It has been a long time since Australasia has had a standardbred stallion exert such prepotent dominance as that recorded by Bettor's Delight.
He has been a true revelation for those breeders subscribing to the breeding theory of "Breed to the best and hope for the best" simply because "Bettor's" did not leave many duds.
They say "timing is everything" and Bettor's Delight came along at the right time to march the "downunder" standardbred to a new level.
Detractors would say that this has occurred too quickly to the point that it has suddenly "narrowed the genepool".
We at Premier Pedigrees are not in agreement with this view. Rather we look it as a time of sudden in the quality of bloodlines going into our genepool.
Just a few decades ago "colonial bloodlines" prevailed with a mix of imported Adios blood ( particularly in Australia ) and in New Zealand we saw Meadow Skipper particularly through his complementary sons Albatross and Most Happy Fella making their mark on the previously largely "home grown" product.
The outcross influence of Direct Scooter through his sons such as Deal Direct, Direct Flight, OK Bye, WRH and In The Pocket in New Zealand as well as the likes of Stoneridge Scooter and Yankee Sensation in Australia came next and was to take the breed to the next step particularly through gait refinement which then facilitated higher levels of speed, an impact experienced on both sides of the Tasman.
All of this then played right into the hands of new stallion arrival Bettor's Delight.
He had the right genetic cocktail flowing through his veins to offer huge compatibility with the broodmares of the time.
He was bred on a 6x6 reverse-sex cross to Adios ( a speed upgrader in his own right pre Meadow Skipper ) so he had an invaluable breeding core as well as an "engine room" ( on display on the racetrack as well in his many great battles with his mighty foe, Real Desire ).
This would ensure he would be highly receptive to mares' with a strong Adios influence of which there were perhaps more in Australia than New Zealand.
At this time New Zealand had a plethora of Meadow Skipper-line mares mostly coming though either Albatross or Most Happy Fella. The Albatross over Most Happy Fella, or vice versa, breeding cross also abounded.
These proved a godsend for Bettor's Delight as his pedigree held exactly that which most of these mares lacked and in the firm view of Premier Pedigrees one of the key reasons for his success with New Zealand mares in particular.
Bettor's Delight possessed balanced lines of both Albatross ( speed and gait ) and Most Happy Fella ( stamina and toughness ). This meant he could immediately supply these mares with a sex-balancing line of either Albatross or Most Happy Fella so that their potential gene inheritance could be "triggered" in their resultant foals. Hardly any other stallion at the time could offer this thus giving Bettor's Delight a decisive "competitive edge" genetically.
It also meant that he had the means of instantly upgrading colonial bloodlines with an infusion of Meadow Skipper in the best possible manner through injecting sex-balanced lines of his two best sons in Albatross and Most Happy Fella with their complementary traits and attributes.
You may well ask then, "Why did Bettor's Delight develop a golden cross with firstly the blood of In The Pocket and then Christian Cullen when they were largely outcrossed bloodlines?" Was it the benefits of hybrid vigour shining through or was it something else at play?
In our constant perusal of pedigrees sometimes it pays to dig a little deeper than 7-generations to find a common denominator that may be at play.
And the one we find is perhaps one of Bettor's Delight's other great secrets, this one a little further "back in genes".
In The Pocket is a son and Christian Cullen a grandson of Direct Scooter meaning Direct Scooter is the common denominator.
So we search his pedigree make-up and compare it with the pedigree fabric of Bettor's Delight to see if we can find another common denominator that could lay reason to a possible genetic affinity.
And do we find one? Yes we do. His name is Volomite.
Peter The Great has 12 occurrences within Direct Scooter's 8-generational pedigree chart, easily the most by a single ancestor.
Direct Scooter is bred on a 5x5 reverse-sex cross to Peter Volo ( a son of Peter The Great ) thus the latter being at the very heart of his breeding core and "engine room".
Direct Scooter is also 4x5 paternally linebred to Peter Volo.
Both of these Peter Volo presences are through his son Volomite hence making Direct Scooter also 3x4 paternally linebred to Volomite with his damsire Noble Victory also being paternally linebred to Volomite at 2x4.
Because of Volomite being present in Direct Scooter relatively close-up at 3x4x6, on linebreeding weighting factors ( more points are allotted the closer-up the presences occur generationally without being incestuous ), Volomite incurs the highest weighting percentage at 5.08%.
How then do we relate this to Bettor's Delight's 8-generational pedigree?
We hope Bettor's Delight displays a strong proportion of this Peter The Great-Peter Volo-Volomite presence as well.
And yes, we do find what we are looking for.
These are led by Abbedale 19 presences, Hal Dale 16 presences, Billy Direct 14 presences then both Volomite and Peter Volo with 12 presences each and Peter The Great with 4 presences.
