Falcon Seelster could arguably be the most important stallion to have stood at Stud in New Zealand, certainly up until the current enduring tenure of Bettor's Delight with his absolute prepotency.
Whilst Bettor's Delight has unquestionably advanced the breed to yet another whole new level, the role of Falcon Seelster was different to that of Bettor's Delight and perhaps not looked at in terms of "advancing the breed" but more about "what was needed at the time", something he achieved with aplomb and beyond. This made him a "special" stallion.
To place him in context we firstly need a wider history lesson on the evolution of the breed especially as it relates to our "downunder" situation.
The Standardbred as a stand alone breed has today evolved over 170 years.
Acclaimed founding father Hambletonian 10 ( 1849 ) had five producing sons of significance to the breed; these being George Wilkes ( 1856 ), Dictator ( 1863 ), Happy Medium ( 1863 ), Strathmore ( 1866 ) and Electioneer ( 1868 ).
George Wilkes founded an exclusively trotting stirp today better recognised as the "Axworthy" clanspearheaded by Guy Axworthy's sons Guy McKinney and Truax.
Happy Medium's stirps are split 50/50 between trotting and pacing after initially he commenced as a trotting scion.
His grandson Peter The Great had two important sons; Peter Scott ( 1909 ) and Peter Volo ( 1911 ).
Whilst Peter Scott founded the stirp tracing through Scotland ( probably the most dominant trotting stirp today ), Peter Volo's famous son Volomite ( 1926 ) founded two of his own trotting stirps via Worthy Boy ( 1940 ) and Victory Song ( 1943 ).
But Volomite had an extra trick up his sleeve in that he could leave dual gaited horses, some that trotted only and some that paced only and some that could do both.
Worthy Boy sired predominantly trotters but was the sire of Harold Jay ( 1959 ), King's Counsel sired trotters and pacers being the grandsire of Overtrick ( 1960 ) whilst two other sons of Volomite significant to our genepool were Poplar Byrd ( 1944 ), sire of Bye Bye Byrd, and Sampson Hanover ( 1947 ) the last-mentioned giving rise to Direct Scooter ( 1976 )and ultimately the In The Pocket / Christian Cullen dominance to be followed by the rise of the Matt's Scooter / Mach Three / Somebeachsomewhere / Captaintreacherous infiltration we see today.
Strathmore could also mix trotting and pacing gaits but the blood which brought us through Globe Derby ( 1910 ) the likes of Harold Logan, Logan Derby, Johnny Globe and Lordship is sadly today as a sireline defunct to the best of our knowledge as is the Dictator line which brought us the likes of Billy Direct ( the first pacer to break 1:55 for a mile ) and his famed son Tar Heel ( 1948 ).
Electioneer through his son The Abbe ( 1903 ) produced two significant stirps; those of Abbedale ( 1917 ) and Bert Abbe ( 1922 ).
Rather sadly, the latter who founded the speed horse Gene Abbe ( 1944 ) and his important son Big Towner ( 1974 ) along with the latter's sons led by Walton Hanover ( sire of Totally Ruthless ) and Towner's Big Guy ( sire of Man Around Town ) are now also a seemingly distant memory as a sireline which brings us back to Abbedale and his famed son Hal Dale ( 1926 ).
Hal Dale was to sire two significant sons which were to change the landscape for the pacing breed in both Australia and New Zealand within a short period of time.
Up until the mid to late 1950's, the Standardbred as a breed was largely "homebreds" or otherwise described as being "colonial bred".
But Hal Dale was to change all this through his sons Adios ( 1940 ) and Dale Frost ( 1951 ), the latter predominantly through the achievements of his son Meadow Skipper ( 1960 ).
Adios became a breed changer injecting new levels of speed into the Southern Hemisphere breed and his sons and grandsons were proving a smash hit particularly in Australia led by the likes of Deep Adios ( who was to leave a new racetrack marvel in Paleface Adios ). Thor Hanover ( sire of Gammalite ), Toledo Hanover ( sire of Pure Steel ) and Golden Adios ( who sired Sovereign Adios, sire of Popular Alm ).
The Adios speed injection into Australia was not only revolutionising the breed but it was soring to new heights and creating crowd-pleasing new champions and idols.
New Zealand also got a taste for the influence of Adios in the late 1950's when Captain Adios showed us he could leave an open class horse of the talent of Great Adios who could compete with the best of the local heroes quickly followed by Roydon Lodge importing a son of Adios in Thurber Frost.
Not only did Thurber Frost inject speed but also added considerable precocity producing high class juveniles the likes of Bonnie Frost and Garcon Roux.
Another son of Adios in Ike Frost was also lending to the cause having left the super talented Governor Frost.
Jerry Adios was less ensconced but left the top class filly Ripper's Delight.
Rather ironically, all of these sons of Adios were not even his best racetrack performed sons.
Numero uno belonged to the great Bret Hanover but these were well and truly pre-shuttle times and he was never going to make Southern Hemisphere shores such was his austere.
At best, Australia finally managed to land one or two of his sons, the likes of Bretland and Bret's Knight and a few others but certainly no horse to set the world on fire.
Indeed, it was New Zealand and the work of two wily wizzards from Nevele R Stud in Wayne Francis and Bob McArdle who were to steal a march here but not with a son of Bret Hanover but rather a grandson of Bret Hanover.
Whilst Australia dabbled with sons of Storm Damage and Strike Out, Nevele R Stud were to strike gold with a son of Warm Breeze named Falcon Seelster.
And what a jackpot he was to become!
With a sire ( Warm Breeze ) and a damsire ( Overtrick ) tracing to each stirp of the famed Thomrson Sisters ( Tillie Thompson and Eva Thompson ), the former ancestress of the highly influential mare Spinster, and a dam ( Fashion Trick ) that traced tail female to another highly influential mare in Jessie Pepper ( Family U4 aka 187 in Australia and 558 in New Zealand ) and also a mare by the large heart thoroughbred progenitor Diomed, Falcon Seelster was always well-equipped genetically to prove a roaring success over the New Zealand broodmare genepool in particular.
An interesting aside or observation here is that Falcon Seelster's grandsire Adios also formed a famed "golden cross" over Tar Heel mares.
It just so happens that Tar Heel is also tail female to the Jessie Pepper family just like Falcon Seelster.
Tar Heel has always been considered as a large heart progenitor passing the "X-Factor" large heart gene through his daughters. Could Diomed have had something to do with the initiation of this?
We are not saying this is the case but it is an observation worth pondering.
Current stallions that are tail female to Jessie Pepper include Rock N Roll Heaven and Mel Mara in the pacing ranks and Father Patrick, Pastor Stephen and Lucky Chucky in the trotting ranks.
Falcon Seelster was foaled in 1982 at Seelster Farms in Lucan, Ontario.
Not a natural precocious two year old , he had just the two juvenile starts for a win and a runner-up placing in of all places, Nova Scotia, a province not notable in Canada for it's standardbred racing.
As a three year old, things were to change dramatically, winning 24 of his 31 starts and being named Canadian 3YO Pacer of the Year in the same year ( 1985 ) that Nihilator took the corresponding USA 3YO Pacer of the Year title.
During Falcon Seelster's three year old season, he set the first of his two World Record's at the Delaware County Fairgrounds winning an Invitational Pace in 1:51.0 on a half-mile track. It would take another 17 years for this record to be eclipsed.
By comparison, Nihilator won the Little Brown Jug Final at the same venue on the same day in 1:52.2 ( Falcon Seelster not being staked for this race as a young horse by his inaugural owners ).
As a four year old and in his final season on the racetrack Falcon Seelster would face the starter 18 times for 11 wins and 6 runner-up spots during which he was to establish the second of his World Records in clocking 1:51.3 on a 5/8ths of a mile track.
By the end of his race career in 1986 Falcon Seelster had amassed US$1,121,045 in lifetime earnings, registering 36 wins from his 51 starts.
From the late 1950's a groundswell of the speed blood of Adioshad begun to infiltrate the Australian breeding scene and was to continue seemingly unabated with little serious threat from other sirelines but the early Adios flourish in New Zealand was about to come to an abrupt halt.
The "Meadow Skipper invasion" was about to occur lead by his two best sons the complementary influences Albatross ( speed and gait ) and Most Happy Fella ( stamina and toughness ).
Undoubtedly, Albatross was to leave the biggest imprint as a plethora of his sons invaded the land, amongst them three shining stars.
Vance Hanover ( 1975 ) became the next breed changer in New Zealand with his ability to upgrade even the lowest of mares, something he scored plenty of off the back of a meagre Stud Fee of just $500+gst ( and sometimes less than this in a crusade to get numbers on the ground ), his first foal cop arriving in 1980.
Vance Hanover's resounding success laid the platform for Soky's Atom ( 1979 ) and Holmes Hanover ( 1981 ) to follow with their own wonderful contributions to the advance of the New Zealand breed, their first foal crops landing "on the ground" in 1985 and 1987 respectively.
Their influence even spread into Australia with champions such as Our Sir Vancelot ( Vance Hanover ) and Sokyola ( Soky's Atom ).
Unlike sons of Albatross, sons of Most Happy Fella had a more difficult path to gain a foothold in New Zealand, perhaps a legacy of the fact that Most Happy Fella, like his father Meadow Skipper, was a little indifferent in his gait, an attribute not missed by New Zealand breeders, something which could be passed down through his sons e.g.New York Motoring whose best son Master Musician also carried a "hitch" in his gait although it was generally agreed at the time that it was more his fillies that carried this trait known as the "New York Motoring hitch".
But how things can change with the effluxion of time where we now see the Albatross influence as a sireline almost fading into a distant memory whilst the Most Happy Fella stirp is the founder of two of the four contemporary sirelines of the modern era, namely that of Cam Fella and that of Western Hanover.
But for now, let us not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Falcon Seelster was displaying siring potential in North America with outstanding daughter Shady Daisy ( 1988 ) leading the charge on her way to lifetime earnings of US$1,807,755.
As a pioneer shuttle stallion into New Zealand, Falcon Seelster was well-placed genetically as an Adios-line horse to thrive over the proliferation of Meadow Skipper blood that had accumulated in the broodmare genepool ( almost to the point of saturation ).
Not surprisingly, New Zealand breeders flocked to him with their mares.
Beginning service in New Zealand in 1996 with 272 mares served that season quickly rising to a peak of 371 mares in 1998, Falcon Seelster was never going to suffer from a lack of numbers on the racetrack curtailing his support but a worldwide EIV ( Equine Influenza Virus ) scare 2000-2003 saw him remain at Peretti Farms without shuttling to New Zealand for four seasons.
Returning to New Zealand for the 2004 breeding season, Falcon Seelster was to resume popularity with breeders serving 200 mares with his son Elsu ( 1999 ) in full cry in New Zealand as was The Falcon Strike ( 1997 ) in Australia.
And growing stars in North America such as Shady Character and his best performed racetrack son McArdle ( US$2,455,609 ) kept his flag flying on the world stage.
But it was obvious that competition had to arrive. The biggest question from a breeding perspective was in what shape or form?
Matt's Scooter ( 1985 ) had been doing wonderful things on the racetracks of North America and was easily Direct Scooter's best performed racetrack son. And by the early 2000's his son Mach Three ( 1999 ) was terrorising the opposition on the racetracks just like his father.
There had been growing interest in the Direct Scooter sireline in the 1990's as a likely outcross for both the Adios line and the Meadow Skipper line with the odd stallion trickling into both Australia and New Zealand.
Whilst Stoneridge Scooter ( 1988 ) went into Australia, other sons of Direct Scooter came into New Zealand, the likes of OK Bye ( 1986 ) and his full-brother WRH ( 1987 ), In The Pocket ( 1987 ), Deal Direct ( 1988 )and Direct Flight ( 1989 ) to name a few from memory.
And fair to say it was In The Pocket who was to prove a smash hit over Meadow Skipper-line mares tidying up gait issues in revolutionary fashion and introducing new levels of speed to the downunder breed. Another breed changer had evolved.
Not since Vance Hanover had any single stallion had such an impact on the broodmare genepool, at least in New Zealand.
But against all odds Falcon Seelster was a fighter even beyond his death on 16 September 2011.
The wonders of frozen semen allowed him to continue serving mares well after his demise where he was to serve his last four mares in the 2019 breeding season, wonderful testimony to a stallion that finally succumbed at the ripe old age of 29 years and producing progeny with over $80 million earned in North America and another $30 million jointly earned in Australia and New Zealand.
Siring sons have aspired to continue his legacy through the likes of Million To One and Trump Casino plus others in Australia and Elsu, Attorney General ( now Australia ), Franco Ledger ( now deceased ) and McArdle in New Zealand with the latter his brightest hope of continuing the legacy through sons Tintin In America ( sire of World Champion mare Shartin ) and McWicked.
But the Adios branch of the Hal Dale sireline is far from done and dusted.
Whilst the Bret Hanover stirp may be battling for mere survival, another sirp through Henry T Adios is currently flourishing via son Silent Majority and grandson Abercrombie.
Abercrombie's son Life Sign ( 1980 ) was looking promising but has now aligned with a similar fate to that of Bret Hanover but such is not the case for another of Abercrombie's sons in Artsplace ( 1988 ) who now lays claim as the foundation of one of today's four great contemporary sirelines.
And why not with a son like Art Major currently at the helm and a plethora of his sons also now at Stud. Things appear to be looking healthy here for the time being at least!
There can be no denying that Falcon Seelster "flew the flag" for the Adios sireline in New Zealand at a time when he was needed and also at a time when other threats were lurking.
