Posts Tagged ‘Western Hanover’

Nibble HanoverNibble Hanover and Lydia Knight are names most breeders will recognise from the past, because they pop up in so many pedigrees, and particularly together as the sire and dam of Knight Dream. So with the resurgence of the Adora/K Nora line  – and Knight Dream being mated with Adora to produced K Nora – they have surfaced again with bells on.

I confess that for me they have flown a little bit under the radar in terms of my coverage of “engine room” sires and “turning point” mares that have had quality influence far ahead in pedigrees.

You know what it’s like. Someone comments on the new blue-flowering plant that seems to be on the roadside this year. Really?  But the next day you drive to work and – crikey, you see so many blue flowers. How did I miss those before??

I’ve had the same feeling when I have looked at pedigrees of so many great racehorses, sires and broodmares. Lo and behold! There is Nibble Hanover and Lydia Knight (sometimes together, often apart) now jumping out of the page at me and just pumping quality genes into the pedigree of so many influential horses.

They meet in a way that (cue music and lights) reaches beyond their own mating and adds a huge kick in the arse to breeding in several different lines.

To recognise them individually and in combination, here’s a new series of blogs.


Part 1 – Nibble Hanover

I will start with Nibble Hanover. What a strange name, because he was much more than a nibble at this standardbred game! More like a decent bite.



Nibble Hanover

Nibble Hanover was a foal of 1936 so in many ways he is a boy of the Second World War. He was a trotter, and a damn good one. His entry in the Harness Racing Museum Hall Of Fame says:

Nibble Hanover began setting world records as a two-year-old and continued doing so year after year. It was as a five-year-old that he set his 1:58 3/4 mark. Of the 67 heats Nibble Hanover raced, he failed to share the purse on only five occasions and his earnings of $25,559 were considered quite good for those days. He began at the stud at Almahurst and was later purchased by Hanover Shoe Farms for $100,000. He died there in 1968.

So he died at the grand age of 32, but even by then his legacy was immense. When he started as a sire, he was in the post-war era and other sires of about the same age and that have endured in reputation were Billy Direct (b1934 and of equal importance in the long term), The Widower (b1935) and later the two racetrack combatants Adios (b1940) and Kings Counsel (1940), and also Worthy Boy (b1940). Later still Ensign Hanover (b1943), Good Time (b1946), and even Tar Heel (b1948).

The war years, from my look at it, did not produce many pacers that turned into enduringly successful sires; it was not the ideal environment, to say the least. But the pre-war mares had been good. So Nibble Hanover got his go with some very classy mares and I think plenty of them. If anyone can find the stats around that, I would love to know.

He made the most of the opportunity too. He sired 140 “classic progeny” including Little Brown Jug winner Knight Dream and Hambletonian winning filly Miss Tilly. I will look at those two in a separate blog.

Where on earth do I start? Like the blue flowers, Nibble Hanover seems everywhere. There are some key places where he is NOT. Like Meadow Skipper, Direct Scooter, Albatross.

I’ll start with the big name pedigrees that he appears in either more than once or in a very influential way, and in particular with Lydia Knight:

Abercrombie 4 x 4 – as the damsire of Henry T Adios in the sire line, and through Knight Dream as sire of Duane Hanover in the maternal line. Therefore wherever Abercrombie goes Nibble Hanover follows.

Artsplace – as above, Abercrombie, but also another connection via Duane Hanover as sire of Miss Elvira’s grandam.

Bret Hanover –  Nibble Hanover was the sire of Beryl Hanover, the grandam of Bret Hanover.

BG’s Bunny – twice in his maternal line. His dam Bret’s Romance is by Bret Hanover,  and also Bret’s Romance’s dam Knight Embassy is by Knight Dream. Because BG’s Bunny’s full sister was Lismore, that same Nibble Hanover influence comes through the maternal lines of very good racehorses like Albert Albert, Lisheen, Lahar, Lisryan, and of course down under we had her grandsons Lis Mara and Lislea as sires, and Woodlands Stud owner and breeder Charlie Roberts is breeding from several female descendants of Lismore.

