Posts Tagged ‘Mr Feelgood’

A real test of our choices as breeders is if you are as pleased to get a filly as a foal. My latest foal on the ground is at Macca Lodge and is a nice filly from a totally underrated sire but $3 million earner Mr Feelgood and from my Dream Away mare Dreamy Romance.

I’ve done heaps of blogs on Mr Feelgood and still cannot understand why NZ breeders are not queuing up for this sire.  Bloodlines to die for and so currently of interest, with his maternal line tracing direct to Leah Almahurst and then to K Nora! And then Grinfromeartoear’s pedigree is chokka of older strong elements in his maternal line – classic lines of Golden Miss and Breath O’Spring. Wow! The match with Dreamy Romance is exactly what I wanted, for reasons I have blogged about before.

So I am really pleased to get a filly as she will have access to a load of good things in this match.

Now I’m interested in linking up with others who would like to have a filly to race and breed from, carrying on this match from great bloodlines, and having the goal of making the best Romola Hal branch in this part of the world.

The filly (to be named My Feelgood Romance) is from the mare I bought at a dispersal sale a few years ago from Roydon Lodge – Dreamy Romance (by Dream Away) and a descendant of the great Romola Hal, one of the few maternal branches of that amazing American family in New Zealand. So I am delighted to see a healthy filly foal on the ground at Macca Lodge. This is the branch of Romola Hall that produced good race horses Roymark, Precious Romance, and Beyond The Silence. But its mares have not really had breeding opportunities to the right lines, in my view.

I’m putting my resources where my mouth is and breeding the mare to sires I can afford but which really fit the bill for compatibility and stepping the mare up.

As usual for the mare this filly looks a good size and attractive – the previous filly foal I bred was by Big Jim and a very nice type with Kirsten Barclay. I believe this branch of Romola Hal can step up again and with careful selection we can get a great family going. Read my blog on both these matches here

If anyone would like to become involved, let me know.  I’d love to build a small syndicate around this, for racing and breeding.

Contact me on bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz if you would like to be involved.

Mr Feelgood filly

My Feelgood Romance – a filly by Mr Feelgood from Dreamy Romance

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This year’s Little Brown Jug was the 10th anniversary of Mr Feelgood’s win – the one I was privileged to see in person in Delaware. I was reminded of that by an article in Harness Racing Update where driver Mark Macdonald recalled the moment prior to the racing:

Ten years ago in this very stall, Mr Feelgood stood, virtually unnoticed,as a crowd gathered around his neighbour, straining to see the dog-sized speedster named Doonbeg. “Everyone wanted to see the little horse. Adam Hanley was (Mr Feelgood’s) groom and he was standing there with Mr Feelgood and it was like a joke,”Hey guys, Mr Feelgood over here.” But no one wanted to see him.He was put off,because he loved the horse so much and I said,”We’ll get them on the track, don’t worry about it,” MacDonald said.


The pint-sized Doonbeg (shown here in his stall on Jug Day) captured everyone’s imagination but Mr Feelgood captured the Little Brown Jug. Photo: Bee Pears

I confess I put my money on Doonbeg, but it was Mr Feelgood who won, and went on to many more wins including the Interdominion Championship and Hunter Cup in this part of the world, and a siring career that has been somewhat strange – his first crop was born before he had officially started at stud, his biggest crop in Australia is the result of a free service deal which has resulted in 227 foals born in 2015, and yet in New Zealand (where he raced very well for trainer Tim Butt) he has been totally ignored. They haven’t been able to give his semen away!

Well, there are a handful of us New Zealand breeders who have grabbed the opportunity, and it is appropriate that (fingers crossed for a safe landing) I will have a Mr Feelgood foal landing later this year from my Dream Away mare Dreamy Romance. Maybe if it is brown, it will have its name pretty well sorted! You can still get Mr Feelgood’s frozen semen at extremely good price ($1,750 + gst) from Lee Morris at Equibreed, and there may still be some at Nevele R Stud if you ask. Remember this was a fast (1.49 at 5yo), durable (raced until he was 8 and was still winning big stakes at the top level), and rich (lifetime earnings well over $3m) horse, with a maternal line (the K Nora/Adora family, Leah Almahurst branch) which is firing so beautifully at the moment.