Whilst he may have McArdle and his sons to sustain his legacy for a few more seasons to come, one can be excused for thinking that finally perhaps the reins have been passed over to Artsplace and his sons and grandsons to keep the Adios flag flying for a few more decades to come.
Footnote: The years shown in brackets beside horses referred to above denote their birth year only.
The recent 2021 Australasian Breeders Crown series proved a clean sweep in the pacing division and a "coming of age" for the Direct Scooter sireline in the Southern Hemisphere.
There can be little doubt that it also signals a "changing of the guard" from the previous dominance held by the all conquering Bettor's Delight ( Cam Fella sireline ).
Whilst this may come as a sudden surprise to many breeders, it is a phenomena that has arrived with a building groundswell that has now translated into a sudden tsunami with no likely stopping in the foreseeable future.
The introduction of In The Pocket into New Zealand in the 90's followed by his mighty sons such as Christian Cullen and Courage Under Fire transitioned a dominance away from the Meadow Skipper and Adios stirps of the Hal Dale sireline but it was always going to be a case that Direct Scooter's greatest racetrack creation Matt's Scooter was going to be the one to take things on to an even greater plane.
With a plethora of young mares hitting the breeding barns in the last decade by a select cluster of Commercial stallions the likes of Bettor's Delight ( Cam Fella sireline ), American Ideal ( Western Hanover sireline ) and Art Major ( Artsplace sireline ) it should come as no surprise that stallions from the Direct Scooter sireline were always going to be favourably placed to capitalise on this unfolding situation.
No crystal balls were required here which is a welcome change in the world of standardbred horse breeding.
The introduction of Matt's Scooter's best son Mach Three ( he remains included in North America's Top 10 Best Gaited Pacers of all time ) to New Zealand in 2005 and later to stand in Australia, spearheaded the momentum for Direct Scooter after In The Pocket had done the initial "hard yards" of breaking the ice of Meadow Skipper and Adios dominance.
Whilst some sons of Mach Three are already at Stud the likes of Auckland Reactor and Fly Like An Eagle and others have just gone to Stud such as Be Happy Mach, it is Mach Three's best North American racetrack son Somebeachsomewhere that is now reigning supreme, a remarkable achievement considering he never shuttled to either Australia or New Zealand, only ever being available here by frozen semen stocks.
But this has not deterred what now looks to be a penetrating dominance.
Home grown sons are now popping up the likes of Goodtime Sammy and Poster Boy with other sons of Somebeachsomewhere shuttling such as current promising boom stallion Downbytheseaside and yet others such as Stay Hungry being available via frozen semen.
Clearly though, Somebeachsomewhere's best racetrack son has been Captaintreacherous, a stallion David James ( Empire Stallions principal ) forecast some time ago as being the logical successor to Bettor's Delight.
And like his illustrious but ill-fated father, Captaintreacherous has also been considered too valuable to risk shuttling hence only being accessible to Southern Hemisphere breeders via frozen semen.
With controlled numbers ( on both sides of the Tasman Sea ) it is unlikely that Captaintreacherous will aspire to the same lofty heights as Bettor's Delight in the Southern Hemisphere.
Unlike Bettor's Delight, what we are now witnessing is the implosion of the sons of Captaintreacherous who are being shuttled to New Zealand and Australia the likes of Captain Crunch, Capt Midnight and Captain Ahab with more no doubt waiting in the wings in North America to be shuttled out in future seasons the likes of Captain Corey, Captain Trevor, Captain Victorious and Catch The Fire as the thirst for the blood of Captaintreacherous grows at an insatiable frenzy.
Whilst Captaintreacherous is top end Commercial and available via frozen semen only, it is his sons inevitable competition with their illustrious father in the quest for his bloodlines that may rather ironically impinge on his chances of reaching the levels of success previously enjoyed by Bettor's Delight.
It is our firm belief that the results of the 2021 Australasian Breeders Crown finals for pacers may have unlocked another would-be superstar to join this illustrious group as identified above.
As a breeder, if you are "big" on a stallion possessing the three P's ( Pedigree, Performance and Potency ) then the winner of the 3YO Colts and Geldings Pacing Final, Act Now, now a dual Group 1 winner following on from his Victorian Derby victory, certainly meets the first two criteria and most likely the third but for the time being we will substitute the word "Promise" for "Potency".
Act Now is not a son of Captaintreacherous but rather a son of Somebeachsomewhere thus a home grown colt bred in Victoria by Bruce and Vicki Edward.
It is always favourable if a potential stallion prospect traces to a recognised source of stallion production and Act Now fulfils this criteria through being from the family of Minehaha ( as is current Somebeachsomewhere stallion Poster Boy ). And better than this, Act Now actually descends through Tillie Thompson ( one half of the famed Thompson sisters, the other half being Eva Thompson through whom Poster Boy descends )with the highly influential mare Spinster featuring as his 10th dam via her daughter Lady Scotland ( Act Now's 9th dam ).
Act Now also possesses a very well balanced pedigree.
His is a pedigree that features all four of the contemporary modern sirelines that prevail today bringing with them their complementary traits and attributes.
He carries the speed and gait qualities of Direct Scooter ( Quartiles 1 and 3 ), the unrelenting stamina and winning desire of Artsplace/Abercrombie ( Quartiles 1, 3 and 4 ), the precocity and natural athleticism of Western Hanover ( Quartile 3 ) and the stamina and outright toughness of Cam Fella ( Quartiles 2 and 4 ).
Breeding buffs should also appreciate that Act Now holds sex-balanced linebreeding to Matt's Scooter at 3x4, Cam Fella at 4x5, Abercrombie at 4x5x6x5 with under-pinning to the complementary Meadow Skipper influences Most Happy Fella ( stamina and toughness ) at 5x5x7x6x7 and Albatross ( speed and gait ) at 6x5x7x6x6 all of which are desirably cross-duplicated ( contributed by both parents ) with only the exception of Albatross.
Going forward, it may be hard to find another stallion with the potency promise of the damsire line that is carried by Act Now and especially with relevance to the sireline genepool that will be carried by the large bulk of the breeding mare population both now and into the future.
This will be one of the great genetic strengths that Act Now offers giving him a distinct edge over many of his competitors including many from his own sireline.
And it will allow breeders the ability to breed many successful horses via reverse-sexing techniques just as we witnessed back in the 90's when a vast array of Meadow Skipper line mares were bred to In The Pocket resulting in horses like Christian Cullen, Courage Under Fire, Tupelo Rose and Under Cover Lover all being bred on reverse-sex crosses to Meadow Skipper thus allowing them to not only carry a breeding core ( which fused the pedigree match ) but also presented them with a likely "engine room". And what an engine room they possessed!
Act Now's illustrious damsire line up commences with American Ideal and then passes through Bettor's Delight, Artsplace, Big Towner, Meadow Skipper, Airliner and Tar Heel.
It would be difficult to name another stallion currently in the Southern Hemisphere breeding scene that can offer a damsire line as impressive as that of Act Now.
Firstly, Act Now is out of a mare by American Ideal. This presents breeders of American Ideal mares the opportunity to reverse female cross to American Ideal at 3x2. Admittedly, this is the outside edge of inbreeding ( Factor 5 ) but it can work. One only has to look back to 2004 North American Horse Of The Year Rainbow Blue ( then a 3YO filly ) bred on a 3x2 reverse female cross to On The Road Again as a successful example of this type of breeding and at the back of our mind we must always remember that inbreeding can be a very effective practice in enhancing speed in the resultant offspring. The key here being that you breed to a targeted ancestor ( male or female ) in this case American Ideal factoring in that he possesses no major negative traits or attributes.
To provide those breeders possessing American Ideal mares with further confidence, it is interesting to note that fellow Somebeachsomewhere stallion Captaintreacherous currently carries mares by Western Ideal ( sire of American Ideal ) as his leading "Crosses of Gold" in North America spearheaded by $2 million dollar earner Lyons Sentinel.
A little further down the track mares by sons of American Ideal, the likes of He's Watching, Heston Blue Chip, Bling It On, My Hard Copy and Soho Tribeca, will provide reverse-sexed linebreeding opportunities to American Ideal at 3x3.
Act Now's granddam sire is Bettor's Delight.
What an opportunity is presented here for breeders with Bettor's Delight mares to breed foals that are by a son of Somebeachsomewhere and carry 4x2 ( Factor 6, the first stage of linebreeding ) reverse female cross to Bettor's Delight hence breeding a foal with Bettor's Delight at the heart of it's very breeding core.
The Somebeachsomewhere / Bettor's Delight connection also provides a strong element of genetic connection as Somebeachsomewhere's grandsire Matt's Scooter and Bettor's Delight share the same tail female line of maternal descent tracing directly to the highly influential matriarch Aida.
Former top shelf New Zealand stallion Holmes Hanover was bred on a 4x2 reverse female cross, in his case to the large heart progenitor Tar Heel.
It is interesting to note that there are now a number of sons of Bettor's Delight hitting the breeding barns in Australia and New Zealand, the likes of Highview Tommy, Gold Ace, Betterthancheddar, Tiger Tara, Caesar Augustus, Caribbean Blaster, Ohoka Punter, Lazarus, Betting Line, Ultimate Machete, Ultimate Sniper, Bettor's Wish and Tall Dark Stranger to name just a few of what is likely to be a growing list.
Daughters of any of these where bred to Act Now will provide a 4x3 reverse-sexing opportunity for their foals to the prepotent Bettor's Delight whilst daughters of a grandson of Bettor's Delight the likes of Lather Up will feature the great stallion in the highly potent 4x4 reverse-sexed position in the foal's pedigree.
Act Now's third damsire is Artsplace.
There are still a number of Artsplace mares actively breeding thanks to this stallion's frozen semen stocks lasting so long.
Artsplace mares bred to Act Now will see the resultant foal carrying a 5x2 reverse female cross to Artsplace but there are a number of Artsplace sons that have been at Stud for a considerable period of time the likes of Dream Away, Artiscape, Partywiththebigdog, Grinfromeartoear, Modern Art, Stonebridge Regal, Sportswriter and of course not forgetting perhaps his most influential son of all in the Southern Hemisphere in Art Major.
Mares by any of these stallions will realise a foal bred on a 5x3 reverse-sex cross to Artsplace making mares by Art Major in particular a highly desirable breeding cross for Act Now.
Also entering calculations are mares by grandsons of Artsplace who will see Act Now foals bred on a 5x4 reverse-sex cross to Artsplace.
Examples here are mares by Artiscape's son Artesian, Yankee Cruiser's son Sweet Lou, Grinfromeartoear's sons Mister Big, Smiling Shard and Mr Feelgood, Real Artist's son Dali, and the growing list of sons by Art Major including the likes of Santanna Blue Chip, Major In Art, Art Official, Sky Major, Vincent, Follow The Stars, For A Reason, Renaissance Man and Ride High.
There are bound to be some others too that we have not listed above.
Act Now's fourth damsire is Big Towner, a quality influence in any pedigree and renowned for his own bold front running tactics. He could also pace naturally free-legged.
Whilst there may still be a rather long-toothed daughter of his sons Stature or Towner's Big Guy running around in the back paddocks of Australia that could produce foals bred on a reverse-sex cross to Big Towner these opportunities would now be rather remote and certainly so for for daughters of other sons of Big Towner, the likes of Ludell Hanover, Sandman Hanover, Explorador and Walton Hanover so at best any mares carrying these male presences of Big Towner are more likely to provide sex-balanced linebreeding opportunities with Act Now.
And much the same would apply for Act Now's fifth, sixth and seventh damsires namely Meadow Skipper, Airliner and Tar Heel where mares carrying male lines of these ancestors would provide at the very least sex-balancing opportunities to them where bred to Act Now.
Act Now may just be the home grown stallion that can mix it with the North American stallion invasion amid growing calls to promote our own "downunder" production on a Commercial basis.In Act Now a real opportunity has been presented to do this.
It will be an interesting watch to see which Stud exploits this opportunity and we are predicting breeders will not have to wait long to find out which roster he will join in due course.
When piecing together a pedigree match for your mare's next mating have you ever stopped to think, where do I start?
A good place to start is by looking at the four pedigree quartiles found at the 2nd generational level that will comprise her offspring's overall pedigree.
We are talking here about the paternal pedigree of the proposed stallion ( Quartile 1 ) as well as the maternal pedigree of the stallion ( Quartile 2 ) and how this looks when placed on top of your mare's pedigree i.e. her paternal pedigree ( Quartile 3 ) as well as her maternal pedigree ( Quartile 4 ).
Where you land with this "quartilian mix" can often be governed by opportunity and where the opportunity arises then full advantage can be taken in the endeavour to breed a superior racehorse.
Whatever the outcome, there is immense satisfaction to be gained from this approach simply because there is some semblance of scientific method applied which provides an answer or reason as to why you may have bred a superior or elite performer.
This is in stark contrast to the breeding methodology of "Breeding the best to the best and hoping for the best". Where is the skill in that, one may ask?
Whilst you may get away with this approach if you are fortunate enough to have a superior broodmare that will produce top offspring literally regardless of the stallion they are put to, there is hardly any scientific application applied to this approach and often a good deal less satisfaction as a breeder.
Often you will see this approach with highly Commercial mares ( mostly from top producing families ) or with elite racemares and especially if the resultant progeny are destined for the Yearling Sales.
Here it is often about instant financial gain in the hope that the yearling will make the grade as a racehorse and "establish the mare" but in other circumstances this approach is also open to genetic failure and potentially damaging the young mare as a future soughtafter breeding proposition.
