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Posts Tagged ‘Alabar’

Kays Shadow (Shadow Play x Pink Is Perfect) took one of the season’s fastest times for 2yo fillies in North America with her 1.54 debut at Mohawk recently, as Alabar reported in its email newsletter. (This appears to be quickly usurped by much quicker times on 6 July in a race where she came second). A check of her pedigree had me intrigued – it rang as few loud bells, and of course it is the same maternal family as Alabar’s other new-ish sire Big Jim.

Check out the wider family pedigree here

It is one of those pedigrees that epitomises “balance” and I don’t mean just the so-called delta affect.

What I mean is that almost every line is contributing a couple of important things, paying its way if you like. It’s full of maternal lines that have origins in speed and heart, and broodmare sires that are real “engine room” contributors. And there is a mix of double ups but also complementary matches, i.e. lines or individuals that seem to add value to each other.

Then add a bit of personal brilliance from the siring line, and voila!

Fingers crossed she will be given time to develop.

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It’s an interesting development just how quickly sons of Somebeachsomewhere have appeared on the scene – and especially interesting here in New Zealand where the sire himself is still struggling to get any long-term traction. His mares/live foals statistics to date here are: 2010 16/4; 2011 13/4; 2012 1/1; 2013 75/56; 2014 88/34 (but “no returns” yet); and last season he served 35 mares. There have been reasons for these figures including some issues with his frozen semen. However they also reflect a “stand back and see” attitude that happens with some top new sires but not others, and it isn’t always easy to pick why. Art Major has had the same battle, but overcoming it now. There’s also been reports from “across the ditch” (i.e. Australia) that his progeny have been quite hard to get going. Of course rumours are always a challenge for sires and can be the final straw in some cases. But there was some indication that, with our different style of racing and training, and different breeds of mares, Somebeachsomewhere was not a “given”.

As can happen, it is likely a son of Somebeachsomewhere may pick up support and breeders’ interest skip over a “puzzle” in favour of one of his sons who is more readily available and perhaps has a maternal pedigree that appeals more with our mares.

So far it looks like we may have access to three sons (although I have not heard anything yet to confirm Captain Treacherous’ availability downunder).

The others are Alabar’s Sunshine Beach, and Macca Lodge’s Net Ten EOM. The latter is less proven, although obviously had a heap of talent. The other two raced at the top end for a couple of years at least, and Captain Treacherous was magnificent as a 3yo.

What these three have in common is a very strong maternal pedigree that offers some real potential in matching with our mares. And perhaps this is the area that Somebeachsomewhere found trickiest with us – Beach Towel and Cam Fella are both highly respected here, but are not seen as types that have worked particularly well with our types of mares.

Captain Treacherous is from the stunning Romola Hal family, and one of its most brilliant branches. He’s closely related to Art Major, Perfect Art and Panspacificflight. His damsire is Artsplace and his grandamsire is Nihilator, one of the toughest high-speed machines we have seen. My favourite engine-room sires are stacked in his bottom lines – Big Towner, Shadow Wave, Tar Heel. I’ve blogged about Captain Treacherous as a sire and his maternal line previously – check it out here

I covered Net Ten EOM in that same blog – his maternal line is a less spectacular but extremely solid one. He was a very quick horse himself but retired from injury before making his mark on the big stage. His damsire is Artsplace and his grandamsire is Matt’s Scooter. It is the same maternal line as Well Said ($2.5m), and it is a family that has crossed well with Artsplace (and then to the Western Hanover line in the case of Well Said). In his first season here as frozen semen at Macca Lodge he got 32 mares. I’m impressed by his credentials and the ability of Brent McIntyre to suss out a very interesting and well-bred sire who could work well here (as Panspacificflight is looking like he will be).

Sunshine Beach is the latest announcement from Alabar.  Sunshine Beach is also from an Artsplace mare. It is interesting how all of them are from an Artsplace mare – and you may recall the link I made to Ray Chaplin’s theory that this was not necessarily the “rainbow” match it appeared to be. Must see how his research is progressing… But for now, it is just interesting to note – and not all that surprising since North America is awash with nice Artsplace mares whose owners are looking for the pot of gold.

