Archive for November, 2016

I was interested to read about a pilot in Canada using drones to monitor races and give stewards a better view of what happens during a race. Read Harnesslink article 

There are a lot of issues to consider including any disruption to horses and drivers, but like an older style blimp over a sporting event, there is now more potential than ever to offer punters and others just wanting to be entertained a more comprehensive and exciting coverage of races.

Back in November 2012 I blogged about how we could make the harness racing product more entertaining and competitive with other forms of betting and entertainment, and I see drones as being a technical breakthrough that can really assist, if we are willing to experiment.

In that 2012 blog some of the ideas I suggested were:

  • Improvements for remote viewing might involve GPS tracking devices on horses/drivers so individual punters can select and follow a horse’s position through a race (it is often not easy to see what is happening during a race, which can be a factor in viewers losing interest), but it could be even more personalised so a remote viewer (via smart phone or live streaming) can view the race in several different modes simultaneously to follow their horse/s’ progress. The race caller and cameraman are good, but could be combined with today’s technological advances.
  • Much improved camera angles – the high wire camera at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day blew me away – I got a much better understanding of the early part of the race, distance between runners, interference etc than I ever had from a side on or head on camera. Yes, putting overhead cameras on courses would be horrifically expensive, but what a selling point, what a product!
  • Developing some very cool apps for smart phones might include packages where you can place a bet and order the product (race) to be delivered to your phone live or recorded. No need to interrupt what other entertaining you are doing, you will be reminded at the time and the race sent to your phone in the format you selected – “GPS overhead view plus voice commentary with results/time/dividends.” Or whatever suits your needs. Subscriber services could have a field day – perhaps this is already available somewhere?

So although I am neither young nor techie by nature, that won’t stop me thinking ahead. We all need to, for the sake of our industry.

You can read the full 2012 blog here: A race – the short form of the game

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As you know, my mantra is “think b4 breeding”, hence the name of the blog as well as being my name Bee.

A lot of the magic of breeding and the challenges is to turn your thoughtfulness into a product that becomes what you wanted – or in some cases, not what you expected but a good result. For example, you may have bred for early speed, got a foal that turned into a “work in progress” but later went on to become a really good and fast aged horse. That’s not what you expected, but the underlying factors came through in the end.

So we are always trying to work with mother nature and our own knowledge and intuition, but there are no guarantees. Not even following a recipe is a sure signpost to success, because with horses both genetic and environmental factors create so many variables. More so than baking a cake. But I do think the analogy is useful because with cooking and with breeding, it is really hard to know from the outside what are important factors. Who would have said tiny quantities of salt and baking powder or chilli and garlic, for example, would transform a dish? And yet we know they can and do.

I’m right at the point (again) where a concept becomes reality – a breeding match on Tesio or wherever becomes a real living (if all goes well) foal on the ground. And after that, there is such a long, long road to negotiate successfully. But at least, there is a start and a reality rather than just a dream.

The Blue Lotus

The Blue Lotus with her Shadow Play filly foal

For me, today, it was a visit to Alabar NZ at Waiau Pa near Auckland, New Zealand.

This is the result of my breeding The Blue Lotus (Grinfromeartoear x Zenterfold) to Shadow Play, the second time I have gone for this particular match. The first is now a 2yo renamed as Blackened who last I heard was having time out after a very positive start in education. The new owner in Australia loves him, and his trainer is positive so far and is paying up for the 2yo races on what they see.

That’s one reason I was pleased to find today a very similar type of foal – sharp, energetic, streamlined. She reminds me a lot of the colt, who just loved to move and play and run. What will this filly turn into, well, who knows. It could be – like her Shadow Play relative over in America right now, Lady Shadow – a fantastic strong stayer. Judging by those long, long legs, she may take time to grow into her full size! But I won’t be setting any goals for her just yet. I’m so pleased to see her on the ground, looking lovely and long legged, and my mare all glowing with pride.

Step One is healthy foal on the ground, and a mare that is doing a fantastic job as mum.

Thanks to Alabar NZ, always a great team to deal with.

The Blue Lotus with her Shadow Play filly

The Blue Lotus with her Shadow Play filly

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Tough, tough, tough. Character and toughness are the best outcomes for Grinfromeartoear progeny. It doesn’t always happen. But he has super genetics as a sire, and if he gets the right match and strikes it well, you get exactly that – tough and good.