It is very much a "risk and reward" exercise with this approach to breeding.
As a pedigree consultant dealing especially with new Australian or New Zealand clients, when they answer the question as to what breeding methods they have previously followed invariably we receive the reply that they keep a close eye on the North American breeding scene and in particular "Crosses of Gold" in the Stallion Showcase. So much so that to us many become over-reliant on it.
Crosses of Gold pit individual stallion's over other broodmare sires hence only telling "half the story" as it ignores both the stallion's maternal pedigree ( Quartile 2 ) and the mare's maternal pedigree ( Quartile 4 ).
It therefore exclusively deals with just Quartile 1 and Quartile 3. There is often no genetic reason for this, often it may be a geographical factor at work e.g. the daughters of one stallion at a Stud being put to an associate stallion standing at the same Stud and where strength in numbers on that particular breeding cross outweigh any genetic factors at work.
In our breeding endeavours, yes, occasionally we may apply the use of Quartile 3 in association with Quartile 1 but only if there is good genetic reason to do so. As an example here, if we take a Bettor's Delight mare, we do like these with sons or grandsons of Somebeachsomewhere. Why? Because here we can link the blood of Bettor's Delight with that of Matt's Scooter, grandsire of Somebeachsomewhere. And for what genetic reason? Both Bettor's Delight and Matt's Scooter were superior racehorses but much more than this, genetically they both share the same maternal bloodline tracing directly to the highly influential matriarch Aida.
This provides a far more genetic validation of why to cross these two bloodlines than that featured in the North American crosses of gold.
But standardbred breeders are not alone in this approach with Quartile 1 and Quartile 3 as the "Match Your Mare" programmes such as G1 Goldmine and Werks E-Nicks that feature on most Thoroughbred Stud's websites also place a heavy emphasis primarily on sireline crosses.
This approach is defended, rightly or wrongly, by it's creators and breeder supporters as claiming that the statistical data is based on actual race performance and results.
While we cannot deny this, it is hardly a scientific genetic approach to breeding but rather one based on statistical data outcome.
So what approach may involve a more scientific or genetic approach to breeding Standardbred horses?
One very reliable method is to "Return the best blood of your mare to the best blood of the stallion".
To apply this method we first of all have to define what this encompasses.
In general terms when analysing a pedigree match, the best blood of a mare is seen as being in her paternal bloodlines ( Quartile 3 ) and the best blood of a stallion as being in his maternal bloodlines ( Quartile 2 ). Hence you are applying Quartile 3 to Quartile 2.
One of the distinct advantages of doing this is that it provides the basis for breeding a horse on a reverse-sex formula to either a key male or female ancestor where you may be chasing their particular traits or attributes especially if deficient in your own mare or breed.
And just occasionally you may end up with a foal bred on what is known as a double reverse-sex cross, not just to one common ancestor but to two.
By achieving a resultant reverse-sex cross in a foal you are not only developing a purposeful breeding core but also creating a potential or likely "engine room" based on the ancestor/s being duplicated.
Reverse-sex crossing is a favoured breeding technique as sex-balancing allows the genes of the duplicated ancestor/s to be potentially maximised in your resultant foal.
As an example here, the stallion Art Major is bred on a 3x4 reverse-sex cross to Albatross, the latter's history proven best cross. The new stallion Captain Crunch is another example being bred on a 3x3 reverse-sex cross to Artsplace.
Another popular breeding practice especially in more recent times and a more common now in North America is breeding horses utilising what is known as the delta pattern.
Certainly Southern Hemisphere breeders are seeing more North American stallions accessible to them being bred carrying a delta pattern to a specific male ancestor.
Fear The Dragon is bred on a 4x4 delta pattern to Most Happy Fella whilst Follow The Stars is bred on a 3x3 delta pattern to Abercrombie.
Delta pattern breeding focuses on applying Quartile 4 to Quartile 1.
This means duplicating a male ancestor that is present in your mare's damsireline in Quartile 4 with the same ancestor that presides in the stallion's paternal sireline as found in Quartile 1.
Delta patterns in a stallion can also be very useful as a launch board from which to capitalise on reverse-sexing opportunities for your mare's foal if that specific ancestor is in her sireline e.g. an Abercrombie line mare if bred to Follow The Stars would produce a foal carrying a reverse-sex cross to Abercrombie.
Yet another breeding technique that can be highly rewarding although a little harder to find is that known as "Breeding Back Into The Herd" ( aka BBITH ).
This involves applying Quartile 4 to Quartile 2 so the polar opposite of "Crosses of Gold" where focus is primarily on Quartile 1 and Quartile 3.
Breeding Back Into The Herd focuses on the bottom line ( duplicating a common female ancestor ) of both Quartile 4 ( of your mare ) and Quartile 2 ( the proposed stallion ) and was hugely favoured by legendary former Australian standardbred pedigree guru Mr Gordon Campbell as that which most closely resembled that which prevailed naturally in the wild and not unlike that which also occurred out on the racetrack especially in terms of the traits and attributes that were required to either survive or triumph. Campbell quantified his stauch advocacy for this form of breeding with statistical evidence from his own huge privately owned database.
Whilst there have been numerous examples of successful standardbreds bred on a "Breeding Back Into The Herd" formula we are going to use now 10 times Group 1 winner, including the 2021 Melbourne Cup, Verry Elleegant as a top class ( albeit thoroughbred mare ) to illustrate our point here.
Verry Elleegant is 4x4 "Bred Back Into The Herd" to the mare Cotehele House through her daughters the half-sisters Theme Song ( granddam of sire Zed ) and Chalet Girl ( granddam of dam Opulence ).
If this form of breeding can succeed big time for thoroughbreds then so too can it work big time with standardbreds.
Whilst the aforementioned form some of the leading methods of breeding quality standardbreds by applying the quartiles they are far from an exhaustive list. There are many other techniques that can be applied. In brief, a few of the leading ones are;
Returning The Blood - this involves returning the same blood from your mare ( through a common female ancestor ) to the same ancestor presiding in the stallion's direct maternal line ( or bottom line ). This sees either Quartile 3 or 4 ( sometimes both ) feeding back to Quartile 2.
Rasmussen Factors ( breeding back to superior females through different individuals within the first 5 generations ), duplicating elite females beyond 5 generations and the deployment of Colt Factors or Filly Factors ( more popular in thoroughbred breeding practice ) are otherhigly effective techniques that can be applied throughout a pedigree match and not necessarily dependent on any specific quartile application other than to say that cross-duplication ( contributed by both the stallion and the mare ) is most likely to yield best results.
More traditional breeding methods ( as opposed to pedigree matching utilising specific breeding techniques ) include "Outcrossing" for hybrid vigour or "Linebreeding" to hopefully concentrate the genes of a specific ancestor/s are other more traditional breeding methods as is "Inbreeding" where seeking speed enhancement or rejuvenation.
The world's five longest rivers ( Nile, Amazon, Yangtze, Yellow and Parana ) may have endured little in the way of change over the last 170 years but this such is not the case for the deltas of the five male scions of the great founding father of the Standardbred breed Hambletonian 10 ( 1849 ).
Hambletonian 10 sired five sons acting as the source of the significant waterways to shape and establish the Standardbred as a recognised breed.
George Wilkes ( 1856 ) led the way founding a mainly trotting stirp and his river remains in existence today albeit the flow not as strong as it once was.
Happy Medium ( 1863 ) continues to flow strongly today enjoying somewhat of a resurgence, like the Amazon, and has two powerful arms, one a trotting arm and the other a pacing arm.
Sadly, both the Dictator ( 1863 ) and Strathmore ( 1866 ) stirps, primarily best known for their pacing influence with some trotting influences also embroiled, whilst off to a flourishing start, have all but dried up and are no longer a significant force today.
The Dictator flow was was primarily led by Billy Direct ( 1934 ), the first pacer to reach 1:55 for the mile, and Tar Heel ( 1948 ), the latter a formidable broodmare sire ( especially in association with Adios ) whose daughters are considered to carry the large heart gene ( x-factor theory ).
The Strathmore line featured mighty carriers such as Globe Derby ( 1910 ), Logan Derby ( 1930 ), Johnny Globe ( 1947 ) and the little black dynamo Lordship ( 1958 ) but has since diminished in traction.
For Electioneer ( 1868 ), it is a totally different fate, one of swift flow just like the Nile. Such flow is seemingly all one way, at a rapid pace with emphasis totally focussed on the development and evolution of the pacer.
For the breeders of the pure trotter emanating from the George Wilkes or Happy Medium stirps, there is saviour as modern day globalisation with accompanying frills such as longhaul flights and permitted use of frozen semen has facilitated a European bloodline infusion which in turn has introduced outcrossing and with it hybrid vigour.
But Europe cannot be the same saviour for the breeder of the pacer primarily because the great majority of European countries only foster the trotting breed.
Breeders of the straight out pacer have for a number of decades now focussed on trends in North America ( both the United States and Canada ) keeping specific tabs on trends, and especially "Crosses of Gold" for those stallions that are relevant to the Southern Hemisphere ( either as shuttle stallions or available via frozen semen ).
But, are the current winds of change beginning to affect our great rivers by introducing a cascade effect?
Whereas once we lingered some 10-15 years behind North America, today this is not the case as the Southern Hemisphere product is equally as competitive on the racetrack, no better example that the recent Lazarus / McWicked rivalries in North America.
Admittedly, improved track design in the Southern Hemisphere had also allowed the gap to be bridged dramatically especially with race times. Not any longer are we the the poor cousin.
The pacing breed nowadays has sorted itself into four predominant sirelines which tend to complement each other in their respective traits and attributes.
The Western Hanover sireline has introduced natural athleticism, generally fluent gait and often precocity whilst the Cam Fella sireline is generally regarded as imparting stamina and toughness although the Cam's Card Shark scion can also bring with it a speed component.
The Artsplace sireline also presents unrelenting stamina with an accompanying winning desire whilst the Direct Scooter sireline has been breed shaping introducing a refined fluent gait which in turn has facilitated greater levels of energy conservation through enhanced pacing efficiency. The flow on effect has seen higher levels of speed and the ability to sustain such speed over greater distance.
As we highlighted a little earlier, we are now down to largely two rivers in the pacing breeding world, these coming through Electioneer and Happy Medium.
And whilst Electioneer acts as the mighty Nile embracing the Cam Fella, Western Hanover and Artsplace sirelines, it is Happy Medium who has acted as the all important Amazon in introducing the breed shaping Direct Scooter stirp to the Standardbred as a breed.
Let us now take a paddle back up river to the headwaters.
Electioneer's son Chimes ( 1880 ) sired The Abbe ( 1903 ) who in turn sired two influential sons in Abbedale ( 1917 ) and Bert Abbe ( 1922 ).
Bert Abbe, via son Gene Abbe ( 1944 ) has brought us the revered male influence Big Towner and his valued sons Walton Hanover and Towner's Big Guy but this tributary is down to a mere trickle these days as the Abbedale arm via son Hal Dale ( 1926 ) has assumed full flow through the latter's two mighty sons Dale Frost ( 1951 ) and Adios ( 1940 ).
Adios became a breed changer in the Southern Hemisphere with his flotilla of sons injecting enhanced speed into the colonial homegrown bloodlines that prevailed especially in Australia and to a lesser degree in New Zealand.
Two of Adios's sons in particular have made a big splash and kept the waterways flowing today, namely Bret Hanover ( 1962 ) especially through his Falcon Seelster ( 1981 ) stirp and Henry T Adios ( 1958 ), the latter the forerunner to the Abercrombie ( 1975 ) cascade through Life Sign but even more poignantly Artsplace ( 1988 ), founder of one of today's four great dominant sirelines.
But anything Adios could contribute, Dale Frost could do better, or at least his great son Meadow Skipper ( 1960 ) and especially through his two most notable sons the complementary influences Most Happy Fella ( 1967 ) and Albatross ( 1968 ).
Each acted like a waterfall. Most Happy Fella bringing stamina and toughness and Albatross speed and gait.
Mix the two together and you got a whirlpool.
Sadly, in more recent times the Albatross stirp is displaying signs of drying up after enjoying good times in the 80's and 90's in particular through sons of the calibre of Vance Hanover, Soky's Atom and Holmes Hanover with little in the way of heirs to continue the flow.
Albatross had found himself caught up in a dam.
But such fate was not to be the case for Most Happy Fella who has found himself as the modern day equine powerhouse through in particular his sons Cam Fella ( 1979 ) and Oil Burner ( 1973 ).
Cam Fella is at the headwater of his own sireline, recognised as one of the four great remaining pacing sirelines of today with the stirp through his best son Cam's Card Shark ( 1991 ) having led on to giving rise to the Bettor's Delight ( 1998 ) dynasty.
Oil Burner via his immensely talented son No Nukes ( 1979 ) has given rise to the prolific Western Hanover ( 1989 ) sireline, another of the four great sirelines of today, with the greatest current being provided through Western Hanover's potent son Western Ideal ( 1995 ).
It does however take a diversion to the Happy Medium headwater to find down river our fourth and final modern day sireline, that of Direct Scooter. Tracing through Volomite ( 1926 ), who was recognised as a great contributor of horses that could both trot and pace, of his four most most notable sons, King's Counsel, Worthy Boy, Poplar Byrd and Sampson Hanover, it was Sampson Hanover ( 1947 ) who was to create the greatest pacing current through his son Sampson Direct ( 1957 ) and grandson Direct Scooter ( 1976 ).
