Written Dec 2002

Flying Spur hit a milestone recently in clocking up his twentieth stakes winner world-wide.

As with many stallions, people were very quick to make assumptions on his possible biases.   Several of his early stakes winners were outstanding fillies, such as All Time High, Ponton Flyer and French Braids, prompting some to jump to the ‘fillies bias’ conclusion.  With around twenty more fillies than colts in his first two Australian crops, he was initially entitled to produce more top fillies than colts.

On top of this, his top colts early on were racing overseas, such as San Luis, a New Zealand Group One winner, and Volata (aka Firebolt), an Irish bred son who won stakes races in Britain and Hong Kong.

Very few stallions do actually have a sex bias for racing ability.  Many more have biases when it comes to whether their progeny make better sires or broodmare sires.  Looking further back in pedigrees for particular influences, some sires tend to ‘float to the top’ in a pedigree, while others sink to the distaff side. 

No one could argue that Northern Dancer didn’t produce his quota of outstanding race mares, but as influences in pedigrees, it is chiefly his sons that have endured.  Other examples of stallions who tend to remain on the male side of the pedigree (in the male line of the sire or the male line of the dam) are Nasrullah, Bold Ruler and Royal Charger, while Mahmoud and Round Table are more likely to be found dwelling as influences through daughters.

Flying Spur’s twentieth stakes winner, a West Australian-based colt named Wool Zone, finally dispelled the sex bias myth for him in evening up the tally of fillies to colts with black type wins.  At the time of writing, his stakes placed performers were also neck and neck, with seven colts and eight fillies.

With his fourth crop now two-year-olds and his biggest crop to-date about to hit the yearling sales ring, it is a good time to reflect on how he has been working with various lines and from that, to help buyers sort through his swag of  forthcoming yearlings for those ‘most likely to achieve’.

The catalogue for the 2003 Magic Millions Yearling Sale has hit our letter boxes and carries thirty Flying Spur yearlings.  For those still concerned with gender, twenty three of those are colts.  This could prove an interesting turning point for Flying Spur, in that Gai Waterhouse’s smart Flying Spur colt Imperialism is at this stage a credible contender for the Magic Millions Two Year Old Classic race.

So what lines have been working for this stallion?  Analysis of the pedigrees of broodmares producing black type runners by Flying Spur produces some interesting results.

While my December issue’s article featured the possibility of Admiralty working well with reinforcement of the BOUDOIR family, the progeny of Flying Spur attest to the success of this pattern.  Six of his thirty five stakes performers are out of mares reinforcing BOUDOIR family member His Majesty, damsire of Danehill in his pedigree. Make Me A Miracle, Flying Sparks, Grand Cavalier, Lemon Spice, Interruption and Titanic all create this pattern by carrying BOUDOIR family members T.V. Commercial, Whiskey Road, Graustark, and Majestic Prince via their dams.

On a more local note, Star Kingdom features heavily in the pedigrees of the dams of his successful progeny.  Twelve carry Star Kingdom and of the twelve, five of these mares are inbred to Star Kingdom. 

Four are via Bletchingly, who is a tail female relation of Danzig, Flying Spur’s grandsire, both tracing to lady susan.  An old favourite of mine, linebreeding to this family really pays off.  Other family members include Rockefella, Immortal and more locally, Copper Kingdom.   A recent example of the success of this cross is the brilliant Private Steer (Danehill Dancer – Lisheenowen), who combines Danzig and Copper Kingdom.

Imperialism carries Immortal via his damsire Family of Man and could to add to the swag of stakeswinners linebred to this family.

Sir Ivor is present in Flying Spur’s pedigree as his second damsire, presenting a nice opportunity for ‘sex balanced inbreeding’ to mares carrying sons of Sir Ivor.  Juanmo and this year’s Gimcrack Stakes winner Spurcent are bred on this pattern.

Similarly, Flying Spur carries a daughter of Mr. Prospector and inbreeding to him by providing a son via the broodmare has produced Oomph.

While Flying Spur’s illustrious damline traces to the great Fanfreluche, the opportunities to linebreed to this wonderful matriarch have been limited in this country.

One of Flying Spur’s first stakes winners was the marvelous filly French Braids.  Out of the US bred mare French Shoes, she was inbred to FANFRELUCHE.  There are four Flying Spur yearlings in the Magic Millions Sale who are linebred to this influence – three whose dams are direct descendants of this line and another whose damsire is D’Accord, a son of FANFRELUCHE.

It is gratifying to see that every year, more thought is going into the creation of matings to optimize genetic opportunity.  A cursory flick through the pedigrees of these thirty yearlings reveals that many display the proven patterns mentioned above.  The outcome of careful planning results in winners all round – apart from the obvious buyer benefits, the stud, the stallion, the mare owners and the sales company also benefit by producing more stakes winners.  Worth the effort!

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