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Posts Tagged ‘Grinfromeartoear’

Tough, tough, tough. Character and toughness are the best outcomes for Grinfromeartoear progeny. It doesn’t always happen. But he has super genetics as a sire, and if he gets the right match and strikes it well, you get exactly that – tough and good.

Massachussets is one place I haven’t seen, unlike the Bee Gees song of the same name. But I have watched videos of a good few races from Plainridge Racecourse in the state. For those of us who, like me, have to Google to find where some of these racecourses are located (and to be honest, where some of the states are) basically Plainridge is up and off to the right from New York city, on the eastern seaboard, and part of a group of states known as New England.

So yes, that’s on my list of places to visit one day. Geegees and haunting lyrics from the Bee Gees.

These days my point of interest is one special horse I knew as “Duncan”, a Grinfromeartoear gelding from my good mare Zenterfold and so a full brother to The Blue Lotus. I’ve blogged about him before because I’m really proud of his exploits in North America – low key but really consistent and paying his way with some stout performances. Like most Grins, getting better with age, character.

Destination Moon

Destination Moon, upstanding and strong type – as a yearling

In his latest race he was a very close second, but took a time of 1.51.3, which I believe is the fastest he has ever gone. His winning record is 1.52. So I am rapt to watch him doing a good job without a lot of pressure.  In the same race new comer Jay Bees Grin N another import from NZ and another Grin horse, still has to learn how competitive it is up there, and wisely didn’t press from the widest draw. But will find his mark up there well I reckon.

So although the time is not a shattering one, it is good and solid and what I bred the horse to do, and also good to see him performing and looking well for a stable that has picked him up and put some thought into him.

He’s repaying that.

Latest stats: US$37,000 this season so far and his total in America is $106,815 and with his NZ earnings added (in US$) $136,342. I’m proud of him.

In my next blog I will introduce his latest half-brother, his sister’s foal (just born) and her next potential foal – which may be a little outside the square but very exciting.

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Shadow Play has left a beauty in the North American mare Lady Shadow. She started her career as a 2yo and 3yo going through the lucrative Ontario Sires Stakes programme and achieving over US$154,000 in each of those years. She stepped up again in her 4yo season, winning 5 of her 14 races and earning $360,862, and then has stepped up yet again as a 5yo to win some of the classic mares races this season including the Roses R Red, the Golden Girls in world record time (a performance worth watching), and a week ago the Lady Liberty on Hambletonian Day. Lady Shadow was bred by Winbak Farm, Chesapeake, and owners are David Kryway, Carl Atley and Edwin Gold. Her total earnings are now $1,312,162. What a mare!

Lady Shadow

Lady Shadow wins the Lady Liberty on Hambletonian Day 2016

Lady Shadow was one of the early 2yo Shadow Play winners I looked at back in a blog in July 2013 “Shadow Play – what can winners tells is?”  In my next blog I’ll catch up on how all those youngsters turned out to date.

What intrigued me then was the reoccurring double up of No Nukes/Oil Burner/Most Happy Fella, and Shadow Wave (who is the damsire of No Nukes, but appeared in many of these young horses pedigrees from a wide range of other sources as well.)

Lady Shadow’s grandam sire is Dallas Almahurst, a full brother to No Nukes Oil Burner. And interestingly, her maternal family (U3, Mambrino Beauty/Nervolo Belle) is the same as Shadow Play’s. It is a maternal family that in the modern day includes heaps of top trotters such as Garland Lobell, Muscle Hill and Donato Hanover, and locally the very good filly High Gait. On the pacing side, as well as Shadow Play some top North American racehorses like JK Endofanera and his sister JK Shezalady, Bar Hopping (a finalist in the 2016 Hambletonian), and Jereme’s Jet – among many, many others. The family sprawls wide in both gaits but keeps pinging up horses of great quality over many generations.

That said, the U3 family doesn’t pop up in Shadow Play’s other top progeny to date.

Those sires I’ve mentioned as positive double ups in his successful progeny are all from different maternal families – Shadow Play is from U105. No Nukes is from U4 (Jessie Pepper) family, his sire Oil Burner from U12, and his sire Most Happy Fella is from U28.

Of course No Nukes, Oil Burner and Most Happy Fella all appear in direct succession in Shadow Play’s siring line.

It is interesting always to find some common elements. I have no idea really why these sires/damsires in a pedigree seem to really suit Shadow Play.  It could be coincidence, or not. It could be the balancing of elements in a sire’s siring line and in mare’s maternal line – a “delta” effect of strong influences coming together from top and bottom.

