SMOOTH DEAL- ONE FOR THE AUSSIES
It could be seen as most appropriate that the top lot of the 2018 Yearling sales at $230,000 went to Australian owner, Jean Feiss.
Australians were responsible for the establishment of the foundation of Smooth Deal’s family long ago and it can safely be bet that he is the only standardbred sale topper with a Melbourne Cup winner in his pedigree. And of course, his co-trainer also hails from across the sea.
Smooth Deal traces to Verity rated the last time such an exercise was undertaken as the third most successful family founder in Australasia (up from no 20 when the NZ figures were first compiled). Verity was from an unregistered mare by the Melbourne Cup dual winner, The Barb, and was brought to New Zealand by her breeder John Buckland at the turn of the 20th century.
She was the result of the worst decision probably in the history of New Zealand breeding and made by none other than Robert Wilkin the founder of harness breeding here with his imports from America.
He brought three stallions in the early 1880’s but leased one out to Australia and later sold him. That horse, Vancleve, was easily the greatest sire of the three and Buckland, who had purchased him some years before, became the only Australian ever to be the leading owner in New Zealand- through the stock of Vancleve belting Kiwi horse’s heads in during spring raids on this country.
Fortunately he sold Verity to Harry Nicoll of Ashburton then just expanding his trotting interests. From the same owner Nicoll bought Durbar who won the 1908 NZ Cup for him.
According to the late Ted Lowe, a mine of information on early trotting in Canterbury, Verity was an outstanding racemare but a renowned road horse, who could go from Ashburton to Mt Somers faster than any other of the era and also travel longer distances to Peel Forest at consistently high road speeds.
At stud she founded a family too successful to go into detail here but by her death in 1921 it was already established and through the next two decades in particular would almost dominate many of the best age group races. One of the more recent of the top level pacers was Sapling,
The Smooth Deal branch reflects a recent resurgence in his part of the tree. Most would have expected a Bettor’s Delight sale topper to be from a Christian Cullen mare but Jean Feiss’s youngster goes one step back in being from a mare by CC’s sire In the Pocket who kick started a resurgence in track speed among New Zealand pacers in the 1990’s.
His dam, Linda Grace, has already left serious speed fillies, Linda Lovegrace and Gina Grace and her dam, Jessie Grace by the many times champion sire Vance Hanover, whose mares were not quite so successful at stud, has bucked the trend leaving Pacing Grace (8 wins and a sister to Linda Grace) whose son Pacing Major did a great job for All Stars as a two and three year old before being sold to America where he is racing well.
Pacing Grace has also left All U Need is Faith (like Pacing Major by Art Major) a hard hitter for All Stars now ready to trial and Grace Way the dam of Three Ways and Forgotten Highway, Three Ways now racing well in Australia. There are numerous other smart winners tracking to Jessie Grace in recent times when the family has been nurtured by Woodlands Stud, her owner.
Until then this was one of the lesser known branches of the Verity tribe but Jessie Grace’s dam, Ollies Chance, made her mark even if it was far from the lush fields of Woodlands.
She was raced and trained by Barney Tisdall of Dunback (no we haven’t been there either), often driven by Stu Allcock. Her best effort in a 7 win career was her third to standouts Gina Rosa and Michele Bromac in the DB (now Nevele R) Filly final.The genial Barney also trained the high class mare Idolmite.
Ollies Chance was by Colonel Kenton a 3x3 Volomite full brother to champion filly Golden Oriole, sold for then mouth watering “set you up for life” money by Murray Butt to America in the early 1960’s. A full sister, Mia Mocca, established a successful breed for another All Stars owner, Phil Creighton and his wife Margaret.
Ollie’s Chance’s untried dam Take a Chance, and her untried dam and moderate stud performer, Glen Russ, had the family fading but Glen Russ was from Sahara Queen a high class racemare for Charlie Isaccson and Mary Bourner at Addington in the days when there were no races for fillies and mares and they had to compete with the boys. Further back in the pedigree is Verity’s granddaugher Childe Pointer who beat the boys in the Sapling Stakes and then beat them again in the NZ Derby, so the age group potential has always been hovering.
