Posts Tagged ‘Miss Duvall’

Still carrying on my series about Romola Hal’s legacy, in this blog I take a closer look at the breeding options I’ve gone for with my mare Dreamy Romance. Romola Hal sits 5 generations back on her maternal line. It’s the line of Romola Hal’s Overtrick daughter Romantic Hanover and I covered that off in detail in Part 2 of this series.


Dreamy Romance

Dreamy Romance with her Big Jim filly as a foal

I bought Dreamy Romance (Dream Away x Romantic – No Nukes) because of her connection to such a great mare and family, but unlike some of the breeders we have looked at in this series, I have not contemplated going to a sire that also carries Romola Hal in his pedigree. This is partly for type reasons – the mare is on the big side and leaves bigger, later types, so a “beefy” sire like Art Major is not what I want. But it is also for pedigree matching reasons. I don’t see enough evidence that going back to the immediate “Romola” family is working. It seems to be a family that strongly “clicks” with specific outsiders and also its wider iwi.

So although I agree that “going back to the herd” breeding has a logic to it, I have defined “the herd” more broadly. So rather than looking for a sire descended from Romola Hal, I have been more interested in sires from the wider Miss Duvall family (U7) of which Romola Hal is, of course, a member.  Or to be precise, from the May Dodge branch of the Miss Duvall family, which is where two daughters of May Dodge, both by The Senator, started their modern legacies – Nora Adele and Romola. I’ve also noted some of the elements that really fired up Romola Hal’s branch, and to some extent Adora’s branch, to spot any “nicks” or “clicks” that might indicate an enduring compatibility.

As blog readers might know, in pedigree matching I am often swayed by what is compatible with what, who likes who – rather than what is the same as what, who is like who. I go right back to one of my original articles where I compared pedigree matching to cooking. Dishes are made by combining different ingredients that work off each other or are compatible in combination – flavours, textures and the role they play in the recipe. Yeast, water, flour, salt = Bread.

So what am I baking with Dreamy Romance? A mix of going back to the wider herd maternally, but also some out-crossing to compatible lines.

So far, Dreamy Romance has progeny by Knight Rainbow, Klondike Kid and American Ideal (for breeder Bill Keeler), and then by Big Jim and hopefully later this year Mr Feelgood, for me as breeder. Both of the sires I’ve chosen to date have links back to the U7 family via different routes than the mare. Both are sires with very strong maternal performers and with a type that I hope might inject more speed and heart into the mare.

Big Jim? Upfront, there is the basic Artsplace line mare crossed to Western Hanover line sire, and all the statistics that come with that. But honestly, it was not a big factor in my decision.

Mr Feelgood? Crossing of two Artsplace lines but there are so many other factors involved, that didn’t bother me one bit.

In terms of foal, I wanted a sire that might give my bigger mare a more athletic type of foal (not necessarily smaller, as I think the mare will dictate the size anyway). So I am looking for proven speed and heart in the sire’s maternal line. If it’s a bigger foal, it needs a decent ticker. You can see in the two photos I’ve included of Big Jim and Mr Feelgood the type I have been looking for.

That’s the summary, but for those who enjoy the journey below is more detail following the pedigree links and the rationale.

The detail

First a quick review of some of the key intersections where multiple breedings from the Romola line resulted in several longer-term outcomes: who triggered that maybe? You find The Senator (a son of Peter The Great whose dam is inbred to Axworthy), Knight Dream with Adora (Knight Dream is 3×4 to Guy Axworthy, and of course I’m looking at his sire Nibble Hanover and his dam Lydia Knight in my new blog series), and then Bret Hanover crossing with K Nora for Angel Hair and Ambiguity amongst other daughters. On the Romola branch the repeated cross of Tar Heel with Romola Hal, and of Dancer Hanover with Romola Hal’s daughters. One of Romola’s other daughters, Willola, is the grandam of the wonderful mare Hobby Horse Tar by Tar Heel – and what a legacy she left. I don’t get stuck on these “click” sires, but I note them off to the side as “good to haves”. There are no surprises, as these were some of the top sires or broodmare sires in history accessible to good mares.

