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Pedigree Analysis


A Pedigree Analysis

By Anne Visser

In writing an article on Bonecrusher’s pedigree one is tempted to dwell on his race-day accomplishments but with these so fresh in everyone’s mind I will resist the inclination and instead get straight to the point of demonstrating the genetic build up that has created this outstanding young galloper.

It has been stated by various sources that his is a shallow pedigree, lacking quality. If this is meant that there is a lack of notable winners close up they may be forgiven their sentiments. But to suggest there is no depth to his bloodlines suggests that they have not looked beyond the clouded issues of the first two generations.

Brush away the clouds and the scene becomes interesting and exciting.

This analysis is based on a six-generation pedigree, with the odd extention where this is deemed to be relevant. To avoid misinterpretation of the terms in-breeding and line-breeding, for the purposes of this, and any other article I may write, in-breeding will mean the repetition of an ancestor via offspring of the same sex, while line-breeding will mean repetition of an ancestor via a son and daughter.

We are going to go back to Bonecrusher’s eighth dam briefly. This was that great foundation mare Eulogy (GB) whose tale is too long to dwell on, and in any case too well known to need to. I will however mention her breeding.

Imported by Mr G.M. Currie as a four-year-old in foal to Coriander in 1915, Eulogy was by Cicero-Kelibia by Upas-Goletta. Cicero was a close genetic relation to that great patriarch Polymelus who was by Cyllene-Maid Marian by Hampton, while Cicero was by Cyllene-Gas by Hampton’s son Ayrshire. Goletta was a daughter of Galopin, as was Atalanta, dam of Ayrshire, thus Eulogy (GB) was inbred to St.Simon’s sire through two daughters 5 x 3, a method which by giving the reverse sex influence is a very potent source of genetic dominance, both in racing and breeding ability (as opposed to in-breeding via the same sex as the parent, which, without the support of opposite strains is a system almost instantly doomed to failure). It can therefore be seen that Eulogy endowed her descendants with the female counterbalance for the dominant sire lines of St.Simon and Polymelus. I believe this to be the reason for the continuing success of her line. To back up her in-breeding to Galopin, and further strengthen her pedigree, Eulogy (GB) was also line-breed to the mare Paradigm 5 x 5, together with a male strain (Bend Or) of her half-sister Rouge Rose.

The foal Eulogy (GB) was carrying was Pennon, the first of 14 foals in all. Her sire Coriander was a son of Spearmint and Admiration, hence a half-brother to another world famous foundation mare in Pretty Polly. Pennon won three races worth 695 pounds, her best performance being her defeat of the brilliant Chimera at Feilding. She was a 100% producer. Her nine foals, most of which were by Absurd (GB), won stakes of nearly 19,000 pounds.

Opinions do differ as to which is the best branch of the Eulogy family, but Pennon’s was a truly prolific source of winners (Taipan (USA) also descends from her). Her progeny rated a stamina index of 6.7 furlongs, indicating brilliance rather than stamina.

In 1921 Pennon produced her second foal, a filly by Absurd (GB) who was to be known as Motley. A brilliant juvenile with five easy successive wins at this age, followed by four more before her retirement to stud, she broke three 6-furlong records. The dam of six winners herself, Motley was a full-sister to Lysander (GT. Northern Guineas) and half-sister to Damaris (by Limond), winner of the Gt. Northern Oaks and granddam of the VRC Oaks winner Nizam’s Ring, and to her sister Impetuous, dam of another Gt. Northern Oaks winner in Premature.

When mated with Spiral (son of Limond* and Drax*, by Spearmint-Suncroft by Sunstar-Miramonde by Desmond-Admiration) a series of line breedings were introduced to the pedigree. Spiral himself was line-bred to St. Simon’s son Desmond 2 x 4, thereby returning Eulogy (GB) the male strains of Galopin, and carried two daughter strains of Springfield. Limond’s dam Lindal was by Kendal, ¾ genetic brother to Cyllene, sire of Cicero, both being by Bend Or out of a mare by Marconi. Drax* was bred on similar lines to Coriander, both being by Spearmint, with the latter’s dam being third dam of the former. The progeny of this mating also carried two male strains of Sundridge, backed up by an independent female strain of Springfield, his maternal grandsire.

