Posts Tagged ‘Nevele R Stud’

Just back from my hugely enjoyable trip to the South Island, where I took in Show Day at Addington, and caught up with some of my youngsters at Studholme Bloodstock (thanks to Brian West and family for a lovely time and taxi service) and Macca Lodge (thanks to Brent and Sheree McIntyre for great southern hospitality).

Highlights were seeing Tintin In America looking in fine fettle at Nevele R – thanks so much to Nikki Reed for showing me around, not just Tintin but the other sires there, all in their paddocks, covers on, a bit muddy. That’s what I love seeing – some of the best horses in the world (A Rocknroll Dance, Gold Ace, McArdle, his son Tintin In America, and the great Christian Cullen) just hanging out and being normal horses!

The day before I had caught up with the 3yo Tintin In America filly co-owned by Brian and myself, recently qualified and now having a good break at Brian’s property. Her name is Be A Legend, and she has grown into a striking filly who will get better with another 6 months of growing and strengthening up. Worth the wait.

Another highlight was when Brent McIntyre took me over the backroads of Southland to meet John and Judy Stiven of Arden Lodge fame. They are passionate about breeding and harness racing, and really thoughtful in the way they have gone about developing their band of mares. It was great seeing some of those quality offspring and learning from John about his breeding decisions. Their mare Winter Rose won the NZSBA/PGG Wrightson Broodmare of Excellence 2015 presented on the Monday night function in Cup Week. Much deserved, as she has a fine record as a broodmare – she’s the dam of Bettor’s Strike, Southwind Arden, and the newcomer Arden’s Choice (more on her in another blog) amongst others.

Of course the other highlight for me was catching up with the two mares and foals I have at Macca Lodge, that I’ve never seen before in person: Dreamy Romance and her Big Jim filly, and Nostaglic Franco and her Tintin In America colt. (Those links will take you to my blogs where I look at the match resulting in these foals). All looking great! And so good to see those mares up close and get a real impression of them, which will help me make future decisions.


Be A Legend 3yo filly Tintin In America x A Legend

Be A Legend 3yo filly Tintin In America x A Legend (Safely Kept)

Breeder Bee Pears with sire Tintin In America (NZ)

Bee reconnecting with Tintin In America at Nevele R – and no, he didn’t try to nip me!

Tintin In America

Eye-to-eye with Tintin In America

Nostalgic Franco and her Tintin In America colt foal at Macca Lodge

Nostalgic Franco and her Tintin In America colt foal at Macca Lodge

Dreamy Romance and her Big Jim filly foal at Macca Lodge

Dreamy Romance and her Big Jim filly foal at Macca Lodge


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A bonus from my trip to the NZSBA breeders conference in Christchurch was the opportunity to visit Nevele R Stud and see Tintin In America, whom I bred, and some of his weanlings.

My visit was a lovely echo of my only other trip to Nevele R, which happened the year I decided to put Zenterfold to McArdle, which resulted in Tintin In America being born.

That day was just the same – raining, and the array of famous racehorses/sires standing in their paddocks with their covers on, looking just like any horse. I particularly recall Courage Under Fire (standing at Nevele R at that stage) who looked almost lost under his cover, being the small horse he is, as the rain poured down around us.

Tintin In America, Sire

Breeder Bee Pears with Tintin In America at Nevele R Stud, May 2013

That was about 8 years ago. Kym and I were shown around personally by Bob McArdle;  it was a fascinating tour with plenty of commentary by Bob, followed by a fairly robust discussion as we all sheltered in our Hilux ute and debated the merits of putting my mare Zenterfold to Falcon Seelster (which Bob advocated) or McArdle (which I was more interested in doing).

As history shows us, I stuck with McArdle.

So it was lovely last Saturday to come full circle and be standing alongside Tintin In America the sire, in the rain, at Nevele R all these years later.

Tintin retired very sore in one leg joint after super seasons as one of our top racehorses from 2yo to 4yo, and almost reaching a million dollars of earnings.

The good news is: he is very well in himself and full of attitude in the paddock, and very fertile in the barn. Thanks to Nevele R in doing such a good job in settling him in to his new career.

There’s no doubt what sticks in people’s mind about Tintin is his incredible acceleration and speed.  As he grew older he developed the strength to hold that sprint longer. At times, he appeared to be low flying down the home straight. That sort of acceleration is hard to come by.

