Posts Tagged ‘tintin in america’

The Manawatu track in Palmerston North is a tight track that can favour the inside runners or the swoopers if the pace has been too frenetic. But over a mile and first up for the Tintin In America filly American Flybye tonight (after a significant spell with not even a workout to her name) it went awry and she faded badly after having a one-one sit for most of the way. Hard to tell why, I watched if she was giving Scotty Phelan a hard drive, but he disguised it well if she was. The Tintins can be keen and eager to get on with it sometimes. I just hope nothing has gone wrong with her. Fitness for a mile is something else these days, isn’t it. There is no room for using a race as a workout if you are the favourite.

In this case the bickies went deservedly to a 6yo tough mare Kilkeel Lady, trained by Colin Butler and bred by the Greaves, who is a Sutter Hanover x Miss Abigail mare. In turn Miss Abigail is from Janet Harlyn, a good broodmare who won 5 herself and then produced tough durable horses like Pegasus Bee Bee (9 wins, 13 seconds from 85 starts), Janine’s Delight (4 wins), Jessica Nicole (5 wins), the very good Dashing Dave (10 wins, 16 places and $74,518 from 66 starts), and then Miss Abigail.

Kilkeel Lady is her second foal, and that means there are a few more in the wings, including Emerson Margaret by Gotta Go Cullect (trained by Steven Reid and Simon McMullan, 22 starts, 1 win, 2 places to date), a 3yo Grinfromeartoear filly, a 2yo Big Jim filly, and a Gotta Go Cullect yearling filly.  While I might not hold my breath for them as early types (although the Big Jim one will be interesting), the family has credentials as showing up tough and durable as they age. And that is a treasure in today’s quick-and-then-gone world.

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Dia Mia Amore is proving to be a bit of an eye-catcher, with the third win for the filly coming at Bunbury, Australia on Saturday, in 1.56 for the mile race.

The video is up on the Australian Harness Racing results page, and she did it nicely, leading all the way. She is a good sized attractive looking filly with probably quite a bit more development to come, and apparently has quite a strong personality and has tested the patience of her connections! But all that is forgiven when they show potential like she is doing.

Her main aim is the $150,000 Group 1 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on 6 May. Date for my diary!  Photo of her at second win a week prior, and article on Nevele R website

Back home in New Zealand we had a nice debut for 2nd from Tintin In America colt Junkyard Mase who is from a lightly bred Son Of A Fella mare. He went out hot favourite, showed a lot of gate speed to get to the lead and fought hard to stay in contention on the line. There have been lesser performers of the sire as well, I am not completely blind lol. But it was an ok debut for the 2yo filly Manahiki Pearl for a 5th today at Manawatu raceway. On the replay she looks to be a decent sized filly with a good reach, just lacking a bit of strength but that will come. She is from the good Presidential Ball mare The Black Pearl. Down in the South Island What A Curtainraiser, a 3yo Tintin filly from a Live Or Die mare, is really struggling to find any form at all and the penny just hasn’t dropped after 7 starts for nothing of note, and trainer Kevin James will be disappointed. Earlier she had a tendency to over-race but he has been patient with her because she did show some speed. She was in the same race as Junkyard Mase on Sunday, and came 12th but was only 5 or so lengths from the winner and was trying hard. It was probably her best performance for a while.

And also down south, this time in Christchurch, the Tintin filly I co-own has had a good long break and is now starting a serious prep with Chris McDowell so she will only be getting to races as a very late 3yo or 4yo, but needed that time to strengthen. I’m really excited to find out what she will be like as a race horse!

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Bringing fillies to the yearling sales can be tricky, and more so when their sires are not amongst the top four or five. But this hasn’t stopped Anna Laxton, preparer and one of the vendors of three fillies heading for the Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch. And on type and family connections, they are well worth a look. Two of them are by “old hand” Live Or Die, and the third is by “new boy” Tintin In America. In this blog I look at Lots 213 and 157.

