Posts Tagged ‘Romola Hal’

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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Blog followers will know my series earlier in the year tracing the Romola Hal family and some of its branches “down under”. That’s the family of Art Major and Captain Treacherous – quite close up. I didn’t cover all of the descendants, and one branch which wished to fly under the radar at that time was Dot Schmidt’s mare Mataranka Maggie in Australia. It’s been a bit of a passion for Dot, but circumstances have changed, and now is the time for some other breeder to step up and carry on!

Mataranka Maggie (b 2002) – Armbro Aussie x Rostrata (Windshield Wiper). Wouldn’t be available to move from Benstud in Victoria until after this year’s foal is weaned (not born yet) but new owners could breed her this season, she has been easy to get in foal and is a great mother.

Dot is a very astute and knowledgeable breeder, and has a familiarity with pedigrees that I really admire. So far with this mare she has invested in quality, but situations change and Dot now believes it is time to pass the mare to another breeder. This is one of the greatest modern maternal families. Thanks to Dot, the mare has already bred back to the Romola Hanover line, several times. So there is something going on in the background which may end up supporting a new breeder’s decisions. She will tell you the details of those foals, which are recent and still to figure in terms of racing.

Don’t miss this chance. I did the same thing in buying Dreamy Romance (from Romola Hal family) and it is one of the most exciting and potentially good decisions I’ve made as a breeder. Dot is open minded about cost, this is not an expensive buy at all. But, hey, what a wonderful opportunity!

Mataranka Maggie is descended from Romola Hal’s daughter Romola Hanover, so this is the same family branch as Rodine Hanover (Art Major and Perfect Art, Captaintreacherous, Real Artist and so on). That’s the good news.

The challenging news is that the next daughter in the family tree is called Romette Hanover and she doesn’t appear on the Classic Family database at all.  And yet, there’s more to the story than that. Romette Hanover actually had just 9 starts for 1 win, 1 second and 1 third. More than that, she was a daughter of the cross of Dancer Hanover x Romola Hanover. So all those great background family nicks are there: with Tar Heel and then Dancer Hanover. Romette Hanover went to a range of sires for 10 foals in America and more in Australia, but as Dot will probably tell you, they didn’t make the best choices of sires for her. Yet, more than half of them have wins against their name and a couple were good accumulators of wins – the tough aged horses.

One of Romette Hanover’s progeny was Rostrata, by Windshield Wiper. And Rostrata is the dam of the mare that Dot has for “very reasonable” sale. That’s another positive, as Windshield Wiper brings in some really nice lines – Adios and his full sister Adieu double up, plus The Old Maid on the X line and then another double up this time to Kings Counsel who is the damsire of Meadow Skipper. And the immediate damsire of Mataranka Maggie is Armbro Aussie (who brings in Tar Heel again, with Adios and Nibble Hanover in his maternal line, and then Volomite.)

So what you get with this mare for sale is some damn impressive breeding which needs to step up. Dot has done her bit, with a big investment in Art Major as a sire.

What about you?

As they say in sport, form changes but class is permanent. If Dot will forgive me, I’d suggest changing tack at this point and trying something new – what about Roll With Joe (look at the pedigree mix with the mare and damsire Armbro Aussie’s good attributes) or Heston Blue Chip for some maternal line hook ups and of course if you want to go up in price and more commercial in either of those directions there is Bettor’s Delight (instead of Roll With Joe) and Captaintreacherous (instead of Heston Blue Chip). PS Dot has added a couple of other suggestions in a comment on this blog.

There are other options I covered off in my Romola Hal blog series, including viewing the “herd” wider to include extended branches of the wonderful kicking on Klata Thorne (Miss Duvall) family which Romola Hal belongs to. That includes all the K Nora/Adora branches like Western Ideal, American Ideal and He’s Watching.

The mare is waiting. Just contact Dot for more details:



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So Captaintreacherous is going to be available down under, via Empire Stallions.

Surprise! Not. About a year ago most of us were thinking along those lines anyway, my blog here.

Captaintreacherous at Empire Stallions

It is great news. I love his pedigree and his quality. Whether that will convert into being a great sire and taking the Somebeachsomewhere sire line into the future, only time will tell. But he will get every opportunity I think.

His maternal family is of course Romola Hal, and I’ve recently completed a series of blogs on that (just use my blog search “Romola Hal” to pull those up). What an extraordinary maternal line for producing sires and potent broodmare sires and broodmares, as well as damn good racehorses.

In America, strongly backed by Hanover Farms, Captaintreacherous got 140 mares at US$15,000, so it will be very interesting to see how he is positioned here.

Will cost make any difference? He’s bound to be desirable – but if he heads into the $9,000+ market here which is highly likely, then that will cut out many of us who have to make hard decisions about a handful of mares, and these days a choice of one high priced sire may very well mean other mares go to $5000 or cheaper sires or are given a break for a year.

And as an unproven sire on the track, he is a risk for a several years, in terms of progeny performance (although not necessarily such a risk for selling progeny from good mares). We know in New Zealand how his own sire has taken time to get traction, and I am not sure if that has even happened yet to the extent that might have been expected. Personally, I see Captaintreacherous as a much sounder breeding prospect here than his sire, simply because there is more in his maternal line that can connect with what we have here. The timing of his arrival with the growing number of quality mares from the wider “herd” of U7 (Miss Duvall) and an increasing number of Western Hanover line mares being available, is another plus for Captaintreacherous. So while there is a risk going to him, I think his commercial appeal (e.g. for the more elite mares and for yearling sales) will be greater than his own sire and give his grandad Mach Three a run for his money as well.

There is the frozen semen factor too – that will be a big factor in how quickly his reputation gains a hold.

