Archive for May, 2015

The New Zealand Jewels is only a few days away now and the fields and draws are out and being analysed. And some of the fields throw a few curve balls!

I suggest you keep track of the Harnesslink field-by-field analysis, which is a good overview of current form and a reasonable analysis of the chances.

Those of us who are interested in breeding know that the horses who make the finals of events like this (based mainly on seasons earnings in New Zealand) may not always reflect the dominance of sires overall. In the end, fields are made up of individual horses who are either “consistent as” or “brilliant” – and both sorts have to be tough to get to this end of the season and front up yet again.

So check out the fields and the view of Harnesslink NZ which is quite a short summary but good one,and they also show the basic breeding of each horse which is welcome information.

There are some intersting observations to make.

The 4yo Emerald for example. Who would have ever thought that dear old Grinfromeartoear would end up with three representatives in a Jewels final? Mr Franklin, Provocative Prince and Milligan. What have they got in common apart from ending up in this field? (1) awful draws, (2) consistent form, (3) willingness (4) durability. And a bunch of delightful owners I would think. OK they may not make it into the winners circle but don’t write them off – their horse’s breeding is indicating something that many breeders are not paying attention to – that “slow cooking” is often the sweetest meat. These are horses that, by the very fact they are in the Jewels, show they can earn their keep for their owners and give them a run for their money at the top end. I love that.

Another highlight of that field is the number of In The Pocket broodmares, and the cross of those mares with Art Major in particular. Four of the top pick horses in that field are by Art Major out of an In The Pocket or Christian Cullen mare. What an amazing job In The Pocket continues to do here in New Zealand. With the Direct Scooter line having such a resurgence in North America, it is good timing and a relief for the breeding world that we nurtured another Direct Scooter line down under.

In terms of the fillies and mares races at the Jewels, again it is interesting to see the VARIETY of sires and damsires that are producing fillies (and in the longer term mares) who can accumulate wins and earnings to get into the Jewels. Girls are not that obvious – so the mix of sires and broodmare sires and families is a lot more complex.

On the day, what happens…happens.  But I like variety and although I hope the best horse wins, I also hope there are some surprises that bring unexpected joy to owners and breeders.





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It’s an interesting development just how quickly sons of Somebeachsomewhere have appeared on the scene – and especially interesting here in New Zealand where the sire himself is still struggling to get any long-term traction. His mares/live foals statistics to date here are: 2010 16/4; 2011 13/4; 2012 1/1; 2013 75/56; 2014 88/34 (but “no returns” yet); and last season he served 35 mares. There have been reasons for these figures including some issues with his frozen semen. However they also reflect a “stand back and see” attitude that happens with some top new sires but not others, and it isn’t always easy to pick why. Art Major has had the same battle, but overcoming it now. There’s also been reports from “across the ditch” (i.e. Australia) that his progeny have been quite hard to get going. Of course rumours are always a challenge for sires and can be the final straw in some cases. But there was some indication that, with our different style of racing and training, and different breeds of mares, Somebeachsomewhere was not a “given”.

As can happen, it is likely a son of Somebeachsomewhere may pick up support and breeders’ interest skip over a “puzzle” in favour of one of his sons who is more readily available and perhaps has a maternal pedigree that appeals more with our mares.

So far it looks like we may have access to three sons (although I have not heard anything yet to confirm Captain Treacherous’ availability downunder).

The others are Alabar’s Sunshine Beach, and Macca Lodge’s Net Ten EOM. The latter is less proven, although obviously had a heap of talent. The other two raced at the top end for a couple of years at least, and Captain Treacherous was magnificent as a 3yo.

What these three have in common is a very strong maternal pedigree that offers some real potential in matching with our mares. And perhaps this is the area that Somebeachsomewhere found trickiest with us – Beach Towel and Cam Fella are both highly respected here, but are not seen as types that have worked particularly well with our types of mares.

Captain Treacherous is from the stunning Romola Hal family, and one of its most brilliant branches. He’s closely related to Art Major, Perfect Art and Panspacificflight. His damsire is Artsplace and his grandamsire is Nihilator, one of the toughest high-speed machines we have seen. My favourite engine-room sires are stacked in his bottom lines – Big Towner, Shadow Wave, Tar Heel. I’ve blogged about Captain Treacherous as a sire and his maternal line previously – check it out here

I covered Net Ten EOM in that same blog – his maternal line is a less spectacular but extremely solid one. He was a very quick horse himself but retired from injury before making his mark on the big stage. His damsire is Artsplace and his grandamsire is Matt’s Scooter. It is the same maternal line as Well Said ($2.5m), and it is a family that has crossed well with Artsplace (and then to the Western Hanover line in the case of Well Said). In his first season here as frozen semen at Macca Lodge he got 32 mares. I’m impressed by his credentials and the ability of Brent McIntyre to suss out a very interesting and well-bred sire who could work well here (as Panspacificflight is looking like he will be).

