Archive for April, 2016

Brian Cowley is a thoughtful breeder and the winner of the competition I held a couple of years ago to find a match for my own mare The Blue Lotus. So although he says, “I haven’t been exactly consistent with my breeding strategy for Light Of The South”, that certainly doesn’t mean lack of thought. Light Of The South descends from the Romalie Hanover line of Romola Hanover, and as Brian points out she has another connection to the family through her sire Live Or Die, through Romoloa Hanover’s siring son Romeo Hanover. Her 2011 foal Articulight’s last start was last Thursday at the Metropolitan Racing Club in Christchurch where he ran on well for fourth on a quick pace.

Christchurch breeder Brian Cowley writes about his breeding choices for Light Of The South

Light of the South with Ohoka Arizona colt

Light of the South with Ohoka Arizona colt Oct 8 2014 – photo provided by Brian Cowley

Light Of The South progeny to date:

2009 b f Lyra Finn by Art Major
Breeder: Finash Bloodstock Limited
2011 b c Articulight (2.00.6,S*)by Art Official
Lifetime: 12 starts, 2 wins, 3 seconds
Breeder: B C Cowley
2012 bl f Luminary by Shark Gesture
Breeder: B C Cowley
2014 br c Word On The Street by Ohoka Arizona
Breeder: B C Cowley
2015 b c unregistered by Art Official
Breeder: B C Cowley

Because she carries Romola Hal blood via her sire, Live Or Die, and her dam, Natural Talker, I was keen to reintroduce it in her foal by a mating with Art Official whose sire, Art Major, traces to Romola Hal five generations back on his dam’s side. The result of the mating to Art Official was a colt, Articulight. Interestingly, although he receives Romola Hal blood from three different streams, there are no sire duplications until the fifth line of his pedigree.

When Shark Gesture came to town, I sent the three mares that I owned or held shares in to him. Bloodlines did not come into that decision. Shark Gesture was a magnificent racehorse with an outstanding temperament – and it did not hurt that his dam, Simple Gesture, was a half sister to the well-performed racehorse and sire Ponder. That union produced a filly, Luminary, who was broken in but, at three, has yet to be tried.

Light Of The South has had a yearling colt by Ohoka Arizona, whose progeny have recorded 42 wins, 55 seconds and 54 thirds in three and a half racing seasons, and a weanling colt back to Art Official.

It will be interesting to see whether line-breeding prevails over outcross selection from those four matings. Certainly, Articulight has shown potential in 10 starts from which he has gained two wins and three seconds. The weanling colt looks like a replica of him and, if paddock speed is any indication, it would be nice to think he would follow (quickly) in his full brother’s footsteps.

However, until the other pair are tried, it would be premature to judge. Suffice to say though, I am considering Panspacific Flight for Light of The South next season because Romola Hal glows like a beacon five steps back on his maternal line.

I lean towards continuing to breed the Romola Hal bloodline back into Light Of The South’s progeny. It has certainly proven its worth over the years. However, there are many genetic influences along the pedigree path and any one of them can intervene to affect the desired outcome. Only time will decide whether we have made the right choices.

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I don’t want to go over Romola Hanover’s colt foals legacy in any detail at all. It is available elsewhere including Frank Marrion’s 2008 Harnesslink article when Art Major was first available here as a sire, which sums it up well. It is remarkable!

Another photo of her racing here, in her Harness Museum Hall of Fame entry (it needs to be updated to include what a remarkable number of sires she has left!)

Here’s an extract from the book “Quest for Excellence: Hanover Shoe Farm’s First 75 years”:

After all, it had once been John Simpson’s task to break and train most of the fillies that eventually found their way into the Hanover broodmare band. Although he may not have been at Hanover when Miss Bertha Dillon was the most revered broodmare in the world, he understood what broodmares meant to a farm. Some extraordinary producers were graduates of the Simpson stable. One exemplary alumna was Romola Hanover the nonpareil racing mare who was the hottest mama in the sport in the 1960s. Her first son Romeo Hanover won the Golden Crown for pacers in 1966 and his kid brother Romulus Hanover was voted the pacing sophomore king the following year. A few years later, Romola’s daughter Romalie Hanover was the most admired fillies in the sport. This trio had been sired by Dancer Hanover, but Romola Hanover also had exceptional performers by Lehigh Hanover, Torpid and even later Albatross.

