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Dot Schmidt in Australia has sent in this thoughtful response to the discussion in the previous blog re the influence of Tar Heel with Bettor’s Delight and He’s Watching.

David has obviously put a lot of work into that but for mine there’s a couple of things to query. For his top 50 performers in Australia are these restricted to foaled in Australia, or are NZ imports included? To make the figures relevant a % of performers to foals is needed. 11 in the top 50 from ITP mares foaled in Australia I’d guess would be a very high % of performers but probably not if some of these are imports and thus cherry picked from a much larger foal crop. %age wise maybe the Artsplace, or particularly the Safely Kept crosses as I doubt that BD served many Safely Kept mares may actually be much better. Off course you need, and this goes particularly for some of the other sires listed a large enough number of offspring to be statistically relevant.

I noted Falcon Seelster wasn’t on David’s list of Broodmare sires in Australia which I thought was interesting as I recall something on your blog about the success of BD over Falcon Seelster mares in NA. I’m sure that this would be an anomaly rather then evidence  that BDs out of Falcon Seelster mares can’t run in Australia!

Is David’s fondness for Tar Heel based on the theory of “X factor” as found in Mariann Hanns books? If so the horse genome has been completely mapped and there is no single large heart gene found on the X chromosome. There are sires who do make a bigger contribution to a breed as broodmare sires then others and Tar Heel was certainly one. It may have something to do with the X chromosome but it will be multiple genes and probably as much to do with skeletal muscle as large hearts which obviously do exist just not as the result of a single gene.

With He’s Watching I’m not sure that the 8 (6 unique) strains of Tar Heels in the 6th generation is particularly relevant but perhaps the symmetry is what appeals. Meadow Skipper, not all in the 6th generation but there abouts has 13 strains through his sons and daughters and 7 unique so actually contributes a larger % of genes to He’s Watching. I think He’s Watchings high speed and success as a racehorse is largely due to the reinforcing of his highly successful U7 influences Leah Almahurst and Three Diamonds and luck in the genetic draw moreso then the influence of Tar Heel in the 6th generation. I do agree with David on the reinforcing of family U2 though.

I agree he could do well with BD mares but not in my opinion because of the Tar Heel lines in both but moreso because closer up BGs Bunny is genetically speaking very nearly a full sibling to Three Diamonds. Also the Abercrombie over Albatross found in both. Off course the other half of the mares pedigree counts too, some of Shy Ann’s descendants  as found in both Real Desire and Jenna’s Beach Boy wouldn’t go astray and as David pointed out The Old Maid/ Spinster U2 family.

I doubt it would ever happen but I’d imagine a He’s Warching out of Adore Me could a seriously fast horse! Two BGs Bunnys plus Farm timer who descends from Nora Adelle and has two lines of family U2

Of course the beauty of discussing breeding theories is just that, it’s theory and no one is necessarily more right then another and as they say opinions are like a***holes, everyone has one!

See also Kevin’s comment to this post. Click on the arrow alongside “One comment” below.

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I’d like to share some research and observations by Australian blog follower David Sinclair. David says: “Although I currently don’t have any horses nor am I currently breeding any I am truly fascinated with bloodlines and pedigrees, and really enjoy learning as much as I possibly can.” David emailed me with his analysis of some of the influences of Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco combination in current crosses with Bettor’s Delight and potentially with He’s Watching, and then with some of his thoughts on why some sires perform a huge role as damsires but struggle to leave a top siring son – and will his permission I’d like to share this exchange with you.

Addtional thoughts welcome – leave a comment at the end of the blog (although I know a lot of you prefer to email me direct at bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz). David’s comments are based on Australian statistics.

David Sinclair:

Touching on your very informative article on B4Breeding.com regarding He’s Watching, I too am very interested to see what kind of job He’s Watching is able to do at stud. I have always suspected that he would be a fine job but until the results finally come to fruition I guess he’s still a bit of an unknown.

I have actually been doing a bit of research because I have a theory regarding what type of mares he would best suit. I am very interested to hear your thoughts. The first thing that stands out to me is the 8 sources of Tar Heel in his 6th generation, 6 of those sources being unique. I have always held the view that a big part of the reason for the success of Bettor’s Delight as a sire is his affinity with Tar Heel maternally, particularly In The Pocket mares. Although I only have Australian stats to go by, I had a look at the broodmare sire of Bettors Delight’s top 50 money earning progeny to race in Australia in order to try and determine any pattern. Not surprisingly, I believe that stats validate my suspicions.