Sunshine Beach also has a really lovely maternal line in terms of producers and performers. His second dam Lights On was a damn good 2yo filly by Jate Lobell – and that adds another interesting element to this sire’s pedigree, and one which will resonate with downunder breeders, particularly in Australia. What’s extra interesting for me is that Sunshine Beach’s maternal line is that of Golden Miss, in this case the amazing Shifting Sands/Shifting Scene line through a daughter of Shifting Scene called Blue Gingham. This line is a hugely successful maternal line producing sires and females that breed on. Blue Gingham’s best foal by far was the very good filly Enroute, who won $753, 658, and she also had a decent son by Jate Lobell called Armbro Khaki. One of her daughters called Armbro Invite had a super son called Armbro Proposal who went 1.48.2 and earned over $1m. Those of you who are interested in pedigrees will see some very interesting double ups in Armbro Proposal’s pedigree (thanks to Classic Families) with the reintroduction of Golden Miss and also Shadow Wave.

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There are some good opportunities to look at and perhaps buy some young standardbreds in the latter part of this month (May), with the North and South Island weanling/mixed stock sales, and Macca Lodge’s current Southern Geared Yearling Sale.

The Macca Lodge sale is on now – and it gives people the opportunity to try before they buy. Read about it here.

Ashleighs Flight yearling filly

Ashleighs Flight yearling filly in the Macca Lodge geared sale, May 2014

One that really caught my eye was Ashleighs Flight by the Western Hanover line sire Panspacificflight from Albaglory (a daughter of Quest For Glory, and so related to Averil’s Quest, New Age Man amongst others). It’s a family that has produced some good horses over the years, but not consistently. One branch that has been showing up very well lately is Averil’s Atom, with matchings to Badlands Hanover (Western Hanover sire line) resulting in Averil’s Quest and to McArdle (who has Nihilator as his damsire) resulting in her speedy half sister Fizzi Lizzi, so this filly’s cross with Panspacificflight ticks both those boxes. I’ve blogged earlier on Panspacificflight. Just on type this yearling filly looks the part and I like what Hamish Hunter says about her.

The PGG Wrightson Auckland All Age and Mixed Sale will this year be held on Friday the 30 May at Karaka, but the inspection of the Alabar weanling draft is this Sunday, 1-3pm at Alabar Stud. The pedigrees and photos from Alabar’s weanling draft are online here. While much of the interest will focus around the siblings to Isaiah, State Of Affairs and Offtocullect, I’ll take a very quick look at two fillies that appealed to me.

Lot 44 - Shadow Play x  Splish Splash Filly

Lot 44 – Shadow Play x Splish Splash Filly

I’d be interested to see how Lot 44 the Shadow Play filly from Splish Splash turns out. My god, that mare stamps her foals with the family looks! (Although I think that Shadow Play’s sire The Panderosa was chestnut too). Like Quest For Glory mentioned above, the Splish Splash family can shoot up a really good one now and then, but she has not been a consistent producer so far. What I really like about this weanling is the cross with Shadow Play. Check out the pedigree and then my blog on crosses with Shadow Play – search the blogsite for “Shadow Play” and you will come up with a few blogs on him. On type (only from the photo) she looks a strong filly with plenty of growing to do, not pretty but quite unusually striking. In some ways she reminds me a wee bit of Classical who was a stocky, almost big boned chestnut yearling when I first saw her, and of course went on to be a champion filly. It’s hard to tell, and I don’t have such a good eye as many who can “see” the future horse in a weanling.

Lot 52 is an athletic type of filly by Real Desire from a mare that’s half to the dam of Let’s Elope and Five Star Anvil. You might be picking up a real bargain here, given the thumping Real Desire took at the yearling sales! I like the cross, and the pedigree has some of those hard working, under-rated damsires I like – Troublemaker, Big Towner, Shadow Wave as well as doses of Adios. There’s Golden Miss on the sires maternal line, and Barbara Direct on the dam’s bottom line. Those are two damn good references. 

