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Posts Tagged ‘Tar Heel’

Dot Schmidt in Australia has sent in this thoughtful response to the discussion in the previous blog re the influence of Tar Heel with Bettor’s Delight and He’s Watching.

David has obviously put a lot of work into that but for mine there’s a couple of things to query. For his top 50 performers in Australia are these restricted to foaled in Australia, or are NZ imports included? To make the figures relevant a % of performers to foals is needed. 11 in the top 50 from ITP mares foaled in Australia I’d guess would be a very high % of performers but probably not if some of these are imports and thus cherry picked from a much larger foal crop. %age wise maybe the Artsplace, or particularly the Safely Kept crosses as I doubt that BD served many Safely Kept mares may actually be much better. Off course you need, and this goes particularly for some of the other sires listed a large enough number of offspring to be statistically relevant.

I noted Falcon Seelster wasn’t on David’s list of Broodmare sires in Australia which I thought was interesting as I recall something on your blog about the success of BD over Falcon Seelster mares in NA. I’m sure that this would be an anomaly rather then evidence  that BDs out of Falcon Seelster mares can’t run in Australia!

Is David’s fondness for Tar Heel based on the theory of “X factor” as found in Mariann Hanns books? If so the horse genome has been completely mapped and there is no single large heart gene found on the X chromosome. There are sires who do make a bigger contribution to a breed as broodmare sires then others and Tar Heel was certainly one. It may have something to do with the X chromosome but it will be multiple genes and probably as much to do with skeletal muscle as large hearts which obviously do exist just not as the result of a single gene.

With He’s Watching I’m not sure that the 8 (6 unique) strains of Tar Heels in the 6th generation is particularly relevant but perhaps the symmetry is what appeals. Meadow Skipper, not all in the 6th generation but there abouts has 13 strains through his sons and daughters and 7 unique so actually contributes a larger % of genes to He’s Watching. I think He’s Watchings high speed and success as a racehorse is largely due to the reinforcing of his highly successful U7 influences Leah Almahurst and Three Diamonds and luck in the genetic draw moreso then the influence of Tar Heel in the 6th generation. I do agree with David on the reinforcing of family U2 though.

I agree he could do well with BD mares but not in my opinion because of the Tar Heel lines in both but moreso because closer up BGs Bunny is genetically speaking very nearly a full sibling to Three Diamonds. Also the Abercrombie over Albatross found in both. Off course the other half of the mares pedigree counts too, some of Shy Ann’s descendants  as found in both Real Desire and Jenna’s Beach Boy wouldn’t go astray and as David pointed out The Old Maid/ Spinster U2 family.

I doubt it would ever happen but I’d imagine a He’s Warching out of Adore Me could a seriously fast horse! Two BGs Bunnys plus Farm timer who descends from Nora Adelle and has two lines of family U2

Of course the beauty of discussing breeding theories is just that, it’s theory and no one is necessarily more right then another and as they say opinions are like a***holes, everyone has one!

See also Kevin’s comment to this post. Click on the arrow alongside “One comment” below.

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I’d like to share some research and observations by Australian blog follower David Sinclair. David says: “Although I currently don’t have any horses nor am I currently breeding any I am truly fascinated with bloodlines and pedigrees, and really enjoy learning as much as I possibly can.” David emailed me with his analysis of some of the influences of Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco combination in current crosses with Bettor’s Delight and potentially with He’s Watching, and then with some of his thoughts on why some sires perform a huge role as damsires but struggle to leave a top siring son – and will his permission I’d like to share this exchange with you.

Addtional thoughts welcome – leave a comment at the end of the blog (although I know a lot of you prefer to email me direct at bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz). David’s comments are based on Australian statistics.

David Sinclair:

Touching on your very informative article on B4Breeding.com regarding He’s Watching, I too am very interested to see what kind of job He’s Watching is able to do at stud. I have always suspected that he would be a fine job but until the results finally come to fruition I guess he’s still a bit of an unknown.

I have actually been doing a bit of research because I have a theory regarding what type of mares he would best suit. I am very interested to hear your thoughts. The first thing that stands out to me is the 8 sources of Tar Heel in his 6th generation, 6 of those sources being unique. I have always held the view that a big part of the reason for the success of Bettor’s Delight as a sire is his affinity with Tar Heel maternally, particularly In The Pocket mares. Although I only have Australian stats to go by, I had a look at the broodmare sire of Bettors Delight’s top 50 money earning progeny to race in Australia in order to try and determine any pattern. Not surprisingly, I believe that stats validate my suspicions.