Of equal importance is the quality of the recent family, and Shadow Play has had some solid mares to play with. Lady Shadow’s dam is a Camluck mare called Lady Camella who earned $203,022 and went 1.51.4. Lady Shadow is the 9th foal from her dam, who has also produced some nice racehorses, appearing to be types that get better as they go on. Her 2002 foal by Western Hanover was Lady Meghan O who won $424,000 and went 1.50.4. Another daughter born 2004 was Pure Movement by Artiscape who won $113,578. Both of these are now breeding on. Overall she has had 12 foals to date, 8 to race, and the best performers are her mares. Lady Shadow has a 2014 full sister called Lady Lynnly.

My personal investment

I’ve bred my Grinfromeartoear mare The Blue Lotus to Shadow Play twice. That cross brings two doses of Shadow Wave into the equation, plus Breath O Spring through a different offspring, and with New York Motoring a similar cross to Oil Burner – Most Happy Fella over a Shadow Wave mare. All in accessible places of the pedigrees.

My first result from that cross is the now 2yo colt sold at the yearling sales in February as The Snow Leopard, and renamed Blackened (after a Metallica song) by his new owner in Australia Domenic Martello.

The 2yo sold for $20,000 and  was broken in and worked for 7 weeks here by Logan Hollis who found him to be a natural. Domenic Martello has kindly kept me posted of his progress since he was moved to Australia, where he is being trained by Geoff Webster at Bannockburn. Reports are all good at this stage – a good attitude and a nice gait, and he’s paid up for Bathurst in case he turns out to have enough as a 2yo.

The mare is now back in foal to Shadow Play, after having a filly by A Rocknroll Dance. ‘

I wouldn’t mind a Shadow Play filly at all!

Delighted to receive this video of Blackened in training in Australia.

 

 

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I met Rory McIlroy today. My goodness, he’s a strapping handsome young guy!

When I met him he was putting around in the stalls, but he had been having some serious driving practice just moments before – when he qualified with a winning run in the pre-race meeting trials at Cambridge Raceway.

Yes, this Rory McIlroy is a super looking Grinfromeartoear 2yo colt, trained by Willie Fleming, who has brought his team up from Hawera for a while to find more opportunities to racing and train with other horses. The busy workouts and race day atmosphere is just what this young colt needs to experience and get used to. He’s a strong package with some talent, and Willie is tempted to at least give him a race as a 2yo.

Grinfromeartoear colt rory McIlroy with trainer Willie Fleming

Grinfromeartoear colt Rory McIlroy with trainer Willie Fleming

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy – one to watch on the leaderboard!

The colt comes from a really nice family, going back to Happy Hooker and therefore the “Wicklow” horses, and his grandam Isle of Inishfree produced some of those really nice “River” horses many will be familiar with – River Dance, River Waltz, River Polka and more recently the young Mrs Zippy who caught my eye at the 2015 yearling sales and is now in training with Adrienne Matthews.

Likewise the Fleming family has several branches involved in racing the various descendants of the Happy Hooker family. Phil Fleming and Jane Fleming are more closely associated with the River side of things, and are second cousins to Willie Fleming.

Another Grin to look out for is Missinmemate, a 3yo gelding who had his first race start at today’s races in Oamaru for trainer and part-owner Brendon Hill. Driver Ricky May had him slow out, tucked down at the back along the fence, and turing for home I confess my eyes were more on my other bet, the Real Desire Badentyre who had sat parked and was forging into the lead. As it turned out, Missinmemate was pulled out wide and stormed home from the back, along with eventual winner Pradas Ideal Dahling, to get a close second, with Badentyre holding on well for third.

Missinmemate comes from a family I have got to know through my own owning interest in Father Frank, a Real Desire out of Gold Return. Gold Return is a full sister (by Armbro Operative) to Missinmemate’s dam Return To Gold, and they are both grand-daughters of the group 1 winning mare Our Stretto.  As a side note, Father Frank didn’t really show enough for trainer Frank Cooney and Tait Hopkins, and is now leased to Kym Kearns as a late 3yo, so I get to see him regularly.

So keep your eyes out for those two very nice Grins over the next year or so – I imagine Missenmemate will be racing again before too long, but not sure when Rory McIlroy will tee off.

Note: I’m still following the Grinfromeartoear colt I sold called Destination Moon, now racing in USA – he continues to do a good job and now has a lifetime stakes earnings (in US dollars) of $113,092, and an additional 15 wins over there after his initial 5 here, and a 1.52 record.

