In the modern history of the Melbourne Cup first it was Vintage Crop ( 1993 ) and then Media Puzzle ( 2002 ) that aroused the interest of leviathan Australian owners and trainers to the European staying horse.
Ever since Makybe Diva's famous treble in this race 2003,2004 and 2005 the race has been largely at the mercy of European shuttlers ( a few staying on ) swinging attention from Kiwi bred staying horses to those coming from the Northern Hemisphere.
We have seen Americain ( 2010 ), Dunaden ( 2011 ), Green Moon ( 2012 ), Protectionist ( 2014 ), Almandin ( 2016 ), Rekindling ( 2017 ), Cross Counter ( 2018 ), Twilight Payment ( 2020 ) and Gold Trip ( 2022 ) putting a stranglehold on the race for mostly European stables.
No surprises then that leading Australian owners and trainers, along with their associated bloodstock agents have turned their attention to sourcing their ultimate stayers, not from New Zealand as had previously been the case, but from Europe and in particular from the United Kingdom where emphasis was being placed on up and running types with already demonstrated staying ability.
One such candidate sourced in 2022 by owner Ozzie Kheir is Soulcombe ( Frankel - Ribbons, by Manduro ) already a Group 3 winner in England when purchased.
Soulcombe had been secured out of the yard of top Newmarket trainer William Haggas ( currently campaigning Dubai Honour and Alcohol Free in Australia and widely touted to be opening a satellite stable in Australia ) as an impressive winner of the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes ( 2600m ).
Placed in the capable hands of leading Australian trainer Chris Waller, Soulcombe debuted at Flemington on 5 November 2022 in the Group 3 Queen's Cup ( also 2600m ) surprising most by coming from last to win effortlessly romping away from his rivals, an effort that had him immediately installed as early favourite for the 2023 Melbourne Cup by local bookies.
Put aside after that impressive victory and playing the patient game, Soulcombe resumed on 4 February 2023 in the Drinkwise Mile ( 1600m ) at Randwick and after dropping out early he ran on only fairly, if appearing somewhat one-paced, finishing unplaced ( sixth ) some four and a quarter lengths from winner hot favourite Banju ( Benfica ).
Another start in Sydney this time over 2000m also saw Soulcombe perform without flattering prompting his connections to be dismissive of his attempts at the shorter distances and stipulating that distances of 2400m and 2600m were his forte.
His most recent start was in the Roy Higgins Quality ( 2600m ) back left-handed on the much roomier Flemington track seeing him much more comfortable and returning to his old self when idling along at the rear of the field and then mowing down runner after runner down the long Flemington home straight catching all except tearaway NZ bred winner Goldman ( Verdi ) by an ever decreasing two and three-quarter lengths much to the chagrin of his connections who were hoping that race would be Soulcombe's ticket to automatic entry into the 2023 Melbourne Cup field of starters.
Not to be deterred, Soulcombe will get 5 further opportunities to acquire automatic entry into the 2023 Melbourne Cup field and it would be a wise punter who bets against him making the field via this means of entry between now and the first Tuesday in November.
Current plans are for a let-up now for Soulcombe in order to bring him back firing on all cylinders for the Spring.
Let us now have a look at the pedigree of Soulcombe and his Tesiopower Dosage Indicators to shed further light on whether we think he is a good chance of winning the 2023 Melbourne Cup.
Pedigree Profile for Soulcombe:
We see a number of key features in Soulcombe's pedigree pointing towards his ability to stay a testing 3200 metres.
He is by the undefeated Frankel ( a son of ultimate stamina sire Galileo ) and out of the mare Ribbons, by Manduro ( a son of another great stamina influence in German sire Monsun ).
Monsun has already produced two recent Melbourne Cup victors in his sons Protectionist and Fiorente.
Soulcombe also holds the full "Special pattern" at 5x6 in his bloodlines through the great bluehen's daughter Fairy Bridge ( as found behind Sadler's Wells in Frankel ) and son Nureyev ( found behind Soviet Star, the granddamsire of Ribbons ).
This pattern is to be found in many well-performed Stakes winners especially over ground.
Soulcombe's 5th through to his 7th generation are chock full of male ancestors associated with stamina attributes.
To make these more likely influential most are to be found in desirable sex-balance in the generational levels ( 5th to 7th ) that are known for stamina consolidation in a pedigree.
Let us detail a few of these.
Perhaps the most likely influential for Soulcombe is his resultant 7x7 reverse-sex cross balance to Persian Gulf which provides him with not only a favourable breeding core but also a likely potential "engine room".
Persian Gulf ( Bahram - Double Life ) was a half-brother to Precipitation.
He was a slow maturing horse not racing until 3 years old and not winning in his Classic season despite finishing 4th in both the Derby and the St Leger.
But at 4 Persian Gulf was to come good becoming arguably the best horse in the United Kingdom winning 4 of his 5 starts including the prestigious Coronation Cup ( 2400m ), injury ( a fractured cannon bone ) terminating his racing career less than a month later, his 9 starts included 4 wins and 2 seconds as well as those two 4ths.
His dam Double Life was a top class racemare who also excelled in the breeding barn going on to become the female line ancestress of the likes of Meld, Charlottown, Kalaglow, Ramonti and Shahtoush as well as being the dam of Precipitation ( Hurry On ).
Other influential male ancestors to be found in favourable sex-balance include the likes of Acropolis via son Espresso ( Frankel ) and daughter Mariapolis ( Ribbons ),Vandale via son Herbager ( Frankel ) and daughter Marie D'Anjou ( Ribbons ), Birkhahn via son Literat ( Ribbons ) and daughter Almyra ( Frankel ) and the large heart foundation sire Princequillo via son Round Table ( Ribbons ) and daughter Rose Bower ( Frankel ).
Each of these sex-balances occur at 7x7 in Soulcombe's pedigree and are desirably cross-duplicated ( provided equally by each parent ).
Another stamina oriented male forebear in Crepello also presides in Soulcombe's bloodlines in balanced fashion at 7x7 coming through son Busted and daughter Electric Flash with both of these coming through the pedigree of Soulcombe's dam Ribbons.
Being a male horse it is also useful to detect whether Soulcombe has been equipped with what is known in the breeding game as Colt Factors.
These are useful pedigree attributes found in top male horses.
To possess Colt Factors we merely have to look for the presnce of a superior male ancestor through both a son and a daughter.
In the ideal world these are preferred at the highly influential 4th or 5th generational levels but slightly beyond these can also be useful especially if running in consecutive generations.
Whilst Soulcombe does possess Colt Factors the closest these can be found are at 6x7 to Raise A Native ( a leading son of Native Dancer ) through his famed son Mr Prospector and daughter Where You Lead ( granddam of staying influence Rainbow Quest ) both to be found in Soulcombe's sire Frankel.
Tesiopower Dosage Index Indicators:
Whilst aptitude indicators have long been held as controversial in many quarters we have found them to be a very handy tool and mostly reliable as an indicator of a young horse's likely racing aptitude in the 20 or so years we have been working with them.
They are based on the presences of Chefs De Race ( superior racetrack male ancestors ) who are allocated points based on the generation in which they occur in a horse's pedigree bearing in mind that only the subject horse's ( in this case Soulcombe ) first 5-generations are taken into account.
These allocated points for each Chefs De Race are then put into various dominant attribute categories. Some Chefs De Race can have points occur in more than one category relating to their specific distinguishing attributes.
We will now profile the Tesiopower Dosage Indexes that apply for Soulcombe and briefly comment on what these indicate to us.
Brilliant ( precocity, early comer ) 4.0
Intermediate ( speed, acceleration, turn of foot ) 3.0
Classic ( class inheritance ) 13.0
Solid ( middle distance staying inheritance ) 3.5
Professional ( ultimate staying trip, 3200m ) 0.5
So what does the above tell us about Soulcombe and his chances of successfully grasping the distance of a Melbourne Cup?
His profile is typical of a staying ( stamina ) horse.
Not really a precocious type and with a very modest dosage of speed inheritance this is indicating a horse that would most likely appreciate a solid pace ( will there be any "rabbits" this year? ) in a Melbourne Cup especially as his racing style is one of dropping well back early on.
Soulcombe has abundant class inheritance which is a critical category for a Melbourne Cup.
He also possesses a sound Solid category meaning no bother and quite at home at the Classic distance ( 2400m ) and the St Leger distance of 2600m.
His Professional category could have been a shade stronger to provide full confidence at 3200m.
Whilst there is no Zabeel presence ( so powerful in this category ) it should not be forgotten that he does hold the close-up presences of both Galileo and Monsun ( each side of his pedigree ) which is a big plus factor in his chances of running out a solid 3200m.
And he has the watchful guidance of 2021 Melbourne Cup winning trainer Chris Waller to also assist him.
Finally, for interest sake more than anything else, we will list the Chefs De Race by category that make up the indicative Aptitude Profile for Soulcombe.
Blushing Groom 0.5, Last Tycoon 1.0, Mr Prospector 0.5, Northern Dancer 2.0
Danehill 2.0, Danzig 1.0
Blushing Groom 0.5, Danehill 2.0, Danzig 1.0, His Majesty 1.0, Last Tycoon 1.0, Mr Prospector 0.5, Northern Dancer 2.0, Nureyev 1.0, Rainbow Quest 1.0, Sadler's Wells 2.0, Surumu 1.0
Rainbow Quest 1.0, Sadler's Wells 2.0, Stage Door Johnny 0.5
Stage Door Johnny 0.5
Given that Soulcombe is the current Melbourne Cup favourite, there will be more than a few interested souls praying for his success come the first Tuesday in November and the above indicies could go a little way towards allaying any fears.
Good luck Soulcombe and we all hope you race according to your handsome good looks!
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The sons and grandsons of Japanese wonder stallion Deep Impact have had a hard row to hoe in Australia against the myriad of local speed sires that prevail.
Tosen Stardom and Mikki Isle have pioneered the way along with an assist from Real Steel and now the newbies Saxon Warrior and Fierce Impact.
The rekindling of the Turn-To / Hail To Reason / Halo paternal sireline has also seen a refreshing resurgence of a bloodline that was beginning to wane in the wake of the utter dominance of the Phalaris sireline predominantly via Northern Dancer.
In New Zealand, the impact has been far more far-reaching than in Australia and far more immediate.
It begs the question, for how long has the New Zealand broodmare genepool been hanging out for this new bloodline injection?
Rich Hill Stud's Satono Aladdin has led the way here through class sons Tokyo Tycoon and Sacred Satono, so much so that at this present moment in time he has rocketed to a clear lead in the 2022-23 2YO Sires Premiership Table*.
It is acknowledged that this could change as Tokyo Tycoon's victory in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes is currently under RIU judicial review.
But the exciting aspect is that the Deep Impact influence shapes as promising to say the very least and is far from one dimensional with Satono Aladdin's daughter Pennyweka recently being a decisive winner of the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks ( 2400m ) at Trentham.
Watch out Savabeel, there is some truly serious competition looming on the near horizon!
And now we have another son of Deep Impact in Novarra Park's Staphanos landing his first Group 1 winner from his very first crop in gritty Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes ( 1400m ) winner the filly Pignan.
Right amongst these successful results we have Windsor Park Stud announcing they have secured Profondo ( another son of Deep Impact ) to commence Stud duties also in 2023.
What a time to capitalise on this sudden groundswell!
The win of Pignan last weekend was yet another feather in the cap for highly respected former Trackside breeding show presenter and Nearco Stud head representative Adrian Clark and his astute judgment at selecting Group 1 winning fillies at a very tender young age.
Pignan's Group 1 success follows closely on the heels of Clark's success with Jennifer Eccles in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks just a couple of seasons ago.
These two results tell us that Clark not only looks for "value" in his investments but is also prepared to do the "hard yards" in terms of putting a lot of time into studying the pedigrees of these young fillies even going back beyond the immediate generational levels readily available at first glance.
So what do we see in Hirondelle's ( the dam of Pignan ) breeding match with Staphanos?
We firstly see speed being placed underneath Staphanos. A bit like a Storm Cat mare being bred to Deep Impact to produce Satono Aladdin.
Hirondelle is by Sepoy ( a Mr Prospector / Danzig cross stallion ) and out of a Pins mare.
But more than this, Hirondelle possesses an "engine room" ( or breeding core )that is based on the blisteringly quick Lunchtime, being bred on a 5x4 reverse-sex cross to Lunchtime.
Interestingly, it is at these two generational levels that the pedigree gurus Hampton and Harper were both in agreement were the most effective positions in a pedigree.
Ably supporting this speed feature, Hirondelle also holds 3 lines of Star Kingdom which are favourably sex-balanced through the latter's famed sons Biscay and Kaoru Star as well as his daughter Ritmar who features as the dam of Taipan II, 4th damsire of Hirondelle.
What then did the breeding match of Staphanos and Hirondelle offer to their daughter Pignan?
It presented Pignan with a potential "engine room" ( or breeding core ) for starters seeing her bred on a 7x7 reverse-sex cross to Kentucky Derby runner-up Native Dancer better known as a sprinter. Native Dancer was labelled "The Flying Grey" with his racing style being likened to a modern day Chautauqua notable for dropping to the rear then producing memorable barnstorming last to first home straight finishes.
Native Dancer is also one superior male ancestor that is soughtafter in multiple presences to underpin modern day pedigrees with his speed influences.
Pignan's pedigree also sees her carrying linebreeding to the sharp male class influence Sir Ivor at 6x6x6 through his Lady Rebecca ( herself a daughter of large heart mare Pocahontas ) featuring in Staphanos via Deep Impact and Ivory Wand as well as son Sir Tristram, the latter two present in the pedigree of Hirondelle.
Sir Ivor is a highly influential male forebear and an excellent presence to have in balance in any pedigree.
Finally, Pignan possesses what is known in breeding circles as Filly Factors.
These are found via two daughters of a superior male ancestor and through a son and a daughter of a superior female ancestor.
The great Secretariat provides Pignan with two daughters at 7x6 namely via Six Crowns ( in Staphanos ) and Secrettame ( in Hirondelle ) whilst bluehen Natalma is present in her pedigree via son Northern Dancer and daughter Spring Adieu ( found behind Danehill in Sepoy, sire of Hirondelle ).
As a quick last mention, Pignan is also balanced to Bold Ruler at 7x7 through his son Secretariat and a rare daughter Laredo Lass ( granddam of French Deputy in Staphanos ).