Frustrating, isn’t it, that at this time of the year several key studs including Empire have still got a “TBA” against their sires’ service fees. So while I am excited about seeing Captaintreacherous available (and hopefully in New Zealand as well as Australia) it is a real shame these announcements don’t come along with key information like how much the service fee is and who will be the agents in other places (particularly with frozen semen which requires skill and knowledge at the delivery end). He may be booked out or close to it before we know what price we might have to pay. It is not a good commercial model, certainly not one that is used by others industries or in retail unless you are in a straight out bargaining situation.  Breeders have to plan finances in advance just like anyone else. I can understand that our northern and southern hemispheres are “out of whack” in terms of breeding and racing seasons, and that negotiations are sensitive and take time. But Captaintreacherous has already served a season in North America, so it is not like he has just come off the track and his career is undecided. Surely if the announcement can be made, the price has been agreed?

(Update 7 July 2016: Buried down the bottom of the news item on their website (but not included in the enewsletter announcement I received) is the announcement that “His frozen semen is available in Australia for $10,000 including GST and in New Zealand $10,000 plus GST, payable by April 1, 2017.” However the need to get their website updated as all the service fees are showing TBA and Captaintreacherous is not yet on the list.) 

Alabar has got its service fees sorted . Nevele R is still “TBA” on its stallions although the recently announced Muscles Mass has been announced at $7,000.

I’m sure other service fees will be announced soon. But while many are likely to stay pretty much the same as last year, it is still important for breeders to know as early as possible if there are any likely adjustments up or down. In this environment, every thousand dollars makes a difference and cannot always be pulled like a nice white rabbit out of the hat.

Congratulations to Empire for sealing the deal and making such a great horse available down under!

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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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There are two direct maternal descendants of Romola Hal racing in New Zealand today. Articulight, the Art Major gelding son of Light Of The South, is in Race 9 at 6.17pm, and My Rona Gold, the Klondike Kid mare from Dreamy Romance, is in Race 9 at Invercargill at 3.28pm.  On 1 May Elliot Daniel chalked up another win – he’s descendant from Romalie Hanover via her son George Allen, as covered in Part 3 of this series. I want to say just a week bit more about Elliot Daniel while I’m thinking about it – he’s particularly interesting in that he has three quite close links to Romola Hal through his sire (Live Or Die) his damsire Sands A Flying as well as through his grandam Armbro Zip Zap.

Breeder Mike Finlayson writes about Light Of The South and breeding back to the herd

Mike Finlayson of “Finn” fame, bred the first foal by Art Major from Light Of The South, before she went to Brian Cowley. He adds some more insight on the breeding, but adds ‘Give a tip 0’ the hat to Ken MacKay of Premier Pedigrees because most of it is based on his work. In my view Ken is ahead of his time when it comes to standardbred breeding.” And I think many of us would concur with that.

Thought I’d chip in with a few comments on this mare for your most excellent blog on the Romola Hal’s line.

First off the O’Briens bred this mare. I got her to put to Art Major because it was a great opportunity to breed back into the herd through a set of full sisters. The family were also natural runners which was probably due to it tracing relatively close up to thoroughbred origins.

She was for sale for next to nothing through the Weekly.  Light of the South didn’t have a great reputation when I got her. She was a lay-down-sally on the track when they tried her and when she arrived from up north she was SPCA material. Motherhood and TLC softened her and she was a great mum in the end.

I think the interesting thing in all this is that just because she went to Art Major and didn’t produce a champion first up doesn’t mean that it was a bad choice of stallion. The law of probabilty is 1 in 4, so theoretically you should patronise a sire four times for maximum results. This is directly related to the X factor theory that says that a union of each chromosome will produce a differing set of genes. Perhaps the best example of this is Pleasant Franco. She went to In the Pocket four times producing a champion in Christian Cullen, two good  horses in Julius Caesar and Tiger Woods and a mare Dreamsaregold which was unraced and hasn’t produced anything of any significance.

Thus its difficult to draw conclusions about a cross based on one union.

I think the interesting thing in this particular discussion is that the law of probability is often overlooked in breeding. In other words one shot is often not enough to see if a cross works as you’ve only got a 1 in 4 chance of hitting the jackpot. That’s why I’ve put Eilish Finn back to Grinfromeartoear for the third time. She has produced two very good horses in Mac the Finn and That Guy Finn to Grin. I’m hoping this time will be the champion. But it may be a dud. Or it could be another good horse. Because the odds remain forever 1 in 4 for every mating.

I asked Mike if he thought it was important where the cross lay in the sire’s pedigree e.g. Art Major versus his son Art Official:

If you are breeding back to a superior female, it is better if the particular female is in the very bottom line of a proposed sire’s maternal pedigree although the duplication can be anywhere within the broodmare’s total pedigree. That way you are returning blood to the direct maternal line of the sire and that is considered a superior form of pedigree matching than breeding back into the sire’s paternal line (Ken MacKay).

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I don’t want to go over Romola Hanover’s colt foals legacy in any detail at all. It is available elsewhere including Frank Marrion’s 2008 Harnesslink article when Art Major was first available here as a sire, which sums it up well. It is remarkable!

Another photo of her racing here, in her Harness Museum Hall of Fame entry (it needs to be updated to include what a remarkable number of sires she has left!)

Here’s an extract from the book “Quest for Excellence: Hanover Shoe Farm’s First 75 years”:

After all, it had once been John Simpson’s task to break and train most of the fillies that eventually found their way into the Hanover broodmare band. Although he may not have been at Hanover when Miss Bertha Dillon was the most revered broodmare in the world, he understood what broodmares meant to a farm. Some extraordinary producers were graduates of the Simpson stable. One exemplary alumna was Romola Hanover the nonpareil racing mare who was the hottest mama in the sport in the 1960s. Her first son Romeo Hanover won the Golden Crown for pacers in 1966 and his kid brother Romulus Hanover was voted the pacing sophomore king the following year. A few years later, Romola’s daughter Romalie Hanover was the most admired fillies in the sport. This trio had been sired by Dancer Hanover, but Romola Hanover also had exceptional performers by Lehigh Hanover, Torpid and even later Albatross.