Sunshine Beach is the latest announcement from Alabar.  Sunshine Beach is also from an Artsplace mare. It is interesting how all of them are from an Artsplace mare – and you may recall the link I made to Ray Chaplin’s theory that this was not necessarily the “rainbow” match it appeared to be. Must see how his research is progressing… But for now, it is just interesting to note – and not all that surprising since North America is awash with nice Artsplace mares whose owners are looking for the pot of gold.

Sunshine Beach also has a really lovely maternal line in terms of producers and performers. His second dam Lights On was a damn good 2yo filly by Jate Lobell – and that adds another interesting element to this sire’s pedigree, and one which will resonate with downunder breeders, particularly in Australia. What’s extra interesting for me is that Sunshine Beach’s maternal line is that of Golden Miss, in this case the amazing Shifting Sands/Shifting Scene line through a daughter of Shifting Scene called Blue Gingham. This line is a hugely successful maternal line producing sires and females that breed on. Blue Gingham’s best foal by far was the very good filly Enroute, who won $753, 658, and she also had a decent son by Jate Lobell called Armbro Khaki. One of her daughters called Armbro Invite had a super son called Armbro Proposal who went 1.48.2 and earned over $1m. Those of you who are interested in pedigrees will see some very interesting double ups in Armbro Proposal’s pedigree (thanks to Classic Families) with the reintroduction of Golden Miss and also Shadow Wave.

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The Auckland Autumn Weanling and All Age Sale is starting to hit its straps. Yesterday (20 May 2015) the sale lifted to another level as buyers identified and got some fairly priced young horses rather than wait for the yearling sales. It is a concept that has shown promise, and one which I have promoted as a great opportunity to see progeny of new sires and others that may fly under the radar. For sellers, it is now a viable option in the North Island for moving good stock on rather than carrying the risk further. Yes, there were plenty of cheaper prices, too, and the prices for progeny from newer sires are low-ish and all over the show as buyers go on individual type and family rather than proven ability of the sires. Weanlings from sires like Bettor’s Delight and Mach Three, and to some extent American Ideal, were very well received as would be expected. The buying market remains very conservative, but at last the sale gives new sires an early airing.

Top price for the sale was Lot 73, paid by Mike Berger for a Bettor’s Delight colt from Spirit Of Eros, a good producer (dam of one of my favourites Spirit And Desire as well as of the very good Bettor Spirits which is part owned and trained by Mike Berger) and that’s the family of Tabella Beth (Stars And Stripes, Light And Sound). He must have been an exceptional weanling to get that price – he was from the Woodlands Stud draft, bred by Woodlands Stud, and I only previewed the Alabar draft and couldn’t get to the sale myself, so haven’t viewed him or seen a photo.

Brent Mangos bought three horses – one as an agent and the others on his own account – above the $20k mark.

You can see all the results here at the PGG Wrightson Sale of the Stars website

Tintin In America x Westerly Wind weanling filly

Tintin In America x Westerly Wind weanling filly

There are a couple I want to mention – one is Lot 23, a sturdy looking Tintin In America weanling filly bought by Andrew and Lyn Neal for $4000 for a syndicate I am aware of, and I wish them all the best with her. This is the second Tintin filly from the Western Terror mare Westerly Wind. It’s a nice pedigree match with multiple double ups to influential males and females (especially when you consider that Happy Motoring and New York Motoring were full brothers) plus it is a family that is on the rise.

Westerly Wind is a daughter of Shazza’s Dream who also had a weanling for sale – a Mach Three filly that Gavin Smith bought for $13,000. He knows this family – another Mach Three foal from Shazza’s Dream, a 2yo colt called Blade, was racing tonight at Forbury Park in awful conditions and sat parked for a long way before battling on for 7th, but he is worth following.

Shazza’s Dream is the dam of Offtocullect who won here and in Australia for 7 wins from 11 starts, but I am not sure what has happened to him since. Anyone know?

Shazza’s Dream and Westerly Wind are from the Russianero family, and there were several other weanlings in the sale from branches of that family which Alabar is breeding from.

Mach Three x Shazza's Dream weanling filly

Mach Three x Shazza’s Dream weanling filly



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Always good to get an update from those who know. And extra good to hear he can be available to NZ breeders this season – I already have a mare lined up that looks suitable.

Mr Feelgood is in great health and had a great season last year with around 340 services.

This is as much as we could supply with fresh semen and his fertility was very good.

We gave Nevele R Stud and Lee Morris (Equibreed) a supply of frozen semen and they will have it this season to service New Zealand breeders.

Our problem last year was that we were late in getting the semen to New Zealand as we didn’t know the export procedure.