At this time the Southern Hemisphere was becoming a largely Hal Dale empire through sons Adios especially in Australia and Dale Frost via son Meadow Skipper in New Zealand.
But change was in the wind as a new river as mighty as the Amazon was about to sweep in and shake things up.
With Stud farms recognising the potential to narrow the genepool the search was on to introduce an outcross bloodline for the profound Adios and Meadow Skipper proliferation.
A few sons of Direct Scooter were introduced into Australia and New Zealand acting as tributary feeders the likes of Deal Direct, Direct Flight, Stoneridge Scooter, Yankee Sensation, OK Bye and WRH but nothing of any great notice until the mighty gush that was In The Pocket ( 1987 ).
Another pacing breed changer had arrived amongst much local speculation that he would not work especially in New Zealand with it's plethora of Meadow Skipper-line broodmares.
But just like any formidable outcross, clean the rivers he did.
In The Pocket almost single-handedly opened the floodgates for the Direct Scooter sireline and in turn his own great son Christian Cullen continued a strong flow.
In The Pocket was in more recent times ably assisted by sons of Matt's Scooter ( 1985 ) most notably Mach Three.
For breeders of high-end Commercial broodmares in the Southern Hemisphere the last twenty or so years has been a decision between Christian Cullen, Art Major, Mach Three, Bettor's Delight, Rocknroll Hanover or American Ideal with little further options apart from maybe Somebeachsomewhere.
In North America the last two decades or so have seen the Western Hanover / Artsplace sireline cross ( and vice versa ) feature as the "go to" reliable and proven cross for producing hard-hitting early running two and three year olds ( where the big purses feature on the racetrack ) but there is mounting evidence that change is in the wind as the vast majority of stallions shuttling ( or being made available via frozen semen ) to Southern Hemisphere shores are from either the Cam Fella-line ( sons or grandsons of Bettor's Delight in particular ) or the Direct Scooter-line ( sons of Somebeachsomewhere or Captaintreacherous ).
As we approach the delta of these great rivers there is upheaval as to which route to take for breeders.
The Artsplace sireline has pinned it's faith in Art Major for continuity. His progeny are testing the waters but so far from the likes of Santanna Blue Chip, Major In Art, Art Official, For A Reason, Renaissance Man, Restrepo, Follow The Stars, Vincent, Sky Major or Ride High we have yet to see a successor of his equal but to be totally fair for a number it is very early days and time is still on their side. It may yet happen. Still, one gains the initial impression that it is rather vulnerable. Maybe Sweet Lou can put his hand up for the Artsplace sireline.
The Western Hanover sireline bubbles away through the two leading sons of Western Ideal in Rocknroll Hanover and American Ideal, Rocknroll Hanover hanging his hat on the deeds of Rock N Roll Heaven, A Rocknroll Dance, Pet Rock, Yankee Rockstar, Foreclosure, Johny Rock, The Storm Inside and Rocknroll World whilst American Ideal is now represented by his sons He's Watching, Heston Blue Chip, Bling It On, My Hard Copy and Soho Tribeca.
Another son of Western Ideal in Always A Virgin also adds lifeblood to the waters Western Hanover navigates through his notable son Always B Miki.
For the Cam Fella sireline nearly all future continuity appears to channel through Bettor's Delight and his sons or maybe even his grandsons as the cascading effects of three generations come together to stir up the waters as they fight for dominance. Among some of Bettor's Delight's sons there appears real hope.
In no set order, Highview Tommy, Gold Ace, Betterthancheddar, Tiger Tara, Lazarus, Betting Line, Ultimate Machete, Ultimate Sniper, Bettor's Wish, Tall Dark Stranger, Bettor's Creek, Caesar Augustus, Caribbean Blaster and Ohoka Punter are some amongst his lineup set to compete to keep this great line active whilst we also see the cascade effect once gain in play with Im Gorgeous's son Lather Up ( a grandson of Bettor's Delight ) also joining the fray almost acting as an island anchor at the delta.
But the current shining star reflecting over the river is provided by the Direct Scooter sireline led by Mach Three's illustrious son Somebeachsomewhere and his sons, once again in random order, the likes of Net Ten EOM, Sunshine Beach, Huntsville, Downbytheseaside, Papi Rob Hanover, Stay Hungry, Soho Lanikai, Poster Boy, Goodtime Sammy and Captaintreacherous.
The last-mentioned, widely touted as a likely successor to Bettor's Delight, has barely had time to get established downunder than he is already facing stern opposition from his own sons the likes of Captain Crunch, Capt Midnight and Captain Ahab.
All the signs are in place for a healthy river here.
Somebeachsomewhere may yet have another cannon to fire in the future too, and one to rival the Captaintreacherous stirp as a two year old has emerged in North America of considerable talent. Named Beach Glass ( 2019 ), and raced by similar connections to those involved with Somebeachsomewhere, this young colt is bred bred in somewhat similar fashion to Downbytheseaside ( a 4x4 reverse-sex cross featuring as the breeding core ) but has an intriguing feature in his maternal line of descent where his 14th dam Nina Neave was bred to her own sire Cassius M Clay Jnr in the late 1800's resulting in her daughter Nina Strader ( 13th dam of Beach Glass ) being 1x2 incestuously bred to Cassius M Clay Jnr. But we digress.
Whilst the rivers might be healthy in some areas there are signs of confusion at the deltas.
With the growing North American practice of retiring their best colts at the conclusion of their three year old season ( they are worth more money in the breeding shed thereafter ) the cascade effect has never been so pronounced.
We have Bettor's Delight still in active service, whilst in competition with his sons, both the the North American shuttlers as well as those available by frozen semen and joining them are home grown sons of Bettor's Delight ( both in Australia and New Zealand ) as the genetic gap closes between the Southern Hemisphere and North America and on top of this grandsons of Bettor's Delight ( e.g.Lather Up ) are also being added to breeders choices.
The same scenario is now also in evidence with Somebeachsomewhere where limited amounts of frozen semen supply remain well after his death yet his potent son Captaintreacherous is barely entrenched in the Southern Hemisphere ( perhaps more to do with his level of Service Fee and frozen semen restrictions than rivalry from a shuttling Bettor's Delight rivalry ) before he faces company from three of his young sons all shuttling downunder.
Consistent with the latest developments in North America, the tides of change are clearly pointing in the direction of the two greatest rivers, the Nile ( these days fronted by the Bettor's Delight scion ) and the Amazon ( these days fronted by the Somebeachsomewhere scion currently being led by Captaintreacherous ).
Perhaps one should have listened more closely just a few years ago when Empire Stallions principal David James boldly claimed that "The Captain" would become the natural successor to "Bettor's".
Whilst this could well prove the case in North America, where mounting evidence supports this, it will be a more difficult challenge in the Southern Hemisphere where it is clearly a numbers game.
This has seen shuttling stallions and the cost benefits of fresh chilled semen access provide Bettor's Delight and his sons and now grandsons with a competitive edge over the non-shuttling Captaintreacherous.
Is there capacity for change?
Of course there is.
The moment Bettor's Delight ceases shuttling there is room for immense change and very quickly too as we must remember that there exists a tsunami of Bettor's Delight broodmares waiting in the wings.
In the current era where swift flow ( speed ) is the desirable destination one cannot help but feel that Captaintreacherous and his new cascade of sons are extremely well-placed genetically to absorb the many Bettor's Delight and for that matter Art Major mares going to Stud where they will offer great genetic connections to highly influential female bluehens ( a time proven formula in the speed stakes ).
For mares by Bettor's Delight this includes a tail female connection to the highly influential matriarch Aida which is also shared by Captaintreacherous's great grandsire Matt's Scooter ( the best racehorse produced by Direct Scooter ) whilst mares by Art Major and his sons are set to reap the genetic rewards of resultant Rasmussen Factors ( in their foals ) to the revered bluehen Rodine Hanover.
Exciting, if not challenging times, lying ahead. May the rivers of change be kind to you in your in your future breeding endeavour.
Premier Pedigrees has been tracking the seemingly "X-factor" mare Blue Horizon in recent years in the belief that she creates "something special" when duplicated in pedigree compilation wherever the opportunity arises.
That "something special" is extreme high speed ( one of the hardest attributes to breed into any horse ).
As readers / breeders will have noticed in our previous article, Blue Horizon is a grand-daughter of the famed mare Golden Miss aka the "Queen Of Gait", something seen as an absolutely fundamental pre-requisite in the evolution to extreme high speed.
The Direct Scooter invasion in the mid-nineties and beyond gave us our first glimpse of how refined and superior gait attributes could enhance speed in a largely Meadow Skipper genepool but with Blue Horizon came no Direct Scooter influences.
She was seemingly "doing it on her own".
Even more noticeably, she was producing it when duplicated relatively close-up in a pedigree, particularly via the use of what is known as a Rasmussen Factor ( Breeding Back To Superior Females Through Different Individuals Within The First Five Generations ) breeding technique.
Blue Horizon first came to our attention having been highly impressed by the racing attributes of 2005 New South Wales Derby victor Make Me Smile ( Grinfromeartoear - Panoramic Lady ). His sizzling gate speed to cross fields in the blink of an eye from wide draws was eye-catching not to mention his electric bursts of speed on many other occasions.
As with any exceptional performer or one which displays specific outstanding attributes it would be remiss of any pedigree consultant not exercising due diligence on the subject horse's pedigree to ascertain the likely contributer/s to these standout traits.
Make Me Smile's pedigree revealed an immediate and highly likely cause which suggested that close "inbreeding" to the mare Blue Horizon was a highly likely source of developing high speed.
Technically, in Standardbred breeding circles a 3x3 reverse-sexed Rasmussen Factor at that position in a pedigree is not inbreeding but rather the first stage of linebreeding at Factor 6 ( Factor 5 being the true outside edge of inbreeding ).
As Blue Horizon featured in the direct maternal bloodline of the stallion via her daughter Smile Upon ( dam of Grinfromeartoear ) this also allowed the opportunity to return the same blood from the mare Panoramic Lady ( a daughter of Panorama ) to the stallion's "bottom line" also recognised as a speed enhancement breeding practice ( and widely utilised by both Thoroughbred and Standardbred breeders ).
With Panorama being a son of Blue Horizon the reverse-sexing opportunity not only provided Make Me Smile with a desirable breeding core but also a likely "engine room", an engine room based on high speed.
But one example does not provide absolute proof of any contention. We needed to find another example to solidify our belief.
Back in 2003 I was fortunate enough to accompany then Linden Park Studmaster Graham Bell ( he was standing stallion's such as Sands A Flyin and Road Machine at the time ) as his pedigree authority on a week long South Island road trip visiting other Studs as well as numerous breeders throughout Canterbury and Southland.
At about that time Sly Flyin was going great guns flying the flag high for Sands A Flyin.
We had dual hosts in Southland in Mark Shirley ( a son of Ascot Stud's Gil Shirley ) and Debbie Scarlett ( later to become Debbie Smith of Shard Farm fame ). Both proved wonderful hosts introducing us to nearly every horse-interested person in the province.
So it was not surprising that a couple of years later an email came through to Premier Pedigrees from Debbie seeking opinion on who she should breed her Panorama mare to. The particular mare in question was Sly Shard ( a half-sister to Sly Flyin ).
Here was the opportunity to test our theory on Blue Horizon using essentially the same template that was used to produce Make Me Smile.
But it was hard work convincing Debbie especially as it involved an element of seemingly "inbreeding". I recall having a file about half an inch thick on email correspondence back and forth trying to convince Debbie on the merits of this breeding without the knowledge that Dave Phillips and an unidentified Australian breeding consultant were on the same wavelength as ourselves.
But we stuck to our guns on every query Debbie threw at us on the mating as we were desperately wanting another example to support our beliefs about Blue Horizon.
Fortunately the mating went ahead and in 2006 Sly Shard foaled a small yet neat compact colt by Grinfromeartoear.
That colt was named Smiling Shard and he went to the PGG Yearling Sales in Christchurch as Shard Farm was primarily a "seller".
Only a week or two later I was in Geoff Small's barn one day when Cran Dalgety walked in looking for Geoff. I recall making a comment at the time to Cran that he "got the best pedigreed horse in the Yearling Sales" having been the successful buyer of the colt.
Cran's reply still rings in my ears today, "Oh I don't know about that, the little squib" and "I paid too much for him" in reference to his $42,000 price tag when, Catalogue in hand, he showed me that he had $30,000 written down as his maximum limit ( self valuation ) on him.
It did not take long to have our observations and beliefs about Blue Horizon confirmed as Smiling Shard proved precocious and went on to win both the Australasian Breeders Crown Final 2YO Colts and Geldings and the Australasian Breeders Crown Final 3YO Colts and Geldings displaying both natural precocity and great dash on his way to becoming a millionaire pacer.
So where to from here with further opportunities to double-up on the prize blood of Blue Horizon?
To answer this question we first need to identify those stallions or broodmare sires that hold the presence of Blue Horizon in our part of the world. Forgive us if we have missed any.
They include Panorama ( 1st generation ), Grinfromeartoear ( 2nd generation ), Smiling Shard ( twice at the 3rd generation ), Mr Feelgood ( 3rd generation ), Shoobees Place ( 3rd generation ) and The Storm Inside ( 3rd generation ) whilst Soho Tribeca holds the presence of Panorama at his 5th generational level meaning Blue Horizon appears at his 6th generational level.
We can see from this that all except for Soho Tribeca offer distinct opportunities to create Rasmussen Factors to Blue Horizon where their bloodlines are brought together in a planned mating.
