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Archive for April, 2015

It’s been pouring with rain most of the day, and our four weanings have been stoically waiting it out. Then at last a break in the weather! And oh boy, the Rock N Roll Heaven filly just couldn’t hold herself back. How could the Shadow Play colt not be in awe?

Rock N roll Heaven filly from Zenterfold

Hey look at me!

Rock N Roll Heaven filly with Shadow Play colt

Oi, I said look at me!

Rock N Roll Heaven filly

You’re going to miss it…

Rock N Roll Heaven filly x Zenterfold

Can’t hold it much longer!

Rock N Roll Heaven filly

Last chance…

Rock N Roll Heaven filly

Yeeehaaa!!!

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At 29 years old, Sundon has finally succumbed to those familiar adversaries – age and ill health.  What a horse! I’m a person who doesn’t use the word champion much at all. But Sundon was and is a champion. Not only was he a superb racehorse, winning from 2 through to 7 years old – with stellar seasons as a 2yo, 3yo and 5yo – but his efforts as a sire have done more than just chalk up a long, long list of outstanding performers. He actually modernised our trotting breed by adding speed and athleticism, and stamping those American trotting qualities on such a large number of his progeny. His fertility usually hovered around the high 70s and often climbed into the mid 80s, and it is testament to his standing amongst breeders that even faced with availability of many top overseas sires in New Zealand over the past 10 years, he continued to be popular. This season he served 13 mares. Sundon was an American-bred colt by Arndon from the BF Coaltown mare Sungait Song who turned out to be a very good producer. One of Sundon’s best half-sisters was Yankee Reb mare Sungait Reb who is leaving her own family for Roydon Lodge. Another is the Roydon Boy mare Sunsong who did nothing on the track, but whose first and only foal was the filly Solar Fire (also by Yankee Reb), a terrific young trotter who is now the dam of the equally talented Sheemon. And yet another half-sister by Yankee Reb was Sunning who has also left some good performers like Burano and Sunny Vacation, as well as current racers No Potato, Santorini Sunset and a talented Angus Hall 3yo filly called Agnes Brown who will be worth following. Sundon’s wider family includes some branches that have not fired at all, as is the case with most families. But the overall class has come through. Sundon’s progeny are still showing those qualities we are so familiar with – just yesterday he quinelled a race at Ashburton with favourite 3yo filly Sunny Ruby and one of the outsiders All Lit Up. Look at the arrogant manner of the win – and yes, a gallop along the way just to make it even more impressive. Sundon’s have sometimes been regarded as a bit lacking in manners, a bit hot-headed. Sunny Ruby is trained by Fred Fletcher – good on you Fred – who of course was very close to Sundon through his career, training and driving him in many of his races.   Summary of Sundon and his career Harnesslink tribute Otago Daily Times tribute and quotes from Phil Williamson

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Most owners of horses who are getting old or who have chronic problems or who get very ill will identify with the ache that the Kennards have gone through nursing and finally releasing Monkey Bones, the grey trotting sire who stood at Wai Eyre.

As a sire, he has done a very solid job in a short time with a reasonable number of mares and good promotion. Let’s not forget his breeding – a son of Andover Hall and a lovely maternal family – with multiple links back into the stunning Goddess Hanover family. He got 66 mares in his last season, which shows how his reputation was growing, so good hear there will be frozen semen available in future.

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Wairarapa meeting tonight at Manawatu Raceway, Race 5 for 2yo and older C0 pacers, and it was good to see Hanover Alert, Driving The Dragon’s full sister, take out third placing and pay $20 a place. Complete outsider of the field, Josh Dickie gave her a sweet trip smothered up 4 back on the inside, but the gaps came and she ran on strongly. I saw her as a weanling at Alabar and noted how much like Sam she was. I really hope she turns out to have similar ability.

Hanover Alert 2010 4 B m Sutter HanoverShark Alert
Trainer: W P Fleming
Owner: W P Fleming, Mrs B K Fleming, K J More
Breeder: Alabar (NZ) Ltd

You can see the replay here

Their dam Shark Alert is currently on surrogate mare duties, I believe. I will follow Hanover Alert (4yo) with interest, and of course her older sister’s progress in Canada.

