Archive for September, 2016

Still wondering if you can afford to breed again this year? If you are looking to race yourself or bring a foal up to race and sell, here is something to think about.

Studs these days are increasingly offering a range of deals for breeders, and far more openly than the mates rates deals of earlier times. There are plenty of options for paying early for a good discount or paying more later on a live foal.

However goStallions has gone a step further with the sire Prodigal Seelster. There is an option for a service fee of NZ$3250 + gst or you can opt for a pay-on-delivery-at-racetrack option which means you will only be charged when your foal qualifies later in life… that’s when a bill of $3000 + GST becomes payable; then once your horse runs its first placing at the races, the final payment of $1000 + GST is due. So all up that is $4600 (including gst) if you successfully take that option. I assume it is a breeding contract and therefore the breeder is responsible for those payments regardless of who owns the horse when it starts to perform.

It is an interesting option, and it places the risk of going to an unproven sire who is less known here, with the rewards of getting financial pain relief until the horse proves he can earn his way.

In the pricing, he is more or less the equal of Macca Lodge’s Net Ten EOM and Panspacificflight.

So what credentials does he have?

Prodigal Seelster

Canadian horse Prodigal Seelster, Camluck x Platinum Seelster (Western Hanover) stands in New Zealand with an interesting pay on success fee option

Prodigal Seelster (Camluck x Platinum Seelster – Western Hanover) is a reasonable sire prospect in his own right, although in the competitive market here I would place him probably more at $2200 than $3250. However the shared-risk deal adds an appealing sweetener, particularly when the attributes of the stallion in terms of pedigree and racing CV make him worth much more than a passing thought. If your mare (and your pocket) suits, this could be quite a tempting option to lower your risks. He was a decent winning racehorse from a solid family, with good looks.

The stud will have built some of their risks into the pricing structure too. And the deal doesn’t take into consideration the costs you will have incurred getting the foal to that stage of qualifying and racing, so even a 1st at his first start won’t cover all your obligations unless you are really lucky. But if it suits you, and you have the sense to either save or put aside the rest of the service fee (or make sure you sell with that margin built in), the deal is definitely worth a look.

Prodigal Seelster was raced solely in Canada and through the rich stakes series there, so it is really hard to get a line on his actual ability at the very top level – but he has decent credentials.

As a sire, he has several things really working for him, if you have a mare that clicks with these:

  • By Camluck from a Western Hanover mare, he’s bordering on being an outcross to almost every broodmare we have here, apart from recent daughters of Western Hanover or one of his earlier sons (such as Badlands Hanover). Having said that, he’s the only sire I can find that has Western Hanover himself as an immediate damsire in his maternal line. So if you are looking to hook up directly to that factor or duplicate it, he’s a nice option as it comes direct through his dam, rather than through a sire of a damsire.
  • He has a solid maternal pedigree, with his second dam Parcel having left, amongst others, a Camluck filly called Paula Seelster ($600k+) who has bred on well to sires Artiscape, Real Desire and Life Sign.
  • He traces back to Barbara Eden, which is a nice modern family in the making (see below).
  • He is a nice individual, although like so many colts who are retired with injury after taxing racing as youngsters, his soundness is a question mark. But that is not a genetic thing usually, unless it is about bone density or an inherited conformation issue or distinctive racing action.
  • His very few foals look like nice types, but way too early to tell from such small numbers.

So, he is a very interesting option and not to be dismissed lightly.

Noel Kennard is behind this initiative and I give a big tip o’ the hat to him and goHarness for putting different breeding and racing options out there for people to choose from. At least they are trying something different!

Find out more on their website here or contact Johnny Robinson on 021 883 713.  I have no financial interest in the sire and this is not an advert, but I am interested in promoting different options that may suit some breeders, particularly financially.

For me the main thing would be to NOT regard it as a free service and to ensure you have saved the potential service fee payments early on, in expectation of a good result.

PS Another interesting and inexpensive breeding option this year comes from the same maternal Barbara Eden (U44) family as Prodigal Seelster – Shadyshark Hanover standing at Barra Equine for $2500 + gst.  Again the cross is with a sire from the Cam Fella sire line, in this case Cam’s Card Shark, and with a No Nukes damsire. It is a family that has got some momentum going in recent years, particularly on the branch of her daughter Barbret (which is the branch Prodigal Seelster belongs too). Included in the Barbret branch is the wonderful filly Sassa Hanover born 2012 by Rock N Roll Heaven – 1:49.4US $1,008,469.