She deserves a book of her own! When you look at her descendants and can mention top pacers of modern times and often who have also gone on to be very good sires like Real Artist, Art Major, Panspacificflight, Perfect Art, and potentially Captain Treacherous…it is quite incredible. Of course her own sons had a big role to play as sires in New Zealand, Nevele Bigshot and his Lehigh half-brother Nevele Romeo were imported here for stud duties in the mid 1970s, and were the foundation stallions for Nevele R Stud (started by Wayne Francis and Bob McArdle in 1973) – and Nevele Romeo lent his name to what is still one of New Zealand’s top studs. Neither left much of a legacy in terms of their enduring performance as sires, however. But Romeo Hanover, her very well performed son, stood in America and then for 11 years in Australia (for good “down under” results of 498 foals, 250 starters and 196 winners.) Romeo Hanover had an influence here in New Zealand as well through the likes of Live Or Die’s pedigree, and his son Speedy Romeo was also a sire here, but I suggest it is more through his daughters he has added value, and I’m interested in comments on how much you feel Romeo Hanover has contributed as a sire in the longer term.

Romola Hanover

Romola Hanover with John Simpson snr at Du Quoin in the late 1950s

Right now, it is Romola Hanover’s female descendants and what has ended up as useful lines “down under” that I am interested in.

Two are of particular importance here – her Dancer Hanover daughters Romalie Hanover and Romona Hanover.

Romalie Hanover

First, a quick look at one of Romalie Hanover’s sons who has left a thin line in New Zealand – George Allen, by Meadow Skipper.  It’s one of George Allen’s daughters that might ring a bell here, imported Armbro Zip Zap, although her descendants are few and far between now. The only daughter of Armbro Zip Zap breeding on here is Sequita. Sequita is closely related to the former star juvenile in Australia My Handsome Fella 1:59 ($79,573) who had a go as a sire there (346 foals, 95 winners). One of Sequita’s sons Elliot Daniel has done okay  in NZ for owner Bernie Lim (Harnesslink article from 2014), but Lim has not breed much else from the family, although I see he has put Sequita to Art Major this season, which of course links back to Romola Hanover too. Interestingly, Elliot Daniel has turned out to be one of those lovely durable older horses – now leased by Breakout Syndicate and W S Abernethy and trained by Jay Abernathy, he is still racing and had his late (9th) win a week or so ago on 3 April 2016 at Taranaki, as an 8yo.

Romalie Hanover has left a few more branches in New Zealand and Australia through her daughter Dental Floss (what a strange name!!) who is by Columbia George. A daughter of Dental Floss called Only Natural was imported to Australia from America in 1991. It appears Only Natural’s first foal, a filly called Lady Lynda Lee, was bred in America a couple of years prior to that by Bob McArdle, and then brought to New Zealand for breeding, and her third foal Talk About Natural was also based in New Zealand for breeding.

In Australia, (It’s) Only Natural went on to have numerous foals for I M Walsh and R B Woodhouse, the best of them in terms of racetrack performance being the “grind it out” geldings The Don, Boy From Bowral, and Natural Lobell. Nothing that really raised the roof, and this branch has pretty much withered and died.

In New Zealand none of the lines from Lady Lynda Lee proved special either.

The bright spot in this turns out to be Talk About Natural for breeder John Fokerd. But the progeny page for her doesn’t present a pretty picture at first glance. Digging deeper we can find a few veins of minerals the mine, but it is not gold yet.

Talk About Natural’s daughter by Falcon Seelster is She’s A Natural, and she brings me into familiar ground – her Tinted Cloud daughter Umbra (born 2008) is now with breeder G B M Corbett who is obviously wanting a cross with Tintin In America. (And when I look at that cross I can see why). Another of She’s A Natural’s fillies was To Die With Dignity and she was exported to Australia and raced okay herself and has gone on to breed a couple of decent winners by Jereme’s Jet and Always A Virgin, and a registered Courage Under Fire Colt called Ferdinand who would be a 3yo now.

Tracking down the lines of the family gets tricky now, as many don’t appear (yet) in Classic Families, so often it is a matter of working back. I’ve got a couple of examples that I know of, and blog readers are already contributing more (see the comments under the last blog on this topic). To get there, we go back to Talk About Natural and look at what other breeding lines she has produced other than those mentioned in the previous paragraphs.

After all, 6 of her 9 foals were fillies!

One of the most active lines at the moment is in the good hands of blog friend Brian Cowley, who owns the Live Or Die mare Light Of The South, a daughter of Natural Talker, who is an Andrel daughter of Talk About Natural. Technically that puts Romola Hanover 5 x 6 generations back in the pedigree of Light Of The South, as she appears in Live Or Die’s pedigree as well as the mare’s maternal line. It goes like this. Light Of The South was originally owned and bred by Mike Finlayson, another blog friend, who put her to Art Major (a cross back to the family) for a filly called Lyra Finn who was sold on to Australia but didn’t amount to much and became a hack. Brian has followed a less direct route, and I’ll give his comments in the next blog. Suffice to say at this stage he has the very talented and sometimes wayward Articulight (by Art Official) racing at the moment, and a couple more foals in the waiting room. (Background is a blog I wrote in October 2014 with photos of Light Of The South foals at that time)

The first filly from Natural Talker was Mon Repos and she is in Australia after a very modest racing career, and has been an awkward breeder. Her first (2009) raced foal by McArdle is gelding Allies Mate (18 starts, 5 wins and still racing), and the next live foal was born in November last year, by Million Dollar Cam and bred by K M Hall, Victoria. The sire choice is, for me, a positive one – as I will explain in a later blog when I lay my own  thoughts on the line.

