Day At The Track

Black Watch - Best in the book

06:13 AM 01 Feb 2020 NZDT
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Black Watch
Black Watch, who died aged 32 in 1999, has perpetuated her influence as the cornerstone to which many find producers, among them Aberfeldy, Ciccio Star, Burgundy Lass, Esprit Noir, Nancy Iola and many others trace too.
Painting By Lynnley A Driver

I was given my first sales catalogue by an astute harness racing industry participant (who generally knows pedigrees like the back of his hand) a while back on the premise that he thought it would make interesting reading.

A few brief looks at its pages later, and with the penny dropping as to how to read the information within, and I found myself increasingly absorbed by the books apparent promise. Like anyone who has gone in search of the next harness racing star the fun of it all started with the sales catalogue…

One of the first things I noticed was the presence of a mare called Black Watch and just how much of an impact her progeny had made both as racehorses, and in the case of her fillies, as successful broodmares. A history of the family in full would run into volumes and put simply I couldn’t do it justice, a more succinct effort I’ll attempt…  

Black Watch (foaled in 1966 out of Black Globe mare Rosehaven) established herself as a leading miler when driven by Peter Wolfenden in the late 1960’s, the mare by Scottish Command powered through a career of racing in the North Island to amass 14 wins from 75 starts with 16 minor placings, most of her victories coming in her younger years with an impressive run of consecutive wins to start her racing career.

It’s also worth noting that, while Black Watch has gone on to do great things for the breeding game, both Nancy Iola (think Burgundy Lass and Star Of Venus) and Tata Matapo are daughters of Rosehaven also. 

  

Lordship

The broodmare career of Black Watch started with a trip to two-time NZ Cup winner Lordship, the coupling produced the 9 time winner Tay Bridge and was soon followed by the flying Remarkable (by Mark Lobell) who captured a Group 2 title in the form of The Golden Mile when driven by Owen Purdon, A subsequent jaunt to North America saw the animal break 1.54.

The real guts of this story starts in the late 1970’s and beyond when Black Watch produced a number of daughters that would all prove magnificent broodmares. Of these daughters three that stand out to me in the form of Aberfeldy (1978) Significant (1979) and Corbie (1990) although 3 race winner Espirit Noir, a Vance Hanover mare foaled in 1986, also deserves mention as her progeny includes, among others, Star Fleet (mother of Star Of The Ball)

Aberfeldy proved a tremendous success leaving five time winner (and the mother of Sovereign Hill, Tarena Jay and sub 1.52 pacer Black Reef) Jayvee as her first foal. The 17 time winner, multiple Group 1-placed (including a 2nd in the Easter Cup) Reba Lord followed two years later.

Ken Breckon with 31-year-old - Aberfeldy

Daughters out of Aberfeldy include the Breckon Farms matriarch mare Megeara ($250’000), the mother of The Reckoning in Tosti and Marysia, whose most notable success as a broodmare came in the form of 11 race winner Mr Bojangles. Mhairi and Medea, both daughters of Marysia have continued their mothers’ story of success with Our Pacquiao (17 wins,$165’0000) being out of Medea.

The success of Aberfeldy as a broodmare has been equalled if not surpassed by “Significant”, a mare by Out To Win.

Significant showed a real ability to leave genuine speed in her offspring with her first two colts being National Image (13 wins, $115’000) and the Group 1 placed The Unicorn who scored 29 times and won a pinch less than half a million dollars in career earnings. To best these performers Significant then went on to leave sub-1.52 mare Pacific Flight (47 lifetime wins) with Pacific Flights progeny including the mother of Timeless Perfection, Red Moon Rising and current Dunn trained prospect Down To The Bone.

Pacific Flight N - 47 first place finishers and purse earnings of $508,454 in North America

Chicago Bull, who has written plenty of harness racing history himself winning the WA Derby, Fremantle Pacing Cup and Western Australian Pacing Cup can also call upon the “Significant speed factor”. Not wanting to conclude her winning broodmare ways there Significant then left a full sister to Pacific Flight by the name of Gliding Flight. Foaled in 1992 Gliding Flight quickly notched up 8 wins from just 18 starts for Mark Purdon. A subsequent broodmare career of her own saw Raptorial (1.50.2 pacer) Seaward (K Barron trained winner of 9) and the mother of NSW Derby runner-up Malcolms Rhythm in Shes Got It All.

Rounding off “the big three” from Black Watch is Corbie. Her broodmare career most probably the richest and most successful within the Black Watch narrative. Colts left by Corbie include the Group 2 placed Agios Nikolaos and the 17 time winner Vingt Coeur while Our Bagger Vance,a later colt by Falcon Seelster, won 8 times.

For all the success achieved by her colts it’s in her fillies and their subsequent broodmare careers that Corbie has succeeded beyond measure.     

Most of her daughters have become either stars of the track or stars within the confines of their  broodmare paddocks. Almost all have left well performing racehorses.

Her first filly “Black Maire” left champion race-mare Lauraella ($650’000), Group 1 runner-up The Muskeg Express and sub 1.55 pacers in Estilo and The Pacman while Kruizr, trained by Michael House, has already won 5 times from just 18 starts around the Canterbury region. Black Maire was closely followed by Macy Gray, an In The Pocket filly whose first 5 fillies all won and have left the likes of Macy Blue Chip (1.54.1) Macy Supreme (12 wins, $87’000) and the exciting Major Express who in currently active winning as recently as the 20th of January when racing at Bunbury.

Lauraella

A full sister to Macy Gray “Soleil D’or had limited races and has now left the Steve Baucke trained Delight My Soul (7 wins, k85’000) and I’mallaboutthebase (5 wins, $79’000). A slightly more recent Christian Cullen filly out of Corbie “L’Oiseau De Nuit” has become a proven producer leaving Billy Jack and Someardensomwhere (7 wins, $65’000) while Zingara (a full sister to L O’iseau De Nuit) just might be one of the most successful daughters of Corbie yet winning 5 races herself and leaving Laredo Torpedo (12 wins, $108’000) and the now USA based Zinny Mach who has been racking up wins at regular intervals since being exported.

Racehorses out of the Corbie dam-line continue to flood racetracks across Australasia with Aqua Sancta (2 wins, $22’000 from limited starts) and My Agera (6 placings from 7 starts) being current flag-bearers.     

The story of Black Watch will continue at this years 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale. It’s good to see Breckon Farms strongly representing a breed they’ve been closely associated with for some time now . The maternal lineage of Black Watch can be sighted in many lots during the sale. Lots 124197, 264 and 278 all can be easily traced back while a link to a harnesslink article regarding Lots 101 and 106 can be found HERE 

Another lot to be offered by Breckon Farms out of the family is:

Lot 93. “Cos I Can” is a colt by Always B Miki and is out of a daughter of Corbie in Cordelia (2 wins when trained by Geoff Small) Cos I Can has a trial-winning two year old 1/2 sister “Town Echo” who is in work with Matt Anderson.

Lot 93 - Cos I Can

Ben McMillan

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