Archive for September, 2021

Just a quick diversion from my look at the Down Under branches of U7 – but still focused on that amazing Miss Duvall family…

I noticed in the recent Ohio Selected Yearling Sale 2021 that the top selling lot (Elusive Beauty, $200k) was a Downbytheseaside filly out of the Art Major mare Swinging Beauty who is from Stunning Beauty. Art Major of course being a U7 family member. However what was not highlighted in reports is that Swinging Beauty has another even closer connection to the U7 family branch in that her grandam is Dominique Semalu who is Downbytheseaside’s great-grandam. A close relation is Sling Shock who is one of Downbytheseaside’s best performers to date, from a full sister to Swinging Beauty. (See image at end of this blog which can also be found in the Ohio sales catalogue).

Another Downbytheseaside yearling that sold well at Ohio (85k) is by the mare Skippin By who is from a totally different U7 branch (Farm Bell/Nora Adele).

Some of his Downbytheseaside’s top performers to date – Gulf Shores descends from Rodine Hanover; and Pebble Beach is from a Western Ideal mare.

A word of caution – which I can hear many already raising – It is easy to join dots when there are so many dots on the page! Given the depth and breadth and quality of the U7 family, it is not at all surprising if connections like this can be made and that some of them will turn out to be successful.

What does interest me is that breeders are willing to try close options in some cases, and also that the overall quality of modern representatives from U7 (both sires and mares) mean we are not hunting in obscure back alleys for family matches. They can be current and proven, from a number of family branches, especially if we look at our mares’ damsire families not just their maternal bottom lines.

Some families seem to appreciate being bred back to their own bloodlines, and U7 seems this way. It has also nicked well with the Spinster (U2) and Golden Miss (U20) families – which seem to mix so well together – and has enjoyed outcross sires at pivotal points along the way to keep things fresh.

In my final blog of this series, I’ll look at my own recent low key attempts at this – which are by no stretch of the imagination a big success, but I’m not afraid to share my learning curve and my efforts at alchemy!

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Tasmcmanian was American bred and imported Down Under for breeding. She comes from the Angel Hair side shoot of the K Nora/Adora branch, and is the only one by her dam Shy Devil to be by McArdle.

Most of Shy Devil’s foals were by Artsplace and several went to successfully cross back to the U7 family in the shape of Western Ideal and American Ideal.

Since Tasmcmanian was brought to New Zealand by Bob McArdle of Bromac Lodge, I’d be tempted to see Bob’s hand in Tasmcmanian’s breeding as the stallion McArdle was named after him and later stood here as a sire at Bob’s Nevele R Stud.

Tasmcmanian has had 8 foals and the most successful of those on the racetrack were also bred back to two outstanding U7 family sires – Tas Man Bromac (American Ideal-Tasmcmanian), who won 10 of 31 races for $119,722 when trained by Nathan Williamson and subsequently was sold to West Australia, where he died after just 6 races, but won at lifetime total of over $162,000; and Taroona Bromac (Western Ideal-Tasmcmanian) who has heaps of talent and as a 5yo now has won 15 of 49 starts and over $126,000. Like his half brother, he was exported to Western Australia, this time as a 3yo, and had a particularly good last season, winning 11 of his 27 races and $90,000. For those who are interested, I came across this quote in an article about Taroona Bromac when he was starting his racing career here in NZ:

Although Tas Man Bromac (by American Ideal) and Taroona Bromac (by American Ideal’s sire Western Ideal) are closely-related, they are opposites in physique. “Tas Man Bromac was a lovely, beautiful, little nuggety horse,” Barry said. “Taroona Bromac is a lot bigger so we have to be a bit careful with him not putting pressure on his joints, so we’re just going slowly with him.”

Article in archived news blog, Bromac Lodge

Three of the four fillies left by Tasmcmanian have gone to sires with no connection to the U7 family – Santanna Blue Chip for Tilly Bromac, Mach Three for Trendy Bromac, and Auckland Reactor for Tempest Bromac.

Tilly Bromac didn’t make a lasting impression on the racetrack but has had some success as a broodmare with three foals to date, all colts, for Ivan and Ann Behrnes – two by Mach Three and one by Sunshine Beach. Balducci is doing a great job over in Australia with 7 wins, 10 places from 22 starts and $50,000 in stakes so far. His younger brother is recorded as deceased after just three starts over there. And the Sunshine Beach is in new ownership as a yearling.