What the future holds for Smooth Deal we are yet to know but if strains of “Aussie Aussie Aussie oi ! oi! oi!” are heard after he wins a big race it will be no surprise
**More breeding profiles below
THEFIXER-ONE FOR THE BOYS
When the Kennards wrote their name down for Thefixer as a yearling they weren't going just by what was in front of them. They had already had race and sales success with Sir Tosti Mach, his half brother by Mach Three. Sir Tosti Mach ran second to Alta Christiano in a Sales Graduate race and ran 4th in a very strong final that year. He later was a durable racehorse in Australia. So a version by Bettor's Delight was certainly no option from hell
Seven wins from 12 starts later-plus a lot of patience as Mark and Natalie told them "Tosti" was a good horse in the making but needing time-showed that the trainers knew what they were talking about. Surprise, surprise.
But what might be termed a surprise is not that Thefixer is good but that he is male.
This is a family that has left useful colts and geldings and the odd case even better than that. But it is a filly family by any measure.
Thefixer's dam Tosti Girl was a high bar perfomer earning nearly $200,000 in age group events. And her dam, Delightful Paula by the brilliant track performer but disappointing stallion, Jaguar Spur-once so fashionable he had a yearing passed in at $100,000 at Christchurch when the average was less than $20,000-connected spectacularly with Christian Cullen to produce another outstanding filly, Delightful Christian, who won over $200,000 and ran 1.52. Her record would have been even better had she not returned a controversial positive to arsenic after winning a Harness Jewels 2yo Filly and being disqualified-a penalty legal action could not shake.
Not only that but the next dam, Aristocratic, left another high class filly Paula Michelle who won the filly version of the Sires Stakes both at two and three. Colts anyone ? Why?
At that stage this branch of the family, nurtured for many years by the Harrison family of Methven, had moved north after Central Standardbreds bought Patrician from Tom Harrison. Brian Hughes and John Green had considerable success breeding most of the above stars from her descendants.
We need hardly add that Patrician's dam, Undaunted, bred on the Light Brigade-U Scott cross more fashionable then than even the Bettor's Delight-Christian Cullen one today, left a very smart mare in the days before so many rich filly races in Ulight who won seven and granddam also of Local View. She did also leave a smart male pacer in Onassis.
Just to balance the books also,so to speak, Ulight left a top male pacer for the time in Deeside who went to Cup class ;and Local View left In to View one of the best pacers Tom Harrison bred who easily could have done.
The War Maid tribe this family belongs to is also responsible in another branch for smart maies Walk Alone Stroll Away and Royal Walk and to her family also belongs the tough stayer Enterprise (23 wins;Auckland Cup) a grandson of Loyal Nurse.
But it doesn't add up to a long list of outstanding colts over a long period. It certainly adds up to a long list of outstanding fillies- and that may not be surprising.
Undaunted was a daughter of Loyal Nurse the last mare to win a New Zealand Cup (in 1949) until Armalight in 1982 up to and including which time you could always get good odds on a mare in the race. Every year Loyal Nurse got a mention from the pundits to underline how long it was since a mare had won and how little the chances of it being repeated.
Loyal Nurse was bred and raced by "old" Tom Harrison and was leased in her earlier career to Clarrie May while the Harrison boys were away at the war. Clarrie won an Auckland Cup and many other good races with her.
After his lease expired Harrison made the bold move to hand her to Colin Berkett to set for the NZ Cup. She had had 16 starts the previous season for May without paying a dividend and Berkett was reluctant. Perhaps the rather bland Cup lineup without Highland Fling encouraged him.
He outdid All Stars in his Cup preparation giving Loyal Nurse, who had gained a reputation for not always giving of her best in a race, just one start before the Cup a dead-heat for fourth in the Hannon Memorial at Labour weekend that perked up his confidence considerably. He had tried to vary her work as much as possible and it seemed to work. Few could set a horse for a staying race better than Colin. On Cup day she was three wide for much of the way but beat Captain Sandy in a world record time for a mare at the distance and at 22/1. She was last in the Ollivier on the second day and never won again.
Her toughness came on both sides of her pedigree. Her sire Grattan Loyal produced horses of legendary durability, even for the era, while her damsire Man O War was also the stuff of legend. It was from him that Loyal Nurse inherited her black colouring.