I’ll be heading back to him again.

Betting Line’s family

Unfortunately this year’s Little Brown Jug has ended in a cloud that will be hard to disperse for a while, regardless of test outcomes, for winner Betting Line.

Betting Line

Betting Line gets a cool down after racing.

It is the old story – justice has to be seen to be done, and clean trainers have to be seen to be clean. So anything, any talk or action that could be misinterpreted should be ringing alarm bells. Perhaps a simple notification to the stewards that vanilla yogurt was going to be administered would have avoided all of this. It is really sad, as Coleman is an extremely good, hard-working trainer, and Betting Line is a very good horse. An 8-length win should be something we are all celebrating, instead of just hoping it was all done right.

Putting that to one side, let’s have a closer look at Betting Line – he’s a Bettor’s Delight from Western Hanover mare Heathers Western, who was a Pink Bonnet winner. Betting Line already has three well performed siblings from other sires – All Or None (2006 mare, $225,053) by Cams Card Shark, Full Picture (2007 mare, $581,876) by Artsplace, and  JK Folly (2011 mare, $176,872) by Art Major. A mare that can produce quality foals like that from a range of sires – two siring lines in common, to be sure – is a sign of a really good broodmare.

Betting Line’s grandam is Santastic, a Camtastic mare. If that rings bells, she is the dam of Santastic’s Pan who has stood at stud in Australia for many years. In fact I am sure he was at the same Little Brown Jug day when Mr Feelgood won – and if I recall, he was a winner there of the Jug Preview and I had a bet on him because I was a Camtastic fan at the time! Just checking on Santastic’s Pan siring stats in Australia, I see he has had 66 foals for 35 starters and 22 winners, but these are dribbled over 8 breeding seasons and the most mares he’s ever had in a season is 23. But those results are not disgraceful from such limited opportunities, and it is interesting to see some of his best are from In The Pocket mares, much like Camtastic himself. It’s interesting that both Betterthancheddar and Betting Line are both sons of Bettor’s Delight that carry Camtastic in their maternal lines.

This is a really strong family and if you use the Classic Families pedigree option to show X factor individuals, you will see Santastic’s maternal line is chock full of good things. So if Betting Line (who I think is a colt) ends up down here as a sire in future, I think he will a better chance of showing off his strong maternal foundation.



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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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Rangiora trials recently (Tuesday 22 September) had a few things to note for me, including the qualifying of Stroganoff, the Mister Big gelding from So Green bred and owned by the Beales, who won his previous trial earlier in the month by over 11 lengths (after going away in a gallop at the start and losing more than 15 lengths). The gallop that day meant he didn’t qualify, but this time he did it by 2.5 lengths in a Mile Rate: 2-05.5.

This is Mister Big’s fourth qualifier from 16 foals that have just turned 3 or 4yos. It’s an okay strike rate but one that needs to step up now that his crop of 18 2yos (only 7 registered so far) are coming into racing age. There are a few Mister Bigs lining up – Big Buddie (3yo gelding from the very good racemare Imagine That, breeder/owner Jim Dalgety) won his non-qualifying workout at Rangiora, also a couple of days ago, by a nose in a sizzling 2-06.3 Last 800m: 57.5 Last 400m: 27.3. Mister Big’s eye-catching yearling at the 2014 Christchurch sales, One Big Fella from Killarney who sold for $54,000 and is trained by Nigel McGrath, got to the workouts in June but he was always going to need a bit of time – it will be interesting to see how he goes this time in. He’s a half to Bondy.

Mister Big, sire

Mister Big, sire

Mister Big’s results are more impressive when you see the quality of his racetrack performers to date – Stroganoff seems to have a lot of talent, and Followthewind (an NZ filly from the Mach Three mare Whenua, breeders C J Barron,A R McDonald) is now racing in Australia and has achieved 5 wins and 5 places from just 10 starts and $31,665. And as mentioned Big Buddie looks to have ability.