PGG Wrightson Autumn Weanling & All Age Sale at the Canterbury Agricultural Park is on tomorrow, 15 May, and I’ll be keen to see how some of the lots sell. You can see them on the Nevele R website, at least for now

Tintin In America colt from Arma Class

Tintin In America colt from Arma Class

– a good range of established and newer sires. Of particular interest to me are the Tintin In America weanlings of course, and I thought Lot 52 (colt) and Lot 54 (filly) were very nice looking types. He does seem to leave good lookers, well proportioned. See my blog on Tintin In America as a sire and on my own yearling filly.

I was also  interested to see photos of the Vintage Masters (and in Alabar’s draft the Big Jims) as they were such different types of stallions and racehorses themselves, although both sons of Western Ideal. At Nevele R I like the look of Lot 58, a colt by Vintage Master from Emma Grace (from the Vicario family). Lot 74 is another nice looking Vintage Master from the good producer Nemesis Choice. The two Changeovers (Lot 55  a strong looking filly and Lot 55 a long barrelled colt) also appeal. The colt may lack a bit of depth of chest but having seen the way Changeovers develop into strapping yearlings, I can visualise him looking quite bold as he grows – and I’m a sucker for those roman noses.

I’ll make some additions to this blog after the sales.

Post script 15 May:

Just had an initial look at results from the PGG Weanling and All Aged Sale today, and the prices show how much this is a buyers market. Apart from a few exceptions, prices would hardly cover the feed costs for most of them. So weanling and all aged sales are still in the era of  “clearance” sales, which is not where we want weanlings to be. Weanling sales are a huge opportunity to even out the buyers and producers return on investment, to make a reasonable sale price that delivers fairly to both. But the balance so far is not fair. “Fair” of course is an emotional term, so in my next blog I will look at why the lack of definition in our industry about “What we are” is creating a very confused market for all.

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Sharing these photos I took, with a word or two that sums up what these sires expressed as they paraded at Alabar on Sunday.

And guess what? I was lucky enough to draw the free service to Gotta Go Cullen/Great Success/Elsu – more of that later.

(We missed Elsu who paraded first, but have included a photo I took of him in a parade 2012)

Art Official – lovely conformation, very correct

Art Offical Alabar 2013

Art Offical – Alabar 2013

Auckland Reactor – athletic and supple

Auckland Reactor Alabar 2013

Auckland Reactor –  Alabar 2013

Big Jim – height and reach

Big Jim Alabar 2013

Big Jim – Alabar 2013

Majestic Son – powerful and lithe

Majestic Son alabar 2013

Majestic Son -Alabar 2013

Great Success – strong and square

Great Success - Alabar 2013

Great Success – Alabar 2013

Gotta Go Cullect – on-his-toes show-off with great conformation

Gotta Go Cullect - Alabar 2013

Gotta Go Cullect – Alabar 2013

Mach Three – stunningly handsome professional

Mach Three - Alabar 2013

Mach Three – Alabar 2013

Elsu – classic character

Elsu - Alabar 2012

Elsu – Alabar 2012

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It’s Alabar NZ stallion parade this Sunday 15 September at 1.30pm. I attend every year because it is a huge opportunity to look more closely and judge more accurately some of the factors you may want to put into the mix when you decide on a match for your mare. And how different they are. As the parade unfolds you see the tall and the smaller, the stocky and the slim, the handsome and the plain. You know each one has fantastic credentials as a racehorse and often already as a sire. Success comes in many different packages!

My interest this time will centre on seeing Big Jim (for the second time), Majestic Son in the flesh, and also to see Auckland Reactor for the first time since I was amongst the crowd cheering him at Cambridge races.  I always had the impression of him being quite a big lanky horse, but my understanding is that he is medium sized at 15.2h.  One of the best looking horses I’ve ever seen is his sire, Mach Three, who will also be parading.  He’s stamped his length of body and great gait on a lot of his foals, but many of them don’t inherit his good looks when they are young and initially that counted against him at the yearling sales. But his record has turned that around.