Luigi Muollo, owner of Novarra Park where Staphanos stands, is already on record as saying that he was not expecting this stallion to leave 2YO Group 1 winners and that his progeny would excel once they got to 1600m and beyond as 3YO's and upwards so Pignan is real testimony of what can be achieved with speed mares' under Staphanos and the Deep Impact sireline in general.
Successful jockey Irishman Joe Doyle's first words on dismounting last Saturday at Awapuni was that he cannot wait until Pignan steps over more ground next season and with a damsireline that includes Pins, Zabeel, Zamazaan, Taipan II and Summertime why shouldn't he and Adrian Clark be full of confidence as to what the future holds.
May it be one of deep impact!
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Most astute breeders both in Australia and New Zealand know that getting a "good type" is half the battle when breeding a superior horse but equally they also know that planning a mating using sound breeding techniques is just as important if not more so.
Saturday's two biggest races in Australia and New Zealand the A$16.3 million The Everest ( 1200m ) and the Livamol Classic ( 2040m ) were won by horses where it was obvious that their genotype and phenotype both came out to play.
Three year old gelding Giga Kick ( Scissor Kick - Rekindled Applause, by Royal Applause ) came into The Everest with a picket-fence formline unbeaten in all four previous starts. It was a big step up racing against Australia's best Open Class sprinters including the World Champion Nature Strip.
But aspire to great heights Giga Kick did coming from the clouds with Hillary-like all conquering determination.
This 1200m The Everest win came off the back of a 4-length maiden win at Sale in February followed by a good win at Flemington in July, both as a two year old.
As an early three year old in August he scored in the Vain Stakes ( Gr 3, 1100m ) and then followed this up with victory in the Danehill Stakes ( Gr 2, 1100m ).
Let us now look at what immediately catches the eye in his 7-generational pedigree compilation.
The first notable feature is that both Giga Kick's parents ( Scissor Kick and Rekindled Applause ) are from the Northern Dancer sireline whilst their respective dams are from the Rainbow Quest ( Nasrullah ) sireline.
This sees Giga Kick 5x5 paternally linebred to Northern Dancer but also carrying a 4x3 cross-duplicate sex-balance to Rainbow Quest through son Quest For Fame ( damsire of Scissor Kick ) and daughter Rekindled Affair ( granddam of Giga Kick ).
A quick perusal of Giga Kick's 5-generational Tesiopower Dosage Report can be a little misleading here in this instance as it depicts a horse of strong middle distance capability rather than one of sizzling sprinting prowess.
So where may have Giga Kick's great turn of foot emanated?
We are suggesting here that one has to look at his 6th and 7th generational removes to see a concentration of linebreeding to three superior females as perhaps holding the likely key to his fleet-footedness.
We will commence with Flaming Page to whom Giga Kick holds sex-balanced linebreeding to at 6x7x6x6.
Rekindled Applause ( dam of Giga Kick ) possesses a solitary female only line of Flaming Page via the latter's daughter Fleur ( dam of the very sharp The Minstrel, granddamsire of Royal Applause ) so it makes perfectly good sense to balance this up with a stallion that is strongly linebred to Nijinsky II ( a son of Flaming Page and half-brother to Fleur ) at at 4x5x4. The added benefit here also is that Scissor Kick holds sex-balanced lines of Nijinsky II for potential maximum impact.
Another huge female influence is that of Family 8 member Stolen Hour ( best known as the dam of Best In Show ) but not through to the more illustrious "Woodbine" branch but rather that of Torpenhow.
Rekindled Applause ( and therefore also Giga Kick ) trace directly tail female to Stolen Hour ( 5th dam of Rekindled Applause and 6th dam of Giga Kick ) via her daughter Stolen Date.
Stolen Hour also features in Rekindled Applause in her paternal pedigree through another daughter Best In Show ( a half-sister to Stolen Date ) who is the granddam of her great grandsire Try My Best.
How then does this relate to the pedigree of Scissor Kick?
Scissor Kick's sire the seemingly incomparable Redoute's Choice is also tail female to Stolen Hour ( his 5th dam, and just like Try My Best also through Best In Show ).
Whereas Try My Best came through Best In Show's daughter Sex Appeal, Redoute's Choice has come through another daughter in Show Lady ( 3rd dam of Redoute's Choice and a half-sister to Sex Appeal ).
Whilst neither Stolen Hour nor daughter Best In Show are sex-balanced, history with past results has shown that they do not require to be.
One other important female duplication that is very easy to take for granted is that of Natalma.
She is sex-balanced in Giga Kick's pedigree at 6x6x7x7x6x6 in a desirable sex-balanced cross-duplication via her son Northern Dancer and daughter Spring Adieu with Scissor Kick providing the key female balancing line.
Scissor Kick may have been considered a "failure" in Australia ( standing at Arrowfield Stud to 2019 ), leaving only one other Stakes winner in Listed winner Dzsenifer, but he did descend maternally from a female line that has also brought us the likes of Dansili, Champs Elysees and Raise The Flag ( all stallions reasonably well known in Australia and New Zealand ).
Having served a couple of seasons in France since his Australian departure and recently sold to Morocco, he will never be a forgotten stallion because of the deeds of son Giga Kick who may just have "girlpower" to thank for his "turn of foot" and Group 1 glory.
From the moment she first set foot on the racetrack it was obvious Mustang Valley was heading places and was going to greatly benefit with maturity.
A recent runner-up to the promising young Vadamos mare La Crique in the Arrowfield Plate,and with no La Crique to contend with as well as a step up in distance and a deep track all factors were in Mustang Valley's favour in the Livamol Classic ( 2040m ) and saw her romp home to a decisive victory also landing her sire Vanbrugh ( Encosta De Lago ) his first Group 1 Stakes winner.
But as we all know, Group 1 winners don't just happen without a good deal of hard work and meticulous planning and that begins with planning a mating that can be effective on the racetrack.
Bred by Windsor Park Stud, it is plainly obvious that considerable thought has gone into constructing the pedigree of Mustang Valley ( Vanbrugh - Cream Of The Crop, by New Approach( Galileo )), in fact it is a genetic masterpiece and one gains the distinct impression that it may well be the work of Windsor Park's resident pedigree guru Mr Steve Till.
Without any shadow of doubt the outstanding feature of Mustang Valley's pedigree is the double Rasmussen Factor upon which she is bred.
And neither is sex-balanced for maximum potential impact however they are cross-duplicated ( contributed by both proposed parents ).
Both occur in the highly favoured 4th and 5th generational positions so highly favoured by past pedigree doyens such as Harold Hampton and Clive Harper as being the most effective generational positions to be of influence in a pedigree.
The first of these occurs to Fairy Bridge ( a daughter of the highly influential mare Special ) at 4x5 through her sons the full-brothers Fairy King ( grandsire of Vanbrugh ) and Sadler's Wells ( great grandsire of Cream Of The Crop ).
As both are by Northern Dancer, this makes Mustang Valley, like Giga Kick, also paternally linebred to Northern Dancer but at 4x5 as opposed to Giga Kick being at 5x5.
The second Rasmussen Factor ( breeding back to superior females through different individuals within the first 5-generations ) occurs to broodmare gem Benediction at 5x4.Many readers / breeders will instantly recognise this name as synonymous with the maternal family of Australian great Might And Power.
Vanbrugh's damsire Lucky Owners is out of Miss Priority, a daughter of Benediction.
And here comes the big connecting factor.
Cream Of The Crop carries Benediction as her 3rd dam via another Buenos Aires, a half-sister to Miss Priority ( Miss Priority being by Kaapstad whilst Buenos Aires is by Rainbow Quest ).
This sees Cream Of The Crop as being from the same family which produced the mighty Might And Power.
For those breeders appreciating getting involved in debates on close-up doubles of Danehill, Mustang Valley presents another example of a top horse who carries a 4x4 cross-duplicated male double of Danehill ( through sons Lucky Owners and Danehill Dancer ).
Beyond the above identified closer-up cross-duplications to key male and female presences, we also see cross-duplicate sex-balances occuring to the symbiotic presences Northern Dancer at 4x7x6x5x6 and to Mr Prospector at 5x6 with in both instances Vanbrugh providing the key female balancing line ( Fanfreluche and Rolls ).
Vanbrugh also injects new balanced doubles of both Sir Tristram ( via son Kaapstad and daughter Star Of The Knight, the latter Vanbrugh's 3rd dam ) and Sir Ivor ( via son Sir Tristram and daughter Grand Luxe ) into the pedigree of Mustang Valleywhilst cross-duplicated sex-balances also prevail to Klairon ( via Lorenzaccio and New Way ) and Round Table ( via son Artaius and daughter Isolt ) as well as to Herbager ( via son Appiani and daughter I Will Follow ) in what is a very well-rounded pedigree compilation.
Whereas the Tesiopower Dosage Report for Giga Kick has seen that horse so far defying his inherent aptitude performance ( showing a sprinting rather than staying preference perhaps for the time being at least ), Mustang Valley has very much stayed true to her inherent predicted profile which is telling us that she will optimally operate at distances around 2000-2200m but 2400m may not be an assignment too far given her favoured racing style.
Time will tell.
It cannot be denied that the outcome of last Saturday's Desert Gold Stakes ( Gr 3, 1600m ) may hold a valuable key into also determining the likely result of March's NZ Oaks ( Gr 1, 2400m ) also to be run on the hallowed turf at Trentham.
Whilst current 3YO Fillies Series leader Belle En Rouge ( Burgundy ) noticeably skipped the Desert Gold Stakes, there was an awful lot to like about the performances of convincing winner La Crique ( Vadamos ) and the third horse Love Letter ( Wrote ) from an impending NZ Oaks perspective.
And both have more than just the letter "L" in common.
Both have a strong "Special" connection in their bloodlines, the same connection as present in the 2022 New Year's Day Perth Cup ( Gr 2, 2400m ) winner, the Bob and Sandra Peters bred and owned Midnight Blue.
The "Special" connection we refer to is of course the broodmare bluehen Special ( Forli - Thong )a particularly powerful presence in any staying pedigree.
La Crique and Love Letter are both highly eye-catching types, La Crique seemingly a longer-legged finer-boned type that the more compact muscled low slung Love Letter.
La Crique's superior early speed allowed her to race handy ( slotting into the perfect one out and one back position ) in the Desert Gold Stakes allowing her to display her "turn of foot" when exploding past the leaders upon straightening. Her ability to run through the line was impressive, qualities not dissimilar to Amarelinha in 2021 and Jennifer Eccles in 2020.
Love Letter in contrast was devoid of early speed and go a long way back in the running but once again she ran home powerfully if not eyecatchingly ( in a manner not too dissimilar to 2020 runner-up to Jennifer Eccles in Vancooga ).
It would not surprise in the least to find Formpro's Neil Davis having recorded Love Letter as having the fastest final sectionals of the race, even better than those of winner La Crique.
But, can she afford to give La Crique such a big start in the NZ Oaks?
We will use the pedigree of Midnight Blue for comparison with both La Crique and Love Letter.
Midnight Blue holds a sex-balanced 5x5 Rasmussen Factor ( breeding back to superior females through different individuals within the first 5-generations ) to Special via the latter's daughter Fairy Bridge and son Nureyev.
La Crique is 5x6x6 sex-balance linebred to Special via son Nureyev ( in Vadamos ) and son and daughter Nureyev and Fairy Bridge in Destiny Cove ( dam of La Crique ).
Love Letter on the other hand is 5x5x6 sex-balance linebred to Special via the latter's daughters Fairy Bridge and Durrah ( both in Wrote ) and son Nureyev in Divine Rio ( dam of Love Letter ).
Technically, from a pedigree purists viewpoint, the use of Special is seen as stronger in Love Letter's pedigree as she appears through three individual siblings rather than two as is the case for La Crique.
Also, Special's positioning is potentially stronger in the pedigree of Love Letter as she is bred on a 5x6 reverse-sex cross to Special ( via Durrah, 3rd dam of Wrote ) and Nureyev ( 4th sire of Divine Rio ). This provides Love Letter not only with a desirable breeding core but also a potential "engine room" and it appears obvious here that this design is more than likely the handiwork of her co-breeder and owner Phil Weal, an avid pedigree enthusiast in his own right.
With prominent 4x4 linebreeding to Special ( through two individual daughters ) Love Letter's sire Wrote is singing out for mares with a male line of Special ( i.e. Nureyev ) for sex-balancing purposes and Divine Rio ( dam of Love Letter ) gives him exactly this being a Nureyev-line mare via the Pivotal stallion Captain Rio.
When we get to the direct maternal line ( or bottom line or family line ) we do find find ourselves swayed to that of Love Letter who traces direct maternally to Derna ( her 6th dam ).
Of course breeders and readers will instantly recognise this as the immediate family of both Carnegie ( Derna his granddam ) and Zabeel ( Derna his great granddam ). Whilst Carnegie is out of Derna's daughter Detroit, both Zabeel and Love Letter trace through another of Derna's daughters in Valderna. When we touch on these horses we are automatically thinking 2400m if not further.
Another useful comparison also prevails using the pedigree of Midnight Blue.
He is by a son of High Chaparral ( So You Think ) and out of a mare by Zabeel ( Midnight Special ).
Love Letter is also by a son of High Chaparral ( Wrote ) and from the immediate direct maternal family of Zabeel.
There are no illustrious Derna's in the direct maternal line of La Crique but what there is reflects high quality International performance.
Le Crique's dam Destiny Cove won 5 times including over 2400m at Trentham.
Granddam Whitehaven was a Gr2 winner at Deauville and great granddam White Star Line was a triple Gr 1 winner, amongst her 9 lifetime wins seeing her rated as the 2nd best 3yo filly of 1978 at 125 pounds, just one point behind arch rival Tempest Queen ( Graustark ), the latter a dual Gr 1 winner.
Amongst White Star Line's Gr 1 victories were the Alabama Stakes( 10 furlongs ), Kentucky Oaks ( 10 furlongs ) and the Delaware Oaks ( 9 furlongs ).
At Stud, White Star Line was to produce 12 individual winners including 2 Stakes winners, one being Valley Of Gold ( Shirley Heights ) winner of the Italian Oaks ( Gr 1, 2400m ).
If we were looking at 3YO colts for the NZ Derby it would also be necessary to take into account multiples of Northern Dancer ( 4 or more unbalanced male only strains ) as these were identified by the late Jack Glengarry in his work "Let's Breed A Champion Racehorse" as the likely cause of "Plodder's Syndrome" in a male racehorse. Fortunately, fillies were found to be immune from this quirky phenomena.