The resultant foal was named Screen and was born in 1940. Although she won the season’s first guvenile race, the Whanganui Debutant Stakes, with two further wins and three placing’s (all her starts) at this age, the mating does not appear as successful as may have been anticipated, when one considers that her ¾ sister Variant, 1931 by Limond, won the CJC NZ Oaks, while another ¾ sister, Midinette won the Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes and was the dam of Battledress (NZ Derby, Gt Northern St. Leger). One cannot be sure, but does suspect that the advent of World War II may have restricted her racing career.

Screen produced eight foals, six of which were by Timanova (GB). By the Hyperion-sired half-brother to Precipitation and Persian Gulf, Casanova, himself the winner of the Dewhurst Stakes at two and unbeaten at four over 1 ½ miles. Timanova (GB) was out of the Tetratema mare Timadora, a winning half-sister to the St. Leger Trials winner Milldoria. Their dam ran second in the Irish Oaks and was a member of the same family of the well known racer and broodmare Teresina. Standing at Mr G.M. Currie’s Koatanui Stud, Timanova (GB) was a successful sire whose progeny included Idaho (NZ Derby, Whanganui Guineas and Canterbury Gold Cup twice), Silence, Kingship, Huatoke, etc. The cross of Timanova (GB) over Screen gave line-breeding to Kendal 5 x 6; Bon Vista 6 x 7; Ayrshire 6 x 5 x 7 and one male and two female strains of Desmond 4 x 6 x 6 with a daughter of St Simon in the sixth generation. More remotely multiple strains infiltrated the pedigree. The line-breeding distance was cleverly administered following Screen’s relatively compacted lines ? close enough to be effective, yet sufficiently remote to avoid a clutter.

Of the six Timanova (GB) foals, three were winners: Fastnet (HBJC Hastings Stakes), Timarua (seven wins in Uruguay including the Classico Benigno Paiva Irissari in record time of 2:3.5 for 1 ¼ miles) and Gold Screen (ARC Nursery Handicap).

Their sister Manaveen was placed but became the dam of Baldemar (five wins to 1 mile including SAJC George Adams Invitation Handicap), in turn dam of Golven (10 wins including BATC Benborough Handicap, second QTC Derby).

Incidentally the previously mentioned Idaho was also out of a mare by Spiral and carried the same line breeding.

Gold Screen became the dam of seven foals, six of which raced, with five winning, and one being placed. Three of those won only a maiden race; Second Mate managed two wins, but Sir Henry was a good horse, winning 11 races from 6-11 including ARC King’s Plate, WRC Hutt Handicap, Anniversary Handicap, etc. The unraced filly Te Pokuru became the dam of Ake Ake (eight wins at 2000m and 2200m including the Paeroa Centennial Cup; third ARC Oliver Nicholson Handicap), Surgemaster (seven wins from 1200-2100m). Stylish Oak, a winner, and Pekapekarau. Unraced, as was her dam, this filly became the dam of Stylemaster, who won 10 races from 1200-3200m including the ARC Auckland Cup, Group 1.

To this point then we have a family with brilliant two-year-old speed along with the scope to develop into good middle distance performers and even extend the stamina to 3200m. We have also seen that, although not Eulogy’s most successful direct classic line the classic genetic structure is there, not only through the great mare, but through the stallions with which the mares were mated.

One of Gold Screen’s maiden winners was named Brent Knoll ? a filly by Bellagioca (GB) 1957. He was a lightly raced horse who placed over approximately five furlongs. He was by the 2000 Guineas winner Big Game, 1948 champion sire, most of whose best progeny were fillies including the Oaks winner Ambiguity.