Bought out of Australia as an aged horse he won two Auckland Cups and numerous other races for Methven's Tom McGirr. A noted mudlark he left some outstanding pacing males (War Buoy; Marsceres etc) but as a broodmare sire he was prolific and actually topped the Broodmare sires list one season against the likes of Jack Potts etc having left only a fraction of the foals of his main rivals. Our first two minute racehorse, Tactician, was from one of his mares as were a number of stars of the era like Soangetaha, Trixie Milne the ancestress of Armalight etc etc. His offspring had a particular liking for the Auckland Cup winning on several occasions.
Now it seems it is back to the boys to maintain the family profile. But they have a job in front of them to equal the feats of the girls.
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TAILOR MADE TO TROT -OR NOT >
A promising young trotter at All Stars currently is Tailored Elegance the first filly foal of Classic Armbro, an Armbro Invasion mare,by Muscle Hill one of the world's best sires of trotters. And Classic Armbro of course is a daughter of the outstanding trotting mare Merinai. And therein lies a story.
In very few families does one horse define an era but in this case it comes very close. When Merinai came along nobody thought of her immediate family as trotters. With good reason.
But Merinai, winner of 19 races from various stables (the last with Mark) changed all that. Included in her wins were the Rowe Memorial Gold Cup and the Dominion Handicap that made her the Horse of the Year in 1998 a rare feat for a trotter with only names like No Response and Sir Castleton before her. Once she was established her reputation there was a rush to mate her dam and her descendants to trotting sires and the result has been an ongoing succession of smart trotters (Miss Pegasus. Sunny Elegant, Wingsonhai etc) from a family pre-Merinai which was considered a pacing line- at least in this country.
Merinai was by Tuff Choice a pacing stallion by Windshield Wiper from a Bret Hanover mare -not a cross with much trotting interest. However further back there was a a lot of Volomite blood around and pacing sires from the family who came to New Zealand-notably Flying Song-left high class trotting horses. Tuff Choice left several other other trotters in what was basically a lacklustre stud career and after Merinai's success her dam Meriden, Blossom Lady's sire Farm Timer, was mated with trotting stallions like Sundon and Chiola Hanover.
Meriden's dam Merinda was by the pacing star Lochgair who traced to the Ted Lowe family of Jesse B. It was prized by her breeders because she was a pacer by a pacing stallion something very rare back in the 1880's. Merinda's dam Thunderina, a useful pacing mare (7 wins), was never bred to a trotting sire (10 foals) by the Johnson family of Doyleston and was closely related to a pacing star in Single Direct and Inter Dominion champion.
However there were a few trotting clues around the in the pedigree. Thunderina's sire, Thunder On, a thundering failure at stud here in spite of (or perhaps because of) being by U Scott's sire from the dam of Light Brigade whose daughters dominated the era. However Thunder On did leave a record breaking young trotter in Spark Gap and Thunderina's dam was by Medoro, a converted trotter imported by Noel Simpson from Italy to circumvent the then tough international finance rules applying to buying horses in America (basically you couldn't). Medoro sired Single Medoro-a brother to Thunderina's dam, Singlena, a smart pacing mare - who dead heated in the NZ Derby so the emphasis on breeding pacers was understandable.
Medoro, whose dam, Alma Lee, was once a world record holding trotter over a mile (the first trotter driven by a female driver in 2.00) was a successful sire of broodmares too and some including Paulette and Princess Pat became valuable breeders. He was by the same sire as Dillon Hall a highly successful pacing stallion in this country.
The trotting seeds were there it could be said. But it took a long while for the crop to ripen!
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SHEZ ALL ROCK-A freak on and off the track
We don't see many fillies more brilliant than Shez All Rock but there are some cautionary tales for breeding theorists in her emergence as a racehorse of special abilities.
The first is for those who delve deep into pedigrees to explain a superstar performer. You don't want to delve too deeply into this filly's background. About two generations looks far enough.
After all of her first three dams one (her dam Irish Loch) was unraced; the second,Lady Loch, had one start and finished 13th in a poor maiden race and her third dam, Heather Lady did not win, her connections giving up after 8 starts. Her fourth dam, Heatherloch, did win 6 of 57 races but didn't win the first until she was a four year old and though under the expert guidance of George Noble, won most of her races at places like Kurow and Hutt Park -though she posted one win each at Addington and Alexandra Park.
