The boys for Black Caviar

The boys for Black Caviar

Spring might not be in the air, but for the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry in the depth of winter, spring is very much on its mind.

The man-made modern thoroughbred stallion isn’t required to fight his rivals to build a harem of mares—the multi-million dollar advertising machine takes care of that, and this year the competition for a dwindling number of mares is running hot.

Most of the headline stallions are fully booked, but there is always room for one more … a special mare, too good to refuse.

So with the prospect that a battered and bruised Black Caviar (b m 2006, Bel Esprit-Helsinge, by Desert Sun (GB)) may have run her last race, there isn’t a stud farm that hasn’t dusted off the red carpet in the hope the great mare might float through the front gates.

Firstly, let’s forget about the “mating from heaven” with the unbeaten superstar Frankel, because the toffy English beau has racetrack commitments and it’s almost certain he won’t be taking a seat on the shuttle train in the near future given his owner Khalid Abdullah’s lack of interest in the concept since the accidental death of his stallion, Zafonic, at Arrowfield Stud in 2002.

Even if Frankel was available here, the temptation to use him may be overridden by the fact the progeny will have four sire lines to Northern Dancer—Sadler’s Wells, Danzig (Danehill), Nijinsky (Royal Academy) and Danzig (Desert Sun-Green Desert). Personally, I’d give it a fling.

So what’s on offer for the great mare in Australia?

The first reaction for most will be “it’s easy, go straight to the top of the class”—the two superstar Danehill-sons, Fastnet Rock and Redoute’s Choice.

However, neither is on my short list for the simple reason that there is more to mating a mare such as Black Caviar than to pick the best, and hope for the best.

Her immense size—580kgs—means that big, heavy stallions such as Fastnet Rock and Redoute’s Choice are a risk. Breeder Rick Jamieson sold Black Caviar as a yearling because he took the advice that her size could restrict her racing career—he may have been right but for the superb management of Peter Moody.

The other issue with a direct mating with Fastnet Rock is that he is out of a Royal Academy mare, which gives a 3fx3m cross to the stallion—bit too close for me.

I am setting aside Coolmore Stud’s veteran Encosta De Lago (by Fairy King (USA)) because of the doubts about his ability to produce stallions—the jury is out as we wait for the stock of his fast sons, Northern Meteor and Manhattan Rain, to get to the races—which surely will be a pre-requisite for Black Caviar’s senior owner, Neil Werrett, who is a breeder of significance and who also takes good advice from his Hunter Valley mate, Mick Malone, from Kitchwin Hills, near Scone, where Black Caviar is almost certain to live as a broodmare.

So where does that leave Werrett and his partners?

I believe the ideal horse, physically and on pedigree, is Arrowfield Stud’s rising star Snitzel.

The son of Redoute’s Choice and Snippets’ Lass (by Snippets) is a perfect fit. He’s an up-and-coming young stallion, who is producing brilliant young horses from a base of moderate mares.

Importantly, he’s the right size—a smallish, neat, athletic horse—for a big mare such as Black Caviar, and he gives the Black Caviar’s owners access to the great Danehill sire line through his best sire-son, Redoute’s Choice.

What I like is the mating produces a pedigree that compliments itself. Black Caviar is by a grandson of Nijinsky (by Northern Dancer (CAN)) from a mare by a grandson of Danzig (by Northern Dancer (CAN)), out of a daughter of a mare by Snippets (by Lunchtime (GB)).

The same combination is found in Snitzel, whose sire is a grandson of Danzig and also is from a Nijinsky-line mare. Snitzel’s dam is a daughter of Snippets. The pedigree also provides access to the underrated Lunchtime (by Silly Season (GB)) through his best son (Snippets) and his best-producing daughter, Jesmond Lass, the dam of Canny Lad, who is the sire of Redoute’s Choice’s dam, Shantha’s Choice.

Alan Porter, bloodstock expert for Pedigree Consultants, made the point in an article in Inside Breeding in 2011 that he believes that the doubling of Lunchtime’s sire-line (Silly Season, by Tom Fool (USA)) in Black Caviar’s pedigree is as much to do with her inherent speed as the much-talked-about double dose of the great Australian sprinter Vain (by Wilkes (FR)).

Apart from Snitzel as the standout mating, I have broken up my list of MY likely mates into two—proven and unproven, and added one from left field.

The proven horses worth considering are (in no particular order):

More Than Ready (br h 1997, Southern Halo (USA)-Woodman’s Girl (USA), by Woodman (USA)) Vinery, Scone, NSW.

Smallish and light-framed, the handsome More Than Ready is a perfect fit both physically and in pedigree. Importantly, he has the commercial profile to suit Black Caviar and he also stands at Vinery, one of Australia’s famous farms in Scone, which is part-owned by part-owner Neil Werrett.

