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Destination Moon racehorse

Take off – Destination Moon at 2012 yearling sales with Kym Kearns

He’s named after a book about flying to the moon. And from the photo, you can see he was keen to take off long before race day!

It was great to see Destination Moon get his first win last Friday at Alexander Park. The field was not nearly as strong as his first race a couple of weeks earlier, which was a Sires Stakes heat with the speed on, but the way he won was impressive.

He reached the front early and ran confidently in the lead, not switching off, keeping a good margin to the others and pulling away to win by over 2 lengths with little encouragement needed from Joshua Dickie in the bike.

Destination Moon is the half brother to Tintin In America and full brother to The Blue Lotus (3rd in Sires Stakes Fillies 3yo final), from my wonderful mare Zenterfold. His sire Grinfromeartoear is not highly commercial but if you get the right match he adds a lot of value and leaves some tough horses with speed.  “Duncan” (as we nicknamed Destination Moon) was a lovely type as a yearling and sold for $68,000 to Rosslands Stud Ltd (Kerry Hoggard) at the 2012 yearing sales.

He has shown up in his workouts and qualifying trial just prior to racing, but pleasing to see there wasn’t a rush to get him into the 2yo Sires Stakes if he wasn’t ready.

Recently I spoke to trainer Steven Reid about Destination Moon’s next steps, and he says he will be racing till the end of June then have a spell before being aimed at the 3yo Sires Stakes heats, which come up early in the new season and culminate around NZ Cup time.

Destination Moon pacer

Destination Moon wins on 24 May 2013 at Alexandra Park

Steven says he was “rapt” with the win – “He just cruised that, and it is how he’s been working at home.”

He describes Destination Moon as having the potential to step up and be quite a good horse.

Tintin In America and The Blue Lotus now have a Real Desire half brother weanling who is hanging out in our paddock with a full brother to Flying Isa, great mates.

More about him and an update on other branches of the family coming in a blog soon.

Destination Moon’s pedigree is one I wanted because Grin offers some physical and genetic influences that really complement his dam Zenterfold.  I have always taken on board Aria Small’s advice that the family love the old blood – the Spinster/Old Maid/Scotland connections, which it has on its bottom line through Bachelor Hanover. And that has been a touchstone for me in getting a good nick for the mare. Grin hauls that old blood up through his remarkably close-up Storm Damage damsire, and also in his maternal line through Shifting Scene and Race Time (a son of Breath O Spring and half brother of Storm Damage). Shifting Scene is part of the lovely Golden Miss maternal line that you see in many classy families (Rich N Elegant, Real Desire’s maternal line etc) and of course the overlooked element in that line is my dear old Shadow Wave.  In Zenterfold’s pedigree, Shadow Wave pops up promptly as the damsire of New York Motoring, who I believe is a key figure in what have developed into the two best branches of the Zenover family – Interchange and Zenola Star, both sired by New York Motoring. Finally you have the Direct Scooter and Tar Heel influences of In The Pocket, the sire of Zenterfold and so grandamsire of Destination Moon. These are again classy old bloodlines and with a fairly up close dose of trotting blood and both are descending from Volomite and maternally tracing to the wonderful Roya McKinney and Scotland/Rose Scott. Zenterfold’s grandam Now And Zen is also chokka with trotting blood via her sire Chiola Hanover. Chiola Hanover goes back to Volomite and the Scotland influences as well. But none of that is an issue for Grin, thanks to his breeding, especially Storm Damage who is described by John Bradley as having “some of the oldest bloodlines still available for pacers” – his dam was 24 years old when she foaled him, and he is a remarkable “sleeper” in the pedigree of a modern day sire.

Phew! that’s a little peep into some deep old echos in a 2yo pacer just launching his career.

Of course what I also liked about Grin was his ability to leave guts, character and grittiness, which The Blue Lotus showed in her races too. That gave the Zenterfold speed-at-all-cost attitude something to hang its hat on.

Cover Destination Moon book

Cover of Tintin book

It’s what might work for a particular family that counts. And that’s what I think about, more than what is the most fashionable option at the time.

Destination Moon has a long, long way to go. The rocket is just launched, yet to fire the booster engines and go into the statosphere.

I hope he ends up amongst the stars.

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Zenterfold (In The Pocket-Zenola Star), the wonderful mare I have a half share in, has produced another well put together foal – a colt, nicknamed “Milo”.

That makes him a half brother to Tintin In America (winner 5 Group 1 races and now a sire), and to The Blue Lotus (3rd Group 1  Fillies Sires Stakes Final to those outstanding horses Bettor Cover Lover and Carabella), and to Destination Moon (promising 2yo about to start his career).