Most Happy Fella’s grandam Maxine’s Dream is by Knight Dream. So again, anywhere MHF goes, there goes the Nibble Hanover and Lydia Knight combination. When Nan Cam (by Bret Hanover) was mated with Most Happy Fella, the result was Cam Fella and a 5 x 5 to Nibble Hanover.

Best Of All – who plays such an important role on many good pedigrees is often more known as one of the best siring sons of the great Good Time and a wonderful broodmare sire. Best Of All’s damsire was Knight Dream, so here come Nibble and Lydia once again. So in Western Hanover’s pedigree, which doubles up so many lovely mares and sires, you get a 6 x 5 to Knight Dream thrown in for good measure.

Life Sign – 4 x 4 to Knight Dream, and of course one of those is his maternal line to K Nora and Adora. And with the Adora family really firing in modern times, we can chuck in names of sires like Western Ideal (who through his dam Leah Almahurst brings Nibble Hanover via Abercrombie and then two more doses via Angel Hair, one being through her sire Bret Hanover and the other being through her dam K Nora). American Ideal of course has the K Nora double up on her Western Ideal sire line and her Three Diamonds bottom line.

Even a modern sire like Sportswriter carries dear old Nibble Hanover through multiple lines including his close sibling association with Abercrombie’s sire.

Next blog I look in the same way at Lydia Knight’s influence. Then we will get into the down under connections with wonderful influences like Bachelor Hanover and Lumber Dream.

As always, input appreciated via comment on the blog or email (bee.raglan@xtra.co.nz)  – particularly from my Australian blog readers who can throw a different light on the influence of these horses, because many different sires were available in Australia and never reached New Zealand.

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Many of you will have already spotted this blog about siring lines on the View from the racetrack grandstand blogspot posted in February this year – but the announcement today that Highview Tommy (son of Bettor’s Delight) will stand at Woodlands Stud has prompted me to revisit it and seek your views. And of course to share mine!

Take time to read his post, and mine, and send in your comments via “Comments” at the very bottom of this blog. (Update: already had a very interesting comment posted from Murray Brown, check it out).

It raises the question of when and if two of the top racehorse producing sires of recent times – Cams Card Shark (Bettor’s Delight) and Artsplace (Art Major)  – will have the ability to continue their siring lines into the future.

It is remarkable that after so long at the top of his game, Bettor’s Delight has so few sons (such as Kenneth J, Betterthancheddar, and now locally Highview Tommy) as candidates to take over that dynasty. I blogged on that myself in September last year.

Likewise Art Major, although less tried in New Zealand, has had plenty of time internationally to throw up more than Art Official as a candidate for the Artsplace succession so far. I mean candidates that grab the commercial interest of breeders as well as their admiration for past deeds on the track. Sires than gain traction and can hold their service fees.  Siring success is such a tough venture.

I can see Art Major’s fortune as a sire or sires changing locally if the crop of young Art Major colts racing here like Isaiah, Sky Major, Tiger Tara and Follow The Stars keep performing like they have done to date. But Kiwi breeders will want to wait a year or so until they show a step up to the Cups and Interdoms before getting too carried away.

The blog highlights the rise and rise of the Direct Scooter siring line, which only 15-20 years ago looked like it might be a goner. There’s the Matt’s Scooter / Mach Thee / Somebeachsomewhere line from the Northern Hemisphere and In The Pocket / Christian Cullen and Changeover giving every chance to the line in the Southern Hemisphere.

Another factor the “View from the racetrack grandstand” blog highlights is the increasing arsenal of the Western Hanover branch of Meadow Skipper’s line internationally – most strongly through Western Ideal / Rocknroll Hanover (neither of which had much influence directly here in New Zealand), most potently through the latter’s sons Rock N Roll Heaven and now A Rocknroll Dance who are both available in Australia and New Zealand.

And yet there are no guarantees, are there!