Ironic footnote: was planning to place a bet but missed completely, because I was yakking on the phone to Aussie blog mate Richard. Hey Ritch, you will enjoy the irony in that!

 

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The latest winner for Tintin In America as a sire came at Manawatu racetrack today – American Flybye, a 2yo chestnut filly from the Caprock mare Cathy’s Flybye,  who won for trainers Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick and for owners/breeders I D Bublitz and Mrs J I Bublitz, with the usual lovely drive, well rated,  from Scott Phelan.

Watch the replay here

Solid even quarters on the tightish Manawatu track, and she did it easily in the end, in spite of challenges in the last bit.

Her dam Cathy’s Flybye ( 2 wins) has already produced a good filly by American Ideal – Ideal Flybye (5 wins, $34,209 to date) – but overall the wider family has not been offered much opportunity in terms of sires or made much of the better opportunities they have had. But more recent decisions by the Bublitz’s seem to be kick-starting this branch with two sires that combine toughness and good speed – American Ideal and Tintin In America.

Tintin in America

Tintin wins the 3yo colts Breeders Crown

You know the back story – as the breeder of Tintin In America I have followed with close interest and support his efforts as a sire. To me, he offers great opportunities as a sire along the lines of Bettor’s Delight and American Ideal (speed, strength, tough attitude and durability). Tintin won at Group 1 level from 2yo to 4yo).

The oldest of his three crops to date are just 2yos in New Zealand and Australia, and already we have got the top seller ($70,000 plus) at a ‘ready to run’ sale in Australia (but NZ bred), the winner of the South Australian Kindergarten Stakes (a filly), and now his first NZ starter in a tote race winning in a fine way. So it is quality rather than numbers that will do his talking, it seems.

While it is early days for Tintin as a sire, it is also the hardest days. All sires struggle in their 3 and 4 seasons at stud while breeders hang back and buyers hang back…it is the usual cautious waiting for the standout performers to arrive. For sires at the lower end of the market, it is particularly tough. This past season he got just a handful of mares – but I think that could and should change next season. When from very small opportunities you make a mark with quality, a sire is worth a second and third look.

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Blog readers will be familiar with the story of “Sam”, or Driving The Dragon, our lovely 5yo mare who progressed from a weanling bought from Alabar, to a 2yo qualifier, to a mature racing mare with just a handful of starts. Then she went on a winning rampage and chalked up 5 wins, all in defining bold style, before being sold to Carmen Auciello in North America with just 15 races under her belt. Her last race here was in early January and then she went through a brief but acute illness before recovering very well and being exported.

She obviously coped with the trip really well, as she qualified in Ontario recently with an eye-catching 4th behind a couple of open class mares.

So she went out favourite in her first start today at Mohawk in a Fillies and Mares $20,000, and although trainer Auciello could have started her in an easier class, he opted to enter her in this one for decent money, as he prefers to do. He obviously felt confident in her ability. She didn’t let him down – as Drivingthedragon N she shot out from her 6 draw to a good lead, extended that to 4 or 5 lengths and eased up towards the finish line to win by 2 lengths and in 1.53-3.

Love you Sam!

Drivingthedragon N

Bee saying goodbye to Sam late January in Cambridge, New Zealand.

 

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So low key but always a great way to notice what’s coming through, especially from less-than-high-profile trainers and sires.

Today in glorious sunshine I watched the learner’s pace (where they first do a circuit of the course behind the mobile for practice before released) at the Cambridge workouts.

Racehorses are always a story in the making, so I like to sometimes cover these modest events and report on something of interest.