Talking of Auckland Reactor, how much money has gone into that advertising campaign to jog memories of his “x factor” and his speed and help us overlook the failures in his career management and the niggling doubts many people have had about his mental toughness? It shows just how much a sire’s career can be helped by owners with a wad of money to back their investment!  In a previous blog I talked about the “fashionable” new sires, and how that is a hype created just as much by the need for studs and owners to get a return and grab a niche in a competitive market, as any innate ability of the sire or even their ability to capture imaginations as a racehorse. The marketing of a sire is aiming at future buyers as well as current breeders. The foals will sell if the hype about a sire catches on. If buyers don’t buy, the breeder support can quickly fall away.

Like most of advertising, is it all about creating perceived needs rather than having a product that will meet those needs.

So breeders, it is up to us to pretty much disregard the hype and look at what is best for your mare and your aims in breeding.  Sift the advertising and the advertising for the real information you need.

That is why the opportunity to see these horses in the flesh is one to grab if you can. See these horses for yourself and talk to the people at Alabar who are closest to these wonderful sires. Graeme and his team at Alabar are refreshingly upfront about sharing insights and information.

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This blog continues looking at the two new sire sons of Western Ideal that are being offered to New Zealand breeders this year.

Both Alabar and Nevele R have taken a punt on a son of Western Ideal for the coming breeding season – Big Jim for Alabar and Vintage Master for Nevele R.  How do these two new siring sons of Western Ideal compare? In the previous blog I looked at Vintage Master on pedigree and type and suggestedwhat mares might suit him. Now it’s Big Jim’s turn.

Big Jim is a big black stallion who will be sold as a sire on his speed, particularly his precocious 2yo speed. Whereas Vintage Master couldn’t win a race at 2 and take a record of only 1.57.4 as a 2yo, Big Jim not only won plenty of 2yo races but took a time of 1.49.2. But as we know, sires with great speed themselves may or may not leave it in their progeny.

What gives Big Jim hope in this regard is the strength of his maternal line. He has the medium sized, very fast Big Towner as his damsire, and on both his maternal lines goes back to the speedy trotting mares Nedda Guy and Nedda (see my blogs on them).  His dam Bold Pink reflected that breeding in her own ability, taking a mark of 1:51.6 herself and leaving four sub 1:55 foals, although Big Jim is by far the biggest earner in stakes. The strength of his maternal genetic structure is, in my view, similar to Vintage Master. It’s very good proven quality, solid rather than spectacular. His dam, grandam and great-grandam all won over $100,000 in stakes, in some decent times, and all produced good performers from a range of sires – a sign of quality heart genes being passed down the female line.

However he was not sound, and in the end niggles forced his retirement before the end of his good 3yo season. It appears the problem was in his ankles and was found to be bone bruising, and started to cause problems even before the end of his 2yo season. Whether the soundness factor is something breeders will take into consideration is uncertain – we do tend to rate speed so highly these days and be willing to take the consequences. People will say: genes don’t get sore. That’s true, and I don’t know enough about what might cause bone bruising in ankles to make any comment on whether it signals anything more than the pressures of racing on a young physical skeleton.

There’s been little doubt in Canada where his first book is full and closed.

Big Jim in full flight

He is a big powerful stallion. In terms of mares here who may suit Big Jim, I would look for pedigrees that would be compatible with his Big Towner factor. I think Big Jim could be very compatible for Falcon Seelster mares, for type and genes, as would Christian Cullen mares be. Also Elsu mares, but for a different reason than Falcon Seelster. Going outside the square,  Dream Away mares could be okay, especially smaller ones – there’s a double up to Sonsam which I don’t mind at all and he added value/speed into both sires’ maternal lines. Big Towner of course has my old mate Shadow Wave lurking close behind, and that opens up mares from the quality maternal lines of Shifting Sands such as Grin, Red River/Rustler Hanover –  although many of these were bigger mares and it will be a while before we see if Big Jim stamps his size.  Mares with plenty of Albatross and Meadow Skipper blood will find Big Jim an option, but Big Towner (an outcross sire with no Meadow Skipper) again provides a way of avoiding just too much of a good thing.

And yes, Art Major mares (eventually) would be a very interesting match.

At $4500 Alabar have, like Nevele R with Vintage Master, gone for a price that is affordable for breeders without attracting too many ‘back paddock mares’ desperate for a miracle.