Certainly the Heatherloch family had its moments, one winning the Sapling Stakes (Black Loch) though he was not a factor in following seasons. The best known of her foals, Yankee Loch, was a trotter and therein lies another tale. She also left stout staying horses like Scottish Loch but brilliance was never something the family sought or was famous for. For more than 60 years-until now-nearly all the stars of the branch of this family were strong staying trotters.
Heatherloch was one of the few odd ones out and that is no surprise. Her dam Cloudy Horizon, a dual gaited performer, spent the first 11 years of her breeding career visiting owner Bill Lochhead's own stallion Super Note, a trotting bred winner of two races. Bill, who also stood Super Note's damsire Sonoma Harvester at Mt Somers before shifting to Ashburton, had a strong input into this pedigree.
There were some sharp performers from this cross, which produced a foal every year for a decade. Almost all were trotters, including the high class Supervise. But when Super Note's time had come Cloudy Horizon was sent to free legged pacer, Lumber Dream, and Heatherloch, a 12th and last foal, was the result.
Cloudy Horizon was by Black Globe, a Globe Derby horse standing at Mataura Island in Southland whose career as a stallion was ill starred after a promising start. But, quite remarkably in view of that, he not only appears in the pedigree of Shez All Rock but also as the damsire of the famous Black Watch, whose family just keeps on keeping on.
There have always been solid performers from this breed but one with the brilliance of Shez All Rock is a novelty. It can be explained in two names, sire Rock n Roll Heaven and damsire Mach Three. The evidence is overwhelming they have played the chief role in this production.
Shez All Rock is finely made, almost a thoroughbred in appearance In fact Paul Kenny co-owner of Adore Me etc made the observation one night at Addington that he has bred thoroughbreds not as fine as this filly.
Rock n Roll Heaven was a sensational three year old in the United States being at that age the first horse in history to pace two sub 1.50 miles on the same day as he did to win the Little Brown Jug. He paced 11 sub 1.50 miles that year winning 16 of his 21 starts and was the Horse of the Year.
His stud career has not been as spectacular but there are good reasons.
Firstly, and this is relevant to this story, his best produce have been fillies and his inability to so far leave a star colt has affected his reputation in the US. Secondly his connections, having established him in New York (originally Blue Chip Farms) , shifted him to New Jersey for the 2016 breeding season for good reasons but poor results. He is now back in New York. In New Zealand horses like Heaven Rocks and Let It Ride have done well but his fillies are still strongest in demand. They also seem to have a more relaxed attitude than the males though temperament is not perhaps always their strong point and the sire himself had some issues in that regard. Shez All Rock appears to have missed that gene.
Rock n Roll Heaven is not a majestic stallion in looks and in fact his owner recalls when he was shown him in his box as a yearling thought he did not compare in appearance with a second horse he was buying much more cheaply that did not amount to much. However Rock n Roll Heaven has enjoyed a stellar season especially in Australia.
It would be fair to say some of his stock have not developed as well as early promise indicated. Benecio (bred on the same cross as Shez All Rock) was one who showed early though he has taken a 1.54 mile mark ;and another All Stars performer, MacKenzie an impressive two year old filly didn't quite live up to expectations later though she has done well in America in winter racing winning major stakes. Heaven Rocks and Let it Ride were both males who were later developers and that may be the key to his male stock.
The speed of the stallion and the speed potency of Mach Three (sire of Somebeachsomewhere lest we forget) has certainly been a lethal combination to produce an amazing filly like this one. She has a well balanced pedigree internationally The earlier ancestors ? not so much.
Perhaps the speed aspect is best summed up by Mark when asked to compare Shez All Rock with Adore Me, comparing horses not being Mark's favourite thing.
"Both obviously terrific fillies. If there is a difference it might be you could train Adore Me up for any distance as her record shows. Once Shez All Rock got up to the longer distances I think she would be more vulnerable. But still very special"
Special indeed. And as far as this stamina favouring family is concerned, one out of the box.
SWEET ON ME
Sweet on Me is a strikingly handsome filly of size and substance. Just as well. She carries the hopes of many for the future on her young shoulders.