Massachussets is one place I haven’t seen, unlike the Bee Gees song of the same name. But I have watched videos of a good few races from Plainridge Racecourse in the state. For those of us who, like me, have to Google to find where some of these racecourses are located (and to be honest, where some of the states are) basically Plainridge is up and off to the right from New York city, on the eastern seaboard, and part of a group of states known as New England.

So yes, that’s on my list of places to visit one day. Geegees and haunting lyrics from the Bee Gees.

These days my point of interest is one special horse I knew as “Duncan”, a Grinfromeartoear gelding from my good mare Zenterfold and so a full brother to The Blue Lotus. I’ve blogged about him before because I’m really proud of his exploits in North America – low key but really consistent and paying his way with some stout performances. Like most Grins, getting better with age, character.

Destination Moon

Destination Moon, upstanding and strong type – as a yearling

In his latest race he was a very close second, but took a time of 1.51.3, which I believe is the fastest he has ever gone. His winning record is 1.52. So I am rapt to watch him doing a good job without a lot of pressure.  In the same race new comer Jay Bees Grin N another import from NZ and another Grin horse, still has to learn how competitive it is up there, and wisely didn’t press from the widest draw. But will find his mark up there well I reckon.

So although the time is not a shattering one, it is good and solid and what I bred the horse to do, and also good to see him performing and looking well for a stable that has picked him up and put some thought into him.

He’s repaying that.

Latest stats: US$37,000 this season so far and his total in America is $106,815 and with his NZ earnings added (in US$) $136,342. I’m proud of him.

In my next blog I will introduce his latest half-brother, his sister’s foal (just born) and her next potential foal – which may be a little outside the square but very exciting.

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Thanks to breeder David Phillips, I now have much more information on this family, and with his permission will reproduce some of it here.

It is a lovely story of belief in a mare and she has repaid affection and belief by establishing one of the top modern breeding families in New Zealand.

David’s connection with the family started when he bought Tabella Beth’s dam Double Tested as an older empty mare. He points out the New Zealand origins of the family start with Roydon Lodge importing the mare Belle Keller, as mentioned in Roy McKenzie’s book “The Roydon Heritage” on p119:

Certissimus, one of New Zealand’s greatest juvenile trotters, traced to Belle Keller imported by JR [Roy’s father John Robert McKenzie] in the 1920s. Before shipping her to New Zealand, he had her bred to Arion Guy 1:591/4.

The result of that match was Roydon’s Pride, the dam of Certissimus. Belle Keller was then bred to Arion Guy for another daughter called Past Memories. (In fact all six of the foals bred here from Belle Keller were fillies). Four more generations on from Past Memories is Double Tested. I’ll let David pick up the story:

