Archive for January, 2015

Lot 194 at tomorrow’s Melbourne yearling sale is a Mr Feelgood colt. I feel like cheering wildly when I see this pedigree, as it gives the mare (Twice Again Franco) a real chance to show what she can offer genetically.

So I think this colt is a worthy addition to our “virtual yearling stable” of 2015.

Lot 194 APG yearling sale 2015

Lot 194 APG 2015 yearling sale – a Mr Feelgood colt

The yearling’s great grandam (Tropez Lobell) is a daughter of Three Diamonds by Storm Damage. So the colt is part of the wonderful K Nora/Adora family. Tropez Lobell was crossed with Jate Lobell to produce Trilogy Franco, the dam of Twice Again Franco.

Mr Feelgood’s maternal line is also part of the K Nora/Adora family.

Plus this match reintroduces Jate Lobell – this time crossed with the great mare Leah Almahurst.

The previous foals from Twice Again Franco have not been bad – two by Falcon Seelster, one by Riverboat King, and more recently a filly by Courage Under Fire.

The mare seems to miss almost every other year.

What intrigues me – and there may well be a reason – is why some closer connections to the maternal family and to Three Diamonds haven’t been tried earlier? American Ideal is the obvious one. He’s bred very much on the same cross, with Three Diamonds in his maternal line and Leah Almahurst in his sire’s pedigree. Even Life Sign himself would have been on my list. Or taking a different angle, Grinfromeartoear with his damsire Storm Damage (Three Diamonds was crossed with Storm Damage to produce Tropez Lobell) and his ability to click with Jate Lobell mares.

The most recent mating of Twice Again Franco was with Real Desire, a son of Life Sign, but the mare slipped. Tell All and Village Jolt are also options, but less commercial perhaps.

Line breeding to the strongest maternal influences, particularly when they can be found in such good sires, is something I really like. As with any line breeding, it is a lot more than just having the same names occurring somewhere in the pedigree. Where they appear is important, as is the overall balance of the match.

That’s another reason I like this colt. I’m keen to have him in our “interesting and innovative pedigrees” virtual stable.

A series of blogs I did on Mr Feelgood a couple of years ago:

Mr Feelgood Part 1

Mr Feelgood Part 2

Mr Feelgood as a sire – Part 3

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Good on Brian Cowley for adding his selection into the collaborative “virtual yearling stable“.

Come on all of you, look at the catalogues and see what we can combine to get a team of interestingly or cunningly bred yearlings for our “2015 stable”.

Brian’s selection is from the APG Sale Lot 181.

He says

If anyone is interested in buying me a yearling for my birthday, Lot 181 at the APG sales in Melbourne would do nicely, thank you. By Rocknroll Hanover out of Sugarland, this brown colt has the blood of the mighty sire Western Hanover on both sides of his pedigree. Western Hanover, which is the colt’s paternal great-grandsire, has Wendy Sue Hanover as his third dam. Wendy Sue Hanover is also the great grand-dam of the colt’s mum, Sugarland, which is by Christian Cullen out of the American-bred Lindsay Leigh (Artsplace – Wendy Jo Hanover). Wendy Jo Hanover, by Big Towner, is a half-sister to world champion Walt Hanover ($2,541,647) and a full sister to USTA 1983 Two-year-old Pacer of the Year Walton Hanover ($802,741). That’s a family tree with a robust trunk and powerful limbs to swing from. The colt is the first foal of his dam.


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Great night of racing, and some very classy fields.

Looking at some of the support races, I noticed a few quirky things from a breeding angle:

  • Time’s On My Side (wonderful producer, now 24yo, breeder Barry Ward) is represented by two Bettor’s Delight foals, 5yo mare Free Bird is in Race 3 (a trot) and 3yo filly Bird Of Paradise is in Race 1 (a pace). Perhaps an omen for a one each way bet?? One of Time’s On My Side’s other daughters, Wonderful Tonight, has a Changeover yearling in the Premier Sale in Christchurch.
  • Holmes Hanover is represented as a sire in Race 1 by Take After Me (12 starts, 2 wins, 5 places) who is one of only 8 4yos sired by the long dead stallion. 6 of those 4yos have qualified, 3 started in races, and this is his one winner to date but looks talented. Holmes Hanover still has a wee handful of 3yos and 2yos coming through, and even one foal born this season (2014) from the mare Have A Go Franco, a brown colt as yet unnamed.
  • Juliana has three of her foals racing tonight – Sarah Palin and Monty Python (both by Pegasus Spur) in Race 3, and the 4yo Father Christmas (by Love You) in Race 10. Juliana is from the mare Janetta’s Pride and so a full sister to the top trotters Jo Anne and Dependable.
  • In the trotting FFA (Race 7) Sundon is the damsire of 6 of the 10 entries.
  • In the Harness 5000 (Race 4) for 3yo horses with a sire that cost $5000 or less, Changeover has 6 of the 13 entries, all winners and three of them (Onedin Onyx, Oneover, and Webb Ellis) are from Presidential Ball mares.