It would have been a brave person 15 years ago to predict that Western Hanover / Direct Scooter combination in ascendence now.

Siring lines turn up some lovely surprises. For example, the strongest Meadow Skipper line we have today was founded by Oil Burner whose one outstanding son at stud was No Nukes – no other son of Oil Burner reached anything like No Nukes’ siring success. (Downunder we had Oil Burner’s son Devil’s Adversary standing for about 10 years from 1992, and he got a couple of decent books but didn’t show up much and dropped right away).

In the same way, it only took one of No Nukes’ sons – Western Hanover – to open up a range of strong branches that are still evolving and sorting themselves out. Will the Western Ideal branch keep growing? Or will a “dark horse” like Shadow Play or Well Said turn out to be Western Hanover’s most successful siring son?

Cam Fella, born in the same year as No Nukes, appeared to have many more successful siring sons to carry on his legacy – Cambest, Camluck, Cam’s Card Shark, Presidential Ball…. and yet he is struggling now with just one descendant – Bettor’s Delight – as a top sire, and no proven inheritors yet.

What does this tell us? That it takes just one, just one, to turn a line’s fortunes around.

And that one “sire of sires” can come from the less-than-obvious sources.

As breeders, we have a role to play in all this. Thoughtful breeding and giving quality new sires an opportunity are two ways we can contribute.

In another 15 years we might be looking back and saying: “Well, you’d never have guessed a son of Mister Big would reignite the Artsplace line.” Or perhaps: “Cam Fella line was almost gone until those sons of Roll With Joe really stood up to be counted!” Or even: “So it’s the Changeover line rather than Christian Cullen that’s blossoming down here.”  Or in my own dreams: “Thank heavens for Tintin In America, keeping that Bret Hanover line alive, and his outstanding son Tantan has already left 50% winners to foals.”

What do you think?

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Jereme’s Jet is an example of a sire with good credentials and now some very solid performance statistics, who could not get a foothold as a commercial shuttling sire. His last season here was 2012, and he’s not likely to be back.

The reasons are mixed, and he is one of many sires who have found the challenges of shuttling too difficult. I will have a look at those challenges of shuttling in my next blog.

Jereme's Jet 2011 NZ

Jereme’s Jet at the NZ Alabar 2011 stallion parade – bookends of a big shoulder and a big bum.

Jereme’s Jet stood for 4 seasons in New Zealand for a $6,000 service fee. He is a lovely strong looking individual, with a big shoulder and bum – bookends – on a 15.2hh body, so he is compact but looked the type of sire that could produce speedy earlier types. I’ve seen him personally a couple of times at Alabar stallion parades.

His credentials are very good. His main selling point is his own speed – consistently fast – and he raced from 2yo to 4yo which gives more confidence of durability, toughness. So on type – very fast, compact, not big but built like a brick sh**house as we say – Alabar and the sire’s owners must have been hoping he would eventually fit the same siring mould as Bettor’s Delight.

On the so-so side of the equation, Jereme’s Jet’s maternal family is not that strong and certainly not well known here. His dam was an outstanding racehorse with Jereme’s Jet and his full brother Ohubetterbelieveit by far the best of her progeny to date. Back further, there is a solid family but nothing that really stands out.

Also Jereme’s Jet is a son of Western Hanover and, apart from Badlands Hanover who has build a very fine reputation here over 14 years, New Zealand has had little experience of the Western Hanover line, and some of those who have ventured here have not been successful at all (Red River Hanover, P Forty Seven). His best son Western Ideal has been available only as frozen semen and often at a high price, so has only had a handful of “boutique” foals here (from 15 foals now aged 2 and 3, he has had 5 starters for 3 winners). However Western Ideal’s son American Ideal is gaining in popularity each year and had the backing of the Woodlands Stud broodmare band to help him in those first awkward years when he got only around 70 or 80 mares – now he is regularly getting well over 100. Same for Western Ideal son Rocknroll Hanover who, after a very slow start (again due to frozen semen and high service fee) is now getting around 50 mares, still with frozen semen but at half the original asking price.