By a champion racehorse, Sweet Lou from a champion mare Adore Me the critics will be expecting something special from this mating and the principals of Woodlands Stud where Sweet Lou has kicked off his stud career with highly positive reviews will be as anxious as anybody.
Sweet on Me is likely to be one of the first performers by the new stallion from a Bettor's Delight mare. Given the number of Bettor's Delight mares there are in the country an early successful cross with Sweet Lou could be crucial. On paper and in theory it looks an ideal cross but as always in breeding the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Sweet Lou has, to the casual New Zealand breeding fan, a collection of no names in his pedigree. The total ability of those names produced one of the greats, a horse who won it all from two year old Breeder's Crown (world record of 1.49 that still stands) to a sensational older horse career which at one stage featured 10 successive wins all around his career best 1.47. Wow !
Adore Me, first second or third in 33 of her 36 starts and the last mare raced in this country who could beat the males at any distance from one mile to 3200m was clearly a superstar member of a superstar family.
She did not race at two but Sweet Lou has already shown he can throw early speed so that should not be a concern. Most discussion will be around the Sweet Lou pedigree: the survival of the Adios sireline and the ability of champion racemares to leave superstar pacers especially with a first foal.
Sweet Lou's sire Yankee Cruiser was what is called a "hard hitter" who won over $US$1m and was the son and grandson of two stars of the Abercrombie line, Artsplace and Artiscape . He was from a Jate Lobell mare. Jate Lobell, the 2yo and 3yo champion of his era and syndicated for a then remarkable $US12m was a successful sire but not a breed shaper. However as a sire of brood mares the son of No Nukes has been a huge success.
Sweet Lou is a big hope for the Adios line of sires which has hung by slight threads for years. Adios, not an especially well bred horse, was just a sensation as a sire notably of fillies and especially as his books of mares were tiny compared to modern times. However each generation continues to produce one Adios line horse to carry on the breed. The most potent, Abercrombie, was by a top racehorse but major siring disappointment in Silent Majority whose own sire Henry T Adios was rather scorned at stud partly because of his lack of scope -yet Abercrombie rejuvenated the line.
Sweet Lou traces to Adios in both paternal and maternal line. The maternal line is carried through Falcon's Future sire of his dam. A world champion two year old by time and performance, he was regarded as a disappointment at stud and the next sire in the pedigree, Nero, had his critics too. He could however produce juvenile speed (as his sons like Clever Innocence could in NZ) and his less desirable traits, mainly around racing manners, certainly didn't appear with Sweet Lou.
Adore Me's most potent Adios influence is through Bret Hanover the sire of B G's Bunny the sire of her dam Scuse Me, though she gets lesser strains also through Bettor's Delight. His sire Cam's Card Shark was from B G's Bunny mare and Bettor's Delight's dam is by a son of Abercrombie.
It is all a complicated mixture and so far it is showing signs of paying big dividends. Lancewood Lizzie is one of the several top Bettor's Delight mares to visit Sweet Lou and Adore me returned to him and produced another filly. She has since been to Somebeachsomewhere.
One of the last purchases for the late Neil Pilcher at the 2018 Yearling Sales, Dina Bolt has a long way to go to match some of Pilch's super buys but he is shaping well enough at this stage at All Stars.
He is now raced by Mark and Natalie with Peter Baken as a new partner. He is having little trouble matching the mile times being asked of the youngsters at this stage.
One of Pilch's contributions to the stable was that he was not bound by fashion and bought several good performers without notably commercial appeal to match some of the glamour buys for the stable.
Dina Bolt, while by sire of the decade Bettor's Delight, comes somewhat into that category at least on pedigree.
But his dam, Pullover Brown, was a great racetrack performer for Geoff Small and usually driven by Anthony Butt, winning the New Zealand Oaks, the Victoria Oaks and the Moonee Valley Australian Oaks also a G1 race, as well as a Sires Stakes Final here. Her brother Montecito was also successful and took a 1.49.4 time in the United States.
However Pullover Brown has been somewhat disappointing at stud in more ways than one. She missed in three of her first five years and her best performer, Runaway Brown, while he has posted a fast time in Australia has been only a fair performer there before moving on to the US where he has gone 1.52.6.