Another filly from Natural Talker is Lets Talk Art, now a 9yo mare by Art Major (link back to the family) who won 6 from 45 starts, and $48,525 in stakes. She is now a broodmare who missed to Panspacificflight (another link back to the family), and has since gone these past couple of seasons to Better’s Delight for breeders Mrs M E O’Brien and S A O’Brien.

No other line from Talk About Natural has left anything worth noting.

Romona Hanover

Of course the big and beautiful branch of Romola Hanover’s family comes from another daughter entirely – not Romalie Hanover, but Romona Hanover. That’s the dam of Perfect Profile (dam of Western Edition, Art Major and Perfect Art),  You Can Fly (dam of Panspacific Flight), Real Artist, and World Order.

In terms of female breeding lines here, we have little to go on. A Real Desire daughter of World Order called Cuzzin Sally was imported by Robert Famularo (Cavalla Bloodstock Limited) and bred here for two colts and a filly before she died. One of the male foals is racing in Australia – Cheyenne Warrior by Bettor’s Delight (96 starts, 8 wins, 27 places, $41,515), and the other colt is only a 3yo (by American Idea, Miss Duvall family) called Sands Of Time and has had one start for a 2nd from the Ken Barron training stable down in West Melton, NZ – and is worth keeping an eye out for. The filly is by Sands A Flyin (link back to the family) and is named Laura J. She is a 4yo mare now, and I will be checking to see what the plans are for her.

So in summary Down Under we are pretty much relying on (no pressure, guys!) She’s A Natural’s daughters  Umbra and To Die With Dignity, and Light Of The South’s progeny, and Laura J to make something of the Romola Hanover dynasty “down under”.

Next part of this series will bring some comments from the current breeders.

A virtual chocolate fish to all blog readers who have got to the end of this one!

Thank you for reading this!

Thank you for reading this!

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Romola Hal, like Golden Miss, Spinster, Arpege, and other great foundation mares of the modern era, act like a massive waterfall at a point when a river needs extra energy to carry its quality and volume further downstream. These mares and the sires they clicked with create the deep pool at the base of the waterfall, from which a freshly renewed river and many tributaries flow.

Romola Hal

Romola Hanover with John Simpson snr at Du Quoin in the late 1950s

In most modern pedigrees, Romola Hal will sit 6 to 9 generations removed, but her legacy is so strong that many branches of her line are able to kick up not just good performers but outstanding performers at regular intervals. Some branches do this more often, and at different times. Some have eventually become streams that dry up for long periods of time, as you see the sire choice become more affordable but less able to contribute new energy.

The Romola Hanover branch has been the strongest in recent years, particularly through the outstanding Rodine Hanover. But there is a wealth of other Romola Hal influences worth tracking in maternal lines, and this blog looks at her lesser known daughters.

Apart from Romola Hanover (1957), Romola Hal had 4 daughters of significance – all by Tar Heel. Ritzy Hanover (1959), Romantic Hanover (1960), Rochelle Hanover (1961), and Rotate (1962).

Ritzy Hanover

Ritzy Hanover

Newspaper article about Ritzy Hanover seeking her 8th win

Ritzy Hanover (photo here, originally in Harness Horse) was the only one to really shine on the track as a 2 and 3yo. Here’s a newspaper article about her chasing her 8th win in the Lady Maud (The Evening News, 7 May 1962) and she ended up retiring with a very tidy $127,550 in stakes. Ritzy Hanover had 14 foals for 10 winners (2 in 1.57). Her descendant line is extensive but her sons appear to have been more stamina types than speed horses and they accumulated wins over time (the best being Albatross colt Rhulen Hanover who got 16 wins, $227,802 and a 1.56.2 mark). Her daughters included Ricki Hanover (by Best Of All) who was a good broodmare and dam of Rampage Hanover (by Albatross, $367,531). A daughter of Ricki Hanover, Ripreza Hanover, is the dam of the very good mare Feeling You (by Cambest, $1,028,496) and the good mare Biggest Big Bertha (by Little Steven, $284,794). Yet another daughter of Ricki Hanover is Rapunzel Hanover who was also a consistent broodmare without yet producing a standout.

Ritzy Hanover had another branch worth noting – from her daughter Rio Rita Hanover. She did nothing on the track but has produced her own successful branch through her daughter Rilda Hanover (by Best Of All). That success traces through Rilda Hanover’s Meadow Skipper daughter Rashina, whose line has turned up some very good performers including the classy 1986 mare Windy Answer (by Storm Damage, $531,645)  – you can trace her line down on Classic Families here.

But to date Feeling You is the standout from the Ritzy Hanover branch of the Romola Hal line, and it will be interesting to see how she does as a broodmare herself. 

I spotted a female descendant of Rilda Hanover called Ciggs CA who was imported to Australia around 2007 and bred from by Cold Mountain Stud for two Camelot Hall  foals, but little result in terms of racing sucess. The filly foal, named Cammys Reign,  has since been bred by a MR Cuthbert in NSW for a 2014 colt by Always A Virgin, yet to be registered.  I can find no sign of any other descendants from Ritzy Hanover in the Australian and New Zealand harness racing databases. But let me know if I’ve missed one!

Romantic Hanover

Five daughters show up in the Classic Families page for Romantic Hanover – there may have been others but these are the only ones that have performed or left performers at the “classic” level – two by Overtrick (Rachel Lobell and Rebecca Lobell), two by Adios Vic (Roberta Lobell and Truck Stop Rosie), and one by Most Happy Fella (Romaine Dancer).

If you are judging the line on performance, Classic Families is a great way to get a snapshot of what branches are throwing a very good performer to two in each generation.

The longest continuing branches of quality from Romantic Hanover are Rachel Lobell (specifically through her Adios Butler daughter Romantic Butler), and, even more so, Romaine Dancer.