So overall, New Zealand has been more successful hunting ground for sires from the Artsplace line rather than sons of Western Hanover, and Western Ideal’s own sons are the main flag carriers of the Western Hanover line.

What’s interesting about Jereme’s Jet is that he hasn’t left many 2yo speedy types at all, if any. But his statistics get a lot better as his foals develop. In fact, they are impressive for a sire that had an average of less than $10,000 across both New Zealand yearling sales this year. At the Australasian sale (Karaka) he had just 5 yearlings for sale, with 3 selling (average $$5,500) and 2 passed in on vendor’s bid. One of those was Peter Fraser’s colt Lot 89 Campora which was bought back at $17,500 – it’s a full brother to Vapour who is now doing well in Australia.  At the Premier sale (Christchurch) there were 9 lots on offer. 6 sold (average $10,833) and 3 were passed in on vendor’s bid.

Let’s review Jereme’s Jet siring stats to date: (remembering the season is not over yet)

His current 2yos   43 live foals   3 starters (7%)   1 winner (2%)
His current 3yos   55 live foals   31 qualifiers (56%)  20 starters (36%)  12 winners (21%)
His current 4yos   87 live foals   54 qualifiers (62%)   45 starters (51%)  33 winners (37%)

Just to put this in context, here are the equivalent stats for American Ideal’s current 4yos born in New Zealand in 2009:
His current 4yos    61 live foals   32 qualifiers (52%)  25 starters (40%)  18 winners (29%)

And yet American Ideal has been given the time to establish his reputation, solidly. His annual numbers of mares is now well over 100. Whereas Jereme’s Jet is gone. And like Jereme’s Jet, American Ideal foals on type were perhaps expected to go earlier than they do. In reality, both sires are leaving foals that get better and stronger with time.

Just to put both those sires in perspective, Bettor’s Delight currently has 52% of his 2009 crop as winners. That shows both how remarkable he is as a sire, but also the increased opportunities for a sire with big books and quality mares. It is a hard market to crack.

Jereme's Jet filly

Lot 117 Karaka yearling sale 2014, the Jereme’s Jet filly sold to Adam Wilkinson for just $10,000

In terms of yearling sale prices, Jereme’s Jet was reasonable well received with his first crop at the 2011 sales, with several selling in the $15,000 to $40,000 range. The following couple of years show a slide so common in the first few years as sales buyers wait to see how the yearlings look, how the 2yos perform. So few buyers wait to see how the 4yos turn out. Those that do were rewarded at the yearling sales this year with some very astute buys of some very good looking Jereme’s Jet yearlings. The photo in this blog shows Adam Wilkinson’s purchase for just $10,000 at the Karaka sale – from a Soky’s Atom mare, the same cross as Whisper Jet ($60,000 from 15 starts, 4 wins to date).

So Jereme’s Jet moved very quickly into the breed-to-race-and-sell category, rather than a commercial “sales-type” sire. That probably suits the type of horse he is leaving. However his service fee couldn’t reflect that change without the owners obviously struggling to break even on the shuttle arrangement. His departure is a no-brainer in business terms, and judging by the relatively low fertility (hovering under 70% after his first season here) maybe the horse didn’t thrive on the demands of shuttling.

Helena Jet is, of course, his outstanding New Zealand representative today and embodies the qualities of the sire – she’s attractive, has character, and is strong – and yes, she is getting faster as she gets older.

It’s the consistency of his starters that I like. When I look through the race form book, I’m always interested to see the Jereme’s Jets. They usually don’t have a lot of starts but the formline reads well. For a small bettor like me, they are a great bet. I’ll do a squizz back sometime in the future and see how his stats are tracking when his youngest foals have reached the end of their 4yo season, here and in Australia.

So this is a tip o’ the hat to a sire that I really like and seriously considered.

Jereme’s Jet now stands at Ivy Lane Farm in Indiana at US$3000.





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