She was largely kept to Volomite line stallions such as Christian Cullen, Mach Three and Elsu and Dina Bolt is only her second foal by Bettor's Delight.
That makes him line bred to Cam Fella, the grandsire of Bettor's Delight and sire of Armbro Operative the sire of Pullover Brown. Both Armbro Operative and Cam's Card Shark were bred on a Cam Fella-B G Bunny cross.
Cam Fella is the greatest stallion descendant of Most Happy Fella and twice the US champion stallion as well as twice Horse of the Year. His son Cam's Card Shark (sire of Bettor's Delight) was also very successful.
Cam Fella's success was a reminder that statistics can be misleading. He came from a weak branch of a top family which had left only 3 classic winners in 80 years yet triumphed above all that on his own ability and the potency of Most Happy Fella. His son Cambest has a time trial of 1.46.2 which has been the world's fastest time for 20 years.
He was closely bred to Dale Frost the sire of Meadow Skipper and the line (Most Happy Fella one) has a strong presence in Dina Bolt's pedigree. However he has a double cross of the Adios line stallion Abercrombie, sire of Art Major, and a strong influence for size and speed.
Armbro Operative was a Little Brown Jug winner who left over 1000 winners. He left a $1m winner Fleur De Lil in Australia but his best here was Awesome Armbro who later posted a fast time in America. But notably he is also the damsire of Ultimate Machete and bred on the same cross .
Two interesting stallions closer to home in Dina Bolt's pedigree are Fitch II and Mercedes. Fitch II was by Abercrombie and a smart racehorse tho he had a mixed career here at a time when the country was flooded with American stallions. His best son was Giovonetto a real star in his younger days in particular. Fitch II sired Dinavinetto ( 1 win from 43 starts but the dam of Pullover Brown and Montecito )
Her dam Precious Dina was by the Meadow Skipper stallion Mercedes and raced by Ted and Richard Hooper who stood that stallion at the former Nandina Stud in Auckland. Mercedes was a horse of most uncertain temperament whose stock were not highly regarded in some quarters but then he produced some topliners notably Luxury Liner the best stayer Roy and Barry Purdon trained and a super durable horse of the outstanding late 1980's era of stars. Roy Purdon recalls that Luxury Liner in most situations was a sensible horse even though his sire could strike fear in the uninitiated even from behind stout fencing
Bettor's Delight has not been matched with many Armbro Operative mares but one, Bettor Be Gold raced out of All Stars. The best one out of the stable however has been Ultimate Machete and there is no greateer recommendation for this youngster than his record to date
Pur Dan might seem at first glance an unusual name for a younger pacer but on closer inspection it is not hard to agree that the yearling sold for $62,500 at the last PGG sale as Big Art has quite an appropriate moniker.
Mark purchased him for Victorian owner, Danny Zavitsanos nearly all of whose horses have Dan in their name War Dan Delight being another example at All Stars.
Given the success Danny and Mark/Natalie have enjoyed in recent times the name seems most appropriate.
There is another reason. Pur Dan is the first live foal of the Mach Three mare Collectable, a Group Three winner for All Stars in 2010 notable for the driving success of Nicole Molander who won the Delightful Lady Classic with her. All Stars having its usual bevy of female stars that season and many drivers were rostered.
Oddly, though Collectable won her first three starts,she did not win again. However she ran some grand races including a 4th in the Caduceus Classic and 4th again in the Nevele R Fillies Final at three, the year of Carabella when everyone else was struggling to compete. That filly won 10 of her 11 starts and was second in the other to completely dominate the season.
Pur Dan is her first live foal after two dead foals and failing to get in foal at her other service
Her sire Mach Three has not struck up any special relationship to Art Major as yet though there is time for that to develop and the cross has produced some useful types. Collectable was the only foal from her dam Stage Talent by Mach Three, who has had a notable contribution to New Zealand breeding, especially with his ability to leave early speed and notably with fillies. Ironically his best in New Zealand, Auckland Reactor, did not race at two but he more than made up for it at three.
Mach Three was among the notable descendants of the Direct Scooter (Volomite) pacing line to carry everything before it in New Zealand for a decade beginning with the importation of In the Pocket who left A string of top horses and whose great son Christian Cullen reshaped the breed before the Abbedale line was restored at the top by Bettor's Delight.