Barbara Eden was an American actress well known on Tv in the later 1950s and 1960s, best known title role as the blond genie in a bottle in the 1960s TV show I Dream of Jeannie opposite Larry Hagman. The mare Barbara Eden was born in 1966.


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This year’s Little Brown Jug was the 10th anniversary of Mr Feelgood’s win – the one I was privileged to see in person in Delaware. I was reminded of that by an article in Harness Racing Update where driver Mark Macdonald recalled the moment prior to the racing:

Ten years ago in this very stall, Mr Feelgood stood, virtually unnoticed,as a crowd gathered around his neighbour, straining to see the dog-sized speedster named Doonbeg. “Everyone wanted to see the little horse. Adam Hanley was (Mr Feelgood’s) groom and he was standing there with Mr Feelgood and it was like a joke,”Hey guys, Mr Feelgood over here.” But no one wanted to see him.He was put off,because he loved the horse so much and I said,”We’ll get them on the track, don’t worry about it,” MacDonald said.


The pint-sized Doonbeg (shown here in his stall on Jug Day) captured everyone’s imagination but Mr Feelgood captured the Little Brown Jug. Photo: Bee Pears

I confess I put my money on Doonbeg, but it was Mr Feelgood who won, and went on to many more wins including the Interdominion Championship and Hunter Cup in this part of the world, and a siring career that has been somewhat strange – his first crop was born before he had officially started at stud, his biggest crop in Australia is the result of a free service deal which has resulted in 227 foals born in 2015, and yet in New Zealand (where he raced very well for trainer Tim Butt) he has been totally ignored. They haven’t been able to give his semen away!

Well, there are a handful of us New Zealand breeders who have grabbed the opportunity, and it is appropriate that (fingers crossed for a safe landing) I will have a Mr Feelgood foal landing later this year from my Dream Away mare Dreamy Romance. Maybe if it is brown, it will have its name pretty well sorted! You can still get Mr Feelgood’s frozen semen at extremely good price ($1,750 + gst) from Lee Morris at Equibreed, and there may still be some at Nevele R Stud if you ask. Remember this was a fast (1.49 at 5yo), durable (raced until he was 8 and was still winning big stakes at the top level), and rich (lifetime earnings well over $3m) horse, with a maternal line (the K Nora/Adora family, Leah Almahurst branch) which is firing so beautifully at the moment.

I’ll be heading back to him again.

Betting Line’s family

Unfortunately this year’s Little Brown Jug has ended in a cloud that will be hard to disperse for a while, regardless of test outcomes, for winner Betting Line.

Betting Line

Betting Line gets a cool down after racing.

It is the old story – justice has to be seen to be done, and clean trainers have to be seen to be clean. So anything, any talk or action that could be misinterpreted should be ringing alarm bells. Perhaps a simple notification to the stewards that vanilla yogurt was going to be administered would have avoided all of this. It is really sad, as Coleman is an extremely good, hard-working trainer, and Betting Line is a very good horse. An 8-length win should be something we are all celebrating, instead of just hoping it was all done right.

Putting that to one side, let’s have a closer look at Betting Line – he’s a Bettor’s Delight from Western Hanover mare Heathers Western, who was a Pink Bonnet winner. Betting Line already has three well performed siblings from other sires – All Or None (2006 mare, $225,053) by Cams Card Shark, Full Picture (2007 mare, $581,876) by Artsplace, and  JK Folly (2011 mare, $176,872) by Art Major. A mare that can produce quality foals like that from a range of sires – two siring lines in common, to be sure – is a sign of a really good broodmare.

Betting Line’s grandam is Santastic, a Camtastic mare. If that rings bells, she is the dam of Santastic’s Pan who has stood at stud in Australia for many years. In fact I am sure he was at the same Little Brown Jug day when Mr Feelgood won – and if I recall, he was a winner there of the Jug Preview and I had a bet on him because I was a Camtastic fan at the time! Just checking on Santastic’s Pan siring stats in Australia, I see he has had 66 foals for 35 starters and 22 winners, but these are dribbled over 8 breeding seasons and the most mares he’s ever had in a season is 23. But those results are not disgraceful from such limited opportunities, and it is interesting to see some of his best are from In The Pocket mares, much like Camtastic himself. It’s interesting that both Betterthancheddar and Betting Line are both sons of Bettor’s Delight that carry Camtastic in their maternal lines.