Of Bettor’s Delight’s top 50 progeny to race in Australia, the list of broodmare sires is as follow with number of foals within the top 50 listed in brackets.

In The Pocket

In The Pocket – his mares are a great cross with Bettor’s Delight. His damsire is Tar Heel.

In The Pocket (11)
Artsplace (3)
Safely Kept (3)
Christian Cullen (3)
Sokys Atom (2)
Butler BG (2)
Dream Away (2)
Albert Albert (2)
Holmes Hanover (2)
Ticket To Heaven
BGs Bunny
Camtastic
What’s Next
Walton Hanover
Troublemaker
Classic Garry
Northern Lights
On The Road Again
Silent Spring
Sands A Flyin
Seahawk Hanover
Die Laughing
Perfect Art
Make A Deal
New York Motoring
Direct Scooter
Village Jasper
Live Or Die
Save Fuel

As you can see, not surprisingly In The Pocket as a broodmare sire accounts for 11 of Bettor’s Delights top 50 progeny by earnings, a staggering 22%! However, when you look at what Bettor’s Delight brings to the table, the affinity for Tar Heel makes complete sense.

Bettor’s Delight carries:
Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco double through dam sire (Armbro Emerson/Most Happy Fella & Amrbro Emerson/Tar Heel), Adioo through dam sire (Armbro Emerson/Adios), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Armbro Emerson/Follow Up), Kathleen double through dam sire (Armbro Emerson), through both Most Happy Fella via Good Time and through Armbro Emerson’s 9th dam who is Kathleen; Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Albatross/Tar Heel), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (Albatross/Dancer Hanover); Lida W through 3rd dam sire (Meadow Gene/Nutwood Wilkes) **San Francisco is out of Oniska, with Oniska bred 2×3 maternally to Lida W**; San Francisco through 7th dam sire (San Francisco).

Given Bettor’s Delights own strong connection to Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco/Oniska/Lida W, his ability to match so well to In The Pocket mares is not surprising, given In The Pocket is out of a Tar Heel mare. You may also note a close up connection to the Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen blood as well through Bettors first 2 dams. Given the strong influence of Spinster, particularly through Light Brigade and Bachelor Hanover, amongst the NZ broodmare band I believe that this serves to further strengthen the connections to Tar Heel, adding a further string to the bow.

Now, considering Holmes Hanover is also out of a Tar Heel mare you may wonder why there aren’t more horses in the top 50 with Holmes Hanover as a broodmare sire. In my opinion I do not believe that Tar Heel is the main driving force behind Holmes Hanover maternally, rather it is more focused upon Margaret Parrish/Arion/Manette.