Moving forward though we are particularly excited by the opportunities provided to the young Alabar based stallion The Storm Inside ( Rocknroll Hanover - Spirited Storm, by Artsplace ) with mares from those other stallions as identified above. Why is that?
The answer lies in the way The Storm Inside has been bred.
And this is the way former Australian pedigree guru Mr Gordon Campbell ( ex Computabred Ltd ) favoured best "Breeding Back Into The Herd" ( aka BBITH ) and hopefully also incorporating a Rasmussen Factor ( breeding back to superior females through different individuals within the first 5 generations ).
The Storm Inside is the product of being "bred back into the herd" utilising a 4x5 Rasmussen Factor to Shifting Sands ( the famed daughter of the "Queen Of Gait" Golden Miss ) through her own powerful daughters Proven Perfect ( granddam of Rocknroll Hanover ) and Shifting Scene ( 3rd dam of Spirited Storm via Blue Horizon ).
So let us do a brief summation of the outcomes of breeding mares by those other stallions we have afore-mentioned to The Storm Inside.
Panorama mare - produces a 4x3 reverse-sexed Rasmussen Factor to Blue Horizon via daughter Stormy Pursuit and son Panorama. This is a similar template to that used to produce both Make Me Smile and Smiling Shard.
Grinfromeartoear mare - produces a 4x4 Rasmussen Factor to Blue Horizon via her daughters the full-sisters Stormy Pursuit and Smile Upon ( both by Storm Damage ).
Mr Feelgood mare - produces a 4x5 Rasmussen Factor to Blue Horizon via her daughters the full-sisters Stormy Pursuit and Smile Upon.
Shoobees Place mare - produces a 4x5 Rasmussen Factor to Blue Horizon via her daughters the half-sisters Stormy Pursuit and Shoobeedoaday.
Smiling Shard mare - produces a 4x5x5 Rasmussen Factor desirably sex-balanced via the full-sisters Stormy Pursuit and Smile Upon and their half-brother Panorama.
Soho Tribeca mare - perhaps one for the future but produces a 4x7 sex-balanced linebreeding opportunity to Blue Horizon via daughter Stormy Pursuit and son Panorama.
Trainer Emma Stewart's comments on The Storm Inside's traits and attributes on the racetrack are perhaps very salient in terms of what we have identified as being typical of this Family, "He has everything you'd look for with his blistering high speed, beautifully gaited and a real athlete".
As we see it, the only word's missing are "family inheritance" which allowed him to display these great qualities on the racetrack right from an undefeated precocious juvenile through to his 5 year old season where he ran his career best time of 1:50.7 for the mile and winning 16 or his 19 career starts.
We also see The Storm Inside as enjoying considerable success in the future with mares from both the Artsplace and Meadow Skipper sirelines and we will be following his Stud career with a little more than a keen interest.
William Shehan of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was only 5 years old when the mare Miss Pluto Scott was born in 1934.
This was at a time when the trotting gait had an apparent stranglehold on the Standardbred as a breed in North America give or take the odd stallion or superior mare that was beginning to throw dual-gaited horses i.e. could both trot and pace at speed. Others preferred just a single gait, be that just trotting or pacing.
The progeny of the stallion Volomite were beginning to show these dual tendencies whilst broodmare bluehen Spinster was leaving progeny that also displayed these dual attributes.
Shehan became a graduate of his native University of Michigan and for almost 20 years operated a New York Corporate Law Office specialising in International Finance.
His involvement with Standardbreds occurred during his College years where he did some work for the immortal Sanders Russell and gained immense equine knowledge.
In particular, he developed ideas on the kind of gait required to maximise speed and he endeavoured to develop such gait utilising his own quickly growing band of broodmares.
He specifically bred for the traits of good gait and physical type, breeding away from any perceived faults. He was particularly successful in bringing to life several branches of maternal families who have produced top performers for multiple successive generations.
Whilst these have included the likes of Adora, K Nora and Lover's Walk amongst others it is another of his foundation mares' in Golden Miss that we want to specifically focus on for the purposes of this article.
When it came time to mate a near 20 year old mare in Miss Pluto Scott, Shehan didn't have a lot to go on as her only other foal had been the 1951 filly Winifred ( by the Volomite horse King's Counsel ) who can be found in today's pedigrees most commonly as the 4th dam of the stallion Four Starzzz Shark.
But this may have been enough to start Shehan thinking as Volomite was leaving a number of dual-gaited horses as had been his sire Peter Volo, the latter a son of Peter The Great ( who's blood also significantly under-pinned Direct Scooter but that is digressing for now although worth considerable food for thought ).
So when it came time to breed Miss Pluto Scott, a mare 3x3 paternally linebred to Peter The Great ( via his sons Peter Scott and Peter Pluto ) a stallion carrying sex-balanced lines of Peter The Great ( via Peter Volo and Miss Pierette ) appealed greatly as the perfect mate for Miss Pluto Scott. That stallion was Ensign Hanover, a son of Billy Direct, the latter the first pacing horse in history to run 1:55 for the mile.
Shehan knew the appeal of this but at the same time his mare drew huge compatibility from the maternal bloodlines of Ensign Hanover who's dam Helen Hanover was 3x3 delta pattern bred to Peter The Great through son Peter Volo ( who was displaying a tendency to leave a number of pacing-gaited progeny ) and daughter Miss Pierette, the 3rd dam of Ensign Hanover and a member of Spinster's wider family ( Miss Pierette coming through the opposite branch of the famous "Thompson Sisters" in Madam Thompson as opposed to Spinster coming through Madam Thompson's full-sister Tilly Thompson, both grand-daughters of taproot matriarch Minnehaha ).
The above features saw the 1954 filly foal ( to be named Golden Miss ) not only 5x5x4x4 sex-balance linebred to Peter The Great but also 5x4 reverse-sex bred to him as well thus offering both a breeding core and a likely "engine room".
Miss Pluto Scott also held the presence of the mare Kinglyne ( May King - Young Miss ) deep in her maternal bloodlines which also presented compatibility with the bloodlines of Ensign Hanover's fast pacing sire Billy Direct who carried the presence of Bingen ( May King - Young Miss ), a full-brother to Kinglyne, in his own maternal pedigree.
A well-constructed pedigree match by Shehan which was to go on and see Golden Miss earn the accolade of the "Queen of Gait" out on the racetrack.
In 1977 Bill Shehan founded Clermont Farm, a 560 acre Standardbred nursery in Versailles, Kentucky and continued his challenge in bringing to life several branches of maternal families to produce top performers generation upon generation ably assisted by other breeding farms that had purchased fillies from Shehan developed families at various Yearling Sales.
Shehan died in 1991 with his Clermont Farm largely being the home today of what now makes up George Segal's Brittany Farms.
But for now, let us return to the legacy of Shehan's great creation, Golden Miss.
Golden Miss's 8th dam Foot was by the Thoroughbred stallion Glencoe ( a note large heart source ) and out of the mare Fishing Filly ( by Bertrand 1821 ). Maternal recordson the foundations of this family do not extend back any further than Fishing Filly but we do know that Bertrand was by Sir Archy ( 1802 ) and from a mare known as Eliza. The interesting thing to also note here was that Sir Archy was also by a widely acclaimed pioneer of large hearts in the Thoroughbred breed in Diomed ( 1777 ).
Retirement from the racetrack saw the "Queen Of Gait" Golden Miss embark on a broodmare career which saw her produce just the five foals, three colts the most distinguished being Strike Out ( a handsome beautifully gaited high speed individual who was later to make a valued sire ) whilst also producing two fillies in Shifting Sands ( her first foal and foaled in 1965 ) and Malaysia ( her last foal and foaled in 1978 ).
Malaysia had eight foals over a period from 1982 to 1995 but none came close to the greatness of her 1990 colt by Jate Lobell named Riyadh.
Although Riyadh was also to make it eventually to Stud he was never the same star in the breeding barn and Southern Hemisphere breeders have only managed to sight his name albeit fleetingly as the granddam sire of Racing Hill ( by Roll With Joe ) who stood a season or so at Alabar Australia before permanently returning to North America.
Shifting Sands on the other hand had seven foals over a period from 1970 to 1984 with a remarkable six of these being fillies.
Whilst Miss Meadowlark met with modest success, it was three of Shifting Sands other daughters in Shifting Scene, Whispering Sands and Proven Perfect which were to become household names in the pedigrees of today's stallions so familiar to Southern Hemisphere breeders, all under-pinned by the name Golden Miss.
Proven Perfect is listed as having just the one foal in 1990 to Direct Scooter. A filly, she was named Rich N Elegant. She in turn went on to have eight foals over a period from 1995 to 2007, six colts and two fillies. Her claim to fame being not only that she was to produce a siring dynasty but also that she was to become the first broodmare in history to produce three individual millionaire pacers and narrowly missing out on a fourth.
Rocknroll Hanover, Royalflush Hanover and Red River Hanover all acclaimed such status with Rustler Hanover narrowly missing out joining this trio.
Of Rich N Elegant's two fillies, BJ's Canouan ( a full-sister to Rocknroll Hanover) has yet to make an appearance in any stallion pedigrees in our part of the world whilst Rye Hanover ( a full-sister to Red River Hanover and Rustler Hanover ) in recent times has resided at Benstud in Australia and is listed as the dam of thirteen live foals with her 2009 colt by Christian Cullen named Blazin N Cullen being easily her best racetrack performer to date with lifetime earnings of $576,352 but she does have four daughters in Treat Me Good, Rockahula Baby, Dancing With Daisy and Smooth Rye to continue the Proven Perfect tentacle of Shifting Sands branch.
Another of Shifting Sands produce was Whispering Sands who produced five foals from 1975 to 1990 with all five being fillies though only two have made their way to our part of the world as names we have become familiar with in the pedigrees of stallions. These two are her first foal Windward Passage ( 1975 ) and Mystical Mood ( 1985 ).
Mystical Mood had four foals from 1989 to 2002, two colts and two fillies. Mystical Prince went on to become a stallion with moderate success in Australia whilst Deadly Desire amongst her two progeny to Life Sign left Real Desire ( the great racetrack foe of Bettor's Delight ).
Windward Passage amongst her four filly foals over the period 1981 to 1983 left Secret Passage who went on to become the dam of Safely Kept, a revered sire in Australia who could leave equally good pacers and trotters.
But of all the grand-daughters of Golden Miss to descend through Shifting Sands it is perhaps Shifting Scene who has been the most under-rated especially in terms of the deeds of her daughters as opposed to the likes of Proven Perfect who has made her impression largely through the deeds of her sons.
Shifting Scene is recorded as having twelve offspring over a period from 1976 until 1991. During this time she produced eleven fillies and a single colt, a 1989 production by the name of Present Danger.
Of her eleven fillies, three have presented themselves in stallion pedigrees in our part of the world in more recent times.
They are her first two foals Blue Horizon ( 1976 ), Blue Gingham ( 1977 ) and Sonspree ( 1984 ).
Amongst Sonspree's five recorded foals ( three fillies and two colts ) only her last foal Treasure For Trish ( 1992 ) has kept her name abreast of downunder breeders as the dam of the filly Lifesliltreasure. The latter is best known as the dam of the stallion Control The Moment, the best racetrack son to date for the stallion Well Said.
Control The Moment had been available to Australian breeders until the 2021 season via frozen semen ex KTC Bloodstock in Western Australia.
Blue Gingham is recorded as having only the three foals from 1982 to 1989, two fillies and a colt named Armbro Khaki.
One of her two fillies was named Enroute ( again a first foal ) who features as the third dam of the recent Alabar shuttle stallion Sunshine Beach making Blue Gingham the fourth dam of Sunshine Beach.
Blue Horizon was the first foal of Shifting Scene and a full-sister to Blue Gingham, both being daughters of Meadow Skipper.
Of the three daughters of Shifting Scene most familiar to downunder breeders, Blue Horizon is also most probably the most familiar and certainly the largest producer with eight recorded foals from 1981 to 1995, four of which Australian breeders in particular can identify with. In total she had two colts and six fillies.
Her first three foals are all familiar names especially to Australian breeders.
Her first foal, a colt by Abercrombie, was named Panorama who made an indelible mark in Australian standardbred breeding circles whilst her next two foals the full-sisters Stormy Pursuit and Smile Upon ( both by Storm Damage ) were about to leave their imprint as also a later daughter in Shoobeedoaday ( 1995 ).
Stormy Pursuit can be found in the pedigree of the promising young stallion The Storm Inside ( available to both Australian and New Zealand breeders ) as his granddam whilst Smile Upon is the dam of the highly admired Grinfromeartoear and can also be found in the pedigrees of his sons Mr Feelgood and Smiling Shard.
Shoobeedoaday can be found as the granddam of the Artsplace stallion Shoobees Place who these days stands in Western Australia alongside Bonavista Bay.
The sole purpose of this article was to capture the essence of the Golden Miss influence , not in it's entirety, but more with respect to it's relevance to and influence in Australasia.
In our next article, we are going to stay on this theme but single out just one of it's "player's" who we have touched on in this article, and explore their potential impact on future breedings.
So stay tuned.
The death of the champion thoroughbred Secretariat in October 1989 and his subsequent autopsy findings revealing an enormous 22lbs heart size was the inspiration behind writer Marianna Haun and her 1997 work the X-Factor Theory claiming that the large heart gene is located on the X-chromosome hence meaning that a colt foal can only inherit an over-sized heart from his dam and as a stallion this can only be passed on through his daughters.
Such a brave theory is only that and in more recent times with modern day mapping of the equine genome there is no scientific confirmation that heart size is passed on via the X chromosome.
