Archive for September, 2021

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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