Nevele R and Equibreed are at liberty to set the service fees for New Zealand this season.

We will be standing him again at Egmont Park this season and we are yet to set a service fee.

He is a beautiful stallion and has a gentle nature and is a pleasure to take semen from.

His first crop in the US and first Australian crop records are as attached:

Mr Feelgood USA stats 150429 Stallion Stats

As you will see, these records are outstanding.

With his third crop he only had two foals (from two services), A Good Chance and Feel the Faith, both outstanding youngsters.

He has been a dream horse for my partner Peter O’Shea and myself having won the 2009 Inter Dominion and other Grand Circuit races in Australia winning a total prize money of $3.3M.

There is no doubt he will be an outstanding sire and his maternal family is fantastic. One of the best bred stallions ever to stand in Australia.

Those who have Mr Feelgood stock are highly impressed and have already booked to him again this season.


Kind regards

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It’s only a small mound of earth in the paddock, but it is an animal magnet. And sometimes the competition for “king of the castle” becomes an entertaining and strategic play acted out on the “Mount Isa” of Isa Lodge – as you can see in this sequence with my Rock N Roll Heaven filly(without cover) and Shadow Play colt, plus two of the neighbour’s sheep we’ve borrowed. You’ve meet these two weanlings before.

Just a relaxing moment in the sunshine, peace and quiet, sharing my spot with two sheep. All's good.

Just a relaxing moment in the sunshine, peace and quiet, sharing my spot with two sheep. All’s good.

And then along comes the blyfriend. I'll just ignore him. We're happy just the way we are.

And then along comes the boyfriend. I’ll just ignore him. We’re happy just the way we are.

But out of the corner of my eye I can see he's getting jealous.

But out of the corner of my eye I can see he’s getting jealous.

He better not try that trick with me!

He better not try that trick with me!

If I just keep ignoring him, maybe he'll go away...

If I just keep ignoring him, maybe he’ll go away…

That was too much to hope for.

That was too much to hope for.

Okay, I'll let you hang out, so long as you just stand still and don't annoy me. Chill, babe..

Okay, I’ll let you hang out, so long as you just stand still and don’t annoy me. Chill, babe..

Typical. Lasted all of two minutes and he's bored!

Typical. Lasted all of two minutes and he’s bored!

Well, now you've disturbed me, what entertainment are you offering?

Well, now you’ve disturbed me, what entertainment are you offering?

Meanwhile, back on the hill....

Meanwhile, back on the hill….

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Last season, a strange offer came in from Australia when the owner of Mr Feelgood, Kevin Seymour,  made a hugely generous gesture of a free service (except for working fee) to that sire for the first 100 NZ owners taking up the offer – for that season only.

Only 13 did. (Nevele R report about 13 mares served for about 10 positives, but the North Island agents had no mares served.)

That is not a reflection on the sire or the generosity of the offer, but more on the timing and the degree of competition – towards the end of the season, out of the blue, and as far as I could see with one advertisement only, in NZ Harnessed October edition. It had the air of a clearance sale about it, which I am sure was not the intent at all. Or was it?

As a Mr Feelgood supporter from way-back, it was a frustrating moment. The mares I had were already committed or not available. I can only hope the semen stays here and the offer might become available again and over a few years rather than as a one-off. Because I rate this sire, as my blog readers know. His performance and his pedigree is exceptional. He’s a Little Brown Jug winner and an Interdom Final and Hunter Cup winner. His maternal line is same as Western Ideal’s. He’s a very athletic type, throwing much more to his maternal line and Jate Lobell – and he is leaving winners from very small numbers.

With considerable help from my friend Richard Prior in Australia, here are some statistics and analysis of Mr Feelgood to date (well, a few weeks back, so there may be new results to add). If any of this clicks with your thinking as a breeder or with the mares you have, put him into your mix.

Is there a chance that those of us in NZ who like this sire could access the offer again. I’d hope so and I am following this up, will let you know if I find anything. He seems to be back at Goldrush Lodge in Queensland, and I am not sure why his previous stud at Yirribee was only offering frozen semen rather than chilled. Is the horse okay? Is his fertility okay? Is he going to be available this coming season? It’s all a bit of a mystery.

As for you lucky buggers across the ditch, I will follow your Mr Feelgood foals with interest (with help from Richard) and we will meet again same time next year to see how his 2yos have shaped up.

Mr Feelgood in the winners circle 2006

Mr Feelgood in the winners circle, 2006 Little Brown Jug
Photo: Bee Pears

Mr Feelgood – how is he going as a sire and what shows up in matches to date?

Oldest Australian progeny are 4yos – 17 registered foals.
3yos – only two registered foals, both earned over $70k to date. (Two more wins for A Good Chance, since Richard made the list below, so he’s now earned $87k).
Next two crops significantly bigger (76 and 84).