She deserves a book of her own! When you look at her descendants and can mention top pacers of modern times and often who have also gone on to be very good sires like Real Artist, Art Major, Panspacificflight, Perfect Art, and potentially Captain Treacherous…it is quite incredible. Of course her own sons had a big role to play as sires in New Zealand, Nevele Bigshot and his Lehigh half-brother Nevele Romeo were imported here for stud duties in the mid 1970s, and were the foundation stallions for Nevele R Stud (started by Wayne Francis and Bob McArdle in 1973) – and Nevele Romeo lent his name to what is still one of New Zealand’s top studs. Neither left much of a legacy in terms of their enduring performance as sires, however. But Romeo Hanover, her very well performed son, stood in America and then for 11 years in Australia (for good “down under” results of 498 foals, 250 starters and 196 winners.) Romeo Hanover had an influence here in New Zealand as well through the likes of Live Or Die’s pedigree, and his son Speedy Romeo was also a sire here, but I suggest it is more through his daughters he has added value, and I’m interested in comments on how much you feel Romeo Hanover has contributed as a sire in the longer term.

Romola Hanover

Romola Hanover with John Simpson snr at Du Quoin in the late 1950s

Right now, it is Romola Hanover’s female descendants and what has ended up as useful lines “down under” that I am interested in.

Two are of particular importance here – her Dancer Hanover daughters Romalie Hanover and Romona Hanover.

Romalie Hanover

First, a quick look at one of Romalie Hanover’s sons who has left a thin line in New Zealand – George Allen, by Meadow Skipper.  It’s one of George Allen’s daughters that might ring a bell here, imported Armbro Zip Zap, although her descendants are few and far between now. The only daughter of Armbro Zip Zap breeding on here is Sequita. Sequita is closely related to the former star juvenile in Australia My Handsome Fella 1:59 ($79,573) who had a go as a sire there (346 foals, 95 winners). One of Sequita’s sons Elliot Daniel has done okay  in NZ for owner Bernie Lim (Harnesslink article from 2014), but Lim has not breed much else from the family, although I see he has put Sequita to Art Major this season, which of course links back to Romola Hanover too. Interestingly, Elliot Daniel has turned out to be one of those lovely durable older horses – now leased by Breakout Syndicate and W S Abernethy and trained by Jay Abernathy, he is still racing and had his late (9th) win a week or so ago on 3 April 2016 at Taranaki, as an 8yo.

Romalie Hanover has left a few more branches in New Zealand and Australia through her daughter Dental Floss (what a strange name!!) who is by Columbia George. A daughter of Dental Floss called Only Natural was imported to Australia from America in 1991. It appears Only Natural’s first foal, a filly called Lady Lynda Lee, was bred in America a couple of years prior to that by Bob McArdle, and then brought to New Zealand for breeding, and her third foal Talk About Natural was also based in New Zealand for breeding.

In Australia, (It’s) Only Natural went on to have numerous foals for I M Walsh and R B Woodhouse, the best of them in terms of racetrack performance being the “grind it out” geldings The Don, Boy From Bowral, and Natural Lobell. Nothing that really raised the roof, and this branch has pretty much withered and died.

In New Zealand none of the lines from Lady Lynda Lee proved special either.

The bright spot in this turns out to be Talk About Natural for breeder John Fokerd. But the progeny page for her doesn’t present a pretty picture at first glance. Digging deeper we can find a few veins of minerals the mine, but it is not gold yet.

Talk About Natural’s daughter by Falcon Seelster is She’s A Natural, and she brings me into familiar ground – her Tinted Cloud daughter Umbra (born 2008) is now with breeder G B M Corbett who is obviously wanting a cross with Tintin In America. (And when I look at that cross I can see why). Another of She’s A Natural’s fillies was To Die With Dignity and she was exported to Australia and raced okay herself and has gone on to breed a couple of decent winners by Jereme’s Jet and Always A Virgin, and a registered Courage Under Fire Colt called Ferdinand who would be a 3yo now.