But what we do know from in the thoroughbred world is that certain female lines can throw horses that carry larger hearts than normal and this size can vary dependent on the taproot source.
Marianna Haun in her famous workings of the late 1990's contended that 28%of the thoroughbred population carried the large heart gene in some shape or form.
Large hearts of up to three times normal size ( estimated at 6 lbs back then ) were initially attributed to the male forebear Eclipse ( 1764 ) who possessed a 14 lbs heart ( the same size as that of Phar Lap's ).
A decade or so later along came Diomed ( 1777 ), the best racehorse in Great Britain since Eclipse, whose daughters it was claimed could pass on 18 lbs hearts.
A widely speculated belief was that the mare Pocahontas ( 1837 ) was the source of all present day large hearts, something widely dispelled by large heart authority Harold Matthews who claimed that Pocahontas possessed a 15 lbs heart and because of this she was only capable of passing on a 15 lbs heart, in other words the heart size does not go up or down but rather remains constant from generation to generation.
Matthew's identified four what he termed " base root " large heart mares originating from in the mid-1600's.
These included Darcy's Royal Mare ( 1690's ), the source of an 18 lbs heart, Royal Mare ( circa 1665 ) and Montagu Mare ( circa 1650 ), both the source of 16 lbs hearts, and the Vinter Mare who writer James Hardiman in his work "Confused Pedigrees and Mistaken Identities" believes was the same mare as the Montagu Mare by another name.
It has been claimed that early large heart progenitors were in existence before the thoroughbred was established, many of unclaimed parentage originating at Darcy's Stud, being left over "Hobby-Running" horses of King Charles reign ( aka Royal Mares ) of which there was an estimated population of just over 100 mares.
These mares did not carry any Barb, Arabian or Turk appendages of the "Oriental" breeds, the first of these entering the thoroughbred breeding genepool being the Old Moroccan Barb ( aka Fairfax Moroccan Barb ) in 1637 as seen in the pedigree of the Spanker Mare.
So can we relate any of this development of the large heart gene inheritance in the thoroughbred across to the standardbred, a breed which is far younger in establishment but which derived much of it's origins from the thoroughbred breed in association with other breeds of defined gait such as the Clay and Morgan breed?
In an attempt to answer this question we would like to focus back on the thoroughbred stallion Diomed.
Eclipse has long been considered as a prime mover in the development of the large heart gene in modern day thoroughbred pedigrees through his daughters but it is perhaps his near contemporary Diomed that has had a far more profound effect on the modern day standardbred.
Diomed was intensely linebred to the Spanker Mare ( no fewer than 9 close-up presences including this mare being his own 7th dam ) but more importantly he carries the large heart gene of Darcy's Royal Mare ( a source of 18 lbs hearts ) being out of a mare named Sister To Juno, by Spectator, out of Partner Mare, out of Bonny Lass, by Bay Bolton, out of Makeless Mare, out of Brimmer Mare, by Brimmer, out of Darcy's Royal Mare.
Whilst other large heart sources are attributable in the standardbred world as coming through the little known origins of the stallion Pilot Jnr ( and passed on through his daughters ) other acclaimed female sources are the likes of Midnight ( 1865 ) a daughter of Pilot Jnr with two lines of Diomed and a line of Glencoe ( another thoroughbred large heart source ), Esther ( 1860's ) from the Diomed sireline and possessing five lines of Diomed along with her dam being bred on a 3x3 reverse-sex cross to Glencoe, and Miss Russell, the last-mentioned being a daughter of Pilot Jnr out of Sally Russell, the latter also from the Diomed sireline.
In contemporary standardbred breeding circles any mention of the large heart gene and first thoughts move towards Tar Heel or more specifically towards the daughters of Tar Heel.
This is little surprising as Tar Heel's tenth dam is the thoroughbred Robert Wickliffe Mare, a daughter of Diomed.
This means that Robert Wickliffe Mare was a carrier of Diomed's large heart gene directly attributable to Darcy's Royal Mare ( a source of 18 lbs hearts ).
Of particular interest here is that Robert Wickliffe Mare is also the granddam of Family 558 matriarch Jessie Pepper which sees the maternal line through Princess Royal, Roya McKinney, Rose Scott, Rosette and Leta Long all equipped with the large heart gene.
From yesteryear we have the stallions Kentucky and No Nukes as well as present day stallions such as Rock N Roll Heaven descending from the Jessie Pepper family.
Daughters of these male influences are potential large heart gene carriers.
But for now, let us return to Tar Heel and more specifically his own pedigree composition.
Tar Heel is by Billy Direct out of Leta Long, by Volomite out of Rosette.
Whilst his sire Billy Direct does carry the presence of Midnight deep in his maternal bloodlines it is through his dam Leta Long that Tar Heel's large heart gene is derived.
But from which side of her pedigree is the key question?
Leta Long's sire Volomite is out of the mare Cita Frisco who is by San Francisco out of Mendocita.
Mendocita is a daughter of Esther ( see comments earlier as above ).
San Francisco's dam is Oniska who is linebred 4x5 to Miss Russell ( also see earlier comments above ), a daughter of Pilot Jnr.
Miss Russell is herself heavily inbred to strains of Diomed inheriting one strain through the dam of her sire Pilot Jnr with her own dam Sally Russell being more intensely bred to Diomed than any other female Stud Book product.
Plenty of genetic connections to large heart influences here but it is through Leta Long's dam Rosette that the large heart gene has been passed to Tar Heel according to "the experts" on this subject.
It is not our intention to be contentious here but rather just informative.
Rosette is claimed to have derived the large heart gene from her sire Mr McElwyn ( even though her damline traces directly back to Diomed ) who in turn derived his from his dam Widow Maggie who got hers from Peter The Great who got his from the brilliantly fast mare Santos.
Santos got her gene in turn from her sire Grand Sentinel who got his from dam Maid Of Lexington who got hers from Mambrino Pilot who inherited his from Juliet, another daughter of Pilot Jnr.
And from Tar Heel down the line the large heart gene passes with Bret Hanover inheriting the large heart gene from his dam Brenda Hanover, a daughter of Tar Heel, meaning Bret Hanover had the ability to pass on the gene through his daughters as well.
Before we leave our segment on Tar Heel we would like to share a couple of interesting facts on this stallion.
Tar Heel derived his name from the state of North Carolina where the practice of stripping pine trees to produce turpentine earned these workers the nickname of "Tar Heelers".
Tar Heel, a Little Brown Jug winner himself, was known as the "King Of Queens" in the breeding barn because the genes he passed onto his daughters were considered "very special".
Even today, we still laud the deeds of a Tar Heel daughter such as Romola Hanover when we peruse the pedigrees of current top stallions such as Art Major and Captaintreacherous.
Back in the 60's, 70's and early 80's it was claimed that Tar Heel's daughters propped up most stallions and both launched and saved many as they invariably produced a stallion's best runner.
Tar Heel ( 1948-82 ) lived to the tender age of 34 years at a time when the average lifespan of standardbred horses was 24 to 27 years. A son of Tar Heel in Waco Hanover recently became the longest lived standardbred on record reaching 41 years and 281 days.
One can only ponder at the thought that some of these achievements were heart related.
The interest in large inherent hearts and heart scores will always remain when one can find or develop a superior "V8 versus a 4-Cylinder" product.
A larger heart can pump more oxygen giving the horse optimum speed, greater endurance and capacity for exercise.
Australian researcher Dr James Steel created the Heart Score as a genetic marker for X-Factor through the use of an Electrocardiogram ( ECG ) to measure heart size, a scale that correlates heart weight, stroke volume, cardiac output and aerobic power.
Heart scores of average horses were typically in the range of 104-116 but Steel determined a break point of 117 for female and 120 for male horses to pinpoint potential larger heart animals.
As a point of interest here Secretariat was asserted to possess a heart score of 180.
Another study of standardbred ( trotters ) by Nielsen and Vibe-Petersen of the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University of Copenhagen found that 41 stallions with a heart score of 115 or greater amassed double the earnings of 81 stallions with heart scores below 115.
In conclusion, on this non-exact science of the large heart gene, we do hope though that your funds investment scheme does include a few shares in a medical instruments manufacturer as the demand for stethoscopes begins to reach insatiable heights in the quest for that larger hearted horse with the competitive edge.
Astute standardbred breeders ( of both pacers and trotters ) will be well aware of the many good horses produced that carry a double ( via two individual ancestors ) of the revered female bluehen Extasy ( 1896 ).
We can quote as examples the likes of Beach Towel $2,570,357 ( the best offspring of French Chef ), Western Hanover $2,541,647 ( the best offspring of No Nukes ), Cam Fella $2,041,367 ( the best offspring of Most Happy Fella ) and Jenna's Beach Boy $1,972,172 ( the best offspring of Beach Towel ) as all carrying doubles of Extasy.
La Coocaracha, General Jujon, Safe And Sound and Rowleyalla were all top Australian racehorses that carried a double of Extasy.
And so too did one of Australia's best sires of all time in the Cam Fella horse Fake Left.
An additional line of Extasy through a different individual to those already present in Fake Left produced some of this stallion's finest racetrack products the likes of Drop Dead Gorgeous, General Jujon, Bronski Warrior, Aquagold, Cherry Cheer and Five Star Comfort.
It also produced his best runner, the incredible Blacks A Fake.
And it is Blacks A Fake who we will briefly use as an example of illustration here.
His sire Fake Left carries Extasy through two individuals; Good Time ( as present in grandsire Most Happy Fella ) who holds Extasy as his 5th dam via her daughter Pleasant Thoughts, and Dale Frost whose damsire Raider carries as his own granddamsire Prince McKinney, a son of Extasy.
So we have Extasy coming through son Prince McKinney and daughter Pleasant Thoughts in Fake Left.
To add the third individual line we need to analyse the pedigree of Blacks A Fake's dam Colada Hanover ( a daughter of Vanston Hanover ) noting with special interest in Vanston Hanover's direct maternal ( or "bottom line" ) that his 4th dam Vesta's Pride is a daughter of Spencer.
Spencer's dam is Petrex, a daughter of Extasy, meaning Blacks A Fake carries in his pedigree three individual lines of Extasy desirably sex-balanced for maximum influence through Extasy's son Prince McKinney and daughters Pleasant Thoughts and Petrex.
The interesting thing to note here specifically with reference to Blacks A Fake's pedigree is that these lines of Extasy come through both pacing and trotting forebears yet they appear to fuse with relative comfort.
To further understand this we are best guided by both the origins of Extasy as well as her own racetrack and breeding exploits.
Extasy's pedigree and family origins are the oldest of any Standardbred tracing back through foundation mare Kathleen ( Family 123 ) who was by Pilot Jnr, the only trotting sire that Kathleen's dam Little Miss ( a full-blooded thoroughbred mare by Sovereign ) was put to.
Little Miss traces back to an English thoroughbred mare ( Cub Mare ) foaled around 1700.
Little Miss's own pedigree was heavily immersed with crosses of the Spanker Mare and her dam Old Peg with the latter tracing closely to great English thoroughbred sires such as Flying Childers, Bartlett's Childers, Jigg, Fox and Basto, many of whom were heavily inbred. Retain a mental note of this for later in this article.
It was Kathleen's mating with Harold that produced Ethelwyn in 1882.
Pilot Jnr, sire of Kathleen, earned a reputation as one of the greatest broodmare sires of all time, his daughters striking accord with a wide range of sires.
Sires of more recent times benefitting from multiple infusions of Pilot Jnr include the likes of Adios, Albatross, Artsplace, Western Hanover, Speedy Crown, Super Bowl and Valley Victory.
Ethelwyn was bred on a template, Harold over a Pilot Jnr mare ( Kathleen ), the same cross that produced the elite racemare of that time Maud S.
Harold was inbred 2x2 paternally to Abdallah I, with his sire Hambletonian 10 and dam Enchantress both being out of maresby Bellfounder.
Ethelwyn's mating with Dictator was to produce Grendel, an unraced mare who went on to become the 5th dam of the trotting stallion Bill Gallon, best known as the sire of Galophone ( winner of 51 of his 112 starts ).
Another daughter of Ethelwyn's in Impetuous equalled the World Record for a 2YO trotter and went on to become the ancestress of Southwind Tempo ( $2.4 million, 1:48.2, a multiple Group winning pacing mare ).
But it was Ethelwyn's mating to Baron Wilkes that was to produce Extasy in 1896.
Extasy was 3x3 paternally linebred to Hambletonian 10.
Her sire Baron Wilkes was by George Wilkes, a son of Hambletonian 10 and flagbearer for a sireline branch of Hambletonian 10 for many decades but near extinction today.
Baron Wilkes dam Belle Patchen was by Mambrino Patchen, a great broodmare sire who carried multiple strains of a significant English thoroughbred influence, Diomed.
Diomed had 4 crosses of Flying Childers, 1 of Bartlett's Childers, 2 of Jiggs, 1 of Fox and 2 of Basto.
Any of this sound familiar? Just take a look back at our previous comments on Little Miss to spot the remarkable resemblance.
Could the blood of Mambrino Patchen ( standardbred ) and that of Little Miss ( thoroughbred ) have fused in the one pedigree i.e.that of Extasy to produce a legacy mare?
Diomed was the first winner of the Epsom Derby in 1780 and has long been referenced as a possible large heart source.
Just to digress here for a moment. Tar Heel ( through his daughters ) has always been recognised in standardbred breeding circles as a large heart progenitor and it may be no coincidence that Tar Heel's 10th dam Robert Wickliffe Mare is also a daughter of Diomed.