Trendy Bromac showed some good racing ability and fast times here before following the route to Australia to complete her racing career with a very respectable 7 wins and 13 places from 39 starts and almost $59,000 in stakes. She’s now started her breeding career in Australia with a 2020 service by Bettor’s Delight.

Tempest Bromac’s race career never really got underway, but she has started breeding, firstly for Alabar NZ – a He’s Watching colt which was sold as a yearling in May 2020, and the following year a Rock N Roll Heaven colt for Ivan and Ann Behrnes which was sold as a weanling (to Western Australia) in May 2021. Both as yet unnamed but ones to follow – their sales videos show nice types. The match with He’s Watching is of course back to a large dose of U7 blood. If anyone can add more recent information of these two, please add a comment to the blog.

Tasmcmanian’s 2016 foal Tas Girl Bromac is by American Ideal (U7). It looks like she was qualified in 2019 for Barry Purdon, then out for a year, back in for Jack Harrington and lightly tried, bred in the 2020 season to Art Major but missed. Back to racing, she has got 2 wins from 15 starts in Jack Harrington’s colours and is now leased by Harrington with the Vella brothers, so they may be trying again with breeding her this season. There’s a story in there, and she may not be the easiest horse to train, but I will leave it for another day or someone can fill in the gaps. Again, a nice one to follow in her racing and breeding career.

Tasmcmanian’s last foal born in New Zealand in 2017 is Twilight Bromac, a gelding by Art Major (U7) who is currently racing in the South Island for Trent Yesberg, and is starting to show a bit of ability.

Tasmcmanian herself was exported to Australia in 2018 and is now being bred by the Vella brothers. She has a 2020 unnamed foal by He’s Watching (U7) and hopefully is due soon to Always B Miki.

Tasmcmanian has done a remarkable job at keeping this branch of the K Nora/Adora U7 family thriving Down Under. I rate it as one of the strongest descendant families we have available. At 15 years old, she still has breeding time ahead hopefully, but already she has proven to be very consistent and potentially starting some really good modern lines of the family in both New Zealand and Australia. Often the gems will really appear a generation or two on, but solid breeding choices have given her family a real chance to succeed.

Updates and comments about this family are welcome!

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Just a quick reminder – these updates of the U7 family descendants in Australia and New Zealand are not meant to be examples of how any U7 family descendant is somehow capable of performing breeding miracles! We all know how hard it is to breed successfully, even from well-credentialed mares and good families, especially if they are not part of the strongest branches. The idea is to share some interesting stories and give us some younger mares or progeny to follow in their careers on the track and in the breeding barn over the next year or so.

Trilogy Franco / Glenisla & Balcatherine

This family traces back to Three Diamonds and the Adora/K Nora branch of the U7 Miss Duvall family, via Touche Franco and her dam Trilogy Franco and grand-dam Tropez Lobell, a Brittany Farm USA mare and daughter of Three Diamonds. It looks like Wayne Francis bought and imported Trilogy Franco to New Zealand as a young mare, tried her a few times at the races for ok results, then retired her for breeding. (Her half-brother Franco Terminator was imported from USA to stand at stud in Australia in the early 2000s – for not much result.)

Wayne Francis died in 1999 and Trilogy Franco continued to be bred from by his Nevele R partner Bob McArdle. Trilogy Franco’s first foal was Touche Franco (b2000) by Holmes Hanover. She had 6 starts for 1 win and then also went to the broodmare paddock. Trilogy Franco had a number of foals (including Twice Again Franco and Triple Franco whose breeding results you can track in the Australian Harness website), and more recently another clutch of filly foals for the Harrisons in Timaru, which will be interesting to follow.

But back to Touche Franco – after not much success for her first foals, she was sold by Bob McArdle to Brent and Sheree McIntyre (Macca Lodge) in 2008 and their subsequent breedings have been very successful. Of particular interest for the breeding future are her two daughters Glenisla (by Panspacificflight) and Balcatherine (by American Ideal) – two sires who also descend from good branches of the U7 family. As racemares currently in Australia, they have turned in some excellent results, including a Group 1 for Balcatherine late 2020.