La Crique is linebred 5x6x5x5 to Northern Dancer in desirable sex-balance, her female line coming via 4th dam White Star Line, a daughter of Northern Dancer.
Love Letter, by contrast, could have been in trouble had she not been born a filly as she carries 4x5x6x6x6x7 linebreeding to Northern Dancer through all male only presences.
A lucky escape, perhaps, or meant to be!
Just as Midnight Blue carried Colt Factors at 6x4 to Mill Reef, we see Love Letter carrying full Filly Factors and La Crique carrying partial Filly Factors within their 7-generational pedigree charts.
Love Letter carries full Filly Factors to Special ( through son Nureyev and daughters Fairy Bridge and Durrah ) with male ancestors through two daughters being in abundance through the likes of Kris 5x4, Nijinsky II 5X5, Buckpasser 6x5, Prince John 7x6 and War Admiral 7x7.
La Crique on the other hand only possesses partial Filly Factors.
Whilst Special features through son Nureyev and daughter Fairy Bridge, there is a complete void of male ancestors featured through two daughters.
But all is not lost for La Crique because what she does possess is an impressive list of sex-balances to male ancestors particularly further out in her pedigree including the likes of Native Dancer 7x7x6x7x7, Nearco 7x7x7x7, Nebelwerfer 7x7, Hyperion 7x7, Tantieme 7x7, Lyphard 7x6 and War Admiral 7x7.
As you may be only to well aware, when multiples get this far out in a pedigree they usually act as a basis for stamina with a number of the featured presences well known for their stamina traits.
Finally, it would be remiss of us if we did not have a look at the likely Tesio dosage indicators based on the work of Frank Varola.
Whilst these have always been regarded as highly contentious and very subjective, in our experience they have been an adequate guide as to the likely aptitude and distance outcomes for the majority of horses.
As they say, better something than nothing at all when you are flying blind!
The dosage profile outcomes for both fillies are remarkably similar, Love Letter a points total of 23.0 and La Crique a points total of 22.0 so no clear advantage to either filly.
Nothing between them in the precocity ranks either with Love Letter perhaps her nostril in front with the same applying for raw speed inheritance. The Classic ( class ) factor does see La Crique in front by a small marging hence evening things out.
When it comes to middle distance ( including 2400m ) both capably master 2400m with nothing between them although there is a slight indicator that if we pushed things out to 3200m then La Crique may hold a slight advantage no doubt mainly attributable to the influence of her grandsire Monsun as we have already witnessed downunder in a couple of Melbourne Cups in more recent times.
As for the outcome of the NZ Oaks 2022, a real coin toss either way, too close to call.
Bob and Sandra Peters were recognised in early as within the Top Ten owners in the World's rankings coming in at 8th equal, a huge achievement as private breeders when you consider that the top four in this list are breeding powerhouses such as Godolphin/Darley, Coolmore Stud, Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum and Juddmonte Farms/Prince Khalid Abdullah.
Besides the Peters homebreds, they have also enjoyed success as co-owners in some quality equine athletes the likes of All Too Hard ( All Aged Stakes, C.F.Orr Stakes, Futurity Stakes ), Dundeel ( Queen Elisabeth Stakes ) and Animal Kingdom ( Dubai World Cup ) all of whom have gone on to successful stallion careers.
So now at the near age of 79 years are there any signs of Bob Peters slowing down in his equine participation, breeding or racing?
It would appear not, or not yet!
Bob Peters is already on record that he has unfinished business in the East, that before 2030 he would like to win three races in particular; The Everest, the W.S.Cox Plate ( perhaps most of all ) and the Caulfield Cup, the latter no doubt redemption for the narrow defeat of his own Congressman in the 1988 Caulfield Cup.
And of course, he would like to keep winning as many Stakes races as he can during the future time frame, a clear signal of no stopping yet.
So watch out for the famous cerise and white colours particularly in the East but this time they will not be stepping out from the stable of Bart Cummings or George Hanlon but rather from the Victorian stable of Danny O'Brien.
We here at Premier Pedigrees have been asked on a few occasions if there is any secret formula that Bob Peters adheres to when breeding horses?
The best way to answer this is to take a large random sample of the horses he has bred over the years and then look for any common denominators.
In doing this it would appear that there is no single magic formula but rather a wide range of breeding techniques applied that are no different from those applied by any other serious or Commercial breeder.
By pursuing homebred families Peters has got to know his breed intimately right down to the point of identifying which available stallions suit his mares best and he has been in the fortunate financial position of being able to support the very best stallions that have been compatible with his mares thereby also applying a constant upgrading process to his mares and families.
We have identified four key parameters that Peters appears to have applied over five decades of horse breeding that stand out above all others;
1) Utilising the best available genetically compatible stallions to upgrade the bloodlines of his mare often featuring proven crosses. Often matings would be repeated several times in the best traditions of Mendel's Laws of Probability
2) Having a strong female maternal "bottom" line
3) Adhering to proven breeding patterns that have stood the test of time e.g. the "Special" pattern, often incorporating Rasmussen Factors and/or duplicating other superior females especially where they can be sex-balanced
4) A preference for linebreeding to influential male ancestors mostly in the highly effective 4th and 5th generational levels, something widely espoused by pedigree gurus such as Hampton and Harper.
Whilst we have not included it in our criteria above, as it could be deemed debatable if not a little controversial or even specific to one's own breed, Bob Peters has also stated that he utilises stallions' that are going to produce soundness and produce an animal that is going to deliver versatility at a wide range of distances.
While the former can be a formidable challenge at times, there is certainly no doubting that Peters has had great success with producing horses that are both durable and versatile and can handle a wide range of distances, no better recent example than his recent Kingston Town Classic winner and former WA Derby victor Regal Power.
We will now go through some examples relating to the above listed criteria.
"Utilising the best available genetically compatible stallions to upgrade the bloodlines of his mares often featuring proven crosses. Often matings here would be repeated several times in the best traditions of Mendel's Laws of Probability".
From his leading family of Antique her daughters the full-sisters Arcadia and Broadway Belle ( both by Redoute's Choice ) were both sent to Pierro ( Lonhro, by Zabeel ) thus combining the highly proven Danehill with Zabeel.
And what an outcome for Peters with Arcadia producing both Arcadia Prince and Arcadia Queen whilst Broadway Belle produced firstly Action and then Regal Power.
A similar outcome also occurs with another of Peters leading families, that of Lady Ashford.
Two of her daughters are by Jeune, namely Star Encounter and Galaxy Queen.
Star Encounter has been to Statue Of Liberty at least twice producing Star Exhibit and Spritely Star whilst she has also been to Redoute's Choice at least twice producing Royal Star and Perfect Jewel.
Galaxy Queen was also sent to Redoute's Choice producing Galaxy Star before dying prematurely.
Lady Ashford's other two producing daughters were also full-sisters ( both by More Than Ready ) with Sentimental Star visiting Al Maher twice producing the full-sister and brother pairing of Sentimental Queen and Sentimental Hero whilst Favourite Star has produced Enticing Star ( to Testa Rossa ) as well as Devoted Star ( to Al Maher ).
Even the early breedings of another of Peters foundation mares reflected a repetitive breeding pattern where three times Miss Margaret was sent to Scenic to produce the likes of Best Picture, Confront and Seafarer.
Another of Peters foundation mares in Reflected Image was sent three times to More Than Ready resulting in the three female full-siblings New Image, Ideal Image and Perfect Reflection.
Coincidence or not, there was a definite upgrading influence at work in the vast majority of these matings.
"Having a strong female maternal ( bottom ) line".
Without any shadow of doubt, Lady Ashford is the standout example here.
She carries broodmare bluehen La Troienne as her 7th dam, the Queen of the No 1 Family.
This has meant all descendants of Lady Ashford carry La Troienne in their direct maternal tail line.
And of course it just so happens that More Than Ready is also tail female to La Troienne ( his 6th dam ) whilst his damsire Woodman is also tail female to La Troienne ( also his 6th dam ).
Is it any wonder then that Peters should send Lady Ashford at least twice to More Than Ready to produce the likes of Sentimental Star and Favourite Star pursuing potent female linebreeding via in this case a technique known as "Breeding Back Into The Herd ( aka BBITH )".
Purfect Size ( Catbird ) is tail female to another No 1 Family bluehen in Chelandry ( her 13th dam ) through Summoned ( her 3rd dam ) as is her daughter Picture Perfect.
Summoned is better recognised as the dam of Zeditave so little wonder that Peters should send Purfect Size to Reset ( out of a Zeditave mare ) to produce Picture Perfect ( sex-balance linebred to Summoned via a 4x4 Rasmussen Factor ). But we digress for now.
Very Tempting ( Redoute's Choice ) is tail female to a Federico Tesio creation in Family 14 member Donatella ( Mahmoud - Delleana ) who features as her 6th dam.
Magical Dream ( Dream Ahead ) is tail female to Family 8 member Humour ( a daughter of Princess Tracy ), a family better noted for having produced the former New Zealand based stallions Danasinga and Towkay.
Another of Peters foundation families anchored by Flaming Heart traces tail female to Family 2 broodmare marvel Sans Le Sou ( 4th dam of Flaming Heart ) meaning that her daughter Real Love and grandsons Special View and Devoted all carry the presence of Sans Le Sou in their direct maternal bloodlines.
Sans Le Sou is also well known as being the dam of Busted.
For the sake of brevity, we will highlight one further example.
Family 9 member and another of Peters foundation families in Reflected Image traces back tail female to Maid Of Masham ( her 13th dam ). This will mean her daughters the full-siblings New Image, Ideal Image and Perfect Reflection will all carry Maid Of Masham in their "bottom line" as will any of their progeny.
"Adhering to proven breeding patterns that have stood the test of time e.g. the "Special" pattern, often incorporating Rasmussen Factors and/or duplicating other superior females especially where they can be sex-balanced".
These will be illustrated by individual horse in a listed summary format.
We have used some abbreviations here fore the following;
Linebreeding = lb
Rasmussen Factor = RF
Sex-balanced = sb
Arcadia Queen - 7x6 sb Special ( Nureyev and Fairy Bridge )
Arcadia Prince - 7x6 sb Special ( Nureyev and Fairy Bridge )
Action - 7x6 sb Special ( Nureyev and Fairy Bridge )
Regal Power - 7x6 sb Special ( Nureyev and Fairy Bridge )
Arcadia Dream - 5x5 lb RF Best In Show and 7x6 sb Flaming Page
Arcadia Grace - 6x7 lb Best In Show and 8x7 sb Flaming Page
Spritely Star - 4x4 sb RF Crimson Saint ( Terlingua and Royal Academy )
Star Exhibit - 4x4 sb RF Crimson Saint and 5x6 lb Somethingroyal )
Truly Special - 7x7 sb Mumtaz Begum ( Nasrullah and Rivaz ) and 7x7 sb Selene ( Hyperion and All Moonshine )
Giant Leap - 5x4 sb RF Thong ( Special and Geiger Counter ) and 7x7 sb Donatella ( Donna Lydia and Duccio )
Fairy Fast - 4x4 lb RF Fairy Bridge ( Perugino and Fairy King )
Mystical View - 5x5 sb RF Goofed ( Lyphard and Barb's Bold )
Inspirational Girl - 5x5 sb RF Special ( Fairy Bridge and Nureyev )
Midnight Blue - 5x5 sb RF Special ( Fairy Bridge and Nureyev ) and 7x7x7 lb Perfume II ( Marco Polo II and My Babu x2 )
Treasured Crown - 5x5 sb RF Special ( Fairy Bridge and Nureyev ) and 7x7 lb Perfume II ( Marco Polo II and My Babu )
Treasured Star - 5x5 sb RF Special ( Fairy Bridge and Nureyev ) and 6x6 lb Sex Appeal ( El Gran Senor and Try My Best )
Expressionist - 4x4 sb RF Dancing Show ( Shantha's Choice and Umatilla ) and 7x6 sb Special ( Nureyev and Fairy Bridge )
Picture Perfect - 4x4 sb RF Summoned ( via full-brother and sister Zeditave and True Verdict ).
Real Charm - 4x4 sb RF Summoned ( via full-brother and sister Zeditave and True Verdict )
Graceful Girl - 6x6 sb lb Magic Symbol ( Biscay and Magic Way )
Western Empire - 6x6x6 sb lb Flaming Page ( Fleur and Nijinsky II X2 )
Memorable Miss - 6x6 sb lb Tamerett ( Secrettame and Known Fact ) and 7x7 sb lb Flaming Page ( Fleur and Nijinsky II )
Magical Dream - 6x6x6 sb lb Special ( Fairy Bridge x2 and Nureyev ) and 6x7 sb lb Mixed Marriage ( Tamerett and Atan )
Airlie Queen - 6x6 sb lb Milan Mill ( Mill Reef and Millicent )
Elite Belle - 6x6x7 sb lb Dodoma ( Diableretta and Jambo ) and 7x7x6x7 sb lb Mumtaz Begum ( Dodoma and Nasrullah )
Top Gun - 5x5x7 lb Lalun ( Bold Reason and Never Bend x2 ) and 7x7 sb lb Selene ( Hyperion and All Moonshine )
Real Love - 5x5x5 sb RF Natalma ( Northern Dancer x2 and Spring Adieu ) as well as 6x5 sb lb Sans Le Sou ( via full-brother and sister Busted and Ellida ) and also 6x6 lb Rose O'Lynn ( Venture VII and full-brother Buisson Ardent )
Special View - 6x6 sb lb Sans Le Sou ( Busted and Ellida )
New Image / Ideal Image / Perfect Reflection ( all full-sisters ) - 6x6 lb Two Lea ( via the half-brothers Tim Tam and Pied D'Or ) and 6x7 lb Hildene ( via the half-brothers First Landing and Hill Prince ).
We are only too well aware that the above examples are by no means a fully comprehensive listing of horses Bob Peters has bred utilising duplications to superior female ancestors but it more than sufficient to illustrate our claim that this has been and continues to be at the heart of his ongoing breeding programme.
"A preference for linebreeding to influential male ancestors mostly in the proven highly effective 4th and 5th generational levels, something widely espoused by pedigree gurus such as Hampton and Harper".
Sometimes as the cards play, it is not always possible to capitalise on female duplications and Peters has had to linebreed to influential male ancestors chasing their specific traits and attributes to complement those of his mares.
