It is extremely gratifying when one can witness a horse, in this case a mare, progress from humble beginnings to becoming the biggest act on the World Stage, of going from "ordinary" to "extraordinary" and perhaps defying her modest breeding.
But Shartin's breeder Grant Crabbe would challenge some of this saying as a young foal she was never "ordinary" but "special" and that her breeding was precisely targeted to the point of being cleverly constructed.
We will have a look at Shartin's pedigree a little later in this article but firstly a rundown on her life beginnings and racetrack accomplishments.
Bred in Canterbury in 2013, the result of a mating between Tintin In America and the Live Or Die mare Bagdarin, it was not until Shartin went to the breakers that it was becoming obvious to Grant that she was deserving of the "special" tag.
After winning a trial at Ashburton, Shartin was never to line up at a New Zealand race meeting, being sold to Australian interests off the back of her winning trial.
She had just the 13 starts in Australia during 2017, her three year old season, winning 7 of these including the Tasmanian Oaks ( Gr3 ) and the Queensland Oaks ( Gr2 ) as well as running 2nd in both the Queensland Derby ( Gr2 ) and the Provincial Oaks ( Listed ) and bankrolling $105,718 all in a little over 7 months.
It was however her win at Melton defeating Victorian Horse Of The Year Jilliby Kung Fu ( 1:48.4, $529,710 and now a sire ) after sitting parked out and winning in a class record 1:52.5 mile rate for the 1720 metre journey that caught the attention of Standardbred bloodstock agent John Curtin, always on the lookout for a suitable horse to handle North American racing for one of his North American buyers.
With the deal done, Shartin was on her way to the home of harness racing, the United States, where principal new owner Richard Poillucci of South Easton, Massachusetts, would also bring in firstly JoAnn Looney King of Delaware and a little later top driver Tim Tetrick, also from Delaware, into the racing ownership of Shartin.
And what a ride they were all about to experience.
Poillucci was the first to admit that when she first came into the barn of trainer Jim King Jnr, Shartin was not a well-mannered mare but through the tutelage of her trainer and the patience of her driver ( Tetrick ) along with the constant work and attention of JoAnn King they turned her into the World Champion that she became.
In 2018, Shartin captivated North American harness racing fans winning 19 of her 24 race starts, earning $1,053,236, and almost completing a clean sweep of the major races for mares that year.
This earned her the title of Dan Patch Pacer of the Year, her earnings for the season setting a record for the highest ever total by a pacing mare.
As if this wasn't enough, 2019 was to get even better for her racetrack resume. In August of that year at The Meadowlands in the Lady Liberty, Shartin was on a pedestal the winning the race in 1:46.4, eclipsing the old record by 0.6 seconds and also becoming the fastest Standardbred ever to be bred in New Zealand.
By the end of 2019 the Shartin juggernaut had won another 15 of her 19 starts for season earnings of $982,177, a season's high for her gait and sex.
This culminated in her being named 2019 Dan Patch Harness Horse Of The Year, becoming only the 5th female pacer and the first horse bred outside of North America to win this award.
To give you some idea of the exalted competition she was up against, this included champion 3 year olds Bettor's Wish 1:47.3 $2,781,240 and Warrawee Ubeaut 1:48.3 $1,948,175, the top FFA and joint world recordholder Lather Up 1:46.0 $1,917,935 as well as McWicked 1:46.2 $5,103,271 and world record holders and leading trotters Manchego 1:49.0 $2,857,315 and Atlanta 1:49.1 $2,859,610.
In her final truncated season in 2020, Shartin was to win another 5 races including both the Lady Liberty and the Artiscape for the third time each whilst also winning the Clara Barton for the second time.
With quarter cracks appearing in her feet it was time to look after the mare in another way with the curtain drawn on her racing career, retiring as the winner of 46 races from her 68 starts and the equivalent of NZ$3,745,946 in lifetime earnings.
As her North American owners were not really breeders it was time once again for New Zealand based Standardbred bloodstock agent John Curtin to once again step in and broker another deal this time finding a new owner to share in her breeding barn exploits, this being Ola Yoder of Kountry Lane Standardbreds based in Indiana.
Already it has been signalled that Shartin has her first date in 2021 with Captaintreacherous to be followed in 2022 by a date with Lazarus. Truly cases here of putting the best to the best and hoping for the best.
