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Archive for October, 2015

Update: How did I go? (See original blog below)

I kicked off the night with a Lis Mara quinella  which I actually missed in terms of putting my money where my mouth is, but for the purposes of this blog we’ll treat it as a 1ew bet on both Music (Lis Mara x Radio River) who paid $11.10 and $1.90, and Aveross Brachole (Lis Mara x Gth Aveross) who paid $4.80 for a place. Race 3, Romanite (Art Official x Roman Tear) came 2nd and paid $1.60. Race 4 Nek Time (Gotta Go Cullect x Braithwaite) hung on for 3rd and paid $2.20. I was bullish about Carrickmannon (Lis Mara x Harper Road) and Cullect A Guiness (Gotta Go Cullect x Charlotte Lea) in race 7 but 5th and 7th was there lot in a fast paced race.In race 9 my heart was with the winner (Ashton K, Grinfromeartoear x Spicey) but my 1ew bet went on Easy Rider (Art Official x Divine) and Chasing Shadows (Gotta Go Cullect x Impact’s Legacy) but they couldn’t get into the race and finished 9th and 10th.

At Alexandra Park I also started on a good note with Culinary Delight (Lis Mara x Culinary Affair) finished 3rd and paying $3.10, then in Race 2 Van Mara (Lis Mara x Van Sera) rattled home for 2nd and paid $2.60. In Race 6 Jaccka Mara (Lis Mara x Marianna Jaccka) and Tazzy’s Devil (Lis Mara x Tas’s Pocket) didn’t fire, and Wimbaliri (Gotta Go Cullect x Festina Lente) was scratched.

So all in all, I “invested” $24 and won $27.30.

Just for fun let’s compare how I would’ve gone if I had bet 1ew on all the Bettor’s Delights running at those two meetings. There were 23 starters, 9 of them paying a dividend. I would have invested $46 and collected $31.90.

So all in all, thank you to the lesser sires for taking care of me!

Original blog post:

Tonight I’m watching races in hindsight, and betting against the odds.

This breeding season in New Zealand three sires are no longer on offer, and in all cases their departure has been predictable, although in two cases it has been very low key.

Lis Mara, Gotta Go Cullect, Art Official.

All have different stories to tell. Lis Mara was initially promoted as speed, but the impression we have of the whole Cam Fella line in New Zealand is not that – and I’ve blogged on this before. So he had to make breakthrough early results that countered our intuition (like Bettor’s Delight has done was a descendant of Cam’s Card Shark) or we were always going to put him in a different category. LisMara progeny were almost always needing time, and not enough really delivered at the top end even if you did wait. For all our love with Most Happy Fella in Smooth Fella and New York Motoring etc, Cam Fella line has always struggled to get a foothold in these shaky isles.

Art Official, lovely looking and well bred, and our connection with Falcon Seelster in his maternal line should have rung happy bells – but he has struggled to get early performers (that so-high bar we set) and also he leaves a much more varied type of foal than his sire, they are not Art Major lookalikes and I think that is what everyone was hoping for – at a cheaper price.

Gotta Go Cullect, touted early on as the “heir apparent of Christian Cullen” and boy, did he look the part – athletic, proud, bred to be fast and tough. And he did get very decent books and has left some nice performers, but the clock ticked on and not enough really stood out, and suddenly he became more of a Live Or Die sire prospect i.e. genuine, but take time to strengthen, some have high speed but the actually percentages of top quality horses are not enough for a top sire. Take nothing away from what he will add to a mare’s pedigree. He will be one of those that shows up like an Adios Butler in pedigrees of good horses down the line. I also wonder if his early retirement (from injury) as a racehorse went against him. In the end we wanted him to duplicate his own type and early speed, so it is possible the type of mares he got were not adding much of that themselves. And maybe his own genes were more about toughness than genetically carried speed factors.

Cut to the chase, tonight I’m doing some sentimental betting but for a reason.