As you can see from this and my previous post, I’m seeing these sires less in terms of the Western Ideal factor, and more in terms of what their overall pedigree might find compatible in our likely broodmare pool, particularly how breeders might build on the strengths in these sires’ maternal lines, which are well structured and have shown speed.

I’d be happy to have any comments from others on what they think of this approach and what matches they think might work.

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Both Alabar and Nevele R have taken a punt on a son of Western Ideal for the coming breeding season – Big Jim for Alabar and Vintage Master for Nevele R.

Although very good horses in their own right, and both with solid pedigrees, I think a major influence in bringing these sires to New Zealand is also the success of American Ideal (at Woodlands) and of Rocknroll Hanover (by frozen semen) over the past couple of years.

If the Western Ideal sire line is the next big thing, then a stud needs to have one of his top sons on their books, otherwise they can’t offer what breeders appear to be looking for.

Western Ideal

But are New Zealand breeders attracted to American Ideal because of the Western Ideal factor and what is a successful trend in North America? I’m not sure. Western Ideal himself was offered here by frozen semen (via Nevele R) for a couple of years but there wasn’t a lot of interest, perhaps because of the price but also because Western Ideal is not one of those racehorses who reached globally to capture our Kiwi imagination. I would say the attitude to him is more one of huge respect but not excitement – and the lack of familiarity with Western Ideal as a racehorse or a sire (as well as the frozen semen factor) could have made breeders wonder: “Will this be a wow factor for buyers at the sales? Is it worth the price and the risk?”

However American Ideal’s growing reputation through the type of progeny he is leaving and his strike rate (23 starters for 15 winners in 2012), means a market has potentially developed for sons of Western Ideal standing here at affordable prices (compared to Rocknroll Hanover’s top priced frozen semen which is on a different tack).

So how do these two new siring sons of Western Ideal compare? I haven’t seen them in the flesh so I’m relying on photos and reports for that side of things.

They have both taken after their sire in having size (Western Ideal was over 16 hands), which is also the case with Rocknroll Hanover, although American Ideal is medium sized and is tending to leave medium sized foals. Perhaps that is the influence of American Ideal’s damline, which might also be a steer for breeders.

Both Vintage Master and Big Jim have strong maternal lines that could be complemented by broodmares here.

But as racehorses they were very different – Vintage Master tough, tractable, performed best at 3yo, kept going through to the end of the 5yo season.

Big Jim, very speedy 2yo and consistently fast in top races, mentally mature, retired due to soundness problems.

I’ll take a closer look at Vintage Master’s pedigree and what might suit him now, and turn to Big Jim in my next blog. These are, of course, just my views and based on a number of factors, research and thought – not pushing any particular barrow, sire or stud.

Vintage Master

Vintage Master took time to develop – he wasn’t a naturally early type and his fastest time 2yo was his qualifying one of 1:57.4. He matured in his 3yo season to win the Cane, Adios, Bluegrass and Tattersalls (and the bulk of his earnings), and the next couple of years he performed well as a tough pacer with enough grit and versatility to keep winning well-staked, if not top, races. I understand he wasn’t quick off the gate but had strength to hold his speed and, I would guess, the temperament to be very tractable in his racing. He accumulated over $2 million total career earnings but in terms of really top races it was that burst as a 3yo that really set him up. He retired sound after his 5yo season.

Vintage Master – strong maternal line

What I like about Vintage Master’s pedigree is his very well performed maternal line that carries proven speed performers. I think the size of Vintage Master meant he would always take time to find his speed, but it’s good for breeders to see where the speed is and figure out how they might reinforce it through mares with potentially compatible genes and/or type. Specifically Vintage Master’s dam has produced 4 winners from 5 foals and all of those winners have taken <1.55 marks. The fastest earliest is a three quarter brother (interestingly by American Ideal) who paced 1.50.4 at 2yo.

Vintage Master’s grandam is Napa Valley, a sister to the excellent racemare Silk Stockings – who of course appears in Live Or Die’s maternal pedigree. Napa Valley (by Most Happy Fella) was a good racemare herself, and half of her foals turned into <1.55 winners. Two of her fastest were by Storm Damage, the son of Breath O Spring and damsire of Grinfromeartoear.