Street Cry (b h 1998, Machiavellian (USA)-Helen Street (GB), by Troy (GB)) Darley Kelvinside, Aberdeen, NSW.

Street Cry is a wonderfully versatile sire, and with this mating we get Zenyatta’s sire over Black Caviar! The Street Cry pedigree is an outcross for stallions, although it offers link to Northern Dancer’s family through Machiavellian, who is a son of Mr Prospector from a mare in-bred to Northern Dancer’s granddam, Almahmoud. Also, Mr Prospector has a fine record over mares by Nijinsky.

Lonhro (blk h 1998, Octagonal (NZ)-Shadea, by Straight Strike (USA)) Darley Kelvinside, Aberdeen, NSW.

Lonhro provides an almost complete outcross, as he is almost free of Northern Dancer blood (his grandsire Zabeel has Northern Dancer as his maternal grandsire). Lonhro is Australia’s leading stallion from an initial mare base that is nowhere near the quality he has covered in the past two seasons. While Lonhro is a big horse, he’s not coarse and he generally produces medium-sized horses.

Casino Prince (b h 2003, Flying Spur-Lady Capel, by Last Tycoon (IRE)). Patinack Farm, Aberdeen, NSW.

I chose Casino Prince purely because he obviously has nicked with Black Caviar’s dam, Helsinge, to produce the brilliant All Too Hard. While he is a leggy stallion, he also is light-framed, which complements her size.


Smart Missile (b h 2008, Fastnet Rock-Comical Smile (USA), by Comic Strip (USA)) Arrowfield Stud, Scone, NSW.

Smart Missile is possibly the best link to Fastnet Rock, and it pushed the Royal Academy double cross out to 4×3. Importantly, Smart Missile’s dam line is a an outcross, so we reduce the saturation of Northern Dancer blood.

New Approach (ch h 2005, Galileo (IRE)-Park Express (IRE), by Ahonoora (GB)) Darley Northwood, Seymour, Vic.

We can’t get Frankel, so what about Galileo’s other great son, New Approach, who has really hit his straps with his first runners in Europe—three Stakes winners in Royal Ascot week has elevated him to star status. New Approach also is the result of an outcross, so again, there is a reduction of Northern Dancer’s influence that is so prevalent in Black Caviar’s pedigree.

So You Think (b or br h 2006, High Chaparral (IRE)-Triassic (NZ), by Tights (USA)) Coolmore Stud, Jerry’s Plains, NSW.

While I am a bit concerned about his immense size and the fact the foal will have four sire lines to Northern Dancer, he deserves to be considered for his adonis-like looks and wonderful turn of foot. He is Northern Dancer over Nijinsky, while Black Caviar is the reverse.

Sepoy (ch c 2008, Elusive Quality (USA)-Watchful, by Danehill (USA)) Darley Kelvinside, Aberdeen, NSW.

Sepoy’s sire Elusive Quality is an unknown sire of sires, but Sepoy comes from a wonderful Australian female line. With this mating comes a double of Lunchtime through his best son Snippets and best daughter Jesmond Lass. Sepoy, small, strong and very Australian in his type (he’s a Star Kingdom clone), also is the perfect size for the big mare.

Foxwedge (b h 2008, Fastnet Rock-Forest Native (USA), by Forest Wildcat (USA)) Newgate Farm, Scone, NSW.

Another link to Fastnet Rock, and certainly a smaller version and a more handsome one. Foxwedge may not have had the same raw talent as Sepoy and Smart Missile, but he was very competitive with them. Foxwedge has a double cross of the close relations Royal Academy and Storm Cat—Black Caviar’s grandsire is Royal Academy.


Artie Schiller (b h 2001, El Prado (USA)-Hidden Light (USA), by Majestic Light (USA)) Independent Stallions, Stockwell Stud, Diggers Rest, Vic.

The Victorian-based Artie Schiller is shaping as one of the hidden gems in Australian breeding. He offers the type (very handsome and mid-sized) and he’s doing a great job off a base of below average mares. Artie Schiller also offers another link to the great speed influence Tom Fool (Lunchtime’s grandsire) through his sire El Prado’s dam.

Photo: Snitzel at Arrowfield Stud—the perfect mate for Black Caviar.

The pedigree of the perfect match:

Snitzel Pedigree

  1. I would go for a left field in Denman #33,000. And here is the result

  2. @BwanaChris says:

    Hussonet has some very clear affinities which have become evident as his stud career has evolved. The most obvious of these is a strong genetic affinity with NIJINSKY.

    From 164 foals from Nijinsky-line mares HUSSONET has produced 23 SWs – a 14% SWs/foals ratio including 8 Gr1 winners including 3-time Gr1 winner Printemps.

    Husson, Spontaneous (who also features Nijinsky’s ¾ brother THE MINSTREL) and Hush Money are another 3 Group 1 winners by HUSSONET to feature NIJINSKY in the pedigrees of their respective dams.

