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Raging Bull sire

Raging Bull as a racehorse, for trainer Cran Dalgety.

Keeping any siring line going over time is not easy. They bloom and fade, then bloom again. Dominance changes, and a sire line also needs a good compatible or outcross mare pool to work with, and vice versa. So there is a lot of genetic logic behind the changing fortunes of siring lines. What was likely 10 or 20 years ago – the growing dominance of the Artsplace sire line, the struggle to keep Direct Scooter’s line alive, several Western Hanover sons not living up to expectations…. has turned around to become a blossoming of the Direct Scooter sire line in both hemispheres, a big burst from Western Hanover thanks to Western Ideal, and Artsplace more or less relying on Art Major and his sons to keep that line going – but recent entrants Sportswriter and Sweet Lou could change that if Art Major doesn’t find a really strong son and heir soon.

Cam Fella has had huge success with his sons in North America, but Bettor’s Delight is the only real star sire as a grandson available here, and he has yet to find a really strong successor, the anointed son to carry on the Cam Fella siring line.  Ironically, it is a son of his brother Roll With Joe who may pick up that mantle – Racing Hill, recently retired to stud, has a pedigree to die for. Check out his maternal line on Classic Families here, so many influences and strengths to tap into!

What about the In The Pocket/Direct Scooter line downunder?

In New Zealand we have our own conundrum which I’ve blogged about before – the search for a sire to continue the highly successful In The Pocket line. With his super racehorses and well-bred sons Courage Under Fire, Changeover and Christian Cullen, there seemed to be every chance that at least a few successors would come from those sires and carry on the mahe in a commercial way. But it has proved much harder. Changeover is still a work in progress as a sire, and needs more topline sons who also happen to be colts to have a chance to carry on that branch. Courage Under Fire is so admired as a sire and damsire, and his only siring son Lanercost is a low cost option standing in Queensland, Australia. Lanercost was a super racehorse, especially as a 2, 3 and 4yo and has solid New Zealand breeding on his side but he will have the job of upgrading the small numbers of mares he is likely to get, so he needs luck. So the likely successor was always going to come from Christian Cullen with his super record as a sire and big numbers over many years, and generally having the pick of our mares. But it is never that easy.

Sons of Christian Cullen as sires to date

Many have been or are being tried, yet none have stood out yet and some, for fertility or poor response reasons, have been moved to small studs in Australia or simply dropped out of sight. His siring sons have included (with total NZ bred live foals to date in brackets) – Pay Me Christian (36), Charles Bronson (36), Christian Fire (24), Gotta Go Cullen (133), Tomahawk (38), Ohoka Arizona (209), Justa Tiger (56), Gotta Go Cullect (406), Raging Bull (40), Stunin Cullen (78), Alta Christiano (7 – but stands at Alabar Australia where he has 81 live foals). As I will cover in more detail below, Gotta Go Cullect has had the most opportunity, but couldn’t covert it to performers, and I believe he has retired from breeding. Ohoka Arizona has been solid, but again his performers (apart from a couple of exceptions) are one or two win horses. Alta Christiano did much of his racing in Australia and won the WA Derby, which explains his appeal there, as well as Fake Left, who stood very successfully in Australia, being his damsire. If he gets the numbers and some early runs on the board, he’s a possible heir – and I’ll look at him more closely in a later blog. I’m proud to say he was a yearling I picked out years ago for one of my yearling sales “virtual stables”, such a good looking horse.

Why Raging Bull is different

GalleriaRaging Bull stands at goStallions (Noel Kennard) in the South Island of New Zealand for $1500 + gst. I’ve blogged about him previously – and the two yearlings I covered in that article sold for $27,000 and $22,000 respectively. Where he differs from almost all other sons of Christian Cullen is that his maternal line is solidly North American, being from an Artplace mare San Sophia who is a full sister to the extraordinarily good mare Galleria. Galleria paced 1.49 back in the late 1990s, when that sort of record was incredible, and earned US$1.8million. The bottom line of this pedigree is not well known to us at a glance – it is the U6 family, which is actually the maternal family of Albatross, Nihilator, and more recently Pure Country amongst others. We probably know it best as the Margaret Parrish family. I’m familiar with it because it is the maternal family of the mare Sophie’s Choice that I leased a few years ago to breed to Tintin In America (lovely foal, now 2yo gelding with trainer Maurice McKendry).

It is one of those really solid families, consistent rather than spectacular – although of course you would have to use spectacular for those incredible descendants listed above! But with the Artsplace element coming into the picture, it becomes a very classy option. The Christian Cullen x Artsplace mare cross not only resulted in Raging Bull but also (NZ breds) 23 foals of racing age, for 17 qualifiers and 12 winners to date. That’s 50% winners to foals, which is very good.

What I’m about to say is controversial but it is worth thinking about.

Over many decades we have slowly been improving the quality and performance of New Zealand standardbreds by bringing in some of the best bloodlines from North America – as sires and sometimes as imported mares for breeding. Royden Lodge and many others were doing this right back in the 1950s and before that. That’s how our maternal families have injections of top quality from sires like Bachelor Hanover (a son of two pivotal individuals Nibble Hanover and The Old Maid) and of course U Scott and Light Brigade who is a brother to The Old Maid. The upgrading of our stock continues to the present, with top sires from around the globe now available, pacers and trotters, to match with our mares and therefore move into our maternal families.