I like to show respect to all those sires who stand here – such a hard ask to survive and thrive in this competitive environment. These are three horses who were excellent on the racetrack and bred to be that way. They carry good genes but how that is expressed as sires (and in our broodmare pool) is another thing. Frankly the fact they have gone is not a mark against them, but just an acknowledgement of how hard it is for any sire to break into the longterm stallion market.

Tip o’ the hat to these three horses.

Both Art Official and Lis Mara will continue to stand back in North America, and I understand Gotta Go Cullect has been sold to Australia.

Tonight I am going “one each way” on all the progeny of these three sires racing at the good meetings at Addington (Christchurch Met) and Alexandra Park (Auckland).

Putting it out there now, and so far only two races done while I’ve been blogging, for a 2nd with Romanite, the Art Official 4yo gelding, and a 3rd from Culinary Delight, the 5yo Lis Mara mare.

What else is coming up? Not sure about scratchings but…

At Alex Park we have Race 2 Van Mara (Lis Mara), Race 6 Jaccka Mara and Tazzy’s Devil (both Lis Mara, although I must confess my bigger bet of 5ew will be on American Flyebye the Tintin In America filly), Race 8 Wimbaliri (Gotta Go Cullect). At Addington we have Race 4 Nek Time (Gotta Go Cullect), Race 7 Carrick Mannon (Lis Mara) and Cullect A Guiness (Gotta Co Cullect), Race 9 Easy Rider (Art Official) and Chasing Shadows (Gotta Go Cullect.

 

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Among all the flashly-bred qualifiers getting their racing ticket this Spring is a 3yo filly called Olde Oak Ellie who is as far removed from modern sires as you can get these days. She’s the first foal of her dam Exceptional Star, a Presidential Ball mare.

But what makes her filly exceptional is the top and bottom lines of her pedigree – because Olde Oak Ellie is a daughter of the colonial sire Magic Rule, the last in New Zealand I believe from Globe Derby siring line. That’s the line that has its origins in Hambletonian’s son Strathmore, and in this neck of the woods comes down to us via Logan Derby (AUS), then Johnny Globe, then Lordship and Starship, the sire of Magic Rule.

Magic Rule

Magic Rule

The pedigree interest for Olde Oak Ellie doesn’t end there.

On her maternal line, Olde Oak Ellie also descends from Starship’s dam, Star Nurse.

This 3yo filly’s great grandam is actually Venetian Star, a full sister to Starship. So that makes the filly 3×4 to Lordship and 3×4 to Star Nurse.

You can check out Olde Oak Ellie’s pedigree here on the HRNZ Info Horse database. Venetian Star is the dam of Anvil’s Star (15 wins, $444,705) and the family has produced a few good races horses over the years although not as many as you might hope given its sprawling branches.

Olde Oake Ellie is bred, owned and trained by the Reedys, and she qualified yesterday at Westport (on the west coast of our South Island in New Zealand). The Reedys then sent Exceptional Star to Bettor’s Delight for a now 2yo filly.

Note: Magic Rule was a good racehorse himself, not in the very top class, but he achieved 10 wins and 10 placings in just 46 starts. His interest as a stallion was as one of the few remaining “colonial bred” sires in New Zealand from the Globe Derby line, rather than his potential to breed a modern racehorse. But he did garner some minor support from breeders to at least give him half a chance to leave something. He had three recorded small crops in New Zealand and his last foals were born in 2013. (There are just 9 of his foals who are 3yos, 12 who are 4yos and only one registered 2yo in the HRNZ database. Five of his progeny are still colts.) Magic Rule died in 2013, as an 18yo.

Read article from 2011 when he moved to Macca Lodge to stand at stud

Happy to receive current information from those involved in the Globe Derby Society (if it is still going) or breeders/trainers who can report on any other “colonial bred” foals who look to have potential on the track. Either add response to the blog, or email me at bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz

 

 

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Morning drizzle and then clouds cleared to blue skies and sunshine, and the families were out in force at the Harness Waikato meeting today – horses well outnumbered by excited kids of all shapes and sizes chasing each other across the sloping lawn (best view to catch the race and keep an eye on the kids), and sulkies were almost outnumbered by prams and pushchairs!

