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Posts Tagged ‘Cardigan Bay’

This is part 2, following my previous blog, and a part 3 is coming….(Yes, I intended to get it all written today, but I got completely diverted building another chook house in the rain. I wish weekends were longer!)

In my last blog I recalled Mr Feelgood’s Little Brown Jug win, and the fact he had then gone on to an exceptional career as a mature horse – he earned over $3 million from a 2yo through to a 9yo, racing in three different countries and adapting to completely different hemisphere styles of racing.

What he has earned, in addition to the money, is a huge amount of respect.

And that, in my view, is one of his strengths as he takes on all comers in the race for success as a sire.

Because standing as a sire is just as competitive and challenging as any part of Mr Feelgood’s racing career.

There are many other horses who have similar attributes – a solid maternal family, closely related to excellent horses, performance statistics that confirm both speed and toughness at the highest level…

But as far as I am aware, there are very few horses that has achieved what he has – two successful careers at the top level, one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere, and in races that even on their own would have earned him the respect of trainers, punters and breeders. Combine Mr Feelgood’s achievements in one curriculum vitae, and you can see why this horse is so exceptional.

Mr Feelgood

Trainer Luke McCarthy runs his eye over 2011 Len Smith Mile hopeful Mr Feelgood at his Cobbitty property yesterday.
Photo: Jonathan Ng

The only hiccup in Mr Feelgood’s racing record is that his initial sojourn in New Zealand in 2009 was not particularly successful, as he came to terms with the new environment and, under Tim Butt’s guidance, learned a new style of racing. His southern hemisphere career has been mainly based in Australia, with the McCarthys, and that is where he has built an enduring and successful second career at the very top echelon of open class racing. (He did return to New Zealand on a raid from Australia in 2011, when he came 2nd in the Auckland Cup and 4th in the Christchurch Interdominion Finals.)

Raids to another hemisphere always capture interest. The incredible journeys of Graham Pearson and Under Cover Lover, of Graham Brunton and Lyell Creek, of Mark Purdon and Pride Of  Petite, are some New Zealand examples from the past 20 years or so.

But as Auckland Reactor found, it is quite a different thing to move from one hemisphere to another and build a second career there at the very top level.

There is one great New Zealand horse that has achieved it, and that is Cardigan Bay in the 1960s. He won the very top races in 3 different countries (NZ Cup, Auckland Cup), and in Australia (Interdominions), and then moved to North America at the age of 8 and over the next 4 years he beat the likes of Bret Hanover and Overtrick, and was twice US Pacer of the Year – there’s plenty about “Cardy” on the internet, just google Cardigan Bay and refresh you memories of this truly great campaigner!

[In hindsight I would add Lyell Creek to the list of those horses that made top level careers in two hemispheres – he was in Nth America for two years and competed against the top trotters, winning or placing many times.]

Mr Feelgood has something Cardigan Bay and Lyell Creek (both geldings) could not achieve – the opportunity to become a successful sire.

Remarkably, Mr Feelgood has already had two shots at it, once when he was first retired in America and once with frozen semen while he was still racing in Australia – for some very interesting and promising results.

In the United States the entire served a book of mares 31 which produced 25 live foals. From the small crop he has left three $100,000 winners to date, two of which won the Colts and Gelding and Fillies 3YO divisions of the $250,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes Finals, namely I’m Feelin Good and Feels Good. Then when Mr Feelgood was racing in the southern hemisphere he produced 17 live foals through frozen semen, three have since died and the remaining 14 turned 2yos from 1 September this year.

Mr Feelgood is standing at Yirribee Stud in New South Wales but under Alabar’s management.

In racing “world champions”, “sensational”, and many other marketing hyperboles are all too common, Mr Feelgood has proved he much more than a Little Brown Jug 3yo winner. He is, in my view, an exceptional racehorse.

Will he be an exceptional sire? In my next blog I’ll look at that, and share some insights from Alabar’s John Coffey.

Comments always welcome – and examples of other horses you know of who have had top level careers in two hemispheres.

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