The Direct Scooter line emerged from virtually nowhere his sire and grandsire not being memorable racehorses and the Volomite pacing line going out of fashion but the speed element of the line crossed nicely with the tougher but rougher Meadow Skipper paces
Mach Threes sire Matt's Scooter, a $US17,000 yearling purchase, was an extremely fast son of Direct Scooter who overcame some handicaps to establish his reputation. He was hard to handle at two but at three, though ineligible for both the Little Brown Jug and the Cane Pace he won over $2m including the Meadowlands Pace and the Messenger. He wasn't spared, running in 20 races and he had more at four winning 23 of his 30 starts. He was Harness Horse of the Year at 3 and Pacer of the Year at 4. Mach Three (1.49.2) was one of his fastest his fastest sons though Royal Mattjesty who also came Down Under, ran 1.48 and change was faster. Mach Three's brother Extreme Three also came to New Zealand while Matt's Scooter's son Mattuity, a smart pacer, did as well though he failed to build on the early promise of Ken Barron's smart youngster Mattnamara's Band.
The Bonnie Barbara branch of Collectable's family has left some very good sorts on the track though not many standouts in recent times. Her dam, Stage Talent was by Soky;s Atom from the Stampede mare Stage Queen.
This where the most notable performer of recent times comes into the picture as Stage Queen was a sister to the outstanding pacer, Defoe who won the Superstars Final (a bigger race then than now) and the Lion Red Mile at Alexandra Park for the Robert Dunn stable. He was from the Lumber Dream mare Secure Bel.
Pur Dan's family has several genuine speed influences over a tough old Kiwi source and with the speed capability of Art Major youngsters he could be a formidable performer-whatever his name is.
Major Coo is raced by a tried and true Kennard syndicate who also race Tennyson Bromac and as his name suggests he tracks back to the prolific mare Coo Doo the dam of Palestine, Stereo Light and Barbara Del (dam of Ruthless) and 11 winners in all. Another of her foals, Anna Pavlova (unraced) left the young flier Derby who set a record for the time by qualifying for the NZ Cup after just 12 starts
This has been a very successful family over a long period but it has bred in large numbers and getting the right end of the strike rate is not a simple task. Some of the fillies have been indifferent breeders in terms of racing success. Major Coo looks to be one of the many exceptions.
The reason there are so many foals from the breed is not hard to trace. Coo Doo (1960) who did not race, had a live foal every year from 1967 until 1984 and was nearly 25 years oid when she first missed. Eight of them were fillies.
Coo Doo was by Morano who brought two gifts to an old Mid Canterbury family. The first was the high speed which was reflected in his own career especially as a younger horse. The second was the influence by the great U Scott which was not quite so welcome. Some of his offspring among the colts could be temperamental if not downright difficult just as he was. Some of the Coo Doo tribe were somewhat problematical to handle especially among the colts as the late Jack Smolenski would have been able to testify. But Morano brought a lot more good than bad.
Major Coo traces to Entrancing (Mark Lobell) one of Coo Doo's least successful daughters. She had 46 starts for John Noble and never won a race. Her first foal (1986) by Holmes Hanover won four minor races and so did her last to race but the rest were unsuccessful including the Soky's Atom filly Infante Elana. Her sister, Conchita, also unraced, later left the smart pacer Tennis Ball, but the rest of her breeding career was ill fated.
Infante Elana has left Nonno Stride winner of $117,000 so far from 116 starts in Australia almost all in moderate company. Ruato Bay has had a similar career there with $94,000 won from 116 starts his biggest winning stake being $5000. However both horses have the innate toughness in their makeup which has made the Coo Doo breed so long lasting in the industry. Ruato Bay is a three parts brother to Major Coo.
Long Live Lana (In the Pocket)was the only filly from Infante Elana to win a race, winning twice at three for John McKenzie trained by Phil Burrows wining at Blenheim and Addington.
The influence of In the Pocket was a bonus for the filly and she got another boost when she was mated with Bettor's Delight for her first foal the smart Delightful Lana (1.55.9) who won 7 races from 15 starts in New Zealand. She was Group One placed from Cran Dalgety's stable when she beat all but Fight for Glory in the PGG Wrightons sales series for 3yo fillies.