There is also a branch descending from Truck Stop Rosie who had a well-performed daughter Colour And Light (by Nero, $303,637). Colour And Light’s daughter Cheryl Hanover (by Big Towner, $243,943) is continuing that form with modern sires – she had a good Western Terror son Lord Terror (1:51.2US $363,095) and an Art Major grandson Whiskey Pete (1:48.4US $410,866) both born in 2007, and an Artsplace daughter Cheryl’s Place produced the tough raceway multiple winning mare Gabrielles Girl.

She Has Passion's yearling colt 2016

She Has Passion yearling colt sold for $20,000 in 2016. Photo: Jodie Hallows

A half sister to Cheryl Hanover called Purple Passion did okay as a 3yo and her one and only foal, a daughter called She Has Passion (by Laag, 16 wins, $38,347) was imported to Australia. A grey colt yearling by Betterthancheddar from She Has Passion was sold by KTC Bloodstock at the Perth yearling sales in February 2016 for $20,000. A Sportswriter 3yo gelding called Backpage Screamer from the mare has had 1 win and 3 places to date – current breeders are listed as K T Charles, K J F Charles, A G Charles, WA, i.e. KTC Bloodstock. Interestingly the Australian Harness online pedigree page for this family doesn’t take the maternal line further back than Truck Stop Rosie, so the connection to Romola Hal is not obvious, but it is Romola Hal>Romantic Hanover>Truck Stop Rosie>Colour And Light>Purple Passion>She Has Passion.

Romaine Dancer’s daughters have not been consistent, but there are high earners and classy horses scattered through daughters, grand-daughters and great-grand-daughters. The “Keystone” moniker is prominent, and to be honest I am not sure how that started, presumably with horse racing and breeding around the Keystone township, which once thrived as a racing centre, but there may well be a more modern story. Let me mention a few names from Romaine Dancer’s branch – her son, the 1985 colt Keystone Raider (by Big Towner,  1:51.1US $946,914) who went on to have a great siring career based in Michigan, including two millionaire sons. The following tribute was posted by USTA in October 2005:

Keystone Raider

Keystone Raider

Keystone Raider, 20, died earlier this month of complications from injuries suffered in an August paddock fall.The son of Big Towner raced for five seasons, amassing earnings of $946,914, and taking a 1:51.1 mark as a 4-year-old. He retired to a stallion career that made him one of Michigan’s greatest sires. His 774 starts earned in excess of $34.7 million, led by millionaire Rair Earth p,1:49.3s, and fellow sub-1:50 pacers Midnight Jewel p,1:49.1 ($666,723) and Fearless Raider p,1:49 ($663,120). In all, he sired 101 $100,000 winners, six in sub-1:50 and 135 in 1:55 or better.

There is also Keystone Rodeo (by Western Hanover, 1:51.0US $725,180) from her daughter Keystone Romance, and some very good performers from the line of another daughter called Leap Year Romance (by Keystone Ore).  She has two top performing sons: Keystone Luther (by Abatross, 1:52.1US $614,717) and Keystone Romeo (also by Albatross, 1:51.2US $704,412), as well as a grandson called Next Flight (by Shotgun Scott, 1:50.0US $895,406).  But there appears to be no current top performers from this line – yet. 

I want to come back now to the Rachel Lobell/Romantic Butler branch of Romantic Hanover’s family, as this is where we have many New Zealand connections and several that have spilled over to Australia.

It all comes down to a daughter of Romantic Butler mare called Romantic by No Nukes. As I mentioned earlier, Classic Families includes two separate filly foals from Romantic Butler – Romantic (b1988) and Romantic II (b1987). But these are one and the same mare, and I understand that the “II” was added when she was imported and registered in New Zealand as there was already another horse called Romantic here.

Romantic II was brought from America to New Zealand by Sir Roy McKenzie with Roymark at foot and in foal to Precious Bunny. She went on to breed another 11 foals here. Roymark (by Tyler’s Mark, $122,461) and Precious Romance (by Precious Bunny, $62,013) were the best performers by far, and the sprawling family has left less of a footprint here than might have been expected. Only two of her several fillies have done anything in the breeding barn – Rachel Romance and Dreamy Romance.

Rachel Romance (by Camtastic, unraced) is the dam of the tough Courage Under Fire campaigner Beyond The Silence (9 wins, Lt $116,846 to date). Two daughters of Rachel Romance went to Australia and now have foals – Sly Romance and Xplosive Romance. Sly Romance is a Sands A Flyin mare bred by Burbeck Harness Bl’Stk Ltd., and of course that sire traces back to Romola Hal in his pedigree via her daughter Rochelle Hanover (see below). Sly Romance has just one foal to date, a 4yo filly bred by N Van Der Snoek in Western Australia that raced once as a 2yo and not sighted since. Xplosive Romance also has just one filly born in 2009 after missing twice, but that foal never made it to the races. Another daughter of Rachel Romance is the Christian Cullen mare Romanticully, who has a 3yo Art Official colt and a 2yo Art Major colt bred by Malcolm Shinn (both linking back to Romola Hal via Art Major’s maternal line), and a yearling Big Jim colt bred by Lynda Hebberd who now owns the mare. She’s back in foal to Betterthancheddar which will bring a 3×3 to Camtastic. I’d love to find out more about these.

The only other filly from Romantic II that has kicked on in the breeding barn is Dreamy Romance. She was an unraced mare taken in by

Dreamy Romance and her Big Jim filly foal at Macca Lodge

Dreamy Romance and her Big Jim filly foal at Macca Lodge

Bill Keeler when Sir Roy McKenzie had a dispersal sale. After breeding 5 foals, Bill Keeler put the mare back in a mixed and broodmare sale, and that’s when I bought her. She’s left big types so far but as they strengthen (with trainer Kirsten Barclay) they are producing some nice wins Rainbow Romance (by Knight Rainbow (4 wins, $24,882, now sold to North America), and My Rona Gold (by Klondike Kid, 2 wins, Lt $10,665 to date), and a 3yo filly by American Ideal which Kirsten likes but is not hurrying. I’ve bred a lovely looking Big Jim filly, and the mare is back in foal to Mr Feelgood. Read more about Dreamy Romance in the blog I wrote back in October 2014 and I will say a bit more about the Mr Feelgood decision in a later part of this series, when I cover some of the current breeders.