Tracking down the lines of the family gets tricky now, as many don’t appear (yet) in Classic Families, so often it is a matter of working back. I’ve got a couple of examples that I know of, and blog readers are already contributing more (see the comments under the last blog on this topic). To get there, we go back to Talk About Natural and look at what other breeding lines she has produced other than those mentioned in the previous paragraphs.

After all, 6 of her 9 foals were fillies!

One of the most active lines at the moment is in the good hands of blog friend Brian Cowley, who owns the Live Or Die mare Light Of The South, a daughter of Natural Talker, who is an Andrel daughter of Talk About Natural. Technically that puts Romola Hanover 5 x 6 generations back in the pedigree of Light Of The South, as she appears in Live Or Die’s pedigree as well as the mare’s maternal line. It goes like this. Light Of The South was originally owned and bred by Mike Finlayson, another blog friend, who put her to Art Major (a cross back to the family) for a filly called Lyra Finn who was sold on to Australia but didn’t amount to much and became a hack. Brian has followed a less direct route, and I’ll give his comments in the next blog. Suffice to say at this stage he has the very talented and sometimes wayward Articulight (by Art Official) racing at the moment, and a couple more foals in the waiting room. (Background is a blog I wrote in October 2014 with photos of Light Of The South foals at that time)

The first filly from Natural Talker was Mon Repos and she is in Australia after a very modest racing career, and has been an awkward breeder. Her first (2009) raced foal by McArdle is gelding Allies Mate (18 starts, 5 wins and still racing), and the next live foal was born in November last year, by Million Dollar Cam and bred by K M Hall, Victoria. The sire choice is, for me, a positive one – as I will explain in a later blog when I lay my own  thoughts on the line.

Another filly from Natural Talker is Lets Talk Art, now a 9yo mare by Art Major (link back to the family) who won 6 from 45 starts, and $48,525 in stakes. She is now a broodmare who missed to Panspacificflight (another link back to the family), and has since gone these past couple of seasons to Better’s Delight for breeders Mrs M E O’Brien and S A O’Brien.

No other line from Talk About Natural has left anything worth noting.

Romona Hanover

Of course the big and beautiful branch of Romola Hanover’s family comes from another daughter entirely – not Romalie Hanover, but Romona Hanover. That’s the dam of Perfect Profile (dam of Western Edition, Art Major and Perfect Art),  You Can Fly (dam of Panspacific Flight), Real Artist, and World Order.

In terms of female breeding lines here, we have little to go on. A Real Desire daughter of World Order called Cuzzin Sally was imported by Robert Famularo (Cavalla Bloodstock Limited) and bred here for two colts and a filly before she died. One of the male foals is racing in Australia – Cheyenne Warrior by Bettor’s Delight (96 starts, 8 wins, 27 places, $41,515), and the other colt is only a 3yo (by American Idea, Miss Duvall family) called Sands Of Time and has had one start for a 2nd from the Ken Barron training stable down in West Melton, NZ – and is worth keeping an eye out for. The filly is by Sands A Flyin (link back to the family) and is named Laura J. She is a 4yo mare now, and I will be checking to see what the plans are for her.

So in summary Down Under we are pretty much relying on (no pressure, guys!) She’s A Natural’s daughters  Umbra and To Die With Dignity, and Light Of The South’s progeny, and Laura J to make something of the Romola Hanover dynasty “down under”.

Next part of this series will bring some comments from the current breeders.

A virtual chocolate fish to all blog readers who have got to the end of this one!

Thank you for reading this!

Thank you for reading this!

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Dia Mia Amore is proving to be a bit of an eye-catcher, with the third win for the filly coming at Bunbury, Australia on Saturday, in 1.56 for the mile race.

The video is up on the Australian Harness Racing results page, and she did it nicely, leading all the way. She is a good sized attractive looking filly with probably quite a bit more development to come, and apparently has quite a strong personality and has tested the patience of her connections! But all that is forgiven when they show potential like she is doing.