I bought Tabella Beth’s dam (Double Tested) in dispersal sale when I was as just starting out in harness racing/breeding – and I bought several older mares as they were in my price bracket (I still to this day love older mares who have already been good dams of some quality winners) . Had I then been more experienced, I probably would not have bought Double Tested….from memory she cost me about $400 and was old and empty, and had not got in foal for some years. I bought her at auction from Don Hayes if my recall is correct. When I got Double Tested home I realised she was more like stallion, and had lost her femininity, and I guess her ability to breed. She also later demonstrated with a petite feminine mare a definite lesbian tendency. But that is another story? It was a journey and a half to get her cycling again as a female..The next breeding season I sent Double Tested and her girlfriend to Nandina Stud with strict request to Max Allan that the two mares were not to be separated, and both would likely come into season same days and be served same days….in end they were served by Able Bye Bye (a sire I loved then, and still do today). Both mares got pregnant and both had their filly foals within day of each other. Double Tested’s filly was Tabella Beth.
David describes Tabella Beth as an amazing horse from day one.
When a foal beside her mum, Tabella Beth would come running up to me and be by my side as I would each day take mares and foals feed. As I moved and fed out into each feed jn paddock she was more interested in human contact, than her daily feed; but she would then get the last feed.
It was not till her mid 3yo year that she demonstrated high sustained speed for trainer John Butcher, and won 4 of her last 7 races as 3yo filly.
For racing in NZ Tabella Beth was one of first horses we syndicated- via one of the first standardbred syndicates in NZ called ‘Redvale’. That was before days of National Bloodstock. My (now late) parents were members of that Tabella Beth Redvale racing syndicate. Some people I still meet in harness racing today were also syndicate members racing Tabella Beth. I can still recall a race at ATC, when she was favourite, and Reg Clapp saying words such as: “the favourite Tabella Beth would have to have wings to win from there” (she was last at about 400m mark). She had remarkable quick sprint, and that night at ATC she flew past the entire field in length of ATC straight, and duly won.
After showing such high speed, Tabella Beth was then sold for 100k to a USA buyer (the Pelling family). But that’s when a sentimental connection and a belief in a very good mare served New Zealand well.
After we set-up National Bloodstock, I was determined to buy Tabella Beth back from USA, to bring her back to NZ to breed to our new sire Soky’s Atom. Soky had a lot of Adios blood on dam line – which i sought to mix with the Able Bye Bye links.  In USA Tabella Beth was, I heard, used as a betting horse – and so her form was sporadic. In one USA race she was meant to win, she only got clear very late in that race, and flew home to miss by nose in world record time for mares. I was in USA, and watched her in her last race at the Meadowlands – the day before her auction sale. I had gone to see her in her stable the morning of the race and she looked terrible – thin and dejected. When I went into her stall with her, she went from drab and dejected to alert and with an amazing recall of her and my prior positive and loving relationship, and she perked up in an incredible way. Then she put her head under my armpit, and snuggled up – and I knew I had to buy her back, no matter what the cost.  The then USA agent David James (now master of Empire Stallions) was with me when I visited her in her stall that day, and we were both going to Meadowlands racetrack that night – where she was racing. I said to David she would win that night – given she knew I would be watching her. But David pointed out the strong field, and showed her poor current race form, and reminded me of her poor physical condition. She was the outsider of the field – and she duly sprinted down the outside from last and won easily. She took her lifetime mark that night. I am not a better/punter of any substance – but I did put a few dollars on her that night. I re-purchased Tabella Beth from that next day dispersal sale in New Jersey, USA – but the Yankees saw me coming, so I overpaid to buy her back for NZ.
On her arrival in New Zealand, Dave Phillips was given the news that the mare had had one of her ovaries removed, probably when with a USA trainer and it was possible that she could not bred at all!  The good news is she did breed. Today (despite not many horses emanating yet from her line) she has become one of most influential broodmares in NZ history. She was awarded the Broodmare of Excellence in 2001/02 in NZ.
Tabella Beth foaled a total of 13 foals who lived past yearling age (Atom Of Zeus died soon after being named), of which 5 were fillies. All 8 of her colts won. In terms of type and race ability David Phillips rates them:
Her best filly, in my view, was Spirit of Bethlehem, who we never even got broken in. She in turn only left 1 filly from 2 foals…and that filly had lightening speed when educated by Malcolm Shinn, and she was injured, and is now top class broodmare Spirit of Eros. Spirit of Beth I would have ranked equal second of all of Tabella Beth’s fillies, along with Star Of Bethlehem. And then Sokys Sunday a distant fourth on type and she had no race ability. However this dam has herself left four individual 100k+ winners, and I bred Asoka from her daughter [New York On Sunday], and he has also won over $160,000 in Australia and is now in USA. BUT then it also depends on sire choices of each generation.

In his view the family has crossed very well with In The Pocket but not so well with Christian Cullen in terms of racing success (Bethany, the dam of Lazarus, is by Christian Cullen, but was unraced herself). In David’s view the best crosses for this mare’s dam family include:

  1. Bettor’s Delight
  2. Real Desire
  3. Sweet Lou
  4. Somebeachsomewhere and his sons
  5. Art Major
  6. American Ideal
  7. Tintin In America
  8. Mach Three and his sons- especially with Soky Atom to dam (Auckland Reactor)
  9. Sands A Flyin
  10. Lis Mara
  11. Elsu
  12. Ponder
  13. McArdle
Spirit Of Beth

Spirit Of Beth, grandam of Lazarus, is now at Benstud in Australia. Her two last foals are both mares – a 2010 foal by Grinfromeartoear and a 2012 foal by Art Major. Both these mares are now broodmares for Benstud. Photo taken from Benstud website: http://www.benstudstandardbreds.com.au/


Many thanks to David Phillips for sharing this – and a lot more that I can’t fit in!
Just a footnote from me – one of Spirit Of Eros’ progeny is Spirit And Desire who has been one of my favourite mares to follow at the races, such a beautiful looking mare by Real Desire an one of his strongest. I see David has leased her and she is now in foal to American Ideal. Spirit And Desire is one branch of the family I will take particularly interest in following.

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I have no idea what the future plans are for Lazarus, and I am sure the very experienced owners and trainers have a few – but each step at a time will be the approach.