Real Desire x Zenterfold colt at 3 weeks – a half brother to the very speedy Tintin In America who is now standing at Nevele R Stud.

I’d like b4breeding blog readers to be the first, apart from myself and close friends, to see Milo.

He was born 17 October 2012 so is just a few weeks old now. Initially, all you could see was legs and a head that had plenty of character (I think Zenterfold wasn’t sure if I wanted a dish face, standard straight or roman nose so has given me a bit of everything, but time will tell).

He’s a very  light colour, and that means he will probably turn out dark brown – his dam is dark brown (looks black at a glance but not).

I’m excited about this foal. I went for Real Desire for quite clear reasons – my observations about what the sire adds in terms of precocious speed from a line (sons of Life Sign) that is not tending that way. He is forging a very good record as a sire overseas and now here (from limited crops). So it was important to examine how the mare would connect with him. I believe she does, and I am keeping up my “engine room” decisions as well (see my recent blog if you are not sure what I mean) – you need those hard working genes cranking up the revs for the sire to ignite the engine and give it the gun!

Hello Milo!

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Tintin’s Ultimate Arma filly foal just days old. The white blaze is likely to come from the family as the mare has produced some white markings before, but don’t be surprised to see some blazes or stripes in other Tintin foals as it’s also in his genes courtesy of Shadow Wave. Think of Elsu and my own Destination Moon (see his page on this blogsite)

Tintin In America’s first foals are arriving – it was great to see the photo of Ultimate Arma’s gorgeous looking, leggy filly (photo) and Peter O’Rourke of Nevele R tells me the second of his foals on the ground is a ‘big strapping colt” in Australia that the breeders are thrilled with. So that might settle a few worries about Tintin leaving small foals! As readers of my blogs will know, I made that point some time ago. Tintin may be well suited to bigger mares, but more for the ‘kick’ he could give them than for any certainty that he will downsize them physically. I hope to keep you posted as more Tintin foals arrive.

I am the breeder of Tintin In America but I have no financial interest in him as a sire.

I say that upfront, because this is a plug for Tintin as a great option for breeders who are looking for exceptional speed and competitiveness in a sire.

Why? Because he offers a lot, and at an incredibly affordable price. Breeders who find  Bettor’s Delight,  Somebeachsomewhere or Rock N Roll Heaven out of reach for their mares have now got the option of going to a multi-Group 1 performer who raced at the top level as a 2, 3 and 4 year old, who possesses almost freakish high speed, has absolute determination to compete and win, comes from an outstanding family, and has a genetic structure that will allow many mares to potentially ‘click’ with him.

That’s 5 very good reasons to consider him right now. Add high fertility and you’ve got 6.

There have been few horses in recent years who possessed such a potent burst of high speed. Not just a quick sprint up the passing line, but extraordinary high speed that could be sustained over  200 to 300 metres, with never any hesitation or loss of gait. No wobbles, just woosh!

There are other good New Zealand-bred sires currently available in the “economy seats” that also showed precocious ability and speed as young performers – Gotta Go Cullect (his record as a 2yo was 1:57, and best winning time over his career 1:57), Gotta Go Cullen (1:58.3 and 1:57.3), and Ohoka Arizona (1:56.2 and 1:56.2).  Changeover (2:00.2 and 1:53.4) was not a natural 2yo type and more of a staying type,  but did form a terrific record over many seasons at  consistently fast times.

Tintin In America’s equivalent times are 1:55.9 as a 2yo, and 1:53.2 lifetime record. In fact over the 3 seasons he raced his record was 1:55.9 as a 2yo, 1:53.2 (in New Zealand as a 3yo), 1.56.3 (in Australia as a 3yo), and 1:54.1 as a 4yo.  In other words, his exceptional high speed was more than just a flash in pan as a 2yo. He carried that ability through the next two years, and developed the strength to carry his sprint further and further, and mix up his racing style to maximise his opportunities to use that speed to the best advantage. Credit here not just to trainer Geoff Small, but also to driver David Butcher, for the education that accompanied Tintin’s physical and mental development over that time.

What’s in his genes that explains that high speed factor?

Start with the immediate family. His dam is Zenterfold, who was very much an In The Pocket type of filly – medium height and slimline build with a very competitive attitude, and speedy. All her four wins were under a 2 minute mile rate and her best winning time was 1.56.6. She was good enough to win the Sires Stakes 3yo Fillies Silver.  She comes from a very talented family with a lot of depth and breadth to it.  Shining examples on various branches include Motoring Magic and Interchange, De Lovely and Copper Beach, Elsu of course, and closer to home Zenterfold’s half brothers Zensational, Zenad and the very talented Zenola Seelster (and doesn’t his turn of foot in the home straight remind you of Tintin In America). There is a mix there of sprinting types and staying types, but both types show the determination, will to win, and strength to hold speed that Tintin did.