Read the story in more detail on Macca Lodge website.

Glenisla end her racing career with 19 wins and $86,402, while 5yo Balcatherine is still racing and has chalked up 10 wins from 24 starts and $208,048.

Glenisla’s breeding career has got off to a slow start with one dead foal and one missed breeding. But both of these representatives of a wonderful branch of the U7 Miss Duvall family will be interesting to follow in their future breeding career.

Next time – Tasmcmanian

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As branches of the U7 family starting showing up consistently in North American breeding, a number of male and female members of that family were imported to Australia and New Zealand, mainly by larger breeding establishments like Bromac Lodge / Spreydon Lodge / Nevele R Stud, and Roydon Lodge in New Zealand, and Farquharson Pty Ltd and Cold Mountain Stud in Australia. Some were stallions with a U7 maternal line like Nevele Bigshot who was available in New Zealand for more than a decade from 1976, or Bookmaker in Australia. Others were mares brought here to enhance the breed or to give a sire standing locally a chance with a mare from such a well related family.

Alas, the best mares of the best U7 branches were not available to us – mainly we got the half sisters, nieces, non-performing daughters, presumably at more affordable prices, and always with the hope that quality would kick on.

If Rodine Hanover (b1982) had been imported here as a mature mare, would things have been different? Would her foals from Holmes Hanover or Vance Hanover or Andrel or OK Bye or a colonial bred sire have set the Kiwi breeding world alight for years to come? Who knows, and it is only a fascinating “what if”. The reality is we got mares who were distant relatives (vertically or horizontally) of the best performers of U7. Our closest access to the top U7 femalelines has almost always come through good sires like Life Sign, Art Major, What’s Next, American Ideal and a bunch of others as covered in my previous blog.

Tracking the results from the imported U7 mares over a number of generations is not easy reading. Many lines have quickly died out or left a trail of disappointing results.

In some cases, there’s been enough to keep the line going to the present day, and I want to look at some examples.

But overall the results tell us that being part of the U7 family (or any of the best standardbred families) is not enough in itself. Unless the subsequent breeding keeps adding in value and building on strengths, any possible influence from Willola (b1940) or Romola Hal (b1946) or Adora (b1952) would have quickly become diluted. And as breeders know, not all foals from a mare are born equal. Even full brothers and sisters do not share identical genetic makeup, let alone identical ability on the racetrack or in the breeding barn. So starting with mares who were not the U7 family stars and bringing them to sires who were not the world’s best was always going to be a tricky task, particularly in earlier decades.

Over the next few blogs I will check some of the U7 family descendants who have made a go of it Down Under and even have progeny worth watching for on the track at the moment.

I’m hoping some of you will chip in with local updates as observers or breeders, either by leaving your contribution as a comment or emailing me at bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz

Let’s make a start…

All My Art / Millwood Liberty / Millwood Susie

This family traces back to Rochelle Hanover, daughter of Romola Hal. There are many generations inbetween, but All My Art’s thread passes through some pretty classy contributors – Misty Raquel by Meadow Skipper (b1973, 1:55.3US $484,463) a very good racemare and a good producer. She was the dam of Misty Bretta by Bret Hanover whom we know as Sands A Flyin’s dam. Misty Bretta was also the dam of many other really talented horses who either won good money on the track or produced some very good earners themselves or both.

One of her daughters, Celerity by No Nukes, is the dam of Lil Sweet Art by Artsplace, who was imported to New Zealand by Dave Carville. Her first foal was All My Art by Falcon Seelster. All My Art went on to produce some excellent racehorses from a range of sires – Ohoka Nevada (1.51, $505,757) by Sands A Flyin so a double up to Misty Bretta, Ohoka Du Nord (1.52.7, $200,760) by Bella’s Boy, Ohoka Squire (1.54.8, $177,386) by Christian Cullen, and the wonderful Millwood Liberty (1.49.8, $303,449) also by Christian Cullen. There was also a 2012 colt foal by Real Desire who got 3 wins and 3 places, then several years of bad luck getting the mare in foal and two dead foals.

Finally in 2018 the mare’s last foal, a filly by He’s Watching called Millwood Susie was born. Owner Katie Carville says the mare was having trouble inside so the filly’s gestation was 12.5 months and she arrived looking “like a dog with long legs”. However her conformation turned out to be perfect. “She was a miracle filly in the fact that she survived. I was lucky to keep her alive. I did break her in and she paced beautifully, but I have decided to put her straight into foal as I wanted a mare to breed from.”

The choice of the first sire for Millwood Susie is Downbytheseaside, whose maternal line is also U7 from the Hobby Horse Tar branch.

Just going back to Susie’s older half sister Millwood Liberty – she is a broodmare in Australia now, and has had two fillies, both by Bettor’s Delight. Can Can Dancer (b2018) has had 6 starts including a 4th in the APG 2yo Fillies Gold in April this year. Millwood Liberty’s second filly is named Liberty Bell (nice!) so keep your eyes out for these two in the next few years.

Next time….

Trilogy Franco / Glenisla & Balcatherine

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U7? Me2

How can you not be a huge admirer of the Miss Duvall (U7) standardbred family. Born in 1868 this big black mare was fertile ground from which a massive tree has grown. There are several key branches that seem to continue to grow in strength. A good summary of the family’s influence in sires who did stand or are standing in Australasia is in this article from Harnessbred.com

Among the established classics from the Romola Hal branch are Art Major, Perfect Art, Real Artist, Panspacificflight and Captaintreacherous; from the Willola branch are Silent Majority (sire of Abercrombie), What’s Next, Sportswriter; from the Adora branch are Life Sign, American Ideal, Western Ideal, He’s Watching.
Note that these are descendants of the female line, and don’t include the sons of these sires who have stood at stud, including newbies like Vincent, unless they also include a U7 female line as well.

There are also familiar names from some of the less active branches – Road Machine, Big Jim, DM Dilinger.

But Miss Duvall doesn’t stop there.

The strongest U7 branches keep providing “engine room” value on the maternal line of top colts who go on to become potential top sires.

It is the branches with proven record that continue to produce the strongest and most potent maternal lines. The branches are sorting themselves out. Not every twig is going to be a branch.

In terms of the smaller branches that we got “Downunder” I’ll look at updating that in my future blogs, but if you have a few hours to spend, then researching through the main Australian Harness Racing website (Horse Search) or Harness Racing New Zealand (Info Horse/Horse Enquiry) will give you a starting point of local interest. Start with something basic like Romola, and watch yourself go down the rabbit holes!!!

Or refresh with search on this blog for Romola Hal and my series of what was current in this part of the world 5 years ago. I will be updating this in my next blog – but would love comments from those who know more information.

Looking through the latest Register of Standardbred Sires NZ, it’s clear that the U7 momentum continues.

The latest flowering of the Miss Duvall family tree shows up in some of the well credentialed young sires available this season.

The newer arrivals with U7 strong maternal lines are (in no particular order)

  • Bettor’s Wish – his damsire is Western Ideal; his dam is a great grand-daughter of Three Diamonds
  • Capt Midnight – Worldy Treasure is the dam of his sire Captaintreacherous; American Ideal is his damsire.
  • Tall Dark Stranger – his damsire is Art Major; his dam is a descendant of Hobby Horse Tar.
  • Luck Be Withyou – his sire is Western Ideal; his dam is a great grand-daughter of Three Diamonds.
  • Rock N Roll World – his dam is Worldly Beauty, a grand-daughter of Rodine Hanover
  • Downbytheseaside – dam’s maternal line (Hobby Horse Tar)

That’s a hugely impressive list of new/potential sires.

And not so new but current:

  • He’s Watching (still available in Australia but not NZ) – his sire is American Ideal; his dam is a great grand-daughter of Leah Almahurst
  • Sportswriter – dam’s maternal line (Hobby Horse Tar)
  • Captaintreacherous – established now, but still fresh in the market, his dam is Worldly Treasure.

You could also include those sires with Western Ideal (son of Leah Almahurst) as their damsire – McWicked, Fear The Dragon… or with Real Artist as their damsire – Rockin Image (if he becomes available here). And eventually there will be young sires with Art Major as their damsire (rather than their sire) too.

What a very old, very modern and very classy family – U7.

Tip o the hat to Miss Duvall.

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