Posts Tagged ‘Soky’s Atom’

Here’s two more of our great New Zealand sires of recent times, now dead, but living on in some surprisingly young progeny.

Previously I noted a filly from In The Pocket‘s last crop – Sara Holley – who is currently racing, and there is another good horse Light Up Boss, a 3yo colt, also from that crop. See blog here from January 2013 on Sara Holley, who is now a 4yo mare with 13 starts for one win, two seconds and a third, while Light Up Boss has had 5 starts for one win and two seconds.

Then in December I got a jolt seeing a Soky’s Atom 3yo and 4yo breed by Mike Stratford that are currently racing, and blogged about them – see blog here.

Today I watched a 3yo filly Gracey Lacey by Holmes Hanover (out of Cameleon mare Janis Joplin) in her first race at Banks Peninsula. She’s shown up okay at trials, but didn’t really kick on on the grass. She’ll improve as she strengthens, as most of the Holmes Hanovers did.

There were 8 foals in Holmes Hanover’s 2010 crop, and one other has so far got to the races, Take After Me (out of Live Or Die mare Give Or Take who is from the Tabella Beth family). He’s a 3yo gelding and started at Invercargill races at Ascot Park yesterday for a good fourth. His previous start at Ascot Park on 15 January was a nice debut for 2nd.

Holmes Hanover has 22 registered 4yos, so are 10 of them qualified and 3 of those are winners.

More interestingly, he has a few still to come – 6 2yos (4 of them registered), and 3 yearlings (one of which is already registered).

Holmes Hanover was a fertile stallion and I remember comments about how robust his frozen semen was. It’s quite a remarkable feat from a sire that was humanely euthanised in 2006 at the age of 25 (see harnesslink article at the time). He remains one of New Zealand’s greatest sires and broodmare sires.

Falcon Seelster is another sire that continues to produce from frozen semen well after his death in 2011 at age of 30 (see harnesslink article at the time), and he was pretty much retired from breeding the previous year.

However his stock is so respected that the 2014 Sale Of The Stars yearling sales in New Zealand in February boast two colts by Falcon Seelster in the Premier sale at Christchurch and a filly by him in the Australasian sale at Karaka. So he appears in the catalogue as a sire, damsire and grandam sire.

He’s got three qualifiers recently as 2yos that will be worth keeping an eye on – Festive Flyer, Tintinara and The Jazz Man.

For information about the frozen semen still available from Holmes Hanover and Falcon Seelster, see the Bromac Lodge website. As they say in sport, form is temporary, but class is permanent.

In my next blog I’ll switch from looking at the very “old” current sires to the very new ones.

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Forbury Park tomorrow night (Thursday 19 December) is the second start for a 3yo filly who has a pedigree that makes you say “no, surely she’s a 10yo mare!”

Because she is by Soky’s Atom out of Gentility. Her name is Kilmorich. Her owner-breeder-trainer is Mike Stratford of well-known Classiebawn Stud in Prebbleton.

Soky’s Atom was advertised as “Last chance to breed..” in the 2003/4 season here in New Zealand. Yes, that’s 10 years ago. He was standing in Australia at that stage but there was “limited frozen semen available” for New Zealand via Nevele R.  Mike Stratford says Soky’s Atom frozen semen is still available from Nevele R on enquiry for a reasonable price, and he understands Bob McArcle may also have some.  But the next oldest Soky’s foals bred in New Zealand are four 9yos, so there has been little demand over the years.

The other side of Kilmorich’s equation is her dam Gentility (Lordship-Strathmea-El Patron) who was well into her 20s when she foaled Kilmorich. Kilmorich is her last foal; Gentility was later put down after her arthritic knees became too much of a burden for her.

Kilmorich has a 4yo full brother called Classiegent who was a recent race winner at his 9th start (with two placings as well) and looks good enough to add a few more.

So right now there is a 4yo brother and 3yo sister from a now dead mare who was served by frozen semen from a dead sire. Both results, however, are very much alive and showing up at the races this spring.

Kilmorich qualified recently and then was placed second in her debut race at Forbury Park last Friday 13 December, a standing start over 1700m. It was a good effort, running on strongly wide. Eye catching. She will learn a lot from that experience. Have a look at the race video at HRNZ website race results

A week later she will strip fitter and is drawn better, again 1700m from a standing start. (I have no idea why they are expecting a relatively inexperienced field to do a standing start over short distance on a tight track, but maybe I missed something! The video shows plenty of early trouble in Kilmorich’s first race, and it’s a brave punter who bets on these types of races).

 (UPDATE POST RACE: Watched her race tonight (19/12) and it was a very conservative drive, especially with an outsider (or two) in lead and trail, so it could well be that she felt flat even in the prelims and that is why driver Ben Williamson chose to not get flushed out into a parked position over 1700m.  Could well be also she doesn’t yet back up within a week, which is quite an ask for younger horses especially fillies. Still one to follow , I reckon.)

Mike Stratford says Kilmorich “goes well” and is on the market if someone is interested in buying.

It’s an interesting prospect for breeders to consider – because she looks like she could get a couple of wins under her belt this season without too much trouble.

If you breed from a mare that is such a “time warp”, would you be starting with a handicap, or would you have the benefit of hindsight (including all the stats from Soky’s career as a broodmare sire) and be able to jump straight into the newer sires that offer what this family and Soky’s Atom might really respond to?

Soky’s Atom himself came full of speed breeding – Albatross, Adios, Tar Heel. Some well-credited current sires for Soky’s Atom mares would be Christian Cullen, Courage Under Fire (who also crossed well with Lordship mares), Washington VC, Live Or Die, Bettor’s Delight and Mach Three. But I would look at the stats for Real Desire, too, and there’s potential to leap-frog over the last decade’s sires and do bold crosses with some of the new sires coming available.

As people who read my blog know, I respect what quality genes can bring to the mix, regardless of how “fashionable” they may be at the moment.

Tip o’ the hat to Soky’s Atom

At the time he was last advertised commercially available to New Zealand breeders (2003/4) Soky’s Atom was ending an illustrious career as a sire who gave strength and speed to many of his progeny, and of course went on to become one of New Zealand’s best broodmare sires, and is still rating high on that count.

He had died the previous year, in 2002, just before Christmas, so that’s another reason why this blog is timely.

New Zealand’s best pacer lost his dad, super sire Soky’s Atom, who was found dead at Alabar Stud in Victoria.
The US-bred stallion had become one of the greats of Australasian harness racing, siring millionaire Desperate Comment among a string of outstanding pacers.|
Young Rufus’ form in the past 12 months helped boost Soky’s Atom’s career at an age, 25, when most stallions are winding down.
He had already served 155 mares this season.
Although he looked healthy when Alabar staff fed him on Sunday night, he was dead yesterday morning.

Check out the full version of Mick Guerin’s article about Soky’s Atom’s death in the NZ Herald. In an aside, Young Rufus of course went on to almost die himself of a twisted bowel early the following year, but made it back to the winning circle later and then stood briefly as a sire before being put down in 2007 when it was discovered he had advanced cancer.

Soky’s Atom was one of three incredibly influential sons of Albatross who stood at stud in New Zealand – the others being Holmes Hanover and Vance Hanover. None of them left a commercial siring line here, but left a very enduring contribution through their racing progeny and then their broodmares. That’s very much the story of Albatross.

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