Posts Tagged ‘Lydia Knight’

Lydia Knight, like Nibble Hanover, flies under the radar in many considerations of top mares in harness racing history.

But what an influence she has had. Did you know she shares her ancestral maternal line with trotting sensation and sire Love You? Weird eh! But true. This is the line referred to as U29.

Her own pedigree is solid but not spectacular. To be honest there is nothing there that I can see as a predictor of future influence. She was a daughter of Peter The Brewer (a son of Peter The Great) and a Guy Axworthy mare called Guy Rosa.

But going back a couple of maternal generations to Lady Shipley there are some interesting links to the French trotter/sire Buvetier D’Aunou (sire of Ganymede, and also sire in NZ of a mare named The Quiet Storm), and perhaps more potently the modern French trotters/sires Love You, Repeat Love and In Dix Huit. You never know where you may end up when you start clicking around the pedigree of great mares! In this case, it is Lady Shipley’s daughter Florence D (b1879) and Florence D’s grand-daughter Miladi Anne who was bred to Es Tu La III, a French sire I know nothing about, and in turn her 1934 grand-daughter Miss Volo (F U29 ) and finally through Miss Volo’s daughter Tanie we find some names we also know – Jet D’Emeraude, and another branch of Tanie to the very good French mare Amour d’Aunou and her descendants – Guilty Of Love (dam of Love You), and high performers Private Love, Buvetier d’Aunou and Defi d’Aunou. It is worth clicking though the family on Classic Families to see these connections. 

There is something in this family that adds value at certain moments and makes those defining crossroads, much like we looked at in the series on Romola  and Romola Hal.

Back to Lydia Knight herself. I like to paint a picture of these horses in some sort of real way, not just as a name in a pedigree. She is hard to track down but I’ve uncovered a bit of information and stories from the time that help. She was born in 1929, and was a brown filly. Given her name, it is likely she was bred at Almahurst Farm belonging to the Knight family, but I don’t have the details to support that. For her latter career at least she was owned by Tanglewood Farm. She was dual gaited and took a record of 2:03 for pacing and 2.06 for trotting which in 1935 led to her featuring in a photo montage on the front page of the Kutztown Patriot of 15 August when she took her trotting mark and became the fastest dual-gaited mare during their 1935 Fair and Exhibition:

Lydia Knight takes world record for dual-gaited mare

(A slice of the montage and the caption from the 1935 Kutztown Patriot newspaper) “To the right is Lydia Knight, brown mare, driven by Houston Stone as she crossed the finish line in world record time. Owned and entered by the Tanglewood Farm, Winston-Salem, N. C, she stepped off the 2:24 class trot in 2:06 1/4 to establish a new world’s trot record for a double-gaited mare.”

I can’t find for sure how many foals she had in total – Classic Families records 7 but of course that database doesn’t record progeny that did not contribute to the family at all, so there could have been more. Let’s focus on the 7 that did – and the first of those, Knightland, was born in 1943, and the last of them, Last Knight, in 1955. She may have had some earlier foals that didn’t perform, but even so it does make her main breeding era span when she was definitely a mature mare around 14 to 25 years old!

The advantage of that was aligning with Nibble Hanover at stud. Of those 7 foals 5 are by Nibble Hanover and the results show they certainly clicked. Lydia was a bit of a cougar – Nibble Hanover was born the year after she took that dual-gaited record at the Kutztown Fair!

Let’s have a quick look through Lydia Knight’s legacy from each of those foals, because it is easy to skip over them and focus on Knight Dream.

Knightland (by Scotland) – I am not sure how many foals Knightland had in total, but clearly her 1956 filly foal Adios Land (by Adios Boy) is the only one who carried this line into the future. Adios Land has 10 foals on the Classic Families database and overall what a very solid line it has turned out to be. In terms of modern day performers that we know down under, this line has produced Preacher Edith and therefore her descendants Parson’s Den and Lady Ashlee Ann (the dam of Betterthancheddar and other very good performers). Lydia Knight’s trotting gait carries on in some of the Adios Land branches that migrated to Scandanavia and one those is a grandson of Sampson Maid called Sandy Bowl (by Super Bowl) who ended up as the sire of some very good trotters, but nothing that has bred on at an elite level that I can spot. Likewise Sandy Bowl’s sister (aptly if unimaginatively named Sandys Sister) has left some good trotting descendants in America, the best being a 2011 great-grandson called Muscle Matters by Muscle Mass. But her real legacy lies in Europe where her Victory Dream son Keepitinthefamily turned into a very nice sire including the high performing Swedish trotter Finders Keepers.

