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Posts Tagged ‘Highview Standardbreds’

These are just two of the 12 yearlings by Justa Tiger that Highview Standardbred’s Dave and Allan Clark have put in Day 2 of the Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch.

They represent an approach and attitude that I find refreshing and courageous.

I’ve blogged previously about the yearling sales concentration of Bettor’s Delight and Art Major yearlings and low numbers from many sires particularly newer sires. There’s also a lack of newer damsires coming through.

The cautious, safe approach by breeders and by PGG Wrightson meant my eyes were starting to glaze over as I turned the catalogue pages for the Australasian Classic and Premier Day 1. Ditto, ditto, ditto. Is this where that irritating axiom ‘breed the best to the best” leads us? Into a boring box?

It was only when I got to the Premier Day 2 catalogue pages, that my interest really sparked.

Why?  Because hidden down in the green pages is a much more refreshing array of sires and damsires. A total of 44 sires are represented on Premier Day 2 compared with 32 on Day 1 and 30 at Karaka.  And they are from a wider range of mares (in terms of damsires).

Thank goodness breeders like Highview Standardbreds are thinking outside the square box!

Take these two lots from Highview as an example.

Lot 217 is a colt by Justa Tiger out of an Island Fantasy mare – and before that puts you off, the mare happens to be the dam of the very promising Johnny Fox, and a half sister to Highview Badlands (9 wins) and Oreti Beach (5 wins here plus 20 in America). The yearling’s grandam is the 8 win mare Highview Rose,  an OK Bye mare.  And the great-grandam has 6 winners from her 9 foals.  So that’s a very solid foundation.

The result is a  nice colt with a pedigree that looks very different from almost anything else in the book.

Justa Tiger filly from Highview Mystery

Lot 206 filly out of Highview Mystery as a foal

Lot 206 is a chestnut filly by a Road Machine mare, and Allan Clark describes her as “one of the nicest yearlings we’ve had out of any sire”. Again, the family is strong enough to support a more commercial choice of sire – if these mares had gone to Art Major or Bettor’s Delight they probably would be joining the many from those sires in the Day 1 pages.

But Allan Clark sees things differently. He’s backing the stallion that Highview has committed to, Justa Tiger, by putting many of Highview’s best mares to him – and then entering them in the yearling sales.

Most of these mares are from solid, consistent families with a good amount of black type dotted through. What I find refreshing is the range of damsires. The damsires for those 12 Justa Tiger yearlings are: Falcon Seelster, Badlands Hanover (2), Bettor’s Delight (2), Road Machine, Island Fantasy, Union Guy, What’s Next, Vance Hanover, Courage Under Fire, and Presidential Ball.

The only lot by Justa Tiger that made Day 1 is in fact the same family as Lot 217 – it’s a colt from a Presidential Ball mare who is a half sister to Lot 217’s Island Fantasy mare – and Allan describes him as an ‘outstanding’ type.

Highview is aiming at a very realistic end of the market – “If we average $10,000 at the end of the sales I will be happy and will have covered our costs,” he says. The more important aim for Allan is to get Justa Tiger’s yearlings spread far and wide, into the hands of trainers where they can prove their real worth.

For Allan, this new approach to the yearling sales is a welcome relief from the pressure to commit to expensive sires and still make a profit. “I feel like I am off the treadmill.” He believes some breeders are ‘committing suicide’ going to Bettor’s Delight and others, as buyers will have so many of them to choose from.

Allan knows the Day 2 buyers will be looking mainly for type and value for money.  Justa Tiger can tick those boxes – and of course he is a son of the great Christian Cullen.

“Justa Tiger carried himself like Christian Cullen in his races, and his conformation is great. He was bought and raced by Lincoln Farms, and they are very particular about correct conformation.

“That’s coming through in his yearlings, they are lovely through the hocks, big nostrils, good shoulder,  correct feet, athletic and some of them are almost thoroughbred in their head,” Allan says.

“If someone saw them in a paddock and didn’t know, they’d easily think they were Christian Cullens. They are that nice.”

We agree that ‘the eye of the beholder’ is often influenced by preconceived ideas!

In terms of temperament, Justa Tiger was a real professional. Trainer Ray Green described him as having “the best attitude and work ethic of any horse I’ve been involved with”. He may have changed careers from racehorse to sire, but the attitude is the same – Allan Clark calls him a ‘real gentleman’ to manage as a stallion.

Justa Tiger was a racehorse who hit his peak as a 3yo before bonechips in his knee really curtailed his career. His dam was the great Tigerish, winner of many group races, a speedy 2yo who developed into a tough mare – she won almost half a million dollars, and founded a very successful family for breeders Pam and Lindsay Turner.  Her bottom maternal line family is well described in the formal advert/pedigree page, but the sire Tiger Wave won’t be well known to many. He’s a son of Shadow Wave (whose heritage is as a damsire, notl sire of sires) out of the mare Diana Streak. That makes Tiger Wave a brother to Dottie Shadow, the dam of Oil Burner (sire of No Nukes). Diana Streak was no slouch, taking a record of 1:58.4 as a 4yo in the early 1950s.  Oil Burner was exported to Australia in the late 1980s and concluded his career as a sire with 1,077 foals and 279 winners in 2:00 and 29 in 1:55. He died at age 30 in 2003 in Victoria, Australia. But while there may be mares in Australia with Oil Burner in their maternal lines, that’s a long stretch in breeding terms and a long way from Justa Tiger who stands in Southland New Zealand.

As Allan Clark knows, it will be a major challenge just to get mares from outside of the Southland region!

For future breeding, Allan suggests Holmes Hanover mares could be a good cross, which was the match with Tigerish that produced Justa Tiger’s outstanding half sister Tiger Turner.

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