Once again sex-balanced linebreeding is the best way to maximise their influence and particularly if this can be achieved around the highly effective 4th or 4th generational level.
The following is a shortlist of some of the Peters horses who subscribe to this breeding technique.
Some of the names here may be very familiar to you. Again, in no particular order.
Arcadia - 4x4 sb Bletchingly
Devoted Star - 4x4 sb Nijinsky II
Sentimental Queen - 4x4 sb Nijinsky II
Perfect Jewel - 4x5x4 sb Nijinsky II, 5X5 sb Lunchtime
Royal Star - 4x5x4 sb Nijinsky II, 5X5 sb Lunchtime
Galaxy Star - 4x5x5 sb Nijinsky II, 5X5 Lunchtime
Mrs America - 5x4 sb Storm Bird
Cohort - 4x5 sb Raise A Native
Dark Lass - 4x5x5x5 sb Northern Dancer
Zaratite - 4x5 sb Blushing Groom, 5x5 sb Lyphard
Superstorm - 5x5x4 sb Mr Prospector, 5x6 sb Northern Dancer
True Attraction - 4x4 sb Mr Prospector, 4x5x6 sb Northern Dancer
Windstorm - 5x5 sb Lunchtime
Brave Dream - 5x5 sb Halo
Celebrity Queen - 4x5x5 sb Northern Dancer, 5x5 sb Sir Ivor
Pure Devotion - 4x5 sb Danzig, 4x5x5 sb Nijinsky II, 5x5 sb Shirley Heights
Mississippi Delta - 4x4 sb Shirley Heights
Devoted - 6x5 sb Riverman
New Image - 4x4 sb Mr Prospector, 4x4 sb Northern Dancer
Ideal Image - 4x4 sb Mr Prospector, 4x4 sb Northern Dancer
Perfect Reflection - 4x4 sb Mr Prospector, 4x4 sb Northern Dancer
It may only appear a very short list but already a pattern emerges telling us not only about the powerful influence of the 4th and 5th generational levels when it comes to duplicating male ancestors in a sex-balanced manner but it also provides us with an indicator of particular male ancestors Peters preferred to duplicate in his desire to achieve his goals be they soundness or distance versatility.
If Bob Peters happens to read this sometime in the near future we only hope that he has already commenced his auto-biography and can paint a far more detailed picture of his life and his horse-breeding exploits than the mere scratching of the surface that we have been able write in our three-part story on his achievements to date.
We may or may not have unlocked his secret breeding formulas that have crowned him "King Of The West" or is that the "King Of Australian Thoroughbred Breeding" but what we have briefly illustrated should be sufficient to give us all a very good idea of the pathway that he follows.
We hope you have enjoyed the read on our three-part story on Bob Peters.
In this second chapter of the Bob Peters story we will look at the development of the families of what is considered his "six foundation families" along with some newly emerging families also being developed as well as briefly identifying some successful male horses Peters has raced with success over the years.
But firstly and in chronological order we will explore each of his "foundation mares".
First cab off the rank is So Stunning ( by Shirley Heights ) born in 1984.
Old Nick ( by Old Spice ) was out of this mare and gave Bob and Sandra Peters their first Gr 1 Kingston Town Classic winner as well as winning for them also in 1998 their first Gr 2 WA Guineas.
Two of So Stunning's daughters, Bonus ( Haulpak ) 1989 and Lady Belvedere ( Royal Academy ) 1997 continued to front breedings for the Peters.
Bonus is the dam of Mississippi Belle ( Marooned ) 1997 who in turn is the dam of both Peters 2014 Gr 1 Railway Stakes winner Elite Belle ( Canny Lad ) 2008 and their 2020 Gr 2 Perth Cup winner Mississippi Delta ( High Chaparral ) 2013.
Pure Devotion ( So You Think ) 2017 is a great granddaughter of Lady Belvedere via Senora ( Fusaichi Pegasus ) 2005 and Paris Romance ( Redoute's Choice ) 2012, the latter also the dam of Fine Romance ( So You Think ) 2018 thus a full-sister to Pure Devotion.
Next we look at Miss Margaret ( Marscay ) born in 1992.
Miss Margaret was a Gr 1 winner for the Peters winning the South Australian Oaks ( 2500m ) and the Chrysler Stakes ( now the Cantala Stakes Gr 1, 1600m ).
From Miss Margaret's daughter the Listed winner Celebrity Miss ( More Than Ready ) 2008 came one of the Peters pinup girls in Celebrity Queen ( Redoute's Choice ) 2016 who won 7 of her 13 starts $728,940 including the Gr 1 Neds Oakleigh Plate ensuring her value as a broodmare. So much so that even Bob Peters could not resist entering her in the Inglis Chairmans Sale ( May 2021 ) where she was knocked down to the bid of a young Tom Magnier ( Coolmore Stud Australia ) for a whopping A$2.5 million.
Interestingly, Celebrity Queen's first four dams ( Celebrity Miss, Miss Margaret, Fancy Miss and Radiant Ann ) were all Stakes winners.
It has been previously stated that if one was writing a book on the history of breeding then Celebrity Queen could be used as a worthy example.
Looking at her pedigree page reflects considerable work having gone into her male line presences as well. There is her sire Redoute's Choice which brings in Danehill, there's Sir Tristram, Marscay, More Than Ready, all of them champions just as she was. A Gr 1 winner to be found at every level of her pedigree.
Little wonder Miss Margaret has remained a sentimental favourite of the Peters.
The third mare we look at is Flaming Heart ( Salieri ) 1993.
This mare had four daughters in Suspicion ( Mukddaam ) 1998, Heartbeat ( Rory's Jester ) 1999, Morning Mist ( Anabaa ) 2006 and Real Love ( Desert King ) 2010, the latter the winner of the 2015 Gr 2 Perth Cup for the Peters.
Breedings from Flaming Heart have primarily focussed on the latter pair with Morning Mist having produced the promising filly Devoted ( Xtravagant ) 2018 whilst it is early days as yet in the breeding shed for Real Love.
More to come from this family for sure.
The fourth of the Peters "foundation mares" is Reflected Image ( Bluebird ) 1996.
A winner of 4 of her 10 starts for $153,495 included in her wins was the Gr 3 WA Oaks of 1999.
This Northern Dancer-line mare ( via Storm Bird ) is one to keep an eye on through her three daughters the full-sisters New Image 2006, Ideal Image 2011 and Perfect Reflection 2012, all three by one of Peters favoured stallion's in More Than Ready ( who carries a key female balancing line of Northern Dancer, something that is always likely to be a big assist with the numerous male lines that abound in today's stallion pedigrees ).
Watch in particular the branch that evolves through Peters 2015 Gr 1 Kingston Town Classic winner Perfect Reflection.
By far the two greatest "foundation families" that Bob Peters has developed have come through Antique and Lady Ashford.
And when Bob Peters expresses his belief in a family he sure does follow through.
Antique ( Metal Storm ) 1999 has a hybrid ( outcrossed ) pedigree with no duplications within her first 5-generations and descends paternally from Peters favoured Nasrullah-line via Grey Sovereign.
Three of her visits to Redoute's Choice have produced fillies; the full-sisters Arcadia 2004, Broadway Belle 2005 and Antique Belle 2009.
And at this stage, from the first two Peters has struck gold.
Broadway Belle's successive matings ( a common practice identified with Peters breeding ventures ) to Pierro have left the highly successful colts Action 2014, a Gr 2 WATC Derby winner $486,700 and Regal Power 2015 who has a Gr 2 WATC Derby as well as two Gr 1's the Railway Stakes and the 2021 Kingston Town Classic to add to his burgeoning list of accomplishments.
If ever there was an example of breeding a horse for all distances then Regal Power epitomises it with career earnings to date of A$4,571,385 ( 9 wins from 27 starts ).
For all the promise that Broadway Belle has shown to date, she has however been outshone by her older full-sister Arcadia who has founded a much larger branch of this family for Peters.
Arcadia's six foals to race have all been winners.
Her son Arcadia Prince ( Pierro ) 2014 won 7 of his 13 starts earning $400,275 but even he was to be eclipsed by her numerous daughters which included the Listed winner Arcadia Rose ( Kheleyf ) 2010, Gr 2 WATC Derby winner Arcadia Dream ( Domesday ) 2012 and darling princess Arcadia Queen ( Pierro ) 2015, the latter a full-sister to Arcadia Prince.
Whilst Arcadia Rose was only lightly raced winning 3 of her 5 starts for $87,300, Arcadia Dream won 5 of her 12 starts for a very respectable $529,350.
But Arcadia Queen was to take things to a new plane, her 16 starts netting 8 wins including the 2018 Gr 2 WA Guineas and the 2018 Kingston Town Classic.
A move to the Eastern seaboard saw her capturethe 2019 Gr 2 Theo Marks Stakes and the Gr 1 MacKinnon Stakes whilst in 2020 she added a further Gr 1 with success in the Caulfield Stakes taking her life earnings to A$3,966,035 winning at distances ranging from 1300-2000m.
Arcadia Queen, like Celebrity Queen before her, was to be sold by Peters at the 2021 Magic Millions Broodmare Sale for A$3.3 million to the successful bid of Arrowfield Stud.
Arcadia Queen's 3rd dam Bonny Guest ( What Guest ) was also a formidable producer with 8 individual winners including the Gr 2 winner Kalatiara ( Metal Storm ), the dam of WATC Farley Stakes winner Kalahaar ( Choisir ) and the Listed winner Kentiara ( Metal Storm ), the latter a full-sister to Kalatiara.
One to keep an eye on moving forward may be Arcadia Grace ( Hinchinbrook ) 2018, a daughter of Arcadia Dream but we are sure most breeders eyes will be firmly on Arcadia Queen from Arcadia's branch of the Antique family.
The last, but by no means least of thesix Bob Peters "foundation families" focuses on Lady Ashford ( Royal Academy ) coincidentally also born in 1999, the same year as Antique.
Lady Ashford traces direct maternally ( tail female line ) to the much lauded matriarch La Troienne who she carries as her 8th dam via the latter's daughter Baby League so it is fair to say she was destined to commence a broodmare career on the front foot.
Being by Royal Academy, she is another Northern Dancer-line mare this time via Nijinsky II.
Her dam Springfire is sex-balance linebred to the female gems Mumtaz Begum ( via son Nasrullah and daughter Malindi ) and Striking ( via son Hitting Away and daughter Batter Up ) with Batter Up also being the 4th dam of Springfire.
The Peters have bred from four daughters of Lady Ashford; these being Star Encounter ( Jeune ) 2004, Galaxy Queen ( Jeune ) 2005, Sentimental Star ( More Than Ready ) 2006 and Favourite Star ( More Than Ready )2007.
Already we can see a breeding pattern beginning to emerge with repeat matings at least in part adhering to Mendel's Laws of Probability.
Bob Peters sent Star Encounter, winner of 8 of her 30 starts bankrolling $420,390 including success in the Listed Pinjarra Cup 2300m and a 2nd in the 2008 WA Oaks and a 3rd in the WA Derby the same year, to Redoute's Choice to produce Perfect Jewel 2014 ( winner of the 2017 WA Guineas as well as the La Trice Classic - both Gr 2's ).
Star Encounter's first foal Star Exhibit ( Statue Of Liberty ) 2011 won two Perth Cup's ( 2017 and 2019 ) whilst Perfect Jewel's full-sister Royal Star 2013 won a Listed Natasha Stakes.
Star Encounter also produced the filly Spritely Star ( Statue Of Liberty ) 2017 and has others to follow including a foal by Dundeel so more to come here.
Rather sadly, the same will not be the case for Galaxy Queen, winner of 5 of her 13 starts for $133,400 who died in 2013 having left just the two foals, both winners, the best being Galaxy Star ( Redoute's Choice ) 2012 who won the 2018 Gr 1 Railway Stakes, her 13 wins from 19 starts having amassed $1,541,000. Perhaps she can rekindle the Galaxy Queen arm of Lady Ashford in the years to come.
And just as Lady Ashford's daughters Star Encounter and Galaxy Queen are full-sisters by Jeune, another set of lesser racetrack performed daughters in Sentimental Star 2006 ( 1 win from 11 starts for a modest $17,705 ) and Favourite Star 2007 are also full-sisters by More Than Ready.
Sentimental Star has left the full-sister and brother Sentimental Queen 2016 ( 5 wins from 15 starts, $128,000 ) and Sentimental Hero 2017 ( 3 wins from 6 starts, $111,000 to date ) both by Al Maher, as well as another brother Sentimental Friend 2014 ( 2 wins to date $88,000 ).
Sentimental Star's full-sister Favourite Star ( 2 wins from 6 starts $25,050 ) has to date left the Listed winner Enticing Star ( Testa Rossa ) 2013 ( 8 wins from 10 starts $480,200 ) and a younger half-sister Devoted Star ( Al Maher ) the latter being a full-sister in blood to Sentimental Queen and Sentimental Hero.
Whilst Peters has continued to breed from and develop these "six foundation families" the extent of his homebred breeding endeavours does not stop just with them.
There are a number of fillies he has raced and then bred from , occasionally also purchasing a filly that catches his attention.
From the mare Reigning Belle ( Military Plume, by Sir Tristram ) 1994 ( 5 wins from 10 starts ) he bred Truly Special ( Jeune ) 2006 ( 3 wins from 4 starts ) who in turn is the dam of Truly Great ( Dundeel ) 2015, a winner of 8 of his 14 starts reaping $997,475 including the Gr 1 Kingston Town Classic of 2020.
Truly Special has also left Special Alert ( Not A Single Doubt ) 2014 whose 2 wins from 11 starts $177,990 have included the 2018 WA Oaks Gr 3.
Another family potentially on the rise.
Dark Amber ( Marscay ) 1997 produced Cohort ( Scenic ) 2004 ( 6 wins from 14 starts, $216,925 , winner of both the Belmont Guineas and Belmont Classic in 2008 ) but his half-sister Dark Miss ( More Than Ready ) 2008 ( 5 wins from 25 starts, $167,410 ) has left three fillies; Dark Choice ( Redoute's Choice ) 2015 ( 1 win from 4 starts being the Gr 3 WA Oaks , $156,800 ), Dark Lass ( Redoute's Choice ) 2017 and the promising Mrs America ( American Pharoah ) 2018 ( 2 wins to date from 3 starts, $26,350 ) hence leaving Peters with plenty of scope to nuture this family to greater achievements.