Lot 213 Our Promise – Live Or Die x Good Looking Woman (Holmes Hanover)

Our Promise

Our Promise, Lot 213 Premier Yearling Sale, Christchurch

One that “ticks all the boxes” is Lot 213, a Live Or Die filly from the Holmes Hanover mare Good Looking Woman. That makes this filly a full sister to Livin It Lovin It who is doing a great job over in Australia (26 wins and $175,811 to date). Live Or Die is now 23 years old, and he has earned his reputation as a great value sire of tough raceway horses over many, many seasons. Many of those have ended up racing in Australia where their tenacity and durability has stood them in good stead.  We tend to forget Live Or Die has had a couple of $1m-plus foals – Divisive and Just An Excuse – as well as top horses like Bondy, Power Of Tara, Bold Cruiser and among the mares Elect To Live and Life Of Luxury. When you look at those names, you think of mental and physical toughness. He’s doing a great job as a broodmare sire too – Terror To Love, Ohoka Texas, Major Mark, Lizzie Maguire, Libertybelle Midfrew, Franco Ledger, Elusive Chick and even the trotter Escapee! So investing in a Live Or Die filly can pay dividends in the breeding barn as well as on the track.

Good Looking woman has produced 5 to the races for 5 winners from her 8 foals, and Anna Laxton describes this filly, named Our Promise, as a “tanky, good looking girl, tough – she should have been a colt!” She says the filly free-leg paces around the paddock all the time.

Lot 157 American Dame – Tintin In America x Carnival Banner (Christian Cullen)

American Dame

American Dame, Lot 157 Premier Yearling Sale, Christchurch

If Live Or Die is the “old hand”, then Tintin In America is very much a new kid on the block, but one who is doing enough from very small numbers to open a few eyes – and potentially a few buyers’ cheque books.

Anna Laxton’s father-in-law Peter Fry came across Carnival Banner, a unraced sister to the great Mainland Banner and Christian Banner, and half sister to Stunin Banner, Rocker Band, Return To Sender etc. He bred the mare to Rock N Roll Heaven, lost one but now has a 2yo filly by that sire (Called My Blue Heaven) in the care of John Hay. After that, the plan is to let the mare prove herself before going back to another highly commercial sire. So the next two foals have been by well-regarded but cheaper new sires Tintin In America and most recently Auckland Reactor.

Carnival Banner was an unraced and very big mare, about 16.3hh. Anna says some of that tallness is starting to come through in the Tintin In America filly – “she’s almost thoroughbred looking, she’s very beautiful and I think the best looking filly we’ve had.”

She’s also the only Tintin In America yearling in the sales – both Christchurch and Karaka days. That’s more about the pricing of Tintin as a sire for breed-to-race, and to attract enough mares to develop a reputation. He’s not yet a yearling sales sire – but this is very much a yearling sales filly. Named American Dame, her photo shows a well built, attractive filly who, like her illustrious close relations, could develop into a really strong 3 and 4yo. I have a similarly built Tintin In America filly myself (co-owned with Brian West) from a big Safely Kept mare who has developed nicely and qualified, but we have given her time to mature into her frame and develop some strength, and hopefully will reap the rewards. And Tintin In America fillies are certainly flying the flag, with Just Wantano and Aussie Vista in Australia, and American Flybye here in New Zealand.

With the family credentials for stamina and quality, and a sire that is adding speed, American Dame deserves her place at the sales. On type alone should turn a few heads towards the ring come auction time.

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Just back from my hugely enjoyable trip to the South Island, where I took in Show Day at Addington, and caught up with some of my youngsters at Studholme Bloodstock (thanks to Brian West and family for a lovely time and taxi service) and Macca Lodge (thanks to Brent and Sheree McIntyre for great southern hospitality).

Highlights were seeing Tintin In America looking in fine fettle at Nevele R – thanks so much to Nikki Reed for showing me around, not just Tintin but the other sires there, all in their paddocks, covers on, a bit muddy. That’s what I love seeing – some of the best horses in the world (A Rocknroll Dance, Gold Ace, McArdle, his son Tintin In America, and the great Christian Cullen) just hanging out and being normal horses!

The day before I had caught up with the 3yo Tintin In America filly co-owned by Brian and myself, recently qualified and now having a good break at Brian’s property. Her name is Be A Legend, and she has grown into a striking filly who will get better with another 6 months of growing and strengthening up. Worth the wait.

