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Posts Tagged ‘Direct Scooter’

Whether you call him “Joe Lewis” (as the boxing champ did himself) or “Joe Loeee” the results are the same. And it was good to see the 2yo by Art Major from the mare Snap Wilson get his qualifying certificate yesterday at the North Canterbury trails, compared to his last appearance at the workouts just a week ago where he appeared to trip over himself when breaking and fell, giving driver Blair Orange a particularly weird toss from the cart and a whack from a passing horse. Link here to see the qualifying results and the video.

Tip o’ the hat to Blair for some resilience!!

I noticed this horse as a yearling at the sales, and he was a great example of outcrossing.

Often these things come in and out of fashion, but for me out crossing or inbreeding / line breeding is a choice for each breeder to make for a particular mare and a particular reason – and at the right time in a family.

At the moment inbreeding is “the new black”, to some extent.

But that should not shift our eyes from seeing the importance, for some mares and some families, of going outside and bringing in new and refreshing bloodlines, old or new. A refresh.

If you want to get a connection back to natural behaviour, outcrosses are the results of a young stallion who lurked on the outskirts of your herd, perhaps having lost a competition within his own closer family, but who has the instincts and potency to go looking wider to make his own.

In farming terminology it brings “hybrid vigour” which has been a huge factor in getting our sheep and beef stock up to scratch.

So the lack of close links in a pedigree, or the presence of them, is really interesting. But not necessarily an indication of ability for an individual horse.

However it can be an important factor in the overall development of families of merit.

My gut feeling is that at the moment we are trending to breeding back into really potent maternal families, into the herd.

But longer term, we need those talented outcross sires and mares to keep us from breeding back into one static square with few open doors.

Direct Scooter deserves a medal for what he did in this regard, keeping (who knows how) a line going when hardly anyone was interested.

But how life changes. Now his line through In The Pocket and Matts Scooter – and a heap of quality maternal lines – has intervened to basically prevent the implosion of the pacing standardbred. And he has been a driver of speed in both maternal and siring lines just when needed. An outcross. The line lurking on the outskirts of our herd has challenged and to some extent taken over.

Looking ahead, what sire or line can do this when we need it next? Interesting to hear you views on that.

Back to young Joe Louis – he has some classic references in his pedigree but there is also a freshness about it. I like what I see of this horse and will follow his progress.

Joe Louis (2yo gelding), Art Major x Snap Wilson (Falcon Seelster). Breeder: P F O’Brien, Owner: M A Calcott, Pete Smith, W E Higgs, Trainer: Mark Jones.

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Many of you will have already spotted this blog about siring lines on the View from the racetrack grandstand blogspot posted in February this year – but the announcement today that Highview Tommy (son of Bettor’s Delight) will stand at Woodlands Stud has prompted me to revisit it and seek your views. And of course to share mine!

Take time to read his post, and mine, and send in your comments via “Comments” at the very bottom of this blog. (Update: already had a very interesting comment posted from Murray Brown, check it out).

It raises the question of when and if two of the top racehorse producing sires of recent times – Cams Card Shark (Bettor’s Delight) and Artsplace (Art Major)  – will have the ability to continue their siring lines into the future.

It is remarkable that after so long at the top of his game, Bettor’s Delight has so few sons (such as Kenneth J, Betterthancheddar, and now locally Highview Tommy) as candidates to take over that dynasty. I blogged on that myself in September last year.

Likewise Art Major, although less tried in New Zealand, has had plenty of time internationally to throw up more than Art Official as a candidate for the Artsplace succession so far. I mean candidates that grab the commercial interest of breeders as well as their admiration for past deeds on the track. Sires than gain traction and can hold their service fees.  Siring success is such a tough venture.

I can see Art Major’s fortune as a sire or sires changing locally if the crop of young Art Major colts racing here like Isaiah, Sky Major, Tiger Tara and Follow The Stars keep performing like they have done to date. But Kiwi breeders will want to wait a year or so until they show a step up to the Cups and Interdoms before getting too carried away.

The blog highlights the rise and rise of the Direct Scooter siring line, which only 15-20 years ago looked like it might be a goner. There’s the Matt’s Scooter / Mach Thee / Somebeachsomewhere line from the Northern Hemisphere and In The Pocket / Christian Cullen and Changeover giving every chance to the line in the Southern Hemisphere.

Another factor the “View from the racetrack grandstand” blog highlights is the increasing arsenal of the Western Hanover branch of Meadow Skipper’s line internationally – most strongly through Western Ideal / Rocknroll Hanover (neither of which had much influence directly here in New Zealand), most potently through the latter’s sons Rock N Roll Heaven and now A Rocknroll Dance who are both available in Australia and New Zealand.

And yet there are no guarantees, are there!

It would have been a brave person 15 years ago to predict that Western Hanover / Direct Scooter combination in ascendence now.

Siring lines turn up some lovely surprises. For example, the strongest Meadow Skipper line we have today was founded by Oil Burner whose one outstanding son at stud was No Nukes – no other son of Oil Burner reached anything like No Nukes’ siring success. (Downunder we had Oil Burner’s son Devil’s Adversary standing for about 10 years from 1992, and he got a couple of decent books but didn’t show up much and dropped right away).

In the same way, it only took one of No Nukes’ sons – Western Hanover – to open up a range of strong branches that are still evolving and sorting themselves out. Will the Western Ideal branch keep growing? Or will a “dark horse” like Shadow Play or Well Said turn out to be Western Hanover’s most successful siring son?

Cam Fella, born in the same year as No Nukes, appeared to have many more successful siring sons to carry on his legacy – Cambest, Camluck, Cam’s Card Shark, Presidential Ball…. and yet he is struggling now with just one descendant – Bettor’s Delight – as a top sire, and no proven inheritors yet.

What does this tell us? That it takes just one, just one, to turn a line’s fortunes around.

And that one “sire of sires” can come from the less-than-obvious sources.

As breeders, we have a role to play in all this. Thoughtful breeding and giving quality new sires an opportunity are two ways we can contribute.

In another 15 years we might be looking back and saying: “Well, you’d never have guessed a son of Mister Big would reignite the Artsplace line.” Or perhaps: “Cam Fella line was almost gone until those sons of Roll With Joe really stood up to be counted!” Or even: “So it’s the Changeover line rather than Christian Cullen that’s blossoming down here.”  Or in my own dreams: “Thank heavens for Tintin In America, keeping that Bret Hanover line alive, and his outstanding son Tantan has already left 50% winners to foals.”

What do you think?

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