This was an afternoon where you didn’t even need bouncy castles and balloon man, as the kids just made their own entertainment, aided with complex modern technologies like…ah..the bocks you have to climb up to show 1st, 2nd and 3rd for greyhound post-race photographs, or the long stretch of grass alongside the home straight where future Olympians may be in front of our eyes. Yes, kids just doing it for themselves.

And of course the total winner on the day, the Clerk Of The Course Horse, who always draws the younger fans.

Fantastic racing too, from the younger generation who showed off their skills with their trotting ponies in the Kidz Kartz races, to the younger drivers who were competing in the tote races.

Very cool, and thanks to everyone involved.

Harness Waikato 2015 local meeting

Introducing families to harness racing on a lovely fine spring day at Cambridge, Waikato, New Zealand.

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Nimble is a bit of a buzz word at the moment. Keeping up with trends and putting yourself in the position to respond promptly and effectively to the signals of the market.

As breeders we need to be nimble. But if we are nimble, do we know to jump in the right direction?  And what is the cost of jumping into thin air or jumping on a bandwagon without a good product?

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“Jack be nimble” – this is Jack Tar (Tintin In America x Sophie’s Choice) showing a bit of nimbleness.

Breeding horses is always going to be a high risk venture. Not for the faint hearted. But it is a passion for those of us who love to beat the odds, who love the families of mares we have, who believe in thinking before breeding and not just ticking a box.

Nimble is good, but sometimes a longer term strategy is more important, with nimble tucked in as an option should the opportunity arise. That might mean aiming for the yearling sales but being open to selling as a weanling or ready to run, or trialing up and selling as a going proposition. Nimble might also mean considering a sire you pooh-poohed two years ago as a new kid on the block but you can’t help noticing he’s not doing bad and he matches well with your mare.

So nimble really just means keeping an open mind. Being willing to change.

With breeding we need at least two years to produce a saleable foal – from the time of deciding in our minds and making a service contract, to the positive test, to a resulting foal being born, raised to a weanling, and grown to a yearling. Still pretty much untried and unsure. So we don’t have the luxury of making quick changes. They need to be thoughtful.

Often “being nimble” needs to be within our parameters: Costs. Time. Available sires. The mares you have.

But constraints give birth to invention and thought. In my case, I have hardly ever gone outside a $5000 service fee mark because of my own financial constraints, but that has never held me back from breeding to sires that really suited my mares plus my aims.

But being nimble can also mean being aware of what the market wants and responding to that. (My proviso here is that merely following fashion can also bite you in the bum if you do not have a commercial product, e.g. a poor producing or uncommerical mare will not make a fortune just by going to Bettor’s Delight, and even though the foal may turn out to be her best, it may not make a sale that gives the breeder a “bettor” profit margin, if any.)

Being nimble for breeders is also about not over-stocking or over-committing, holding some of your scarce resources back to fight another day. That can be difficult. It’s a blink of an eye (or a mare’s back end!) before another foal seems to be eating up your grass, eh.

Nimble can be about collaborating and syndicating. It can be about doing deals and sharing and asking for help or advice. Or even taking a year or two out, to give you or your mares a break.

It can be about reassessing why you are breeding and what direction you need to go in, rather than just ticking things over year after year.

Being nimble for breeders is most of all having an open mind and working out where your passion and the future market may intersect in a way that gives you both satisfaction and wanting to keep doing it.

Many breeders are a bit older than we used to be. Ha! We should also be a bit wiser. Believe it or not, older bones and minds do not make us less nimble. Rather they make as able to be more canny and more inventive. It is our choice.

Experience is the base of being nimble. It is like jumping from a rock, rather than jumping from wet sand.

Breeding season 2015 ….and here we go again, jumping off that rock.

Yeeehaa!!!!!

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Three Tintin In America fillies hit the South Island workout tracks last week, and another one at Cambridge today.

What A Curtainraiser (Tintin In America x Next Live Show – Live Or Die) is a 3yo filly who was at her third workout (North Canterbury, 14 October) and seems to be improving each time. What A Curtainraiser has always shown a quick turn of foot and a very competitive nature, but also a tendancy to pull or want to over-race. But patience and education is sorting that out now. The dam of What A Curtainraiser is the Live Or Die mare Next Live Show who had a twisted leg that prevented her from showing what she might have on the race track.  Trainer Kevin James says she did look good, however, and he thought enough of her to put her to Tintin In America, a horse he admired, aiming to add speed. It seems to be working.

Kevin James has four in training by Tintin In America and each one is quite different.  What A Curtainraiser is a smallish filly, but another of his Tintin youngsters is Go Ellmer Go (from a medium sized mare Ellmer Joy) who has turned out to be 16-plus hand, and he has one who has been teasing Kevin by changing preference to trot or to pace. Another of Kevin’s Tintin In America foals is the 2yo colt from Dazzle Bromac called Tuahiwi Express which he describes as  a”nice going pacer, and a chestnut colour”.

At the same North Canterbury Wednesday workouts Tintin In America 3yo filly American Vogue was having her first workout of the season, after qualifying as a 2yo in March. She sat at the back and when she looked to improve stylishly, she started to hang and pace a bit rough, losing ground before running on wide again at the back of the field. She is still a bit keen and green, but has plenty of ability once the penny drops and the manners are better. The breeding is nice, she’s from the family of Stylish Sweeheart and is from Presidential Ball mare Style By The Mile, who is the dam of MacIntosh, a Mach Three gelding who did a really nice job in Australia particularly as a 3yo and 4yo.

The other Tintin In America filly to hit the workouts last week (Motukarara, on 10 October) was Be A Legend. This is the 3yo from A Legend (a half sister to Bit Of A Legend) that I co-own with Brian West of Studholme Bloodstock. This preparation she’s been in the care of Chris McDowell, who has used patience and education to get her manners in better order. She can still be a bit keen, but is learning to settle and at the workouts he travelled her at the back in a Learners pace and let her run home nicely for second. She’s lining up at the workouts again today and the idea is the same – give her experience without a lot of pressure. Chris feels she has a bit of strength and speed.

And finally today (17 October) I was at Cambridge workouts to watch yet another Tintin In America filly go around – Love American Style – and the theme is a bit the same, with ability there but manners not. She hang badly most of the way in an easy run workout, but wasn’t pushed which is good. Again, patience is the key. The breeding of this filly is very David Phillips/Hambletonian, with the dam being the Road Machine mare Love To Travel who is also the dam of Selkie (the American Ideal mare who also raced well in Australia before retiring late last year.)

Being green and keen has more in common with speed than just having “ee“. It was the same with Tintin In America himself, and it took patience and education to channel that competitive nature and ability into manners and speed that turns on when the driver pushes the go button. My impression is that many of these trainers like what they feel in the Tintins – that there is clearly ability and speed worth being patient for.

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The loss of Kerry Hoggard is huge, and only outstripped by the legacy he has left – such an astute business mind, a wider intelligence, a passion for breeding and always willing to talk with the smallest players in the game like me, a small breeder up at the Auckland workouts to watch a yearling of mine he bought at the sales step out on to the track for the first time (that was Destination Moon).

His full contribution to the developments at Alexandra Park and to dragging harness racing into the modern era will only be seen a few years down the track. He was part of a team up there that I really admire for their ability to rise above the petty politics of racing and push new, innovative ideas through but with as much buy-in as they can get.

People still gripe about the tough racing at Alexandra Park, but in the end it is setting a standard we should be striving for – good racing, better stakes, and a well run operation that delivers fine entertainment.

Thank you, Kerry, for all you have done to help this industry mature and set its sights higher and wider.

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There’s a lot to like about Sweet Lou as a sire – his racing credentials are fantastic, he has a huge popular following, he’s good looking and he also brings a different pedigree with him from those we have had recently, and therefore offers some outcross options that could appeal.

The changing tides of breeding means we get almost a glut of some bloodlines (both sire lines and maternal lines) over a short space of time and a lack of others. Whereas our breeding mares stay constant for longer, they are stuck with their pedigree and still have to match well with the range of sires on offer.

