Every time there is a sudden or unexpected stallion announcement either during the breeding season or at the end of it, I find myself scurrying to the pedigree to formulate some early thoughts on what mares' ( genetically ) might suit.
I do this because now is the era of instant communication and my next conversation or email just might be from a breeder who may ask for my thoughts on what mares' the stallion may suit.
Whilst it is impossible to conjure an answer on the spot for every mare, without individual analysis, I find it does pay to have a shortlist of ideas which can be shared upon that initial communication with a breeder.
This situation has just evolved in the last couple of weeks with firstly Te Akau's talented young colt Cool Aza Beel succumbing to suspensory issues closely followed by trainer Michael Pitman announcing the retirement of his top class sprinter Sensei after cracking a sesamoid bone.
Whilst I will touch only lightly on Cool Aza Beel, I will go into a little more detail with Sensei and a mare I was asked to look at on Gavelhouse back in April 2020 for one of my loyal client's.
At this time both future stallion's have yet to be placed for the 2021 breeding season but let's hope they find a place in New Zealand as I see them both as welcome additions to our local stallion ranks.
Firstly though to Cool Aza Beel.
He will be well-placed in New Zealand stallion ranks joining both Embellish and What's The Story as sons of the great Savabeel to stand at Stud in New Zealand.
A quick look at his maternal pedigree reveals an outstanding Australian speed influence led by an appealing sex balanced double to the epitomy of speed in Vain.
He also carries the "Special" pattern in sex balance as well as a female double to Without Fear and male doubles to both Hail To Reason and Nijinsky II so mares with opposite sex lines of these presences are of immediate appeal.
Cool Aza Beel's damsire line is full of good bullets including the likes of Testa Rossa, Red Ransom, Bletchingly, Whiskey Road and Vain.
It is in this area that a real opportunity arises for those breeders fortunate enough to possess a mare by Ekraar or Roc De Cambes as it enables you to breed a horse on a 4x3 reverse-sex cross to Red Ransom, a rare cross for New Zealand but one which occurs in a highly influential position in a pedigree. These two broodmare sires ( Ekraar and Roc De Cambes )are also seen as being very receptive to a mass infusion of Australian speed blood which Cool Aza Beel promises to deliver.
And now to Sensei.
Without doubt we never saw the very best of Sensei on the racetracks of New Zealand for one reason or another, his trainer Michael Pitman quite candid in his reasoning that he could never find a flint hard racing surface even during a golden Summer.
Sensei will bring welcome new blood to the New Zealand thoroughbred genepool especially through his sire Dream Ahead, a son of Diktat.
Diktat is a grandson of the highly influential mare Park Appeal hence providing an instant genetic connection with any mares' featuring the presence of Iffraaj, Cape Cross or even Great Britain.
The fact that Dream Ahead, once possessing a Time Form rating the equal of the great Frankel, is also bred on a 5x4 reverse-sex cross to Balidar just adds further genetic fuel to mares' by Iffraaj or those carrying Cape Cross or Great Britan presences being of serious consideration for a date with Sensei.
And even a little further down the track the future looks good for Sensei with mares' by Turn Me Loose, Jon Snow, Wyndspelle, Almanzor and even Ribchester joining in on the above bloodline compatibilities.
It doesn't end here either as Sensei has the female line of Special via Fairy Bridge so will also be looking for mares' with the male line in Nureyev to complete the highly proven "Special" pattern.
He also has a rare male line of Tamerett in her son Known Fact which should strike accord with all those mares' holding the presence of Gone West who's dam Secrettame is a half-sister to Known Fact.
The daughters of other sires holding the presence of Gone West such as Ghibellines, Mongolian Falcon, Vespa and even Ten Sovereign's are also well placed genetically to excel with the blood of Sensei.
A lot of the above is for the future but for now let's return to the present.
As I alluded to earlier on, back in April 2020, a long time loyal client now based in Southland asked Premier Pedigrees to have a look at some possible stallion matches for a mare listed at the time on Gavelhouse by the name of Sacred Delight ( Iffraaj - Capacia, by Cape Cross ).
From memory, our top stallion recommendation was Rip Van Winkle ( alive then but to die only a few months later in August at the very onset of the breeding season ) but my client was not to purchase the mare anyway. She was instead purchased by Michael Roustoby and headed to the lush pastures of Putaruru where Michael has continued to race her.
With Sacred Delight's pedigree firmly etched in memory and looking for an Iffraaj mare to "test-mate on paper" with Sensei utilising Tesio I could not have achieved a better pedigree match even if I had asked for one.
Sacred Delight, by Iffraaj, carries a sublime damsire line featuring Cape Cross, Tale Of The Cat, Sir Tristram, Sovereign and Hermes.
Bred on a close-up but favourably sex-balanced 3x3 reverse-sex cross to broodmare bluehen Park Appeal ( this also doubling as a Rasmussen Factor ), this acts as a huge compatibility factor with the blood of Sensei's grandsire Diktat, adding a third sibling in Arvola, a half-sister to Pastorale and her half-brother Cape Cross, the latter two appearing in Sacred Delight.
All of this would add up to Sacred Delight's foal by Sensei carrying a 5x4x4 Rasmussen Factor to Park Appeal. This mirrors how legendary Northern Hemisphere mare Urban Sea was utilised the pedigrees of some recently very well-performed horses in Europe. Oh la la!!!
And with Pastorale being by Nureyev, this also facilitates the completion of the "Special" pattern as mentioned earlier above.
If the female duplications to Park Appeal and Special are not enough, a third one surfaces to Tamerett through her son Known Fact ( in Sensei ) and daughter Secrettame ( in Sacred Delight's sire Iffraaj ).
So there is very strong overall genetic affiliation in this proposed mating particularly via the blood of Sensei's grandsire Diktat and that of Sacred Delight's own sire Iffraaj but Sacred Delight takes this one step further by having a maternal linkage also to the blood of Diktat.
In the case of Sacred Delight, she also offers the key male sex-balancing line of Park Appeal through her damsire Cape Cross, a son of Park Appeal.
And male sex-balancing would also be to the fore in this proposed mating. Leading the way here is a resultant 5x4 sex-balance to Green Desert via daughter Sahara Star ( granddam of Dream Ahead in Sensei ) and son Cape Cross ( damsire of Sacred Delight ) as well as a 4x5x6 sex-balance to Mr Prospector ( through son Woodman and son and daughter Gone West and Yarn in Sacred Delight ).
For good measure, and those seeking some stamina application, Sacred Delight's two female lines of Balidar, both through Irish Oaks victor Balidaress, are well placed to feed back to the blood of Sensei where his own sire Dream Ahead is bred on a 5x4 reverse-sex cross to Balidar through the latter's daughter Balidaress ( once again ) and son Young Generation.
This culminates in Sacred Delight's Sensei foal carrying sex-balanced 7x6x6x6 linebreeding to Balidar.
A sublime genetic mating indeed.
As a closing remark on Sensei, it is noted that he descends directly from the maternal family which includes Canny Lass as his granddam.
This makes him a soughtafter target also for any mare carrying the presence of Canny Lad ( a full-brother to Canny Lass ) in her pedigree.
Since this article was written on 3 January 2021, a subsequent press release on 15 January 2021, has announced that Cool Aza Beel will stand at Stud at Newhaven Park, Boorowa, New South Wales for the 2021-22 season, joining another ex Te Akau horse in Xtravagant. With no Danehill in his pedigree, Cool Aza Beel should be well-suited to the Australian broodmare genepool.
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.