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That’s The Story is a bay colt by Monarchy out of the Sundon mare Bree, who just happens to be a half sister to outstanding racehorse Stig.

The colt is part of the Studholme Bloodstock (Brian West) draft at the PGG Wrightson Sale of the Stars -Premier yearling sales in Christchurch.

The cross of Monarchy over a Sundon mare is a well established one, but ironically it is not the match that Brian West had originally planned. The breeding of Bree has its origins in the long journey Brian made through France a couple of years ago, during which he attended one of the  French yearling sales. He was taken by the number of Sam Bourbon yearlings he saw there. Sam Bourbon was on an “introductory offer” at that time in New Zealand for a lot less than his European fee.

On his return home, Brian was on the lookout for Sundon mares to buy and put to French sires, and Bree was one of those mares. But by then Sam Bourbon semen was in short supply in New Zealand, and after two rounds to him without success Brian had to make a call. Thinking it may be a reaction to frozen semen, which some mares can have, Brian didn’t switch to another French sire but instead went for Monarchy who stands locally – and job done.

The match still follows Brian’s preference for outcrossing up to 4 or 5 generations if possible. The nearest double up I can spot that includes both the mare’s pedigree and the sire’s pedigree is Speedy Scot (5×5) and Super Bowl (5×5).

In this case, Bree helps the outcrossing factor by being of very unusual breeding herself.

And one with a strong French influence.

Her damsire is Gekoj, one of a tiny handful of French-bred sires available here in the early 1980s. He left just 118 live foals, and was not a huge commercial success but with the benefit of hindsight we can note some interesting and top class names among his offspring including one of my favourites David Moss (31 wins, almost half a million), Drott Moss and Look. There is a hint that maybe the timing wasn’t right (we too were into stamina trotters and needed the injection of speed that American trotting sires like Sundon eventually gave) but there was a quality of outcome that signalled potential in the outcross of European and downunder trotters.

Bree’s dam Nakaia went to Gekoj in 1985. The year before she had been mated with another of those rare French sires available here, Jet D’Emeraude to produce Nakura, the dam of Take A Moment, Now’s The Moment, Juverna etc.

The family of Lot 201 is an odd one, tending to produce one absolutely outstanding horses in each generation from a fairly large number of offspring. Bree’s dam Naraya, the dam of Stig, has produced to date 7 foals, 1 to race, 1 inner (i.e. Stig). Her own dam (Nakaia) has a similar record, i.e.  8 foals, 2 to race  and 2 winners.

But look at the family that is developing from some of the offspring of the two French bred mares out of Nakaia – it is all class including Take A Moment,  Dream A Moment, Doctor Hook, Quite A Moment etc.

Gekoj and Jet D’Emeraude became available here through Captain Odvaar Andersen.

According to the Addington Timeline website

“In the late 70’s and early 80’s he brought out four French stallions – Beau Nonantias (2:04.7), Gekoj (2:02.5), Iguassou (2:09.5) and Jet d’Emeraude (1:59.2) and the Norwegian horse Inter Du Pas (2:07.3). Gekoj was probably by far the best of them as a sire. He stood four seasons in Mid-Canterbury and left 83 live foals – 17 of them winners – before his death at the age of 19.”

Lot 201 yearling That's the story

Lot 201 That’s The Story, by Monarchy out of Bree.

You can contact me at bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz if you have any recollections of those French sires here and how they were received at the time.

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Yesterday’s Kindergarten Stakes prelude for the 2yos at Victor Harbour in Victoria, Australia, snuck under my radar until blog follower Gary Newton kindly alerted me. The winner was Just Wantano, a brown filly by Tintin In America from the good producing Albert Albert mare Mama Tembu.
Watching the video, it is quite a remarkable win because she was facing the breeze the whole journey (1660m) and yet kicked into another gear and won easily over the favourite.
Congratulations to the owners/breeders J R Robertson, B J Hewitt, H Beckham.
So far for Tintin as a sire – his first starter (trials) here was a winner and a filly, his first horse at auction went for over $70,000, and now his first actual race starter is also a winner and a filly.

Keep your eyes out for me, please, and let me know if you hear about others who are starting out at trials or races.

There are 2 Tintin’s in the upcoming yearling sales – one is Lot 234 in the Brisbane sale, and the other is lot 80 in the Australasian (Karaka) sale in New Zealand – both fillies.