However as an outsider, I can put out one option right now – here is a potential successor down under to Bettor’s Delight with some hugely legit racing credentials.

The breeders were Studholme Bloodstock and Gavin Chin, and credit to them and the mare for producing such an outstanding racehorse.

It’s an American family right through with the bottom line, like with Raging Bull’s, arriving down here through an imported mare but in this case much further back in the line than Raging Bull’s. This means less chance of the line getting world-class damsires adding their bit along the way. However, that is mitigated by some good choice of sires and an absolute “nick” that appears to have occurred between the maternal line and Sokys Atom (a son of Albatross who did a wonderful job here) and a critical time when the family was starting to struggle.

This happened on the maternal line at the point of Tabella Beth (a mare by Able Bye Bye from a Great Evander mare called Double Tested). Perhaps the influence of Great Evander should also be credited for Double Tested’s ability to change the family fortunes – Double Tested’s full brother and sister by Great Evander were by far the best of their dam, although accumulators rather than top level, but it does signal some sort of “nick” although there is nothing I can pick out in the pedigree match itself.

Tabella Beth’s sire Able Bye Bye brings in absolutely top class breeding credentials. As I’ve written in my blog on Sweet Lou

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.

Tabella Beth won 5 races here, took a mile record of 1.55.6 in North America, then returned to New Zealand for breeding, and she left nine winners – three inside 2 minutes.

And the subsequent “nick” of Tabella Beth with Soky’s Atom starts to really make your hairs stand on end. We are into some very classy breeding branches –  Sokys Sunday, Spirit Of Bethlehem (1.57.8, Southland Oaks), and Star Of Bethlehem, and of course their full brother Spirit Of Zeus (1.57.8, winner of the NZ Sires Stakes 3yo final and NZ Yearling Sales 3yo final).  All progeny of Tabella Beth and Soky’s Atom. In addition she left Karmic Reward (1.58.6, Kindergarten Stakes) by New York Motoring.

Each of her Soky’s Atom daughters have left an impressive legacy as broodmares, and now there are many branches. However top performers keep arriving with regularity – the likes of Starts And Stripes, Light And Sound, United We Stand, Victory Spirit, Nobium, Spiritual King, and many others, and more recently Spirit And Desire, Bettor Spirits, Star Of Dionysis, and of course Lazarus.

So while many early branches of this U307 river meandered and dried up, the branch of Double Tested has picked up momentum and through Tabella Beth has developed into  a damn good river of its own, thanks to much better quality breeding decisions along the way.

For Lazarus, the next two damsire inputs are Christian Cullen and then Bettor’s Delight, two of the best we have had in New Zealand in recent times. The closest duplication in Lazarus’ pedigree is 4×4 Albatross, which would make him an acceptable choice for many mares except those by Bettor’s Delight and Christian Cullen themselves.

So whatever more Lazarus does as a racehorse, with his breeding and the New Zealand Cup and Free For All under his belt, he already has underscored his potential to be an extremely popular sire of the future.

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Raging Bull sire

Raging Bull as a racehorse, for trainer Cran Dalgety.

Keeping any siring line going over time is not easy. They bloom and fade, then bloom again. Dominance changes, and a sire line also needs a good compatible or outcross mare pool to work with, and vice versa. So there is a lot of genetic logic behind the changing fortunes of siring lines. What was likely 10 or 20 years ago – the growing dominance of the Artsplace sire line, the struggle to keep Direct Scooter’s line alive, several Western Hanover sons not living up to expectations…. has turned around to become a blossoming of the Direct Scooter sire line in both hemispheres, a big burst from Western Hanover thanks to Western Ideal, and Artsplace more or less relying on Art Major and his sons to keep that line going – but recent entrants Sportswriter and Sweet Lou could change that if Art Major doesn’t find a really strong son and heir soon.

Cam Fella has had huge success with his sons in North America, but Bettor’s Delight is the only real star sire as a grandson available here, and he has yet to find a really strong successor, the anointed son to carry on the Cam Fella siring line.  Ironically, it is a son of his brother Roll With Joe who may pick up that mantle – Racing Hill, recently retired to stud, has a pedigree to die for. Check out his maternal line on Classic Families here, so many influences and strengths to tap into!

What about the In The Pocket/Direct Scooter line downunder?