    I’d definitely look at this nick

  3. Michael Lynch says:

    hi Danny.. good piece. I didn’t realise you were so well versed in the bloodstock world…I have never paid that much close attention to it. Maybe I should have! Your comments on Lunchtime and Silly Season pricked interest for me. Lunchtime was, from memory, a very decent two year old in England, high class and speedy, while I recall Silly Season’s name from the time I first started reading the racing pages in the papers when I was about seven or eight, so that would have been the mid sixties. I think he was a good sprinter miler.

  4. Danny Power says:

    Michael, I spoke recently to Peter Walwyn, the trainer of Lunchtime, for an article in Inside Breeding magazine. He said the horse was high-class at two—won the Dewhirst—but got very colty before his 3YO campaign. The sold him after he failed in the 2000 Guineas. I’ll put that article up on The Breed soon. It’s worth a read.

  5. Danny Power says:

    Yes, Hussonet has that affinity with Nijinsky, and he’s also a smallish stallion, which will suit the big mare.

  6. Danny Power says:

    Denman is left of field, but grabs another very close link to Vain.

  7. John Duncan says:

    Danny, a friend has booked a group one producing broodmare to Host on the back of the promising start the stallion has made with his two-year-olds and the feedback he has received from trainers with his stock. I’m somewhat intrigued by his decision and was wondering if you had an opinion on the start Host has made?

  8. gaspare stellato says:

    I to agreewith you danny about we are getting to close with our breeding, so much northern dancer blood, we need to get more out-breeding bold ruler, lines etc etc or else it will be close I have one for you how about 2 seattle slews sons sirius slew or white bridal he is half brothe to dynaformer so there is some out breeding, its the mare that makes the stallion,

  9. Danny Power says:

    John, the jury is out on Host. Not by favourite stallion—query on Hussonet sons—two winners from 14 runners so far; not so sure about the “promising start”. Probably will be better at three, but he’s now standing at $5000, which is a refection of the market’s value of him. That said I really liked a yearling buy him at the Melb Sale this year, but didn’t buy her in the end. I wouldn’t have taken the risk your friend did—he could have waited another year.

  10. Danny Power says:

    yes, most stallions if given the chance with good mares will leave a runner or two. The daughters of White Bridal, especially those out of mares with a bit of pedigree, might be worth breeding to smart local stallions in the future.

  11. Danny Power says:

    Hi Ron, your hypothetical mating has incorporated the wrong Black Caviar. Your mating shows Black Caviar (SAF), by Black Minnaloushe.

  12. How about More Than Ready?

  13. Perhaps its time to thin some of the PHALARIS (GB) br. H, 1913 LINE in her genes and introduce some other genes by outcrossing her bloodlines. But then again, I doubt there are many who know what original lines remain… Heh heh heh.

    In her fifth generation she has:
    6 Direct descendants Darley Arabian sire lines
    3 Direct descendants of Stockwell’s other sons lineage.
    2 Direct descendants Godolphin Barb’s sire lines
    2 Direct links to St Simon’s Sire line heritage
    1 Direct descendant to the Byerley Turk Stream

    In her fourth generation it drops to
    2 Direct Darley Arabian sire lines
    The sire CRIMSON SATAN (USA)ch. 1959 — The mare LANGUISSOLA (GB) b. 1967
    2 Stockwell’s other sons lineage
    2 dams BOLERO ROSE (USA) ch. 1958 — FLAMING PAGE (CAN) b. 1959
    1 Direct Godolphin Barb’s sire lines
    The mare GLITEREN (NZ)ch. 1969

    In her third generation:
    1 Direct descendant of the Darley Arabian
    The mare CRIMSON SAINT (USA) ch. M 1969

    41 out of 62 progenitors derive from the PHALARIS (GB) br. H, 1913 line

    And THAT, is fact.

  14. Danny Power says:

    I think finding the right physical match for this big mare is much more important than worrying about whether she has Phalaris-line overload.

  15. Danny Power says:

    Yep, More Than Ready is a good physical and genetic match. Should have been included in the list.

  16. So what are you out to achieve, take FORT D’OR H, 1963 WAS SAID TO BE 18.2H TALL AND THE TALLEST HORSE TO EVER RACE, record from him?
    Does height of the stallions REALLY matter? Did her breeder take Bel Esprit’s height into consideration?… I doubt it… Her breeding was nothing more than a result of the Bag of Marbles ambiguity… I’d be more concerned with the Phalaris dominance on the Breeding Industry.

