Posts Tagged ‘Matt’s Scooter’

Following on from my last post, where I noted the absence of Western Hanover as a damsire of commercial sires, this time I look at our local sires and see where the damsires are coming from.

Once again, there is a big name almost totally missing – In The Pocket.

In The Pocket, a super son of Direct Scooter, was the southern hemisphere equivalent of Matt’s Scooter, and he did a similar remarkable job as a sire of speedy sons and daughters.

But unlike Matt’s Scooter, so far In The Pocket’s influence on New Zealand sires is very much as a sire of sires (Changeover, Christian Cullen, Courage Under Fire) rather than as damsire of sires.

To date there is only one sire standing with In The Pocket as his damsire, and that is Tintin In America (by McArdle). That surprises me, given In The Pocket’s record as a sire here over such a long period. There is also one sire with Christian Cullen (top sire and son of In The Pocket) as a damsire, and that is Highview Tommy (by Bettor’s Delight).

There’s several reasons why I would love to see more of In The Pocket in the damsire role of our locally bred sires. He was a horse not only known for his speed and determination, but also his heart. Whether or not you totally agree with the “x factor” theory of Marianna Haun, there does seem considerable evidence to show that a larger heart may be passed on the x chromosome, i.e. able to be passed from a male horse to his female progeny but not to his male progeny.

If this is the case, then one of the most important qualities of In The Pocket will be able to be passed on to a sire when he is in the maternal line.

In the Northern Hemisphere, this role has been picked up by Matt’s Scooter (as well as him being a sire of sires).  He is a key element in the maternal line of some of the good sires coming through – American Ideal of course, but also Shadow Play and Well Said.

Becoming a successful sire is very hard. Becoming a sire of sires is almost impossible. Becoming an important damsire of sires is also a mountain to climb, or rather a totally different and more technically difficult face of the same mountain perhaps.

I hope Tintin In America can advance his cause in that regard, and I also hope In The Pocket gets more chances in the future as a damsire of champion sires. We need him in the “engine room” of more of our sires – the the back pocket where we like to keep our reserves of cash.



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The passing of Matt’s Scooter has been flagged up to me by Standardbred breeding for all website – it’s on their Facebook page, with a good summary of his top achievements as a sire.

One of his most incredible achievements is to leave a son as brilliant as Mach Three, who is now (mainly through Somebeachsomewhere) extending the Matt’s Scooter line at the very highest level. That is such a hard thing for any good racehorse and good sire to add to their credentials.

And as Standardbred Breeding For All points out, in addition what a great contribution he makes as a damsire. Well Said and Shadow Play just two of the upcoming sires with that influence.

Tip o’ the hat to Matt’s Scooter.

Matt’s Scooter was, like In The Pocket, the “last chance” for the Direct Scooter siring line (and beyond that for the Volomite line really). What they offered was outcrossing from Hal Dale lines at a time when it was desperately needed, and they added something else, an almost undefinable physical and mental toughness, a will to win. In many of his races Matt’s Scooter was parked out. “The more I pushed him, the more he responded” said Mike Lachance of his world record time-trial.

His passing sent me scurrying to John Bradley’s book Modern Pacing Sire Lines where he has a chapter. Some quotes from that which give an insight into the horse’s attributes:

When you saw Matt’s Scooter on the track, you just knew you would not forget his remarkable, long-reaching stride.

Matt’s Scooter was bred by Max Gerson of New York City and sold for $17,500 at the Fall Classic yearling sale held at the Meadowlands in 1986. Gerson also bred Matt’s Scooter’s dam, the Meadow Skipper mare Ellen’s Glory. The yearling sale catalog page for Matt’s Scooter was not impressive; he was the third foal from a non-record mare whose first two foals had not earned a penny at two and three. He sold for about $4,500 less than the average-priced Direct Scooter colts that fall.

Being the fastest horse ever made Matt’s Scooter “a marked man” as every other driver and owner wanted to beat him. As a result, Matt’s Scooter suffered many parked out trips but continued to show his speed and courage.

Let that be magic to many a disillusioned breeder’s ears!

Other words that stand out about Matt’s Scooter: “He was sound and just kept getting stronger.” (Mike Lachance)

“He was the best gaited pacer I ever drove when he was in high gear.”  (Mike Lachance)

Another interesting observation from John Bradley is Matt’s Scooter’s affinity as a sire with mares who carry connections to The Old Maid/Spinster/Lady Scotland et al. Not dissimilar to In The Pocket and his love of what he found here with our mare’s genetic pool of Bachelor Hanover and Light Brigade.

The photo of Matt’s Scooter “prancing” in John Bradley’s book is so very like the photos many of us will remember of adverts for In The Pocket as a sire – I will try to post them up in a day or so if I can.





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