Her main aim is the $150,000 Group 1 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on 6 May. Date for my diary!  Photo of her at second win a week prior, and article on Nevele R website

Back home in New Zealand we had a nice debut for 2nd from Tintin In America colt Junkyard Mase who is from a lightly bred Son Of A Fella mare. He went out hot favourite, showed a lot of gate speed to get to the lead and fought hard to stay in contention on the line. There have been lesser performers of the sire as well, I am not completely blind lol. But it was an ok debut for the 2yo filly Manahiki Pearl for a 5th today at Manawatu raceway. On the replay she looks to be a decent sized filly with a good reach, just lacking a bit of strength but that will come. She is from the good Presidential Ball mare The Black Pearl. Down in the South Island What A Curtainraiser, a 3yo Tintin filly from a Live Or Die mare, is really struggling to find any form at all and the penny just hasn’t dropped after 7 starts for nothing of note, and trainer Kevin James will be disappointed. Earlier she had a tendency to over-race but he has been patient with her because she did show some speed. She was in the same race as Junkyard Mase on Sunday, and came 12th but was only 5 or so lengths from the winner and was trying hard. It was probably her best performance for a while.

And also down south, this time in Christchurch, the Tintin filly I co-own has had a good long break and is now starting a serious prep with Chris McDowell so she will only be getting to races as a very late 3yo or 4yo, but needed that time to strengthen. I’m really excited to find out what she will be like as a race horse!

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Romola Hal, like Golden Miss, Spinster, Arpege, and other great foundation mares of the modern era, act like a massive waterfall at a point when a river needs extra energy to carry its quality and volume further downstream. These mares and the sires they clicked with create the deep pool at the base of the waterfall, from which a freshly renewed river and many tributaries flow.

Romola Hal

Romola Hanover with John Simpson snr at Du Quoin in the late 1950s

In most modern pedigrees, Romola Hal will sit 6 to 9 generations removed, but her legacy is so strong that many branches of her line are able to kick up not just good performers but outstanding performers at regular intervals. Some branches do this more often, and at different times. Some have eventually become streams that dry up for long periods of time, as you see the sire choice become more affordable but less able to contribute new energy.

The Romola Hanover branch has been the strongest in recent years, particularly through the outstanding Rodine Hanover. But there is a wealth of other Romola Hal influences worth tracking in maternal lines, and this blog looks at her lesser known daughters.

Apart from Romola Hanover (1957), Romola Hal had 4 daughters of significance – all by Tar Heel. Ritzy Hanover (1959), Romantic Hanover (1960), Rochelle Hanover (1961), and Rotate (1962).

Ritzy Hanover

Ritzy Hanover

Newspaper article about Ritzy Hanover seeking her 8th win

Ritzy Hanover (photo here, originally in Harness Horse) was the only one to really shine on the track as a 2 and 3yo. Here’s a newspaper article about her chasing her 8th win in the Lady Maud (The Evening News, 7 May 1962) and she ended up retiring with a very tidy $127,550 in stakes. Ritzy Hanover had 14 foals for 10 winners (2 in 1.57). Her descendant line is extensive but her sons appear to have been more stamina types than speed horses and they accumulated wins over time (the best being Albatross colt Rhulen Hanover who got 16 wins, $227,802 and a 1.56.2 mark). Her daughters included Ricki Hanover (by Best Of All) who was a good broodmare and dam of Rampage Hanover (by Albatross, $367,531). A daughter of Ricki Hanover, Ripreza Hanover, is the dam of the very good mare Feeling You (by Cambest, $1,028,496) and the good mare Biggest Big Bertha (by Little Steven, $284,794). Yet another daughter of Ricki Hanover is Rapunzel Hanover who was also a consistent broodmare without yet producing a standout.

Ritzy Hanover had another branch worth noting – from her daughter Rio Rita Hanover. She did nothing on the track but has produced her own successful branch through her daughter Rilda Hanover (by Best Of All). That success traces through Rilda Hanover’s Meadow Skipper daughter Rashina, whose line has turned up some very good performers including the classy 1986 mare Windy Answer (by Storm Damage, $531,645)  – you can trace her line down on Classic Families here.

But to date Feeling You is the standout from the Ritzy Hanover branch of the Romola Hal line, and it will be interesting to see how she does as a broodmare herself. 

I spotted a female descendant of Rilda Hanover called Ciggs CA who was imported to Australia around 2007 and bred from by Cold Mountain Stud for two Camelot Hall  foals, but little result in terms of racing sucess. The filly foal, named Cammys Reign,  has since been bred by a MR Cuthbert in NSW for a 2014 colt by Always A Virgin, yet to be registered.  I can find no sign of any other descendants from Ritzy Hanover in the Australian and New Zealand harness racing databases. But let me know if I’ve missed one!

