Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Direct’

Now and again, I like to blog on some of the horses who are creating a lasting legacy as a broodmare sire, even if they could not create or continue a siring line themselves. Tar Heel is the classic. If you look at the usual “family tree” of the sons of Hambletonian, the Dictator siring line is virtually a stub. And yet the influence of that line via Billy Direct and his son Tar Heel is still potent in the structure of many of our best performing horses and top breeding lines today. Another Hambletonian siring line “stub” is Bert Abbe/Gene Abbe – but again, Big Towner’s influence as a broodmare sire is reaching far down in some of the best breeding lines of the modern era.

Overtrick is another example. He sits in the Hambletonian family tree under the Happy Medium siring line, a very interesting line that includes Peter The Great and Volomite, and  has kick started again for pacers via Sampson Hanover (a son of Volomite), who was the grandsire of Direct Scooter. That siring line has caught alight in recent times thanks to Matts Scooter and In The Pocket. It is a line that historically stands out for its prowess in producing top broodmare sires – in reference to my previous blog, great workers in the engine room of pedigrees.

Overtrick is a great grandson of Volomite. He was a brilliant two year old and continued to be a top race horse through his 3 and 4yo seasons, setting 8 world records along the way.  By New Zealanders he is remembered for his battles with Cardigan Bay (one race was in front of a crowd of over 35,000 people at Yonkers!)  He was an adequate sire, producing tough, sound horses rather than passing on speed. After 10 seasons at stud in the States without leaving anything really outstanding, he was bought by Australian interests.

John Bradley (“Modern pacing sire lines”) notes that Overtrick was definitely a better sire of colts than fillies, but many of his daughters have become fine broodmares.  A few of them have ensured Overtrick’s enduring contribution to great pacing bloodlines in both hemispheres – as the damsire of No Nukes and Falcon Seelster, and grandamsire of Cam’s Card Shark and Christian Cullen, to name some of the most notable ones.

Christian Cullen, Overtrick grandam

Falcon Seelster, Overtrick dam

I would be keen to hear from those blog readers in Australia who can throw some light on how Overtrick was received there, and on his Australian record (as a sire 521 foals, 239 starters, 173 winners/as a damsire 1482 foals, 708 starters, 454 winners). It’s not bad, but it is not outstanding. Has his influence in Australian maternal lines turned up at any stage? Or was there a lack of compatible sires available when his daughters were needing them? My personal guess was that Overtrick mares may well have done better with some of the well bred imported sires we were standing at the time in New Zealand.

In New Zealand the incredible contribution of Falcon Seelster and Christian Cullen to our maternal lines will keep Overtrick’s influence alive for a good while to come, and give breeders some interesting choices with sires like Real Desire, Santanna Blue and others with No Nukes in their maternal pedigree now available.

What makes Overtrick tick? John Bradley points out that Overtrick’s first five dams are 2:00 producers, and this includes mares foaled from 1927 to 1954 – quite an accomplishment in that era. His grandam is Barbara Direct, a Billy Direct mare, and Billy Direct is another excellent broodmare sire who would have added value to that strong maternal line.

One of New Zealand’s top breeders, Tony Dickinson of Alta Dream Lodge, has kindly provided his observations on Overtrick and the family of Barbara Direct:

My interest in Overtrick’s place in modern day pedigrees stems from looking to double up the Barbara Direct blood carried by Ballie Hanover, a mare I imported quite some time ago from the USA. Barbara Direct has established an influential branch of the taproot mare Minnehaha, and I recall reading an article in either Hoofbeats (probably) or Horseman and Fair World (possibly) singing her praises as a remarkable progenitress – sorry but I can’t find the article but think it was penned a dozen years or more as comment on some annual statistics. However, her blood turns up frequently, particularly via a son, Bullet Hanover and a grandson, Overtrick. Bullet Hanover,by Adios won the 1960 Little Brown Jug and while a champion pacer of his day, did not sire any horses as good as himself. His legacy flows from his fillies in the broodmare barn.
Jennas Beach Boy descends from Barbara Direct maternally. Again, he was an out and out champion who left no siring sons of note. Nevertheless ,his progeny have performed well on the racetrack.
Overtrick also won the Jug, in 1963 and history has recorded numerous head to head races with Cardigan Bay. However, he has not created his own siring dynasty. His son Mark Lobell came to NZ as an unraced stud – he was moderately successful in that department but did feature more as a broodmare sire, I think.
Western Hanover has two strains of Barbara Direct-on the paternal side through No Nukes and,more importantly in my view via Bullet Hanover who,  as the maternal grandsire,was in a position to influence (and probably did) the transfer of the X chromosome to this great sire.
Champion stallion,Christian Cullen through an Overtrick granddam has Barbara Direct well placed to influence the passing on of the X chromosome the progeny of his fillies. In my view, Cullen’s legacy will eventually include an outstanding record as a broodmare sire.
For my own part, I retain two descendants of Ballie Hanover, a daughter by Christian Cullen in Millview Ava who has just foaled a Real Desire filly (three strains of Barbara Direct). And a two year old filly by Elsu called Alta Michaela, in work with Mike Berger, who has four strains of Barbara Direct via Overtrick (twice), Bullet Hanover and Beauty Hanover.

Some theories to reflect on………….

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