Of Bettor’s Delight’s top 50 progeny to race in Australia, the list of broodmare sires is as follow with number of foals within the top 50 listed in brackets.

In The Pocket

In The Pocket – his mares are a great cross with Bettor’s Delight. His damsire is Tar Heel.

In The Pocket (11)
Artsplace (3)
Safely Kept (3)
Christian Cullen (3)
Sokys Atom (2)
Butler BG (2)
Dream Away (2)
Albert Albert (2)
Holmes Hanover (2)
Ticket To Heaven
BGs Bunny
Camtastic
What’s Next
Walton Hanover
Troublemaker
Classic Garry
Northern Lights
On The Road Again
Silent Spring
Sands A Flyin
Seahawk Hanover
Die Laughing
Perfect Art
Make A Deal
New York Motoring
Direct Scooter
Village Jasper
Live Or Die
Save Fuel

As you can see, not surprisingly In The Pocket as a broodmare sire accounts for 11 of Bettor’s Delights top 50 progeny by earnings, a staggering 22%! However, when you look at what Bettor’s Delight brings to the table, the affinity for Tar Heel makes complete sense.

Bettor’s Delight carries:
Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco double through dam sire (Armbro Emerson/Most Happy Fella & Amrbro Emerson/Tar Heel), Adioo through dam sire (Armbro Emerson/Adios), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Armbro Emerson/Follow Up), Kathleen double through dam sire (Armbro Emerson), through both Most Happy Fella via Good Time and through Armbro Emerson’s 9th dam who is Kathleen; Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Albatross/Tar Heel), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (Albatross/Dancer Hanover); Lida W through 3rd dam sire (Meadow Gene/Nutwood Wilkes) **San Francisco is out of Oniska, with Oniska bred 2×3 maternally to Lida W**; San Francisco through 7th dam sire (San Francisco).

Given Bettor’s Delights own strong connection to Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco/Oniska/Lida W, his ability to match so well to In The Pocket mares is not surprising, given In The Pocket is out of a Tar Heel mare. You may also note a close up connection to the Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen blood as well through Bettors first 2 dams. Given the strong influence of Spinster, particularly through Light Brigade and Bachelor Hanover, amongst the NZ broodmare band I believe that this serves to further strengthen the connections to Tar Heel, adding a further string to the bow.

Now, considering Holmes Hanover is also out of a Tar Heel mare you may wonder why there aren’t more horses in the top 50 with Holmes Hanover as a broodmare sire. In my opinion I do not believe that Tar Heel is the main driving force behind Holmes Hanover maternally, rather it is more focused upon Margaret Parrish/Arion/Manette.

