June 15th, 2013 — Horse Racing, News, Winners
The 2011 yearling sales series promised to offer value for buyers so, in order to develop the business, I had the idea of forming a small partnership to buy into some yearlings. Five of us jointly purchased a 10% holding in each of three youngsters, all of which I had identifed on pedigree and all of which were signed for by Northland trainer Donna Logan.
Things did not start well. A Thorn Park colt which I had rated as having the best pedigree in the entire sales series and which had sold for an unbelievably low price of $7500 broke down badly in the early stages of his first preparation. The other two yearlings, fillies by Darci Brahma and Lucky Unicorn, looked like they would need time.
As it turned out, appearances were not deceptive. However, this was not all bad news. Our partners are patient people, the Lucky Unicorn filly turned out to be a half-sister to top sprinter Durham Town and the total cost of both fillies had been only $3500 so $70 per partner per share in two fillies didn’t seem too bad a deal.
Last Wednesday, the deal looked even better. Although the Lucky Unicorn is still at trialling stage, the Darci Brahma – Prefer Blondes filly had her second start at Whangarei and romped home. Candle in the Wind, as she is now called, had appealed strongly as a yearling because Darci Brahma looked to me as if he had a strong chance of making the grade and because I rated the total pedigree mix very highly.
Gentleman (ARG) hasn’t done much as a stallion but at least he has been a consistent sire of winners and I’ve always liked Prefer Blondes’ female family as it contains some pretty handy females such as Let’s Sgor and Torquay.
Anyway, Candle in the Wind’s owners are looking forward to her next start at Whangarei next month and I’m seriously considering setting up another racing partnership in January next year
March 16th, 2013 — Breeding Theory, Horse Racing, Winners
The O’Reilly mare’s all the way win in Sydney yesterday was a landmark victory in more ways than one.
The daughter of Star Affair’s tough effort in the Listed Aspiration Quality at Warwick Farm validated her Group 1 placing in last year’s ATC Oaks and meant that that she gained the all-important bold black type. As one of my recommended matings for Northland breeder Terry Archer, this was personally significant because the mare’s previous stakeswinner, Solid Billing, had no input from Cloughmore whatsoever. I had been consulted on the Galileo matings for Star Affair, the best result of which was the heartbreak horse Galileo’s Galaxy; his speciality was running close seconds in South African Group 1 events, so yesterday’s result was especially pleasing.
Interestingly, Solid Billing’s best performance was his third placing in the Sydney Cup and it appears that this 3200 metre event is also a target for Thy. After yesterday’s race a stable spokesperson was quoted that the mare will “stay all day”; the fact that she ran her last 600 in 34.44 might indicate that she also has the crucial ability to accelerate at the end of a Group 1 contest.
Another aspect of Thy’s win is that she is the offspring of another Cloughmore stakeswinner. As the Star Way – The Grin filly, Star Affair made $55,000 at the 2000 Premier Sale and was one of my top four filly selections of that sale. Trained by Frank Ritchie, she showed herself to be a very useful miler and, aided by an outstanding ride by Lance O’Sullivan, was successful in the 2003 renewal of the Group 2 Travis Stakes. Thy is thus yet another stakeswinner from the wonderful family developed by the Dennis brothers.
February 23rd, 2013 — Horse Racing, News, Winners
I’m the first to admit that 2013 has been more than disappointing – at least until 4.30 pm today. After last year’s successes, in terms of a record number of wins,
the New Year brought with it a near drought – in more ways than one.
However, today showed what a good horse Nashville is. After his Trentham disasters, I was wondering what other bad luck could befall him but no, today the gremlins and the forces of darkness were as soundly defeated as his opponents in the Haunui Farm WFA Classic at Otaki. The race attracted a top class field including the Cox Plate winner Ocean Park, the triple Group 1 winning mare Final Touch (doesn’t she just remind you of Show Gate ?) and the established weight for age star Veyron. Without wanting to rave excessively, the manner of his victory was as remarkable as the horses he beat. Until the 600 he cruised along three lengths behind the rest of the field; when Kelly Myers asked him to go he accelerated smoothly, ran up to the others and put his head in front. Veyron fought courageously as he always does, but Nashville was just too strong and was edging away on the line.
