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Posts Tagged ‘Art Major’

I’m breeding just two mares this year, Nostalgic Franco and Zenterfold. The other two (Dreamy Romance and The Blue Lotus) are having a year off. That gets them an earlier start next time, but it also takes some financial  pressure off.

Last blog I shared once again the simple formula that helps me work out these things. And one of the biggest considerations is “what is this breeding for?” The answer may be varied, complex, simple or even “I don’t know but I just want to do it!” But at least you have thought about the possible purpose – which can influence what sire you may choose from a number of sires with a suitable pedigree match, or how much money you spend, and so on.

Bee with Zenterfold May 2014

Bee with Zenterfold May 2014

For me, the aim with both these mares is to breed a foal that may be commercial enough to sell at yearling sales. That’s given me enough scope of sires to choose from, and with Zenterfold a wider range because she is a proven breeder of commercial foals and has a good track record of performers. In the past I have had the same aim, but selected a suitable sire from the borderline commercial sires in terms of yearling sales – Grinfromeartoear (x2) and Real Desire. I bred Tintin In America when McArdle was very new and unproven (which worked out well for me, less so for McArdle who has struggled to define himself as a sire). And last time I tried to go more commercial and more expensive with Rocknroll Heaven, only to come away with a lower return (but selling a really nice filly).

That’s all water under the bridge and winners on the track now. This time I am playing safer, with Art Major.  It is my most conservative selection ever, but also my most expensive. So there is risk involved for sure.

However there is a lot more to the equation than just the potential commercial appeal of a foal. The match still needs to be right on a range of other grounds – as the equation says: what the sire offers, what the mare offers, how that works in combination, and the effort that goes into developing a foal.

Art Major has several elements in his pedigree that I believe match really well with Zenterfold, and what I have learned about her breeding.

  • Starting with the top line, he is a son of Artsplace, as is Grinfromeartoear, and I was particularly pleased with the two foals I bred by Grin. So that gives me some confidence.
  • What I like even more is Art Major’s maternal side. Firstly, Nihilator is there sitting in exactly the same spot (as damsire) as he does for McArdle. I’ve blogged before about how I see a lot of Nihilator’s influence in Tintin In America (by McArdle) – type, physical and mental. So again, this element gives me confidence on past results.
  • Then on Art Major’s bottom line he brings in both The Old Maid – another strong connection for Zenterfold, and a beacon for many of my breeding decisions for the mare – and the great family of Romola Hal through one of her most current branches. I’ve done a whole series of blogs on that family which you can find by searching on romola hal in the blog search box.
  • Art Major also carries Shadow Wave in his maternal line through Big Towner, the sire of Rodine Hanover. I love the way Shadow Wave and The Old Maid seem to work together in a pedigree matching. And of course Zenterfold has both these influences in her own maternal half, through New York Motoring and Bachelor Hanover.
  • And finally, Art Major brings in Tar Heel through the mating of Tar Heel and Romola Hal. In Zenterfold’s pedigree Tar Heel also lies in really important places – as the damsire of In The Pocket and the grandamsire of New York Motoring.

As a bold type of horse physically, Art Major will hopefully add a bit of  size and scope into the equation too, and that is very important when you are selling a yearling.

Now going back to the “golden cross” concept, if you merely talked of an Art Major x In The Pocket cross, you would be ignoring some of the most important influences that arise from Zenterfold’s maternal family in the cross with Art Major! That’s why as breeders we need to look deeper than just “golden cross” statistics or marketing ploys.

Art Major x Zenterfold pedigree match

Art Major x Zenterfold pedigree match

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Let’s bring to life the remarkable story of Romola Hal. She was a good racehorse herself, but her legacy has been so much more. She is one of standardbred’s breeding gems.

Article on Romola Hal win in Chicago Daily Tribune 4 Oct 1949

Article on Romola Hal win in Chicago Daily Tribune 4 Oct 1949

The focus of the Romola Hal line revival in the past two decades has been on the flowering of the line from her daughter Romola Hanover, particular with branches such as Rodine Hanover and now her daughters like World Order and Perfect Profile.

I’ve done  a few blogs that touched on the excellence of this maternal line in modern breeding and also reported back comments from New Zealand breeders, and my own interest as a breeder from Dreamy Romance.

In this blog I want to revisit the topic in detail, and put out a call for other breeders who are working with Romola Hal descendants in this part of the world – and indeed in North America – to get in touch with me.

Does the connection play any part in your breeding? And if so, what have you tried/want to try? Or are you focused more on the present when it comes to choices of sires? How do you rate the branch you are working with? And have you got any learnings to share?

I’m using the online database Classic Families as a guide (although a word of caution: their database has Dexter Hanover wrongly listed as a son of Romola Hal when in fact he is a 1968 born Dancer Hanover son of Romola Hanover, her daughter. Plus the split of Romantic and Romantic II is also wrong, these are the same mare. I’ll take these issues up with the Classic Families contacts).

I am travelling online and real time to find out the answers – how is this family tracking now, and especially downunder?

Romola Hal’s most famous daughter Romola Hanover had heaps of ability but issues as a racehorse, as Frank Marrion covers in his very good 2008 article on Harnesslink, quoting Murray Brown of Hanover Farms as saying

She could go incredibly fast, but was neither good gaited nor the most sound of fillies.

Of course Romola Hanover’s success as a broodmare is well known and her incredible line of “classic” descendants, males and females, can be tracked on Classic Families. The modern day branches show up in maternal lines of Art Major and his late brother Perfect Art, Real Artist, Captain Treacherous, Panspacificflight, Nuke Of Earl, and the females like Worldly Beauty, Michelle’s Revenge, Artriverderci ….and so many young ones like Rock N Roll World, Wake Up Peter, Cooperstown, Shadowbriand, and Sir Richard Z Tam.

There are several maternal descendants in Australia and New Zealand, and I will catch up on some them as we go through. and would love breeders to contribute their stories.

So let’s get going on this series.

Coming soon – The “other” daughters of Romola Hal.

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