Lydia Knight’s next daughter was Marjorie Armstrong (by Nibble Hanover), who was mainly bred to Adios. Like so many maternal lines, it has many branches which are often if not dead ends then just mildly successful with consistent performers or one or two really good ones dotted among the decendents. For us New Zealanders of most interest is that two sires who stood here were both sons of Marjorie Armstrong – Bulvon (by  Thorpe Hanover, very limited success) and Schicker (by Most Happy Fella, slightly better innings as a sire). In North America Marjorie Armstrong also pops up in the maternal line of the very good racehorse Stabilizer (1:54.4, $525,771 and world champion status) who crosses 4 x 4 to her and her full brother Knight Dream. And the richest son of Laag, Bilateral, has a 5 x 5 x 5 to the same siblings – Laag through his sire Abercrombie, and through his bottom maternal line to Majorie Armstrong. She also is in the maternal line of the very, very good 2007 gelding PH Supercam by Million Dollar Cam – 1:49.2 and $1,244,251. 

The following year Lydia Knight foaled the little chap who grew up to be Knight Dream. What a legacy he has left as a sire and a broodmare sire. We will come back to him separately.

Following that in 1950 was Sweet Dream, another full sister to Knight Dream. She has left many branches that have popped up very good horses along the way. Of most long term significance is Badlands Hanover by Behave Hanover, a great-granddaughter of Sweet D

ream. I have so much respect for Badlands Hanover as a sire. He came into siring ranks when sons of Western Hanover were not nearly as attractive

Badlands Hanover

Badlands Hanover – classy sire with many links to Lydia Knight.

or recognised in New Zealand as other lines, and yet by sheer tenacity (much like his best horses) he has proven himself a sire that has delivered again and again through the past 16 years, and often through top, tough females. In American he has retained his status as a popular sire consistently for well over a decade. Durable and classy. He is now 20 years old and hasn’t shuttled here since 2013 but is still available as frozen semen. He deserves a blog to himself, but for the moment just a tip o’ the hat to a fantastic quality sire – and one very real and enduring descendant of Lydia Knight. As well as the maternal link to Sweet Dream, Badlands Hanover carries Knight Dream through double doses of both Best Of All and Most Happy Fella.

A more direct offspring of Sweet Dream also stood as a sire here – Timely Knight – in the mid to late 1970s. He had been a very good racehorse. His two outstanding foals were the great mare Armalight and a tough colt Camelot (who stood himself for a while but with little to show for it). Armalight of course was a top racemare but has proved a bit of an enigma in terms of breeding on. With every chance at top sires the most consistent branch as been her Vance Hanover daughter Berkleigh Square who produced  the very good London Pride and London Express, raced mainly in Australia, while one of Armalight’s great-great-grandaughters is the dam of the super Bettor’s Delight horse Ohoka Punter who has 38 starts for 17 wins ($664,376) and at this point in time (May 2016) is almost equalling pegging with his maternal ancestor Armalight’s score of 36 starts for 18 wins ($277,520). Timely Knight’s daughter Marilyn led to a sprawling family with the best branches coming from Candle In The Wind, with English Elegance, Thomas Pyke, and Jaccka Turk etc.

Lydia Knight’s later foals are:

Rosa Knight (also by Nibble Hanover) whose best branch crossed to a son of Scotland (Scottish Pence) to produce Rosa Pence, and one of her best descendants is Catch The Wind, a 1977 filly by Aldebert Hanover who is descended from May Dodge i.e. the U7 family that I am talking about in my parallel series on Romola Hal’s descendants.  Remember it was the Knight Dream (U29) intersection with the Miss Duvall (U7) line that seemed to really kick things off with Adora’s resulting foal K Nora. Although the offspring from Rosa Knight’s branch haven’t endured at a high level.

Beautiful Dream (again by Nibble Hanover) was Lydia Knight’s 1953 foal, and the best of her descendants has been the 1982 mare Saccharum ($805,295) but that line hasn’t kicked on to any degree.

What I notice when I look at the stronger lines from Lydia Knight – or the pedigree some of the really key horses in those lines – is that at some stage they intersected again with Nibble Hanover himself or Knight Dream and his amazing influence. And of course the apparent synergy with the U7 family as well. Nibble Hanover’s family is U12 going back to the Miss Copeland mare and in a superb case of serendipity to her grandam called “Lydia”. I’ll blog more about that another time.

Lydia Knight and Nibble Hanover. What a team.

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Nibble HanoverNibble Hanover and Lydia Knight are names most breeders will recognise from the past, because they pop up in so many pedigrees, and particularly together as the sire and dam of Knight Dream. So with the resurgence of the Adora/K Nora line  – and Knight Dream being mated with Adora to produced K Nora – they have surfaced again with bells on.

I confess that for me they have flown a little bit under the radar in terms of my coverage of “engine room” sires and “turning point” mares that have had quality influence far ahead in pedigrees.

You know what it’s like. Someone comments on the new blue-flowering plant that seems to be on the roadside this year. Really?  But the next day you drive to work and – crikey, you see so many blue flowers. How did I miss those before??