Now to go through what each of those broodmare sires brings to the table maternally.
In The Pocket – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Tar Heel);
Artsplace –carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Albatross), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Albatross), plus Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Columbia George), 3rd dam sire (Duane Hanover) & 7th dam sire (Dillon Axworthy);
Safely Kept – carries Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Abercrombie), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through 3rd dam sire (Race Time), Dillon Axowrthy/Adioo through 4th dam sire (Shadow Wave), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 5th dam sire (Ensign Hanover);
Christian Cullen – carries Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Bo Scots Blue Chip), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Overtrick)
Sokys Atom – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Tar Heel), Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Adios);
Butler BG – carries Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Race Time), Volomite/San Francisco maternal double through 2nd dam sire (Adios Butler);
Dream Away – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco triple through dam sire (Forrest Skipper), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Forrest Skipper), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco double through 2nd dam sire (Sonsam), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Sonsam), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover);
Albert Albert – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Albatross), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Albatross), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Bret Hanover);
Holmes Hanover – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Tar Heel), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 5th dam sire (Dillon Axworthy).**also carries Manette/Arion/Margaret Parrish through 2nd dam sire (Henry T Adios) & 3rd dam sire (Rodney), in my opinion this is the primary influence**;
Ticket To Heaven – carries Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Airliner), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (Thorpe Hanover), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 5th dam sire (Ensign Hanover);
BGs Bunny – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/adioo through dam sire (Bret Hanover);
Camtastic – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Albatross), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Albatross), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Tar Heel), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Sampson Hanover), Volomite/San Francisco through 4th dam sire (Irish Hal);
What’s Next – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Tar Heel), Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Wilmington);
Walton Hanover – carries Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Best Of All), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Bullet Hanover);
Troublemaker – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Bret Hanover);
Classic Garry – a bit of an anomaly, does not carry any Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco, Dillon Axworthy/Adioo, or The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen maternally. From what I can tell the main influence is via Lady Marjoe and her son Jack Potts through 2nd dam sire (Kimberlene)???;
Northern Lights – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Albatross), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Albatross), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Tar Heel), Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Adios);
On The Road Again – carries Adioo through dam sire (Bye Bye Byrd);
Silent Spring – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Good Time), Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (7th dam of Good Time), Spinster/Kathleen through 4th dam (Lady Scotland/dam Spinster by Spencer whose 3rd dam is Kathleen);
Sands A Flyin – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Bret Hanover), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through 3rd dam sire (Dancer Hanover), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 5th dam sire (Tar Heel);
Seahawk Hanover – Midnight through dam sire (Meadow Skipper), Midnight through 4th dam sire (Billy Direct), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 5th dam sire (Sandy Flash);
Die Laughing – Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Albatross), The Old Maid/Spinster through dam sire (Albatross), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Shadow Wave), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Painter), Volomite/San Francisco through 4th dam sire (Good Time), Kathleen through 4th dam sire (7th dam of Good Time);
Perfect Art – Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Nihilator), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Nihilator), Margaret Parrish/Arion/Manette through dam sire (Nihilator), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Big Towner), Margaret Parrish/Arion/Manette through 2nd dam sire (Big Towner), Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Big Towner), Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (Big Towner 10th dam Kathleen), The Old Maid/Spinster through 3rd dam sire (Dancer Hanover), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 4th dam sire (Tar Heel);
Make A Deal – Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Abercrombie), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Adioo through 5th dam sire (Adios);
New York Motoring – Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Shadow Wave), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Tar Heel), Volomite/San Francisco through 5th dam sire (Volomite);
Direct Scooter – San Francisco through dam sire (Noble Victory), Kathleen through 3rd dam sire (Spencer);
Village Jasper – Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Abercrombie), Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Most Happy Fella), Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (Most Happy Fella), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (Bret Hanover), Kathleen through 6th dam sire (Spencer), Margaret Parrish/Arion/Manette through 7th dam sire (Arion Guy), Arion/Manette though 8th dam sire (Todd);
Live Or Die – Tar Heel/ Volomite/San Francisco double source through dam sire (Temujin), Kathleen through dam sire (Temujin), Adioo through dam sire (Temujin), Tar Heel/ Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Romeo Hanover);
Save Fuel – Midnight through dam sire (Meadow Skipper).

 

As you may be able to see, one thing all of Bettor’s Delight’s top 50 money earners in Australia have in common, with the exception of Classic Garry & Save Fuel, is a doubling up of the primary influences of Bettor’s Delight maternally with what the broodmare sire offers maternally. Either a close up connection to Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco blood, Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo blood, or The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen blood maternally, quite often in combination. But without a doubt, the blood that seems to pop up most prominently is Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco.

Which brings me to He’s Watching’s maternal pedigree. And please bear with me because it is very detailed.
Dam sire (Real Desire) – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through dam sire (Real Desire/Troublemaker/Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Troublemaker/Bret Hanover), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Trenton/Overtrick), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Real Desire/Trenton/Thorpe Hanover), Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Trenton/Adios), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Trenton/Sandy Flash), Spinster/Kathleen through dam sire (Real Desire/Race Time), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Shadow Wave), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through dam sire (Real Desire/Ensign Hanover)
2nd dam sire (Jennas Beach Boy) – carries Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Cam Fella/Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/ Jennas Beach Boy/Cam Fella/Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/ Jennas Beach Boy/Cam Fella/Dale Frost), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Cam Fella/Ensign Hanover), Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Windshield Wiper/Bye Bye Byrd), The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Windshield Wiper/Thorpe Hanover), Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Windshield Wiper/Adios), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Windshield Wiper/Raider), Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy /Adios), Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 2nd dam sire (Real Desire/Jennas Beach Boy/Norette Hanover)
3rd dam sire (No Nukes) – Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 3rd dam sire (No Nukes/Overtrick), Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 3rd dam sire (No Nukes/Tar Heel), Volomite/San Francisco maternal double through 3rd dam sire (No Nukes/Good Time), Kathleen through 3rd dam sire (No Nukes/ Good Time)
4th dam sire (Abercrombie) – Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 4th dam sire (Abercrombie)
6th dam sire (Bret Hanover) – Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through 6th dam sire (Bret Hanover), Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through 6th dam sire (Bret Hanover)
8th dam sire (Adios) – Adioo through 8th dam sire (Adios)