Another good Peters mare Magical Miss descends directly from Lyphard's maternal family featuring Goofed close up in her damline.
Magical Miss ( Danehill ) 1998 had 4 wins from 16 starts for $1,039, 750 including the Gr 2 Memsie Stakes where she lowered the colours of the great Fields Of Omagh. Also included in her wins were the Gr 1 VATC One Thousand Guineas defeating Ha Ha and the Gr 1 VRC Oaks for trainer Bart Cummings winning at distances ranging from 1410-2500m.
From Magical Miss Peters has bred Mystical Miss ( More Than Ready ) 2010 ( 3 wins from 12 starts $49,710 ) who in turn has left Mystical View ( Canford Hills ) 2017 ( 2 wins from 6 starts to date $60,910 ).
From the mare Purfect Size ( Catbird ) 2003, who traces direct maternally to the great matriarch Chelandry, Peters has bred the filly Real Charm ( Reset ) 2010 ( 5 wins from 13 starts $249,710 ) and her full-brother Picture Perfect 2015 not forgetting her other son of Reset in Mystic Prince who landed success in the 2013 WATC Derby Gr 2.
Peters early liking for the stallion Metal Storm has also yielded rewarding success with his daughters Storm Alert 2001 having produced Windstorm ( Redoute's Choice ) 2016 ( 7 wins from 10 starts, $345,470 including the Weekend Hussler Stakes ) and Stormy Nova ( also a 2001 model ) having produced Superstorm ( Sebring ) 2016 ( 4 wins from 18 starts, $2,929,050 including the Gr 1 VRC Cantala Stakes defeating Icebath and Cascadian and the Gr 2 MVRC Feehan Stakes ).
And if this was not enough, Peters also has another mare by Metal Storm on the boil and a potential favourite( as he raced her ) in Avenida Madero 1998.
This mare won 13 races for Peters from 40 starts amassing $594,335 including the Gr 2 ( Sir ) Lee Steere Stakes, the Gr 3 Roma Cup , the Gr 3 A.J.Scahill Stakes and finishing runner-up to top class Eastern raider Miss Andretti in the 2005 Winterbottom Stakes.
Avenida Madero is the dam of Respondent ( Haradasun ) 2010 ( 5 wins from 46 starts, $709,040 including victory in the 2014 Gr 2 WA Derby ) and his full-brother State Attorney 2014.
But this mare's greatest accomplishment at Stud has been leaving the filly Graceful Girl ( by Nature Strip's sire Nicconi ), a half-sister to Respondent and State Attorney.
Graceful Girl was part of Peters clean sweep of the West Australian Triple Crown of Group 1's in 2021 and for that reason will always have a special place in Peters heart, her Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes ( 1200m ) win being centre stage of her 6 wins to date for lifetime earnings of $798,700 easily eclipsing both her mother Avenida Madero and her half-brother Respondent.
Bob Peters also raced Western Jewels dam Our Millster ( by Marooned, therefore also from the Nasrullah sireline as with his Metal Storm mares ) 1999.
Putting Our Millster to an old favourite ( Jeune ) he produced Western Jewel 2006 who was to win the 2012 Gr 2 Perth Cup ( 2400m ).
In 2013 Western Jewel produced Western Temple ( Dream Ahead ) who landed 7 wins from 43 starts including the Listed Bunbury Stakes 1400m for earnings of $572,900 whilst her 2016 filly Western Queen ( a full-sister to Western Temple ) appears to have gone unraced.
Western Jewel was the mare that many readers may recall Peters sent to New Zealand and left at Haunui Farm for several seasons to be covered by their shuttle stallion Iffraaj only to return home when Iffraaj discontinued shuttling.
As luck would have it, Western Jewel produced three colts to Iffraaj albeit Peters praying that one of her foals to Iffraaj could have been a filly.
Her first Iffraaj colt named Western Empire 2017 has the potential to be Peters best racehorse, possibly even better than Regal Power.
He has been a revelation on the racetrack to date winning both the 2021 Gr 1 Railway Stakes ( 1600m ) as well as the Gr 2 WA Derby. His win in the Railway Stakes by four lengths also saw him start the shortest price favourite in the 134 year history of the race.
From just the 13 starts to date Western Empire has won 7 times already bankrolling $1,367,550 and it feels like he has just arrived as the new kid on the block.
Western Knight 2018 and Western Power 2020 are to follow ( both also by Iffraaj ) as is a Toronado filly so this family has the makings of a progressive newer family for Peters and one promising a big upward spiral.
Bob Peters purchased Midnight Special ( Zabeel ) 2005 as a yearling.
She won a race for himbut was always destined for the breeding barn having quickly made her mark as the dam of multiple Stakes winner Neverland ( Big Brown ) and the New Zealand GR 2 Easter Handicap winner Demonetization ( All Too Hard ).
Midnight Special is also the dam of Midnight Blue ( So You Think ), a gelding that has now won 5 from 19 for Peters including the 2022 Perth Cup ( Gr 2, 2400m ) and earning his keep with a healthy $514,050 in career earnings to date.
So it came as no surprise that Peters should part with $190,000 at the 2017 NZB Yearling Sales to purchase a Reliable Man filly whose dam Be Inspired was a full-sister to Midnight Special.
Yet another shrewd investment by Bob Peters as the resultant filly ( named Inspirational Girl ) was to land Peters the Gr 1 Railway Stakes ( 1600m ) in 2020, now having recorded 9 wins from 13 starts and $1,121,625 in winnings to date.
For those interested, and as an aside, Be Inspired is also the dam of Brookspire ( Hinchinbrook ) a young filly currently in the stable of Chris Waller ( where she has won 1 from only the 3 starts to date ) for owner Brae Sokolski ( a part-owner of 2021 Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant ).
One mare worth keeping a close eye on in her breeding exploits is the Peters former top class filly ( now mare ) Delicacy ( Al Maher - Simply Wicked, by Scenic ) 2011.
Delicacy was voted the Australian 2014-15 3YO Of The Year ( defeating Winx in the voting ) in a season that saw her win 2 Derby's ( WA and SA ) and 2 Oaks ( WA and SA ).
In the SA Derby 2500m she defeated a subsequent Hong Kong Horse Of The Year in Werther.
She was to back up the following year with victory in the 2016 WA Perth Cup Gr 2.
She is definitely another one to watch in the near future.
A few other Peters mares to watch in terms of developing new breeding lines ( families ) are:
Dreamaway ( More Than Ready - Legal Consent, by Danehill ) 2007 ( 6 wins from 30 starts $804,100 including the 2011 Gr 2 WA Derby and the Gr 3 WA Oaks ). This mare's dam Legal Consent is a half-sister to one of Peters "foundation mares" in Miss Margaret.
Dreamaway is the dam of Brave Dream 2016, a son of Declaration Of War.
First Impressions ( Rip Van Winkle - Striker, by Van Nistelrooy ) 2012, her 3 wins including the Gr 3 2016 WA Oaks.
Shining Star ( Exceed And Excel - Off The Planet, by Fusaichi Pegasus ) 2012 who descends direct maternally to Denise's Joy via Joy And Fun.
Show Honey ( Showcasing - Pretty Ready, by More Than Ready ) 2013 who earned nearly $200,000 on the racetrack mostly in New Zealand and is from the Gr 1 winning family of Rising Romance ( now a highly successful broodmare in the band at Arrowfield Stud ). This mare was due to foal to American Pharoah in 2021.
Fairy Fast ( Unencumbered - Fairessa, by Encosta De Lago ) who won 3 of her 6 starts $39,065.
Tuscan Queen ( Fastnet Rock - Tavarnelle, by Zabeel ) 2016 6 wins from 10 starts $580,750 including the Gr 2 WA Derby and the Gr 3 WA Oaks both in 2020.
Memorable Miss ( Showcasing - Misstrum, by Stratum ) 2017
Airlie Queen ( Artie Schiller - Flying Hope, by Flying Spur ) 2017
Magical Dream ( Dream Ahead - Mystic Hour, by Redoute's Choice ) 2017 4 wins from 7 starts $160,210 who traces direct maternally to Humour ( her 3rd dam ).
Treasured Star ( Toronado - Treasured Gift, by Big Brown ) 2018 3 wins from 5 starts to date $324,600 including the Gr 2 WA Guineas.
It would of course be remiss of us not to touch on a few male horses other than those already mentioned that have carried Bob and Sandra Peters famous cerise and white colours to success over the years. Some of these include;
Congressman ( Ksar - Approvetor, by Approval ) 1983 ( 7 wins from 32 starts, $421,380 including the Gr 2 VATC Herbert Power Handicap when trained on the Eastern seaboard by George Hanlon and narrowly beaten by Imposera in the 1988 Caulfield Cup ). Hanlon, trainer of three Melbourne Cup winners, also trained both Spectrum ( Old Spice ) 1993 and Centisle ( Centaine ) 1990 for Peters, the latter including amongst 6 wins the Gr 1 SAJC Goodwood Handicap and the Gr 3 MVRC Tesio Stakes for lifetime earnings of $327,450.
Field Officer ( Old Spice - Carre D'or, by Le Cordonnier ) 1989 ( 3 wins from 33 starts $268,460 including the 1993 Gr 2 Perth Cup whilst also finishing runner-up to Dark Ksar in the 1995 Gr 2 C.B.Cox Stakes ).
Crown Prosecutor ( Grand Lodge - Dark Hope, by At Talaq ) 2000 ( 7 wins from 27 starts $404,655 including the Gr 2 Perth Cup in 2005.
His 4th dam Clearaway ( Le Filou ) being a half-sister to Te Awa ( Foxbridge ) the latter the dam of the very talented New Zealand galloper of the 60's in Tatua.
Lords Ransom ( Jeune - Palace Alice, by Palace Music ) 2003 ( 9 wins from 18 starts $722,370 including the 2010 Gr 2 Perth Cup and the Gr 2 C.B.Cox Stakes as well as running 2nd to Guyno in the 2008 Bunbury Cup ).
Zaratite ( Animal Kingdom - Zarakiysha, by Kendor ) 2015 has been a racewinner for Peters as has True Attraction ( More Than Ready - Significant, by Flying Spur ) 2015 ( 4 wins from 10 starts to date $217,345 including the Listed Aquanita Stakes ).
True Attraction's dam Significant is a half-sister to Crown Prosecutor ( as above ).
Other Peters male horses still racing in recent times include the likes of Expressionist ( Pierro - Tranquility, by Redoute's Choice ) 2016, Giant Leap ( Iffraaj - Moonbound, by Catbird ) 2016, Treasured Crown ( So You Think - Jewelled, by Zabeel ) 2016 who traces direct maternally to Mrs Moss ( his 5th dam ), Conquered Zone ( Eurozone - Conquistar, by Danasinga ) 2016, Secret Plan ( I Am Invincible - Highly Secret, by High Chaparral )2017 and Bogart ( Redoute's Choice - Avante, by Hurricane Sky ) 2016.
Whilst being the first to acknowledge that we have included by no means all of the Peters notable gallopers and some not so notable, we have mentioned a good number of them many of which will get further mention in Part III of our Bob Peters story when looking more closely at the breeding methods he has deployed.
As a parting shot to Part II of the Bob Peters story, one further male horse to keep an eye on moving forward is a colt named Affluential.
Affluential is a full-brother to the 2021 Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant and a $140,000 purchase by Peters out of the 2020 NZB Yearling Sales.
In Part III of the Bob Peters story we will look at some of his racing and breeding achievements, his future ambitions in the racing game as well as looking at some of the breeding methods and techniques he has deployed to reach the level of success that both he and Sandra have enjoyed over such a vast period of time.
Relaying the Bob Peters story in an abridged manner is almost impossible with a biography doing far more justice.
This is simply because the Western Australia owner/breeder has been a colossus in any venture he chooses to tackle. His is a story of true heart and soul.
His achievements unprecedented in Australian thoroughbred breeding and racing as a private individual. Bob Peters does not choose the limelight, rather the limelight has chosen him.
In this article, comprising three parts, whilst we talk about Bob's achievements we would also like to acknowledge the role of his dedicated wife Sandra as a co-owner/breeder and of course shareholder in Peters Investments, the financial vehicle that has facilitated ongoing success.
We have chosen to split the Bob Peters story into three parts ( to be posted individually ).
Bob Peters: Part I - King Of The West - Background, Philosophies and Achievements.
Bob Peters: Part II - Development of Homebred Families - An exercise in patience, persistence, satisfaction and reward.
Bob Peters: Part III - Discernible Breeding Patterns and Unfinished Business.
Today, Bob Peters is referred to as the "King of the West " a title that may not sit altogether comfortably for a man who is best described by others as quiet and humble, gentlemanly, of polite manner and comforting yet somewhat guarded. And certainly, nothing is to be taken for granted.
Along with his wife Sandra, the year 2021 has been stellar for the couple as both owners and breeders culminating in creating history by being the first to make a clean sweep of Ascot's ( Perth ) Triple Crown, the three Group 1 events; the Railway Stakes ( 1600m ) with Western Empire ( Iffraaj ), the Winterbottom Stakes ( 1200m ) with Graceful Girl ( Nicconi ) and the Kingston Town Classic ( 1800m ) with Regal Power ( Pierro ), all three winners being homebred and therefore adding extra satisfaction and so much more to their levels of achievement.
Such a pinnacle of success has not been instant but rather a result of nearly 50 years of hands on thoroughbred breeding.
When Bob Peters "retired" in 1973 at the tender age of 30 and acquired has first two racehorses, both winners, and a handful of yearling fillies he had "caught the bug" and was in it for the long haul.
From 1973 until the present day horses owned and mostly bred by the Peters have won 10 Pert Cups ( Gr 2, 2400m ), 7 Kingston Town Classics ( Gr 1, 1800m ), 6 Railway Stakes ( Gr 1, 1600m ), 11 WATC Derby's ( Gr 2, 2400m ), 11 WATC Oak's ( Gr3, 2400m ) 4 WA Guineas ( Gr 2, 1600m ) and 2 Winterbottom Stakes ( Gr 1, 1200m ).
Their honour roll of big race winners include such names as Congressman, Old Comrade, Real Love, Miss Margaret, Delicacy, Perfect Reflection, Galaxy Star, Star Exhibit, Enticing Star Celebrity Queen, Arcadia Queen and Regal Power.