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Rangiora trials recently (Tuesday 22 September) had a few things to note for me, including the qualifying of Stroganoff, the Mister Big gelding from So Green bred and owned by the Beales, who won his previous trial earlier in the month by over 11 lengths (after going away in a gallop at the start and losing more than 15 lengths). The gallop that day meant he didn’t qualify, but this time he did it by 2.5 lengths in a Mile Rate: 2-05.5.

This is Mister Big’s fourth qualifier from 16 foals that have just turned 3 or 4yos. It’s an okay strike rate but one that needs to step up now that his crop of 18 2yos (only 7 registered so far) are coming into racing age. There are a few Mister Bigs lining up – Big Buddie (3yo gelding from the very good racemare Imagine That, breeder/owner Jim Dalgety) won his non-qualifying workout at Rangiora, also a couple of days ago, by a nose in a sizzling 2-06.3 Last 800m: 57.5 Last 400m: 27.3. Mister Big’s eye-catching yearling at the 2014 Christchurch sales, One Big Fella from Killarney who sold for $54,000 and is trained by Nigel McGrath, got to the workouts in June but he was always going to need a bit of time – it will be interesting to see how he goes this time in. He’s a half to Bondy.

Mister Big, sire

Mister Big, sire

Mister Big’s results are more impressive when you see the quality of his racetrack performers to date – Stroganoff seems to have a lot of talent, and Followthewind (an NZ filly from the Mach Three mare Whenua, breeders C J Barron,A R McDonald) is now racing in Australia and has achieved 5 wins and 5 places from just 10 starts and $31,665. And as mentioned Big Buddie looks to have ability.

Mister Big had bigger numbers in Australia, but again the oldest have only just turned 4yos, so still hard to tell how the biggest crop – his 3yos – will shape up as the season progresses. Two of his first crop in Mista Natural and Barooga Nellie have really good percentages of wins to date.

So in many ways it is like Tintin In America – really small numbers to build a reputation on, but promising signs from those who have made it so far.

Of course, it is all too late for Mister Big – he’s gone. He’s standing at Abby Stables in Ohio and whether he will ever be available downunder again, who knows.

But I will continue to follow his foals with interest. What a magnificent horse he was – and is – with one of the highest stakes earnings of all time.

Mr Feelgood, another champion son of Grinfromeartoear, remains available to both Australian and New Zealand breeders. He has similar breeding to Mister Big, being from a Jate Lobell mare, and as I have blogged many times his maternal line is incredibly classy. So I am grabbing that option this season and sending my Dreamy Away mare Dreamy Romance to Mr Feelgood, courtesy of Nevele R Stud who hold plenty of frozen semen (as does Equibreed NZ in the North Island).

To some extent, this was Mister Big’s issue here – direct competition with another stallion more familiar to us with very similar breeding and performance. With Smiling Shard in the mix as well for Alabar, something had to give. But Tip o’ the hat to a great horse and all the best to those who have his foals. Keep me posted if you have!

 

 

 

 

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Last season, a strange offer came in from Australia when the owner of Mr Feelgood, Kevin Seymour,  made a hugely generous gesture of a free service (except for working fee) to that sire for the first 100 NZ owners taking up the offer – for that season only.

Only 13 did. (Nevele R report about 13 mares served for about 10 positives, but the North Island agents had no mares served.)

That is not a reflection on the sire or the generosity of the offer, but more on the timing and the degree of competition – towards the end of the season, out of the blue, and as far as I could see with one advertisement only, in NZ Harnessed October edition. It had the air of a clearance sale about it, which I am sure was not the intent at all. Or was it?

As a Mr Feelgood supporter from way-back, it was a frustrating moment. The mares I had were already committed or not available. I can only hope the semen stays here and the offer might become available again and over a few years rather than as a one-off. Because I rate this sire, as my blog readers know. His performance and his pedigree is exceptional. He’s a Little Brown Jug winner and an Interdom Final and Hunter Cup winner. His maternal line is same as Western Ideal’s. He’s a very athletic type, throwing much more to his maternal line and Jate Lobell – and he is leaving winners from very small numbers.

With considerable help from my friend Richard Prior in Australia, here are some statistics and analysis of Mr Feelgood to date (well, a few weeks back, so there may be new results to add). If any of this clicks with your thinking as a breeder or with the mares you have, put him into your mix.

Is there a chance that those of us in NZ who like this sire could access the offer again. I’d hope so and I am following this up, will let you know if I find anything. He seems to be back at Goldrush Lodge in Queensland, and I am not sure why his previous stud at Yirribee was only offering frozen semen rather than chilled. Is the horse okay? Is his fertility okay? Is he going to be available this coming season? It’s all a bit of a mystery.