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There are just over 70 trotting yearlings listed in the NZ Sale of the Stars yearling sales coming up in February, from 18 different trotting sires. However many of these sires have only one or two representatives. The most popular in terms of numbers are Muscles Mass (16), Monarchy (12), The Pres (10), Love You (6), and Muscles Yankee (5).

This time I’m focusing on one of the four yearlings entered by Carl and Heather Middleton in the Premier yearling sale in Christchurch. Carl is a long time trotting trainer and breeder with a particular interest over many years in European trotting.

Lot 147 is the first foal with Love You as the damsire to make an appearance at the yearling sales – he’s named Fiscal Madness, by Revenue.

Revenue trotting sire

Revenue, the sire of Lot 147, in action – Foto Mats Hansson ALN Pressbild ABSolvalla

There is a real European flavour to this yearling. The dam is by French sire Love You, and Revenue raced in Sweden although his sire line is French and his dam, Hazel Sund, is from Norway but has American breeding.

Carl Middleton describes Fiscal Madness as a striking individual, a chestnut with plenty of size about him even though he is a December foal. “He’s not a 2yo type, and that will be a good thing in the long run,” Carl says. “Very few trotters are natural 2yos. I’ve raced some winners at two myself and it has come back to haunt me. Even if they progress to open class, they just lack the fire of the ones who weren’t raced so early.”

Carl has a high opinion of the sire Revenue. At the time he made the choice of sire, Revenue’s super son Market Share was winning the Hambletonian in America, and his progeny are also racing very well in Scandanavia.

Carl Middleton says the yearling’s dam Violette was a very good gaited but big trotter who was trialled as a 3yo but was too overgrown to cope once the speed went on – “her legs were too weak and went everywhere, she needed time to strengthen up.” That persuaded Carl to put her in foal and perhaps try her again later. After an injury when she stood on herself and developed a bad quarter crack,  she has a second foal at foot (a colt by Dream Vacation) and the plan is to keep breeding from her.

The Middletons are currently breeding from 10 mares and have 4 yearlings in the sale. The other Revenue colt they are offering is Lot 444 from the very good Dream Vacation mare Savona (13 wins here and Australia, $150,000 plus). Both Savona and Violette are from the Middleton’s wonderful producing mare Millburn Segil, and she has a yearling herself in the sale: Lot 366, a filly by French sire Sam Bourbon. Their fourth entry in the sale is Lot 178, Enghien, a Love You colt from one of the Middleton’s other excellent producing mares, Another Starlet (the Lily The Pink family, and a branch of the excellent Working Girl family – and other good branch being Miss Whiplash).

The Middletons are putting up a small but high quality draft of yearlings, well worth checking out. Photo of Fiscal Madness below.

(Just an aside on Revenue’s maternal line – his dam is Hazel Sund. Her grandam Rare Scotch is the full sister to Speedy Scot, the sire of Speedy Crown. This maternal line traces back to Expressive, the daughter of foundation mare Esther who is viewed as one “modern” font of the large heart. The same family connection also appears in Hazel Sund’s pedigree via Sugarcane Hanover’s sireline.)

Fiscal Madness yearling 2015

Fiscal Madness, Lot 147 at the Sale of the Stars 2015.

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It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride last few of weeks, starting with yet another bold win by Driving The Dragon at the country meeting at Tauherenikau, but followed  about 10 days later by her becoming very ill and having to get transported to Hamilton vet hospital. However thanks to very prompt action by trainer Geoffrey Small and the vets involved, she not only pulled through but has recovered quickly and fully, and has now been vetted and sold to America. She flies out on Friday.

We have grown very fond of “Sam”, not just because she stepped up and did us proud (6 starts this season for 5 wins and a 2nd, and that makes her lifetime stats to date 15 starts, 5 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third, $22,394) but because she is such a willing, lovely natured, beautiful mare.

As blog readers will know, we’ve had her on the market for ages at a very reasonable amount, which never changed even after she started her winning streak. But we hardly got any interest at all. And yet Driving The Dragon is one of those horses you just love to own and trainers love to train – they pay their way, give you a thrill and they always try their best. Giving horses time to mature often pays dividends. I’d like to acknowledge the role Barry Cullen played in her education and development, and of course Geoffrey Small for “clicking” so well with the mare and bringing out her potential.

We hope she will bring the same pleasure to her new owners as she has done for us.

Driving The Dragon with Kym Kearns

Driving The Dragon gets a goodbye from owner Kym Kearns – after a week of recuperating at home the 5-win mare was ready to go back to trainer Geoffrey Small and from there will fly out to America.

Read more about Driving The Dragon here from October 2014, before she started her season of winning!