It’s aways a great thrill to have done the mating for a high class thoroughbred but it’s also sad to reflect that my client on this occasion, the late Bob Tait, missed out on seeing his pride and joy win such a presitigious event. It’s one thing for people like me to say, “Go to stallion A” or ” Stallion B appears to be excellent value at his current fee”; it’s quite a different matter for a breeder to take the advice and write out the service fee cheque – not to mention all the other cheques – and also to take all those risks which make eventual success all the more precious.
December 8th, 2012 — Horse Racing, News
Whistling Straits’ dashing finishing burst at Ellerslie today marked our 600th winner and – on a more personal note – my 61st birthday. So thanks to Donna Logan, Rory Hutchings and, of course, Whistling Straits himself.
Until the last event at Ellerslie, the day was looking very much like one of those “if only” days. Golden Miss had been desperately unlucky at Trentham and Durham Town had just failed to repeat last year’s Concorde victory, so it was great to see Whistling Straits bursting between runners for a narrow victory.
Other recent highlights have been Comanche Gold’s win last Sunday in the $15,000 Queenstown Cup at Cromwell and Nashville’s dominant performance in the rather more prestigious Group 2 Couplands Mile. The latter thus became our 22nd stakeswinner and the manner of his win suggested that a Group 1 success might not be beyond him.
A Group 1 event which really made the alarm bells ring was THE race, the same Melbourne Cup that New Zealander breeders used to regard as a reasonably predictable annual addition to the national trophy cabinet. Alas – no more. All four kiwi breds were by the marvellous Zabeel and the first seven placegetters were reportedly bred in Ireland. As I mentioned in my previous article on this website, we’ve got problems. When Zabeel passes on and Australian buyers forget the sound advice embedded in “Bart’s Book”, where will our breeding industry be?
I’ve made my small contribution to the greater good by sending Balladane ( a half-sister to Auckland Cup winner Bodie) to Roc de Cambes and I hope that other breeders have bred some of their staying-bred mares to stallions which have some chance of leaving progeny capable of winnning good races at 2400 metres and beyond.
October 22nd, 2012 — Horse Racing, News
It’s been a while since my last article. The winners have kept ticking over nicely enough with Saturday bringing up 60 (and Monday 61) for the calendar year to date but one does need a headline.
2012 has been notable for the number of stakes-placed performers. Since Durham Town was successful in the Darley Plate, Comanche Gold, Thy, The Jungle Boy, Zinko and Browne Sugar have all earned lower case black type – encouraging results but not earth-shattering.
However, Special Draw’s dashing win in the R75 1200 and Nashville’s last to first victory in the open sprint were both dominant enough to be worthy of mention. The former, a product of my yearling sales buyers’ guide, is yet another highly promising performer by Falkirk – and yet another bred on the Falkirk – Sir Tristram cross. Nashville was a recommended mating for the late Bob Tait. The Darci Brahma – Royal Kiss (Royal Academy) gelding has always looked top class and is now deservedly favourite for the CJC Couplands Mile. Our homebred Comanche Gold is also being targeted at the $230,000 but giving weight to a horse as good as Nashville is not something I’m looking forward to.
Getting back to Falkirk again, I note that he had yet another winner today (Monday) at Te Rapa. Kalevala scored easily in a strong maiden field and her nomination for the 1000 Guineas appears to be entirely justified. Interestingly, she’s inbred to Secretariat – a pattern which is turning up increasingly often in the pedigrees of Group 1 winners.
Saturday also featured the latest renewal of the Caulfield Cup, an event notable mainly for the almost complete absence of New Zealand bred competitors. As Australia is our biggest market and as Australians come here to buy stayers, one has to be worried about the future – especially as Zabeel and Pentire won’t be here forever.
August 12th, 2012 — Breeding Theory, Choosing A Stallion, Value For Money
In these tough economic times there’s one conundrum that all breeders face: to breed that mare of limited commercial appeal or leave her in the back paddock in the hope that one of her relatives will sort the problem for us. The problem is that even if this does happen, we can’t sell foals that don’t exist and we can’t boost our mare’s breeding record unless her offspring are out there running for us.
It’s well known that some studs will do deals on service fees – and all power to them! Only those operations with significant broodmare bands can afford to ignore this technique of getting their stallions’ progeny out there on the racetrack. However, at the end of the day all breeders have to pay something in the way of a service fee. This article aims to identify five stallions standing at $3000 or less which seem to offer significant value at their advertised fee. They are, in alphabetical order, Colombia, D’Cash, Howbaddouwantit, Mettre En Jeu and Tobique.