So when looking for a type of mare that might suit Vintage Master, I’d look for maternal lines in particular that include some of these top quality elements – and Live Or Die and Grinfromeartoear mares would stand out for me.

I’d also look for Most Happy Fella in the maternal lines of sires that could add a bit of speed as well – so Mach Three and McArdle mares would fit that bill. Or looking back a bit, if anyone has still got Road Machine, Pacific Rocket mares around, they might be worth a try if they showed some speed themselves or come from a family that did.

Mares by In The Pocket would also help keep that ‘smaller, quicker’ type that I think this sire (and the Western Ideal line in general) will need. On type alone, many Courage Under Fire mares could suit Vintage Master.

Nevele R have positioned him in the $4000 price range which is trying to attract reasonable quality and numbers of mares. It is a tough ask at the moment for a sire we don’t know much about. But it doesn’t compete with their top line latest edition Well Said (by Western Hanover) who is priced at $8000 and will be marketed as a speed sire.

The more I look into Vintage Master’s pedigree, the more I think he could offer something here in that medium price range that would particularly suit breeders with good but not “sales” mares who are wanting a sire that will add value and are not obsessed with producing very early speed.  He’s unlikely to upgrade slow mares from poor families, and very few sires can. But he could do well with smaller or medium sized mares with the right pedigrees and type for him.

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These sales are a great opportunity for those looking for value. They lack the hype of the yearling sales and therefore both the vendor and the buyer are likely to have more realistic expectations.

At these sales you can also see some of the new sires’ foals in larger numbers than many of us might normally – especially in the North Is where Alabar uses this sale rather than the more risky yearling sales to showcase and move on its young stock. The Alabar inspection day is on Saturday 5 May, and there were plenty of people taking advantage of that last year.

I’ll be particularly interested in looking at Shadow Play’s and Santanna Blue Chip’s weanlings, and checking if some of the other sires are starting to show any signs of ‘throwing to type’ that I noticed from prior weanling and yearling sales.  The filly by Santanna Blue Chip out of Alta Magari looks striking in the photo, but there is nothing like seeing these little ones in the flesh. Overall, the Santanna Blue Chips look very nice types. I’m not an expert judge at all (far from it!), but I like to get an overall impression built up from as many individuals as I can see, rather than base my views on a few horses I might know.  At the inspection day,  I can ask the Alabar crew about the weanling’s dam to find out what she might have added to the mix – they are a really helpful, friendly team up there.  Of particular interest to me will be the Gotta Co Cullects, as I am so impressed by the sire and his weanlings/yearlings to date and now have a half share in a filly we picked up at last year’s weanling sale and is breaking in nicely.

In the all aged category, the 2yo Grinfromeartoear filly Provocative could be a good sneaky bid if you want something ready to run – she was unwanted at the yearling sale last year in spite of being a nice type (I recall her in the ring and wondered why she was not attracting more bids, but the Grins aren’t sexy at the sales), and was bought back by the Barlows for about $9000 – and they persuaded Linda Hamilton to take her, with Steven Argue doing the breaking in and training. She qualified nicely enough as a 2yo at Franklin, long before many of the other pricier sales yearlings have made it to the track. Grins tend to need time and can be a little one dimensional in their racing until they mature mentally and strengthen, but those that have natural ability can hold speed and are tough minded – and this filly is from the same family that produced Charge Forward and Covert Action, both Grins of course.  The pedigree match refers in some really nice ways to great mares Breath of Spring, The Old Maid and therefore Spinster, and Grin’s Storm Damage damsire provides the close up footnote to those – one of the things I really like about Grin from a genetic perspective, pulling older references back into the pattern (see my blog on fairisle knitting!)

The South Is sale is much more oriented to broodmares with a bit of a clean out occuring.  I would be interested in getting comments from those in the South Island who can assess some possible nuggets amongst those horses on offer.

More from me – and hopefully others who want to comment – after the Alabar inspection day and sales days.

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