  17. Danny Power says:

    It’s not about height, but weight—bulk. Black Caviar is 600kg and puts a lot of pressure on her limbs. One of the reasons her breeder sold her. Mating her with a big, heavy stallion would be close to suicide. The aim is to breed an athlete not an equine weightlifter. Her breeding is the result of a matching of great speed to achieve great speed. She is very much a product of her pedigree. She has the magnificent length of stride that made Bel Esprit such a good horse, the imposing physique of her dam, Helsinge, through her sire Desert Sun (a big brute), and she has the wonderful turn of foot inherited from a double cross of Vain as well as other speed influences through such important descendants as Crimson Saint, who is the very reason Royal Academy was so fast and why he is so influential in Black Caviar’s and Fastnet Rock’s pedigree. If that’s bag of marbles ambiguity, then let’s play marbles.
    Give me an athlete over a pedigree page any time.

  18. The Bag of Marbles ambiguity is what makes the difference between
    BLACK CAVIAR (AUS) br. M, 2006 — 22 Starts, 22 Wins, 0 Places, 0 Shows Career Earnings: A$6,802,436… 19 Group wins + 2 Listed Races

    AND… her full brother

    MOSHE-(AUS) dkb-br. H, 2007 — 5 Starts, 3 Wins, 0 Places, 0 Shows Career Earnings: A$85,501
    NO stakes wins.

    In other words, the Lottery of Life… the Lottery of the genes in the chromosomes.

    The next time I go to put Blue Boy our Percheron stallion over a Thoroughbred mare I’ll make sure to weigh her… I may even take the measurement of his penis.

    One thing, at least, some one is getting educated by our discussion… SMILE


  19. Danny Power says:

    The lottery of luck as well. Moshe had enormous talent and potential, but injuries hindered him, as did attitude in the end. Had Black Caviar been trained by someone else, the whole scenario might have been different. Moody decision not to push her when she was showing signs of soreness as a young horse; his ability to manage her nagging back and hamstring troubles etc. All part of the equation, excluding her genes, that made Black Caviar what she is.

  20. You have too many guns blazing for a person from the bush to counter… Other than to say I think you are wrong about some of your assumptions… BUT, time will tell… Five years should be long enough for the hype to settle AND facts reveal themselves.

    My thesis of 12 years (the Colour Coding of Thoroughbred Bloodlines) has given me knowledge you DON’T have, which time will also reveal.

    I make two predictions…
    1… Like the Great mare Sunline. And that other mare, Makybe Diva, Black Caviar’s offspring’s will be DUDS.

    2… Moshe will also be a flop as a sire… The Bag of Marbles wasn’t kind to him.

  21. Nice way to spend 12 years! Surely something worthwhile grabbed your interest?

    I’ll stick with Danny’s opinions over yours thanks John.

    BC’s advantage over the other 2 mares is she has both speed and pedigree. Scandinavia’s influence/family is on the way to elite. More Than Ready for mine although Snitzel, Sepoy and Commands make appeal. Wherret’s link to Vinery make MTR an unbackable favourite.

  22. Danny Power says:

    Agree, Ash with regard to the speed factor. It’s a big influence in the modern racing game.
    Sunline’s ability to reproduce herself as a broodmare can be put down to the fact she is a fluke … her mother left nothing else worthwhile despite producing a dozen or so foals. Makybe Diva, being a staying mare, has plenty of chances to prove her worth. She’s young and it’s too early to call. Patience with her foals will help her cause.

  23. So You Think

  24. Thanks for the article great read.

    Gee that John bloke is a flog though.

  25. Danny Power says:

    No, just a man with an opinion. We all have them.

  26. Foreplay says:

    The rejuvenated Foreplay would give her a third cross of Vain. A medium sized Danehill that hails from a great family

  27. I don’t know much about the gallops but what about high chaparral

  28. Danny Power says:

    High Chaparral doesn’t fit … the idea will be to breed like with like — sprinter to sprinter. High Chaparral is a staying influence.

  29. Jobarty says:

    I’m thinking Charge Forward might be a good match. Not an overly large stallion who has started to have some good results from his offspring of late. His speed was outstanding. It would be interesting to get some of the Red Randsome line into the mix!

  30. Jobarty says:

    Tried to comment a few days ago but it didn’t come through?
    It’s a pity that Red Ransom is no longer with us. The sire of Typhoon Tracy over Black Caviar would surely have a few eyes watering! My choice would be one of his best sons Charge Forward. Not an overly large stallion & outstanding speed in his own right.

  31. Danny Power says:

    I agree that Charge Forward isn’t a bad fit at all … he’s the right size for the mare and the pedigree matches up well enough. However, I doubt they will use him ahead of More Than Ready, especially because of the links Black Caviar’s ownership has with Vinery.

  32. Have they decided how they are going to yet??

  33. Danny Power says:

    She is going to Exceed And Excel.


  1. Black Caviar: So what’s on offer for the great mare in Australia? « Bel Esprit Winners Club - [...] by Danny Power on Jun 26, 2012 | 0 comments Spring might not be in the air, but for the ...

Leave a Reply