Another highlight was when Brent McIntyre took me over the backroads of Southland to meet John and Judy Stiven of Arden Lodge fame. They are passionate about breeding and harness racing, and really thoughtful in the way they have gone about developing their band of mares. It was great seeing some of those quality offspring and learning from John about his breeding decisions. Their mare Winter Rose won the NZSBA/PGG Wrightson Broodmare of Excellence 2015 presented on the Monday night function in Cup Week. Much deserved, as she has a fine record as a broodmare – she’s the dam of Bettor’s Strike, Southwind Arden, and the newcomer Arden’s Choice (more on her in another blog) amongst others.

Of course the other highlight for me was catching up with the two mares and foals I have at Macca Lodge, that I’ve never seen before in person: Dreamy Romance and her Big Jim filly, and Nostaglic Franco and her Tintin In America colt. (Those links will take you to my blogs where I look at the match resulting in these foals). All looking great! And so good to see those mares up close and get a real impression of them, which will help me make future decisions.


Be A Legend 3yo filly Tintin In America x A Legend

Be A Legend 3yo filly Tintin In America x A Legend (Safely Kept)

Breeder Bee Pears with sire Tintin In America (NZ)

Bee reconnecting with Tintin In America at Nevele R – and no, he didn’t try to nip me!

Tintin In America

Eye-to-eye with Tintin In America

Nostalgic Franco and her Tintin In America colt foal at Macca Lodge

Nostalgic Franco and her Tintin In America colt foal at Macca Lodge

Dreamy Romance and her Big Jim filly foal at Macca Lodge

Dreamy Romance and her Big Jim filly foal at Macca Lodge


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Three Tintin In America fillies hit the South Island workout tracks last week, and another one at Cambridge today.

What A Curtainraiser (Tintin In America x Next Live Show – Live Or Die) is a 3yo filly who was at her third workout (North Canterbury, 14 October) and seems to be improving each time. What A Curtainraiser has always shown a quick turn of foot and a very competitive nature, but also a tendancy to pull or want to over-race. But patience and education is sorting that out now. The dam of What A Curtainraiser is the Live Or Die mare Next Live Show who had a twisted leg that prevented her from showing what she might have on the race track.  Trainer Kevin James says she did look good, however, and he thought enough of her to put her to Tintin In America, a horse he admired, aiming to add speed. It seems to be working.

Kevin James has four in training by Tintin In America and each one is quite different.  What A Curtainraiser is a smallish filly, but another of his Tintin youngsters is Go Ellmer Go (from a medium sized mare Ellmer Joy) who has turned out to be 16-plus hand, and he has one who has been teasing Kevin by changing preference to trot or to pace. Another of Kevin’s Tintin In America foals is the 2yo colt from Dazzle Bromac called Tuahiwi Express which he describes as  a”nice going pacer, and a chestnut colour”.

At the same North Canterbury Wednesday workouts Tintin In America 3yo filly American Vogue was having her first workout of the season, after qualifying as a 2yo in March. She sat at the back and when she looked to improve stylishly, she started to hang and pace a bit rough, losing ground before running on wide again at the back of the field. She is still a bit keen and green, but has plenty of ability once the penny drops and the manners are better. The breeding is nice, she’s from the family of Stylish Sweeheart and is from Presidential Ball mare Style By The Mile, who is the dam of MacIntosh, a Mach Three gelding who did a really nice job in Australia particularly as a 3yo and 4yo.

The other Tintin In America filly to hit the workouts last week (Motukarara, on 10 October) was Be A Legend. This is the 3yo from A Legend (a half sister to Bit Of A Legend) that I co-own with Brian West of Studholme Bloodstock. This preparation she’s been in the care of Chris McDowell, who has used patience and education to get her manners in better order. She can still be a bit keen, but is learning to settle and at the workouts he travelled her at the back in a Learners pace and let her run home nicely for second. She’s lining up at the workouts again today and the idea is the same – give her experience without a lot of pressure. Chris feels she has a bit of strength and speed.