I’ve had the same feeling when I have looked at pedigrees of so many great racehorses, sires and broodmares. Lo and behold! There is Nibble Hanover and Lydia Knight (sometimes together, often apart) now jumping out of the page at me and just pumping quality genes into the pedigree of so many influential horses.

They meet in a way that (cue music and lights) reaches beyond their own mating and adds a huge kick in the arse to breeding in several different lines.

To recognise them individually and in combination, here’s a new series of blogs.


Part 1 – Nibble Hanover

I will start with Nibble Hanover. What a strange name, because he was much more than a nibble at this standardbred game! More like a decent bite.



Nibble Hanover

Nibble Hanover was a foal of 1936 so in many ways he is a boy of the Second World War. He was a trotter, and a damn good one. His entry in the Harness Racing Museum Hall Of Fame says:

Nibble Hanover began setting world records as a two-year-old and continued doing so year after year. It was as a five-year-old that he set his 1:58 3/4 mark. Of the 67 heats Nibble Hanover raced, he failed to share the purse on only five occasions and his earnings of $25,559 were considered quite good for those days. He began at the stud at Almahurst and was later purchased by Hanover Shoe Farms for $100,000. He died there in 1968.

So he died at the grand age of 32, but even by then his legacy was immense. When he started as a sire, he was in the post-war era and other sires of about the same age and that have endured in reputation were Billy Direct (b1934 and of equal importance in the long term), The Widower (b1935) and later the two racetrack combatants Adios (b1940) and Kings Counsel (1940), and also Worthy Boy (b1940). Later still Ensign Hanover (b1943), Good Time (b1946), and even Tar Heel (b1948).

The war years, from my look at it, did not produce many pacers that turned into enduringly successful sires; it was not the ideal environment, to say the least. But the pre-war mares had been good. So Nibble Hanover got his go with some very classy mares and I think plenty of them. If anyone can find the stats around that, I would love to know.

He made the most of the opportunity too. He sired 140 “classic progeny” including Little Brown Jug winner Knight Dream and Hambletonian winning filly Miss Tilly. I will look at those two in a separate blog.

Where on earth do I start? Like the blue flowers, Nibble Hanover seems everywhere. There are some key places where he is NOT. Like Meadow Skipper, Direct Scooter, Albatross.

I’ll start with the big name pedigrees that he appears in either more than once or in a very influential way, and in particular with Lydia Knight:

Abercrombie 4 x 4 – as the damsire of Henry T Adios in the sire line, and through Knight Dream as sire of Duane Hanover in the maternal line. Therefore wherever Abercrombie goes Nibble Hanover follows.

Artsplace – as above, Abercrombie, but also another connection via Duane Hanover as sire of Miss Elvira’s grandam.

Bret Hanover –  Nibble Hanover was the sire of Beryl Hanover, the grandam of Bret Hanover.

BG’s Bunny – twice in his maternal line. His dam Bret’s Romance is by Bret Hanover,  and also Bret’s Romance’s dam Knight Embassy is by Knight Dream. Because BG’s Bunny’s full sister was Lismore, that same Nibble Hanover influence comes through the maternal lines of very good racehorses like Albert Albert, Lisheen, Lahar, Lisryan, and of course down under we had her grandsons Lis Mara and Lislea as sires, and Woodlands Stud owner and breeder Charlie Roberts is breeding from several female descendants of Lismore.

Most Happy Fella’s grandam Maxine’s Dream is by Knight Dream. So again, anywhere MHF goes, there goes the Nibble Hanover and Lydia Knight combination. When Nan Cam (by Bret Hanover) was mated with Most Happy Fella, the result was Cam Fella and a 5 x 5 to Nibble Hanover.

Best Of All – who plays such an important role on many good pedigrees is often more known as one of the best siring sons of the great Good Time and a wonderful broodmare sire. Best Of All’s damsire was Knight Dream, so here come Nibble and Lydia once again. So in Western Hanover’s pedigree, which doubles up so many lovely mares and sires, you get a 6 x 5 to Knight Dream thrown in for good measure.

Life Sign – 4 x 4 to Knight Dream, and of course one of those is his maternal line to K Nora and Adora. And with the Adora family really firing in modern times, we can chuck in names of sires like Western Ideal (who through his dam Leah Almahurst brings Nibble Hanover via Abercrombie and then two more doses via Angel Hair, one being through her sire Bret Hanover and the other being through her dam K Nora). American Ideal of course has the K Nora double up on her Western Ideal sire line and her Three Diamonds bottom line.

Even a modern sire like Sportswriter carries dear old Nibble Hanover through multiple lines including his close sibling association with Abercrombie’s sire.

Next blog I look in the same way at Lydia Knight’s influence. Then we will get into the down under connections with wonderful influences like Bachelor Hanover and Lumber Dream.

As always, input appreciated via comment on the blog or email (bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz)  – particularly from my Australian blog readers who can throw a different light on the influence of these horses, because many different sires were available in Australia and never reached New Zealand.

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