Rochelle Hanover

At first glance on Classic Families, Rochelle Hanover’s line appears ordinary. Her daughters didn’t stand out as racers and the best of her foals was the Albatross colt Rockwell Hanover ($197,520). But as you click through the descendants there are some top class horses poking up every generation or so, and the strongest and widest branch descends from her Torpid daughter Ribbon Hanover, and her daughter Richelle Hanover.

It is way too extensive to cover in text here, when you can unfold it on Classic Families as the tree.

Richelle Hanover was by Dancer Hanover, a son of The Old Maid and Adios – what a potent mix. Her daughter Misty Raquel (by Meadow Skipper) won $484,463 and was a top class, tough type adding the Jugette as a 3yo and the Lady Maud to her credentials of eventually 48 wins.

One of Misty Raquel’s 14 foals was Misty Bretta. In New Zealand we know her best as the dam of Sands A Flyin ($481,436) who was a significant sire in New Zealand for many years, but she also produced David’s Day ($383,092), Ringaleevio ($265,567), and Beach Bretta ($251,960). 

Of particular interest are Misty Bretta’s two daughters Celerity (by No Nukes) and Myriad (by Niatross) – they are half sisters to Sands A Flyin, and both have had descendants downunder. An Artsplace daughter of Celerity, Lil Sweet Art, was imported to New Zealand and bred from by the late Dave Carvill and bred from with B T Mackie and M W Hamilton. Her first foal was a Falcon Seelster filly called All My Art who achieved 2 wins and 6 places from 23 starts. She’s gone on to be a great if difficult producer with several of her foals ending up racing

Ohoka Nevada winning Barastoc Cup

8yo Ohoka Nevada winning Barastoc Cup in 2011

with success in Australia – Ohoka Du Nord (by Bella’s Boy, 1:52.7 $200,760) and Ohoka Nevada (by Sands A Flyin, 1:51.0 $505,757) were her first two foals, and her third was Ohoka Squire (by Christian Cullen) who is still racing around Pinjarra and Gloucester Park this season with 30 wins and 34 places and $140,550 to date. Her fourth foal was Millwood Liberty, again racing in Australia with a lot of success (1:51.7, $199,459, 18 wins to date).

While there have been others bred from daughters of Lil Sweet Art, it is only the All My Art line that has fired to date. All My Art is now being bred by Katie Carville and B T Mackie, and after not getting in foal to American Ideal twice, now has a Christian Cullen filly at foot and was served this season by Art Major.

If you view the Romola Hal family in its deepest context, as a branch of the Miss Duvall (U7) family, you can see some possible “Romola Hal” or “Miss Duvall” angles on some past and present sire choices, but equally ones that are not. I hope Katie Carville might be able to throw some light on this in future blogs.

Myriad’s connection here is much more limited – a Jate Lobell son called Raleigh Road was imported and raced here by Sir Roy McKenzie for 40 starts, 4 wins and 4 places.

Although the Misty Raquel branch is probably the most well known here, there are some other stunning performers dotted through through Richelle Hanover’s line and through the generations of other descendants of Rochelle Hanover. Just to mention a few: See You At Peelers (by Bettor’s Delight, 1:49.2US, $1,573,260), Robust Hanover (by Warm Breeze, 1:52.2, $1,613,667), Chairmanoftheboard (by Meadow Skipper,  $1,341,823), Elusive Prey (by Western Hanover, 1:51.2, $802,706), Speed Again (by Dragon Again, 1:48.1, $882,296), Capital Request (by Life Sign, 1:49.2, $753,204), Mystic Desire (by Real Desire,1:50.0, $786,009), Fridaynightflight (by Panspacificflight, 1:51.3, $617,495), the mare Bunny Lake (by Precious Bunny, 1:49.0, $2,843,476) and her two sons Bestofbest Hanover (1:48.4, $586,041) and Tobago Cays (1:50.0, $818,272), plus a more recent one – the current 3yo Angel or Terror (by Western Terror, 1:53.1,$103,001), the winner of the USA Arden Downs Stakes for 2yo fillies in the previous season.

Chairmanoftheboard, a very well performed grandson of Richelle Hanover, was available in New Zealand as a sire for just two seasons, for 79 live foals but his legacy is minor. Read NY Times article about Chairmanoftheboard beating Falcon Seelster in the $600,000 Cane Pace in 1985. Update: 6 April 2016 trials – almost as I was writing this blog, a 2yo filly called Toppatherock from Sharn’s Delight (daughter of Sharn, possibly Chairmanoftheboard’s best filly in NZ) qualified – results.

Again you can find a few double ups in that lot I’ve listed above, not just Panspacificflight (who shares a very similar maternal line with Art Major), and Precious Bunny who brings in Romola Hal’s son Romeo Hanover as a sire on the bottom maternal line, but also Life Sign whose maternal line goes to K Nora and right back to Miss Duvall.


Romola Hal’s 1962 daughter Rotate is a bit of a revelation. She sneaks under the radar, I think, because it takes a few generations to see which branch of a line is going to keep up the momentum, which river is going to keep flowing on even if sometimes it eddies and braids along the way.

In Rotate’s case, it is her Overtrick daughter Revolve who has ensured this branch has flourished overall, and is still tossing up some excellent performers from a wide range of its offshoots into the current day. Remarkably she has 18 foals and 14 of those were winners. Seven of her 18 foals meet the criteria themselves or through their own descendants to be included in the Classic Families database.