This is a really strong family and if you use the Classic Families pedigree option to show X factor individuals, you will see Santastic’s maternal line is chock full of good things. So if Betting Line (who I think is a colt) ends up down here as a sire in future, I think he will a better chance of showing off his strong maternal foundation.



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Kym Kearns describes this colt as probably the best type her mare Sun Isa has produced to date, and that’s a big call since the siblings have all been very good-looking horses.

Angus Hall x Sun Isa yearling colt.

Isa The Great

Isa The Great after his weekend wash.

“Hank” as we call him, is the 6th foal from Sundon mare Sun Isa and her 4th son. She leaves strikingly good-looking horses, big and bold, and with plenty of ability.

Kym retained the previous foal, a filly named Library Lady, who is now a very strong 2yo with a lovely trotting action.

Previous foals from Sun Isa are: Flying Isa (56 starts, 17 wins, $481,667), Isa Smiling (very talented, 3 wins, now dam of a 2yo colt), Angus Fogg (late developing but talented 5yo trained by Derek Balle), Isa Flyer (died recently in paddock accident),  Library Lady, and Isa The Great. The first four foals were all sold at the PGG Wrightson yearling sales, and that is where Isa The Great is heading to.

Sun Isa

Kym with Sun Isa at Isa Lodge, after her Spring wash and brush.

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The more I see this filly (out my window every day) the more I like what I see.

A Rocknroll Dance x The Blue Lotus yearling filly.

The Blue Beat

After her shower, looking gorgeous.

“Iris”, as we call her, moves easily, naturally and she has attitude but manners. She is starting to mature and understand things.

Last weekend, we brought the mums in from other paddocks for a wash, and then their yearling offspring at our home paddocks, also for a wash and brush. Lots of winter hair was shed, lots of enjoyment under the shower!

Below: The Blue Beat – finally got a registered name for this filly, and it is a cracker! The Blue Beat, the rock n roll song made famous in Australasia by our own wonderful Dinah Lee. “Come on and do the blue beat, the blue beat, and you’ll never be blue!” Hey, if you’re my age you will remember bopping around the living room to this song.

The Blue Beat

A Rocknroll Dance x The Blue Lotus

Below: The Blue Lotus, dam of The Blue Beat, Amazon Lily (3 wins, 6 placings from 13 starts) and Blackend (Shadow Play colt broken in well for Australian owner Domenic Martello) looking great and very much in foal with her next Shadow Play offspring.

The Blue Lotus

The Blue Lotus

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The Blue Lotus

The Blue Lotus (Grinfromeartoear x Zenterfold) in foal to Shadow Play and getting a wash at Isa Lodge yesterday.

My last two blogs have deliberately reversed the usual sire x mare breeding notation in the title of the blog. That’s for a reason. For me, the mare plays such an important role in terms of her genetic structure (what she brings to the table), and how good she is as a broodmare (her ability to conceive, carry and deliver a healthy foal, and her ability as a mum, because the foal will have 1000% more to do with her than with the dad!) Her own history will also come into the equation – what she has left so far, what issues if any are there, what in her family is showing up now or could be showing up later…

So I know and respect the conventions for breeding notations which put the sire and his pedigree double-ups first.

But that’s not the same as making a decision about breeding.

For me, once you have a potentially good or good broodmare, she must have the strongest say in your choice of sire.

It is easy to latch on to a sire that you like.  There is such a line-up of well-performed, handsome horses coming to a siring career each year. There is also a handful who have conquered the challenges and become “the chosen ones”, our proven sires like Bettor’s Delight and Art Major. And then another market of the “repêcharges” – sires both new and established who are carving out a specific career for themselves – Badlands Hanover has been a master of this, Live Or Die also successful, Grinfromeartoear finding his niche nicely over the years, and the new guns like Sunshine Beach, A Rocknroll Dance, Sportswriter, Auckland Reactor, Sir Lincoln and Tintin In America trying to get a foothold in a very competitive race.

Sometimes, when your budget doesn’t extend to the top commercial sires, there are rich selections amongst these “been there, done that” sires and the “going places if you let me” sires. They offer incredible value for money if you have done some thinking about why you are breeding and what your mare needs.

The one to give you the best answer about that isn’t me.  It’s your mare.

Treat her right. Do the thinking. Make the choice. And then look after her interests each step of the way – through the 11 months and 11 days and beyond.