He was a medium sized horse, but a first foal from a medium sized mare. From what I have seen, his foals are quite striking types of good size. I saw two at Nevele R and both had white blazes which could be their own family influences but I have also noted the blaze/snip influence in Tintin’s family. Interesting.

I’d love to hear from people who have foals/weanlings by Tintin. Email me at bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz and tell me about them.

Personally, I am negotiating a share in a well bred weanling filly by Tintin In America, and have leased another mare to put to him with a very interesting pedigree match. But more about those  at a later date.

I’m a careful and thoughtful breeder and I believe he’s worth a good punt as a sire.

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Both Alabar and Nevele R have taken a punt on a son of Western Ideal for the coming breeding season – Big Jim for Alabar and Vintage Master for Nevele R.

Although very good horses in their own right, and both with solid pedigrees, I think a major influence in bringing these sires to New Zealand is also the success of American Ideal (at Woodlands) and of Rocknroll Hanover (by frozen semen) over the past couple of years.

If the Western Ideal sire line is the next big thing, then a stud needs to have one of his top sons on their books, otherwise they can’t offer what breeders appear to be looking for.

Western Ideal

But are New Zealand breeders attracted to American Ideal because of the Western Ideal factor and what is a successful trend in North America? I’m not sure. Western Ideal himself was offered here by frozen semen (via Nevele R) for a couple of years but there wasn’t a lot of interest, perhaps because of the price but also because Western Ideal is not one of those racehorses who reached globally to capture our Kiwi imagination. I would say the attitude to him is more one of huge respect but not excitement – and the lack of familiarity with Western Ideal as a racehorse or a sire (as well as the frozen semen factor) could have made breeders wonder: “Will this be a wow factor for buyers at the sales? Is it worth the price and the risk?”

However American Ideal’s growing reputation through the type of progeny he is leaving and his strike rate (23 starters for 15 winners in 2012), means a market has potentially developed for sons of Western Ideal standing here at affordable prices (compared to Rocknroll Hanover’s top priced frozen semen which is on a different tack).

So how do these two new siring sons of Western Ideal compare? I haven’t seen them in the flesh so I’m relying on photos and reports for that side of things.

They have both taken after their sire in having size (Western Ideal was over 16 hands), which is also the case with Rocknroll Hanover, although American Ideal is medium sized and is tending to leave medium sized foals. Perhaps that is the influence of American Ideal’s damline, which might also be a steer for breeders.

Both Vintage Master and Big Jim have strong maternal lines that could be complemented by broodmares here.

But as racehorses they were very different – Vintage Master tough, tractable, performed best at 3yo, kept going through to the end of the 5yo season.

Big Jim, very speedy 2yo and consistently fast in top races, mentally mature, retired due to soundness problems.

I’ll take a closer look at Vintage Master’s pedigree and what might suit him now, and turn to Big Jim in my next blog. These are, of course, just my views and based on a number of factors, research and thought – not pushing any particular barrow, sire or stud.

Vintage Master

Vintage Master took time to develop – he wasn’t a naturally early type and his fastest time 2yo was his qualifying one of 1:57.4. He matured in his 3yo season to win the Cane, Adios, Bluegrass and Tattersalls (and the bulk of his earnings), and the next couple of years he performed well as a tough pacer with enough grit and versatility to keep winning well-staked, if not top, races. I understand he wasn’t quick off the gate but had strength to hold his speed and, I would guess, the temperament to be very tractable in his racing. He accumulated over $2 million total career earnings but in terms of really top races it was that burst as a 3yo that really set him up. He retired sound after his 5yo season.

Vintage Master – strong maternal line

What I like about Vintage Master’s pedigree is his very well performed maternal line that carries proven speed performers. I think the size of Vintage Master meant he would always take time to find his speed, but it’s good for breeders to see where the speed is and figure out how they might reinforce it through mares with potentially compatible genes and/or type. Specifically Vintage Master’s dam has produced 4 winners from 5 foals and all of those winners have taken <1.55 marks. The fastest earliest is a three quarter brother (interestingly by American Ideal) who paced 1.50.4 at 2yo.