Mister Big had bigger numbers in Australia, but again the oldest have only just turned 4yos, so still hard to tell how the biggest crop – his 3yos – will shape up as the season progresses. Two of his first crop in Mista Natural and Barooga Nellie have really good percentages of wins to date.

So in many ways it is like Tintin In America – really small numbers to build a reputation on, but promising signs from those who have made it so far.

Of course, it is all too late for Mister Big – he’s gone. He’s standing at Abby Stables in Ohio and whether he will ever be available downunder again, who knows.

But I will continue to follow his foals with interest. What a magnificent horse he was – and is – with one of the highest stakes earnings of all time.

Mr Feelgood, another champion son of Grinfromeartoear, remains available to both Australian and New Zealand breeders. He has similar breeding to Mister Big, being from a Jate Lobell mare, and as I have blogged many times his maternal line is incredibly classy. So I am grabbing that option this season and sending my Dreamy Away mare Dreamy Romance to Mr Feelgood, courtesy of Nevele R Stud who hold plenty of frozen semen (as does Equibreed NZ in the North Island).

To some extent, this was Mister Big’s issue here – direct competition with another stallion more familiar to us with very similar breeding and performance. With Smiling Shard in the mix as well for Alabar, something had to give. But Tip o’ the hat to a great horse and all the best to those who have his foals. Keep me posted if you have!





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Listening, reading, looking and thinking is the best route to finding a good match for your mare. Mulling is essential.

My own decision making this year has been slower than ever before. I’ve not felt really sure of my decisions until relatively late in the piece for me. But I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process.

In parallel I’ve been investigating some options (mares and sires) for those of you who ask for some help or advice. It’s free by the way. That process is also helpful for me, as it teaches me about families I might not know otherwise, and it opens my eyes to some alternatives that surprise even me.

I found myself the other week suggesting two pacing sires for a mare from an immediate trotting background! But anecdotal evidence and family investigation opened up some questions that I had to really think hard to answer. All I hope is that some of my research and ideas keep your minds open and active when looking at breeding options, whatever your final decision is.

We need to be curious, agile and sometimes adventurous to find the gold nuggets we are looking for.

I push myself to go outside my instinctive likes or dislikes, or what is top commercial crossed with what is top commercial. I look for things that hang together well, from different directions on the pedigree but particularly what strengths and clicks there might be on the maternal lines of the mare and the sire.

The process for me is to work through to a short-list of potential matches, print them out (from the basic stud TesioMatching report) and leave them floating around – at the breakfast bar, on my bedside table, at my desk, folded up in my work lunch bag…whatever it takes to have them around where I can just relax, mull them over, and get a feel for them. Part of that is knowing (or reminding myself as I don’t have a photographic memory) what happens in the next few generations beyond.

This is a process that stands me in good stead. It gives me a sense of the overall balance of a pedigree match as well as the time to investigate detail if something looks interesting. Its a mix of Sherlock Holmes with Vincent van Gogh and a few vinos in between lol.

This year I am breeding only two mares – The Blue Lotus and Dreamy Romance. That is mainly a financial call, as I have opted in the last couple of years to breed or buy a share in several foals that are not aimed at the yearling sales. So I need to be prepared for the costs of raising, training and hopefully racing those foals. It is just a different emphasis for me for a few years.

The Blue Lotus with the Snow Leopard

The Blue Lotus and her Shadow Play colt “Leo” playing in February this year.

The decisions this year:

To send The Blue Lotus back to Shadow Play. This was a close call with Sunshine Beach being the other preferred option. Lots of mulling.

To send Dreamy Romance to Mr Feelgood. Loved this match the more I mulled, and got my blog friend Richard Prior to add his mulling as well. Result? Mulled wine, we hope.

  • I am a huge admirer of the sire as a race horse and his pedigree, and most especially his ability to adapt and be excellent in two totally different styles and hemispheres of harness racing.
  • His performance so far as a sire.
  • His pedigree match with this particular mare, and also the potential of a more medium sized athletic sire to give a bigger mare a more balanced foal.

It is something quite special, to make these  choices. The result will have my signature on it, just as much as the mare’s and the sire’s. So that is quite a responsibility.