Just looking at some of the best of her descendants that were born from year 2000 onwards – Fancy Filly (by Western Hanover, 1:49.4, $1,080,806), Serious Comfort (by Serious Bunny, $622,468), Top Gear (by Real Desire, 1:50.0, $549,771), Adventure Bound (by Camluck, 1:49.2, $519,434), Native Bride (by Allamerican Native, 1:50.0, $707,493), Big Deal (by McArdle, 1:49.1, $818,544) and her half sister Galimony (by Artiscape, 1:52.4, $485,913), Coffee Addict (by Dragon Again, 1:51.1, $424,303) and her brother Mudslide (1:50.0US $242,399), as well as their dam’s half brother Something for Doc (by Western Hanover, 1:50.0,$619,972), St Lads Kingpin (by Million Dollar Cam, 1:50.0, $443,671), Itrustyou (by Third Straight, 1:48.2, $747,033), Rafferty Hanover (by Western Ideal, 1:51.3, $379,728) and Restive Hanover (by The Panderosa, 1:51.4, $941,971).

And that’s just most of the top ones racing during that period – there are many more with stakes $100,000+.

I can find nothing that descends from Rotate breeding on in Australia or New Zealand – with the exception of  Rotate’s 1965 Dancer Hanover son Rite Retort who was imported to Australia as a sire and had 163 foals from 1977 to 1983 for 31 starters and 24 winners. The database credits one of them as winning over $70,000 which got me quite excited – but checking the horse’s performances I think it’s a data entry error and should be corrected to just over $7000. Very little worth noting seems to have come from this sire in spite of his lovely breeding.

If I have missed a descendant of significance here, please let me know – and also if I have got something wrong. It is easy to lose yourself in the tributaries of this mighty river!

Next time: a quick recap on Romola Hanover’s legacy – and then we will start to talk with some of the breeders of the family in this part of the world.

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Let’s bring to life the remarkable story of Romola Hal. She was a good racehorse herself, but her legacy has been so much more. She is one of standardbred’s breeding gems.

Article on Romola Hal win in Chicago Daily Tribune 4 Oct 1949

Article on Romola Hal win in Chicago Daily Tribune 4 Oct 1949

The focus of the Romola Hal line revival in the past two decades has been on the flowering of the line from her daughter Romola Hanover, particular with branches such as Rodine Hanover and now her daughters like World Order and Perfect Profile.

I’ve done  a few blogs that touched on the excellence of this maternal line in modern breeding and also reported back comments from New Zealand breeders, and my own interest as a breeder from Dreamy Romance.

In this blog I want to revisit the topic in detail, and put out a call for other breeders who are working with Romola Hal descendants in this part of the world – and indeed in North America – to get in touch with me.

Does the connection play any part in your breeding? And if so, what have you tried/want to try? Or are you focused more on the present when it comes to choices of sires? How do you rate the branch you are working with? And have you got any learnings to share?

I’m using the online database Classic Families as a guide (although a word of caution: their database has Dexter Hanover wrongly listed as a son of Romola Hal when in fact he is a 1968 born Dancer Hanover son of Romola Hanover, her daughter. Plus the split of Romantic and Romantic II is also wrong, these are the same mare. I’ll take these issues up with the Classic Families contacts).

I am travelling online and real time to find out the answers – how is this family tracking now, and especially downunder?

Romola Hal’s most famous daughter Romola Hanover had heaps of ability but issues as a racehorse, as Frank Marrion covers in his very good 2008 article on Harnesslink, quoting Murray Brown of Hanover Farms as saying

She could go incredibly fast, but was neither good gaited nor the most sound of fillies.

Of course Romola Hanover’s success as a broodmare is well known and her incredible line of “classic” descendants, males and females, can be tracked on Classic Families. The modern day branches show up in maternal lines of Art Major and his late brother Perfect Art, Real Artist, Captain Treacherous, Panspacificflight, Nuke Of Earl, and the females like Worldly Beauty, Michelle’s Revenge, Artriverderci ….and so many young ones like Rock N Roll World, Wake Up Peter, Cooperstown, Shadowbriand, and Sir Richard Z Tam.

There are several maternal descendants in Australia and New Zealand, and I will catch up on some them as we go through. and would love breeders to contribute their stories.

So let’s get going on this series.

Coming soon – The “other” daughters of Romola Hal.

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It’s an interesting development just how quickly sons of Somebeachsomewhere have appeared on the scene – and especially interesting here in New Zealand where the sire himself is still struggling to get any long-term traction. His mares/live foals statistics to date here are: 2010 16/4; 2011 13/4; 2012 1/1; 2013 75/56; 2014 88/34 (but “no returns” yet); and last season he served 35 mares. There have been reasons for these figures including some issues with his frozen semen. However they also reflect a “stand back and see” attitude that happens with some top new sires but not others, and it isn’t always easy to pick why. Art Major has had the same battle, but overcoming it now. There’s also been reports from “across the ditch” (i.e. Australia) that his progeny have been quite hard to get going. Of course rumours are always a challenge for sires and can be the final straw in some cases. But there was some indication that, with our different style of racing and training, and different breeds of mares, Somebeachsomewhere was not a “given”.

As can happen, it is likely a son of Somebeachsomewhere may pick up support and breeders’ interest skip over a “puzzle” in favour of one of his sons who is more readily available and perhaps has a maternal pedigree that appeals more with our mares.

So far it looks like we may have access to three sons (although I have not heard anything yet to confirm Captain Treacherous’ availability downunder).

The others are Alabar’s Sunshine Beach, and Macca Lodge’s Net Ten EOM. The latter is less proven, although obviously had a heap of talent. The other two raced at the top end for a couple of years at least, and Captain Treacherous was magnificent as a 3yo.

What these three have in common is a very strong maternal pedigree that offers some real potential in matching with our mares. And perhaps this is the area that Somebeachsomewhere found trickiest with us – Beach Towel and Cam Fella are both highly respected here, but are not seen as types that have worked particularly well with our types of mares.