Diomed is intensely inbred to the Spanker Mare with no fewer than nine lines, one of which features in his direct maternal bloodlines where we see the Spanker Mare featuring as his 7th dam.
Trotting breeding enthusiasts in particular may be interested in a comment in William Preston Russell's book "Kingdom For The Horse" where he noted that the heaviest concentration of Diomed can be found in the descendants of Miss Russell, Midnight, Mambrino Patchen and American Star.
Switching focus back onto Extasy, as a racehorse, her most notable feature was that she was dual-gaited and immensely talented in both gaits.
In 1898 she won the 2YO Pacing Division of the Kentucky Futurity, setting a World Record for her age and gait which stood for 29 years until broken in 1927.
In 1899, as a 3YO trotter, Extasy won a heat in the Senior Division of America's oldest Futurity, another significant accomplishment.
As a broodmare Extasy produced two sons and four daughters.
Her sons both became sires, Prince McKinney ( by McKinney ) and Lord Dewey ( by Admiral Dewey ) with each siring about a dozen mares that would their bloodlines. The closest these two can be found in the pedigrees of Australasian mares today are through the presences of Sandydale ( his dam is by Lord Dewey ) and Raider ( his granddam is by Prince McKinney ) with the latter being far more common as the damsire of Dale Frost.
It is however through the daughters of Extasy that she can also be found reasonably comfortably in modern day pedigrees.
Extasy had four daughters; Petrex, Ethel Volo, Pleasant Thoughts and Pleasant Memories.
Whilst Pleasant Memories has made little impact in extending Extasy's presence in the breeding world there is little doubt that the other three have produced dynasties across America, Europe and Australasia and it is from these three that descend past and current influences ( male and female ) carrying lines that trace directly back to Extasy.
By looking at these three in a little more depth we hope we will unlock some modern day influences ( "the couriers" ) that you can look at for additional lines of Extasy just as the breeders of Blacks A Fake may have done with their mare Colada Hanover.
Petrex ( by Peter The Great ) left a predominantly trotting influence and was influential in Australasia through her son Spencer ( still present in numerous present day trotting pedigrees ) and daughter Esprit ( imported downunder ).
From Esprit descended Inter-Dominion champions of both gaits in Castleton's Pride and Sir Castleton ( trotting ) and Golden Reign (pacing ) whilst Spencer has a major role to play in Extasy being found in the pedigrees of the trotting influences Hoot Mon, Florican, Rodney, Spencer Scott and Emily Scott ( female ) to name but a few so all these presences can be looked for in the bloodlines of the new sires of today.
Pleasant Thoughts ( by Prodigal ) commenced her breeding career in much the same way as Petrex looking like she was going to establish a strong trotting bias.
She was the dam of World Champion trotting mare Nedda who trotted a mile in 1:581/4 in 1922, a time that was to stand for another 19 years.
It was however Nedda's daughters Meda ( 5th dam of World Champion racemare Handle With Care and 9th dam of the ultra fast Hurrikane Kingcole ) and Nedda Guy who went on to swing this branch of Extasy's family into full pacing mode with Nedda Guy in particular having a large influence through the impact of her two daughters in On Time and Olympia.
On Time had six offspring, one son Good Time ( found in many modern pedigrees of today ) and his 3/4 sister Adioo Time ( dam of Able Bye Bye ) whilst Good Time's four other full-sisters ( My Time, Next Time, Our Time and Your Time ) are much harder to find in modern day pedigrees.
John Bradley in his wonderful 1999 masterpiece "Modern Pacing Sire Lines" in his section on Good Time stated "Good Time's maternal family is known as Kathleen ( or Ethelwyn ) and is one which has shown extreme speed for decades".
No wonder breeders look for additional individual lines of Extasy to breed good horses like Blacks A Fake!
Good Time can be found in numerous pedigrees. Just to name a few relevant to our part of the world that may be found back a few generations in the broodmares of today are Best Of All, Boyden Hanover, Colombia George, Race Time, Butler BG, Chairmanoftheboard, Dragon's Lair and Miles McCool whilst it must not be forgotten that he can be found tucked behind influential broodmares as well the likes of Helen Hanover etc.
Olympia stakes her claim to fame as being the 4th dam of the bold front running free-legged pacer and wonderful outcross influence Big Towner ( who can be found in numerous pedigrees today including through a female double in a stallion as recent as Always B Miki ). Big Towner has a presence in older stallions the likes of Stature but is also present in a host of more contemporary stallions the likes of Art Major (and his sire sons ), Fear The Dragon, Stay
Hungry and others.
The third and final big producing daughter of Extasy is Ethel Volo ( by Binvolo ).
Ethel Volo only had three daughters.
Whilst one was largely of no consequence, Ethelinda was a Kentucky Futurity winner who left Hambletonian winner McLin Hanover ( later exported to Italy where he became a champion sire )but far greater things were to aspire from another of Ethel Volo's daughters in Mimzy.
Mimzy left two full-sisters in Pick Up and Follow Me, both by the relatively unheralded but well bred Follow Up.
Follow Up was 3x3 delta pattern bred to Peter The Great and descended maternally from the family of Minnehaha coming through the Madam Thompson branch of the famous "Thompson Sisters". As downunder breeders you will probably be more familiar with legendary broodmare Spinster coming from this family although Spinster does come through the other branch of the Thompson Sisters via Tillie Thompson.
It should therefore come as no surprise that Pick Up's progeny were pure pacers and Follow Me's progeny were pure trotters as we have seen this divergence with even Spinster's
progeny just as much as we have seen it with the family of Extasy.
Follow Me's daughter Stenographer was superior to the trotting colts of her time and became the first 3YO trotting filly to claim the North American Horse Of The Year title.
Stenographer left Keystone Selena ( by Hickory Pride ) who was to become USA 2YO Trotting Filly Of The Year ( claiming an amazing 21 juvenile wins ) and subsequently the granddam of the successful Australian trotting stallion Keystone Salute.
But it was Follow Me's full-sister Pick Up who was to provide a far wider impact in the pacing ranks through her Adios daughter Dottie's Pick.
Dottie's Pick was to have six foals; two sons in Armbro Hurricane and Eagle Armbro who were full-brothers by Tar Heel and both finding their way to New Zealand as sires. She also had four daughters in Armbro Fancy and Armbro Kerry ( full-sisters also by Tar Heel ) as well as Armbro Impel ( by Capetown ) and Armbro Lenore ( by Bye Bye Byrd ).
Of her four daughters, two in particular, Armbro Fancy and Armbro Impel should be familiar to Australian and New Zealand breeders as they feature in the pedigrees of two of the most dominant stallions of the last decade ( both North America and Australia and New Zealand ) and will continue to do so for decades to come through the exploits of their sons and grandsons as well as their broodmare daughters. We refer here to Bettor's Delight and Somebeachsomewhere.
Armbro Fancy is the granddam of Armbro Emerson, damsire of Bettor's Delight, who has been acclaimed as the most likely source of speed in Bettor's Delight's progeny but we will also acknowledge here that Bettor's Delight's dam Classic Wish was also a source of high speed. Did she acquire her speed from her sire Armbro Emerson?
Armbro Impel features as the dam of Armbro Nesbit who presides in the maternal bloodlines of Somebeachsomewhere behind the latter's damsire Beach Towel. In fact, Armbro Nesbit is Beach Towel's damsire.
What is of interest here is that when we look at the full 7-generational pedigrees of both Bettor's Delight and Somebeachsomewhere we find that Bettor's Delight possesses three individual strains of Extasy via son Prince McKinney ( Raider ) and daughters Pleasant Thoughts ( Good Time ) and Ethel Volo ( Armbro Emerson ) whilst Somebeachsomewhere goes one better with four individual lines of Extasy.
These come via son Prince McKinney ( via Raider as present in Dale Frost ) and daughters Pleasant Thoughts ( via Good Time in Most Happy Fella ), Ethel Volo ( via Armbro Nesbit in Beach Towel ), and the one Bettor's Delight hasn't got in Petrex ( via Spencer who can be found as the sire of Averill, damsire of Steady Star ).
Moving forward, these Extasy presences will mean it is going to be a good deal more difficult to find a new individual line of Extasy in a mare for the sons and grandsons of Somebeachsomewhere than it is for the sons and grandsons of Bettor's Delight where there is marginally more wriggle room.
With these useful guidelines time for you to to build your own Blacks A Fake.
The economic environment of the 1980's was best described by author Stephen Stratford in his book The Dirty Decade as "New Zealand's adolescence, full of cringe-making behaviour, styles and attitudes, but a necessary part of our development as a nation".
In particular, the period 1982 through to 1987 was a time of excess and indulgence. The sharemarket soared and the champagne flowed.
Even I can vouch for this personally as it corresponded with my own time working in Wellington for a multi-national oil giant where going out to lunch more than once a week frequently morphed into staying for dinner as well to be followed by an unwanted scramble to Wellington Railway Station to catch the last train to Upper Hutt at 11.00pm.
They were times when lavish restaurants also became extended business workplaces.
If you were in the corporate world then borrowing money went seemingly unabated, paper worth was colossal amongst the many corporate high flyers and fashion events like the Yearling Sales became magnets as prices rocketed through the roof with a flurry of new entrants as new Stud Farms sprung up and ownership syndications flourished.
One man who was to first hand experience this new found frenzied environment, described by Stratford as being a backlash to the policies of the Muldoon government ( "Muldoon supressed us for so long that when freedom came we, or at least lots of us, exploded in craziness and bad behaviour" ), was David W Phillips.
A brother to accountant Steve Phillips, a co-founder of the Amateur Drivers movement along with his wife Anne ( who also devoted her time to the Northern Branch of the Cadet training scheme and a direct descendant of the famous Grice family of Seaview near Ashburton ), it is fair to say Dave Phillips had an introduction into the world of Standardbreds that also included a bit of pedigree already in the Industry.
Once acclaimed as New Zealand's "most eligible bachelor" amongst the leaders of the corporate high flyers when he was at the helm of both Pacer Pacific Corporation and Pacer Kerridge Corporation, he also found time to establish firstly Redvale Standardbreds ( mainly a Syndication vehicle ) and then National Bloodstock Corporation and it is through these two businesses that he first came to prominence as a significant participant in the Standardbred Industry.
National Bloodstock became an importer of North American stallions and quickly became a serious competitor to the highly established Nevele R Stud ( owned and operated by equally fierce competitors in Wayne Francis and Bob McArdle ) so much so that when Dave attended a Nevele R broodmare sale Wayne had Dave arrested and removed from the property. No love lost here right from the outset and it continued at a later date at the NZ Breeders Broodmare Of The Year Awards in Auckland where Patric O'Brien ( a former Studmaster at Nevele R and then working for Dave at National Bloodstock ) tried to arrange for Bob McArdle to have a drink with Dave. Whilst Dave agreed to this, Bob McArdle point blank refused.
So just like in the corporate world there was no love lost in the face of stiff competition.
From the outset of the establishment of National Bloodstock, Dave Phillips was destined to do things his way and on his terms, something that was to lead to division amongst breeders either loving him or loathing him and a determinant that would ultimately restrict breeding numbers to a great number of his stallion's including the highly effective Soky's Atom.
Just like in the corporate boardroom, Dave Phillips was establishing a reputation in the Standardbred breeding industry as a hard dealer or at the very least a difficult dealer.
When importing stallions from North America you do take a huge gamble as invariably the best are retained locally and we can often end up with the offcasts, good on blood but often poor on performance. And then there is the further worry over "will they work" across our existing broodmare genepool?
Amongst the many stallions that National Bloodstock imported into New Zealand were the failures, for one reason or another, such as Jiffy Boy, Jive Talk II, Apollo's Way and Rashad but equally where there are failures there are also successes with the likes of Soky's Atom, New York Motoring, Butler BG, Chiola Hanover and perhaps even the under-rated and moderately successful Devil's Adversary.
The likes of Soky's Atom and Chiola Hanover could be argued as having a defining impact on the advance of the New Zealand standardbred as a breed.
Through this period Dave was so immersed in Standardbred genetics and pedigrees that all 32 of his National Bloodstock broodmare band fitted into either his "A" grade team of mares, "B" grade team or his "G" grade team of mares.
When Studmaster Patric O'Brien asked Dave where the C,D,E and F grades were located he was replied to "G is for Genetics".
From a pool of 32 mares "with no breeding at all" and "certainly zero commercially" Patric mentioned that Dave worked on his theories and crosses with them to produce " a lot of good horses". Breeding for type and genetic characteristics was always important to Dave and was a major part of his success. Tight Connection, Desperate Comment and Spirit Of Zeus were three that he was extremely proud of when they were only a few days old.
I can also personally endorse these comments and sentiments of Patric O'Brien as from memory in April 2009 I think it was, I had the privilege of having a meeting with Dave at his Heartland Farm property in Pokeno and one of the things he did was take me around every one of his mares ( most with foals at foot and back in foal ) telling me what each foal was by and why he had bred the mare to the stallion and pointing out the pleasing outcomes he had achieved with each foal vindicating his initial decisions. This was Dave the perfectionist at work.
But it was not wholly about North America with his stallion choices.
The brilliant juvenile Tuapeka Knight was acquired by National Bloodstock for NZ$1 Million as a future stallion prospect but ongoing fertility issues thwarted what promised to be a stellar stallion career whilst a subsequent wave of North American stallions included Sands A Flyin and Road Machine.
National Bloodstock also imported quality mares the likes of Becalm Lobell ( granddam of I Can Doosit ), Tabella Bindy ( dam of Desperate Comment ) and perhaps the best and most influential of all on the New Zealand breed in Tabella Beth ( ancestress of Lazarus ).