Colombia has the virtue of giving you what you want. I’ve used him myself to introduce some quality into a a huge, raw-boned mare and the foal, now a 4YO mare, has turned out just as I’d imagined. His progeny throw much more to his female line than to Zabeel but since his dam is Eight Carat, who cares?
D’Cash comes very much into the same category. I’ve done some recommendations for him and also bred to him myself with some success. His foals aren’t always pretty but he is quite predictable in that the mares you’d hope would work with him do just that.
Howbaddouwantit must be the most under-rated sire in the country. His wins:winners ratio is very respectable as are his winners:runners figures. He throws size and does well with speedy mares.
Mettre En Jeu. Readers of this site will be well aware of my respect for this son of super sire Montjeu, himself far and away the most successful son of Sadler’s Wells in these parts. His yearlings at Karaka looked very impressive and his female line is inbred to the legendary Cinna.
Tobique was a classy galloper whose career was blighted by injury. Some sons of Redoute’s Choice can be very top-heavy but he isn’t and I really liked the way he finished off his races. I think he’s a real sleeper and will be especially suited by mares strong in Grey Sovereign.
Please feel free to contact me about these stallons if you’d like me to develop my thoughts in more depth.
July 16th, 2012 — Horse Racing, News, Winners
Saturday’s Parliamentary Handicap victory by our tough Shinko King gelding was a a great thrill for his breeders. There may only have been six runners in this year’s renewal but the manner of his win confirmed that he is an above average winter stayer.
Rising Tide was bred by a partnership consisting of Athol and Diane Hunter, Fred Gianone, Vaughan Cronin and myself – a similar partnership to the one responsible for his older half-brother The Jungle Boy (Jungle Pocket).
In 2002 the three win mare Ballina Wave came on to the market. She had previously left the good wet track galloper Vinny’s Image and I had done the mating for her 1997 colt, later named Bodie, who was showing highly promising form. The Lord Ballina mare seemed too good an opportunity to miss so I put together a partnership which included the subsequent breeders of Rising Tide.
However, as any breeder will attest, there are always setbacks to any breeding venture. In December 2002 I was congratulating myself at having selected Pentire as Ballina Wave’s consort and on the mare having returned a positive test to the Rich Hill stallion, then standing at a fee of $6500; the following month came the dreaded phone call – the mare had slipped her foal. The partners accepted the news philosophically and we agreed that Bodie’s sire, Stark South, was the way to go. Bodie had just won the 2003 Auckland Cup so this was just about as obvious a mating as you can get. Who wouldn’t want a full sibling to a Group 1 winner?
In the Spring of 2004 Ballina Wave delivered a filly prior to her covering by Jungle Pocket. Unfortunately, the filly was so bad legged that the only sensible course of action was to give her away when she was old enough to be weaned.
Our luck had to get better – and it did. At least, up to a point. The Jungle Pocket foal turned out to be a colt, if a somewhat plain one, so it was decided to sell him as a weanling. He made $18,000 at the National Weanling Sale – which just about covered what he had cost us.
Undeterred, we continued. In 2006 Ballina Wave produced another plain colt, this time by Shinko King. Declined by New Zealand Bloodstock as a candidate for the Select Sale, he was retained to be raced from the Awapuni stable of Mark Oulaghan. We were joined in the racing partnership by racing stalwart Bill Freeman, Wellington enthusiast Kevin Kane and Stratford vet Philip Jeffreys jnr.
At last we got it right. May the ride continue!
June 23rd, 2012 — Horse Racing, News, Winners
Yesterday’s Amberley meeting at Riccarton featured two $25,000 open events; both were won by Cloughmore representatives. Too Much Torque cantered home in the open sprint over 1200m and in the very next event Comanche Gold out – toughed his opponents in the Greenwood Amberley Cup (1600).
Too Much Torque is product of one of my favourite crosses: Tale of the Cat – Sir Tristram. Dual Group winning sprinter Durham Town is bred on a similar genetic pattern and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Too Much Torque ended up being competitive at a similar level. Taking a three – or four – wide position for the entire journey, the son of juvenile SW Superjet managed to complete the journey in a slick 1:10.48, a remarkable time on the Dead 8 surface.