The above achievements are testimony to Bob Peters over-riding breeding philosophy of focussing on soundness and horses that can perform at all distances.
This fundamental philosophy has withstood the test of time as the peters have enjoyed more than 200 Stakessuccesses throughoutthe above period with close to 1500 other wins outside of Stakes races.
Also combining in a good deal of this success has been the Peters mainstream trainers Grant and Alana Williams and jockey William Pike ( aka the "Wizard of the West" ).
Bob Peters was born in 1943 ( right in the middle of World War II ) on his parents farm at Dalwallinu ( located north east of Perth ) , his first association with horses being learning to ride them bareback.
Growing up on the farm nurtured his affinity with animals and shaped his desire to want to become a farmer but he was also a gifted student ultimately earning an all fees paid prized scholarship to the prestigious Hale School, something he was to surprisingly decline simply because he did not want to go there.
Upon leaving school, Bob Peters worked a couple of "starter" jobs through the early to mid-60's, firstly for an Insurance company and then as a "Boring contractor" sinking well holes ( for water ) mostly in the Wheat Belt before then joining the Sales team at Western Motors where it took him only one month to become the top Salesman.
So very much shades of Gerry Harvey ( Harvey Norman ) here who has widely espoused his days starting out as a door to door salesman hard selling established brands of vacuum cleaners the likes of Electrolux amongst others.
And like Gerry Harvey in his chosen profession, Bob Peters within short time and with a lot of hard work and long hours having been head-hunted by another car sales mogul was soon establishing his own car sales franchises under the Premier Motors banner and very quickly becoming a significant figure in the Car Sales industry in Western Australia.
So much so that at the age of 30 Bob Peters was a self-made multi-millionaire operating 9 Dealerships , employing over 600 staff under 11 Sales Managers' and selling more than 10,000 vehicles a year, BMW and Honda being his principal franchises.
The year was 1973 and it was time to "retire" and pursue his boyhood dream of becoming a farmer.
He purchased a parcel of land from Robert Holmes A'Court at Keysbrook, increased and developed the holding creating the showpiece that is today known as "Yalebra".
But so-called "early retirement" was to last only as long as three months for the young entrepreneur.
Having met with instant success with his first two racehorses purchased and in the same year being head-hunted and made Master of the West Australian Hunt Club leading on to other racing administration opportunites primarily utilising his "strategic thinking skills" as a key facet of his overall business acumen, Bob was also focussed on another opportunity much closer to home.
In a short space of time Yalebra was also standing stallions; firstly Ksar ( 1970 ) a Blenheim line stallion via Donatello II and Alycidon, and then Old Spice ( 1980 ) a Star Kingdom line horse via the latter's son Kaoru Star.
This also laid the platform for Bob Peters to accumulate mares to go to these stallions and seeding the foundations of his introduction to thoroughbred bloodlines and pedigrees.
As could only be expected, Bob Peters was a quick and astute learner with Old Spice in particular paving the way for early black type success through his sons and daughters.
In 1990, Old Spice's daughter Natasha provided the peters with the first of their 11 WATC Derby successes ( she also won the WA Oaks in the same year ) to be followed in 1993 by son Field Officer winning the first of their 10 Perth Cups.
In 1998 another son Old Nick added a Kingston Town Classic ( their first of 7 ) as well as a WA Guineas ( the first of 4 ) whilst Old Money added their second WATC Derby in 2000 ( emulating the feat of Natasha by also capturing the WA Oaks in the same year ) but perhaps the best of their Old Spice progeny was Old Comrade, winner of the 2001 Railway Stakes ( the first of 6 for the Peters ) as well as winning back-to-back in 2001 and 2002 in the Kingston Town Classic.
Many readers may also remember Old Comrade's victory over fellow Statesider Northerly in the Gr 1 2000m Australian Cup of 2002, a race that Northerly was to claim for himself just 12 months later in 2003.
Old Comrade's victories would have been the source of immense satisfaction for Peters, a true homebred product being by Peters stallion Old Spice and out of the mare Belgravia who was by Peters other stallion of the time in Ksar.
Old Spice was also to claim fame as being the sire of the 1999 Melbourne Cup winner, the Bart Cummings trained Rogan Josh ( although not owned by the Peters ).
The great "Carnivals of the Eighties" where "East Met West" saw the West as the home of some of Australia's biggest owners the likes through their burgeoning business success the likes of Robert Holmes A'Court, Laurie Connell, Dallas Dempster and John Roberts all being acclaimed entrepreneurial titans.
Whilst Bob Peters had the financial muscle to have "mixed it" with the "big boys" he preferred a much quieter path away from the limelight.
Rather than spend vast sums of money on glamourous yearlings at the various National Yearling Sales like many of those listed above, Peters quickly discovered he gleaned far more satisfaction out of the challenge of breeding and developing his own champions, a course he has maintained to reach the level of success he has today, one of near total dominance.
Put another way and using Peters own terminology he discovered "It's all about families and foundation mares". We will add to this "and then it's all about breeding them to the best compatible stallion one can access and afford".
Bob Peters chose a path that would see him "in the game" for the "long haul" and with this he has acquired immense breeding knowledge so much so that today he is the envy of even the largest Commercial breeders in Australia.
Through nearly five decades of breeding from predominantly a half a dozen or so "foundation mares" and their families which he has patiently developed over time it is little wonder that Bob Peters draws the following accolades from some of the Industry's finest participants.
"Bob Peters is an unbelievable breeder, and anything that he is associated with is always of a high calibre, and we are just delighted to get her" the words of Tom Magnier ( Coolmore Stud )just after they had secured Celebrity Queen for A$2.5 million at the May 2021 Inglis Chairman's Sale.
"Bob is quite strategic, he's a long term thinker, and he's not after overnight results which I feel is one of the main reasons he has been so successful as an owner/breeder" the words of John Messara ( Arrowfield Stud ).
So what may be the key elements to Peters real success as a highly successful owner/breeder?
First and foremost, by breeding from your own mares and entering the long game ( breeding to race rather than breeding for the Sales ) you get to know your breed far more comprehensively in terms of the specifics of what each individual requires.
This may come about from identifying the weaknesses in her progeny as racing types and setting out to correct these in future stallion matings.
Conversely good quality racing types may highlight that a mare gets on particularly well with one stallion to entice multiple matings with that stallion. For example, Broadway Belle appears to have "clicked" with Pierro producing for Peters the top gallopers Action and Regal Power.
Some of Peters families he has been breeding for five generations now. They have stood the test of time.
This allows useful comparisons to be made with individuals within the greater family allowing identification of typical or non-typical traits and attributes, strengths and deficiencies, all of which add up to shaping potential stallion selection for each mare.
It is generally recognised that Bob Peters has been very conscientious with his matings and always paying attention to detail.
Like many breeders, in his formative years even Bob Peters had his favourites, many of which can still be found in the maternal pedigrees of his horses racing today.
For example, he liked mares by Metal Storm and Jeune ( both of whom carried the Nasrullah paternal presence through Grey Sovereign ) and also Marscay.
In more recent times we see the presences of More Than Ready ( he carries a favourable female balancing line of Northern Dancer ) and Redoute's Choice shining through in his mares. Both of these male presences have also acted as substantial upgraders for his families.
In the case of Redoute's Choice , from his early days at Stud, Peters was a keen supporter. He bred of raced six mares by this stallion ( Antique Belle, Broadway Belle, Galaxy Star, Perfect Jewel, Royal Star and Very Tempting ) to win 9 Stakes races between them with only Very Tempting not being out of a mare by either Metal Storm or Jeune, both favourite broodmare sires of Peters from the Nasrullah/Grey Sovereign sireline which he so admired.
Very Tempting was a $420,000 Magic Millions purchase and out of a More Than Ready mare, another favourite of Peters. She traced directly direct maternally to Federico Tesio's great mare Donatella ( her 6th dam ). No wonder Very Tempting won the 2017 Gr 3 WA Oaks with a pedigree backgound like that.
Al Maher has been another stallion well-supported in more recent times.
Rather than standing stallions at his own property "Yalebra" ( these days needed for his burgeoning band of broodmares along with young stock whilst others reside at Holbrook Thoroughbreds in the Hunter Valley ), Peters has elected to take shares in select stallions which currently include the likes of Vancouver, Xtravagant, Animal Kingdom, Dundeel and Tosen Stardom.
Whilst this policy has often been the downfall of many a breeder ( as it can limit flexibility of stallion choice ) this has not been the case for Bob Peters and his targeted breeding plans. As a group they represent the blend that Peters seeks for his families including some newly developing families outside of his "foundation families".
Bob Peters will be the first to concede that most of his breeding has been targeted towards middle distance but he is wise enough to confess that he has also bred a lot of apparent sprinting types ( particularly in more recent times ) or "turn of foot" types.
Regal Power has demonstrated the latter in his most recent Kingston Town Classic victory but one just gets the feeling here that such qualities are more demonstative of the way the overall breed is heading as more and more stallion's are being bred on speed/stamina crosses and vice/versa rather than being bred for outright stamina ( both sides of the pedigree ) or outright speed ( again via both sides of the pedigree ).
Bob Peters has never been scared of using good stallions to upgrade his families.And sometimes that means supporting the very best.
He has been a consistent supporter of the late Redoute's Choice since the early days of his Stud career and has at least six valuable fillies/mares by him that have nine black type credits amongst them.
Pierro is a good example of a stallion that Peters also identified early on as suiting his families and with which he was willing to chance his arm in his early days as an unproven stallion.
Peters has bred and raced Stakes winners Arcadian Prince and Action from his first crop and from his second crop Arcadian Queen and Regal Power.
From these outcomes Bob Peters has carved a reputation in the breeding industry as " a good man to assist a stallion" this being further evidenced by a stallion standing his 5th season in Australia in 2021 and desperately in need of a flagbearer in American Pharoah.
The Peters bred and owned Mrs America appears to have come along at just the right time whilst she also has a two year old brother and a yearling full-sister also waiting in the wings.
The majority of the Peters better racehorses that they have bred trace to the following six mares ( call them the Peters "foundation mares" if you like ) - Antique, Lady Ashford, Miss Margaret, So Stunning, Flaming Heart and Reflected Image.
Whilst all have contributed to the Peters cause, there can be no denying that Antique and Lady Ashford ( both born in 1999 ) have made the greatest contributions.
We will briefly look at the contribution each has made identifying the more notable performers from each stirp. This will be done via a chronological order via the birth date of each of the so-called "foundation mares".
Brief mention will also be made of some more recent families Bob Peters is also beginning to develop.
All this in Part II of our Bob Peters story.
Ask any knowledgeable thoroughbred breeder who the most influential broodmare in New Zealand has been in the last 50 years and only a cynic would suggest an answer other than Eight Carat.
Although Eight Carat ( Pieces Of Eight - Klairessa ) was born in 1975, evidence of her legacy shines just as strongly today with her maternal descendant Verry Elleegant achieving a dominant victory in the 2021 Melbourne Cup on her way to her 10th Group 1 win.
So we here at Premier Pedigrees thought we would take a look at the female lines that trace from her to the present day that have remained in New Zealand and from where future breeding opportunities may emanate.
Who knows, just like 83 year old Don Goodwin ( breeder of Verry Elleegant ), you too may be able to breed the elite racetrack performer that traces directly to Eight Carat.
But firstly, we need to identify where these opportunities may occur, just like digging for diamonds.
Not all may be found deep down, some might be found up nearer the surface.
We recall many years ago a much younger Sir Patrick Hogan being asked a question, "What advice would you give to a keen young entrant entering the world of thoroughbred breeding?".
Sir Patrick's response was to the effect of that young breeder purchasing an old/older mare from the best possible Commercial family and breeding her to a sire one could afford, praying the outcome would be a filly foal for retention.
The moral of the advice being that the young breeder then had "the bloodline" as an anchor for future breeding endeavours.
Sage advice but how many breeders' have followed it over the years?
Sons of Eight Carat have been household names through the late 80's and 90's the likes of Kaapstad, Octagonal, Mouawad and Colombia but what is less well known is that Eight Carat had five daughters who went on to being producers.
These included Cotehele House ( 1980 ), Diamond Lover ( 1982 ), La Brillante ( 1986 ), Nine Carat ( 1989 ) and Marquise ( 1991 ).
Whilst Cotehele House, Diamond Lover and Marquise are very familiar names to New Zealand breeders establishing their own arms of the Eight Carat dynasty, both La Brillante and Nine Carat are less known for their accomplishments. Why?
Looking first at Nine Carat ( Sir Tristram - Eight Carat ), she was retained by Patrick and Justine Hogan as a broodmare and after having a filly first up named Silence Is Gold ( exported to Australia ) her next two foals were colts but alas she was to die prematurely at only 8 years of age without further produce or the chance to extend Eight Carat's legacy in New Zealand.
La Brillante ( Sir Tristram - Eight Carat ) was a full-sister to Nine Carat albeit three years older.
She ended up in the capable hands of Windsor Park Stud producing three consecutive fillies; 02 Glitters ( Thunder Gulch ) who was exported to Australia therefore having no NZ breeding record, 03 Diamantaire ( Montjeu ) who was to be retained by Windsor Park for breeding purposes and 04 Clarens ( Star Way ) who was also to be retained by Windsor Park for breeding purposes.
Clarens produced a filly in 2011 named Ponte Vedra ( Volksraad ) and was listed as being due to Vanbrugh in 2018 but was sold with no further returns having been registered. To date Ponte Vedra is also recorded as having no registered NZ progeny so this wing appears shrouded in mystery.
Thankfully, the same cannot be said for La Brillante's tentacle through daughter Diamantaire. Windsor Park have bred her through commencing with her filly 08 Artemis ( Thorn Park ), 09 Jagersfontein ( Volksraad ), 11 The Centenary ( Mastercraftsman )who has been exported to South Africa without going to Stud in NZ, 18 an unnamed filly by Turn Me Loose and due to foal in 21 to Vanbrugh.
Both Artemis and Jagersfontein have ended up with private breeders in New Zealand.
Artemis produced a filly in 14 Eighteen Carat ( Rip Van Winkle ) and a second filly in 17 Dyzee ( Darci Brahma ) both bred by Ms D M Reed whilst for T.O.Harrison she has an 18 unnamed filly ( Darci Brahma ) and is due to foal in 21 to Sweynesse also for the last-mentioned breeder.