 

With his the 8 sources of Tar Heel in his 6th generation, 6 of which being unique, I think that He’s Watching will match up wonderfully well to Bettors Delight mares, particularly those who also carry a maternal connection to Tar Heel/Volomite/San Francisco through In The Pocket or to a lesser extent Holmes Hanover, Helen Hanover/Dillon Axworthy/Adioo through Falcon Seelster and Overtrick, or The Old Maid/Spinster/Kathleen through Bachelor Hanover or Light Brigade. I also suspect that he will match very well to Christian Cullen mares given the 5 separate maternal traces to Helen Hanover that He’s Watching possesses maternally through the first 3 dam sires (Real Desire, Jennas Beach Boy, No Nukes) considering that Christian Cullen also contains a trace to Helen Hanover through his 2nd dam sire Overtrick. Another stallion whose daughters I would not be surprised to see He’s Watching match up well with is Artsplace given his strong infusion of Dillon Axworthy maternally through his 2nd, 3rd and 7th dams.

 

Bee:

Yes the influence of Tar Heel through the maternal lines of mares has been critical to some of the success of sires. Not doubling up necessarily, but complementing. Like that blog I did on “engine room sires”, you need the guy at the wheel but you also need the guy shovelling coal in the engine.
The Tar Heel factor is so interesting, as it poses a question about how long an influence can endure through broodmare sire (as his siring line is really gone now) and why it was/is that way for so many great male horses in the end, rather than leaving siring sons. Albatross the other standout longer term example.

David Sinclair:

I completely agree with your engine room sires post, especially laying the foundation within a pedigree. I believe that Tar Heel/Volomite fit your description perfectly maternally. I am constantly amazed at how many top horses from both hemispheres who carry Tar Heel and Volomite maternally, whether they be a dam sire, 2nd dam sire, 3rd dam sire etc, or whether they appear on the maternal side of dam sires. Albatross is quickly becoming very similar to Tar Heel in that regard. I have no doubt that when we look back in 20 years time he will provide a very similar influence.

The question you pose regarding some lines being successful maternally but not producing a lasting siring line has always puzzled me. I often wonder whether they become the victim of their own success. Being such dominant sires their fillies will often become quite potent broodmares. However, it is very rare that you would put a daughter of a particular sire to a son of that same sire, therefore you often have to look for another siring line. Tar Heel, Bret Hanover and Albatross have all been breed changing broodmare sires who were well ahead of the competition, with their daughters often becoming broodmare gems. However, with those other sires being so far behind in a broodmare sire sense, their daughters, looking collectively as a whole, would be somewhat inferior.

Therefore, the broodmare band that sons of Tar Heel, Bret Hanover and Albatross had to access was inferior compared to those that other sires were able to access, given that these other sires were able to breed to daughters of Tar Heel, Bret Hanover, Albatross etc. Consequently, these lines eventually fall out of favour.

In this regard, I would not be surprised to see the Artsplace siring line and the Bettors Delight siring line to also eventually die out solely due to their success as broodmare sires.

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A few blogs ago I described two vary different racehorses (later to both become very successful sires and damsires), Spencer and Scotland. Spencer was a big, lanky horse; Scotland a sleek medium sized one.

This same pattern occurs in several famous pairs of horses who later became excellent sires and damsires –

  • Tar Heel and Adios;
  • Most Happy Fella and Albatross;

In all these cases the first of the pair was a bigger, rugged type and not the smoothest gaited horse, while the second of the pair was the smaller handsome one with the gorgeous gait.

As I said in my blog about the three very different Jamaicans in the Olympic 200m final, speed and greatness can come in very different packages.