Romantic Hanover

Five daughters show up in the Classic Families page for Romantic Hanover – there may have been others but these are the only ones that have performed or left performers at the “classic” level – two by Overtrick (Rachel Lobell and Rebecca Lobell), two by Adios Vic (Roberta Lobell and Truck Stop Rosie), and one by Most Happy Fella (Romaine Dancer).

If you are judging the line on performance, Classic Families is a great way to get a snapshot of what branches are throwing a very good performer to two in each generation.

The longest continuing branches of quality from Romantic Hanover are Rachel Lobell (specifically through her Adios Butler daughter Romantic Butler), and, even more so, Romaine Dancer.

There is also a branch descending from Truck Stop Rosie who had a well-performed daughter Colour And Light (by Nero, $303,637). Colour And Light’s daughter Cheryl Hanover (by Big Towner, $243,943) is continuing that form with modern sires – she had a good Western Terror son Lord Terror (1:51.2US $363,095) and an Art Major grandson Whiskey Pete (1:48.4US $410,866) both born in 2007, and an Artsplace daughter Cheryl’s Place produced the tough raceway multiple winning mare Gabrielles Girl.

She Has Passion's yearling colt 2016

She Has Passion yearling colt sold for $20,000 in 2016. Photo: Jodie Hallows

A half sister to Cheryl Hanover called Purple Passion did okay as a 3yo and her one and only foal, a daughter called She Has Passion (by Laag, 16 wins, $38,347) was imported to Australia. A grey colt yearling by Betterthancheddar from She Has Passion was sold by KTC Bloodstock at the Perth yearling sales in February 2016 for $20,000. A Sportswriter 3yo gelding called Backpage Screamer from the mare has had 1 win and 3 places to date – current breeders are listed as K T Charles, K J F Charles, A G Charles, WA, i.e. KTC Bloodstock. Interestingly the Australian Harness online pedigree page for this family doesn’t take the maternal line further back than Truck Stop Rosie, so the connection to Romola Hal is not obvious, but it is Romola Hal>Romantic Hanover>Truck Stop Rosie>Colour And Light>Purple Passion>She Has Passion.

Romaine Dancer’s daughters have not been consistent, but there are high earners and classy horses scattered through daughters, grand-daughters and great-grand-daughters. The “Keystone” moniker is prominent, and to be honest I am not sure how that started, presumably with horse racing and breeding around the Keystone township, which once thrived as a racing centre, but there may well be a more modern story. Let me mention a few names from Romaine Dancer’s branch – her son, the 1985 colt Keystone Raider (by Big Towner,  1:51.1US $946,914) who went on to have a great siring career based in Michigan, including two millionaire sons. The following tribute was posted by USTA in October 2005:

Keystone Raider

Keystone Raider

Keystone Raider, 20, died earlier this month of complications from injuries suffered in an August paddock fall.The son of Big Towner raced for five seasons, amassing earnings of $946,914, and taking a 1:51.1 mark as a 4-year-old. He retired to a stallion career that made him one of Michigan’s greatest sires. His 774 starts earned in excess of $34.7 million, led by millionaire Rair Earth p,1:49.3s, and fellow sub-1:50 pacers Midnight Jewel p,1:49.1 ($666,723) and Fearless Raider p,1:49 ($663,120). In all, he sired 101 $100,000 winners, six in sub-1:50 and 135 in 1:55 or better.

There is also Keystone Rodeo (by Western Hanover, 1:51.0US $725,180) from her daughter Keystone Romance, and some very good performers from the line of another daughter called Leap Year Romance (by Keystone Ore).  She has two top performing sons: Keystone Luther (by Abatross, 1:52.1US $614,717) and Keystone Romeo (also by Albatross, 1:51.2US $704,412), as well as a grandson called Next Flight (by Shotgun Scott, 1:50.0US $895,406).  But there appears to be no current top performers from this line – yet. 

I want to come back now to the Rachel Lobell/Romantic Butler branch of Romantic Hanover’s family, as this is where we have many New Zealand connections and several that have spilled over to Australia.

