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Bluebloods : Karaka 2010 Yearling Sale Preview
27 in 1884 it was Gates who ended up with Miss Kate. She proved to be a gem, leaving the winners of almost 100 races, most notably two very good colts, Sultan and Prime Warden. However, it was three of Miss Kate's daughters, Antelope, Kate Greenaway and Catherine Wheel who were to bring her lasting fame as a foundation mare, and the ancestress of three Hall of Fame champions: Phar Lap, Kindergarten and Sunline. Catherine Wheel was sold for 100 guineas to leading South Island owner-breeder Sir George Clifford, who thought enough of her to send her to Australia to visit St Simon's son Bill of Portland in 1899. That mating produced the high-class racehorse and successful sire Treadmill, but five years later Catherine Wheel died foaling a filly to Pilgrim's Progress . Sir George thought the filly too small to be a racehorse, and considered putting her down, but fortunately gave her to a local stud manager, Harry Thomson. Named Prayer Wheel, she won once and after a couple more sales, and a mating with the very well-bred imported sire Winkie, she found herself in the ownership of wealthy Canterbury runholders Arthur Elworthy and Timaru Rhodes. The resulting foal, named Entreaty, broke down after her only start in September 1924 and was immediately sold for 60 guineas to Alec Roberts, who had just purchased a new stallion called Night Raid for his stud at Seadown, near Timaru. Entreaty went straight to Seadown to be mated with Night Raid and in 1925 foaled a chestnut filly called Fortune's Wheel. Seven full-siblings, three fillies and four colts, followed in the next nine years, but it was the chestnut colt born in 1926 who would become world famous as Phar Lap. Curiously, Phar Lap's fame in Australia and legendary status after his death in North America wasn't reflected in the value of his family which was never taken up by New Zealand's leading studs, although well-known auctioneer-turned-studmaster Ken Austin did very well with the Raphis branch that produced the outstanding 1950s performer Monte Carlo, and eventually, the champion Australian filly Research. The descent from Fortune's Wheel through her Group 3-winning daughter Caliente, Honora (stakes-placed winner of six races) to the non- winner Nora Crena attracted little attention, despite the emergence of two very good stakeswinners, Hot Pursuit (Foxbridge-Caliente) in the 1940s, and Aequitas (Fair's Fair-Honora) in the 1950s. By the time Taumarunui breeder Nancy Owen offered her filly by the tough racehorse and versatile sire Alvaro from Nora Crena's smart sprinting daughter Honey Carlyle at the 1981 NZ National Yearling Sale, Phar Lap was not easily connected with the catalogue page. Southland owner-breeders Robin and Muriel Archer arrived at Trentham with a well-thumbed catalogue and a short-list of fillies to inspect. They settled on Miss Owen's attractive filly, and bought her for $12,000. Named McAngus for an old friend of Robin Archer, the filly was trained by Alan Borthwick at Gore, and proved to have a tough temperament and front- running speed. As a three-year-old she was unlucky to strike a season of wet South Island tracks she hated, and a good filly named Queen's Pal who loved them -- hence her record of eight stakes placings. Her wins came as a four-year-old, at Riccarton and Trentham, with another chance for that elusive stakes win lost, thanks partly to an uncharacteristically poor ride in the Douro Cup by one G.J. Childs. Meanwhile McAngus' half-brother Our Shout (by Zamazaan) was doing plenty to improve the pedigree, winning ten races in NSW from the T.J. Smith stable, including the AJC Summer Cup Gr. 3, and placing in the Sydney and Adelaide Cups. The Archers firstly sent McAngus to Chequers Stud's Prince Echo, resulting in a flashy colt named Killiecrankie who won four and was stakes-placed. McAngus' next mating was with Nijinsky's expensive son Western Symphony and the result was a lovely, feisty filly named Songline, raced in partnership with the Archers' daughter Susan and her husband Michael Martin. Songline more or less repeated her mother's form as a stakes-placed winner of five from the Ashburton stable of Jan Hay, and Susan and Michael, keen to breed with her, bought her outright when she finished racing. Muriel and Robin kept their interest in the family by purchasing McAngus' dam Honey Carlyle and from her bred a filly named Plaid, later the dam of talented Group 2 winner Philamor. Songline's first mating was with Ngaire Fraser's brilliant sprinter-miler Westminster, but the good-looking colt born in 1994 was put down as a yearling. Michael and Susan's search for more precocious speed and the elusive injection of class to uplift a robust pedigree full of sound, competitive horses led them to buy a share, with Ngaire Fraser, in Ra Ora's young sire Desert Sun. Songline conceived to the son of Green Desert on 9 October 1994. Almost 12 months later she delivered the bay filly who embodied all of this equine and human history. And in the autumn of 1997 she stepped off a float at Takanini, to be seen for the first time by Trevor McKee. Warm acknowledgments to the new book, Phar Lap: The Untold Story by Graeme Putt & Pat McCord (Equus Marketing Pty Ltd, 2009) -- heartily recommended to those interested in learning more about Phar Lap's and Sunline's female family. SUNLINE wining the 2000 Cox Plate Gr.1.
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Inglis Sydney Classic