In New Zealand we have our own conundrum which I’ve blogged about before – the search for a sire to continue the highly successful In The Pocket line. With his super racehorses and well-bred sons Courage Under Fire, Changeover and Christian Cullen, there seemed to be every chance that at least a few successors would come from those sires and carry on the mahe in a commercial way. But it has proved much harder. Changeover is still a work in progress as a sire, and needs more topline sons who also happen to be colts to have a chance to carry on that branch. Courage Under Fire is so admired as a sire and damsire, and his only siring son Lanercost is a low cost option standing in Queensland, Australia. Lanercost was a super racehorse, especially as a 2, 3 and 4yo and has solid New Zealand breeding on his side but he will have the job of upgrading the small numbers of mares he is likely to get, so he needs luck. So the likely successor was always going to come from Christian Cullen with his super record as a sire and big numbers over many years, and generally having the pick of our mares. But it is never that easy.

Sons of Christian Cullen as sires to date

Many have been or are being tried, yet none have stood out yet and some, for fertility or poor response reasons, have been moved to small studs in Australia or simply dropped out of sight. His siring sons have included (with total NZ bred live foals to date in brackets) – Pay Me Christian (36), Charles Bronson (36), Christian Fire (24), Gotta Go Cullen (133), Tomahawk (38), Ohoka Arizona (209), Justa Tiger (56), Gotta Go Cullect (406), Raging Bull (40), Stunin Cullen (78), Alta Christiano (7 – but stands at Alabar Australia where he has 81 live foals). As I will cover in more detail below, Gotta Go Cullect has had the most opportunity, but couldn’t covert it to performers, and I believe he has retired from breeding. Ohoka Arizona has been solid, but again his performers (apart from a couple of exceptions) are one or two win horses. Alta Christiano did much of his racing in Australia and won the WA Derby, which explains his appeal there, as well as Fake Left, who stood very successfully in Australia, being his damsire. If he gets the numbers and some early runs on the board, he’s a possible heir – and I’ll look at him more closely in a later blog. I’m proud to say he was a yearling I picked out years ago for one of my yearling sales “virtual stables”, such a good looking horse.

Why Raging Bull is different

GalleriaRaging Bull stands at goStallions (Noel Kennard) in the South Island of New Zealand for $1500 + gst. I’ve blogged about him previously – and the two yearlings I covered in that article sold for $27,000 and $22,000 respectively. Where he differs from almost all other sons of Christian Cullen is that his maternal line is solidly North American, being from an Artplace mare San Sophia who is a full sister to the extraordinarily good mare Galleria. Galleria paced 1.49 back in the late 1990s, when that sort of record was incredible, and earned US$1.8million. The bottom line of this pedigree is not well known to us at a glance – it is the U6 family, which is actually the maternal family of Albatross, Nihilator, and more recently Pure Country amongst others. We probably know it best as the Margaret Parrish family. I’m familiar with it because it is the maternal family of the mare Sophie’s Choice that I leased a few years ago to breed to Tintin In America (lovely foal, now 2yo gelding with trainer Maurice McKendry).

It is one of those really solid families, consistent rather than spectacular – although of course you would have to use spectacular for those incredible descendants listed above! But with the Artsplace element coming into the picture, it becomes a very classy option. The Christian Cullen x Artsplace mare cross not only resulted in Raging Bull but also (NZ breds) 23 foals of racing age, for 17 qualifiers and 12 winners to date. That’s 50% winners to foals, which is very good.

What I’m about to say is controversial but it is worth thinking about.

Over many decades we have slowly been improving the quality and performance of New Zealand standardbreds by bringing in some of the best bloodlines from North America – as sires and sometimes as imported mares for breeding. Royden Lodge and many others were doing this right back in the 1950s and before that. That’s how our maternal families have injections of top quality from sires like Bachelor Hanover (a son of two pivotal individuals Nibble Hanover and The Old Maid) and of course U Scott and Light Brigade who is a brother to The Old Maid. The upgrading of our stock continues to the present, with top sires from around the globe now available, pacers and trotters, to match with our mares and therefore move into our maternal families.

Christian Cullen, Courage Under Fire and Changeover are all the result of a match with American bred In The Pocket and NZ bred mares who have had some input along the way of American bred sires feeding into their maternal pedigree as damsires. Courage Under Fire has Vance Hanover and Adios Butler, for example. Changeover has Vance Hanover, Tuft, Light Brigade and U Scott. And Christian Cullen has Bo Scots Blue Chip, Overtrick, Lumber Dream and U Scott all bringing American breeding into the maternal pedigree.