As a result it was not difficult for New Zealand and Australian stud masters to obtain his best performed sons as stallions. These included Faux Tirage (GB), Gigantic (GB), Khorassan (GB) and Makarpura (GB), all of whom performed well, generally transmitting more stamina than Big Game did himself. Bellagioca (GB) however must remain known as a comparative failure.

From an outstanding female line, his dam was Belladonna (second Oaks) by Donatello II-Hypericum (1000 Guineas) by Hyperion-Feola, whose lines surely do not need elaboration.

Belladonna’s first foal was Ben Marshall (by Botticelli) who won 10 races including the Italian St. Leger, Premio Presidente della Republica and second Italian Derby and went to stud in Japan. Hypericum’s main winner Restoration (by Persian Gulf) won the King Edward VI Stakes but flopped as a sire in Argentine. Her daughter Prescription (by Epigram) left her mark on Chilean classic racing being granddam of Nisapur (Chilean Oaks) and Nahuilan (Chilean 2000 Guineas) Hypericum represents the same Donatello II/Hyperion cross as the stayers Alycidon, Acropolis and Supertello, while Belladonna had the same genetic make up as that outstanding galloper and sire. Aureole, who was by Hyperion-Angelola by Donatello II-Feola. Inbred to Blandford 3 x 4, with two daughter strains of Friar Marcus 4 x 4, Bellagioca could not live up to his illustrious lines and after receiving an initial book of 34 mares, who produced 12 live foals, he gradually drifted out of favour and into obscurity.

Brent Knoll was line-bred to Hyperion 4 x 4; in-bred to Tetratema via his daughters Myrobella and Timadora 4 x 4, with an additional daughter strain of Tetratema’s maternal Symington in the fifth generation.

The foundation mare Gondolette (third dam of Hyperion) also presents herself in the fifth generation as Big Game’s third dam, while Admiration, to whom Screen was line-bred, was also ancestress of Donatello II.

Eulogy’s sire is represented twice by Friar Marcus. This was a pedigree which invited success. Its downfall can only be blamed on Bellagioca’s lack of prepotency. Even as a broodmare Brent Knoll could not do her bloodlines justice ? from seven foals, all of which raced, only Brent Regent could win, tallying 12 wins from 960m-1500m out in the “beyond” of Victoria and Queensland, where he also won over hurdles.

One of the mates selected for Brent Knoll was Arctic Explorer (GB) 1954, a well-performed son of the St. Simon line stallion Arctic Prince (Derby), better known as a broodmare sire, and Flirting, by Big Game-Overture, tracing again to Admiration. Stakes placed, but unsuccessful as a two year old, Arctic Explorer (GB) blossomed at three to win four of his six starts, these being the Newmarket Hastings Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, the Gen Ditton Stakes 1 ½ miles, the Ascot King Edward VII Stakes, 1 ½ miles and the Sandown Park Eclipse Stakes, 1 ¼ miles.

At four he won the Sandown Park Coronation Stakes and placed in his other two starts. Although a good sire, both during his six-year sojurn in Australia where he sired champion Tobin Bronze (VRC Derby; second VRC Oaks, VRC Oaks and Edward Manifold Stakes) and later in New Zealand where his progeny included Igloo (QTC Brisbane Cup, etc), Wiremu, Marinoto and Tom’s Mate, like Arctic Prince, Arctic Explorer (GB) excelled as a sire of broodmares.

Arctic Explorer (GB) could be said to be line-bred to Solario 4 x 4, while his dam was in-bred to Friar’s Daughter 3 x 3 through her sons Bahram and Dastur. It also happens though that Arctic Prince’s granddam Solar Flower and Arctic Explorer (GB)’s granddam Overture were bred on similar lines, thus strengthening the line-breeding.

Solar Flower was by Solario out of Senera, by Winalot by Son-in-Law, while Overture was by Solario’s son Dastus out of Overmantle by Apron by Son-in-Law.

