Day At The Track

Rock N Roll Heaven's foals are outstanding

10:46 PM 30 Oct 2012 NZDT
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Rock N Roll Heaven Rock N Roll Heaven and Daniel Dube win
Rock N Roll Heaven
Rock N Roll Heaven and Daniel Dube win - the Little Brown Jug in a two heat WR of 1:49.2 and 1:49.2.
USTA/Mark Hall photo

The long-awaited arrival of the first crop foals of a New Season harness racing sire is always an anxious time for any Studmaster, but especially so when that sire is your flagship stallion.

Whilst the reports out of Blue Chip Farms, New York, where Rock N Roll Heaven’s first Northern Hemisphere foals arrived earlier in the year have been highly encouraging, there is no substitute to being able to judge them in the flesh for oneself.

The arrival of the first “Heaven” foals at Pepper Tree Farm this Spring and the subsequent breeder feedback that has been received from all over Australia and New Zealand, has quickly dispelled any breeder concerns that he may have left some small foals because of his own comparatively smaller stature (at 15.2 hands).

Virtually without exception Rock N Roll Heaven is injecting more leg into his foals than he carries himself. Pepper Tree Farm has been receiving numerous calls from breeders about their outstanding foals. There appears little doubt that he is throwing to the influence of his grandsire Western Ideal.

A particularly pleasing attribute detected by Pepper Tree Farm Studmaster Rob Vandyke is that Rock N Roll Heaven is clearly “stamping” his foals. Rob said: “From a distance you can identify his foals in a paddock which is a key trademark always high on the wish list of any Studmaster with a new stallion.”

Rock N Roll Heaven is leaving his foals very correct (an all-important and very satisfying factor to both a Studmaster and a Breeder) with great shoulder and his own powerful hindquarters, the latter in particular being “Heaven’s” own defining attribute and one from where he derived his own powerful length of pacing stride combined with very fast leg speed. He is well known for his very fluent walk, he is a great walking horse and we are also seeing the latter coming through in his foals.

One Canterbury, NZ, breeder has even gone so far as to say his Rock N Roll Heaven colt (out of an In The Pocket mare) has outstanding shoulder and a rear-end shape, the like he had never seen in 40 years of breeding Standardbreds so perhaps “Heaven” is taking that extra step and also adding a touch of mystique into some of his New Age foals.

Here’s what Tom Grossman, owner of Blue Chip Farms, New York, said recently at the conclusion of the 2012 North American breeding season about Rock N Roll Heaven and his foals: “We bred aggressively in the first year, but even more so in the second year after seeing all those big, correct first crop foals out of the best mares in the business. It seems to me his foals are going to be bigger than he is himself but retain all of his incredible soundness, which is an increasingly needed trait often overlooked. I fully expect to be in the catbird seat (prime position) when I bring approximately 20 of my own to the Sales while his first crop 2 year olds out of those mares are zinging around the track…”

With Rock N Roll Heaven’s foal fast approaching yearling status Tom just cannot wait until the 2012 North American Yearling Sales such is their impressive type that he is absolutely salivating at the kind of money they are likely to bring.

And of course, off the back of a strong North American Sale is likely to follow very strong demand for his progeny in both Australia and New Zealand hence the astute breeders who are abreast of the likely trends have already bred or are breeding this season to Rock N Roll Heaven.

One thing is assured though; Rob Vandyke now has a whole lot more reasons to keep smiling down on the plains at Cowra knowing his mate has not let him down.

COURTESY OF HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

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