Worth mulling over.

Note: Mr Feelgood’s frozen semen is available from Nevele R Stud or from Equibreed NZ Ltd. Contact them direct. See previous blog.

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Always good to get an update from those who know. And extra good to hear he can be available to NZ breeders this season – I already have a mare lined up that looks suitable.

Mr Feelgood is in great health and had a great season last year with around 340 services.

This is as much as we could supply with fresh semen and his fertility was very good.

We gave Nevele R Stud and Lee Morris (Equibreed) a supply of frozen semen and they will have it this season to service New Zealand breeders.

Our problem last year was that we were late in getting the semen to New Zealand as we didn’t know the export procedure.

Nevele R and Equibreed are at liberty to set the service fees for New Zealand this season.

We will be standing him again at Egmont Park this season and we are yet to set a service fee.

He is a beautiful stallion and has a gentle nature and is a pleasure to take semen from.

His first crop in the US and first Australian crop records are as attached:

Mr Feelgood USA stats 150429 Stallion Stats

As you will see, these records are outstanding.

With his third crop he only had two foals (from two services), A Good Chance and Feel the Faith, both outstanding youngsters.

He has been a dream horse for my partner Peter O’Shea and myself having won the 2009 Inter Dominion and other Grand Circuit races in Australia winning a total prize money of $3.3M.

There is no doubt he will be an outstanding sire and his maternal family is fantastic. One of the best bred stallions ever to stand in Australia.

Those who have Mr Feelgood stock are highly impressed and have already booked to him again this season.


Kind regards

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Last season, a strange offer came in from Australia when the owner of Mr Feelgood, Kevin Seymour,  made a hugely generous gesture of a free service (except for working fee) to that sire for the first 100 NZ owners taking up the offer – for that season only.

Only 13 did. (Nevele R report about 13 mares served for about 10 positives, but the North Island agents had no mares served.)

That is not a reflection on the sire or the generosity of the offer, but more on the timing and the degree of competition – towards the end of the season, out of the blue, and as far as I could see with one advertisement only, in NZ Harnessed October edition. It had the air of a clearance sale about it, which I am sure was not the intent at all. Or was it?

As a Mr Feelgood supporter from way-back, it was a frustrating moment. The mares I had were already committed or not available. I can only hope the semen stays here and the offer might become available again and over a few years rather than as a one-off. Because I rate this sire, as my blog readers know. His performance and his pedigree is exceptional. He’s a Little Brown Jug winner and an Interdom Final and Hunter Cup winner. His maternal line is same as Western Ideal’s. He’s a very athletic type, throwing much more to his maternal line and Jate Lobell – and he is leaving winners from very small numbers.

With considerable help from my friend Richard Prior in Australia, here are some statistics and analysis of Mr Feelgood to date (well, a few weeks back, so there may be new results to add). If any of this clicks with your thinking as a breeder or with the mares you have, put him into your mix.

Is there a chance that those of us in NZ who like this sire could access the offer again. I’d hope so and I am following this up, will let you know if I find anything. He seems to be back at Goldrush Lodge in Queensland, and I am not sure why his previous stud at Yirribee was only offering frozen semen rather than chilled. Is the horse okay? Is his fertility okay? Is he going to be available this coming season? It’s all a bit of a mystery.

As for you lucky buggers across the ditch, I will follow your Mr Feelgood foals with interest (with help from Richard) and we will meet again same time next year to see how his 2yos have shaped up.

Mr Feelgood in the winners circle 2006

Mr Feelgood in the winners circle, 2006 Little Brown Jug
Photo: Bee Pears

Mr Feelgood – how is he going as a sire and what shows up in matches to date?

Oldest Australian progeny are 4yos – 17 registered foals.
3yos – only two registered foals, both earned over $70k to date. (Two more wins for A Good Chance, since Richard made the list below, so he’s now earned $87k).
Next two crops significantly bigger (76 and 84).

Total starters 13 for 11 winners. 7 of the 11 are fillies.

  • 3 out of his top 4 are out of Perfect Art mares
  • 4 out of the 11 are out of Fake Left mares and another is from Fake Left son Famous Forever
  • 6 out of 11 are from Cam Fella line stallions.

His top 2 in Nth America are Feelsgood out of a Camluck mare  and I’m Feelin Good from a The Big Dog mare (526K and 1.49.6).

Australian offspring in order of earnings to date (as at end of March/early April 2015)

Charming Allie (Perfect Art) = 256k and 1.53.9
A Good Chance (Perfect Art) = 78k and 1.54.9
Feel The Faith (Fake Left) = 69k and 1.56.6
Good Feelings (Perfect Art) = 33k and 1.56.3
Millenium Rose (Famous Forever) = 31k and 2.00.1
Nurse Feelgood (Westburn Grant) = 29k and 1.58.3
Tactician (US) (Western Hanover) = 18k and 1.54.6
Fiscal Cliff (DM Dilinger) = 13k and 1.59.5
Feelin Good Lefty (Fake Left) = 9k and 1.59.2
Feelgood Tonight (Christian Cullen) = 8k and 2.00.8
Feels Like A Dream (Fake Left) = 5k and 1.59.6
A Little Naughty (Fake Left) = 1.54.6

Use the Search on my blogsite to find several other blogs I’ve done about Mr Feelgood including here and here.



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Lot 194 at tomorrow’s Melbourne yearling sale is a Mr Feelgood colt. I feel like cheering wildly when I see this pedigree, as it gives the mare (Twice Again Franco) a real chance to show what she can offer genetically.

So I think this colt is a worthy addition to our “virtual yearling stable” of 2015.

Lot 194 APG yearling sale 2015

Lot 194 APG 2015 yearling sale – a Mr Feelgood colt

The yearling’s great grandam (Tropez Lobell) is a daughter of Three Diamonds by Storm Damage. So the colt is part of the wonderful K Nora/Adora family. Tropez Lobell was crossed with Jate Lobell to produce Trilogy Franco, the dam of Twice Again Franco.

Mr Feelgood’s maternal line is also part of the K Nora/Adora family.

Plus this match reintroduces Jate Lobell – this time crossed with the great mare Leah Almahurst.

The previous foals from Twice Again Franco have not been bad – two by Falcon Seelster, one by Riverboat King, and more recently a filly by Courage Under Fire.

The mare seems to miss almost every other year.

What intrigues me – and there may well be a reason – is why some closer connections to the maternal family and to Three Diamonds haven’t been tried earlier? American Ideal is the obvious one. He’s bred very much on the same cross, with Three Diamonds in his maternal line and Leah Almahurst in his sire’s pedigree. Even Life Sign himself would have been on my list. Or taking a different angle, Grinfromeartoear with his damsire Storm Damage (Three Diamonds was crossed with Storm Damage to produce Tropez Lobell) and his ability to click with Jate Lobell mares.

The most recent mating of Twice Again Franco was with Real Desire, a son of Life Sign, but the mare slipped. Tell All and Village Jolt are also options, but less commercial perhaps.

Line breeding to the strongest maternal influences, particularly when they can be found in such good sires, is something I really like. As with any line breeding, it is a lot more than just having the same names occurring somewhere in the pedigree. Where they appear is important, as is the overall balance of the match.

That’s another reason I like this colt. I’m keen to have him in our “interesting and innovative pedigrees” virtual stable.

A series of blogs I did on Mr Feelgood a couple of years ago:

Mr Feelgood Part 1

Mr Feelgood Part 2

Mr Feelgood as a sire – Part 3

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Hola! Mr Feelgood is finally available in New Zealand, and after a few years when I would have loved to put a mare to him, right now I  have nothing to offer.

But what a deal…very generous, if rather out-of-left-field, so if you do have a suitable mare, grab him, because

1. He is so well bred, his maternal line is classic.

2, He is so proven at all distances, all environments, here, Australia, America. A true world pacing champion.

3. He is a medium sized athletic sire, and a great outcross to many of our mares.

I would have put my best mare Zenterfold to him if this had been my turn at breeding, just on his own merits as much as the cross, regardless of the commercial appeal. That’s how much I like what he offers and what he proved on the track.

Check out my series about him by searching on Mr Feelgood  or this blog which focuses on him as a potential sire.

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This is part 2, following my previous blog, and a part 3 is coming….(Yes, I intended to get it all written today, but I got completely diverted building another chook house in the rain. I wish weekends were longer!)

In my last blog I recalled Mr Feelgood’s Little Brown Jug win, and the fact he had then gone on to an exceptional career as a mature horse – he earned over $3 million from a 2yo through to a 9yo, racing in three different countries and adapting to completely different hemisphere styles of racing.

What he has earned, in addition to the money, is a huge amount of respect.

And that, in my view, is one of his strengths as he takes on all comers in the race for success as a sire.

Because standing as a sire is just as competitive and challenging as any part of Mr Feelgood’s racing career.

There are many other horses who have similar attributes – a solid maternal family, closely related to excellent horses, performance statistics that confirm both speed and toughness at the highest level…

But as far as I am aware, there are very few horses that has achieved what he has – two successful careers at the top level, one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere, and in races that even on their own would have earned him the respect of trainers, punters and breeders. Combine Mr Feelgood’s achievements in one curriculum vitae, and you can see why this horse is so exceptional.

Mr Feelgood

Trainer Luke McCarthy runs his eye over 2011 Len Smith Mile hopeful Mr Feelgood at his Cobbitty property yesterday.
Photo: Jonathan Ng

The only hiccup in Mr Feelgood’s racing record is that his initial sojourn in New Zealand in 2009 was not particularly successful, as he came to terms with the new environment and, under Tim Butt’s guidance, learned a new style of racing. His southern hemisphere career has been mainly based in Australia, with the McCarthys, and that is where he has built an enduring and successful second career at the very top echelon of open class racing. (He did return to New Zealand on a raid from Australia in 2011, when he came 2nd in the Auckland Cup and 4th in the Christchurch Interdominion Finals.)

Raids to another hemisphere always capture interest. The incredible journeys of Graham Pearson and Under Cover Lover, of Graham Brunton and Lyell Creek, of Mark Purdon and Pride Of  Petite, are some New Zealand examples from the past 20 years or so.

But as Auckland Reactor found, it is quite a different thing to move from one hemisphere to another and build a second career there at the very top level.

There is one great New Zealand horse that has achieved it, and that is Cardigan Bay in the 1960s. He won the very top races in 3 different countries (NZ Cup, Auckland Cup), and in Australia (Interdominions), and then moved to North America at the age of 8 and over the next 4 years he beat the likes of Bret Hanover and Overtrick, and was twice US Pacer of the Year – there’s plenty about “Cardy” on the internet, just google Cardigan Bay and refresh you memories of this truly great campaigner!

[In hindsight I would add Lyell Creek to the list of those horses that made top level careers in two hemispheres – he was in Nth America for two years and competed against the top trotters, winning or placing many times.]

Mr Feelgood has something Cardigan Bay and Lyell Creek (both geldings) could not achieve – the opportunity to become a successful sire.

Remarkably, Mr Feelgood has already had two shots at it, once when he was first retired in America and once with frozen semen while he was still racing in Australia – for some very interesting and promising results.

In the United States the entire served a book of mares 31 which produced 25 live foals. From the small crop he has left three $100,000 winners to date, two of which won the Colts and Gelding and Fillies 3YO divisions of the $250,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes Finals, namely I’m Feelin Good and Feels Good. Then when Mr Feelgood was racing in the southern hemisphere he produced 17 live foals through frozen semen, three have since died and the remaining 14 turned 2yos from 1 September this year.

Mr Feelgood is standing at Yirribee Stud in New South Wales but under Alabar’s management.

In racing “world champions”, “sensational”, and many other marketing hyperboles are all too common, Mr Feelgood has proved he much more than a Little Brown Jug 3yo winner. He is, in my view, an exceptional racehorse.

Will he be an exceptional sire? In my next blog I’ll look at that, and share some insights from Alabar’s John Coffey.

Comments always welcome – and examples of other horses you know of who have had top level careers in two hemispheres.

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