Issue 16, July 3, 2009
BLACK AND BEAUTIFUL: A magnificent headshot of the great Lonhro, who is emerging as an exciting young sire.
Lonhro on the verge The Breed has been spruiking the merits of the underrated sire Lon h r o for some time, but it seems others are starting to take notice. The former champion racehorse is leaving winners on a daily basis, and it seems only a matter of time before Lonhro’s record of only three Stakes winners will rise. The lack of Stakes winners is the only negative against Lonhro from a stud career that began in 2004 after he retired from the track with 11 Group 1 wins (35s-26w-5p). The stigma of being a son of Octagonal (by Zabeel), which caused some breeders to doubt Lonhro, has faded. Lonhro is standing on his merits. The basic difference between Lonhro and Octagonal is speed. Octagonal was an equally great racehorse, and a public favourite for his courage and will to win, but he lacked that one ingredient that seems to
be in the recipe of all champion sires – an exceptional turn-of-foot. Octagonal was a superior one-paced grinder. He’s not the first horse of that type to fail as a stallion on turf – Giant’s Causeway (by Storm Cat) was a similarly grinding racehorse who also has struggled to have an influence in Australia. Trainer Peter Snowden, who was an assistant to trainer John Hawkes in the Woodlands Stud eras of Octagonal and Lonhro, made a point of that difference in turn-of-foot when lauding the merits of Lonhro (now owned by Darley) last weekend after the impressive win of Lonhro’s sons Skytrain (b c 2005, ex Que Sera Sera, by Luskin Star) and Denman (b c 2005, ex Peach, by Vain) – both likely Stakes winners. Skytrain and Denman come from strong Australian families – Skytrain is inbred to
Star Kingdom through Luskin Star and Todman, while Denman is from a Vain mare out of a Marscay mare. A further look at Lonhro’s 60 winners to date, and it makes interesting reading. Nine of Lonhro’s winners are out of mares either by Danehill or sons of Danehill, including two of his Stakes winners Black Minx (ex Danehill mare) and Minnesota Shark (ex Flying Spur mare) and Tuesday’s good Randwick winner Deer Valley (ex Danehill mare). Eight of Lonhro’s winners are out of Quest For Fame mares (plus one from a mare by QFF’s sire Rainbow Quest), while four are from mares by Canny Lad (by Bletchingly). Lonhro inherited his speed through Shadea, a brilliant juvenile and a daughter of Straight Strike (by Mr. Prospector). Shadea’s dam Concia is a half-sister to former top sire Grosvenor. BYLINE
Jou r n e y (ch f 2005, Jeune (GB)–Hasty Jest, by Rory’s Jester), who won the Listed Belmont Oaks (2000m) at Belmont last Saturday, is not first filly in her family to cross the Nullabor to win an Oaks. Journey’s granddam, Hasty Departure (by Red Anchor), trained at Flemington by Lee Freedman, won the 1989 Group 1 West Australian Oaks (2400m) and two years later her halfsister India’s Dream (by Western Symphony), trained in Sydney by Bart Cummings, did the same. Both Hasty Departure and India’s Dream were greys, like their dam, the former very smart triple-Stakes winner Hasten Lass (by Jungle Boy), who was bred and raced in WA. The grey colour comes from Hasten Lass’s dam-sire, the handy Victorian sire Our Boy (by Palestine 11). Journey is from the second last crop of Jeune (by Kalamoun) who died in April 2006 when standing at Collingrove Stud (now Swettenham), at Nagambie, Victoria. Journey is Jeune’s 21st Stakes winner. The 1993 Melbourne Cup winner produced stock capable of winning over all distances, much like himself –Jeune also ran a track record winning the 1994 Group 1 Orr Stakes over 1400m at Sandown. The Belmont Oaks wasn’t a race of great quality – it rarely is – but Journey, with two wins from five starts, looks a filly capable of going on to better things under the guidance of trainer David Hayes.