As for you lucky buggers across the ditch, I will follow your Mr Feelgood foals with interest (with help from Richard) and we will meet again same time next year to see how his 2yos have shaped up.

Mr Feelgood in the winners circle 2006

Mr Feelgood in the winners circle, 2006 Little Brown Jug
Photo: Bee Pears

Mr Feelgood – how is he going as a sire and what shows up in matches to date?

Oldest Australian progeny are 4yos – 17 registered foals.
3yos – only two registered foals, both earned over $70k to date. (Two more wins for A Good Chance, since Richard made the list below, so he’s now earned $87k).
Next two crops significantly bigger (76 and 84).

Total starters 13 for 11 winners. 7 of the 11 are fillies.

  • 3 out of his top 4 are out of Perfect Art mares
  • 4 out of the 11 are out of Fake Left mares and another is from Fake Left son Famous Forever
  • 6 out of 11 are from Cam Fella line stallions.

His top 2 in Nth America are Feelsgood out of a Camluck mare  and I’m Feelin Good from a The Big Dog mare (526K and 1.49.6).

Australian offspring in order of earnings to date (as at end of March/early April 2015)

Charming Allie (Perfect Art) = 256k and 1.53.9
A Good Chance (Perfect Art) = 78k and 1.54.9
Feel The Faith (Fake Left) = 69k and 1.56.6
Good Feelings (Perfect Art) = 33k and 1.56.3
Millenium Rose (Famous Forever) = 31k and 2.00.1
Nurse Feelgood (Westburn Grant) = 29k and 1.58.3
Tactician (US) (Western Hanover) = 18k and 1.54.6
Fiscal Cliff (DM Dilinger) = 13k and 1.59.5
Feelin Good Lefty (Fake Left) = 9k and 1.59.2
Feelgood Tonight (Christian Cullen) = 8k and 2.00.8
Feels Like A Dream (Fake Left) = 5k and 1.59.6
A Little Naughty (Fake Left) = 1.54.6

Use the Search on my blogsite to find several other blogs I’ve done about Mr Feelgood including here and here.

 

 

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No fairy-tale ending for Pure Power’s career. The Methven Cup today saw him compete as usual but not finish off his race. The big boy’s career had already been signalled as probably over. (You have to ignore the sub editor who calls him a trotter in the headline. Sigh.)

He was, of course, a huge pacer by the sire Grinfromeartoear.

One of my favourites.

A gentle giant.

I am sure he will have a lovely retirement and give the kids many enjoyable rides.

 

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The Blue Lotus as a foal

You’ve come a long way baby! The Blue Lotus as a little foal in 2007.

OK it’s time to announce a winner for the Match My Mare And Win A Share competition.

Boy was that hard to judge! There was a total of 25 entries, and from 17 individuals. This was a great result, as the entries required some research and thought rather than being a “pick the name” type competition. So many thanks to you all.

What I was looking for was thoughtful advice that gave me confidence your recommended sire will tick the important boxes for my mare The Blue Lotus (aka “Lottie”).

The word limit initially was about 400 words but many of you went well over that. Although I relaxed the rules around the length, I have factored in that those who tried to keep to the rules were at the disadvantage of not being able to fully outline the details of their reasoning, particularly in terms of the pedigree matching. Where they flagged up the key elements, I have taken that as enough without the detailed analysis others provided (sometimes over several pages!)

However very short entries (like just the name of a sire, or just a sentence or two) were pretty much scratched at the start or failed to line up behind the mobile arm and didn’t really take much part in the race.

Yes I have looked at it like a race. Hope you will enjoy the analogy!

The finish was a classic, with a group of four or five virtually crossing the line together – you could throw a blanket over them.

Very close behind was another group “all dressed up and nowhere to go” as Aaron White might say.

Plus one unlucky runner in great form who broke at the start (because his suggested sire was not available).

And finally there was an exciting outsider who ran on strongly from back in the field.

In the end the result came down to a photo finish between two very different entries – Brian Cowley (A Rocknroll Dance) who was race fit and excellent over the mile (325 words covered what the sire offers, what the mare offers, commercial factors, and two key pedigree influences), whereas Mark Wilkens (Shadow Play if Real Desire semen not available) took a roundabout route to get into the clear, flagging up about 6 or more potential options before boiling it down to two. With less driver indecision in the race he would have probably got the win!

So congratulations to Brian Cowley – the winner – with his recommendation of A Rocknroll Dance.

Regarding A Rocknroll Dance, he was not a sire I had lined up for The Blue Lotus, so my decision was not influenced by my own preferences. A tip o’ the hat to John Chew, Richard Prior and Adam Wilkinson who also made a good case for A Rocknroll Dance, with slightly different emphasis – Richard had more detail on the pedigree side of things, Adam on the insights into the type and temperament, and John on compatibility of lines. But overall, it was Brian’s entry on A Rocknroll Dance which wrapped it into a short but convincing package.

Second place by a whisker goes to Mark Wilkens who really engaged my interest with his easy-to-read outline of his own selection process which I thought showed a balanced analysis of several different factors, not just pedigree matching. His first choice of Real Desire was, by chance, a sire that I had also looked at for Lottie, but after checking with Alabar I confirmed that Real Desire semen is not available here at all. Luckily for Mark he had predicted that and offered Shadow Play as his substitute. Although Shadow Play is a sire I like and have already tried for The Blue Lotus (she is foaling to him in October), it was Mark’s overall approach, his analysis of The Blue Lotus’s pedigree and his balanced view of Shadow Play that appealed to me. He weighed up some of the other factors including the likely commercial demand for Shadow Play in a few years’ time.

Then was a wall of horses (entries) finishing very close up in this competition, and many of them showcased your ability to analyse bloodlines and match pedigrees at a level of detail and using formulas (such as Norman Hall’s) which I am not very familiar with myself. You guys rock! I really appreciated your entries, and I found them very interesting. The amount of research done on identifying the best pedigree matches was incredible – Kevin (McArdle and Badlands Hanover), Alana McKay (Rocknroll Hanover), Noel Eade (Art Major) and David Sinclair (Rock N Roll Heaven), your knowledge and detailed analysis in this area is fantastic and I take off my hat to you. It has given me heaps of food for thought, and identified some outstanding options for the future. My only comment is that although some of you included a double up of Artsplace (Darryl Lawlor for Western Terror, Noel for Art Major, David for Rock N Roll Heaven) you didn’t reassure me on that score, in spite of me flagging it up in my blog. But that’s a minor point.

Several entries (Darryl, Gavin Anderson and Kevin) suggested McArdle partly on the demonstrated compatibility of The Blue Lotus’s family with the Falcon Seelster line and the speed McArdle can inject into his very best, like the outstanding McWicked in North America. And there is the commercial link with The Blue Lotus’s half-brother Tintin In America. However as Darryl rightly says, McArdle is a hard one to pin down in terms of commercial appeal and although his percentages are consistently good overall for starters/winners, he still lacks the outstanding individuals he really needs in each crop. I agree, though, it is a tempting proposition.

However now I come to (almost) the complete outsider in the field of entries. Mike Finlayson put forward Tintin In America as his recommended match for half-sister The Blue Lotus. At first glance I thought “woops, a mistake here” – but I should have known better, as Mike is an astute breeder and sure enough he was making a very controversial but well thought out case for such close inbreeding. His entry kept popping up in my mind – not because I want to try it, or because he was suggesting a sire I had bred, but because it is a great example of fearlessly thinking outside the square and backing that up with good reasoning. Mike’s entry is the horse in the field that comes from a seemingly impossible position at the back to fly down the outside. So Mike Finlayson sticks a cheeky neck out on the line to get third place in the competition! Closer in breeding is something Charlie Roberts of Woodlands Stud is trying lately as well. And look at the pedigree of A Rocknroll Dance, with the double up to strong maternal influence Wendymae Hanover, although Mike’s proposed match is a lot closer than that. Half brother and half sister is still a step too far for me. Great, provocative entry Mike!

There are a few others I’d like to acknowledge and respond to:

David Sinclair’s first choice of Tell All didn’t even score up behind the mobile as Tell All (a son of Real Desire from a Jate Lobell mare) is only available to Australian breeders. However his recommendation coincided with my own discovery of Tell All as a potential sire for Lottie. Snap! A great entry. The match really got me really excited until I checked with Ron Burrell and found there was no chance at all of getting semen here. Tell All has done a good job so far as a sire in North America. In spite of the commercial question marks here, I would love to give it a go. David’s substitute runner was Rock N Roll Heaven and he advocated long and hard and well, but it just didn’t resonate with me in the same way as Tell All did.

Sam Langrope made a passionate and well thought out case for Lis Mara, which thoroughly entertained me. However Sam, I see Lis Mara as being similar in type to Grinfromeartoear – not really a sire of speed, even though he was very quick himself. The Cam Fella line seems to do that, leave sires who are extremely fast on the track but can’t seem to pass that on to their offspring consistently. Cam’s Card Trick/Bettor’s Delight being the obvious exception, but the maternal line plays a real role there.

Andrew Lewis put a plug in for Elsu which is definitely breeding back to the family, although not as closely as Mike suggested with Tintin In America. Elsu was a magic horse and leaves great “bread and butter” horses. Two things that didn’t convince me for The Blue Lotus – if I am looking to inject more speed into The Blue Lotus, I don’t see Elsu has providing that. And also the cross with Zenterfold and Elsu has been tried by Geoff and Aria Small, to get a lovely, big colt who did qualify at 2yo but never showed the real zip of speed needed to be competitive, even though given plenty of time, and had ongoing stifle problems. Commercially, it would be all risk and possibly little reward.

Colin Harris suggested Changeover (whom I love as a sire) but perhaps needed to convince me more about why the match would suit The Blue Lotus, compared to other options. I wouldn’t be adverse to that double up of In The Pocket as he appears in quite different parts of the pedigree. But having seen some of his yearlings, I wonder on type if he might duplicate the sort of scopey type that The Blue Lotus is?  He is definitely one I would keep in my mind, though.

Barry Abbott’s two entries were for Roll With Joe and Falcon Feelster. The Blue Lotus’s first foal is by Bettor’s Delight, just turned 2yo,  and Ken Barron reports on her very favourably so far. I think if I was going down that pedigree path I would return to the more proven, commercial brother rather than Roll With Joe. But Barry, your point about Falcon Seelster is a very good one, and has got me thinking. There are some lovely duplications there.

Graeme Whelan recommended Mach Three and mentioned Sportwriter. Although I agree with Mach Three’s quality, I needed more reasons why the match would be good. Same for Sportswriter –  the Jate Lobell maternal line could be a good match for a Grin mare, but there is that Artsplace double up that I want to be convinced about.

The complete outsider of the field, probably taking a short cut through the pylons, was Elizabeth Thorne-McKenzie from America, who is a huge Crazed fan. Yes, that’s Crazed the trotting sire. I know there are a few trotting mares who have been put to pacers for good results (I’ve blogged on Googoo GaaGaa and Blitzthemcalder as examples), but very few have gone in the other direction except where a pacing-bred mare turned out to be a natural and good trotter. So it is not something I would consider at all. However it raises an interesting point – that the maternal line of The Blue Lotus is rich with good trotting blood, and not that far back. Her great granddam is Now And Zen, a Chiola Hanover mare. The family of Zenith has left both trotting and pacing branches. And of course Zenterfold’s sire In The Pocket brings more excellent trotting blood via Tar Heel and Direct Scooter. There’s a locker-full of Volomite and Star’s Pride and Scotland blood there. But let’s pretend I was choosing a trotting sire for The Blue Lotus – I would not choose Crazed, Elizabeth, even though he was such an excellent horse and I am sure will be a great sire. I would go for something that resonates with the best trotting blood my mare’s family can offer – which for me would be looking at trotters with Chiola Hanover and Noble Victory (Star’s Pride/Scotland) blood, so I’d probably go to Muscles Yankee, Muscles Hill, Skyvalley, or even Continentalman.

Once again thanks to all participants in the great Match My Mare race.

The PDF of all entries that met the criteria is posted here (in the Articles page of my blog).

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Pure Power at Cambridge workouts 2014

Pure Power at Cambridge workouts 2014

The giant Grinfromeartoear gelding Pure Power, now an 8yo and with more than $300,000 to his name, made his first appearance in New Zealand since November 2012 when he turned up at the Cambridge workouts this morning.  It was lovely to see him, shaft spreader on top to fit his massive frame, spreaders on his front legs to help his chronic knee hitting action, striding out around the Cambridge track with co-trainer Dave McGowan in the bike.

A modest three-horse workout today saw him lead Bute Mach and Delight Brigade in a slowish time and a sprint home for a last half in 56, with Pure Power doing it easy and winning by a couple of lengths.

He looks fit and very well.

The plan is to send “Sarge” as he is known to beach training down south with Robert Dunn, and with Samantha Ottley being asked to build a relationship with him as driver and generally look after him.

Pure Power wins workout 9 August 2014 Cambridge

Pure Power wins workout 9 August 2014 Cambridge

The beach training and roomier Addington left-handed track should benefit him, and there are plenty of top races coming up.

Let’s not forget his last race here in New Zealand was a very good second in the Cup Week Free For All in 2012, behind Gold Ace and ahead of Terror To Love (with the winner’s time 1.52.6), before campaigning in Australia with mixed success. He is from the Falcon Seelster mare Highfields Angel and bred by Chris and Tina Barlow.

I had a wee bet on him in that Free For All, and will be following him with a lot of pleasure on this latest campaign. It was great to see him this morning, and the affection and admiration Dave has for him.

Welcome home, Pure Power!

Pure Power with Dave McGowan

Pure Power with Dave McGowan

 

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Destination Moon racehorse

Take off – Destination Moon at 2012 yearling sales with Kym Kearns

He’s named after a book about flying to the moon. And from the photo, you can see he was keen to take off long before race day!

It was great to see Destination Moon get his first win last Friday at Alexander Park. The field was not nearly as strong as his first race a couple of weeks earlier, which was a Sires Stakes heat with the speed on, but the way he won was impressive.

He reached the front early and ran confidently in the lead, not switching off, keeping a good margin to the others and pulling away to win by over 2 lengths with little encouragement needed from Joshua Dickie in the bike.

Destination Moon is the half brother to Tintin In America and full brother to The Blue Lotus (3rd in Sires Stakes Fillies 3yo final), from my wonderful mare Zenterfold. His sire Grinfromeartoear is not highly commercial but if you get the right match he adds a lot of value and leaves some tough horses with speed.  “Duncan” (as we nicknamed Destination Moon) was a lovely type as a yearling and sold for $68,000 to Rosslands Stud Ltd (Kerry Hoggard) at the 2012 yearing sales.

He has shown up in his workouts and qualifying trial just prior to racing, but pleasing to see there wasn’t a rush to get him into the 2yo Sires Stakes if he wasn’t ready.

Recently I spoke to trainer Steven Reid about Destination Moon’s next steps, and he says he will be racing till the end of June then have a spell before being aimed at the 3yo Sires Stakes heats, which come up early in the new season and culminate around NZ Cup time.

Destination Moon pacer

Destination Moon wins on 24 May 2013 at Alexandra Park

Steven says he was “rapt” with the win – “He just cruised that, and it is how he’s been working at home.”

He describes Destination Moon as having the potential to step up and be quite a good horse.

Tintin In America and The Blue Lotus now have a Real Desire half brother weanling who is hanging out in our paddock with a full brother to Flying Isa, great mates.

More about him and an update on other branches of the family coming in a blog soon.

Destination Moon’s pedigree is one I wanted because Grin offers some physical and genetic influences that really complement his dam Zenterfold.  I have always taken on board Aria Small’s advice that the family love the old blood – the Spinster/Old Maid/Scotland connections, which it has on its bottom line through Bachelor Hanover. And that has been a touchstone for me in getting a good nick for the mare. Grin hauls that old blood up through his remarkably close-up Storm Damage damsire, and also in his maternal line through Shifting Scene and Race Time (a son of Breath O Spring and half brother of Storm Damage). Shifting Scene is part of the lovely Golden Miss maternal line that you see in many classy families (Rich N Elegant, Real Desire’s maternal line etc) and of course the overlooked element in that line is my dear old Shadow Wave.  In Zenterfold’s pedigree, Shadow Wave pops up promptly as the damsire of New York Motoring, who I believe is a key figure in what have developed into the two best branches of the Zenover family – Interchange and Zenola Star, both sired by New York Motoring. Finally you have the Direct Scooter and Tar Heel influences of In The Pocket, the sire of Zenterfold and so grandamsire of Destination Moon. These are again classy old bloodlines and with a fairly up close dose of trotting blood and both are descending from Volomite and maternally tracing to the wonderful Roya McKinney and Scotland/Rose Scott. Zenterfold’s grandam Now And Zen is also chokka with trotting blood via her sire Chiola Hanover. Chiola Hanover goes back to Volomite and the Scotland influences as well. But none of that is an issue for Grin, thanks to his breeding, especially Storm Damage who is described by John Bradley as having “some of the oldest bloodlines still available for pacers” – his dam was 24 years old when she foaled him, and he is a remarkable “sleeper” in the pedigree of a modern day sire.

Phew! that’s a little peep into some deep old echos in a 2yo pacer just launching his career.

Of course what I also liked about Grin was his ability to leave guts, character and grittiness, which The Blue Lotus showed in her races too. That gave the Zenterfold speed-at-all-cost attitude something to hang its hat on.

Cover Destination Moon book

Cover of Tintin book

It’s what might work for a particular family that counts. And that’s what I think about, more than what is the most fashionable option at the time.

Destination Moon has a long, long way to go. The rocket is just launched, yet to fire the booster engines and go into the statosphere.

I hope he ends up amongst the stars.

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Oh yeah, baby. It’s business time. And what many breeders are hoping over the next few months is that their mare will get “in conchord” with the stallion of choice.