Christian Cullen, Courage Under Fire and Changeover are all the result of a match with American bred In The Pocket and NZ bred mares who have had some input along the way of American bred sires feeding into their maternal pedigree as damsires. Courage Under Fire has Vance Hanover and Adios Butler, for example. Changeover has Vance Hanover, Tuft, Light Brigade and U Scott. And Christian Cullen has Bo Scots Blue Chip, Overtrick, Lumber Dream and U Scott all bringing American breeding into the maternal pedigree.

If the principle over all these years is to upgrade by bringing in currently globally top bred/performed sires for our local bred mares, why not do the reverse – bring in the currently globally great mares and damsires for our locally bred sires?

Importing in American bred mares is difficult to achieve logistically and financially – but it is done, and Raging Bull is an example. The result is that his pedigree is totally North American breeding apart from Christian Cullen’s maternal family (N1). It probably helped him as a racehorse, and now it gives him an edge as a sire too.

What this means is that Raging Bull has a lot more modern classic families to draw on to deal with the varying quality of mares he may get as a low-priced sire. And if breeders sent better quality mares to him with North American elements that work with his breeding, then that is even better.

For these reasons, he stands out to me as having some credentials that could make him a very successful sire – if only he gets the numbers and the quality. There are already some wellbred mares with his foals, including 2 or 3 that create a 3×3 to Artsplace in his pedigree. In my dreams, what a match he would be with the now 21 year old great broodmare Classic Blue Jeans! Or look at the potential match with a mare like Halley Parker! (Scroll down for this testmatching thanks to the goStallions website but it is reverse sex 3×3 to Artplace and reverse sex 4×4 to Direct Scooter.

Compared to Gotta Go Cullect

Let me look at  another son of Christian Cullen with US influences in his maternal line – Gotta Go Cullect. He had plenty of chances and sired some capable types, but overall he has not succeeded as a sire, let alone as the potential inheritor of the In The Pocket sire line. He was a lovely looking athletic horse, retired halfway through his 3yo season because of injury. He was promoted well by Alabar as the “breeders choice as Christian Cullen’s successor” but hindsight says No. However it was not a silly notion at all. He had a lot going for him. His maternal family is interesting – it is the US family of Norice (U30), although Norice was imported and raced here in New Zealand and Australia before being bred (mainly to imported American sires but not entirely – her great-granddaughter Single Star is by Nelson Derby, a son of Norice which make Single Star 2×3 to the mare).

The best performed descendants of Single Star are found in the branches of her two U Scott daughters Petra Star (leading to the Sakantula branch with Ermis, Iraklis, and also Monkey King amongst the many descendants) and Riviera – her descendants include Mach Alert, but mainly the performers are in the branch belonging to Ruling Caste, where you will find Lochaburn, Ruling VC, Anvilanunoit, Bellam (who became a trotting sire here), Brabham, amongst her descendants along with the tough great mare Elect To Live who of course is Gotta Go Cullect’s dam. There is one other branch of Single Star’s family that is worth a mention – that’s from her Dillon Hall daughter Starlet and her daughter Morano Star. The many descendents from branches of that family include Courage to Rule (by Courage Under Fire) and Star Nurse’s descendants including Starship, Ima Rocket Star, and Anvil’s Star.

So the maternal family is no slug at all. But although the maternal bottom line is American, the sires along the way have perhaps been lacking a real top quality sire in recent times – the last three for Gotta Go Cullect were Live Or Die, Lopez Hanover, Card Shark. While Raging Bull’s equivalents were Artsplace, Sherman Almahurst (questionable), and Striking Image (son of Strike Out who is a son of Golden Miss). Striking Image is the damsire of Lucky Lady, the dam of Camluck and grandam of Kikikatie amongst others.

And finally…

As blog readers know, I like exploring the “what ifs” but there are times when I put my money where my mouth is.

This is one such time, and I will be booking my mare The Blue Lotus to Raging Bull for this coming season. The match is unusual in that it is a reverse sex 3×3 to both Artsplace and In The Pocket, two very different but highest quality sires and damsires. It is a bold match, but I really like the balance of it and that there are other complementaries like Breath O Spring, Good Time and Race Time pulling threads together behind the scenes. There is also a duplication further back to Golden Miss via Blue Horizon and Striking Image, and her known love affair with Shadow Wave who is also in the mare’s maternal pedigree. As you know, the Blue Lotus is a full brother to Destination Moon who has now earned over $100,000 and a half sister to Tintin In America, so this is a strong family.

Going right back to one of the original articles I wrote which compared breeding to fairisle knitting (amongst other things), this is a jersey with a really bold two-colour scheme – perhaps red and black, but the pattern when you look closely is more complex than it seems, and there is a touch of white coming in to really highlight the other colours.

 

Potential mating of Raging Bull with Grinfromeartoear mare The Blue Lotus

Raging Bull x The Blue Lotus

Potential mating of Raging Bull with unraced Art Major mare Hallie Parker

Pedigree match Raging Bull x Hallie Parker

 

 

 

 

 

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