The latter is now well-established as New Zealand's premier pacing Commercial maternal family.
When Dave bred Tabella Beth in 1979 she was to become one of his first horses syndicated for racing from one of the first Redvale Standardbred Syndicates that he had established prior to the founding of National Bloodstock a short time later.
And it was during her three year old season that she was to realise her trademark high sustained speed under the training care of John Butcher winning four of her last seven starts three year old starts and subsequently being sold to a USA buyer for NZ$100,000.
But Dave;s affinity with this mare was such that he was always destined to buy her back for breeding once her North American racedays were complete and so it eventuated.
With the Stock market having been on an unchecked bull run for five years from 1982 through to the latter part of 1987 and the digital world rapidly advancing and providing fingertip financial transparency, change was about to implode the economy world wide and on Black Monday 19 October 1987 all hell was to break loose, the American Stock Exchange falling over 20% in a single day.
Companies, many high flying household names, collapsed right left and centre and many businesses were to become casualties seemingly over night including National Bloodstock.
I recall some years later Geoff Small who worked at National Bloodstock at the time ( along with Aria, his wife to be, and also Peter Davis, Geoff's boss at the time ) telling me how under the cover of darkness he had to quickly move the nine horses he was training and had based at the premises, out to the sanctuary of Charlie Hadley's Pukeoware farm including horses such as Motoring Magic.
Not only did this market crash spell the end of National Bloodstock, it was to bring the curtain down on widespread syndications and also spelt the end for David Phillips as a corporate high flyer just as it did for a great deal of other "household names" in the corporate world, many of whom subsequently found themselves having to face court proceedings like David.
Life was to change for Dave as he regrouped to Heartland Farm with a smaller band of mares which he had retained and the stallions redeployed in other directions.
And some of this change I was to experience albeit from a distance.
Through my time working at Linden Park Stud in 2002 and 2003 for Graham Bell who had purchased the stallion's Sands A Flyin and Road Machine from Dave and played host to Dave's mares during breeding season ( part of the Sale conditions for these stallion's was that Dave had ongoing breeding entitlements to them ) I was able to see the tougher business side of Dave when it came to routine monthly financial settlement of his account, one meeting at the Stud resulting in Graham rejoining us for the day's work with tears rolling down his eyes and it took a lot for my old Tuakau Terrabulls Golden Oldies rugby buddy to show that level of emotion.
Resolution was not obviously attained at that meeting.
Through the period when I worked as part of the ground staff team at Geoff Small Racing Stables in his halcyon years of 2005-2008 I got to observe another side of Dave which exemplified his passion for his animals and the healing and medicinal applications of various plants and herbs. This was Dave the scientist and botanist. Often he would rock up to the stables with great bunches of willow tree leaves and other medicinal plants which he would toss into the boxes of his two racehorses Geoff was training for him, High Flyin and Mr Chin.
In April 2009 as part of my NZ Agency arrangement with one of the stallion farms I then worked for, I was to have a much closer personal encounter with Dave.
This involved a scheduled two hour mid-afternoon meeting with him at his Heartland Farm property. The two hour meeting extended to a four and a half hour visit and saw me departing in unplanned darkness.
As I drove up his long driveway I could not help but being "taken" with the little white signs prevailing saying that "Every living insect/animal deserves a life." Dave obviously also had a spiritual and philosophical side, that was in evidence.
As I sat upstairs at the balcony table outside the Attic entrance which he inhabited, he offered me a schooner of his home grown water fresh from the natural spring at Heartland along with one for himself adding the reassuring comment to our discussions that "I've been drinking this water for 20 years and it hasn't killed me yet" in glowing testimony to how good and pure it was including going into it's chemical test results.
Perhaps I treated some of his scientific discussions a little lightly as I was in deep concentration mentally telling myself not to slap and kill the mosquito that was free-feasting on the blood in my forearm.
Today, as you drive past Heartland Farm on Highway 2 there is a sign advertising that this water can be purchased. Marketing always wins out in the end.
This was a side of Dave which I was over the years becoming more familiar with, peaking one day when I picked up a copy of The New Zealand Herald and on the front page a half-page photo of a teepee village set up by alternative lifestylers in one of the paddocks at Heartland Farm.
By this time the entrepreneurial skills of David Phillips had led him to pursuing a Commercial life in St Petersburg in Russia, a port city on the Baltic Sea. Founded in 1703, appropriately by Peter The Great, St Petersburg was the Imperial capital of Russia for two centuries before becoming Petrograd in 1914 and Leningrad in 1924-91 but with the collapse of Communism Leningrad's name was returned to St Petersburg with the assistance of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is also Russia's cultural centre with a population in excess of 5 million.
Rather fittingly, the statue of "The Bronze Horseman" ( aka Peter The Great ) stands proudly even today in the Senate Square in St Petersburg.
Each year Dave endeavours to return to New Zealand to take in a few months of our peak New Zealand summer ( in reality escaping the harsh Russian winter where -20 degrees is often the norm as the outside temperature in St Petersburg ) coinciding with the annual February Yearling Sales.
It was during one of these annual pilgrimages in more recent times ( when I was NZ Agent for the stallions of the NSW based Pepper Tree Farm such as Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe, Sportswriter,Always A Virgin and Aces N Sevens ) that Dave presented me with a beautiful and very professional ring binder dossier detailing each of his mares and the stallion's that he identified as being most compatible for each mare including some "outside" stallion's as well.
Each selection came with his personal justifications identifying the strength of each mating.
The aim was to put a package deal together for maximum cost benefit not only in terms of Stud Fees but also some ancillary costs. While a deal was not concluded, I was so impressed with the depths of Dave's work that I have retained this dossier to the present day.
One could write a book about David Phillips impact on the Standardbred breeding world in New Zealand and with experience he was not short of an opinion on something.
Just like stallion selection, sometimes you get it right and sometimes you can get it wrong.
One memorable one that was widely quoted at the time was when the first of the Direct Scooter invasion of stallions occurred in the 90's through the likes of In The Pocket, OK Bye, Deal Direct, Direct Flight, WRH and company in New Zealand and Stoneridge Scooter, Yankee Sensation and company in Australia.
Dave was on record as saying that Direct Scooter blood would not work with the saturation of Meadow Skipper-line mares that presided in New Zealand at that time.
But work with it, it did, and with resounding results, so much so that just about every horse bred carrying a 4x4 or 4x5 reverse-sex cross to Meadow Skipper ( as a result of a mating with In The Pocket ) was like a licence to print money.
One can only admire the courage of Dave Phillips here in coming clean and admitting publicly that he did get that one wrong proving that none of us are infallible in life's forecasts and predictions including other former great and memorable names that the name David W Phillips sits firmly alongside in shaping New Zealand's Standardbred past, present and future.
We salute you, Dave..
This post has been prompted by a recent request from one of Premier Pedigrees loyal Victorian based clients requesting information on stallions that have a good connection with Spinster both past and present.
On the surface of it all we would have thought this would have been a very easy question to respond to but having googled for information on this highly influential mare we were surprised at just how little information was at our fingertips to readily reply.
So we have had to gather it through our own hard graft and the valued assistance of our Tesiopower programme.
We thought our resultant findings were worth sharing with fellow breeders as well as our other followers.
The easiest way to have gathered this information was by going into www.classicfamilies.net .
This was available on a compact disk ( some of you may still have one ) and was the brainchild of John Peck ( long time Editor of the Harness Racing International magazine ) along with another chap from WA who's name currently eludes me for now.
A website was developed for Classic Families but somewhere along the line it changed hands and now one cannot get access to it ( comes up with an Error 304 message ) like it's been abandoned.
One can only imagine the constant need to update it became uneconomic and it appears to have disappeared into thin air in much the same way as Gordon Campbell's huge privately owned Computabred database disappeared into oblivion when he and his wife retired to the northern Central Coast.
Spinster is without doubt the most influential mare in the Standardbred Stud Book.
She is the Standardbred equivalent of Selene in the Thoroughbred Stud Book.
The following is not an in-depth look at the influence of Spinster on the Standardbred as a breed but rather one that summarises the various branches of her Family with specific mention of her sons and daughters and her daughters descendants as they have impacted the breed downunder ( both Australia and New Zealand ) with familiar names ( male and female ) both past and present.
Spinster derives her maternal descent from the matriarch Minnehaha ( Family 1111 in the Australian Ian Daff's famous Black Book ) or Family U2 under it's equivalent North American classification.
Minnehaha's daughter Eva gave rise to two famous branches of the family through her daughters who are better known as the "Thompson sisters", Tillie Thompson and Madam Thompson. They were full-sisters, both being by Guy Wilkes.
Of these two, Spinster is a great granddaughter of Tillie Thompson via The Miss Stokes and Minnetonka.
Spinster had four siblings; Emily Stokes ( Spencer ), Minnie Scott ( Scotland ), Pronto ( Protector ) and Tilly Tonka ( Spencer ), all females with Emily Stokes and Tilly Tonka being full-sisters to Spinster.
Spinster had the following live foals.
1936 ( filly ) Mystery Child
1937 ( male ) Light Brigade
1941 ( filly ) Rose Day
1942 ( filly ) Lady Scotland
1945 ( filly ) The Old Maid
1950 ( filly ) Vixen
1951 ( male ) Thunder On
Of the above, there were two in particular that extended the Spinster dynasty, those being The Old Maid and Lady Scotland with Vixen having a far less effect.
By going through the progeny of these three daughters of Spinster we may be able to identify the lines of influence they have created and some of the more recognised past males and females that belong to the Spinster dynasty.
1958 filly Sunorama
1961 filly Time Wave
1965 filly Perfect Shadow
Of these, only Time Wave was a significant producer leaving Tudor Hanover ( a sire ), Tyros Hanover, Tarpeia Hanover, Timona Hanover ( Armbro Nashville ), Tissa Hanover and Tika Hanover ( dam of Tika Belle, dam of Shady Daisy and Shady Katie ( dam of Shady Character )).
1943 Lady Scotland:
1953 filly Breath O Spring - dam of Charming Time, Race Time, Storm Damage and Touch Of Spring ( dam of Spring Romp, Warm Breeze and Toria Hanover ( dam of Telemon Hanover )).
1956 male Hodgen's Surprise
1957 filly Hodge Podge - dam of Prelude Lobell ( the dam of Pammy Lobell who left It's Levity, Paulsboro, Present Laughter and Easy To Love who's daughter One More Kiss is the dam of Pacific Fella).
1959 male Harold J
1960 male Calcaneus
1962 filly Tar Lady - dam of Ballerina, Tamara Almahurst, Tricia Almahurst, Tullamore and Tanya Almahurst ( dam of Rashad ).
1966 male Prince Butler
1967 male Wonder Colt
1945 The Old Maid:
1950 filly Terka Hanover - dam of Gamecock, Tempest Hanover, Tarbel Hanover ( dam of Tiger Lily Lobell ( dam of Clever Innocence ) and also found in the direct maternal line of Tyler's Best )
1951 filly Spinster Hanover - dam of Pompanette who had La Pomme Souffle ( dam of French Chef, Plat Du Jour, Peach Melba ( dam of Kentucky Spur ) and French Dressing ( who had Sami Cam ( dam of Sutter Hanover ) ).
1953 male Bachelor Hanover
1955 male Thorpe Hanover
1957 male Dancer Hanover
1958 filly Truly Rainbow - dam of Truala Rainbow ( dam of Rectory ) and Tual Rainbow ( dam of Man Around Town )
1959 filly Timely Rainbow - dam of Rosie Sampson ( dam of Mister Hillas ) and Byrdlesk ( dam of Frugal Gourmet ) as well as Sonny Silver.
1960 filly Tootsie Rainbow - dam of Toliver Hanover and Tona Hanover ( granddam of Lifes Not Fair and Major In Art ).
1961 male Torpedo Hanover
1963 filly Truly Hanover
1965 filly Theo Hanover - dam of Banksia who's family is now extinct in New Zealand and Eucalyptus who's family live on in Australia still today.
Looking at the stallion's available today, both Major In Art and Sutter Hanover are tail female to Tillie Thompson ( Spinster's branch ) whilst the newer stallions Poster Boy and Yankee Rockstar are tail female to Madam Thompson ( the full-sister to Tillie Thompson ).
Whilst all four of these stallion's are accessible to Australian breeders only the promising new young sire Poster Boy is available to New Zealand breeders.
A very respected Southland breeder the late Alec McDonald who bred the likes of Lento and Whanau was a huge Spinster fan and liked to use wherever possible over his mares stallions well-endowed in lines of Spinster.
In more recent times a stallion that he frequently used was Grinfromeartoear because he carried the two sons of Spinster's daughter Breath O Spring ( Race Time and Storm Damage ) up close in his pedigree which he liked.
And a favourite breeding practice was putting Falcon Seelster mares to Grinfromeartoear as the former held the presence of Touch Of Spring, a female sibling of both Race Time and Storm Damage and thus offering highly desirable sex-balancing to Breath O Spring. Any other stallion carrying Warm Breeze e.g. Shadow Play, could offer likewise.
How many Queensland breeders utilised the services of Cammibest to offset his two close-up male lines of Harold J with a female balancing line emulating the same situation with Grinfromeartoear?
Premier Pedigrees was born out of Ken Mackay's passion for horse pedigrees to offer a very affordable pedigree matching service and valuable recommendations to new and existing Australian and New Zealand clients for both thoroughbred and standardbred mares.