Posts Tagged ‘Vance Hanover’

If ever there was a horse that epitomises the Anzac spirit in the modern era, it is Courage Under Fire.

Courage Under Fire in action

Courage Under Fire in action

Aptly named, Courage Under Fire was a racehorse loved and respected in both New Zealand and Australia for his heart, gait and sheer willpower which overcame his pint-sized (14.3h at a push) frame.

He was born (1995) and developed in New Zealand, owned by Australian Greg Brodie, and raced at the top level in both countries.

He was simply a superb racehorse as a 2, 3 and 4yo, winning 24 out of 24 starts in a run that reminds us currently of Black Caviar – and “The Pocket Rocket” was just as much a crowd pleaser.

A really lovely summary of his racing career by Adam Hamilton can be found here on the excellent Addington Raceway Timeline webpages, written when Courage Under Fire retired.

The admiration he had earned “under fire” on the racetrack continued on both sides of the Tasman Sea when he went to stud.

He’s left 10 crops of foals so far (2002-2012) – it’s a milestone worth celebrating. His NZ bred foals have just topped the 1000 mark, and in Australia now exceed 500 and many more to come I hope! His oldest progeny are now 9yos. He’s got the ability to leave really good horses, and to inject a needed element of speed and toughness. And he hasn’t stamped his small size.

His popularity in Australia as a sire is undiminished, and he is still getting full books there, with good supplementary bookings for his chilled semen coming from New Zealand.  He first stood at Nevele R in New Zealand for several years, then after a stint under the Stallion Station he has found a home more recently at Alabar Australia. He is currently standing at a $6000 service fee which indicates how well he is regarded at this stage of his career.

His siring career could be headed in the same direction as his damsire the great Vance Hanover, carving out a great reputation over a long period, not leaving a major siring dynasty in his own right, but likely to provide some very good broodmares in the future.  Many of his best sons are geldings – Pembrook Benny, Sleepy Tripp, Smolda.

Thoughts on Anzac Day

Completely on a different tack, I’d like to give a tip o’ the hat to the horses who have literally performed under fire through many different wars. Forget the awful Spielberg movie and search out some of the real stories to be found about these horses and their handlers.  I hate war for what it does to people, to animals, to the environment. It’s a soul-destroying aspect of life, and its only good side is the other part of the human condition it reveals – courage, resiliance, and humanity shown by individuals against all odds. That’s what I think about on Anzac Day.

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