It all comes down to a daughter of Romantic Butler mare called Romantic by No Nukes. As I mentioned earlier, Classic Families includes two separate filly foals from Romantic Butler – Romantic (b1988) and Romantic II (b1987). But these are one and the same mare, and I understand that the “II” was added when she was imported and registered in New Zealand as there was already another horse called Romantic here.

Romantic II was brought from America to New Zealand by Sir Roy McKenzie with Roymark at foot and in foal to Precious Bunny. She went on to breed another 11 foals here. Roymark (by Tyler’s Mark, $122,461) and Precious Romance (by Precious Bunny, $62,013) were the best performers by far, and the sprawling family has left less of a footprint here than might have been expected. Only two of her several fillies have done anything in the breeding barn – Rachel Romance and Dreamy Romance.

Rachel Romance (by Camtastic, unraced) is the dam of the tough Courage Under Fire campaigner Beyond The Silence (9 wins, Lt $116,846 to date). Two daughters of Rachel Romance went to Australia and now have foals – Sly Romance and Xplosive Romance. Sly Romance is a Sands A Flyin mare bred by Burbeck Harness Bl’Stk Ltd., and of course that sire traces back to Romola Hal in his pedigree via her daughter Rochelle Hanover (see below). Sly Romance has just one foal to date, a 4yo filly bred by N Van Der Snoek in Western Australia that raced once as a 2yo and not sighted since. Xplosive Romance also has just one filly born in 2009 after missing twice, but that foal never made it to the races. Another daughter of Rachel Romance is the Christian Cullen mare Romanticully, who has a 3yo Art Official colt and a 2yo Art Major colt bred by Malcolm Shinn (both linking back to Romola Hal via Art Major’s maternal line), and a yearling Big Jim colt bred by Lynda Hebberd who now owns the mare. She’s back in foal to Betterthancheddar which will bring a 3×3 to Camtastic. I’d love to find out more about these.

The only other filly from Romantic II that has kicked on in the breeding barn is Dreamy Romance. She was an unraced mare taken in by

Dreamy Romance and her Big Jim filly foal at Macca Lodge

Dreamy Romance and her Big Jim filly foal at Macca Lodge

Bill Keeler when Sir Roy McKenzie had a dispersal sale. After breeding 5 foals, Bill Keeler put the mare back in a mixed and broodmare sale, and that’s when I bought her. She’s left big types so far but as they strengthen (with trainer Kirsten Barclay) they are producing some nice wins Rainbow Romance (by Knight Rainbow (4 wins, $24,882, now sold to North America), and My Rona Gold (by Klondike Kid, 2 wins, Lt $10,665 to date), and a 3yo filly by American Ideal which Kirsten likes but is not hurrying. I’ve bred a lovely looking Big Jim filly, and the mare is back in foal to Mr Feelgood. Read more about Dreamy Romance in the blog I wrote back in October 2014 and I will say a bit more about the Mr Feelgood decision in a later part of this series, when I cover some of the current breeders.

Rochelle Hanover

At first glance on Classic Families, Rochelle Hanover’s line appears ordinary. Her daughters didn’t stand out as racers and the best of her foals was the Albatross colt Rockwell Hanover ($197,520). But as you click through the descendants there are some top class horses poking up every generation or so, and the strongest and widest branch descends from her Torpid daughter Ribbon Hanover, and her daughter Richelle Hanover.

It is way too extensive to cover in text here, when you can unfold it on Classic Families as the tree.

Richelle Hanover was by Dancer Hanover, a son of The Old Maid and Adios – what a potent mix. Her daughter Misty Raquel (by Meadow Skipper) won $484,463 and was a top class, tough type adding the Jugette as a 3yo and the Lady Maud to her credentials of eventually 48 wins.

One of Misty Raquel’s 14 foals was Misty Bretta. In New Zealand we know her best as the dam of Sands A Flyin ($481,436) who was a significant sire in New Zealand for many years, but she also produced David’s Day ($383,092), Ringaleevio ($265,567), and Beach Bretta ($251,960). 

Of particular interest are Misty Bretta’s two daughters Celerity (by No Nukes) and Myriad (by Niatross) – they are half sisters to Sands A Flyin, and both have had descendants downunder. An Artsplace daughter of Celerity, Lil Sweet Art, was imported to New Zealand and bred from by the late Dave Carvill and bred from with B T Mackie and M W Hamilton. Her first foal was a Falcon Seelster filly called All My Art who achieved 2 wins and 6 places from 23 starts. She’s gone on to be a great if difficult producer with several of her foals ending up racing

Ohoka Nevada winning Barastoc Cup

8yo Ohoka Nevada winning Barastoc Cup in 2011

with success in Australia – Ohoka Du Nord (by Bella’s Boy, 1:52.7 $200,760) and Ohoka Nevada (by Sands A Flyin, 1:51.0 $505,757) were her first two foals, and her third was Ohoka Squire (by Christian Cullen) who is still racing around Pinjarra and Gloucester Park this season with 30 wins and 34 places and $140,550 to date. Her fourth foal was Millwood Liberty, again racing in Australia with a lot of success (1:51.7, $199,459, 18 wins to date).

While there have been others bred from daughters of Lil Sweet Art, it is only the All My Art line that has fired to date. All My Art is now being bred by Katie Carville and B T Mackie, and after not getting in foal to American Ideal twice, now has a Christian Cullen filly at foot and was served this season by Art Major.

If you view the Romola Hal family in its deepest context, as a branch of the Miss Duvall (U7) family, you can see some possible “Romola Hal” or “Miss Duvall” angles on some past and present sire choices, but equally ones that are not. I hope Katie Carville might be able to throw some light on this in future blogs.

Myriad’s connection here is much more limited – a Jate Lobell son called Raleigh Road was imported and raced here by Sir Roy McKenzie for 40 starts, 4 wins and 4 places.

Although the Misty Raquel branch is probably the most well known here, there are some other stunning performers dotted through through Richelle Hanover’s line and through the generations of other descendants of Rochelle Hanover. Just to mention a few: See You At Peelers (by Bettor’s Delight, 1:49.2US, $1,573,260), Robust Hanover (by Warm Breeze, 1:52.2, $1,613,667), Chairmanoftheboard (by Meadow Skipper,  $1,341,823), Elusive Prey (by Western Hanover, 1:51.2, $802,706), Speed Again (by Dragon Again, 1:48.1, $882,296), Capital Request (by Life Sign, 1:49.2, $753,204), Mystic Desire (by Real Desire,1:50.0, $786,009), Fridaynightflight (by Panspacificflight, 1:51.3, $617,495), the mare Bunny Lake (by Precious Bunny, 1:49.0, $2,843,476) and her two sons Bestofbest Hanover (1:48.4, $586,041) and Tobago Cays (1:50.0, $818,272), plus a more recent one – the current 3yo Angel or Terror (by Western Terror, 1:53.1,$103,001), the winner of the USA Arden Downs Stakes for 2yo fillies in the previous season.

Chairmanoftheboard, a very well performed grandson of Richelle Hanover, was available in New Zealand as a sire for just two seasons, for 79 live foals but his legacy is minor. Read NY Times article about Chairmanoftheboard beating Falcon Seelster in the $600,000 Cane Pace in 1985. Update: 6 April 2016 trials – almost as I was writing this blog, a 2yo filly called Toppatherock from Sharn’s Delight (daughter of Sharn, possibly Chairmanoftheboard’s best filly in NZ) qualified – results.

Again you can find a few double ups in that lot I’ve listed above, not just Panspacificflight (who shares a very similar maternal line with Art Major), and Precious Bunny who brings in Romola Hal’s son Romeo Hanover as a sire on the bottom maternal line, but also Life Sign whose maternal line goes to K Nora and right back to Miss Duvall.


Romola Hal’s 1962 daughter Rotate is a bit of a revelation. She sneaks under the radar, I think, because it takes a few generations to see which branch of a line is going to keep up the momentum, which river is going to keep flowing on even if sometimes it eddies and braids along the way.

In Rotate’s case, it is her Overtrick daughter Revolve who has ensured this branch has flourished overall, and is still tossing up some excellent performers from a wide range of its offshoots into the current day. Remarkably she has 18 foals and 14 of those were winners. Seven of her 18 foals meet the criteria themselves or through their own descendants to be included in the Classic Families database.