And finally today (17 October) I was at Cambridge workouts to watch yet another Tintin In America filly go around – Love American Style – and the theme is a bit the same, with ability there but manners not. She hang badly most of the way in an easy run workout, but wasn’t pushed which is good. Again, patience is the key. The breeding of this filly is very David Phillips/Hambletonian, with the dam being the Road Machine mare Love To Travel who is also the dam of Selkie (the American Ideal mare who also raced well in Australia before retiring late last year.)

Being green and keen has more in common with speed than just having “ee“. It was the same with Tintin In America himself, and it took patience and education to channel that competitive nature and ability into manners and speed that turns on when the driver pushes the go button. My impression is that many of these trainers like what they feel in the Tintins – that there is clearly ability and speed worth being patient for.

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Update: Won in very impressive form. Reports here and here, but you read it here first. lol

Zee Dana is a colt from Tintin In America’s first crop, so a 2yo now. He was bred by Dave Kennedy who made quite a comitment to the sire, and got some nice payback when Zee Dana was taken over to ready-to-run sales in Australia and performed/sold very well, and has recently appeared at Shepperton trials and will be racing tonight. His ownership has just been joined by NRL player Brett Stewart – read article here. He has his first up race start tonight Race 2 at Bendigo. All the best for that Dave! Another Tintin foal that is showing up well in Australia is Dame Puissant (also NZ bred), who has had just the two starts, both this month, for a second then a first. She is from a P-Forty Seven mare, and perhaps the most interesting thing in her pedigree is a 3×3 to In The Pocket through the maternal lines of her sire and dam. Of Tintin’s 15 Australian-bred 2yos, Just Wantano had three starts earlier this year for 2 wins, and has just come back after a spell for a 3rd on 12 June in a heat of the Vicbred 2yo Fillies series, quite a distance from the first two runners after being checked. Aussie Vista has been consistent with 8 starts for 1 win, 2 seconds and 2 fourths, but faded after setting a hot pace and being eyeballed in the final of the Group 2 Yearling Sales Series Final for 2yos at Redcliffe. And I believe another Tintin filly Velvet Kisses is having her debut this week as well.

If you have bred or bought a Tintin, let me know how it is developing.

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The latest winner for Tintin In America as a sire came at Manawatu racetrack today – American Flybye, a 2yo chestnut filly from the Caprock mare Cathy’s Flybye,  who won for trainers Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick and for owners/breeders I D Bublitz and Mrs J I Bublitz, with the usual lovely drive, well rated,  from Scott Phelan.

Watch the replay here

Solid even quarters on the tightish Manawatu track, and she did it easily in the end, in spite of challenges in the last bit.

Her dam Cathy’s Flybye ( 2 wins) has already produced a good filly by American Ideal – Ideal Flybye (5 wins, $34,209 to date) – but overall the wider family has not been offered much opportunity in terms of sires or made much of the better opportunities they have had. But more recent decisions by the Bublitz’s seem to be kick-starting this branch with two sires that combine toughness and good speed – American Ideal and Tintin In America.

Tintin in America

Tintin wins the 3yo colts Breeders Crown

You know the back story – as the breeder of Tintin In America I have followed with close interest and support his efforts as a sire. To me, he offers great opportunities as a sire along the lines of Bettor’s Delight and American Ideal (speed, strength, tough attitude and durability). Tintin won at Group 1 level from 2yo to 4yo).

The oldest of his three crops to date are just 2yos in New Zealand and Australia, and already we have got the top seller ($70,000 plus) at a ‘ready to run’ sale in Australia (but NZ bred), the winner of the South Australian Kindergarten Stakes (a filly), and now his first NZ starter in a tote race winning in a fine way. So it is quality rather than numbers that will do his talking, it seems.

While it is early days for Tintin as a sire, it is also the hardest days. All sires struggle in their 3 and 4 seasons at stud while breeders hang back and buyers hang back…it is the usual cautious waiting for the standout performers to arrive. For sires at the lower end of the market, it is particularly tough. This past season he got just a handful of mares – but I think that could and should change next season. When from very small opportunities you make a mark with quality, a sire is worth a second and third look.

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