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Bluebloods : Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale 2013
commercial pinnacle, it's almost pointless from a commercial standpoint to try and stand anything other than a two year-old standout, or sprinter, or miler, especially in a regional market, and equally futile to breed to a potential staying horse, as, if you get anything but a top class performer, the opportunities for the typical offspring of such a stallion to race at its optimum distance will be all but nil. All of that said, there are some slight signs of a sea change in the US, if not in the structure of racing, at least among breeders. For example Cape Blanco, a European-trained son of Galileo, who earned a title as Champion Turf Horse in the US, covered 220 mares at Ashford Stud in Kentucky in 2012 (his first season). Also more recently Brad M. Kelley, the fourth largest landowner in the US, announced he would be standing the Melbourne Cup hero Americain at the historic Calumet Farm, in Lexington, Kentucky (alongside another Dynaformer son, Lentenor, a brother to the ill-starred Kentucky Derby victor Barbaro). Kelley, who knows a thing or two about endangered species, breeding black rhinos, white rhinos, pygmy hippos, okapi, impalas, white-bearded wildebeests, Eastern bongos and East African oryxes at a ranch in Florida, has no fear of stamina: his first venture in the stallion market was the acquisition of Champion Turf Horse, English Channel, whose physique and race record are diametrically opposed to what one would think of as a stallion to fit the US commercial market. That play has been rewarded with greater success than almost anyone, other than Kelley, could have hoped for, and English Channel ended 2012 as the nation's fourth leading second season sire by earnings. He was also runner-up on the second season sire list by individual stakes winners, with nine (all from his 2012 three year- old crop), among them Kelley's Optimizer, a Graded stakes winner of $US461.942, who represented Kelley in last year's Kentucky Derby. Of course one assumes that Kelley is somewhat insulated from commercial considerations, a comment that would also apply to such as the Wertheimer family who bred Americain; the Aga Khan who routinely comes up with high class middle-distance stayers, and who has been represented in Australia by middle- distance ace Manighar; and the Yoshida family who bred Melbourne Cup victor Delta Blues, and whose Shadai Farm is based in Japan, where endurance on the part of man and horse is a well-appreciated athletic trait and the racing environment is built to showcase this trait. We can say from experience, having been involved in the matings for a couple of them, that very few breeders set out to actually design a mating for a Melbourne Cup winner, or in more general terms, a horse who will find the best expression of its talents at two miles. That said, the type of breeders that we've noted, who are not reliant on breeding to sell young stock on the market, will tend to focus their efforts on producing a horse who excels at classic distances (with European and Japanese breeders also having plenty of opportunities for middle-distance or staying horses who miss the top rung). While few breeders are going to find themselves as insulated from market trends as those we've named, there may be some motivation to at least consider breeding some horses with the potential to go a distance. This is particularly so given the shift following the global economic downturn of 2008, which has seen a significant fall in stallion fees, while prizemoney has generally remained at higher levels. In what is also a "thin" market for racing stock, it behoves the breeder to produce a horse he is prepared to race, and thus defend at the sales. In a country like Australia, where, as we've demonstrated, there is phenomenal strength-in-depth in the ranks of juveniles and speedsters, the competition for prizemoney and black type will tend to be less intense in the middle-distance and staying events. That being so, how do we go about breeding a horse to go a distance? Well, it's not that difficult to breed a horse who needs to go long, but to breed a quality middle-distance horse with tactical and finishing speed is a different matter. It's a lot simpler to create a one- dimensional horse. For example, a sprinter will tend to get by on power and rate of muscle contraction alone, but the elements that make a Derby-type are a lot more complex. In our experience, breeding a high class middle-distance runner starts with the female line that has shown the propensity to supply high class stayers. Perhaps this is another reason for the consistent success of the Aga Khan/Wertheimer type of breeder, the tendency to either nurture, or buy into, strong female lines. So as candidates for the dam of our middle-distance runner, we would want a mare where there is some recent (in generational, rather than chronological terms) evidence of the ability to produce the type of horse we are looking for. If that kind of mare is by a staying sire herself, the next step is to graft in the right type of speed. In general, and despite examples to the contrary, pure speed-on-stamina matings tend not to work well, although we do get some instances, such as the Green Desert horses Cape Cross, Invincible Spirit and Oasis Dream, who have responded well to staying mares. Generally though, the mare from a staying family, and with lines that predominantly represent stamina elsewhere in the pedigree needs to be nudged rather than blasted in the direction we want, with crosses of 10f or miler types. In Australia, we are, perhaps more likely to see the reverse, a mare who has a family that has produced quality middle-distance types, but with a sire, and perhaps a grandsire, who stand for speed. In this case, coming up with our Derby horse might be a two stage process, perhaps a cross with a miler with a pedigree that has some stamina in it, with daughters of such a union then being suitable to be bred to a 10f or 12f horse. February 2013 37 Americain (USA) (Dynaformer-America by Arazi (USA)) S.H.
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