In a very real sense, breeding is not a partnership of Sire x Mare, but more about how well you as a breeder can find the best mate for the mare. That’s actually what many of us breeders are about, what keeps us going. Some might be pimping for sheer profit, but most of us are searching for something deeper than that – a sire that suits our mare, and then a foal that goes on to be a really good racehorse!

Bingo! (Has that name been taken??)

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Nostalgic Franco and her Tintin In America colt foal at Macca Lodge

Nostalgic Franco and her Tintin In America colt as a foal last year at Macca Lodge

Nostalgic Franco is the second of the two mares I am breeding this season – a Rustler Hanover mare I bought at a mixed sale in foal to Tintin In America. That was a cross I really, really liked the look of and the resulting (now yearling colt) foal is a very nice type and I will go back for more in future. The mare then had a year off.

I look at the reality of Nostalgic Franco: a mare with some ability as a racehorse but quite one-paced, who has been bred to Nevele R sires as part of a broodmare band, and done well with that opportunity – but more potential is there, not yet the speed sire to click her genes into a new gear. That is my challenge.

According to my breeding formula I also needed to sort out WHAT I am breeding this next foal for, and what I would optimally want to do with it. It is a question that stops you going in wider and wider circles (which I started to do, just out of interest), and narrows your options to a reasonable number of sires you can afford and match your aim.

I decided I wanted to breed from a commercial sire to give me the option of selling as a yearling (depending on the sire’s commercial appeal at the time and the quality of the foal, of course).  That didn’t mean the 4 to 5 top sires. For financial reasons, they were out of the question. The Art Major choice for Zenterfold is where any savings are going! So I was left with considering sires that were within my budget but are likely to be or could be commercial about 3 years from now. And that gets further reduced by sires that for genetic reasons might be totally unsuitable.

When you look at it that way, you can see why breeding to sell early is extremely difficult. But the good news is there is plenty of choice, thanks to a very competitive Australasian market for new and enduring sires in the $4000 to $6000 bracket.

Long story cut short, I have looked closely at (in alphabetical order) A Rocknroll Dance ($6000), Betterthancheddar ($4000), He’s Watching ($6000), Rock N Roll Heaven (borderline at the $7000 price I recommended in my blog lol), Roll With Joe ($5,500), Shadow Play ($4000), Sportswriter ($4500), Sunshine Beach ($4000), and Sweet Lou ($6000). These are great horses, proven on the track, good pedigrees, etc.

Interestingly, several are from the same Western Hanover sire line as my mare. But I think my mare’s family (and I’ve talked about this with someone who has been closely involved in that maternal family for many generations) overall needs injections of speed almost every generation. It is the maternal family of Cardigan Bay. But it doesn’t have that underlying speed factor coming in genetically from its mares – it seems to rely on injections from sires who add value AND speed. Even then, the progeny tend to be good types, reasonable size, who are a little “one speed” and lack that ability to crank up another gear or two quickly. (Which is of course what most horses lack, as we humans do!)

So part of my elimination rounds – a more sporting term for “mulling” – was looking for a reinforcement of speed genes and quick flex ability, rather than strength and stamina.  The end of my mulling has been A Rocknroll Dance, and it is the combination of several factors. First, I like the match in terms of pedigree. The Western Hanover line seems to be competing with the revived Direct Scooter line as the “line of speed”. That is from a siring perspective. But for an overall match this is something quite new for me, considering how many times Wendymae Hanover pops up (3f,5m, x 4m) but this is more breeding to strong mares – both Wendymae Hanover (and her maternal package) and Rich N Elegant (and her maternal package) are coming close up.

You know I am a great admirer of strong maternal influences and much as the strong engine room sires and damsires. So I like seeing Overtrick in good places on this match.

The mare’s bottom line feeds into this in a less obvious way. Back further there are more synergies and duplication from good lines. But my focus is bringing speed and ability in, to update the family rather than reach backwards. So it is a fairly new and exciting breeding in that regard.

On type, I have kept a close eye on the foals A Rocknroll Dance is producing, including the filly I have out in the paddock here. He really stamps his mark as a sire on type – proportioned and athletic. That doesn’t mean all his foals are like that, but like some other successful sires, many of his offspring have a similar look. Signs of a sire that can make it? I don’t know but I think many breeders and buyers will take a chance on it.


A Rocknroll Dance x Nostalgiic Franco




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