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Patrick Halpenny recently asked me if I could write a bit more about trotters, particularly the ones in the upcoming NZ yearling sales. Patrick’s involvement in trotting was covered in an article in Harnessed magazine in the October 2014 issue – like me, he comes from a background with no connections to harness racing and only got hooked by going to watch “the trots”.

Unlike me, he’s young (26) and that’s a rarity in the breeding ranks these days and really welcome. He’s doing all the right things – driven by passion but learning from experience and getting good advice as well as doing his own studying.

Patrick goes under the moniker of Go Harness Racing Ltd, which should not be confused with Noel Kennard’s GoHarness syndication business.

Standing Bear, a yearling colt by The Pres from Flashman, is Patrick’s first entry in the yearling sales. He will go into that arena knowing how hard it can be for sellers.

Patrick explains the background to Standing Bear: he has a syndicated share in the sire and was looking for a mare to use the service for. He first saw Flashman racing up north on lease and enquired if there was a buy option on her, only to find out the she was owned by friends if his.

I liked the idea of Valley Victory over the maternal line, also Flashman is a very strong mare, with good size, but not the nicest temperament. The Pres is much longer, slightly


Flashman, big strong trotting mare, winning at Banks Peninsula in 2009.

finer, nice head and calm presence.

Flashman is by Continentalman from a Gee Whiz II mare – that’s the same cross as Dutch Annie. Continentalman has done a workmanlike job as a sire, particularly facing the job of having to make his own mark as an unraced sire, but his breeding was solid and his dam was the wonderful trotting mare Continentalvictory who won $1.6million and had a full brother Victory Abroad who won half a million plus. So linking back to the Valley Victory factor (The Pres’ dam is the US 3yo Filly Of The Year Southwind Allaire who is by Valley Victory) makes a lot of sense.

Just a quick aside about Valley Victory – his dam is a half to Wall Street Banker, the trotting sire who was available here for a couple of years in the early part of this century, for just 13 live foals (6 starters, 4 winners) and only two of his mares are breeding on so far but neither have yet been to the many sires now available with Valley Victory  strongly in their maternal lines.

The Pres has oldest progeny at 3yos now – there’s just over 30 of them and only 3 winners to date, with the flag bearer being Primz Luck from the good producer Howz Lucky. He was exported to Australia mid last year and not sighted since. So The Pres really needs to get some more winners showing up about, well, now. He has 9 yearlings in the yearling sale at Christchurch, all except one are colts. He has just one representative – a filly – in the Karaka sale, and that is Primz Luck’s full sister so should attract plenty of attention. The filly in Christchurch’s sale is Lot 353 Midnight Memories from the dam of Bonechip.

Back to Standing Bear – love the name, Patrick – and it’s time to have a look at him and see if Patrick’s plan to add a bit of length and fineness to the mare has worked.

Looking at the photo of Standing Bear, I’d say yes. He’s a striking looking type and his body shape looks a lot like his dad’s. He should sell well on type alone.

He’s from a 6-win mare, and a maternal family that (if you skip one generation) is full of solid winners including good juvenile trotter Flame Up.

All the best with your yearling, Patrick, and your future breeding ventures!


Lot 268 Standing Bear

Lot 268 NZ Sales of the Stars Yearling Sales 2015 – Standing Bear – bred by Patrick Halpenny

Compare to his sire The Pres:

The Pres



Next blog I’ll look at a very different trotting colt who blends American, French and Swedish breeding.

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Daughter and dam enjoy some baylage at Isa Lodge. This is Sun Isa and her Pegasus Spur filly foal, a tall and strong looking type.

An early dry summer in many parts of New Zealand means supplementary feeding out is already under way in many places.

Sun Isa and foal

Yum yum yum – a treat after a hot day.

In the Waikato we are fortunate to have had a couple of timely downpours to feed the grass roots, so mostly the paddocks are standing up well. But it is good to know we have plenty of baylage and hay on hand at Isa Lodge to help take the pressure off the paddocks.


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The Harnessed magazine for January is out now, so I have added the last article in the series I wrote for that publication.

The article is about the sires who were “new boys on the block” 10 years ago, standing their first season in New Zealand. What happened to them?

The results show it is just as hard to make your career as a sire as it is as a broodmare – maybe for different reasons, but a hard row to hoe none the less.

The new sires of the 2004/5 season (and their service fees) were:

Red River Hanover, I Am A Fool and McArdle (all standing for $6000), Totally Western ($2750), Cammibest ($2500), Julius Caesar ($2000), and Danny B ($475).

Read the article – and others in the series – here.

(I am taking a short break from writing for the magazine due to “day job” commitments. But I recommend the magazine for subscription here or overseas. It is a good read about racing, owning and breeding standardbreds in New Zealand, and additional information on Australian, North American and European racing from a “Kiwi” perspective. Subscription details here It is published by Harness Racing New Zealand)

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