Let’s face it, we would all love to have a greyhound running in the Group One Melbourne Cup final on Friday night at Sandown. So what does it take to get a finalist into the coveted race?
A look behind the scenes at the breeding of each of the finalists reveals some interesting facts which may go some way to telling us what the right recipe is for getting a Group One finalist.
Keybow is a 30.5kg male chaser by Take The Kitty and Key Exit. Key Exit was trained by Ken Cheetham and recorded seven wins from 22 starts. The wins were at places like Wentworth Park, Gosford, The Gardens and Maitland.
Key Exit is by Over Flo and Atlanta Belle. Atlanta Belle hails from the highly successful Matic-bred line. Her dam is Georgia Belle, who is found in the breeding of stud dog Hurricane Luke and other chasers such as Brother Knows (2006 Group 1 Derby winner), Persian Belle and Ironstein (2006 WA National Sprint Champion).
So, although Keybow is out of a moderately performed bitch, his dam-line has a good history of success.
It is really no surprise that Chica Destacada is a very hand chaser. The 26.5kg Cosmic Rumble bitch has the Group-performed Eluthra as her mother. Eluthra (Most Awesome – Buena Sarah) made the final of the Group One National Futurity in 2008. She was also the winner of the 2007 Group Two Wentworth Park Potential Stakes.
Eluthra’s previous litter to El Galo produced El Caballo, a finalist in the 2012 Group One Easter Egg and Ella Bonita, a finalist in the Group Three Ladies Bracelet.
The 32kg Kiwi-bred chaser has an Australian dad (Magic Sprite) and a mother that raced in New Zealand. Kara Janx had seven wins from 34 starts and is by Fashion Thief and More Than This. Fashion Thief is an Australian bred dog who qualified fastest for the Group One National Derby in 2004 and now stands in New Zealand. More Than This was a well-performed New Zealander, finishing third in the Auckland Oaks.
More Than This also features in the breeding of Clone Your Own. Clone Your Own, who is also owned by Above All’s connections, came to Australia to race under the tutelage of Robert Britton. He was highly successful, with the crowning glory a victory in the Group 2 Harrison-Dawson.
Awesome Project’s dam, Honour Phase, was unraced but this mere fact has not stopped the 30kg Collision dog from being a success on the racetrack.
However, you don’t have to scratch the surface too much to see why his dam has been a success. Honour Phase is by Big Daddy a Cool and Hunter Tylo. Hunter Tylo is the mother of Group winner Oh Behave. Oh Behave has produced Group finalists such as Will You Behave and Maddison Dee.
So although it is a risk breeding from an unraced performer, Awesome Project proves that it can be done with success.
Cosmic Wise is a strongly built 29kg bitch by Cosmic Chief and Wise Penny.
Wise Penny did much of her racing in Western Australia, winning nine from 48. Her worth as a brood lies in the fact that she is by Bombastic Shiraz and Awesome Berger. Awesome Berger is from a prolific line that has produced Group chasers the ilk of Bit Chili, Tifi, Did I Entertain, Double Twist, Smart Betsy, Smart Valentino and even Paua To Burn.
The 27kg Western Australian chaser Star Recall is by High Earner and No Recall. No Recall had 13 wins from 43 starts with the majority of those wins at Cannington. No Recall’s mother, Bradshaw Girl, was a very versatile chaser, winning from 410m through to 725m.
The mother of Bradshaw Girl, Glamourette, also features in the breeding of Cool Effort who won the Group 2 Shoot Out in 2007 and the Group 2 Geelong Cup.
Luca Neveelk has had a flying start to his career. The blue 36kg chaser is by Talks’s Cheap and It’s A Neveelk. It’s A Neveelk won nine from 59 before being retired to the breeding barn. She is by Nitro Neveelk and Bigbad Leesa.
Bigbad Leesa did not do much on the track, having just the one start for no return. Bigbad Leesa is by Brett Lee and Lara Flynn and that is where we start to understand the success behind this line. Lara Flynn out of Mystery Bird, the 2002 Australian brood-bitch of the year and dam of Group 1 Easter Egg winner Cyrus The Virus. Mystery Bird is out of Dollar Bird, the matron of another Easter Egg winner, Stately Bird.
On the face if it, Dyna Villa is by Collision and Roxio Bale but when you dig down you find out that Dyna Villa is related to none other than the recently retired superstar Xylia Allen.
Roxio Bale is the sister of Xylia Allen’s mum, Tayah Bale (Droopy’s Vieri and Francesca Bale). Roxio Bale raced largely in South Australia, racking up 17 wins.
Roxio Bale has produced a Group performer in her previous litter to Meticulous. Allen Makoto finished second in the Group Two Silver Chief in 2013 and was a finalist in the 2013 Group Three SA Derby.
In conclusion, there’s a nice spread of sires in this year’s final with just Collison featuring twice. Clearly, a large amount of success for these chasers stems from the success of those in their dam-line. What the analysis of the breeding does show is that while having a well performed bitch feature in the first few generations is very handy, it isn’t always necessary as moderately performed chasers can also throw a Melbourne Cup finalist. In saying that though, the analysis demonstrates that it helps if these moderately performed chasers hail from successful dam-lines.