Whilst Dyzee has yet to be put to the stallion, Eighteen Carat has commenced breeding duties with her first foaling in 18 producing a filly Ruby Sunrise ( Sweynesse ) for Hedwood Thoroughbreds Ltd and is due to foal again to Sweynesse in 21 for Hedwood Thoroughbreds Ltd and Explosive Breeding Ltd.
Jagersfontein has a 19 unnamed filly ( Contributer ) and is due to foal in 21 also to Contributer for her breeders B.O.Bluett and B & M Quigley.
With the Nine Carat branch seemingly disappeared from New Zealand shores, there remains more hope for the La Brillante branch through her daughter Diamantaire and granddaughters Artemis and Jagersfontein and their subsequent daughters but there is a lot of ground to be made up on Eight Carat's three imposing branches through Cotehele House, Diamond Lover and Marquise.
In no specific order other than chronological we will now commence with looking at Cotehele House ( My Swanee - Eight Carat ) who as we all know is currently very pertinent with the 2021 Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant being 4x4 maternally inbred ( both sides of her pedigree ) to Cotehele House via her daughters Theme Song ( granddam of Zed ) and Chalet Girl ( granddam of Opulence ).
To see where these two fit in we will quickly list the daughters of Cotehele House.
These include 85 Chalet Girl ( Imposing ), 86 Wycombe ( Imposing ), 87 Theme Song ( Sackford ) all bred by Ra Ora Stud, as well as 99 Cotoletta ( Gold Ace - to an Australian service ) and 01 House Mouse ( Zabeel ) with the latter two being bred by R.A.Scarborough.
Each of the five daughters of Cotehele House listed above have had no breeding record in New Zealand, all being Australian domiciled.
So how then did the likes of Verry Elleegant come to be born in New Zealand?
Verry Elleegant's dam is Opulence ( 2005 ), by Danroad.
Opulence descends through Cotehele House's eldest daughter Chalet Girl.
Put to King's Theatre, Chalet Girl had a filly named Mulan Magic who in turn became the dam of Opulence.
Mulan Magic ( 1999 ) was bred by Glen Logan Park Pty Ltd and imported to New Zealand where in 2005 she had her first foal Opulence for her breeders Ms N Chu & R.C.Y.Hui.
In 2008 Mulan Magic produced her second filly Moonofklairessa ( Towkay ), this time bred by K.J.Hickman who continued to breed from her until the end of 2016 when she ceased breeding.
Other fillies left by Mulan Magic included 09 Hermione ( Viking Ruler ), 13 Voodoo Doll ( Sakhee's Secret ), 15 Magical Way ( Thewayyouare ) and 16 Petit Leon ( Shamexpress ).
So how have each of the daughters of Mulan Magic fared?
Short answer, with mixed fortune.
We will follow their breeding ventures through in chronological order with an emphasis on potential filly successors.
Opulence has left only two filly foals to date, 11 Black Lace ( Towkay ), 15 Verry Elleegant ( Zed ) and is due to foal in 21 to Zed, all bred by J.D.Goodwin. Is there another filly in the ofting?
Black Lace, in the current ownership of N.Bishara and M.Duffie, was exported to Australia in 2021 so one assumes as a 10 year old mare that she is being put to a Commercial Australian stallion or has been sold.
Moonofklairessa is under the ownership of Mrs D.M.Ward. She has not produced a filly foal to date but is due to foal in 2021 to Zed. Is there a filly on the way at last?
Hermione is listed in the ownership of J.D.Corcoran and no surprises has a 20 unnamed filly by Zed. She was again due to foal to Zed in 21. Another filly? Perhaps.
Voodoo Doll, in the ownership of K.J.Hickman, sadly died young and without leaving any progeny.
Magical Way is in the ownership of Miss A.Vaneckova and has no breeding record to date.
Petit Leon is in the ownership of K.J.Hickman and is due to foal her first foal in 21 to Ten Sovereigns.
From the above we can see that there is every chance that the Cotehele House branch of Eight Carat can make a growing impact in New Zealand but it also has considerable ground to make up on the Marquise and Diamond Lover stirps of Eight Carat.
Diamond Lover ( Sticks And Stones ) came into the possession of Sir Patrick Hogan presumably as part of the package when he acquired Eight Carat from Robert Sangster's Swettenham Stud.
She is listed as having five filly foals ( a freakish common pattern in this family ) namely 89 Sparkle 'N Shine ( Sir Tristram ), 90 Tristalove ( Sir Tristram ), 01 Diamond Smile ( Zabeel ), 02 Otto Carate ( Zabeel ) and 03 Special Diamond ( Zabeel ).
Of these five granddaughters of Eight Carat, three became producers in New Zealand, two of them significantly.
Tristalove is recorded as having no New Zealand produce, being exported to Australia at an early date whilst Otto Carate is listed as having no live produce over a seven to eight year period.
Sparkle 'N Shine produced three filly foals namely 97 Muto Princess ( Rhythm ), 03 Mille Luce ( O'Reilly ) and 10 Hortensia ( Duelled ).
Whilst Mille Luce and Hortensia were exported to Australia and China respectively without breeding in New Zealand, Muto Princess was bred from locally producing the fillies 02 Princess Petrushka ( Stravinsky ) and 04 Double Tryst ( Zabeel ) with both being exported to Australia at an early date along with the mare.
So it appears the end of the Sparkle 'N Shine tentacle of Diamond Lover in New Zealand for now unless rejuvenated somewhere down the track in similar fashion to how Cotehele House was through Mulan Magic's importation from Australia.
But in Diamond Smile and Special Diamond there is far brighter hope for the continuance of the Diamond Lover stirp in New Zealand.
Special Diamond has quite noticeably been bred to top shelf Commercial sires vindicating some faith in her potential. Her first two fillies 14 True Excelsior ( Exceed And Excel ) and 16 Heart Of The Ocean ( Tavistock ) have both been exported to Australia without producing in New Zealand but her next three fillies 17 Deepdene ( Tavistock ), 20 unnamed ( Tavistock ) and 21 unnamed ( Almanzor ) all carry the name of B & J Lindsay so remain in New Zealand for now whilst the mare continues to be bred from albeit in the twilight of her breeding career.
Diamond Smile, in contrast to Special Diamond, has had to forge a much tougher path, largely away from top shelf Commercial stallions.
Despite this, for now, Diamond Smile is Diamond Lover's brightest scion.
Over a period from 06 to 14 Diamond Smile produced five fillies ( there's that pattern again ) namely 06 Cool Diamond ( One Cool Cat ), 08 Capital Diamond ( Lucky Unicorn ), 09 Diamonds Forever ( Keeper ), 11 Passion Cut ( Pins ) and 14 Capblamo ( Cape Blanco ).
Cool Diamond's only two fillies to date are 17 Azzura ( Tavistock ) bred by the Hogan's and owned by L.Ridge & Ms M.E.Slagter ( and currently in training with Catherine Cameron ) and 20 unnamed ( Embellish ) filly in the name of Mrs C.Peri who currently has Cool Diamond due to foal in 21 to Staphanos.
Capital Diamond was a talented racemare who died in 2019 but not beforeproducing two fillies, in 14 Gift Of Power ( Power ) who was sold at the Magic Millions Broodmare Sale ( from memory ) in 2021 for just shy of $1 million and will now be bred from in Australia, and 19 Dazzled ( Pierro ) who is currently owned by B & J Lindsay. What an investment both could turn out to be?
Diamonds Forever died prematurely in 2020 but not before leaving two fillies for the Hogan's in 14 Kimberley Star ( Tavistock ) and her full-sister 16 Sparkling Lady ( Tavistock ).
Both of these young daughters of Diamonds Forever have recently commenced breeding careers in the hands of private breeders with Kimberley Star's first foal an unnamed 20 filly by Preferment for Nick King whilst Sparkling Lady is due to foal her first foal to Ferrando in 21 for Graeme Rogerson.
Passion Cut has had two fillies for the Hogan's namely 17 Circuit Breaker ( Power ), currently in training with Stephen Marsh, and an 18 unnamed filly by Tavistock, with the mare due to foal to Proisir in 21 for Peter Setchell.
Capblamo, still listed as being in the ownership of the Hogan's, was in training in Taranaki and recently featured for sale on the Gavelhouse online platform. Records to date show her as yet to be put to Stud.
So plenty of opportunities lie ahead to further consolidate the Diamond Lover branch of the Eight Carat dynasty.
Marquise ( Gold And Ivory - Eight Carat ) was a grouse looking mareoozing class as a racemare and carrying Eight Carat's eyecatching dark colour.
Deservedly, her owners M.K.Glenn and Mrs E & M.H.Oram bred her to top shelf Commercial stallions.
And just like Diamond Lover and a few other female family members, Marquise was also to produce five fillies to continue the Eight Carat legacy.
Also like Diamond Lover, Marquise's daughters and granddaughters were heavily soughtafter by Australian owners and breeders.
Marquise's five daughters in chronological order were 98 Mazarine ( Zabeel ), 02 Markisa ( Danehill ), 06 Krsdahl ( Rock Of Gibraltar ), 10 Asscher ( Stravinsky ) and 11 Ultimata ( Zabeel ).
And also in similar fashion to Diamond Lover, two of Marquise's daughters in Asscher and Ultimata were to be snapped up by Australian interests without the opportunity of going to Stud in New Zealand, leaving just the three as active breeders in New Zealand.
The Glenn/Oram partnership maintained the breeding endeavours of both Mazarine and Markisa whilst Brendan and Jo Lindsay have done likewise with Krsdahl.
Mazarine did not produce a filly during the bulk of her breeding career and it has only been as an older mare in the name of the Chamberlain/Moran partnership that she has produced some fillies namely 17 On Fifth Ave ( Rip Van Winkle ), an impressive trials winner at Taupo on 15 November 21, and a 19 unnamed So You Think filly.
She is also due to foal to Ribchester in 21.
It appears great hope remains for this stirp of Marquise's progeny.
Just as Diamond Smile may be the successor for Diamond Lover so too may Markisa be the successor for Marquise.
The Glenn/Oram partnership have bred the following fillies from Markisa; namely 09 Ahna ( O'Reilly ), 12 Eight Points ( Pins ), 17 Marchioness ( Iffraaj ) currently in training with Tony Pike and showing abundant talent, and 18 Viscountess ( Iffraaj ).
It is our observation that Marchioness has a lot of her granddam Marquise about her and could be one to keep a close eye on when it comes her time to head to the breeding barn.
Interestingly, both Ahna and Eight Points hit the breeding barn at an early date.
Tragically, Ahna left just the one filly 15 The Real Beel ( Savabeel ), her other filly 18 American Actress ( Savabeel )being exported to Australia as a very young horse, before dying prematurely , whilst Eight Points had a filly 17 Octavia Rose ( Shocking ) for A.R.Galbraith QC before also being exported to Australia in 18.
These events should see The Real Beel as a valuable commodity moving forward just like Marchioness.
Krsdahl is listed as being in the current ownership of B & J Lindsay and has produced three fillies for them to date which all appear to have been retained and may lay the platform for growth potential in this stirp of Marquise's own legacy.
Her three fillies include 13 Vironvay ( Savabeel ), 19 Lomanza ( Almanzor ) and 20 unnamed ( Almanzor ) filly.
Vironvay has been put to Stud by the Lindsay's so far producing two fillies in her first two foals, these being 19 Miss Thinx ( So You Think ) and 20 an unnamed ( US Navy Flag ) filly.
So in a parallel with Cotehele House in relation to Diamond Lover and Marquise, the Krsdahl stirp sets out to bridge the gap on Mazarine and Markisa in the name of Marquise.
It will be a fascinating watch following the developments of the Eight Carat dynasty and where the future strength of power may be centered but one which any potential new breeding entrant should be paying close attention to.
Our crystal ball suggests we keep a close eye on Marquise through Marchioness but as we all know when in the diamond fields it can surprise as to where the big nugget can be found.
With the effluxion of time, sirelines come and sirelines go, some always to be remembered but most forever to be forgotten.
This story, we hope, will never be forgotten and focuses on a stallion named Blue Peter and some of his better known male descendants referencing an Australian line in particular.
But first of all, we begin our story in New Zealand coinciding with the commencement of World War I in 1914.
A young 17 year old lad by the name of Tom Hogan had emigrated to New Zealand in search of a better life, coming from Ballindooley , County Galway in the Republic of Ireland, although deeper family roots lay in County Tipperary, lured by a letter he had read back in Ireland sent by his cousin Mick Hogan.
Landing firstly in Wellington and immediately taking on a manual job shovelling metal with a very busy NZ Railways, Tom was soon to find himself in South Taranaki working on the construction of a branch line from Te Roti to Opunake.
His deep love of animals, fostered back home in Ireland, and the green outdoors soon saw a change in vocation for a young Tom who went to work on the wide open spaces of his Uncle Jack Casserly's 2500 acre Maori Lease block near Hawera.
His Uncle Jack bred draught horses in an era pre-tractors and owned a famed Clydesdale stallion named Blue Peter.
Tom got the job being Blue Peter's handler and during breeding season taking him around local farmers properties to mate with their mares, the pair being a common and well known sight in the early 1920's.
In 1919 at the tender age of 22 years Tom had married a local South Taranaki girl by the name of Sarah Small whose parent's had also emigrated from County Galway.
Life was looking up in South Taranaki as they developed a young and growing family but by 1938 the days of "working horses" was fast drawing to a close as tractors were fast emerging on farm after farm.
It was time for a new challenge and Tom and Sarah shifted the family North to Fencourt, near Cambridge, where they had purchased a mixed dairy farm which they then developed and soon had flourishing.
Within a year of arrival in the Waikato, Patrick Hogan was born in 1939, ironically the same year as the commencement of World War II.
And just like Tom Hogan, a young Patrick was also to become a staunch lover of animals and the great outdoors. Life was good.
Fast forward to 1956 and forever thinking of a new challenge to his farming vocation, Tom was sat in his chair one day reading the fine print of an English Stud publication and was intrigued with the bloodlines of a stallion by the name of Blueskin.
That moment was to be defining for the Hogan family as Tom made the decision to venture into breeding thoroughbred horses.
It was a natural progression from his earlier days handling Clydesdales.
Blueskin was available for purchase and an even more enticing proposition as a "deeply superstitious Irishman" took on board that he was sired by none other than Blue Peter, Not the South Taranaki Clydesdale that he worked with in Hawera, but rather a thoroughbred stallion that carried the same name. What an omen for an Irishman if ever there was one!