Brent Knoll’s resultant foal was born in 1969. Purchased as a yearling at the April 1971 Mixed Bloodstock Sale for $750, this filly was named Snowbird. She was  line-bred to Big Game 3 x 3 with an additional female strain of this horse’s grandsire through Blenheim, and an additional female strain of his maternal grandsire in Timadora. In the sixth generation we find Gainsborough represented twice by Solario and twice by Hyperion, while Friar Marcus is represented thrice by his daughter Friar’s Daughter and once by Feola. Nearco comes into the picture for the first time and although we are now at the outer edge of the pedigree, he does present the strains of Polymelus, St Simon and Spearmint to which I previously noted Eulogy (GB) and her daughter Pennon would be receptive.

Snowbird, despite her attractively arranged pedigree, apparently still suffered from the adverse presence of Bellagioca (GB) and raced only twice without merit. She produced at stud three named foals, two of which race ? one managed to win as a two year old in Malaysia. The other foal to race (and like her dam, only twice without success) was Imitation, who was a 1975 daughter of Oakville (GB) 1958.

A useful galloper who won 6 ½ races, ran second eight times and third five times from 30 starts at distances from 6f to 2m, Oakville sired some very durable racehorses who excelled from 1m upwards and included Timon (Wellington Cup), Bellota (Avondale Gold Cup; second Gt Northern Oaks), Summerosa (Waikato Cup in record time), Laurel Oaks and Arbre Chene. He was by the French champion Tantieme, one time leading money winner in European history, who numbered the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe amidst his 12 wins and was beaten only a short head in the French Derby. Oakville (GB)’s dam was by Phoenix, whose progeny’s stamina index was just over 8f. Snow Shower herself traced to Snow Maiden (Irish Oaks), whose dam Snoot, 1906, was ancestress also of classic winners throughout the world including Caligula, Do Well, the English Nashua, Sandjar, La Sorellina, Silnet, Noble Star, American Flag and Blue Swords. Oakville (GB) was in-bred 4 x 4 to Blandford through his daughters La Furka and Blanco, and line-bred to Hurry On 5 x 5.

He gave Imitation the comparative outcross pedigree which her bloodlines suggested to be necessary, following a closely line-bred dam and granddam. Snowbird’s three male strains of Blandford are balanced by Oakville (GB)’s female strains, all being in the fifth, sixth and seventh generations. Nearco’s sire is represented by a second male strain in Firdaussi and there is a female strain of his full-brother Fairway, at the distances 6 x 6 x 4. Friar’s Daughter, already in evidence through her sons Bahram and Dastur, comes in again in the sixth generation through her daughter Fille d’Amour, granddam of The Phoenix.

Again in spite of an apparently correct pedigree, Imitation could manage, like her dam, only two unplaced starts. Bellagioca (GB)’s lack of prepotency seemed still to be having a direct negative influence. Imitation produced her first foal in 1980, a colt by Mussorgsky (GB), followed a year later by a colt by Pag Asa (AUS). These two were both unraced when the latter’s full-brother went through the ring at the March Yearling Sales, 1983, where he was purchased by Mr P.J. Mitchell for $3250. Subsequently named Bonecrusher, we have not arrived at the main subject of this article.

His sire Pag Asa (AUS) was a moderately performed (three wins; three seconds; three thirds from 16 starts) sprinter by the notable Star Kingdom (GB) stallion Kaoru Star, himself a first-class sprinter and sire of the champion colt Luskin Star, as well as Zazu, Marceau, Joy Love, Aurealis, etc. His dam, Great Mop (GB) filly Admire won at 6f. Line-bred 4 x 4 to Mumtaz Begum she was dam also of Admiration, stakes winner up to 9f in the USA, Covetous (by Luskin Star) and thus ¾ relation to Pag Asa; SAJC Adelaide Guineas Group III) and Pag Asa’s full relations Baden Baden (seven sprint wins) and the winner Speedy Miss.