Now to go through what each of those broodmare sires brings to the table maternally.
In The Pocket – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Tar Heel);
Artsplace –carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Albatross), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Albatross), plus Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Columbia George), 3rd dam sire (Duane Hanover) & 7th dam sire (Dillon Axworthy);
Safely Kept – carries Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Abercrombie), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through 3rd dam sire (Race Time), Dillon Axowrthy/Adioo through 4th dam sire (Shadow Wave), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 5th dam sire (Ensign Hanover);
Christian Cullen – carries Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Bo Scots Blue Chip), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Overtrick)
Sokys Atom – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Tar Heel), Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Adios);
Butler BG – carries Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Race Time), Volomite/San Francisco maternal double through 2nd dam sire (Adios Butler);
Dream Away – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco triple through dam sire (Forrest Skipper), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Forrest Skipper), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco double through 2nd dam sire (Sonsam), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Sonsam), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover);
Albert Albert – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Albatross), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Albatross), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Bret Hanover);
Holmes Hanover – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Tar Heel), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 5th dam sire (Dillon Axworthy).**also carries Manette/Arion/Margaret Parrish through 2nd dam sire (Henry T Adios) & 3rd dam sire (Rodney), in my opinion this is the primary influence**;
Ticket To Heaven – carries Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Airliner), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (Thorpe Hanover), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 5th dam sire (Ensign Hanover);
BGs Bunny – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/adioo through dam sire (Bret Hanover);
Camtastic – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Albatross), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Albatross), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Tar Heel), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Sampson Hanover), Volomite/San Francisco through 4th dam sire (Irish Hal);
What’s Next – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Tar Heel), Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Wilmington);
Walton Hanover – carries Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Best Of All), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Bullet Hanover);
Troublemaker – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Bret Hanover);
Classic Garry – a bit of an anomaly, does not carry any Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco, Dillon Axworthy/Adioo, or The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen maternally. From what I can tell the main influence is via Lady Marjoe and her son Jack Potts through 2nd dam sire (Kimberlene)???;
Northern Lights – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Albatross), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Albatross), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Tar Heel), Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Adios);
On The Road Again – carries Adioo through dam sire (Bye Bye Byrd);
Silent Spring – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Good Time), Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (7th dam of Good Time), Spinster/Kathleen through 4th dam (Lady Scotland/dam Spinster by Spencer whose 3rd dam is Kathleen);
Sands A Flyin – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Bret Hanover), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through 3rd dam sire (Dancer Hanover), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 5th dam sire (Tar Heel);
Seahawk Hanover – Midnight through dam sire (Meadow Skipper), Midnight through 4th dam sire (Billy Direct), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 5th dam sire (Sandy Flash);
Die Laughing – Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Albatross), The Old Maid/Spinster through dam sire (Albatross), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Shadow Wave), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Painter), Volomite/San Francisco through 4th dam sire (Good Time), Kathleen through 4th dam sire (7th dam of Good Time);
Perfect Art – Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Nihilator), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Nihilator), Margaret Parrish/Arion/Manette through dam sire (Nihilator), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Big Towner), Margaret Parrish/Arion/Manette through 2nd dam sire (Big Towner), Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Big Towner), Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (Big Towner 10th dam Kathleen), The Old Maid/Spinster through 3rd dam sire (Dancer Hanover), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 4th dam sire (Tar Heel);
Make A Deal – Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Abercrombie), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Adioo through 5th dam sire (Adios);
New York Motoring – Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Shadow Wave), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Tar Heel), Volomite/San Francisco through 5th dam sire (Volomite);
Direct Scooter – San Francisco through dam sire (Noble Victory), Kathleen through 3rd dam sire (Spencer);
Village Jasper – Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Abercrombie), Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Most Happy Fella), Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (Most Happy Fella), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Kathleen through 6th dam sire (Spencer), Margaret Parrish/Arion/Manette through 7th dam sire (Arion Guy), Arion/Manette though 8th dam sire (Todd);
Live Or Die – Tar Heel/ Volomite/San Francisco double source through dam sire (Temujin), Kathleen through dam sire (Temujin), Adioo through dam sire (Temujin), Tar Heel/ Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Romeo Hanover);
Save Fuel – Midnight through dam sire (Meadow Skipper).

 

As you may be able to see, one thing all of Bettor’s Delight’s top 50 money earners in Australia have in common, with the exception of Classic Garry & Save Fuel, is a doubling up of the primary influences of Bettor’s Delight maternally with what the broodmare sire offers maternally. Either a close up connection to Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco blood, Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo blood, or The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen blood maternally, quite often in combination. But without a doubt, the blood that seems to pop up most prominently is Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco.

Which brings me to He’s Watching’s maternal pedigree. And please bear with me because it is very detailed.
Dam sire (Real Desire) – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Real Desire/Troublemaker/Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Troublemaker/Bret Hanover), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Trenton/Overtrick), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Real Desire/Trenton/Thorpe Hanover), Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Trenton/Adios), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Trenton/Sandy Flash), Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Real Desire/Race Time), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Shadow Wave), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Ensign Hanover)
2nd dam sire (Jennas Beach Boy) – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Cam Fella/Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/ Jennas Beach Boy/Cam Fella/Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/ Jennas Beach Boy/Cam Fella/Dale Frost), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Cam Fella/Ensign Hanover), Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Windshield Wiper/Bye Bye Byrd), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Windshield Wiper/Thorpe Hanover), Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Windshield Wiper/Adios), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Windshield Wiper/Raider), Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy /Adios), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Norette Hanover)
3rd dam sire (No Nukes) – Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (No Nukes/Overtrick), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 3rd dam sire (No Nukes/Tar Heel), Volomite/San Francisco maternal double through 3rd dam sire (No Nukes/Good Time), Kathleen through 3rd dam sire (No Nukes/ Good Time)
4th dam sire (Abercrombie) – Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 4th dam sire (Abercrombie)
6th dam sire (Bret Hanover) – Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 6th dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 6th dam sire (Bret Hanover)
8th dam sire (Adios) – Adioo through 8th dam sire (Adios)

 

With his the 8 sources of Tar Heel in his 6th generation, 6 of which being unique, I think that He’s Watching will match up wonderfully well to Bettors Delight mares, particularly those who also carry a maternal connection to Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through In The Pocket or to a lesser extent Holmes Hanover, Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through Falcon Seelster and Overtrick, or The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through Bachelor Hanover or Light Brigade. I also suspect that he will match very well to Christian Cullen mares given the 5 separate maternal traces to Helen Hanover that He’s Watching possesses maternally through the first 3 dam sires (Real Desire, Jennas Beach Boy, No Nukes) considering that Christian Cullen also contains a trace to Helen Hanover through his 2nd dam sire Overtrick. Another stallion whose daughters I would not be surprised to see He’s Watching match up well with is Artsplace given his strong infusion of Dillon Axworthy maternally through his 2nd, 3rd and 7th dams.

 

Bee:

Yes the influence of Tar Heel through the maternal lines of mares has been critical to some of the success of sires. Not doubling up necessarily, but complementing. Like that blog I did on “engine room sires”, you need the guy at the wheel but you also need the guy shovelling coal in the engine.
The Tar Heel factor is so interesting, as it poses a question about how long an influence can endure through broodmare sire (as his siring line is really gone now) and why it was/is that way for so many great male horses in the end, rather than leaving siring sons. Albatross the other standout longer term example.

David Sinclair:

I completely agree with your engine room sires post, especially laying the foundation within a pedigree. I believe that Tar Heel/Volomite fit your description perfectly maternally. I am constantly amazed at how many top horses from both hemispheres who carry Tar Heel and Volomite maternally, whether they be a dam sire, 2nd dam sire, 3rd dam sire etc, or whether they appear on the maternal side of dam sires. Albatross is quickly becoming very similar to Tar Heel in that regard. I have no doubt that when we look back in 20 years time he will provide a very similar influence.

The question you pose regarding some lines being successful maternally but not producing a lasting siring line has always puzzled me. I often wonder whether they become the victim of their own success. Being such dominant sires their fillies will often become quite potent broodmares. However, it is very rare that you would put a daughter of a particular sire to a son of that same sire, therefore you often have to look for another siring line. Tar Heel, Bret Hanover and Albatross have all been breed changing broodmare sires who were well ahead of the competition, with their daughters often becoming broodmare gems. However, with those other sires being so far behind in a broodmare sire sense, their daughters, looking collectively as a whole, would be somewhat inferior.

Therefore, the broodmare band that sons of Tar Heel, Bret Hanover and Albatross had to access was inferior compared to those that other sires were able to access, given that these other sires were able to breed to daughters of Tar Heel, Bret Hanover, Albatross etc. Consequently, these lines eventually fall out of favour.

In this regard, I would not be surprised to see the Artsplace siring line and the Bettors Delight siring line to also eventually die out solely due to their success as broodmare sires.

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A little while ago I did a blog about He’s Watching and his pedigree which I described as like a perfectly oval uneaten chocolate easter egg.

I mentioned the appeal of outcrossing with Direct Scooter line mares, and also the possibility of close line breeding:

I have already heard from one breeder who is tempted to go further towards line breeding/in-breeding, because the maternal references in He’s Watching’s pedigree are just so classy. That opens it up to a lot of Australasian mares with the Golden Miss line in their pedigree, or those with Leah Almahurst sons Western Ideal and Make A Deal – or damsires like Grinfromeartoear, Safely Kept etc. Even for the brave a Real Desire mare which would be a 3×2 cross. So there is a lot of interesting things ahead, and inevitably a long wait before any patterns (if any) become clear. I hope the sire gets the numbers to make this “statistically significant”.

I had an interesting comment on that from pedigree matching expert Ken Mackay who pointed out that :

George Teague’s USA Horse Of The Year 2005 and 3YO Filly Of The Year Rainbow Blue was bred on the same 3×2 reverse female cross but to On The Road Again.
Holmes Hanover was also bred on a reverse female cross to Tar Heel. (4×2)
So there is hope for a Real Desire mare to He’s Watching. You just gotta be brave!!

Rainbow Blue’s very successful daughter Somwherovrarainbow ($1,342,848) is by Somebeachsomewhere, so a strong outcross to balance up the ledger.

And an update:

Breeder Paul Thomas writes to say

Just read your latest thoughts on a Real Desire mare to He’s Watching, someone has to be the brave (or stupid) one and that would be me, I Ching is booked.

View the He’s Watching x I Ching cross here

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I know thousands of you (lol) have been wondering why a Real Desire fan like me hasn’t blogged yet on the availability of He’s Watching (from a Real Desire mare), a top racehorse with a great predigree, now available at Alabar.

Of course he’s been well covered in terms of his arrival:

The commonly quoted summary of his pedigree is:

The secret to He’s Watching’s brilliance can possibly be found in his breeding. He has a freakish pedigree.
His sire American Ideal is by a son of the champion mare Leah Almahurst and is out of a daughter another champion mare in Three Diamonds. These two outstanding mares are closely related having their third and second dam respectively as the great K Nora.
Remarkably, the dam of He’s Watching carries the same cross. His own fourth dam is Leah Almahurst and the dam of his maternal grandsire is Three Diamonds.
So four strains of a dominant mare in K Nora via sex-balanced duplications of two champion mares – a pedigree enthusiasts paradise.
To round off a great pedigree he also has eight daughters of Tar Heel (six of them unique) in his sixth generation.

He ticks a lot of boxes as a very complete package – great performance on the track, tractable type, extremely well balanced and symmetrical pedigree.

Sometimes with such a lovely, complete package it is hard to immediately think how it combines with something else. It’s like a perfectly oval uneaten chocolate easter egg.

Alabar has no problems with this, and I sometimes have a wee giggle at their pedigree matching recommendations because I try to find one sire or siring line that they miss out from their suggested matches. This time they are noting the siring lines of Abercrombie, Cam Fella, Western Hanover and Direct Scooter as having merit, which covers probably 90% of pacing sires.

I’m not so interested in that siring line click aspect. I think his matching with NZ mares is a lot more challenging than that.

I would look more towards out-crossing. And I do agree that Direct Scooter could be a key here, especially as our In The Pocket (and other) lines from Direct Scooter are a different pathway from the Matts Scooter line in He’s Watching’s pedigree. And yes, there is the indication that some ITP mares are crossing well with American Ideal.

Having said that, I have already heard from one breeder who is tempted to go further towards line breeding/in-breeding, because the maternal references in He’s Watching’s pedigree are just so classy. That opens it up to a lot of Australasian mares with the Golden Miss line in their pedigree, or those with Leah Almahurst sons Western Ideal and Make A Deal – or damsires like Grinfromeartoear, Safely Kept etc. Even for the brave a Real Desire mare which would be a 3 x2 cross. So there is a lot of interesting things ahead, and inevitably a long wait before any patterns (if any) become clear. I hope the sire gets the numbers to make this “statistically significant”.

We have come across He’s Watching’s great-grandam before – Cheer Me Up is the dam of Rob Roy Mattgregor who stood here briefly and has since died but did offer much more in terms of pedigree than his number of mares indicated. And interestingly so far of his NZ bred foals that have qualified (all 3yos, his only crop here), 3 are from Falcon Seelster mares and one from a McArdle mare – the Warm Breeze sire line which I think was a bit of a “and just in case” footnote in the siring line list Alabar has put forward.

Cheer Me Up is also from the same maternal line as Mr Feelgood.

His grandam Babe Watching (by Jenna’s Beach Boy) was a good enough racemare (1.53 and $170,000). Her two Real Desire foals Baberhood and I’ll Be Seeing You were very average. Baberhood has gone on to produce a champion. About all you can say is the eventually really good lines do produce really good results – but which and when and how consistently is only seen over a longer time frame. And our individual breeding decisions will form part of that answer.

So, yes, He’s Watching is an outstanding acquisition, and it will be very interesting to see how breeders picture their mares fitting with what he has to offer.

Another fascinating aspect of He’s Watching is his size (and of course that is not often referred to). He’s only 15h. I think we have gone past the stage where size counts – except for the heart and the number of quality wins – but I do give a tip o’ the hat to sires like Courage Under Fire (14.3h) and Washington VC (15.1h) that have paved the way for that more recently – and of course giants on the track and in the barn like the wee Good Time in our harness racing history. Rock N Roll Heaven (15.2h on tip toe), Bettor’s Delight (15.1h), his son Highview Tommy (15h) and Tintin In America (15.1h) are all doing their part in more recent years to dispel the myths around size of sires and offer some respite from the 16h sires.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing him in the flesh if Alabar have their usual very interesting stallion parade this year.

Re sizes, I’ll do a quick round up of views/research on size of mares/sires and resulting foals next blog.

 

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