In our prominent harness racing stallion series we have reviewed American Ideal, Art Major, Bettors Delight and Christian Cullen so far and today we have produced an in depth review for Courage Under Fire.
Enjoy the read.
BREEDING - Another son of the Southern Hemisphere super sire In The Pocket (As a stallion In The Pocket has been nothing short of sensational in New Zealand and is responsible for changing the breed in Australia and New Zealand. – becoming NZ’s Champion Sire in both 1998/99 and 2003/04 as well as being the Leading 2YO Sire five times and twice 3YO Sire of the Year. He is the sire of 3 NZ based millionaires and multiple Harness Horses of the Year). Courage Under Fire is from the Vance Hanover mare Advance Debra. She won the NZ Sires Stakes Final but was the only winner of any note in her family. The old saying about champions can come from anywhere certainly applies in this case.
RACE RECORD - Arguably the best juvenile pacer to ever race in the Southern Hemisphere. He won his first 24 races and included in those were six derbies on both sides of the Tasman, a record which is unlikely to be ever broken. Small in stature, he was known as the "Pocket Rocket" and thrilled crowds with his displays of speed and stamina. Not as dominant as an older horse but he still wound up his racing career with the outstanding record of 41 wins and 4 placings from 56 starts, taking a time of 1:54.2 on his way to earning $1,551,000.
AMERICAN STUD RECORD - Only has the very small number of just 17 horses that have been exported to America but they have done a stellar job so far. Headed by such smart types as the mare Itz Cherry Ripe ($526,727), Flem N Em 1:49.3 ($461,175) and Artic Fire ($341,008), his stock have garnered $3,735,535 to date. With such small numbers it is hard to draw any conclusions either way on his record in the USA.
Eligible to race - 17
Winners - 17
$100,000 plus - 13
$1,000,000 plus - 0
Sub 1:50 - 1
Average earnings - $219,737
Total earnings to date - $3,735,535
AUSTRALIAN STUD RECORD - Bred small numbers initially (foals; 15, 19, 29, 44, 15, 21, 64) as he was based in NZ and there were issues with the transportation of his semen. Now based in Australia under the care of Alabar, he has served large books in the last three years (foals; 134, 100, 144). This is due in no small part to the record of NZ imports with 38 of them having won over $100,000 in Australia. The record of his Australian born stock is a lot less successful with Smolda ($512,888) standing head and shoulders over the other 341 sons and daughters he has in Australia. His next best performer after Smolda is Runnaway Fire ($228,061). What is really concerning is his percentages of winners to foals which are well off the pace of his major competitors. That may change now that he is under the influence of Alabar but it needs to and soon.
Foals 3yr old and older - 341
Winners - 118
% of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 35%
$100,000 plus - 13
$1,000,000 plus - 0
Average earnings per starter - $23,390
Average earnings per eligible horse - $14,129
Total earnings to date - $4,818,319
NEW ZEALAND STUD RECORD - Right from the start he had huge support from breeders in NZ (foals; 151, 127, 186, 236) and that is reflected in the number of quality colts and fillies he has left in NZ. Colts of the class of Pembrook Benny ($787,745), Sleepy Tripp ($723,887), Lanercost ($506,324), Courage To Rule ($489,231), Choise Achiever ($502,095), Franco Jamar ($367,492) and Days Of Courage ($335,859) while his fillies included the likes of Lancome ($461,277) and Secret Potion ($285,312). His percentages in NZ are again a concern but at least he has some quality horses to showcase.
Foals 3yr old and older - 950
Winners - 374
% of winners to foals born 3yr old and older - 39&
$100,000 plus - 16 (38 in Australia)
$1,000,000,000 plus - 0
Average earnings per starter - $20,610
Average earnings per eligible horse - $10,413
Total earnings to date - $9,892,809
POSITIVES - Can leave top line two and three year olds who can go on to be competitive as older horses on the Grand Circuit. Leaves top class fillies as well as colts and they have a reputation for being very durable.
NEGATIVES - In both Australia and New Zealand his percentages are 15 to 20 points below what his major competitors are achieving in both countries. And he needs a few more quality individuals in Australia with Smolda his only real credit so far.
OVERVIEW - This horse has all the credentials to be a leading sire but his record to date is one of under achievement. That may have more to do with his management in the recent past. He has changed ownership twice, countries and states and that makes it tougher for a stallion to excel. Now under the management of Alabar he will get the opportunity to turn those numbers around but it better happen in the next twelve months or so or he may find himself passed over for some of the new boys on the scene
OVERALL RATING - 6/10
Harnesslink has had such positive feedback on our "forgotten sires series" that we are running a series of reviews on our more prominent harness racing sires.
As they say in racing you can criticize some ones car, house or wife but never their horse, and that still rings true.
As a disclaimer to our next chapter of analysis we look to provide educated opinion based on years of industry knowledge and the truest form of critique backed by statistical data.
The above PREVIEWS are set to strip back any sugar coated publicity often associated with Stallion promotion and give you the cold hard facts as JC sees them.
(All statistical data was provided by TrackIt for North American stats and the official organizations of New Zealand and Australia)
And here is "The forgotten sires series"
This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink have already completed with a view to sheading some light on some of the "forgotten"sires in Australasia.