training and roomier Addington left-handed track should benefit him, and there are plenty of top races coming up.

Let’s not forget his last race here in New Zealand was a very good second in the Cup Week Free For All in 2012, behind Gold Ace and ahead of Terror To Love (with the winner’s time 1.52.6), before campaigning in Australia with mixed success. He is from the Falcon Seelster mare Highfields Angel and bred by Chris and Tina Barlow.

I had a wee bet on him in that Free For All, and will be following him with a lot of pleasure on this latest campaign. It was great to see him this morning, and the affection and admiration Dave has for him.

Welcome home, Pure Power!

Pure Power with Dave McGowan

Pure Power with Dave McGowan


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