Admire was out of  the 14 sprint race winner Felidoma (by Jambo (GB)) who numbers among her descendants Arcudus, Winged Beauty, Princes Talaria and the successful sires Sticks and Stones and Haulpak. Pag Asa is in-bred to Brueghel (ITY) 5 x 4 through his daughters Ajixa and Bruness (note how often this form of in-breeding was cropped up throughout his analysis) with a male strain (Colombo) of Brueghel (ITY)’s close genetic relation Manna.

Manna, noted as a sire of stayers was by Phalaris out of Waffles, while Brueghel (ITY) was by Phalaris’s son Pharos out of Waffle’s daughter Bunworry.

I believe that it is this in-breeding coupled with the strain of Derby winner Manna which enables Pag Asa to transmit the amount of stamina demonstrated by his son, combined with the obvious staying elements found throughout Bonecrusher’s female lines.

Brueghel (ITY) was a full-brother to the noted Italian stamina influence Bozzetto, who progeny earned a stamina index of 14.40f, and to Bernina who won the Italian 1000 Guineas, 2000 Guineas, Oaks and Grand Prix de Naples.

It is however the elements in Pag Asa’s pedigree which he can return to line-breedings found throughout Bonecrusher’s dam line which appear to be the key to this successful combination. Bellagioca (GB) has now retreated to the fourth generation, his direct influence gone, leaving his recessive strong points open to repetition.

Bonecrusher is line-bred to Nearco 6 x 6, and this horse’s sire Pharos, is reinforced with the further male strains of Brueghel (ITY) and Firdaussi, while Pharos’ three-quarter genetic brother Colorado (sixth generation) is also represented by a son, all these receiving balance through the female strains of Fairway and Colombo, both in the fifth generation.

All these horses barring the latter are bred on the direct Phalaris/Chaucer cross, while Colombo is a grandson of Phalaris out of Lady Nairne, by Chaucer, thus ranking as close genetic relation.

Dastus is in-bred 6 x 6 through two daughters. Brent Knoll’s line-breeding to Hyperion receives a boost from the Hyperion sire line, while her daughter’s line-breeding to Big Game receives the same through a female strain of this horse’s sire Bahram (sixth generation). The most important connection though, is two examples of duplication of close genetic relations. While space does not allow me to digress into the complex and fascinating subject of line-breeding to close genetic genetic relations, I would just point out that this variation on the in-breeding theme can produce the most stunning results.

Bonecrusher’s pedigree contains the following incidences: Stardust (fourth generation) by Hyperion, son of Gainsborough, out of Sister Stella by Friar Marcus; Dastur (duplicated in the sixth generation) by Solario, son of Gainsborough, out of Friar’s Daughter by Friar Marcus, and Hypericum (sixth generation ? granddam  of Bellagioca (GB) by Hyperion out of Feola by Friar Marcus.

The second occurrence is that of Liberation (fifth generation; dam of Kaoru Star’s maternal grandsire) who is by Bahram, son of Blandford, out of Carissima by Clarissimus, and Donatello II (sixth generation; Bellagioca’s maternal grandsire) by Blenhein, son of Blandford, out of Delleana by Clarissimus.

This latter line-breeding incidentally  also occurs in Luskin Star’s pedigree, though the generation gap is different.

Thus we see that Pag Asa (AUS) has supplied complementary strains of the blood to which Bonecrusher’s female forebears were line-bred. This would have been impossible to see from mere perusal of his catalogued pedigree and it would be too time consuming to analyse every sales entry to this extent.

With the lack of racing ability of his first three dams Bonecrusher certainly did not present a prepossessing picture. In my own mind I am convinced that had it not been for the “hiccup” produced by  Bellagioca (GB), this family would have continued on its stakes-winner producing way without a break in the chain.

His presence demonstrates how a good family can be thrown into the doldrums by a non-prepotent sire; how long it takes for his direct influence to diminish and finally how eventually the strongest points in his pedigree can be brought into play as a recessive factor.

Truly a pedigree to learn from.

Updated on 05 Oct 2007

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