Captain Treacherous is from the stunning Romola Hal family, and one of its most brilliant branches. He’s closely related to Art Major, Perfect Art and Panspacificflight. His damsire is Artsplace and his grandamsire is Nihilator, one of the toughest high-speed machines we have seen. My favourite engine-room sires are stacked in his bottom lines – Big Towner, Shadow Wave, Tar Heel. I’ve blogged about Captain Treacherous as a sire and his maternal line previously – check it out here

I covered Net Ten EOM in that same blog – his maternal line is a less spectacular but extremely solid one. He was a very quick horse himself but retired from injury before making his mark on the big stage. His damsire is Artsplace and his grandamsire is Matt’s Scooter. It is the same maternal line as Well Said ($2.5m), and it is a family that has crossed well with Artsplace (and then to the Western Hanover line in the case of Well Said). In his first season here as frozen semen at Macca Lodge he got 32 mares. I’m impressed by his credentials and the ability of Brent McIntyre to suss out a very interesting and well-bred sire who could work well here (as Panspacificflight is looking like he will be).

Sunshine Beach is the latest announcement from Alabar.  Sunshine Beach is also from an Artsplace mare. It is interesting how all of them are from an Artsplace mare – and you may recall the link I made to Ray Chaplin’s theory that this was not necessarily the “rainbow” match it appeared to be. Must see how his research is progressing… But for now, it is just interesting to note – and not all that surprising since North America is awash with nice Artsplace mares whose owners are looking for the pot of gold.

Sunshine Beach also has a really lovely maternal line in terms of producers and performers. His second dam Lights On was a damn good 2yo filly by Jate Lobell – and that adds another interesting element to this sire’s pedigree, and one which will resonate with downunder breeders, particularly in Australia. What’s extra interesting for me is that Sunshine Beach’s maternal line is that of Golden Miss, in this case the amazing Shifting Sands/Shifting Scene line through a daughter of Shifting Scene called Blue Gingham. This line is a hugely successful maternal line producing sires and females that breed on. Blue Gingham’s best foal by far was the very good filly Enroute, who won $753, 658, and she also had a decent son by Jate Lobell called Armbro Khaki. One of her daughters called Armbro Invite had a super son called Armbro Proposal who went 1.48.2 and earned over $1m. Those of you who are interested in pedigrees will see some very interesting double ups in Armbro Proposal’s pedigree (thanks to Classic Families) with the reintroduction of Golden Miss and also Shadow Wave.

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One of the best things about writing this blog is the sharing of information and experiences.

Blog followers Brian Cowley and Mike Finlayson both emailed me following my blog about Dreamy Romance, my newly acquired broodmare who has Romola Hal’s Tar Heel daughter Romantic Hanover in her maternal line (4th generation).

Brian and Mike have both bred from Light Of The South (Live Or Die x Natural Talker) who has Romantic Hanover’s full sister in her maternal line (6th generation). And of course through Live Or Die she has yet another connection to Romola Hal, as Live Or Die’s grandam Miss Romeo Waverly is a daughter of the sire Romeo Hanover, a son of Romola Hanover.

First some comments from Brian, who currently owns and breeds from Light Of The South:

I read your blog about Dreamy Romance with great interest. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have a colt (Articulight) by Art Official out of Light of the South that is rich in Romola Hal blood, too. I’ve attached his pedigree. The mare has just foaled a colt to Ohoka Arizona. The Ohoka Arizona colt out of Light of the South looks like he might grow into a tall individual though it’s hard to tell from a photo taken when he was only a day old.   She is going back to Art Official. Articulight is nearing the end of his first preparation with Dean Taylor and he is pleased him. Articulight has some size about him and was quite headstrong at first but Dean worked patiently with him and he is much more responsive now. It would be nice to have qualifying behind him when he goes out but at this age time is the important factor.  Dreamy Romance is beautifully bred. It’s almost too good to be true to have a full sister to Romola Hanover so close to the mare. You are going to have an enjoyable time matching her with appropriate sires.

Light of the South with Ohoka Arizona colt

Light of the South with Ohoka Arizona colt Oct 8 2014 – photo provided by Brian Cowley

Articulight with Dean Taylor

Articulight with trainer Dean Taylor – photo provided by Brian Cowley

The PDF of Articulight’s pedigree can be viewed here: Articulight pedigree

Then I heard from Mike, who bred Light Of The South’s first foal, a filly by Art Major – which puts the cross to Romola Hanover at 5×6.

As Mike explains:

Have a look at Lyra Finn (Art Major – Light of the South) which I bred a few years ago. Was passed in at the Sales for $9K so I sent her to Ross Pike in Aussie to get her going. Didn’t amount to much so we gave her away as a hack. Could have brought her back to NZ and bred from her but we had too many mares……Interesting pedigree though. Bred back into the herd via a set of full sisters.This was just another experiment based on genetics rather than matching on type.. Let’s Talk Art is similarly bred and she did OK.

Lyra Finn

Lyra Finn as a yearling

Let’s Talk Art is the half sister to Light Of The South. She’s a 6-win ($48,525) 8yo mare by Art Major from Natural Talker. She is owned and bred by Mrs M E O’Brien and S A O’Brien. The O’Briens initially put her to Panspacificflight (slipped) and then to Bettor’s Delight. The Panspacificflight match would have been a return to more of the Romola Hal blood, as Panspacificflight shares a very similar maternal line to mare’s sire Art Major.

It is tempting to return to such fabulous genes. My breeding with Dreamy Romance will go in a slightly different direction, as I am more interested in finding genetic elements that click well with the Romola Hal line and with each other rather than duplicating the line itself.

But breeding back to great maternal lines is not to be scoffed at, even if all attempts don’t work out. It is a practice that has underpinned many of the most successful results in standardbred breeding over many years, just as much as line breeding to sires and outcrossing have played a role. As Mike Finlayson says, it reflects nature’s way of the top stallion breeding back into the herd.

Comments, other examples and ideas welcomed.

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