And although I often talk about the advantage of having a great gait (what I call ‘gait speed’) it’s good to be reminded of champion horses who didn’t have that advantage but delivered brilliance anyway – on the racetrack or in the siring shed or both.

In the chapter on Tar Heel in John Bradley’s “Modern Pacing Sire Lines” he describes Tar Heel like this:

A big-headed coarsely made horse who was not especially good-gaited….One of the racing scribes of his era commented on his gait by saying “It was hard to tell what he was doing, but we called it pacing.”

Adios, on the other hand was a stunningly handsome horse, medium sized with a beautiful fine head – and very good gaited. (I found this great article about Adios’s career in Sports Illustrated May 14, 1962, when he was still alive at 25 years of age.)

Of course these two horses are present in so many pedigrees – the Golden Adios/Tar Heel Cross. See this good article in Sports Horse Breeder website that looks at some of the genetic reasons this was a good combination – but just their complementary attributes and physical types must be a key factor.

Most Happy Fella – big and rugged

Most Happy Fella was a big, rugged looking colt who was bothered through his career by a hock injury, leading to a somewhat rough-gaited style of going. In fact trainer/driver Stanley Dancer is quoted as saying:

What a nasty horse he was to drive. You never knew when Most Happy Fella was going to make a break. He went with such a tight hobble, and he still felt like he was going to put in a step. I was surprised he was such a great sire. He sired some good-gaited horses.

Many of Meadow Skipper’s racing sons were big, bold horses – and Most Happy Fella also had a big dam (Laughing Girl), surprisingly a Good Time mare because Good Time was under 15h himself and often left smaller horses.

Albatross, on the other hand, was an atypical son of Meadow Skipper – he stood only 15.1h but with a long-barrel and “an unattractive head which seemed very disproportionate to the remainder of his conformation.”  He was a very well balanced horse, however, and his gait was superb.

Albatross’ hallmark, and his greatest contribution to the breed, was his gait. Dancer believes that Albatross could have raced free-legged, such was the purity of his motion. It was free-flowing, solid and allowed Albatross to carry his speed through three demanding seasons.” (John Bradley)

These four fantastic horses illustrate just how different the qualities of top horses (and top sires/damsires) can be.

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I’ve been following the interesting discussion on Race Cafe forum about the ‘freakish’ trotter Googoo Gaagaa who is from a moderately bred trotting family by a pacing stallion who was an okay racehorse but not a commercial sire.

Cross-breeding strikes us as unusual today, but it was common not all that long ago  in the days when the two specialised gaits were still being developed, and even more recently some good families have arisen from cross breeding.

Tar Heel, who is so common in our New Zealand breeding pool via In The Pocket and Holmes Hanover, has a trotting-bred dam (Leta Long who paced) and his damsire is the hugely influential and big hearted Volomite (who left about 50/50 pacing and trotting progeny).

Direct Scooter, whose sire line is becoming very influential in modern breeding, descends from Volomite and has a trotting damsire.

So In The Pocket (Direct Scooter-Leta Long-Tar Heel) has great trotting blood quite close up in a number of directions. And that puts it well and truly into many of our top family  bloodlines on the maternal and paternal lines.

The In The Pocket mare I breed from, Zenterfold, also has a trotting-bred grandam (Now And Zen whose sire was Chiola Hanover). The Zenover/Zenith family has left both pacing and trotting branches, and some of its descendant mares (like Now And Zen) can be bred to and produce both gaits. Some people have pointed to that trotting blood in Zenterfold’s pedigree as a possible ‘weak point’ in the mare’s genetic structure but I totally disagree. It is the quality of the genes that count.

It is interesting that when Zenover and her daughter Now and Zen were crossed with pacing sire New York Motoring, the result seem to have been the most successful branches of the family – Interchange from Zenover, and Zenola Star from Now And Zen.

So although the concept of crossing a trotting mare to a pacing sire comes across at first glance as a bit of a gamble, it is a path well trod in the not-so-distant past.

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I’ve finally got around to posting up the article I wrote prior to the 2012 New Zealand yearling sales in which I looked at damsire and grandamsire trends over the past 10 or more years. The article was originally published in Breeding Matters, the magazine of NZ Standardbred Breeders Assn. It is published as a page rather than a blog, so you can find it at the top of my home page or via this link

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