Vintage Master’s grandam is Napa Valley, a sister to the excellent racemare Silk Stockings – who of course appears in Live Or Die’s maternal pedigree. Napa Valley (by Most Happy Fella) was a good racemare herself, and half of her foals turned into <1.55 winners. Two of her fastest were by Storm Damage, the son of Breath O Spring and damsire of Grinfromeartoear.

So when looking for a type of mare that might suit Vintage Master, I’d look for maternal lines in particular that include some of these top quality elements – and Live Or Die and Grinfromeartoear mares would stand out for me.

I’d also look for Most Happy Fella in the maternal lines of sires that could add a bit of speed as well – so Mach Three and McArdle mares would fit that bill. Or looking back a bit, if anyone has still got Road Machine, Pacific Rocket mares around, they might be worth a try if they showed some speed themselves or come from a family that did.

Mares by In The Pocket would also help keep that ‘smaller, quicker’ type that I think this sire (and the Western Ideal line in general) will need. On type alone, many Courage Under Fire mares could suit Vintage Master.

Nevele R have positioned him in the $4000 price range which is trying to attract reasonable quality and numbers of mares. It is a tough ask at the moment for a sire we don’t know much about. But it doesn’t compete with their top line latest edition Well Said (by Western Hanover) who is priced at $8000 and will be marketed as a speed sire.

The more I look into Vintage Master’s pedigree, the more I think he could offer something here in that medium price range that would particularly suit breeders with good but not “sales” mares who are wanting a sire that will add value and are not obsessed with producing very early speed.  He’s unlikely to upgrade slow mares from poor families, and very few sires can. But he could do well with smaller or medium sized mares with the right pedigrees and type for him.

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When I spoke to Nevele R Stud’s Peter O’Rourke  recently I was delighted to learn that Tintin In America has settled in very well at Nevele R and is relaxed and comfortable. The soreness in his leg is no worse and in fact a little better, and it has not affected collection of his semen at all. In fact Peter describes him as a ‘great little stallion” and his fertility rate for his first year standing as a sire will be around 90%, which is outstanding.

Tintin In America

Tintin In America winning the 3yo Breeders Crown.

Tintin In America served 63 mares this season (40 in NZ and 23 in Australia), including about 15 on farm at Nevele R.

Although that is lower than Nevele R hoped, Peter says there are reasons for it – the overall numbers of mares being bred to continues to downward trend so there are basically fewer mares spread around a healthy number of sires, and the stud also had the herpes virus alert which contributed to fewer mares on farm than usual.

However the quality of the mares Tintin In America got in his first season was good – about 50% were winning mares, Peter says, which shows a level of confidence in the sire. When a new ‘young gun’ stands at stud at such a reasonable fee, there is always the risk that the majority of mares he gets will be less performed ones brought in from the ‘back paddock’ in the hope that a miracle may occur!  Although Tintin had exceptional speed, it is a big ask to upgrade mares unless they also bring something to the table, and many a new sire at the lower end of the stud fee spectrum has faced that problem.

As a 15.1h stallion with a reputation for speed and endurance (he won at the highest level from age 2 to 4) he will be attractive match for medium and larger mares. It will be interesting to see if he is one of those sires who ‘stamp’ their progeny in type or not.  A really important attribute he will hopefully pass on is his will power, which his dam Zenterfold also had as a racehorse – a desire to win, a really competitive streak, an arrogance. My own belief is that Tintin’s ability is driven from his maternal line, and my selection of sires is really to complement that with additional scope, and to ‘call’ to its best genes through pedigree matching.  That’s not downplaying McArdle’s contribution as a sire, but just from knowing the family well.

As the breeder of Tintin In America I remain very interested in his well being, and it was great to get an invitation from Peter to visit him whenever I am in Christchurch.

Post note: Re my previous blog, when just about to leave for the yearling sales – Tintin In America’s half brother Lot 148 Destination Moon sold for $67,000 at the Australasian Classic sale at Karaka on 8 May 2012. That’s a price I’m very pleased with, and he has gone to a good owner (Kerry Hoggard) and good trainer (Gareth Dixon).  As I said in my blog, a good price like that gives something back to the vendor but also leaves room for the new owner to add value and hopefully get a good return. I will be following his progress with interest. He certainly had the same energy and assertiveness that Tintin had. Fingers crossed for the same speed!

(Apologies for the lack of blogs post sale, for a number of reasons including family ill health and computer problems I have not been able to get to the blog for the past couple of weeks.)

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