If the principle over all these years is to upgrade by bringing in currently globally top bred/performed sires for our local bred mares, why not do the reverse – bring in the currently globally great mares and damsires for our locally bred sires?

Importing in American bred mares is difficult to achieve logistically and financially – but it is done, and Raging Bull is an example. The result is that his pedigree is totally North American breeding apart from Christian Cullen’s maternal family (N1). It probably helped him as a racehorse, and now it gives him an edge as a sire too.

What this means is that Raging Bull has a lot more modern classic families to draw on to deal with the varying quality of mares he may get as a low-priced sire. And if breeders sent better quality mares to him with North American elements that work with his breeding, then that is even better.

For these reasons, he stands out to me as having some credentials that could make him a very successful sire – if only he gets the numbers and the quality. There are already some wellbred mares with his foals, including 2 or 3 that create a 3×3 to Artsplace in his pedigree. In my dreams, what a match he would be with the now 21 year old great broodmare Classic Blue Jeans! Or look at the potential match with a mare like Halley Parker! (Scroll down for this testmatching thanks to the goStallions website but it is reverse sex 3×3 to Artplace and reverse sex 4×4 to Direct Scooter.

Compared to Gotta Go Cullect

Let me look at  another son of Christian Cullen with US influences in his maternal line – Gotta Go Cullect. He had plenty of chances and sired some capable types, but overall he has not succeeded as a sire, let alone as the potential inheritor of the In The Pocket sire line. He was a lovely looking athletic horse, retired halfway through his 3yo season because of injury. He was promoted well by Alabar as the “breeders choice as Christian Cullen’s successor” but hindsight says No. However it was not a silly notion at all. He had a lot going for him. His maternal family is interesting – it is the US family of Norice (U30), although Norice was imported and raced here in New Zealand and Australia before being bred (mainly to imported American sires but not entirely – her great-granddaughter Single Star is by Nelson Derby, a son of Norice which make Single Star 2×3 to the mare).

The best performed descendants of Single Star are found in the branches of her two U Scott daughters Petra Star (leading to the Sakantula branch with Ermis, Iraklis, and also Monkey King amongst the many descendants) and Riviera – her descendants include Mach Alert, but mainly the performers are in the branch belonging to Ruling Caste, where you will find Lochaburn, Ruling VC, Anvilanunoit, Bellam (who became a trotting sire here), Brabham, amongst her descendants along with the tough great mare Elect To Live who of course is Gotta Go Cullect’s dam. There is one other branch of Single Star’s family that is worth a mention – that’s from her Dillon Hall daughter Starlet and her daughter Morano Star. The many descendents from branches of that family include Courage to Rule (by Courage Under Fire) and Star Nurse’s descendants including Starship, Ima Rocket Star, and Anvil’s Star.

So the maternal family is no slug at all. But although the maternal bottom line is American, the sires along the way have perhaps been lacking a real top quality sire in recent times – the last three for Gotta Go Cullect were Live Or Die, Lopez Hanover, Card Shark. While Raging Bull’s equivalents were Artsplace, Sherman Almahurst (questionable), and Striking Image (son of Strike Out who is a son of Golden Miss). Striking Image is the damsire of Lucky Lady, the dam of Camluck and grandam of Kikikatie amongst others.

And finally…

As blog readers know, I like exploring the “what ifs” but there are times when I put my money where my mouth is.

This is one such time, and I will be booking my mare The Blue Lotus to Raging Bull for this coming season. The match is unusual in that it is a reverse sex 3×3 to both Artsplace and In The Pocket, two very different but highest quality sires and damsires. It is a bold match, but I really like the balance of it and that there are other complementaries like Breath O Spring, Good Time and Race Time pulling threads together behind the scenes. There is also a duplication further back to Golden Miss via Blue Horizon and Striking Image, and her known love affair with Shadow Wave who is also in the mare’s maternal pedigree. As you know, the Blue Lotus is a full brother to Destination Moon who has now earned over $100,000 and a half sister to Tintin In America, so this is a strong family.

Going right back to one of the original articles I wrote which compared breeding to fairisle knitting (amongst other things), this is a jersey with a really bold two-colour scheme – perhaps red and black, but the pattern when you look closely is more complex than it seems, and there is a touch of white coming in to really highlight the other colours.


Potential mating of Raging Bull with Grinfromeartoear mare The Blue Lotus

Raging Bull x The Blue Lotus

Potential mating of Raging Bull with unraced Art Major mare Hallie Parker

Pedigree match Raging Bull x Hallie Parker






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