Better still, as an additional genetic connector between Direct Scooter and Bettor's Delight, the latter holds in his 8-generational pedigree the presence of revered mare Volga E who is a full-sibling to Peter Volo ( both Peter The Great - Nervolo Belle ).
Where is all this heading then?
We are trying to put up a case for what bloodlines Bettor's Delight has reached an affinity with as a stallion and if these might work for his daughters in their future matings. Reverse therapy if you like.
Obviously, daughters of Bettor's Delight cannot go to sons of Bettor's Delight such as Lazarus or even grandsons such as Lather Up which leads any standardbred breeder having to look at sons or grandsons or now even great grandsons of the Western Hanover, Artsplace, Direct Scooter or perhaps even Cam Fella ( his own sireline ) as the dominant sirelines or else the more scattered less Commercial sirelines the likes of Dragon's Lair with a stallion like Fear The Dragon.
Truth is that Bettor's Delight has demonstrated his own versatility over a wide range of sirelines and "produced the goods" and this may very well prove a similar case with his broodmare daughters showing wide range versatility with a number of sirelines and sires.
Whichever way you might already have headed or are contemplating heading, one thing is for sure, there is no template or magic "golden cross" in play as yet.
No doubt breeders will be keeping a very close eye on North American "Crosses of Gold" just as they will in Australia and New Zealand for the next outstanding performer out of a Bettor's Delight mare.
The Studs are quick to come out in their advertising with crosses that are working for their stallion's with Bettor's Delight mares, for example, Rock N Roll Heaven has produced Let It Ride out of a Bettor's Delight mare and Heaven Rocks was produced from a Cam Fella-line mare etc but really the truth is the dust has yet to settle on a golden cross this way around.
Another practice has been to reverse-sex to Cam Fella ( utilising both a breeding core and a potential "engine room" ) which can be done with stallion's carrying Cam Fella in their damsire line as do the likes of Somebeachsomewhere, Rock N Roll Heaven and even Sir Lincoln.
Those breeders seeking a little value or breeding to race could also look at reverse-sexing opportunities to Cam's Card Shark ( a big influence on Bettor's Delight's own mojo ) via the likes of A Rocknroll Dance or Heston Blue Chip.
At Premier Pedigrees we are going to go out on a limb with another decision to breeders of Bettor's Delight mares and it is for part of the reason why we spent so much time in this article on Direct Scooter's genetic linkages with the blood of Bettor's Delight.
We are all well aware of In The Pocket's affinity with Bettor's Delight particularly in New Zealand at one time being New Zealand's "golden cross" but also working in North America to produce million dollar earner Dream Out Loud.
Well, we are going to endeavour to go one better by saying breeders possessing mares by Bettor's Delight should ensure that they have the presence of Matt's Scooter fitting somewhere in the bloodlines of the chosen consort for their mare. Our reasons for this are twofold.
Firstly, Matt's Scooter was Direct Scooter's best performed racetrack son, easily eclipsing the deeds of In The Pocket and also eclipsing him as a sire in North America.
As a racehorse Matt's Scooter sustained high speed, could run within himself, and possessed an extreme reaching stride which was best suited to top gear. He passed these qualities on to his top juvenile colts and fillies who inherited his own sustained speed.
Our second reason for the inclusion of Matt's Scooter is simply genetic but one where we see Matt's Scooter holding a huge edge over In The Pocket.
Matt's Scooter is tail female to Aida. So too is Bettor's Delight. In other words they descend from the same maternal family hence breeders should be taking the opportunity to compound this same blood but not in a way which sees either inbreeding or incest.
The following is a brief listing of stallion's either carrying the presence of Matt's Scooter in their paternal or maternal pedigrees;
Captaintreacherous American Ideal
Captain Crunch Fear The Dragon
Downbytheseaside Net Ten Eom
This may be a restricted bunch but it sure packs some quality and you may be feeling a little smug if you already have young stock on the ground by one of these sires' from your Bettor's Delight mare or if you currently have your "Bettor's" mare currently in foal to one of these stallions.
But there is also a little value to be found in the above listings for those planning to "breed to race" or with a non-Commercial "Bettor's" mare.
I can recall having a lengthy telephone conversation with Empire Stallions principal David James two to three years ago now with David preaching to me back then how Captaintreacherous was going to become Bettor's Delight's obvious successor.
With just 60 Captaintreacherous bookings allotted to New Zealand breeders, I wonder just how many of these have been snapped up by breeders with Commercial Bettor's Delight mares and of those missing out how many have been accommodated by David James other stallion's with a Matt's Scooter presence the likes of Stay Hungry and Somebeachsomewhere.
One thing is for sure, there may be more than one reason why Captaintreacherous over a Bettor's Delight mare becomes the next "golden cross" and we may just have pinpointed one of the key genetic contributing factors as above.
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.