One of the forebear influences that we have admired here at Premier Pedigrees has been the impact made on the thoroughbred breed by Native Dancer.
His influence remains today even if beginning to get a little further removed in pedigrees.
He is best represented through just a small group of elite horses which include the likes of Raise A Native, Shenanigans, Natalma, Dancer's Image, Kauai King, Dancing Cap, Hula Dancer, Native Charger, Atan and Dan Cupid.
From this elite handful his influence was to spread far and wide.
His best son Raise A Native was to sire Mr Prospector whilst his daughter Natalma produced Northern Dancer later giving rise to the famed Northern Dancer / Mr Prospector cross with Native Dancer being the common denominator.
Another daughter Shenanigans produced Ruffian who some still consider the best filly ever produced in America whilst his son Dan Cupid sired Sea-Bird who many considered as the best racehorse in Europe in the 20th Century.
"The Grey Ghost" of Sagamore was born in 1950 and developed into a massive horse, standing 16.3 hands and weighing more than 1100 lbs.
On the racetracks of North America he was not only imposing but also surprisingly precocious, winning 21 of his 22 races at 2 and 3 years old at distances from 1000 metres through to 2400 metres. This led to mirror-like comparisons with the great Man o' War, again with split camps, the Native Dancer fans claiming he won one more race than Man 'o War.
His only defeat was a narrow one, beaten a half head by Dark Star but it happened to be in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. It also denied Native Dancer the glory of becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown as he picked up both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Crowds warmed to his endearing racing style of getting well back in the running early and thundering home. This is how he gained his fan club.
With the advent of television corresponding with the rise of "The Grey Ghost" Native Dancer was to become horse racing's first equine TV star as his racing style endeared viewers of the new medium and introduced them to the sport.
But he also had what is best described as a "pounding galloping action" and this was to take it's toll on his feet giving him recurring lameness, forcing him to be retired at the beginning of his 4 year old season in 1954.
It was here that he drew a number of detractors, many of whom were quick to label that he was passing on these same traits to his progeny.
His son Raise A Native was an outstanding 2 year old before injuring himself, and his son Mr Prospector was a top sprinter until he fractured a sesamoid bone.
Ruffian ( damsire Native Dancer ) broke her leg in a match race with Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Go For Wand ( great grandsire Northern Dancer ) fractured her right cannon bone in 1990, the great Barbaro ( Mr Prospector in the 3rd generation of his dam ) succumbed to laminitis after breaking three bones in his right hind leg in 2006 and Eight Belles ( Raise A Native in three different positions in her pedigree ) broke both her front forelegs in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.
The racing world can be very unforgiving at times and a lot of these tragic events had the finger pointing at Native Dancer as once again being the common denominator.
Thankfully, there are experts out there that provide some sort of balance in defence, one of these being pedigree researcher Hermann D Lammey who says "It's unfair to blame a single ancestor for breakdowns and injury", referring to a couple of Raise A Native's better track progeny, Point Given and Flower Alley, as having both stamina and soundness, pointing to other factors such as nutrition, track surface, animal care, training or just a bad step at an unusual angle as more likely contributing factors in these breakdowns.
As a then new stallion at Stud in North America it is perhaps a little surprising that Native Dancer would never go on and win a Sire's Premiership, finishing 6th in 1965 and 2nd in 1966, the only two years he was to finish in the top ten. He left both sprinters and stayers, producing 44 Stakes winners ( from 14% of foals ).
But without doubt, Native Dancer's overwhelming legacy in the last 50 years or so has been the male lines of Northern Dancer and Mr Prospector that have come to dominate worldwide bloodlines ensuring his name will remain ever present in the vast majority of pedigrees even today.
Premier Pedigrees would now like to relate it's own personal story on Native Dancer.
Back in early 2006 in the lead-up to the May NZB National Weanling Sales we were supplied with a list of weanlings by then Whangaparaoa enthusiast Mr Alan Stuck to sort out which weanling we considered the best on pedigree.
Our top selection was Lot 129, a bay filly by Elusive City from Culburra Beach, an Australian bred mare by boom Western Australian staying sire Scenic.
No nonsense from Alan as he snapped her up for $15,500+gst.
He placed her with John Miller ( then Waiuku based ) and as Dasoudi she raced 19 times for 6 wins, 4 seconds and a third earning $142,050 at distances from 1200m to 1600m, winning on all track conditions from Good to Heavy.
She won her only trial at Cambridge on 22/9/09 and then won on debut at Counties on the 14/10/09 in the hands of Troy Harris.
Acquiring light black type in finishing 2nd in the Group 1Thorndon Mile ( beaten a half-length by Booming ), Dasoudi also went on to finish an unlucky ( blocked ) 3rd in the G 1 Haunui Farm Classic WFA before her eventual sale to Australian interests.
So what attracted Premier Pedigrees to her pedigree?
For starters, we looked at Culburra Beach's pedigree. This told us that she was bred on a 4x4 reverse-sex cross to Raise A Native. This provided the mare with not only a focussed breeding core but also a likely potential "engine room".
Her other influencing feature was her prominent sex-balanced lines of Northern Dancer at 3x4 in the mare's pedigree.
These two most prominent pedigree features amounted to a substantial bloodline under-pinning to Native Dancer.
So now, how does this all feed back from Culburra Beach to Elusive City?
We start with his two most prominent favourably sex balanced lines of Mr Prospector at 3x4,a forebear not present in the pedigree of Culburra Beach. So big tick here.
These two lines of Mr Prospector in Elusive City means he carries two male only lines of Raise A Native.
For these to take effect in the foal ( Dasoudi ) as an influence we need to find a female sex balancing line of Raise A Native in Culburra Beach and she duly provides this courtesy of his daughter Where You Lead ( granddam of Scenic, sire of Culburra Beach ).
And for good measure, Culburra Beach addsa new line of Raise A Native in the latter's son Exclusively Native.
This all means Alan's foal named Dasoudi carries sex balanced linebreeding to Mr Prospector at 4x5, Norther Dancer at 5x5x4x5 ( with Dancers Countess providing the all important female presence as dam of Culburra Beach's damsire Paris Prince ) and to Raise A Native at 5x6x5x5.
And in putting the jigsaw together, of all these prominent presences in Dasoudi's pedigree, who do we find as the common denominator and baseblood lynchpin? You guessed it....Native Dancer, sex-balanced at 6x7x7x7x5x6x6x6x7 with Elusive City providing five presences and Culburra Beach four presences.
Although Native Dancer is beginning to get a little further back in pedigrees these days he is one to capitalise on where the opportunity avails as he provides speed and a turn of foot, and if lucky, a pinch of versatility at both distances and track conditions.
We see the mating of Culburra Beach with Elusive City as either very astute or very fortuitous with the latter's immersion in lines of Native Dancer and although this stallion is no longer available to New Zealand breeders we will be keeping a close eye moving forward on the progeny of Turn Me Loose who is another young stallion we have identified as having a very liberal sprinkling of Native Dancer running through his veins.
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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.