Shartin is a product of a family belonging to Ashmorven Farm in Canterbury set up by Bruce Francis's parents and continued by Bruce. It is a family beginning with the U Scott mare Chenault, born in 1955. Shartin's branch is arguably the best descending through Chenault's daughter Bravine ( by Bachelor Hanover ) a very good 8 win mare who teetered on the edge of Cup class. The female line continues through Bravine's daughter Kiatina ( by Fallacy ), a 5 race winner and a 3/4 sister in blood to Locarno. Those of us watching harness racing through the 70's will remember the blistering high speed Locarno frequently demonstrated in his highly successful 18 win $181,915 career as one of this family's leading performers along with the likes of Italian Delight 1:50.2, Donegal Delight ( North Island Breeders Stakes ), Im Bella Jay ( WA Wesbred 2YO Classic ) and Kanturk ( NZ Celebrity Stakes ).
Kiatina then produced Kinsale ( by Noodlum ) who qualified but went unraced. A mating of Kinsale with Ashmorven Stud's resident stallion Save Fuel produced Slatina, the winner of 5 races with a personal best of 1:57.9.
It was from Slatina's mating with Live Or Die that we saw Bagdarin's appearance in the world with the latter going on to produce Shartin.
If nothing else, this was a family that frequently produced high top end speed with the correct matings. Throughout it's development we have seen examples of this.
Having painted the background picture, it is now time for an analysis of the pedigree of Shartin and identify where and what we think may have contributed to her arsenal of talents as a racehorse.
What we do know is that Shartin had superior speed and stamina qualities all rolled up into one body.
So it would be good to identify the possible sources of these two great qualities from the presences within her pedigree page.
The first thing that stands out is that every one of her parents and grandparents close-up in her pedigree was a sub 2.00 minute performer.
From her parents Tintin In America 1:53.2 and Bagdarin 1:57.7TT, through to grandparents McArdle 1:49.0, Zenterfold 1:56.6, Live Or Die 1:51.8 and Slatina 1"57.9TT, the first foundations are laid for speed inheritance.
Shartin is a product of sensible linebreeding at 5x6x4 favourably sex-balanced to Bret Hanover ( his great attributes being a tenacious winning desire and a great heart ) with Tintin In America providing the key female balancing line via Margie's Melody's presence in his sire McArdle.
This is ably supported by strong sex-balanced linebreeding to Most Happy Fella ( stamina and toughness being his overwhelming attributes ) at 5x5x6x6. And what is particularly interesting here is that Shartin's pedigree not only combines two male and two female strains but the two female strains just happen to be Most Happy Fella's two best racetrack daughters in Happy Sharon ( his best daughter found in McArdle ) and the high speed Silk Stockings ( present in Live Or Die ). It is relatively rare to see these two great daughters of Most Happy Fella combining in a single pedigree. Are they a key influence in Shartin's greatness?. Or are they just part of it?
We have always said where you have heavy under-pinning of Meadow Skipper in a pedigree, present here at 7x7x6x6x6x7x6x7x5 and in favourable sex-balance, then so too should you have balanced lines of his two best sons for best results since they provide complementary attributes.
Albatross, in contrast to Most Happy Fella, is all about speed and good gait.
So we go looking for balanced lines of Albatross within Shartin's pedigree chart.
And do we find them? Yes, we do but only just. There is just the single duplication of Albatross in Shartin at 6x5 but fortunately for her it is favourably sex-balanced through son Niatross ( again via McArdle ) and daughter Makin Smiles ( in Live Or Die ), rather intriguingly in the same two forebears as the top two daughters of Most Happy Fella were found in.
Finally, and before we leave the pedigree make up of Shartin, it would be remiss not to mention some intricate linebreeding, again in favourable sex-balance, that is taking place in the maternal depths of Shartin's pedigree where she carries a 6x7 sex-balance to Bachelor Hanover ( via Noodlum and Bravine ) as well as a 7x6 sex-balance to Light Brigade.
The 6x7 sex-balance to Bachelor Hanover also meshes with the female line of Bachelor Hanover ( via Zenover ) in Tintin In America, both Tintin In America and Bagdarin carrying Bachelor Hanover as their 4th damsire.
And who is the common denominator here? None other than that grand old highly influential matriarch, Spinster, still weaving her magic all these years later.
And in Shartin she weaves a complex jigsaw with at least 8 presences through son Light Brigade ( twice ), grandsons Bachelor Hanover ( 3 times ) and Dancer Hanover ( once )via daughter The Old Maid, as well as through great grandson and great grand-daughter Race Time and Touch Of Spring ( full-brother and sister ) via another daughter in Lady Scotland ( twice).
The above sees 6 strains of Spinster coming via Bagdarin and 2 strains from Tintin In America resulting in even the great old matriarch herself being sex-balanced in Shartin's pedigree and providing a significant influence running through Shartin's veins.
We will follow the proposed matings of Shartin with Captaintreacherous and Lazarus with keen interest and pray they may result in offspring that can be at least somewhere near as good as their legendary mother out on the racetracks of North America.
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