But Tom Hogan could not afford the asking price for Blueskin alone nor could his Fencourt Stud cater for an upsurge in horse numbers likely to occur with standing a thoroughbred stallion so he sought a 50/50 deal with fellow Irishman Tom Laird who resided just a few miles down the road at a property Laird had named Cambridge Stud.
Naturally, one Irishman could not let another fellow countryman down and the offer was accepted.
When Blueskin arrived into Auckland after a 6 weeks journey from England by ship, and in the company of fellow stallions Chatsworth, Astreus and Alpenhorn ( destined for other established New Zealand Studs ) both he and Chatsworth found addendums had to be added to their names as these names were already registered in the NZ Stud Book so they became Blueskin II and Chatsworth II.
An agreement had been reached between the two Tom's that Blueskin II would stand at Tom Laird's Cambridge Stud as it's foundation stallion.
Prior to the son of Blue Peter arriving in New Zealand, the Hogan team including a youthful Patrick had spent enduring days trucking to Tom Laird's property as a farmhand readying it ( i.e. making it horse friendly ) for Blueskin II's arrival.
And the son of Blue Peter was not to disappoint making an instant impact in leaving the country's top two three year old colts from his early crop in Bargoed and Blue Lodge.
Blueskin II's instant success became the catalyst for a long journey which would ultimately see the Hogan's take over Cambridge Stud.
There could be no better tribute to Blueskin II's legacy than that highlighted by scribe David Bradford in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeding Annual where he states "But perhaps Blueskin II's greatest claim to fame was setting in concrete the desire of a young Cambridge farmhand to frame a career around breeding thoroughbreds".
And to think it all started with Tom's affinity with Blue Peter which transpired into a young Patrick's affinity with Blueskin II.
Blue Peter ( the thoroughbred version ) was bred by the Earl Of Rosebery in 1936 and was strongly linebred to the unbeaten wonder horse St Simon at 5x4x5x4 with Blue Peter's sire Fairway ( by Phalaris ) bred on an inbred 4x3 reverse-sex cross to St Simon.
It is worth noting here that Federico Tesio was also a staunch admirer of St Simon and linebred to him on numerous occasions where his presence can be found in a number of Tesio's masterpieces.
Blue Peter was an athletic chestnut horse oozing quality and refinement, with a Roman nose, high rump and a single white sock on his near hind leg.
Blue Peter's array of sons at Stud , aside from Blueskin II, included Masthead, Messmate, Sabaean, Ottoman, Wateringbury, Blue Coral, Instinct, Hello Peter, Bold Buccaneer and Della Porta.
Ross du Bourg in his fabulous work "The Australian and New Zealand Thoroughbred" 1980 included Blue Peter amongst Australasia's Twelve Major Speed Lines influencing the thoroughbred breed up to that time.
At roughly the same time as Blueskin II was waving the flag for Blue Peter in New Zealand so too was another line of Blue Peter emerging into a beckoning force in Australia through another son Masthead ( also to become known as Masthead II ) who was bred by Lord Derby ( of Selene and Hyperion fame ) in England in 1944.
Masthead was a dark bay and a top class racehorse demonstrating his versatility by winning from 1000m to 2800m and was imported to Oaklands Junction, Victoria in 1949.
Amongst his best progeny were Matrice, Waltzing Lady, Bendrum and Amarco.
Amarco won the 1957 VRC Oaks but was to rise to even greater fame as the dam of the Champion International racehorse and later stallion Tobin Bronze.
Whilst sons or grandsons of Blueskin II were not to kick on as breeding prospects of any consequence in New Zealand the same was not the case in Australia where Masthead was to leave an indelible mark especially through his son Matrice ( 1951 ).
Matrice ( Masthead - La Patrice, by St Magnus ) took the Blue Peter sireline to a new level of excellence especially through the 1970's culminating in him topping the Australian Stallion Earning's Table inthe 1973-4 season becoming the first Australian bred stallion in 31 years to win the Australian General Sires Premiership.
With 48 winners of some 107 races and earnings of $365,011 Matrice had a lot to thank his two leading sons for, both Manihi and the judiciously linebred Taj Rossi ( out of the Coronation Boy mare Dark Queen ) who went on to be Australia's Racehorse Of The Year for 1973-4.
Taj Rossi was sent to North America immediately upon completion of his race career standing at Spendthrift Farm, Lexington, Kentucky for the 1975 and 1976 breeding seasons before being repatriated to Australia to stand at Pinecrest Stud, Garfield, Victoria.
Both Manihi and Taj Rossi were to fly the flag high for the Blue Peter sireline through the 70's and into the 80's and were joined by imported sons of another of Matrice's champion sons in Pago Pago.
By 1978 Matrice had some 16 sons standing at Stud in Australia, not only Manihi and Taj Rossi but also the likes of Mikado, Kiltrice, Timajon, Toltrice, Chapeau, Chasmat, Bold Patriot and Aristocratic to name just a handful.
The post World War II accomplishments of Matrice ranked him alongside both Todman and Sobig as one of the three greatest homebred Stud champions in Australia of that era.
Matrice was a powerful burly dark chestnut horse of immense strength, carrying a Roman nose and a body cast low to the ground.
He was a champion sprinter/miler, starting 45 times for 27 victories at distances from 800m to 1800m, bankrolling $60,102 in lifetime earnings.Included amongst his notable wins was the 1953 ARC Fulham Park Plate ( then the first 2YO race of the season in Australia ), testament to his early maturity.Other notable victories were the SAJC Guineas, the 1956 Goodwood Handicap and back to back Linlithgow Stakes ( more recently recognised as the Salinger Stakes ) in 1956 and 1957.
Matrice was recognised as a great weight carrying horse with a determined "will to win".
He stood at Noonamah Stud, Echunga, South Australia from 1958. Nearing 1980 he had progeny earnings of close to $2.3 million.
Ross du Bourg pays high tribute to Matrice providing a close parallel with Australia's history-making stallion Better Boy by stating that "Both sires had the fundamental attributes of pedigree, performance and conformation using their prepotency to transmit genes to mediocre mares initially resulting in horses of stunning racing class" also noting Matrice was considered the finest and most prepotent Australian bred stallion since Heroic who coincidentally features as Matrice's maternal great grandsire.
We will now explore Matrice's pedigree in just a little more depth to see if we can gain any clues as to what made him tick, especially looking for elements of inbreeding or common patterns or a build up of related family members. And we do not have to look very far to locate our first clue.
Both Matrice's sire Masthead and his dam La Patrice carry the same prepotent Phalaris/Scapa Flow/Swynford/Gondolette/Cyllene presences within their first 5 generations.
Matrice is also inbred to Fairway and his full-sister Fair Isle i.e.4x4 to both Phalaris and to Scapa Flow whilst at his third remove he also carries the 3/4 brothers Schiavoni and Sansovino via a 4x4 double to Swynford.
In today's terminology that sees Matrice carrying a double Rasmussen Factor, 4x4 sex-balanced to Scapa Flow and 5x4 sex-balanced to Gondolette. A clever piece of breeding indeed especially where looking to generate speed.
Sansovino is by Swynford out of Gondolette with Schiavoni being by Swynford out of Serenissima, by the Cyllene horse Minoru from Gondolette.
With a double infusion of Chaucer ( St Simon - Canterbury Pilgrim ) at his 5th generation ( contributed equally from both sides of his pedigree ) this was always going to work well for Matrice with his two prominent presences of Chaucer's 5/8ths brother Swynford because he is by St Simon's grandson John O'Gaunt and out of Canterbury Pilgrim.
This gives Matrice a quadruple cross of the legendary matriarch Canterbury Pilgrim within his first 6 generations at 6x5x5x6. Further beyond Canterbury Pilgrim, we even see her dam Pilgrimage at 7x6x7x6x6x7 and in favourable sex balance not only through daughter Canterbury Pilgrim but also through her son Loved One ( sire of Gondolette ).
We can talk about Matrice here but his pedigree build is more that of a"Matrix!"
And it doesn't end here.
He also carries a five times cross to the Ascot Gold Cup winner Cyllene whilst his maternal great grandsire Heroic carries his own intense inbreeding adding to Matrice's prepotency.
Heroic ( Valais - Chersonese, by the Cyllene horse Cylgad from Chelandry, by Goldfinch from Illuminata ) was an eyecatching chestnut horse who made his own impact on the Australian breeding scene by capturing 7 successive Australian General Sires Premierships from 1932-3 to 1938-9.
Cicero, his paternal grandsire, is a 3/4 brother to Heroic's dam Chersonese. He also carries a duplication of Cyllene in his 3rd generation, a duplication of Illuminata 4x3, four strains of Bend Or at 5x4x5x5 and three strains of Hampton at 5x4x4 to add further to the matrix.
Pedigree matrixes of this order prove potent not only in the breeding barn but also out on the racetrack.
It comes as no surprise that Matrice was well equipped armed with the right genetic arsenal to produce outright champions such as Taj Rossi and Pago Pago in addition to the outstanding sprinter Manihi who carried on to become an outstanding sire of speed.
Generally, it is the prepotent sires who prove their ability time and again to sire precocious fast maturing young horses who win the bulk of the juvenile races in both Australia and New Zealand and first Matrice and then his son Manihi aptly fitted this category.
Without doubt the potent bloodlines of Matrice had a large role to play in giving Manihi ( 1964 ) a leg up in his quest for siring glory.
Manihi was a gleaming red coloured chestnut with a coat that oozed power and somewhat more refined in appearance than his father Matrice.
Bred in South Australia, Manihi rated as one of the purest natural racing machines produced by an Australian Stud since World War II. He was also one of the most intensely inbred stallions since World War II, no doubt a large part of that being attributable to the pedigree fabric of Matrice.
As a racehorse, Manihi only had the 16 starts for 11 wins including the 1968 VRC Newmarket Stakes and as recent as 2017 was inducted into the South Australian Racing Hall Of Fame.
He was saturated in the prepotent genes of Phalaris and Scapa Flow.
A quick glimpse of his 7-generational Tesio Pedigree Chart sees him inbred twice to Fairway, once to Fairway's full-brother Pharos and once to both Fairway and Pharos's full-sister Fair Isle meaning he carried a 5x5x5x5 Rasmussen Factor to Scapa Flow through three different siblings all of whom were full-brothers and sister. Truly amazing!
In support of this, Manihi also carries a close up double of the intensely inbred Heroic at 4x5 favourably sex balanced ( for maximum potential effectiveness ) through the latter's son Ajax ( 3rd damsire of Manihi ) and daughter La Jaconde ( granddam of Matrice ).
Manihi's dam, the Newton Wonder ( from the Fairway sireline same as for Blue Peter ) mare Beauteous, also holds a line of Gondolette via her son Great Sport to add further to Manihi's Sansovino and Serenissima presences via Matrice ) which sees broodmare bluehen Gondolette sex balanced at 6x5x6 through three individual siblings ( Sansovino, Serenissima and Great Sport ).
The strong sex balanced female duplications to Scapa Flow and Gondolette are further supported with those to Canterbury Pilgrim at 7x6x6x7x7x7 ( via sons Chaucer and Swynford ), Pilgrimage at 7x7x7 ( via son Loved One and daughter Canterbury Pilgrim ) and to Waffles at 5x7 ( via daughter Bunworthy and son Manna ).
Federico Tesio would have admired the concentrated nervous energy inherent in Manihi's pedigree which no doubt reflected in his exceptional galloping acumen but at the same time also brought with it occasionally sudden waywardness, on more than one occasion careering off course like in the 1967 VRC Sires Produce Stakes, attributable to a sometimes cranky temperament, often a by-product of inbreeding.
Going into 1980 Manihi had left the winners of over $1.35 million, amongst his leading progeny were the likes of Make Mine Perfume, Man-a-Million, Pouraway, Stackaway, Subarmas, Hi Maralie, Rouge Homme, Ornithos, Matiana, Sepoy ( not the modern day namesake ), Pacific Point, Court Sabre and Mansio.
But there is one name we exclude from this list and he was the greatest of all Manihi's progeny by quite some distance and the primary reason why Manihi carried off both the Australian Leading Juvenile Sire and the combined Australia/New Zealand Juvenile Sires Premiership in the 1977-78 season.
His name, of course, was Manikato ( 1975 ), and like his paternal line of succession before him, with the exception of only Masthead, from Blue Peter through Matrice and onto Manihi, Manikato was also an imposing chestnut of majestic presence.
Bred in Campbelltown, South Australia, Manikato was a muscular , low slung burly chestnut possessing what was described as a "fluent elastic stride".
It was said that he threw to the Roman nose, strong convex head and powerful body of his paternal grandsire Matrice.
Manikato's dam Markato was by Natural Bid, a 5/8ths brother to champion North American stallion Bold Ruler ( damsire of the great Secretariat ), and one of ten stallions to stand in Australia by Nasrullah. Natural Bid's progeny earnings in Australia touched $850,000.
Many pedigree afficienados analysed the construction of Manikato's pedigree and it was generally agreed that he possessed one of the most concentrated line-breeding patterns in Australian turf history ( this comes as no surprise as we have followed the Blue Peter stirp through the likes of Matrice and Manihi ) but it did not escape notice that Manikato was bred on a similar Matrice / Nasrullah cross as was Taj Rossi before him.
Manikato was sex balanced to influential sire of speed Fair Trial at 4x4 and was a close descendant of Nearco through his dam.
He was Australian Champion 2YO in the season 1977-8 with 4 wins from 6 starts including victories in the two major juvenile targets the STC Golden Slipper Stakes and the VATC Blue Diamond Stakes.
As a 3YO Manikato was to capture the VATC Caulfield Guineas ( 1600m ), a race widely acclaimed as a stallion making race, going on to win 29 of his 47 starts and bankrolling over $1,150,000.
He won the William Reid Stakes for 5 successive seasons, a race recently renamed the Manikato Stakes in his honour.
Named the Australian Horse Of The Year in 1979 and inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame in 2002, Manikato goes down in Australian racing folklore as only the second horse after Kingston Town to win $1 million dollars in racetrack earnings but an even greater feat is that by today's race gradings Manikato would have won the equivalent of 20 Group 1's.
Winning the 1978 Caulfield Guineas would have ordinarily been great for most other horses but for Manikato there was a problem.
He had been gelded as a younger horse so the dream of what might have been had come to the end not only for Manikato but also for the great run of the Blue Peter sireline and a stark reminder that all good things come to an end.
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.