Now to the present and the choices for Dreamy Romance:

For Bill Keeler, the mare went to Knight Rainbow and Klondike Kid, and then American Ideal. Knight Rainbow was a lovely-bred local sire being from the same maternal family as Vance Hanover and his sire Tuapeka Knight had a beautifully constructed pedigree which includes Knight Dream as the sire of Lumber Dream. But the influence isn’t quite where it needs to be, which is connecting more directly with the U7 maternal line. Klondike Kid also has an interesting maternal line that brings in BG’s Bunny with his rich dose of two “click” sires Knight Dream and Bret Hanover plus Dancer Hanover.  American Ideal – ah, now we’re cooking! That’s a horse carrying two super strong U7 strains on his sire’s maternal line and his dam’s maternal line, neither of which are the Romola branch. Through Three Diamonds he brings in three “click” sires Bret Hanover, Knight Dream and Dancer Hanover, all through maternal lines. The resulting filly is now a big 3yo that trainer Kirsten Barclay likes but is giving time to grow.

American Ideal would be one of my top selections for Dreamy Romance, but his service fee is too much of a stretch at this stage.

Instead, I opted for Big Jim. Yes, he’s tall, but looking at him in the flesh I saw a finer type of horse, more athletic. His maternal line is a branch of U7 that separated in the early 1920s with May Dodge doing her thing (as described at the start of this blog) and a sister called Klata Dodge starting another line. And in that line the best strike rate was the 1958 mare Vacation Time. One of her daughters leads to Road Machine and a couple of other very high performing racehorses. Another of her daughters leads to Big Jim, via Vacation Byrd, Sea Pine, Cool Pink and Bold Pink.

Now here’s another interesting tidbit for you U7 fans. Sea Pine, Big Jim’s great-grandam, is 3 x 4 to Abbie Dodge, a daughter of Klata Dodge. It turns out that Sea Pine’s sire Airliner (who we usually think of as a lesser son on Adios) is actually a grandson of Abbie Dodge and hence a close part of the U7 family. Some of you will probably go “yes, we knew that,” but just indulge my journey, which is what makes breeding such a sensational discovery trek.

Big Jim Alabar 2013

Big Jim Alabar 2013

Big Jim’s sire is Western Ideal, whose dam Leah Almahurst traces back to May Dodge.

Did I know all the detail when I made the booking to Big Jim? No, some of it makes sense in retrospect when I have had time to dig deeper, like finding the Airliner connection. Not being one to follow the foundation mares and family numbering as a priority, I don’t always pick up those family connections on first glance. Sometimes it is more an instinct that says “That feels right”, and later finding out why. What I felt at first glance were synergies and compatibilities as well as the obvious “delta” formation from the double up of Sonsam and No Nukes, and the stunning speed and reach of an athletic sire to complement Dreamy Romance on type.

The other elements I liked about Big Jim were the multiple links to On Time and therefore Nedda and Nedda Guy (previous blogs). Same in Dreamy Romance’s pedigree. That’s one of my favourite maternal lines as many of you know, as it brings heart and speed with it, delivering well down the track. In this case tough speedy sires like Big Towner, Sonsam, and of course No Nukes. Also his maternal line has proven speed ability – his dam, grandam and great-grandam all earned more than $100,000 and took good times.

The result is the now weanling filly called My Big Romance.

Mr Feelgood

Trainer Luke McCarthy with then racehorse Mr Feelgood at his Cobbitty property. Photo: Jonathan Ng

The next sire I chose for Dreamy Romance was Mr Feelgood, and for similar reasons – a sire that is not small, but is a finer boned, more athletic type with proven speed, and importantly offers incredible value at the service fee for a horse that won over $3m and has a glorious pedigree for those of us who study these things. Plus Mr Feelgood has a strong speedy maternal line that traces back through K Nora and Adora, to dear old May Dodge. Remember she is the full sister to Klata Dodge, who Big Jim traces to. We could call them the Dodgy sisters, but in fact they have been anything but! More like the classic car than a dodgy deal! Pedigree-wise, Mr Feelgood offers even more – it’s another No Nukes double up with the mare and so the connection back to Nedda through No Nukes – but more importantly that same connection to Nedda via On Time through Jate Lobell’s maternal line, which makes it more accessible. On the siring line sits Grinfromeartoear, and blog followers will know my admiration for this sire from way back.  I am not surprised he produced such a great racehorse as Mr Feelgood from his opportunity with Best Of Memories. It is a crossing of two great maternal lines – Adora and Golden Miss. And they work well together. Interestingly the other excellent foal from Best Of Memories was Remember When (1:50.3, earnings $917,523) by Camluck who carries On Time and Golden Miss in his pedigree too.

Fingers crossed the Mr Feelgood x Dreamy Romance foal will arrive later this calendar year. I have yet to decide whether I can afford to put the mare back in foal, probably not and a year off will not be a bad thing. But always open to offers if anyone would like to try another American Ideal or perhaps Bettor’s Delight. Would He’s Watching be over-the-top? Probably. Unless, going back to the cooking analogy, you like “duck 5 ways” as your main.

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