Just looking at some of the best of her descendants that were born from year 2000 onwards – Fancy Filly (by Western Hanover, 1:49.4, $1,080,806), Serious Comfort (by Serious Bunny, $622,468), Top Gear (by Real Desire, 1:50.0, $549,771), Adventure Bound (by Camluck, 1:49.2, $519,434), Native Bride (by Allamerican Native, 1:50.0, $707,493), Big Deal (by McArdle, 1:49.1, $818,544) and her half sister Galimony (by Artiscape, 1:52.4, $485,913), Coffee Addict (by Dragon Again, 1:51.1, $424,303) and her brother Mudslide (1:50.0US $242,399), as well as their dam’s half brother Something for Doc (by Western Hanover, 1:50.0,$619,972), St Lads Kingpin (by Million Dollar Cam, 1:50.0, $443,671), Itrustyou (by Third Straight, 1:48.2, $747,033), Rafferty Hanover (by Western Ideal, 1:51.3, $379,728) and Restive Hanover (by The Panderosa, 1:51.4, $941,971).

And that’s just most of the top ones racing during that period – there are many more with stakes $100,000+.

I can find nothing that descends from Rotate breeding on in Australia or New Zealand – with the exception of  Rotate’s 1965 Dancer Hanover son Rite Retort who was imported to Australia as a sire and had 163 foals from 1977 to 1983 for 31 starters and 24 winners. The database credits one of them as winning over $70,000 which got me quite excited – but checking the horse’s performances I think it’s a data entry error and should be corrected to just over $7000. Very little worth noting seems to have come from this sire in spite of his lovely breeding.

If I have missed a descendant of significance here, please let me know – and also if I have got something wrong. It is easy to lose yourself in the tributaries of this mighty river!

Next time: a quick recap on Romola Hanover’s legacy – and then we will start to talk with some of the breeders of the family in this part of the world.

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Let’s bring to life the remarkable story of Romola Hal. She was a good racehorse herself, but her legacy has been so much more. She is one of standardbred’s breeding gems.

Article on Romola Hal win in Chicago Daily Tribune 4 Oct 1949

Article on Romola Hal win in Chicago Daily Tribune 4 Oct 1949

The focus of the Romola Hal line revival in the past two decades has been on the flowering of the line from her daughter Romola Hanover, particular with branches such as Rodine Hanover and now her daughters like World Order and Perfect Profile.

I’ve done  a few blogs that touched on the excellence of this maternal line in modern breeding and also reported back comments from New Zealand breeders, and my own interest as a breeder from Dreamy Romance.

In this blog I want to revisit the topic in detail, and put out a call for other breeders who are working with Romola Hal descendants in this part of the world – and indeed in North America – to get in touch with me.

Does the connection play any part in your breeding? And if so, what have you tried/want to try? Or are you focused more on the present when it comes to choices of sires? How do you rate the branch you are working with? And have you got any learnings to share?

I’m using the online database Classic Families as a guide (although a word of caution: their database has Dexter Hanover wrongly listed as a son of Romola Hal when in fact he is a 1968 born Dancer Hanover son of Romola Hanover, her daughter. Plus the split of Romantic and Romantic II is also wrong, these are the same mare. I’ll take these issues up with the Classic Families contacts).

I am travelling online and real time to find out the answers – how is this family tracking now, and especially downunder?

Romola Hal’s most famous daughter Romola Hanover had heaps of ability but issues as a racehorse, as Frank Marrion covers in his very good 2008 article on Harnesslink, quoting Murray Brown of Hanover Farms as saying

She could go incredibly fast, but was neither good gaited nor the most sound of fillies.

Of course Romola Hanover’s success as a broodmare is well known and her incredible line of “classic” descendants, males and females, can be tracked on Classic Families. The modern day branches show up in maternal lines of Art Major and his late brother Perfect Art, Real Artist, Captain Treacherous, Panspacificflight, Nuke Of Earl, and the females like Worldly Beauty, Michelle’s Revenge, Artriverderci ….and so many young ones like Rock N Roll World, Wake Up Peter, Cooperstown, Shadowbriand, and Sir Richard Z Tam.

There are several maternal descendants in Australia and New Zealand, and I will catch up on some them as we go through. and would love breeders to contribute their stories.

So let’s get going on this series.

Coming soon – The “other” daughters of Romola Hal.

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