Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Sundon’

At 29 years old, Sundon has finally succumbed to those familiar adversaries – age and ill health.  What a horse! I’m a person who doesn’t use the word champion much at all. But Sundon was and is a champion. Not only was he a superb racehorse, winning from 2 through to 7 years old – with stellar seasons as a 2yo, 3yo and 5yo – but his efforts as a sire have done more than just chalk up a long, long list of outstanding performers. He actually modernised our trotting breed by adding speed and athleticism, and stamping those American trotting qualities on such a large number of his progeny. His fertility usually hovered around the high 70s and often climbed into the mid 80s, and it is testament to his standing amongst breeders that even faced with availability of many top overseas sires in New Zealand over the past 10 years, he continued to be popular. This season he served 13 mares. Sundon was an American-bred colt by Arndon from the BF Coaltown mare Sungait Song who turned out to be a very good producer. One of Sundon’s best half-sisters was Yankee Reb mare Sungait Reb who is leaving her own family for Roydon Lodge. Another is the Roydon Boy mare Sunsong who did nothing on the track, but whose first and only foal was the filly Solar Fire (also by Yankee Reb), a terrific young trotter who is now the dam of the equally talented Sheemon. And yet another half-sister by Yankee Reb was Sunning who has also left some good performers like Burano and Sunny Vacation, as well as current racers No Potato, Santorini Sunset and a talented Angus Hall 3yo filly called Agnes Brown who will be worth following. Sundon’s wider family includes some branches that have not fired at all, as is the case with most families. But the overall class has come through. Sundon’s progeny are still showing those qualities we are so familiar with – just yesterday he quinelled a race at Ashburton with favourite 3yo filly Sunny Ruby and one of the outsiders All Lit Up. Look at the arrogant manner of the win – and yes, a gallop along the way just to make it even more impressive. Sundon’s have sometimes been regarded as a bit lacking in manners, a bit hot-headed. Sunny Ruby is trained by Fred Fletcher – good on you Fred – who of course was very close to Sundon through his career, training and driving him in many of his races.   Summary of Sundon and his career Harnesslink tribute Otago Daily Times tribute and quotes from Phil Williamson

Read Full Post »

Arndon

Arndon, son of Roydon Gal and sire of the great Sundon.

Roydon Gal is the next double up I want to look at in this series of 3 blogs about lots at the NZ Yearling Sales 2014.

Lot 45 at the Premier Sale in Christchurch is a colt by Sundon (Arndon x Sungait Song) from a Sierra Kosmos mare Sierra Action. In pedigree terms this makes that colt 3×3 to the Super Bowl mare Roydon Gal. She is the dam of Arndon (world champion trotter). Roydon Gal is also the grandam of Sierra Action on the maternal bottom line of Lot 45.

It’s line breeding to Roydon Gal that Roydon Lodge has tried many times before – there are several examples in branches of the family where a daughter/grand-daughter of Roydon Gal has been bred back to Sundon to get “the best of the family blood”. The results have been mixed and not with a lot of luck in the foaling department. By far the best results of this breeding to Sundon are Aspiring Gal and Aspiring Son from Roydon Gal’s daughter Aspiring Lass, which makes them both 3×2 to Roydon Girl (and I’ll get to them shortly). The other success was the very good Sunny Action (65 starts, 13 wins, 5 seconds, 8 thirds, Lt $180,173 ) who is from Roydon Gal’s daughter All Action Gal and therefore also 2×3 to Roydon Gal, but the best she has left since becoming a broodmare is My Mum Beat Lyall who can certainly go alright when she’s in the mood but is not a standout. Other foals from All Action Gal by Sundon have also done well – All Action Son, Solar Active and All Sundon.

In the immediate family of Lot 45, his dam Sierra Action has been bred exclusively to Sundon and the end results are really still to unfold. As the advertising says, two of her foals have raced as 2yos including Rocky Mountain Son who sadly died earlier this year, and there is a 2yo filly called Sunset Peak….and then Lot 45 Alpine Sun of course.

This branch of the Roydon Gal family (from All Action Gal) is still young and forming, and certainly has potential to throw up top trotters.  A yearling from All Sunny, a Sundon daughter of All Action Gal,  is also in the yearling sale, Lot 125 at the Premier Sale in Christchurch, for Classic Equine NZ. She’s been bred to the Victory Dream sire Raffaello Ambrosio.  Arndon is Raffaello Ambrosio’s damsire, which makes Roydon Gal 4x4x3 to this yearling colt. A really in-depth look at the Roydon Gal family is well displayed in the pedigree of All Sunny who is a broodmare at Classic Equine – www.classicequine.net is their website.