Thanks to artificial insemination, chilled and frozen semen and different breeding seasons in north and south hemispheres, our mares and breeders have more options and less stress (and often less costs) than the thoroughbreds. But even so, we know that decisions made now can play a major part in future prospects for us (return on investment, meeting our aims whatever they are) and our mares (increasing their value and the family’s reputation, the risks of breeding). 

So I imagine right now there are many breeders who (after putting out the recycling and cleaning their teeth) are settling down in bed to study the register of standardbred stallions, or the latest newsletter from one of the studs, or perhaps something they found of interest on the web…or like me might take John Bradley to bed for a little flick through the pages. Yes, it’s business time! (For those who wonder what the hell I’m talking about, a little google on Flight of the Conchords, lyrics It’s business time will give you the reference.)

My biggest tip to those who are looking to breed, is to work out what your aims are, what you want to achieve. Without this focus you are sailing without a compass. If you really want to get a stunning price at the yearling sales, or if your goal is to breed a NZ Cup winner, or to breed an affordable bread-and-butter- racehorse for you and your friends to enjoy, then you need to be clear about that BEFORE you make your breeding choices.

That’s the b4 part of b4breeding (as well as being my name Bee) because I’ve learned from even my limited experience how important it is to have clear goals and work towards them. My goal for the mare Zenterfold, for example, is to keep enhancing and building the reputation of the family for delivering very high quality performing progeny. That means my focus is on breeding the best possible racehorses (male or female) that I can, not just the quickest commercial return for myself at the yearling sales. Hence, why my choice of sires so far for this wonderful mare may have some people scratching their heads. Unproven McArdle when he first arrived? Grinfromeartoear twice? Why not Bettor’s Delight and Art Major? (Both of which have credentials for this mare).

While it is lovely to have the choice of so many good sires, choice can be confusing unless you have goals.

The next thing you need to think about (after your own goals) is your mare. Because she, more than anyone else, has the information you need to make a good decision on a sire. Listen to her, look at her, read her record, know her strengths and weaknesses, and be honest about her credentials. And be good to her. If she is worth breeding from, she is worth looking after – before and after “business time”.

The Blue Lotus just born

The Blue Lotus a few days after being born – not pretty but real

I’m lucky (or is that unlucky) this year because I have no choices to make. My mare Zenterfold is already in foal and her next turn lies with Geoff and Aria Small, so I don’t even have to think about suitable sires. Her Grinfromeartoear daughter The Blue Lotus has a first foal deal with the small group of owners who leased her for her racing career. They’ve made the decision to go to Bettor’s Delight and then she returns to me after her first live foal. It’s been a good arrangement that takes the pressure of me financially for the racing period, which I could not afford to do on my own,  but gives those who front up with the money (the leasees) for racing seasons a ‘sweetner” in getting the first foal to sell (or not) from the horse when she retires. It’s all built into the written agreement.

The Blue Lotus qualified as a 2yo, same as all Zenterfold’s progeny to date, and raced very well as a 3yo for a couple of wins and her main claim to fame is a third in the Sires Stakes Fillies Final, chasing home those fantastic fillies Carabella and Under Cover Lover, which makes third place, running on but lengths behind, a lot sweeter! However after a tear in a tendon, she was retired as a broodmare. What she showed in her racing career was grit, toughness, competitive streak… and that’s worth it’s weight in gold. In conformation and size, she took after Grin, and in temperament and speed (1:56.6) I can see Zenterfold.

The next foal from Zenterfold I bred was also from Grinfromeartoear, but a completely different type – quick, early type (Destination Moon now with Gareth Dixon). Which reminds me of Jack Glengarry’s advice: if a mating makes a big appeal employ it at least twice in case the union didn’t fire in the first instance. Given the nature of genetics, it is sound advice, so long as the mix is well founded to start with. I’ve been lucky enough to get a big, strong mare and a quick looking young colt because the sire (Grin) had attributes that click with the mare regardless of particular individual type and the sex of the foal.

It’s a fascinating business – and at “business time” as breeders we are challenged to do more than just tick the boxes. The best steer we can get is to be clear about WHY we are breeding, and WHAT our mare needs.

To be honest, we are spoilt for options for globally known sires once we have have sorted out our own end of “the business”.

For a really interesting, readable account of “business time” with stallions and mares (mainly thoroughbred but includes a chapter or two with really up-close-and-personal observations on Western Hanover, Sierra Kosmos, The Panderosa, Big Towner and others), I recommend “Stud – adventures in breeding”, by Kevin Foley published by Bloomsbury 2002, a “strange and seductive” (and detailed) account of breeding stallions.

You may need to explain to your spouse/partner/occasional friend why you can’t put it down at bedtime!!

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