Tintin as a young foal himself. Just loved to run, and to run fast.

Tintin was Zenterfold’s first foal – and all her other foals to date have qualified as 2yos.  Zenstar (Falcon Seelster) held a NZ record of 1.55.8 as a 2yo. The Blue Lotus (Grinfromeartoear) has a career best of 1.56.6 and was 3rd behind Bettor Cover Lover and Carabella in the Sires Stakes 3yo Fillies Final. The Grin colt I bred and sold at the 2012 yearling sales has been noted by trainer Gareth Dixon as a nice type showing up early and probably heading to the 2yo Young Guns series.

So that is why you can look at Tintin’s speed and competitive streak and have confidence it is not an isolated fluke. It’s very much in the genes.

I chose McArdle as the sire for a number of reasons. Tintin has become McArdle’s best Australasian performer to date, and McArdle will need a few more to rise above the ‘good percentages’ category as a sire. But that is not an issue when looking at Tintin as a sire. Where McArdle adds value to Tintin’s siring prospects and to breeders confidence, is the compatibility of his genes with Zenterfold.  Basically, the match is one which has increased the quality of Tintin’s genetic platform. Specifically, it underscores the speed attributes that Tintin’s dam provided through her In The Pocket connection and also (importantly) through her damsire New York Motoring. New York Motoring carries two high performing genes when it comes to raw ability and speed – Most Happy Fella on his y line and Shadow Wave on his x line. The branches of Tintin’s family that have proven to be strongest in terms of top performers are those that have New York Motoring in the mix – namely from the NYM mare Interchange (dam of Elsu, Falcor, Revonez, granddam of Copper Beach, great-grandam of De Lovely) and from NYM mare Zenola Star, dam of Zenterfold and Zenola Seelster and grandam of Tintin In America.

In McArdle’s pedigree I was not so interested in Most Happy Fella as a double up, but that his presence on McArdle’s maternal line would help ‘call’ to the Shadow Wave factor in Zenterfold’s pedigree.  I also liked the fact that McArdle’s grandam, Happy Sharon, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, was a very, very classy and fast racemare and a good producer from a range of sires. She was bred to Nihilator to get Lilting Laughter, McArdles dam, who got a couple of placings in her only 3 starts, but was a full sister to Smiley Face who racked up 42 wins and a best 1.53 in his career.  Nihilator mares have also done well With Shadow Wave, and that also gave me a sense of compatibility in this McArdle x Zenterfold mix.  Again, b4breeding blog readers will know that I hold Shadow Wave in high esteem as a factor in pedigrees through the maternal lines, and I was keen to tap into his contribution to Zenterfold’s genetic makeup.

In a previous blog I suggested some mares that I would like to see Tintin get, but the range that he would suit is very wide. What he provides is a solid genetic foundation, and plenty of opportunity to tap into that. You might want to avoid a son of In The Pocket as the sire, but then again the double up would not be in positions that would worry me genetically. Likewise (or in the reverse) I wouldn’t rule out Falcon Seelster mares. But both of those options may carry some degree of risk re too much mental assertivenesss. That’s all I would keep an eye on. Tintin had a very assertive, although not nasty, temperament – he is a sire that would have survived in the wild, to be sure!  This determination and mental focus on winning is a thread running through the family that turns the natural ability to run into racetrack performance.

Mares to consider include those by Badlands Hanover, Live Or Die, Life Sign, Holmes Hanover. I’ll be cheeky enough to say Mach Three, Artsplace and Bettor’s Delight mares too, and only worry about size with Bettor’s Delight mares if it is your mare’s first foal and she is a small type herself. Mares with Albatross in their maternal lines – any Royal Mattjesty mares out there? – or with Soky’s Atom in their maternal lines would be a good match. also Grinfromeartoear mares that were tough but need an extra bit of speed. Another to consider if you want to upgrade and have a chance to inject speed in – Peruvian Hanover. And are there still some Lislea mares looking for a chance? What about those P-Forty Seven mares you don’t want to pursue as racehorses? Pacific Fella mares for a number of reasons could be excellent with Tintin In America.

In Australia, you will have another whole range of mares who may fit some of the potential genetic or type factors I’ve touched on. And I’d love to hear from breeders who have gone to Tintin In America, what their mares are, and why they chose Tintin. Please post up as comments on this blog.

I wish you every success with your foals!

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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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