Posts Tagged ‘Black Watch’

A couple of trials and a non-tote heat for 2yo trotters were of interest at Cambridge today, although a major highlight was seeing The Orange Agent, Democrat Party, Supersonic Miss and Joanne’s A Delight battling it out in a four-horse heat of the 3yo Nevele R Series, and finishing in that order. The speed came on from the second quarter of the last mile, with The Orange Agent holding the lead throughout and eventually pulling away from a brave Democrat Party who was parked for the last half. The time was a cracking 2-38.3 for the 2200m trip, and although the winner was never seriously challenged for the lead, the manner of the win was all class. Both the Orange Agent and Democrat Party are American Ideal fillies from strong families. The Orange Agent has Artiscape as her damsire – he’s done an okay job as a damsire with 40 NZ bred winners to date, and just over half of those going 2-00 or under.

The Orange Agent

Down the home straight and The Orange Agent pulls away to win the Nevele R Series heat for 3yo fillies at Cambridge 15 March 2015. Photo: Bee Pears


In the non-tote Sires Stakes 2yo Trotters Prelude it was a huge contest between the talented Gershwin (from the outstanding mare Allegro Agitato) and the Muscle Yankee filly High Gait who is bred by Breckon Bloodstock (the mare Regal Volo was bought by Ken Breckon off the Feiss’s) and so the filly is a full sister to Twentyten (racing well in Australia as Ourtwentyten).

The tussle up the home straight was sensational, with the filly just getting the better on the line, and a course record to boot.
Gershwin is a truly talented trotter. He was withdrawn from the yearling sales after an injury, but has bounced back from that to give his breeders the Laurens and now co-owner local vet Ian MacKay something special to take to the races.

I doubt if this is the last time these two trotters will battle up the home straight!

High Gait 2yo trotter

2yo trotting filly High Gait (Muscle Yankee x Regal Volo) returns to the stabling area after winning the non-tote Prelude.  Photo:Bee Pears.


Finally, I was keen to see how the 3yo gelding by Shadow Play called Back The Black managed his qualifying race. I’m keen on Shadow Play’s potential as a sire, as blog readers will know. So I like to keep an eye on what is popping up.

Back The Black, bred by W H Fleming and owned by the Flemings with  D L Hopkins, did the job very nicely for trainer Nicky Chilcott and driver Peter Ferguson. It was not a quick time, a dawdle and a sprint, but the gelding looks like he has ability and controlled the race in front.

His pedigree is worth looking at – there are some elements I’ve flagged up as being potentially good clicks for Shadow Play. but also the maternal line is a lesser known branch of the Rosehaven family (the dam of Black Watch and one of New Zealand’s all-time great maternal families). Interestingly it is the same branch that produced Hot Shoe Shuffle(by Falcon Seelster as is Back The Black’s mare Drums Of Time). The link back to Warm Breeze in Shadow Play’s maternal line creates a Rasmussen Factor of sorts.
This is early days for the gelding of course, but he will be worth tracking as he learns and develops.

Back The Black home straight winning

Back The Black holding his front running position easily and winning the qualifying trial at Cambridge today. Photo: Bee Pears.


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Another son of Christian Cullen joins the siring ranks, and that makes 6 of his sons at stud to date – and 3 of those are from the Rosehaven maternal family.

Those 3 sires are

  • Gotta Go Cullen (from Sparkling Burgundy, and 4th dam Rosehaven’s daughter Nancy Iola)
  • Stunin Cullen (from Vicario, a half sister to Sparkling Burgundy)
  • and now Alta Christiano (from Right This Time, who traces back to Nancy Iola’s half sister Black Watch).
Aberfeldy when she was 31

Aberfeldy when she was 31, with Ken Breckon

The Rosehaven family has been a dominant force in New Zealand breeding for decades, and breeders Sandy and Jan Yarndley established many of its branches and sold many progeny through the yearling sales at very good prices. Right: Picture of Aberfeldy (daughter of Black Watch) in 2009 when she was 31. Lovely article about her and a painting of her on Harnesslink 2006.

A trait of the family seems to be prolific breeding and long life – Rosehaven had 12 foals, Black Watch had 16, Aberfeldy had 18, Nancy Iola had 10, Burgundy Lass had 15, Vicario 10, Sparkling Burgundy 12 to date, Corbie 15 to date, which is a credit to the way these mares have been handled. Black Maire already has 9 foals on the ground and she’s only a 15yo.

The sheer numbers of branches and foals, plus the Yarndley’s preference for proven sires, and the quality of the family’s genes has led to a good many very top performing horses arising from the Rosehaven line – far too many to list here but they include the tough older mare Coburg,  the speedy fillies Megaera and Ciccio Star, the sensational Lauraella, the wonderful racehorse Il Vicolo.

In recent times, some of the branches haven’t kicked on much at all, but others have – and hence Alta Christiano brings the line back into the spotlight.

This branch of the family has been under the astute breeding eye of Tony Dickinson (Alta Breeding Co Ltd). Alta Christiano’s dam was the Fake Left mare Right This Time (now dead), and one of her daughters Alta Camilla (by In The Pocket) has already left the very handy son of Jereme’s Jet called Alta Jerome (currently 4 wins from just 11 starts, the last one just a week ago at Forbury Park). Another of her daughters (by Elsu) has been reitred from a pretty average racing career and bred to Mach Three.

When you compare the Rosehaven maternal line with some of the great maternal lines – like Golden Miss and Romola Hanover – that are powering great racing colts and sires, you can see how hope springs that Rosehaven blood can do the same here and produce one or more champion sires.

It wasn’t Creegan (a Smooth Fella son of Black Watch).

It wasn’t Il Vicolo (a Vance Hanover son of Burgundy Lass).

Gotta Go Cullen is struggling for numbers, with just two winners (but 20 qualifiers) from 123 live foals to date, although only about half of that number are of racing age.

Stunin Cullen has been reasonably well received with over 60 mares in his first season, so he has a chance.

Or could it be Alta Christiano?


PS Alta Christiano was one of my virtual yearling stable picks in 2011 (just had to brag…)

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