But new lines diving into the pool sometimes create a timely splash.

Woodlands Stud has had a great eye for the moment, the ability to sense a wave and catch it while others might still be looking at the horizon.

So good on them for reversing the love affair with Western Hanover/Western Ideal sire lines and Direct Scooter/Jate Lobell/Artsplace maternal lines, and come up with something very different.

The top half of his pedigree

Sweet Lou. He’s from the Artsplace siring line, which is currently really only represented commercially here by Art Major and Sportswriter, with Grinfromeartoear and his sons in minor supporting role. Interestingly with Sweet Lou the Artsplace sire line is coming via Artiscape who is a sire we tried lightly and couldn’t relate to much in New Zealand (a bit better in Australia and still commerical in North America) in spite of him having a pedigree that would have suited our mares. At the time I think many breeders found the smaller lighter types he often produced just not what buyers wanted, regardless of their potential ability, and we quickly lost the faith.

The immediate sire of Sweet Lou is Yankee Cruiser who is even less familiar to us – he was a very consistent race performer finishing on the board in 26 of 35 career starts, winning $1,150,123. He established his lifetime mark of 1:49.3s in winning the $1 million North America Cup. But he was probably one of those very good performers that was slightly off the radar downunder. Sweet Lou and the filly Darena Hanover are by far his best performers to date, but he’s no slug in his Ohio siring barn.  He had two yearlings in the very recent Lexington Sale, a colt who sold for a good $42,000 and a filly who went for just $10,000. Yankee Cruiser’s damsire is Jate Lobell whose presence as an “engine room” damsire is now almost a requirement of top pedigrees, and back further in Yankee Cruiser’s maternal line the presence of Poplar Byrd, who also pops up in the pedigree of Artiscape.

The bottom half of his pedigree

So now a look at Sweet Lou’s maternal line – it is one of those that has a good foundation and seems to be getting better, but it still flies well below the highly commercial, well known families and branches like Golden Miss, K Nora, Romola Hal, Breath O Spring et al. On his damsire line the mares all have really good records for their day, not spectacular perhaps, but solid times and really good earnings.

Starting with his damsire line – his dam Sweet Future is a Falcon’s Future mare. So he brings the familiar Falcon Seelster elements in here, but Falcon Future’s damline has not really kicked on apart from his great-grandam Dell Siskiyou’s daughter Gogo Playtime, who turned out to also be the great-grandam of No Nukes and TMI. Many other branches have been a lot weaker. Of course if you go back further than Dell Siskiyou, you see Falcon Future’s maternal line is the family of Roya McKinney/Princess Royal and then Estabella and Jessie Pepper.

Sweet Lou’s grandam Sweet Darhlin was a well-performed race filly by Nero. Again, Nero is not a sire that we find much in our siring line or mare’s lines these days. Yet he brings a lot to the party, including another dose of Poplar Byrd and a strong liking for Adios blood. By the by, there is a branch of Nero’s family that we do know well, and that is through his half sister Skipper’s Romance. Amongst the descendants in New Zealand are the families of Smooth Ice (dam of Classy Filly) and also Sokys Legend (dam of Bit Of A Legend). Nero was pretty much an outcross sire himself, the two closest double ups were a 4×4 to Volomite and 4×4 to Billy Direct. One of his sons, Nero’s B B stood here as a sire for 5 years from 1984 and left over 600 live foals, some of the best being Bee Bee Cee, Neroship, Nevermore and Nutwood. But would I see Nero B B being relevant to which mare I put to Sweet Lou? To be honest its quite a long bow to draw.