Total starters 13 for 11 winners. 7 of the 11 are fillies.

  • 3 out of his top 4 are out of Perfect Art mares
  • 4 out of the 11 are out of Fake Left mares and another is from Fake Left son Famous Forever
  • 6 out of 11 are from Cam Fella line stallions.

His top 2 in Nth America are Feelsgood out of a Camluck mare  and I’m Feelin Good from a The Big Dog mare (526K and 1.49.6).

Australian offspring in order of earnings to date (as at end of March/early April 2015)

Charming Allie (Perfect Art) = 256k and 1.53.9
A Good Chance (Perfect Art) = 78k and 1.54.9
Feel The Faith (Fake Left) = 69k and 1.56.6
Good Feelings (Perfect Art) = 33k and 1.56.3
Millenium Rose (Famous Forever) = 31k and 2.00.1
Nurse Feelgood (Westburn Grant) = 29k and 1.58.3
Tactician (US) (Western Hanover) = 18k and 1.54.6
Fiscal Cliff (DM Dilinger) = 13k and 1.59.5
Feelin Good Lefty (Fake Left) = 9k and 1.59.2
Feelgood Tonight (Christian Cullen) = 8k and 2.00.8
Feels Like A Dream (Fake Left) = 5k and 1.59.6
A Little Naughty (Fake Left) = 1.54.6

Use the Search on my blogsite to find several other blogs I’ve done about Mr Feelgood including here and here.



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A very proud day – Kym’s first win at Alexandra Park as a trainer, with the 5yo Elsu mare she also owns.

We know her as “Georgie” but her racing name is Souvenir Glory. Lightly raced – this is just her 18th start over 3 seasons, she has been an important part of Kym’s learning curve as a trainer. Her dam is Holmes Hanover mare Tra De Mur, now retired from breeding, and none of her foals have turned out to be stars. However what Souvenir Glory brings to the table is a desire to give all she can, to compete and do her best each time. She’s a gutsy little mare, with real character. Like many of the Elsus (and there were three Elsu winners at Thames Racing Club meeting at Alexandra Park today) she is a genuine “bread and butter” horse – and this time there was a bit of jam with the bread and butter!

Congratulations Kym! Tip o’ the hat to driver Kyle Marshall! Apples tomorrow for Georgie!

Souvenir Glory

Souvenir Glory winning at the 3 May Thames Racing Club meeting at Alexandra Park.  Photo Bee Pears

Kym picked her out at the Alabar Weanling Inspection in 2010, and bought her at the PGG Wrightson Broodmare and All Aged Sale a couple of weeks later.

(Just a reminder – the same Parade and Sale sequence is coming up on Sunday 10 May with the Alabar open day inspection of their weanling draft, followed by the PGG Wrightson Autumn Weanling and All Aged Sale on Wednesday 20 May at Karaka. A great chance to see a number of foals from a wide range of sires and maybe pick out a bargain. There is a similar sale in Christchurch on 29 May.)

Home straight Souvenir Glory in lead

Home straight with Souvenir Glory in lead.  Photo Bee Pears

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It’s always great to see a horse you’ve bred make it to the racetrack, even if it is low key workouts at Alexandra Park.

This morning it was the 3yo Angus Hall trotter Kym Kearns bred from her mare Sun Isa, so he is a half-brother to Flying Isa.

She named him after the successful NZ V8 SuperTourer driver, Angus Fogg.

The colt had his first workout at the Park under Derek Balle’s colours. He was purchased by John Street (Lincoln Farms) at the 2013 yearling sales but was never a natural 2yo. He simply kept growing, and his gait wasn’t great at first. So Lincoln Farms made the call to send him to Derek Balle, who is so good with trotters, and now – at a majestic 16.1h – he is starting to get the hang of it.

Angus Fogg didn’t disappoint today, getting away faultlessly from the standing start and maintaining the lead at a qualifying sort of rate until the last 20m when he skipped and broke. Derek said it was his fault, not the horse’s, and he remained very pleased with the run.

On course to watch him was his namesake Angus Fogg and partner Tracy Smytheman, who really enjoyed the experience. They’ve seen Angus as a wee foal and now he’s a big handsome good-natured fellow with plenty of fun ahead.

Angus Fogg Derek Balle and Angus Fogg

Namesake Angus Fogg and Derek Balle with Angus Fogg. Photo Bee Pears

Angus Fogg 3yo trotting colt by Angus Hall from Sun Isa.

Angus Fogg – 3yo trotting colt by Angus Hall from Sun Isa – at the workouts 2 May 2015. Photo Bee Pears.

Angus Fogg with Angus Fogg

Angus Fogg giving a few speed tips to Angus Fogg. Photo Bee Pears.

  • Read more about his pedigree and background here and here.
  • Read about Angus Fogg, racing car driver here.


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