The small learners field included (in finishing order)

  • Ranfurly Brogden – a 2yo filly by Christian Cullen x Swift Mirage (What’s Next)
  • Fire Chaser a 3yo colt by Flashing Red x Iola May (Live Or Die)
  • Genociate – a 2yo filly by Rob Roy Mattgregor x Rocket Blaster (Pacific Rocket)
  • Lana Royal – a 3yo filly by Shadow Play x Katcha Fire (Courage Under Fire)
  • Norvic Thriller – a 3yo colt by Grinfromeartoear x Norvic Star (Courage Under Fire)
Close to the finish line Cambridge learners workouts 11 April 2015

Close to the finish line Cambridge learners workouts 11 April 2015

It was a non-eventful workout, dawdle and run home, good practice, and all of them finished pretty close up as you can see from the photo, except for Norvic Thriller who went rough a couple of times and tailed off.

There was just a nose between Fire Chaser, who had lead the last round, and Ranfurly Brogden, who finished on from back in the group down the home straight and pipped Fire Chaser on the line. The other two both finished it off well – the Shadow Play filly is not big but looks to have some get-up-and-go, and the Rob Roy Mattgregor 2yo is a striking type of filly who I could see developing into a really nice 3yo.

These are all horses from families that have shown potential but are not really kicking on as you might have expected for quite a while. So it is good to see something flying an early flame and worth watching how that grows with time and experience.

Check them out here:

Ranfurly Brogden Christian Cullen x Swift Mirage

Ranfurly Brogden  – Christian Cullen x Swift Mirage

Hats off to the Bowens for going back to the well and getting a nice Christian Cullen filly from Swift Mirage. Her best other foal by far was Swift Therapy, a gelding by Christian Cullen. Sugar Ray Brogden was a Grinfromeartoear yearling from the mare that I really liked at the sales, and he seemed to add some strength to Swift Mirage. Unfortunately a palate problem got in the way and he’s now sold to China. But this Christian Cullen filly today looked strong and ran home particularly well after settling back in the field.

 

Fire Chaser Flashing Red x Iola May

Fire Chaser – Flashing Red x Iola May

A nose back to Fire Chaser who must be a result of the free Flashing Red services that were on offer a few years ago – 67 live foals in the year Fire Chaser was born but a rapid decrease in services since. However let’s not forget Flashing Red as a remarkable racehorse at the highest level. The oldest of his progeny here are 4yos. 8 starters to date (1 winner, Red Hot Toddy), and with the ability shown this morning I think Fire Chaser could well joins those ranks.

 

Rob Roy Mattgregor x Rocket Blaster 2yo filly

Genociate – Rob Roy Mattgregor x Rocket Blaster

The main reason I was there this morning was to see Genociate – one of the few Rob Roy Mattgregors to get to the track in New Zealand so far. What a lovely strong looking filly she is. I have had a soft spot for the sire Rob Roy Mattgregor who stood here briefly before going to Australia, but has died since (and it appears there is no frozen semen.) He was a beautifully pedigreed horse with a good North American record, not a top liner but with real racing ability who had to retire from an injury. So it will be interesting to see if any others of his progeny here and in Australia show up. Breeder/owner/trainer Dave Iremonger liked the look of the sires pedigree, which has Leah Almahurst on the bottom line and Direct Scooter on the top line, and thought such a classy pedigree at an affordable price was a good prospect with his mare, Rocket Blaster (Pacific Rocket x Game Hostess). I think he got it right, because looking at the resulting filly today, particularly after the race when she was washed down and walking around, I thought she looked a very nice strong type of filly and will just get better with experience.

 

Shadow Play x Katcha Fire 3yo filly

Lana Royale – Shadow Play x Katcha Fire

The 3yo filly Lana Royale came fourth in a good learning experience, as these workouts should be, and finished the race off well. She is the Shadow Play half sister to the Tintin In America filly yearling I have blogged about before. (Leanne Edwards took the Tintin yearling home from the yearling sales after she didn’t make a tough reserve, and she’s been pleased with that decision. The Tintin filly has been broken in by Richard Brosnan and given him plenty of “workouts”, being quite headstrong but lovely gaited.) This Shadow Play older half-sister at the workouts today is not a big filly but she will learn to understand the racing game and did a good first up job today.

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