Posts Tagged ‘Grinfromeartoear’

These sales are a great opportunity for those looking for value. They lack the hype of the yearling sales and therefore both the vendor and the buyer are likely to have more realistic expectations.

At these sales you can also see some of the new sires’ foals in larger numbers than many of us might normally – especially in the North Is where Alabar uses this sale rather than the more risky yearling sales to showcase and move on its young stock. The Alabar inspection day is on Saturday 5 May, and there were plenty of people taking advantage of that last year.

I’ll be particularly interested in looking at Shadow Play’s and Santanna Blue Chip’s weanlings, and checking if some of the other sires are starting to show any signs of ‘throwing to type’ that I noticed from prior weanling and yearling sales.  The filly by Santanna Blue Chip out of Alta Magari looks striking in the photo, but there is nothing like seeing these little ones in the flesh. Overall, the Santanna Blue Chips look very nice types. I’m not an expert judge at all (far from it!), but I like to get an overall impression built up from as many individuals as I can see, rather than base my views on a few horses I might know.  At the inspection day,  I can ask the Alabar crew about the weanling’s dam to find out what she might have added to the mix – they are a really helpful, friendly team up there.  Of particular interest to me will be the Gotta Co Cullects, as I am so impressed by the sire and his weanlings/yearlings to date and now have a half share in a filly we picked up at last year’s weanling sale and is breaking in nicely.

In the all aged category, the 2yo Grinfromeartoear filly Provocative could be a good sneaky bid if you want something ready to run – she was unwanted at the yearling sale last year in spite of being a nice type (I recall her in the ring and wondered why she was not attracting more bids, but the Grins aren’t sexy at the sales), and was bought back by the Barlows for about $9000 – and they persuaded Linda Hamilton to take her, with Steven Argue doing the breaking in and training. She qualified nicely enough as a 2yo at Franklin, long before many of the other pricier sales yearlings have made it to the track. Grins tend to need time and can be a little one dimensional in their racing until they mature mentally and strengthen, but those that have natural ability can hold speed and are tough minded – and this filly is from the same family that produced Charge Forward and Covert Action, both Grins of course.  The pedigree match refers in some really nice ways to great mares Breath of Spring, The Old Maid and therefore Spinster, and Grin’s Storm Damage damsire provides the close up footnote to those – one of the things I really like about Grin from a genetic perspective, pulling older references back into the pattern (see my blog on fairisle knitting!)

The South Is sale is much more oriented to broodmares with a bit of a clean out occuring.  I would be interested in getting comments from those in the South Island who can assess some possible nuggets amongst those horses on offer.

More from me – and hopefully others who want to comment – after the Alabar inspection day and sales days.

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As it turned out, my viewing of the yearlings was more erratic than previous years when I have made a point of viewing all of the parade. This time I saw most of the fillies but missed a large chunk of the colts in the middle section. So my picks are based on those I saw rather than the full catalogue.

I am still struggling to find time to ‘do the numbers’ but my impression was that there were some lovely types of fillies that went for a real bargain.  At the industry forum on the Sunday after the Karaka sales, the issue of keeping up our stock of racing and breeding fillies was well canvassed. John Mooney’s “Chairman’s Corner” in the March issue of Breeding Matters is well worth a read on this and other issues. For vendors of nicely bred fillies from very good sires but not outstandingly bred fillies from the hottest sires, the sale was mainly a pretty tough experience. Some of those breeders won’t be back. It raises alarm bells in terms of the future possibility of being able to pre-select sex of foals. Personally I am totally against this other than in exceptional circumstances (in the same way that I am not in favour of embryo transfer other than in exceptional circumstances).

I digress!

Here are my 4 selections of fillies and colts from the Karaka (Australasian Classic) Yearling Sale, using the pedigree pages and my own amateur observations on the day (no inspections).

Please give me yours! Add as “comment” to this blog.

Lot 122, Kamwood Courage, Courage Under Fire – Kamwood Lass (New York Motoring). Sold $11,000
If I’d had a spare $12,000 hanging around in my pocket I would have loved to take this one home. She stood out for me in the parade ring – not big, but good length of body and a lovely deep chest. She is a very nice speedy type and a full sister to a gelding and a filly who have both done well.

Lot 118,  Schleck, Muscle Mass – Merckx (Dream Vacation) (Sold $28,000)
A lovely athletic looking filly from a family that is full of natural talent. I really enjoy the Paynter approach to breeding, always looking ahead, tapping into European trends and contacts (will do more on this later).

Lot 74, Stolen Secret, Mach Three – Hot Secret (Beach Towel). (Buy back $25,000)
Good size, strong type. Is this a ‘golden cross’? Time and statistics will tell.

Lot 119

Lot 119 Delia with preparer Clare McGowan

Lot 119, Delia, American Ideal – Merrily Merrily (Life Sign). (Sold $7000)
I thought this was a very attractive , tall type, with a long barrel and good chest. She looked in the midst of a bit of growth spurt, but I like what I see of American Ideals on the racetrack and I like the double up of the excellent mare Three Diamonds (3×3) – it is good to see a breeder try something like this rather than the usual focus on double up of sires. I’ll have to check, but my recollection is the American Ideal has had some performers in America from Life Sign mares. Breeder Geoff Elton says he is a little disillusioned with the industry at the moment and has moved into other interests. He has quit this family now, and will probably not be selling at the sales next year. I hope this filly does really well and draws him back in! I won’t expect her to be a 2yo, she’s got growing to do.

The colts I’ve picked are:

Lot 25

Lot 25 Charlie Chuckles

Lot 25, Charlie Chuckles, Grinfromeartoear – Charioteer (Christian Cullen). (Sold $34,000) 
Nice strong type, looked great.  Nice pedigree match too.

Lot 19, Derringer, Bettor’s Delight – Bury My Heart (In The Pocket). (Sold $22,500)
The full brother to Texican but Cran Dalegety didn’t want him and the price is surprisingly light. Without having inspected him, the only downside I could spot was his size – he is a small, compact type, but not the “built like a brick shithouse” round, solid and strong type that Bettor’s Delight can stamp even if they are small. He looked to me more like a smaller In The Pocket type. However the family has plenty of class and I like the breeding – I’ll take my chances.

Lot 175, Crixus Brogden, Real Desire – Swift Mirage (What’s Next) (Sold $9,000)
Sold so cheap I must have missed something!! I’m just taking a punt on this guy because he paraded so well, looked so focused.

Lot 148

Lot 148 Destination Moon

Lot 148, Destination Moon, Grinfromeartoear – Zenterfold (In The Pocket) (Sold $67,000)
Call me biased, but… I’m very happy to have him in my “virtual stable”.

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(Stamp of success Part 3 of 6)  When I ask Graeme Henley of Alabar Stud, which New Zealand sire is most known for ‘stamping’ his foals, he hardly hesitates before citing Christian Cullen’s colour and head as one of the best examples. A “Christian Cullen type”, bay, big and bold, with that head, is likely to add tens of thousands onto a price in the sales ring compared to a yearling less obviously stamped by his sire. Buyers will see these physical attributes as a hopeful sign that the sire has also passed on his less visible qualities (heart, talent, strength and speed).

Graeme Henley believes breeders are becoming more aware of what qualities and attributes different lines offer, and why some lines that didn’t fire here before with our mares (such as Abercrombie with his reputation for heart and temperament, and Western Hanover line for speed and gait) but may click better with the pool of mares we have now.

So what are some of the physical attributes some of the Alabar stallions might ‘stamp’ on their foals?  “The Grin head – longish, narrowish. It’s quite plain, not classic,” he says. “but it is distinctive.” The Elsus are often strong in the body, almost heavy boned, but they are not always dark in colour.”
In temperament, he’s noticed Art Major foals “can be tough, even be a bit kicky when young, but they come to it. Elsus also have a bit of fight in them, but are intelligent types.”

He reckons you can always tell an Earl foal because they make a little squealing noise – “You hear that outside the barn and when you look, sure enough it’s an Earl.”

These are general observations, and there are a heap of exceptions running around in the paddocks of New Zealand. “Nothing is a certainty,” Graeme says. “Grin has plenty of size and scope about him – and then he leaves a little one like Smiling Shard!”

It’s clear the mare still has a say in all of this!

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