The most successful branch of the Roydon Gal family is her good daughter Aspiring Lass (by Prakas) who won 8 races here and another 4 in USA for a total of over $100,000. She was a disaster at producing foals, but among the few live ones she did have were the successful Aspiring Son and then later Aspiring Gal – both by Sundon, so the breeding makes them 3×3 to Roydon Gal, just like Lot 45.

Aspiring Gal is the gem of the family. She is the dam of very talented Royal Aspirations (28 starts,  14 wins,  3 seconds,  3 thirds,  Lt $256,149 to date – and he’s only a 4yo) by Monarchy, Jinja Gal (54 starts,  6 wins,  4 seconds,  4 thirds,  Lt $107,696) by SJ’s Photo, and Triumphant Monarch (T1:59.7 $131,893) as well as several younger foals coming on – a 3yo colt by Majestic Son is showing up at the trials, and a 2yo filly by Monarchy likewise. I am a huge admirer of Royal Aspirations – he has kept stepping up and I have seen personally the commitment Fred Fletcher has to letting this lovely trotter develop.  Jinja Gal tragically died last year before she had any foals. Aspiring Gal has a yearling Lot 141 at the Premier Sale in Christchurch, a filly by The Pres (Andover Hall x Southwind Allaire). Given the strength of this branch, you would imagine a nice type of filly will be getting a very good price!

Going back to Roydon Gal, of course the question has to be asked: how strong is her own contribution in the scheme of things? It lies definitely in the massively fast if erratic Arndon, who later sired Pine Chip as well as Sundon, and also in the lines of two daughters: Aspiring Lass and All Action Gal. There has been enough respect for the family that two others have stood at stud – Roydon Boy and Simon Roydon, but the two great horses Arndon and his son Sundon are where Roydon Gal’s name really shines in siring pedigrees.

And for me, this is the interesting point. I am not convinced that where Roydon Gal sits in Sundon’s pedigree is especially influential as part of a double up, being on the siring line rather than through a maternal line. That’s just how I see things. Arndon was a precociously fast 2yo and 3yo, as was his son Sundon, and Arndon’s own sire Arnie Almahurst was a tough, fast 2yo and 3yo champion. High speed is not a trait I see coming through the maternal family or specifically through Roydon Gal. (See here for an interesting 1998 article on Pine Chip that touches on this).

However there is definitely quality in Roydon Gal’s genes. Tapping back to Sundon is probably bringing in that speed factor which is Sundon’s wonderful contribution to New Zealand trotting as a long term sire. So it is more compatibility of types: stamina and heart crossed with high speed (although I would not say manners so much with that siring line, as both Arnie Almahurst and Arndon were racehorses that tended to break, and Sundon’s progeny can be a bit keen, but that is often the flip side of high speed. Interestingly Sundon himself was a very relaxed horse, and there is merit in the belief that his progeny are often highly intelligent and acutely aware of their surroundings rather than “hot”.)

Whatever the reason, the faith in line breeding back to Roydon Gal has been rewarded now and then, particularly in the strongest female lines I’ve mentioned and with some top quality racehorses.

In his chapter on Arndon in Modern Trotting sire Lines, John Bradley describes his maternal line like this:

The Super Bowl mare, Roydon Gal is Arndon’s dam and she followed him with two more [American bred] stakes trotters, Roydon Boy 4, 1.57.3 (by Arnie Almahurst) and Aspiring Lass 3, T1.58.2 (by Prakas). She also has  a daughter named Roydon Lass, a full sister to Arndon, who has produced Roydon Lad 4, 1.56f (by Bonefish). Roydon Gal is a half sister to the stakes winner Rising Wind 4, T2.00.1 ($218,332) and is from the Miss Bertha C. maternal family. This is not one of the stronger branches; Arndon is the only major star.

I’m going to conclude with an extract of interest from The Roydon Heritage by Sir Roy McKenzie (of Roydon Lodge), published in 1978 when Roydon Gal was in foal to Arndon:
(for those who don’t know the history of Roydon Lodge and the contribution of Sir Roy and his father Sir John McKenzie, I recommend the article in the Addington Raceway timeline).

Roydon Gal in foal

Extract from page 111 of The Roydon Hertiage, and photo of Roydon Gal carrying the great Arndon in 1978.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: