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New Zealand Racing


New Zealand Derby (Gr1) 2009
2400m Turf
1 March 2009
Ellerslie, Auckland, New Zealand
(For 3 Year-Olds)

Results :

1st: Coniston Bluebird
2nd: Down The Road (Danroad)
3rd: Tell A Tale

Time: 2:31.04

THE TAPESTRY OF LIFE: Always Rich in the Silly Season

richard haynes and mick gossRichard Haynes and Mick Goss

It’s one of the great pleasures of working at Summerhill that our lives are brightened by the regular visits of people from all over the world. Those that read these columns will remember that on Stallion Day this year, we were honoured by the attendance of people from 14 different nations, and while that’s probably a record of its own for any one day, it’s a fact of life here that we have people from all corners of the globe calling on us at different times of the year.

Linda Norval and her cohorts entertain people every day of the year (yes, somehow Christmas and Good Friday included) at the Summerhill Visitor’s complex, and often enough, a visit includes at least tea, if not a fine lunch.

Many of these people stay over, enjoying the wonders of Hartford House, and soaking up the atmosphere of an authentic African farm. At lunch earlier in the week, we had our long-time friend, Wayne Aldridge from Sydney (Wayne was the founder of the Equine Insurance Group when it previously traded as Delta Bloodstock), Richard Haynes from New Zealand Bloodstock, Dick and Anne Pemberton from East England, while the evening before we hosted South Africa’s favourite investor, Jim Hay’s English trainer Tom Tate and his lovely wife Hazel. Tom is a past trainer representative in the UK on the British Horseracing Board. For the record, Hazel, a talented trainer in her own right, is the sister of Michael Dickinson, the only man to saddle the first five home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and both of them descend from one of England’s most famous dynasties.

Last Tuesday we were on duty again with Peter and Alison Brown, breeders of Outcome (crowned Champion Filly at the KZN Breeding Awards last weekend), ex CNA boss, Ian Outram and his wife Deidre, and Tony and Dale Feasey, buyers of last year’s top lot at the Ready To Run sale.

Just a few days ago, we were honoured with a visit by two legends of Australia, Antony Thompson of the spectacularly famous Widden Stud (at the top end of the Hunter Valley), and fourth generation success, John Kelly of the celebrated Newhaven Park Stud, where the likes of Wilkes, Luscan Star and Marauding made their names as the resident sires.

Students of the breeding game will tell you that there are very few farms anywhere that have survived successfully for more than three generations, yet Australia seems to be the gleaming exception, certainly in the case of these two properties.

Antony and John were here as ambassadors of Aushorse, the marketing arm of the Australian TBA, where Antony is the successor to John Messara as chairman, and John serves on the board of directors. We’re always honoured when men of this calibre visit us, and we always feel the wealthier (and indeed, smarter) for what they leave behind.

(Photo kindly supplied by Richard Haynes)


New Zealand Ready To Run Sale defies odds

graeme rogersonLeading buyer Graeme Rogerson
(Athlone Thoroughbred Marketing)

New Zealand Bloodstock reports that the 2008 New Zealand Ready To Run Sale of two-year-olds which ended yesterday at Karaka, achieved solid results which largely defied the international financial crisis.

Both the sale median and average were only a shade off last year’s figures, with the median price reaching $60,366 (down just 1% from a record $61,134 in 2007) and the average $33,000 (down 8% from $36,000 in 2007).

The clearance rate climbed steadily throughout the day to finish at 67%, down from last year’s 70%, with 247 horses sold for $14,910,500, compared with $15,100,000 for the same number sold last year.

Tuesday’s top price of $400,000 for the Red Ransom colt from Lady Circles was not surpassed, with yesterday’s top lot knocked down for $360,000. The Zabeel colt from group one winner Surprize was purchased by Queensland bloodstock agent John Foote from Mark and Shelley Treweek’s Lyndhurst Farm.

“I’ve bought him for a Hong Kong client and as yet we haven’t decided whether he’ll race in Australia first or go straight to Hong Kong,” said John Foote last night.

“He’s a well-bred colt, a lovely type and breezed up with a good action. We’re hoping he’ll be as good as his mother and father.”

The Zabeel colt breezed up the 200m straight at Te Rapa racecourse on 20 October in a time of 11.72 seconds.

Of the 247 horses sold, 17 fetched $200,000 or more compared with 14 last year, showing the relative strength at the top of the market.

New Zealand Bloodstock’s sales and marketing manager Petrea Vela was very pleased with the results after uncertainty created by the financial crisis.

“In view of the challenges facing everyone in the current market conditions, the results of the past two days have really been well in excess of our expectations,” she said last night.

“Heading into this sale we were certain that results would be down on last year, but to see such strength from the market here has been a fantastic result.”

Leading the buyers was transtasman trainer Graeme Rogerson with eight horses purchased for $1,625,000. A total of 49 horses are destined for Singapore, including purchases by former Kiwi trainer Laurie Laxon, Michael Freedman, Stephen Gray and Soon Hock Lee, with another 18 bought for Hong Kong.

Fourteen headed to Malaysia and five to Macau. The Seoul Racehorse Owners Association bought a further six yesterday to bring its total to 16 horses now bound for Korea.

The leading vendor for the second year in a row was Mark and Shelley Treweek’s Lyndhurst Farm, with 11 of its 15 entries selling for $1,706,000 at an average of $155,091.



MELBOURNE CUP : Yeats heads the weights

solskjaer stallionSolskjaer
(John Lewis)

Summerhill stallion Solskjaer’s illustrious brother, Yeats, has been allocated the top weight for the Emirates Melbourne Cup to be run over 3200m at Flemington  on 4 November.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Yeats was allocated 59 kilograms, marking the third year in succession that the eight-year-old had been saddled with the highest handicap for the $5.65 million race.

Yeats’ stablemate, Septimus, who was crowned Europe’s champion stayer in 2007, has been given the second top weight of 58kg. Last year’s winner Efficient was handed 58kgs.

“The best three staying performances of the last year were by Yeats, Septimus and Efficient so they will head the weights.” said Chief handicapper Greg Carpenter.

The final field of 24 will be determined three days before the race on 4 November with around six foreign-trained runners expected to make it to the barriers.



"Inbreeding to the great DANZIG" by Andrew Caulfield

danzig stallionDanzig
(Shaun Faust)

A few years ago, when discussing the concept of inbreeding to the great Danzig, I wrote: “The potential problem of inbreeding to Danzig, of course, was one of soundness, or the lack of it. Remember, Danzig’s exciting debut victory in the June of his two-year-old season was immediately followed by the discovery of bone chips. Away from the races for over 10 months, Danzig returned the following May to record two impressive allowance victories. Unfortunately, X-rays taken after his third success revealed that a slab fracture was developing in a knee and Danzig was forced into retirement before he had tackled stakes company.”

I was quick to point out that Danzig’s progeny have a reputation for being sounder than their sire - as you can see from Danzig’s up-to-date statistics, which show that 77 percent of his 1074 named foals made it to the races and around 62 percent made it into the winner’s circle. More to the point, more than 18 percent of Danzig’s foals became stakes winners, with this extraordinary percentage representing a huge incentive for trying to reinforce his influence by inbreeding.

Inbreeding to Danzig is likely to become quite widespread in Europe, where the Thoroughbred population is steeped in the blood of the Claiborne Farm superstar. The main European standard bearers of the Danzig male line have been Danehill and Green Desert, both of whom are developed thriving male lines. Fortunately, the racing records of both these stallions were reassuringly free of the soundness problems which beset their sire.

Despite being almost back at the knee, Danehill was sound enough to win the G1 Sprint Cup on his ninth and final appearance. Aidan O’Brien was asked to summarise the main virtues of Danehill’s stock after Duke of Marmalade had recorded his fifth consecutive Group 1 victory in the Juddmonte International three days ago.

“I suppose it’s their constitution - their toughness and their speed and their strength,” he said. “They’re three massive things - strength physically as well as mentally.”

When prompted by the interviewer to add soundness to the list, Aidan O’Brien agreed: “Obviously soundness. This horse (Duke of Marmalade) is a testimony to that, but that comes with strength.”

Green Desert was another individual whose career was comparatively problem free. Sufficiently forward to make his juvenile debut in May, he was racing for the 14th time when he failed to handle the dirt in the following year’s Breeder’s Cup Sprint. Oddly, there were some distinct parallels between his career and that of Danehill a few years later. Both won the Free Handicap over seven furlongs before reaching the first three in the 2000 Guineas. Subsequent efforts over a mile convinced both sets of connections to return their Danzig colts to sprint distances and both collected a pair of important victories, including one in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.

With unsoundness apparently not a serious concern, breeders have been quick to try combining Danehill and Green Desert, and last week’s results suggest that we will see much more of this inbreeding to Danzig in the future. Two of Europe’s important juvenile events fell to colts which have sons of Danehill as their sire and daughters of Green Desert as their second dam, creating 3x4 inbreeding to Danzig.

Firstly, we saw Dansili’s son Shaweel run over a clear-cut winner of the G2 Gimcrack Stakes, and then Bushranger  provided Danetime with his second successive victory in the G1 Prix Morny.

This type of cross had also hit the jackpot earlier this year when the G1 Coral-Eclipse was won narrowly by Mount Nelson. This four-year-old is by Rock of Gibraltar, another son of Danehill, and his third dam is by Green Desert.

In view of the concerns about soundness involved in inbreeding to Danzig, it is worth pointing out that the sires of these three group winners were all sound enough to undergo a thorough testing on the track, with Dansili, Danetime and Rock of Gibraltar respectively being veterans of 14, 15 and 13 races. The reverse cross - a Green Desert stallion on mares with Danehill blood - is also sure to become popular.

Cape Cross has already sired three stakes winners from his first five foals out of Danehill’s daughters, these stakes winners being inbred 3x3 to Danzig. Arguably the best of them is Able One, a New Zealand-bred who won the G1 Champions Mile in Hong Kong last year, but the English-trained Crosspeace was much better than his listed winner-status suggests, as he achieved annual Timeform ratings of 116 and 118.

Cape Cross’ talented miler Sentinelese is another inbred 3x3 to Danzig, but his second line comes via Polish Patriot rather than Danehill, and his Group 1- placed son Charlie Farnsbarns is inbred 3x4 to Danzig, his second line coming through Chief’s Crown.

While we are on the subject of Cape Cross, he added another group winner to his collection when Russian Cross took Saturday’s G2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano and he was a bit unlucky not to add another group success the following day, when Treat Gently as second after being hampered in the Prix de la Nonette. The Darley stallion’s fee jumped from Eur20,000 to Eur50,000 in 2005, so his current crop of juveniles is the subject of high expectations. It is encouraging that two of his sons - Sea The Stars and War Native - recently achieved “TDN Rising Star” status.

Another of Green Desert stallions, Kheleyf, is also likely to have his fee raised substantially after the success he has enjoyed with his first runners. He currently heads the British and Irish freshman sires’ table both by number of winners and prize money.

With Oasis Dream maintaining his position as one of the most successful second-crop sires, with five first-crop group winners, Green Desert has a powerful team of young stallion sons, which also includes Invincible Spirit. This Irish National Stud resident did so well with his early crops that his fee now stands at Eur75,000. Yet another son, the undervalued Desert Style, is again demonstrating his ability to come up with the occasional top performer, this time with the impressive seven-furlong specialist Paco Boy.

Perhaps these sons have taken some of the attention away from Green Desert, whose fee was as high as Eur85,000 in 2004 (when he was 21) and 2005. Whatever the reason, he appears to be another of those stallions whose results have declined in old age. His last Group 1 winners, Oasis Dream and Desert Lord, were born in 2000 and his last five crops of racing age have so far produced nothing more than a pair of Group 3 winners. But we can happily forgive him those recent failings in view of his growing impact as a sire of sires.



Patinack Farm acquires Swettenham Stud

nathan tinklerNathan Tinkler, Chairman of Patinack Farm
(Courier Mail)

Australia & New Zealand Bloodstock News reports that Nathan Tinkler has continued his financial commitment to the industry with the purchase of Swettenham Stud in the Hunter Valley.

Announcing the purchase yesterday, Patinack Farm Chairman, Nathan Tinkler said, “This property enjoys a well deserved reputation for rearing champions and we are looking forward to continuing this tradition. We look forward to working with the existing team and breeding many Group 1 winners in the years to come.”

This purchase gives Patinack Farm an established breeding property to run their broodmare band, which now stands at over 250, and sits alongside their initial purchase of the Alanbridge Stud, now known as Patinack Farm Segenhoe Valley, which will continue to be managed as a stallion complex, home to first-season sires Casino Prince and Husson (Chi) along with the proven Beautiful Crown (USA).

Nathan Tinkler has also spread the love in Victoria, with Patinack Farm entering into a sponsorship partnership with the Victoria Racing Club (VRC). Patinack Farm has signed an agreement to sponsor four Group races run at Flemington across both the spring and autumn seasons.

The races involved and their new names are:

• Patinack Let’s Elope Stakes (G3) – to be run on 6 September,

• Patinack Turnbull Stakes (G1) – to be run on 4 October

• Patinack Farm Classic (G1) – to be run on 8 November

• Patinack Farm Stakes (G3) – to be run on 14 March, 2009

The Victoria Racing Club’s General Manager Sponsorship & Corporate Development Brendan Ford said the Club was delighted to welcome “the new kid on the block” to its stable of sponsors.

Patinack has made a huge impact in a short period of time and we are delighted that they have chosen to join in a partnership with us. They are doing things in a fresh new way and what better place than Flemington to make their mark in Victoria,” Brendan Ford said.

“As Patinack Farm continues to build a solid base for our future, we are looking forward to a long association with the VRC, one of the premier Racing Clubs in Australia,” added Nathan Tinkler.



Mick... Our Man Abroad

Views from The Royal Queensland Show

Mick‘s trip to Australia is going well and he’s managed to visit Plaintree Farm and Glenlogan Stud, as well as judging at the “EkkA” (alias the Royal Queensland Show) in Brisbane.

As usual, he’s been in regular contact with the office and we await his phone calls eagerly for the next installment of the life of a traveling “judge”. His views on the Australian Thoroughbred classes should be particularly interesting, especially as this aspect of equestrian sport is far removed from our usual breeding and racing operation.

Mick’s trips abroad are never complete unless he receives the latest news from the farm, and at this time of the year the momentum is picking up as the early foals arrive. Of course local racing news is also of great importance, so he gets his daily update on this too.

The “team” will be meeting up with Mick in Johannesburg for the annual Equus Awards, where Summerhill will take the accolade for South African Champion Breeder, for the fourth consecutive year.



DANEHILL : Another Emphatic Statement

duke of marmaladeDuke of Marmalade

Andrew Caulfield writes for the Thoroughbred Daily News that thanks to the omnipresence of his descendants on big race days, it seems hardly credible that it is now more than five years since the mighty Danehill died at the age of 17. By the time of his death, Danehill was the highest-priced stallion in Europe, with his status boosted to new heights by the 2002 Group 1 victories of Rock of Gibraltar, Landseer, Banks Hill, Aquarelliste, Fine Motion, Spartacus and Dress to Thrill. Needless to say, the book of mares he was covering at the time of his death was in very different league from those he’d attracted when his fee was as low as IR9,000gns in his fourth and fifth seasons. Even when his fee was low, Danehill was still capable of siring performers of the calibre of Desert King and Tiger Hill, so what might he achieve with many of the best mares in Europe?

The answer is that - from a crop of around 100 - he has so far sired nine group winners, five listed winners and another eight which have been group-placed. Altogether 25 have earned black type. Five of the group winners have collectively won 13 Group 1 events, with Duke of Marmalade’s epic King George IV & Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory making him the second to complete a sequence of four Group 1 triumphs, following Peeping Fawn.

The group winners from Danehill’s final crop encapsulate the full range of his extraordinary talents. At one end of the spectrum there is Holy Roman Emperor, a fast and precocious colt who was officially rated the second-best European juvenile of 2006 (when another of Danehill’s Group 1 winners, Simply Perfect, ranked third among the juvenile fillies). Peeping Fawn was far from precocious (it took her four starts to break her maiden at three), but she developed into Europe’s best middle-distance three-year-old filly, with two Group 1 victories over 13 miles, including the Pretty Polly Stakes, and another two over 12 miles. Unfortunately, she hasn’t raced this year, but the Pretty Polly Stakes fell to Promising Lead, another of Danehill’s daughters, and Duke of Marmalade has also excelled, with Group 1 victories in France, Ireland and England.

Duke of Marmalade’s magnificent sequence inevitably makes one wonder what he might have achieved but for fracturing a pastern when narrowly defeated at Goodwood two years ago. Although he was officially rated just 9lb below the best of his age group after a winless campaign at three, the subsequent removal of the screws from his old injury has helped transform him. He is now a worthy replacement for the year-older Dylan Thomas, the rock-hard colt who provided Danehill with his first King George success a year ago.

A day after the King George we saw another aspect of Danehill’s talents in the Phoenix Stakes, a Group 1 juvenile event which has fallen to four of Danehill’s sons. One of the four, Danehill Dancer, was responsible for Mastercraftsman, who won impressively to end the unbeaten record of Art Connoisseur, a colt out of a Danehill mare. Third place went to Bushranger, another grandson of Danehill.

Duke of Marmalade will eventually be a very welcome addition to the Coolmore roster, as he comes from a female line with a big reputation for producing stallions.

You can gauge the family’s reputation from the fact that Duke of Marmalade’s dam, Love Me True, cost $1.35 million as a yearling-and from the fact that she was bought on behalf of Susan Magnier. Aidan O’Brien, with his quaint belief that racehorses are for racing if they are fit and well, certainly didn’t let the filly’s price affect his handling of this daughter of Kingmambo.

It was only on her 11th start that Love Me True finally recorded her first victory, in a mile maiden at Naas, by which time she had been third in the G3 Killavullan Stakes at two and had acted as a pacemaker for her stablemate Imagine in the Irish 1000 Guineas. Incidentally, of the 16 contestants in that 2001 classic, as many as four have already produced a top-class son, namely Imagine (Horatio Nelson), Sequoyah (Henrythenavigator), Speirbhean (Teofilo) and Love Me True (Duke of Marmalade). Two of the others have 2008 stakes winners by Danehill Dancer, one being the Irish 1000 Guineas third Carribean Sunset. This suggests strongly that breeders with sufficient resources could do far worse than get themselves a speedy classic filly to breed from.

Love Me True was later third in a listed race over a mile and ran well enough in one of her starts over 13 miles to suggest she stayed that far. It is worth pointing out that Love Me True’s three parts brother Lemon Drop Kid stayed well enough to win the GI Belmont Stakes, so there is the degree of stamina here which Danehill normally needed to get a mile-and-a-half horse.

Love Me True also proved her toughness, racing 15 times in less than 14 months, even though she is inbred 3x3 to the famously fragile Raise A Native, and toughness is also one of the main assets of Duke of Marmalade (whose five-generation pedigree includes two lines apiece to Northern Dancer, Buckpasser and Natalma and four lines to Native Dancer).

Two of Love Me True’s half-brothers, Bite the Bullet and Shuailaan, were stakes winners, but the most important aspect of her pedigree is that she is a granddaughter of the blue hen Lassie Dear. Perhaps all I need to say about this family is that it has produced five stallions good enough to sire a winner on Breeders’ Cup Day, with A.P. Indy being responsible for Tempera, Summer Squall for Storm Song, Honor Grades for Adoration, Deerhound for Countess Diana and Kipling for Kip Deville.

This family has achieved so much in the USA that the Coolmore team should perhaps consider basing Duke of Marmalade at Ashford, where there are no sons of Danehill, rather than Coolmore, where he would become one of seven Group 1-winning sons of Danehill. After all, Love Me True was relocated to Kentucky, where she produced foals to Storm Cat in 2006 and 2007. However, the continued uncertainty about how many tracks will be converted to synthetic surfaces must make it more likely that Ireland will become Duke of Marmalade’s base.

The fact that he is by Danehill and has a Kingmambo mare as his dam will make him an automatic choice for many breeders with daughters of the champion broodmare sire Sadler’s Wells. It was Sadler’s Wells mares which produced Peeping Fawn and Horatio Nelson to Danehill, and Danehill’s daughters are currently doing very well with Sadler’s Wells son Galileo. Combining Sadler’s Wells with Kingmambo is also very much in vogue, Henrythenavigator and the Group 2 winner Campanologist being the latest advertisements for this.



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One of the more successful mating patterns of recent years has been that of putting mares by Sadler’s Wells to Kingmambo. The ploy paid off first with the outstanding Japanese runner El Condor Pasa, who raided France for a victory in the 1999 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and later that year gave Montjeu a tremendous run for his money in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Since then the match has produced a number of other top-class performers, including Virginia Waters, Divine Proportions, Thewayyouare, Queen Cleopatra, Campanologist and this season’s dual Classic-winning miler Henrythenavigator. Between them those celebrities have accounted for 18 European Pattern races – 11 in Group 1, four in Group 2 and three in Group 3.

In addition, Kingmambo’s brother Miesque’s Son clicked with a Sadler’s Wells mare to get Whipper, who won three times at Group 1 level and once in Group 3. And Sadler’s Wells mares have produced high-class winners by sons of Kingmambo, notably Group 2 winner Best Alibi and Creachadoir (one Group 1 and three in Group 3), both by King’s Best, and Ibn Khaldun (one Group 1 and one Group 3), by Dubai Destination.

That impressive array of talent amounts to strong evidence that there is something about the conjunction of those factors that delivers high quality performance, and a cursory glance at the pedigrees offers what might seem a plausible explanation. Kingmambo was produced by Miesque, the most brilliant daughter of Nureyev, and Nureyev is closely related to Sadler’s Wells.

Nureyev was by Northern Dancer out of Special, whereas Sadler’s Wells is by Northern Dancer out of Special’s daughter, Fairy Bridge. Thus we find that when Kingmambo (and Miesque’s Son, of course) is mated with a daughter of Sadler’s Wells, the product has the three parts brothers close up in its pedigree – Nureyev in the third generation on the sire’s side, and Sadler’s Wells in the second on the dam’s side.

The explanation is plausible, but perhaps no more than that. Kingmambo has two parents, and it is not possible to ignore the fact that his sire is Mr Prospector, himself a hugely influential factor in pedigrees, hardly less so than Sadler’s Wells. Both became dominant influences because they crossed successfully with mares from a wide range of backgrounds.

What is more, Sadler’s Wells and Mr Prospector feature together in the pedigrees of numerous major winners, not least those of Group 1 winner Johann Quatz and the full siblings Galileo, Black Sam Bellamy and All Too Beautiful, all products of mares by Mr Prospector’s son, Miswaki.

All the examples of prominent runners with both Nureyev and Sadler’s Wells close up in their pedigrees also feature Mr Prospector, and in the case of Henrythenavigator there is even inbreeding to Raise a Native, the sire of Mr Prospector. It seems that for the three-parts brothers to combine successfully, that other factor needs to be present.

It would be fascinating to know how many times Nureyev and Sadler’s Wells have been coupled in matings involving a closer connection than the 3 x 2 represented by the appearance of Kingmambo. Chances are that there have been few instances of 2 x 2 inbreeding, even allowing for the fact that many breeders, obsessed with the fashionable, might have used the ploy unwittingly. How many would have consciously constructed a pedigree with Nureyev and Sadler’s Wells both in the second remove?

Certainly, there has been no example of a European Pattern winner by a son of Nureyev out of a daughter of Sadler’s Wells. And until Monday there had been no instance of a European Pattern winner by a son of Sadler’s Wells out of a daughter of Nureyev. The ground-breaking individual who may just have initiated a trend is Incanto Dream, the four-year-old colt who turned in an impressive display to win the Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil on Longchamp’s Bastille evening card.

My inference that the union between Galileo and Atlantic Blue did not represent some slavish adherence to fashion, but a very deliberate – and, as it turned out, successful – experiment to involve their closely related sires in the closest possible juxtaposition is reinforced by the knowledge that Atlantic Blue is herself inbred to Rough Shod, the tap-root of their exceptional family.

Rough Shod (Gold Bridge Dalmary, by Blandford), whose only success on the racecourse came in a race of little consequence at now defunct Bogside, became a broodmare of immense importance after her acquisition for 3,500gns at the 1951 Newmarket December Sales and her transfer to Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. Her first foal born at Claiborne was the high-class two-year-old stakes winner Gambetta (My Babu), whose branch of the family became noted for celebrities like daughter Gamely (Bold Ruler), grand-daughter Drumtop and grandsons Cellini and Take Your Place (all by Round Table).

But it was Rough Shod’s four products by Nasrullah’s son Nantallah – a non-stakes-winner – who were to make greater impressions. The colts Ridan and Lt Stevens both became high-class performers, the former winning 13 of his 23 starts and the latter notching nine times from 26 runs, and in due course both earned further measures of fame at stud.

The mare’s two daughters, Moccasin and Thong, contrived more enduring influence, the former after having compiled a formidable racing record (named Horse of the Year as a juvenile in one poll), the latter after a three-season career that brought her five victories from 22 races. Although none came in stakes company, she was placed three times in races that at a later date were designated as Graded events. Moccasin was to produce seven stakes winners from her nine foals, headed by Apalachee (Round Table), the European champion two-year old of 1973, while Thong distinguished herself as the dam of outstanding miler Thatch (Forli) and his sister Lisadell, and their halfbrother King Pellinore (Round Table).

Thong’s branch flourished further through her onceraced (and successful) daughter Special, a sister to Thatch and Lisadell, famously dam of Nureyev, and granddam of the brothers Sadler’s Wells and Fairy King (all by Northern Dancer). As Moccasin was noted more for her sons than her daughters, it was perhaps not surprising that her branch of the family did not assume immediate comparable distinction, but it cannot be ignored now. The best of Moccasin’s daughters at the track was her last foal, Flippers.

Although she was by the disappointing sire Coastal (Majestic Prince), Flippers was a Listed winner, placed twice in Grade 2 company, and earned nearly $250,000. In her long innings at stud Flippers produced just one runner of any note, but that one was Hail Atlantis (Seattle Slew), who won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in 1990, and she has enhanced the family’s reputation as the dam of highly regarded sire Stormy Atlantic (Storm Cat) and grand-dam of three colts who have lately distinguished themselves on the racecourse. Divine Dixie (Dixieland Band) is the dam of Bandini, the son of Fusaichi Pegasus who won the 2005 Blue Grass Stakes; Helstra (Nureyev) produced Stern Opinion, a son of Mizzen Mast who last week claimed his third place at Pattern level in France; and Helstra’s sister is Atlantic Blue, whose gelded son Atlando (Hernando) is a Grade 2 winner in the States, and whose latest star is our subject, Incanto Dream (Galileo).



THE BREEDER'S NOTEBOOK: The Source of Excellence

mick_goss_speaking_at_summerhill_stallion_dayMick Goss speaking at the annual Summerhill Stallion Day

Everyone of us engaged in the fascinating business of breeding thoroughbreds will have been intrigued at some stage or another by what it is that makes a good broodmare. Of course, we all have our individual idiosyncrasies when it comes to what we’re looking for in a prospective mare, and thank heavens it’s like that, or we’d all be after the same individual. It isn’t our intention here to deal with the physicalities or, for that matter, how we evaluate pedigrees in the selection of mares; we’ll come back to that at a later stage. For the time being we’re going to occupy ourselves with the question of where to source prospective mares.

Most breeders of experience will tell you that when you’ve got a good family, stick with it, as it takes years to understand the peculiarities of a family, not only from the perspective of what type they throw, but also what sort of temperaments they have, how sound they are, whether the family needs speed or stamina, bulk or quality, etc, and to waste the patrimony of that experience is to set yourself back as many years as it’s taken you to get to know the family.

So the best place in the first instance, when you strike gold in a family, is to persevere and develop it. “Family building” is a scholarly business, requiring plenty of patience, as well as a good deal of endurance. We’ve had families for example, that’ve looked quite dismal at times, but once we eventually found the right recipe, they’ve flourished into some of our best foundation stock.

However, we don’t spend a lot of time trying to reinvent the wheel, only applying common sense and a set of principles that’ve served us well over the years, but which took a good deal of time in the making. The real purpose of this introductory piece on sourcing mares involves their origins.

Analysis is a vitally important issue in the choice of breeding stock, whether you’re speaking of stallions or mares, and the best example of the value of analysis, in our view, lies in the exploits of Australia’s Arrowfield Stud, where the “bossman”, John Messara, with his stockbroking background and despite his relatively limited knowledge of the horse in the early years, resorted to analysis as his primary tool in assisting him in the selection of stallion prospects. Today his farm boasts the breeding of the stallion colossi Zabeel, Flying Spur and Danzero (all Champion sires,) while John was also the “maker” of the mammoth stallions, Danehill and Redoute’s Choice.

Most students of the game remember Federico Tesio, the fabled Italian breeder and owner-trainer, for the fact that he bred the immortal foundation sires, Nearco and Ribot, as well as the highly successful stallion, Donatello, yet for all that great man’s exploits, John Messara’s record, particularly given the intensity of modern competition, is quite exceptional.

So much for the value of analysis when it comes to the selection of stallions.

In our wonderings, we recognized a quite significant but at the same time, perplexing phenomenon in our local breeding, and that involved the substantial disparities in the success of mares from different countries. While Argentina and New Zealand were for many years the sources of some of the best racehorses ever to come to South Africa, both male and female, it’s a strange quirk of nature that none of those great champions ever made a serious impact at stud, in the first generation at least. There wasn’t a single decent stallion to speak of and we can’t recall a single good horse from the phenomenal likes of Tecla Bluff, Taima Bluff, Dandy Sun, Solera, Époque, Ecurie, Bombarda etc. Of course, a South African-bred daughter of Tecla Bluff, Tecla Fields, is renowned for the fact that she produced three Group One winners in her own right, but that’s part of the point. Recent Equus Champion Elusive Fort, also comes from Argentina’s spectacular “E” family, but again, he was not a product of the first generation.

It was the same with the litany of great fillies and colts that came out of New Zealand, and while the Australian bloodstock purchased in the same era was less successful at the races, these mares and the fillies from Europe, the UK and the USA, proved far more effective in the breeding shed.

In recent years of course, with the advent of the shuttle, Australian-bred horses have come right into their own at the racecourse, and we guess we can anticipate, particularly with all the shuttle blood now available, that the “Australians” will really begin to shine as broodmare prospects, not that they haven’t already done well.

So what is it that set the stock of these latter countries apart as “breeders” from those emanating from Argentina and New Zealand? There are any number of theories in existence, one of which involves where and how the bulk of them were trained, but it serves little purpose to deal in fairytales or old wives stories, so we need to look more closely at the stock from those countries, and in the end, try and find something practically connected with the blood, the type, and the environments prevalent in their areas of origin. As it happens, it would be easy to apply theories relative to where and how they were trained to any one group, but since the “Argies” and the “Kiwis” were largely conditioned in different yards, we have to assume that where they were trained had less to do with the final result, than is so often suggested.

For what it’s worth, our theory revolves around three issues, and they are;

  • The environment : Anyone who’s been to Argentina and New Zealand will tell you they are spectacularly productive agricultural environments, and both the soil and the climate contribute substantially to the ease of farming in those regions. The result is, and this is a generalization, it’s much easier to raise stock in such a situation than it is in other countries where the soils are of a lesser quality, or where climate is an issue.

For the purposes of this argument, we’re assuming that all horse-producing countries have a liberal sprinkling of quality horsemen, and while there may be disparities from country to country, the playing fields are fairly level as far as skills are concerned.

  • The pedigrees : Looking at the pedigrees of horses in the various countries, another feature becomes especially evident, and that is these issues are often influenced by the ready availability of cash. The northern hemisphere has never been short of money, and they’ve always been able to afford the best genetics. In the Antipodean countries, Australia has been the “richer” country compared to New Zealand, and whilst as colonial entities, neither commanded the wealth of their masters to the north, Australia always had more “disposable” than New Zealand. It followed that the Aussies were able to afford more expensive and more fashionable genetics, where New Zealanders had to “box smarter”.

This is no slight on Australia at all, as they have some exceptional horse people in that country, but the truth is, money often breeds complacency because you can occasionally get away with the acquisition of what you need to make yourself successful, whereas you can’t do that when you can’t afford it, in which case you have to work harder at other things to achieve the same result.

Realizing that they could never afford the sort of genetics their Antipodean neighbours could, and since they were competing for much the same market, New Zealanders opted to breed a tougher, stouter horse of greater stamina, while the Australians went for the more fashionable, speed-orientated type whose aptitude was better served by a trip of six to eight furlongs. In very broad terms, it was this simple differential that enabled New Zealand for so many generations to dominate the longer distance races at the highest level in Australia, while they couldn’t get in much of a blow when it came to the shorter races in that country.

Coupled with an exceptional environment and a generous climate, New Zealanders were able to produce a robust, durable, long-winded individual, and while it lacked precocity in the main, it was capable of training on for several years. By contrast, the Australian thoroughbred was typically early-maturing, extremely quick, and “shorter lived”.

Turning for a moment to Argentina, in the 1920’s and 1930’s, in a world in which agriculture was one of the dominant economic activities, this phenomenally fertile country became one of the richest in the world, and Argentineans were able to acquire, particularly from the United Kingdom, some of their best bloodstock, including a long line of winners of England’s greatest race, the Epsom Derby. Consequently, when times changed and military dictatorships intervened in the government of Argentina, as the direction of the international economy moved from agriculture towards a more industrialized profile, so Argentina’s cash resources declined in relative terms, and so did their purchasing power relative to thoroughbreds.

As a result, they relied heavily on the blood they had imported in those earlier years, and proceeded to concentrate on the breeding of their own stallion and broodmare prospects, with very little reliance on imports. Yet they continued to produce an exceptionally strong, resilient individual which was a product of local breeding and a staggeringly generous environment, and which never appeared to lose its vigour and vitality.

By the 1970’s, New Zealand was heavily endowed with the sort of staying blood the northern hemisphere had come to shun and Argentina’s pedigrees were barely recognizable outside of Argentina and its immediate South American environs. For all that, horses from both countries came to South Africa in big numbers and they succeeded in droves, principally because they were tough and could take training, and certain of the people that had them knew how to exploit their attributes and get them to maximum fitness. For all that, as we’ve already said, they disappointed when they got to the breeding shed.

How do you explain this? Well, it’s one helluva question and we guess it will exercise the minds of breeders for much longer than it’s taken to get a treatise of this nature published. For what it’s worth, this is our view.

We’ve already mentioned that the richer countries were possessed of the “richer” blood; that is, horses descended from the world’s best families and by the most fashionable stallions. Consequently, from a purely genetic perspective, these countries were extremely well served and their blood, when exported, appeared to be adaptable and capable of “breeding on” in several different environments.

Our theory on the “Argentineans” and “New Zealanders” is that, notwithstanding their success on our racecourses, when they got to the breeding shed, the blood just didn’t possess sufficient depth to maintain itself in a more testing environment, so these horses tended to breed “down” sooner than those of higher pedigree. In other words, the “Argies” and the “Kiwis” were products of two of the best agricultural environments in the world, and their ability to breed on in more testing areas, or for that matter in areas that were unfamiliar to them by contrast with their own environment, meant that they were not able to carry their legacies to the next generation as successfully as they had in their home countries.

  • You might well ask then, whether the status quo has changed, and while there is little analytical evidence to suggest it has, it’s worth noting that both New Zealand and Argentina today are also the beneficiaries of the shuttle stallion phenomenon, and that they’ve both shifted their ground from being primary sources of stamina to the producers of horses that are beginning to look increasingly like their neighbours, in the case of New Zealand, Australia, and in the case of Argentina, the United States.
  • In some respects, this is a sadness, as it means the archtypical thoroughbred from each of these regions is beginning to look less and less like the animal which forged the nation’s reputation, and more like one from the northern hemisphere. While this is a process which will take some time to achieve its complete manifestation, right now it appears to be irreversible. That said, from a purely South African perspective, there remains a prejudice against breeding with blood from these countries, which may well herald a window of opportunity to seize whatever pricing advantages may exist in the acquisition of South American and New Zealand bloodstock, particularly with the advent of the shuttle, and before they emerge as successful progenitors in the first generation. This is particularly so as stock from Australia and the northern hemisphere is becoming increasingly less affordable on account of the relative strength of their currencies.
  • Of course, we mustn’t forget that our own stock can hold its own with anything from abroad, especially as it’s been tried and tested on our own racecourses. But if you’re looking for genetic variety, as a broad rule, you can source some serious “ink” in foreign pedigrees, (though coupled with racing class, that can be expensive,) and if you’re seeking performance, most times you’ll get far better value at home.



Part 6. The Vodacom Durban July : Africa's Greatest Sporting Event

“All that you see in the magnificence of Hartford House and its environs is defined by the indefinable, and this is Cheryl Goss’ God-given talent for creating the unimaginable.”
(Summerhill Stud/Hartford House/Waterford Wine Estate)

Does anyone out there know the thrill and the magnitude of having a “July” winner? People from all over the world are swarming through Summerhill at the moment, and by Sunday evening we’ll have hosted visitors form Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Dubai and Australia in the East, and the UK, the USA and Germany in the West. And then we have our local guests from Lesotho, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and the whole of South Africa.

What a privilege to see these people, and what a tribute to the horses. That said, visitors don’t come to Summerhill just to see the horses; they can do that anywhere. They come to see their heroes, and in the quality of the “men” in the stallion barn right now, there’s plenty of opportunity to indulge their worship.

At Hartford this evening there’s a gathering of the game’s cognoscenti, here to acknowledge their reverence for this great race. And then there are those who’ve come to pay homage to Cheryl Goss, as she celebrates her 60th birthday. She’s in the best shape of her life, and that’s a signal she’s been well “kept”, or so the boss keeps reminding us!

All that you see in the magnificence of Hartford House and its environs is defined by the indefinable, and this is Cheryl’s God-given talent for creating the unimaginable. The entire Summerhill, Hartford and Vuma teams join us in wishing her “long life”.

With us for the weekend are Kevin and Heather Arnold and Gareth Robertson of the Waterford Wines team, who have acquired the rights to sponsor our pre-July dinner, July Day at the races and our annual Stallion Day. Our association with Waterford goes back many years, and our pride in the relationship revolves around the fact that, like us, they do things properly.

Waterford has for some time been known as one of the world’s great red wine producers, and Kevin has only recently released his “magnum opus”. The Jem. Yet for all the international recognition of their reds, since the 2004 vintage, they’ve released two of the very best Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs the country has known.

What a pleasure to have these guys with us to share their secrets and their expertise.



SADLER'S WELLS enters Irish Derby Hall Of Fame

sadlers wells


Sadler’s Wells has been inducted into the Irish Derby Hall of Fame at the Curragh. The outstanding racehorse and 14-time champion sire won the 1984 Irish 2,000 Guineas at the track.

His name joined those of previous recipients of the award – Vincent O’Brien, Lester Piggott, the Aga Khan, Pat Eddery and Sir Michael Stoute. The sire of six Irish Derby winners, Sadler’s Wells, who was retired from stud duties in May, was directly represented by Curtain Call and Hindu Kush in Sunday’s renewal of the Curragh Classic, while another four of the runners, headed by race winner Frozen Fire, were by his sons.



Part 3. The Vodacom Durban July : Africa's Greatest Sporting Event

Welcome to our Ranch
(Nicholas Goss)

Back at the Summerhill ranch, there is feverish activity. Hartford House is filling to the brim with a collection of people from all over the world, some deeply passionate about horses, others carrying a nagging curiosity that goes back to some connectivity in their early childhoods. Either way, all of them are whipped up in the atmosphere of Saturday’s race, and by raceday, Hartford will be filled with people from around the world.

South Africa’s newest “big buyer”, Dr Jim Hay and his entourage fly in on Friday, Peter Yip, famed for his connection with the Hong Kong Breeders Club gets here Saturday morning, Barry Clements and his wife Liz arrive from Perth on Thursday, and Rupert Plersch is on his way from Germany. His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho arrives on Friday mid-morning when he’ll be inspecting his horses on the farm, and the afternoon sees the arrival of Kevin and Heather Arnold, internationally famed for their excellent wines at Waterford Wine Estate.

The Irish are nothing if they’re not great “marketers” and at the command of the likes of her great pal, Coolmore’s John Magnier and the “Margaret Thatcher” of Irish breeding, Eimear Mulhern (yes, daughter of the late Charlie Haughey, ex Prime Minister of Ireland,) we have Ireland’s most recognized industry representative, Elaine Lawler, also arriving Saturday.

Now this girl’s not just Irish racing’s ambassador, but she’s also famous for another feature. And she’s not called “Legs” for nothing!

That’s not the lot though. We also have the Chairman of the Western Australian Breeders, John Andrew and CEO Veronica Jackson-Smith; the Chairman of the Singapore Turf Club Mr. Tan Guong Ching; the Chairman and Committee of the Korean Turf Authority and a Japanese TV crew delegated to film the Stallion Day as part of the promotion of November’s Asian Racing Conference, the biggest of its kind in the world.



Showbiz : From Solicitor to Judge

Mick Goss
(Summerhill Stud)

Most of our readers know that the boss spent 17 years practising variously as an attorney (solicitor), advocate (barrister) before finally turning his hand full-time to Summerhill Stud. Like most lawyers with an aspirational perspective about their careers, he might one day have fancied his chances as a Judge of the Supreme Court, though his childhood obsession with racehorses was always bound to get the sentimental “nod” as to the course his career was likely to take.

While it may not quite have been the “judge” he’d have had in mind when first admitted to practice in the old Natal Division of the Supreme Court in 1974, Mick Goss recently arrived at the kind of “judge” he might’ve preferred anyway.

Invited as the principal judge at Thoroughbred Day at the Royal Brisbane Show, Mick Goss joins one of the world’s greatest breeders of racehorses, Sir Patrick Hogan, among the panel who’ll be doing duty at the show. While Sir Patrick Hogan will be dealing with non-Thoroughbred classes (he did the Thoroughbreds last year) Mick takes his place this year in the division said to boast the richest prize money in show horses anywhere. His brief in an event which takes its course throughout the day on Tuesday 12th August, will incorporate the judging and displaying of horses for breeding, racing, police, light and World-Cup thoroughbred horses.

It’s a tribute to South Africa that the Australians should’ve ventured this far to find someone to undertake this task which incidentally, is a first for our man whose roots stretch back to ten miles outside of Lusikisiki, arguably the remotest village in South Africa.



Summerhill Associates top New Zealand sale

Peter Yip and Sam Williams (nztm)

In a Broodmare sale conducted by New Zealand Bloodstock at their Karaka complex this week, in which turnover was up a staggering 81%, the dominant buyer was the Summerhill-associate Hong Kong Breeders ClubPeter Yip’s organisation was the buyer of the second top priced mare (by Sadlers Wells) at NZ$210,000, (R1.4  million) among five in total in which the Breeders Club was the biggest buyer on the day.  

It’s a remarkable statement on the bloodstock industry, that in a world in which economists and bankers have become the “whistl blowers”, virtually every sale world-wide this year has moved strongly in a bullish direction.  Perhaps horses are an exception, for the fact that racing is now a universal business in which the western hemisphere is no longer the only dominant player.

The Hong Kong Breeders Club, which has interests in a number of stallions world-wide, have obviously adopted the strategic view of investing in sons of the world’s most dominant stallions of our era, DANEHILL, in a country in which there is a singular dearth of quality representatives.  We speak of course, of our own beloved South Africa, where breeders have pretty much missed the DANEHILL boat, save for Summerhill, where we have three Graded Stakes winning sons, and in two of which (WAY WEST and STRONGHOLD) the Hong Kong Breeders Club have a meaningful interest.

And they don’t only invest in stallions, because they know good mares make good stallions. In acquiring fifteen choice broodmares last season, they put their money where their mouths are.



HERMAN BROWN ready for Singapore Airlines Cup


Record-breaking Gr.1 Dubai Duty Free hero Jay Peg heads a maximum field of 16 for Sunday’s Gr.1 Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji.

The son of Camden Park arrived from Dubai in fine fettle and will be reunited with jockey Anton Marcus, who rode a masterful race in the Duty Free despite suffering a saddle slip during the race. Herman Brown mounts a two-pronged assault on the S$3 million race, with recent acquisition Mourilyan (Desert Prince) making his debut for the stable under Weichong Marwing.

Formely trained by John Oxx, the Aga Khan-bred colt scored successive victories in Dubai this year before a runner-up effort in the Gr.3 Dubai City of Gold . The four-year-old most recently finished unplaced in the Sheema Classic.

Sunday’s opponents include Japan’s Cosmo Bulk, who finished first and second in the last two runnings of the 2000m race and New Zealand’s multiple Gr.1 winner, Sir Slick.




inglisThe William Inglis Australian Easter Broodmare Sale got off to a flying start at Newmarket yesterday, with turnover topping $32.7million.

Overall, 206 mares were sold at a record average of $159,047 with a clearance rate of better than 83%. Topping Day 1 was the stakes winner Personify (Galileo-Procrastinate), who was knocked down to Kieran Moore for $2million and one of four mares to reach seven figures during the session. This represented an outstanding return for owner Paul Makin, who paid $1,025,000 for Personify last year before putting her in foal to Redoute’s Choice.

This was the second time Personify had graced the Newmarket sales ring, as she was sold as a yearling for $650,000 at the 2005 Australian Easter Yearling Sale. G1 AJC Flight Stakes winner Cheeky Choice (Redoute’s Choice-Christchurch), believed to be in foal to Encosta De Lago, was knocked down to Blue Sky Thoroughbreds for $1.4million.

Another highlight of the opening session was the Swettenham Stud Unreserved Dispersal Sale, where 52 mares sold for a total of $11,232,500 at an average of $216,000. These included $1.5million for the G3 winner Living Spirit (Hennessy-Livelihood) in foal to Nadeem and $1,375,000 for the regally related G1 SA Oaks winner Larrocha ( Danehill-Kensington Gardens), in foal to Encosta De Lago.

The pair were knocked down to Darley and Tom Magnier respectively. “We couldn’t have been happier,” Swettenham’s Adam Sangster said of the overall result. “The great thing is that we were supported by the people who have supported us over the years and it is a gratifying result to see them going to such great homes. “This is something which I think Dad would have been proud of – certainly the family is very proud.

“It’s a little bitter-sweet, but this is a re-birth for us at Swettenham Victoria as we concentrate on the stallions from now on.” William Inglis Managing Director Mark Webster said he was thrilled with today’s results.

“ We’ve had four mares break the one million dollar mark and achieved a new record broodmare average of $159,000 with a strong clearance of 83.1%. “We’ve worked hard to secure high quality broodmares for this sale and vendors have been rewarded. “I’m particularly grateful to the Sangster family and Paul Makin for giving Inglis the opportunity to sell their bluebloods on their behalf.”

Supplementary entry Perfect Drop (Quest For Fame-Dane Vintage) fetched $720,000 on Monday and her G1 AJC Oaks conqueror from last year, Rena’s Lady (Arena-Boisterous Lady) will be offered at Tuesday’s session after Lot 500.

Sale Statistics - Day 1

Lots Catalogued    281                         Gross Value $32,763,750
Lots Sold                 206 (83.1 %)    Top Price - Lot 83 $2,000,000
Lots Passed In     42 (16.9 %)        Average Price $159,047
Lots Withdrawn   33                             Median Price $85,000

Extract from Stallions Daily Bulletin 



MORE THAN READY : The Shuttle Stallion Concept

more than readyMore Than Ready (Team Valor) One undoubted benefit of the shuttle stallion concept is that a stallion can be seen in a new light by breeders in one hemisphere, thanks to his achievements in the other. There’s arguably no better example of this than the great Danehill, who was once on the brink of becoming just another stallion on Coolmore’s star-packed Irish roster. In 1994, in his fifth season, Danehill’s fee was a mere IR9,000gns, which placed him only 10th in the pecking order among Coolmore’s Irish stallions.

Although he started to flourish with his northern hemisphere runners in 1995, the Coolmore team was prepared to lease him to Japan for the 1996 season, which suggests he still wasn’t considered vital to the operation’s success.

Click here to watch video of Danehill winning the Cork and Orrery at Royal Ascot in 1989. 

It was a different story in Australia. Three consecutive titles as champion sire of juveniles were immediately followed by three general sires’ championships, and Danehill had the winner of the prestigious Golden Slipper Stakes in each of his first three crops. Altogether he was champion sire nine times in the space of 11 years, his last championship coming in the 2004/5 season.

These achievements can only have helped boost Danehill’s reputation in Europe, where he eventually became champion sire in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Part of Danehill’s appeal as a stallion, from a pedigree viewpoint, was that he was inbred 3x3 to Natalma, one of three daughters of Almahmoud to have produced a champion stallion. This, in turn, will have reflected well on More Than Ready when the Vinery stallion arrived to stand his first season in Australia at a fee of A$22,000 in 2001. More Than Ready is by Southern Halo, a horse inbred 3x4 to Almahmoud through Cosmah and Natalma, so he had obvious appeal as a mate for mares with Danehill blood.

It is worth pointing out that the last few years have seen a flourishing partnership develop between Danehill and Machiavellian, another stallion with a parent inbred to Almahmoud through Cosmah and Natalma. Danehill sired four stakes winners from only 10 foals out of Machiavellian mares and Machiavellian’s son Medicean has two group winners among his first eight foals out of Danehill mares. Incidentally, Southern Halo isn’t the only son of Halo with a good record with Danehill mares. Sunday Silence (who isn’t inbred to Almahmoud) sired four stakes winners, including the dual Grade II winner Silent Name and the classic placed Japanese colt Six Sense.

More Than Ready has also flourished with Danehill’s daughters and granddaughters. His first Australian crop featured two very good - but very different - colts out of Danehill mares. One, Perfectly Ready, was a Group 1- winning sprinter, whereas the other, Benicio, won the Gr1 Victoria Derby over 1 9/16 miles. And now More Than Ready has sired Sebring, the unbeaten winner of the Gr1 Golden Slipper Stakes, from a mare by Flying Spur, one of Danehill’s five Golden Slipper winners.

Sebring is More Than Ready’s second stakes winner from his first six foals out of daughters of Flying Spur, a stallion inbred 4x4x5 to Natalma.

Danehill isn’t the only son of Danzig to appear among the broodmare sires of More Than Ready’s best winners. The American Grade II winner Ready To Please is out of a Pine Bluff mare, while Augusta Proud, the filly who lost her unbeaten record in the Golden Slipper, is out of a Langfuhr mare. Interestingly, Pine Bluff was also inbred 4x4 to Almahmoud (while Langfuhr is closely inbred to Nearctic, who sired Northern Dancer from Natalma). More Than Ready also sired the Group 1-placed Australian filly Deloraine from a Danzig mare.

Before we attribute all of Sebring’s considerable talent to these multiple lines of Almahmoud, I should quickly point out that he is another high-class winner whose pedigree features inbreeding to both Mr. Prospector (4x4) and Northern Dancer (4x5x6).

More Than Ready now looks to have the two-year-old sires’ championship sewn up, having earned more than three times as much as his nearest pursuers, Encosta de Lago and Red Ransom. He had finished a remote second to Redoute’s Choice on this list in 2004/5, when Carry On Cutie won the Gr1 Champagne Stakes, and there’s every reason to think he’ll continue to shine in this sphere. The five-time juvenile winner has covered at least 120 mares in each of the last four Australian seasons and is sure to be in great demand later this year.

More Than Ready is obviously a very fecund stallion. If you combine the number of mares covered in each hemisphere, he coped with 297 in 2004, 331 in 2005, 272 in 2006 and 299 last year. It will be interesting to see whether raising his fee from $40,000 to $60,000 affects the size of his Kentucky book this year. Although I am a fully paid-up member of More Than Ready’s fan club, I couldn’t help thinking $60,000 was plenty to pay for a horse still awaiting his first northern hemisphere Grade I winner after four years with runners. That said, he sires an attractive proportion of tough stakes winners, and it would be no surprise to see his profile continue to rise in the northern hemisphere, thanks partly to his Australian achievements.


Extract by Andrew Caulfied from Thoroughbred Daily News 



MICK GOSS : A Horseman's Eye

mick gossMick GossUsually accustomed to judging Thoroughbred horses when buying or selling at the sales ring, our esteemed boss will be jetting off to Australia in August to preside over various Thoroughbred classes at “the Ekka” (the Royal Queensland Show) in Brisbane, Australia. His expert eye, developed over many years of “picking” a good horse, will assess horses in several different categories. These include stallion, yearling, filly and mare, raced and unraced, all shown in-hand.

This prestigious show was first held in 1876, and this year’s Ekka marks 130 years of annual celebration of Queensland’s progress and prosperity. The show attracted over 600,000 visitors last year and is the biggest annual event of its kind in the state.

Mick Goss will be in the company of some of the finest horsemen in the world, with Sir Patrick Hogan (Cambridge Stud, New Zealand) and Her Highness Princess Teresa de Borbon (president of the Spanish Arabian Horse Association) and judges from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Posted by Marlene Breed



STAR WAY : A Real Star says Farewell

star wayStar Way (Windsor Park Stud) Some years ago the renowned New Zealand Bloodstock auctioneer, Joe Walls, then CEO of New Zealand Bloodstock, compared the great New Zealand stallion STAR WAY to Summerhill’s NORTHERN GUEST. There were many parallels in each of their stallion careers, with both horses being born in 1977. NORTHERN GUEST passed away in 2002, while STAR WAY died last Friday. New Zealand’s Windsor Park Stud, where he stood throughout his career, yesterday paid tribute to him.

Star Way, Windsor Park Stud’s champion sire died peacefully at age 31 last Friday afternoon at the stud where he had resided for the past 27 years.

Star Way was purchased by Nelson Schick as a 4YO and commenced his stud career at Windsor Park in 1981 at the completion of a successful racing career.

Star Way was a very special character and his accomplishments at stud have been a life-changing event for those of us here at Windsor Park. His contribution to the overall success of our operation cannot be adequately measured, suffice to say that we owe Star Way the greatest debt of gratitude, as stallions of his standing are virtually irreplaceable”, commented Nelson Schick.

Champion Sire of 2YO’s with his first crop to race, Star Way also sired a then world record five Gr.1 winners in his first crop, a feat later to be equalled by Sadler’s Wells. His first crop included Champion 2YO Star Board, the great galloper Waverley Star, classic winners Shankhill Lass and Starjo and multiple Gr.1 winner Field Dancer.

Star Way later repeated this extraordinary achievement with his fifth crop which included no less than ten Group winning 3YO’s, five of whom won at Gr.1 level.

Winner of the prestigious Dewar Stallion Award, Star Way has to date sired 60 stakes winners including 18 Gr.1 winners. His latest Group winner Cog Hill is a member of Star Way’s 19th crop while his most recent group performer Shining Light, second in the Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup on Saturday, is a member of his 22nd crop.

Star Way has also excelled as a broodmare sire with his daughters producing no less than 45 stakes winners including this years Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks winner Boundless, as well as Australia’s current leading sire Encosta de Lago.

Star Way’s final crop, his 27th and sired at age 30, are due to be born this coming spring.