Sweet Lou’s great-grandam Fly Fly Darhlin is a daughter of Fly Fly Byrd who is a siring son of Poplar Byrd. Yes, that’s the fourth link to Poplar Byrd in Sweet Lou’s pedigree.*see section below

Further back on his bottom maternal line, Sweet Lou traces to a family of consistently good trotters including Morning Song, a daughter of Victory Song. Of Morning Song’s daughters Eve Barmin and Dolly Barmin, Dolly Barmin has led to Sweet Lou and his very good half-brother Bettor Sweet (and several other good performers), while Eve Barmin’s line led to I Am A Fool (the brilliant Life Sign colt who won over a million dollars) and his good half brother Cam’s Fool – both of whom were tried as sires but with little success). Again Classic Families is a great way to expose the legacy of these branches, remembering that it is still unfolding.

Poplar Byrd, Adios and Volomite

As we’ve seen Poplar Byrd occurs 4 times in Sweet Lou’s pedigree, twice in Yankee Cruiser’s pedigree, as the sire of a sire (Bye Bye Byrd) and as a damsire, and then twice in Sweet Future’s pedigree, again as a sire of a sire (Fly Fly Byrd) and as a damsire. Significant? I don’t know, but an example of how Sweet Lou brings back some names we haven’t seen for a while in the extended pedigrees of our sires.

There is a sire/damsire influence in New Zealand that I think would be well worth considering if you can find him on the maternal line of your mare – and that is Able Bye Bye. Like Nero, he was only available in New Zealand for 5 years, in his case from 1974, and the result was just 124 live foals.

Able Bye Bye’s pedigree was to die for. He was the son of Bye Bye Byrd (therefore grandson of Poplar Byrd) and his dam was Adioo Time (by Adios from On Time, who is a daughter of Volmite and the great mare Nedda Guy). Bye Bye Byrd’s dam is Adieu, the full sister to Adios. So what you have is a pedigree full of the elements that Sweet Lou’s back story either contains or loves.

Interesting!

So lets track down some of Able Bye Bye’s female descendants who might be in the category of broodmare….and one that springs out at me is Cathy’s Flybye (Caprock x Bye Bye Cathy – Able Bye Bye). Why is that name familiar? Because just recently her Tintin In America filly American Fly Bye put together two eye-catching wins at my local Cambridge track, and the mare also has the nice mare Ideal Fye Bye by American Ideal, and has since gone back to American Ideal. Look at Cathy’s Flybye’s pedigree – she’s a Caprock mare so that brings in Jate Lobell again, and more importantly another link to On Time via Good Time. She’s clicked well with Tintin In America who has quite a few of the elements in Falcon’s Future’s pedigree including Falcon Seelster, Shadow Wave and Most Happy Fella.

The female lines from Able Bye Bye mare Princess Nandina could be another quality opportunity for Sweet Lou. Flight Of Fantasy (Island Fantasy x Twice As Fine – New York Motoring) would also connect with Sweet Lou’s sire’s Artiscape influence, via the New York Motoring/Happy Motoring full brothers, although that is quite a stretch. Dashoffinewine is a Julius Caesar daughter of Twice As Fine and, because Julius Caesar is a full bro to Christian Cullen, they both carry Volomite through Direct Scooter and Billy Direct through Tar Heel, as well as a whole of of other great stuff like Bo Scots Chip (their damsire) carrying Adios and Billy Direct – but also Meadow Paige (Bye Bye Byrd x Beatrice Adios), a sire I’d never heard of who stood here 1977/8 for about 50 live foals and not much for history that I can find, but let me know because I have only done a quick scan.

The Able Bye Bye mare Tabella Beth has a dynasty which may also be worth a look in this regard – particular those from her Sokys Atom daughter Soky’s Sunday who adds in the extra interest of the Adios Vic/Miss Creedabelle connection which has an echo in Sweet Lou’s sire’s maternal line.

There will be many others with potential – and of course just the sheer ability to outcross by bringing a different pedigree to the table. In the end, hindsight will tell us what works or not. Breeders can’t wait that long, we take a risk, we decide what suits our mares. Sweet Lou will stand or fall by what he does on the track via what mares he gets.

But I do wish him well, and partly because he (and Woodlands Stud) have presented something just a bit different. They are obviously pushing the cross with Bettor’s Delight – but I’d love to hear from blog readers why they think that is a good match, pedigree wise or on type. Interested to gather those views before we all become wise after the fact.

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