Thirty – five minutes later Comanche Gold did what he does best. Settling on a strong pace, he hit the front early in the run home and fought off the strong finishing The Hammer Head to win by a narrow margin. This was his fourth win over the Riccarton mile; hopefully he will be back to contest the Group 3 Winter Cup in early August. His sire, the Danehill son Hawkeye, hasn’t done much as a stallion but clearly was well suited by the speed – bred Festal mare Treadgold. Her dam Can Lah (Riverton) was a quick on – pace performer; she’s also the grand-dam of the useful Howbaddouwantit mares Malissimo (6 wins) and Vincitore (4 wins to date).
Malissimo was catalogued in the recent NZB May sale and I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase her in foal to Nom Du Jeu. As Comanche Gold was Treadgold’s last foal, I’m really looking forward to breeding from this family again.
June 18th, 2012 — Horse Racing, News, Winners
Cloughmore’s golden June run continued on Saturday with a double at Ellerslie. Only the day before the much improved Miss El Bee Dee had completed a double of her own at Timaru’s Phar Lap Raceway.
We all knew that The Jungle Boy was a more than handy horse but even his most enthusiastic admirers were expecting no more than a strong finishing run in the $25,000 Chevalier Produce Mile. The track conditions were in his favour and he was aided by a clever ride from top jockey Matthew Cameron but what was really impressive was his determination not to be headed by the very good winter milers Matost and Taking the Mickey.
It appears that the son of Jungle Pocket and the good producer Ballina Wave will be heading to Melbourne next month with the express aim of winning some nice handicaps over ground. Given Saturday’s performance, one would not want to bet against this happening.
Just one race earlier on the Ellerslie card, the Terry Archer- bred Splitfire broke through for her maiden win. Her previous form had not indicated that she was capable of winning a good race at any level on a major track but her determined finish over 1400 showed how wrong I – for one – was. The Keeper mare is out of the speedy SP Mi Signora, a very challenging mare to provide mating advice on. She had previously left nonentities by Zabeel and Stravinsky (2) but did leave the very good Malaysian Group 1 winner Professional Man to Royal Academy. Her last foal, a now 2YO filly by Any Suggestion, has recently been named Mi Idea.
Nothing’s ever perfect in racing and it was disappointing that The Jungle Boy’s half-brother Rising Tide could do no better than fourth in the open stayers’ event at Awapuni. Still, we did learn that running him close to the pace isn’t the way to go – so it wasn’t all bad news.
June 8th, 2012 — Horse Racing, News
Yes, it’s been a while since something headline – worthy occurred but today Pamina, Miss El Bee Dee and Browne Sugar combined to do just that at Phar Lap Raceway
Pamina was a recommended purchase last year at the Karaka sales, as Browne Sugar was three years previously. Both were purchased by Riccarton trainer Kevin Hughes. Miss El Bee Dee was a recommended mating for Cloughmore client Donald Tait.
Apart from today’s success, things have ticking over well enough with 24 individual winners doing us proud prior to today. However, it’s the near misses in black-type races that have been my personal highlights since my last article appeared. Our homebred Comanche Gold ran a strong second in the CJC Easter Cup (Group 3) and O’Reilly filly Thy (recommended mating) did even better with her Group 1 third in the Randwick ATC Oaks. Comanche Gold will be aimed at the Riccarton winter carnival; Thy is apparently being reserved for Melbourne spring events.
As always at this time of the year, new stallions have been announced and the crystal ball dusted off. I’ve never been a great fan of recomending first-season horses, preferring to wait until at least the first crop of foals have hit the weanling sales but this year has seen the retirement of one of our best Kiwi-bred stallion prospects for some time – Jimmy Choux. I was contracted by Rich Hill to give my opinion on what bloodlines would especially suit the five-time Group 1 winner and one point I do want to pass on is that he could well develop an affinity with descendants of supersire Sir Tristram. My rationale, together with my other thoughts on the subject, can be found on the Rich Hill website.
On the topic of websites, in the next few weeks I hope to develop a new page on this site. Clearly, times are hard and money is tight so it seemed a good time to focus on stallions standing at $3000 or less. Two horses I intend to feature are Mettre En Jeu and Tobique.