WORDS BY DANNY POWER
Facts not Johnston’s forte Outspoken British trainer Mark Johnston was at his controversial best in his blog when he questioned not only the integrity of Scenic Blast’s Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) win at Royal Ascot, along the way he took a swipe at Scenic Blast’s sire Scenic. Johnston is best known to Australians as the trainer of Double Trigger, the failed favourite (17th) in the 1995 Melbourne Cup (won by Doriemus). In the UK, Johnstone is a much-heralded trainer who is known for his outrageous opinions … and he loves to have a crack at Australian racing. He wrote: “I still can't help but wonder how it is possible to get a son of a moderate National Hunt sire, which in turn is a son of Saddler's Wells (sic), to look like a cross between Alan (sic) Wells (gold medal winner in the 100m sprint at the 1980 Moscow Olympics) and a quarter horse and to win a Group 1 race over five furlongs.” Johnston, a Scot, obviously doesn’t remember Scenic being an outstanding sprinting 2YO in England and Ireland, who won three of his four starts including dead-heating for first with Prince Of Dance in the 1988 Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes (1400m) at Newmarket. At stud, some of Scenic’s 68 Stakes winners have been outstanding sprinters the ilk of Marasco, Piavonic, Scenic Peak and Universal Queen. Johnston is a revered trainer and an entertaining commentator. He just needs someone to check his facts, and his spelling.
FAME AND GLORY: The Irish Derby winner represents two famous breeding nicks.
The famous right cross Irish Derby winner Fame And Glo r y (by Montjeu) is a product of a combination of the two most significant breeding crosses to the great Sadler’s Wells (by Northern Dancer). Fame And Glory, trained by Aidan O’Brien, came off a hard pace set by a stablemate (and pacemaker) to win the Group 1 Classic (2400m), run at The Curragh by five lengths – it was O’Brien’s seventh Irish Derby. The colt is from the Shirley Heights mare Gryada. Matching Shirley Heights (by Mill Reef) and his son Darshaan to Sadler’s Wells, the sire of Montjeu, has produced 11 Group 1 winners including High Chaparral, In The Wings, Islington, Milan, Septimus and Yesterday. The other significant Sadler’s Wells cross is over Top Ville (by High Top) mares which not only has produced Montjeu but also Yeats, Darazari, Kayf Tara and Opera House. Of course, both these broodmare lines are also having wonderful success with other sons of Sadler’s Wells, especially Galileo. Last week’s Group 1 Pretty
Polly Stakes (2000m, The Curragh) winner Dar Re Mi, a daughter of In The Wings’ son Singspiel, is out of a Top Ville mare – a reverse of the cross that produced Fame And Glory. There seems to be no stopping top class horses coming from the mixing of these bloodlines. Therefore, it should be of no surprise that High Chaparral’s first Australian Stakes winner Shoot Out (2009 Group 2 QTC Sires’ Produce Stakes, 1400m, Eagle Farm) is out of the Pentire mare Pentamerous. Pentire (by Be My Guest) is out of a Mill Reef mare from the family of Shirley Heights. And no wonder Galileo has produced two good Australian Group winners (Sousa and Saint Minerva) out of Last Tycoon mares. Last Tycoon (by Try My Best) is out of a Mill Reef mare.
Danzig on the double More and more we are seeing the doubling up of Danzig (by Northern Dancer) appearing in the pedigree of Stakes winners. It wasn’t that long ago that any suggestion of doubling on Danzig was met by so-called experts with a shake of the head, but that’s because most
of Danzig’s best daughters were in the USA, while his best sons, suited to turf, were scattered around Europe and Australia. There was no reference point. The brilliant Melbourne filly R o sto va is a product of the Danzig double through her sire Testa Rossa (by Perugino, by Danzig) from Space Talk, by Danzig’s son Anabaa. Last week’s Group 2 Railway Stakes (1200m, The Curragh) winner, Alfr e d No ble, also has a healthy double dose of Danzig. He is by Danehill Dancer (by Danehill, by Danzig) from a mare by Desert Prince, who is a grandson of Danzig. I see no reason why the doubling of Danzig’s best son Danehill won’t work, as long as the mare and stallion are suitable physical mates. There could be inherent issues, mainly Danehill’s fault of being back in the knee, and I wouldn’t want to match a stocky, heavy mare, who is short on leg, to a Danehill-line stallion. Mating a granddaughter of Danehill to a son of Redoute’s Choice is a 3x3 cross of the great stallion – and we already know that inbreeding to Danehill’s granddam Almahmoud is a proven breeding practice (note that Danehill is inbred to the great mare).
Title race is hot The battle for Leading First Season sire (winners) honours hotted up on Thursday when Fastn e t R o c k (by Danehill) and Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway) both sired winners. Shamardal’s colt St Clemens Dane (ex-St Clemens Belle, by Don’t Say Halo) won at Wyong, taking Shamardal to the top of the table with 10 Australian winners. Fastnet Rock’s gelded son Éclair Fastpass (ex Hanover, by Marscay) won at Sale, taking him to nine, equal with No t A Single D o u b t (by Redoute’s Choice). DANNY POWER