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Big Black Cat
16 Jan 12 22:02
Date Joined: 04 Oct 02
| Topic/replies: 965 | Blogger: Big Black Cat's blog
Soviet Song will be covered by the Gone West stallion SPEIGHTSTOWN in 2012. 

Has anyone any personal experience with this stallion, or any thoughts about his suitability as a mate for Elites finest please?

On first glance, I feel a tad underwhelmed by this covering, but I am no expert and would welcome some more expert opinion.

Many thanks
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Report Big Black Cat January 17, 2012 10:04 PM GMT
Fair points yer ma.  I would have personally been delighted with any of the 3 stallions you mention instead of Speightstown.

Like I said earlier, the Elite breeding programme has punched well above it's weight, and that is down in large part to those who decide the stallions for the mares.  There have been some inspired decisions in the past (someone once sent Kalinka to Marju and out popped Soviet Song, after all) so lets hope I am eating my words in 3 years time, and thanking my lucky stars someone chose Speightstown.
Report Big Black Cat January 17, 2012 10:10 PM GMT
Yes, of course PM, I failed to consider the no fee for a barren mare after covering.  Like you say, why would they bother with Soviet Song when they can have another top class mare with a 100% pregnancy rate, and an almost certain fee for their stallions services.
Report jmc27 January 17, 2012 10:22 PM GMT
Just curious have you actually researched anything about Speightstown before you started knocking him! A quick glance would show you he was 7th on the US 2011 General Sire list with over 7 million in prizemoney. Coolmore raced and currently stand one of his sons in Munnings, Darley have also raced some of his offspring and from the limited runners he has had over here he has Group 1 winner in Lord Shanakill and a son of his won the Norfolk just last flat season.
Report Big Black Cat January 17, 2012 10:45 PM GMT
Absolutely JMC, I have seen Speightstowns figures, and he is a very good stallion.  I am aware that Lord Shanakill and Bapak Chinta are probably his best known sons over in the UK-I wasn't aware of the Coolmore connection so thanks for pointing that out.

However, based on previous experience of Elite's choice of stallions for their best mares, I was expecting a covering from the likes of Oasis Dream, Giants Causeway, Dansili, Dubawi and dare I say it even Galileo or Montjeu.  However, I had not thought out some of the points raised by PM concerning Soviet Songs lack of fertility and how that would impact on any potential stallion (multiple coverings when they are under pressure to get their mares covered anyway).

Many thanks gents for educating me on such matters.  I am an enthusiastic follower of breeding and bloodlines, but maybe not as worldly wise to the ins and outs of the game as some of you are.
Report jmc27 January 17, 2012 10:54 PM GMT
I came across quiet sharp there but I didnt mean it to be that way.
Looking at True Nicks the match of Speightstown and Soviet Song rates a B+ so maybe there is method in the madness of the selection
Report Big Black Cat January 17, 2012 11:28 PM GMT
JMC-no offence taken at all.  In fact I am grateful that you took the time to answer.

Thanks also for the URL.  Like I said earlier, someone at Elite knows far better about choosing stallions for our mares than I do (The Racing Manager has a big say in the mating plans I am told) and since his matings have produced quite a few group/listed horses, then I should really stop moaning and see what happens!
Report Black Sam Bellamy January 18, 2012 12:05 AM GMT
Speightstown is a good stallion but my first thought was..why so much effort ?

If you want something outside the usual Danehill/Sadlers Wells axis, you've got stallions like Dubawi and Invincible Spirit on your doorstep, relatively speaking.
Report Big Black Cat January 18, 2012 12:04 PM GMT
BSB-Soviet Song is already in the US so it's not so much effort in this case.

JMC - I had a look at that site, and my proposed cross with Dubawi only resulted in a D (shows what a breeding genius I am).  However, both Giant's Causeway and Shamardal (another stallion Elite have used) both gave A+ ratings.
Report RoyalAcademy January 18, 2012 1:37 PM GMT
Best of luck with all that BBC (you should consider a name change).

By the way, if the Speightstown colt succeeds and is a quadruple Group One winner over a mile here, what happens next?
Report Big Black Cat January 18, 2012 6:17 PM GMT
RoyalAcademy - Well assuming she gets in foal, and it's a colt, and he wins 4 group ones......

Then he hopefully goes off to stud for about £10K a cover (Oct 1st terms?)and Elite get all the money to invest into the business (or invest at least some of it).

I presume you are wondering if we members get any of the stud fees, should we have a stallion.  Unfortunately not as far as Im aware.  We have not yet had one good enough to be a stallion, and we all live in hope that Soviet Songs 3 yo colt (Soviet Dream) is good enough to break our duck on the stallion front.
Report RoyalAcademy January 18, 2012 9:54 PM GMT
Thanks for that BBC. As you might guess I'm a little skeptical about the whole set-up. The owners are building a wealthy bloodstock bank while the annual members' (training) renewals continue to flood in to fund the risk i.e. training fees.

If you do produce a stallion, as there is no accountability there is no guarantee whatsoever that all or any of the income from his loins will be to the club's benefit-they might even get an offer to sell they can't refuse. (The "poor" Royal Ascot Racing Club members encountered something similar).

A cynic might suggest that it's in the shareholders' interest to have three or four crap years, discouraging renewals and then sail off into the sunset after a dispersal.

Nice gig.
Report Big Black Cat January 18, 2012 11:00 PM GMT
RA-Interesting viewpoint!

I am a member of many years standing with my loyalty bonus and share of the prizemoney, I pay just over £100 a year.

For that I get a hair in about 15-20 horses in training.  I get a weekly newsletter (48 weeks a year, good quality full colour, glossy paper, very professional production).  I also get info regarding runners and their winning chances.  Organised stable visits, hospitality events, the odd free DVD (they did rather a good one about Soviet Songs career just after she retired).

As far as bloodstock goes, they breed to race, and to .  They were offered £1M plus for Soviet Song at the end of her 2 yo career (easy money for a home bred), and then again before her 4yo season (the members were consulted and 80% wanted to keep her so she stayed and won 3 Group 1's that year!)  They also turned down £1M plus for Dandino.

I agree, if they wanted to sell all of the bloodstock, there would be sod all I could do about it.  and frankly, if Soviet Dream turns out to be the second coming, wins more G1's than Frankel, and goes off to stud for £100K a covering, then would I be upset that I didn't see a brass farthing of it?

No, because I don't think that my £100 a year entitles me to anything more than I already get, certainly not a share of the stud fees.
Report RoyalAcademy January 18, 2012 11:04 PM GMT
It's inexpensive, good value and an excellent business model.

I'd say the American jaunt will be doomed but you never know.

Report Big Black Cat January 18, 2012 11:19 PM GMT
Interestingly RA, the business model is better served by the club having a 'superstr' horse in it's ranks.  When Soviet Song won the fillies mile and was joint winter favourite for the 1000 ****s, membership rose from about 12-18000, eveybody wanting to 'own' a piece of a potential superstar.

Currently, we have a horse in Dandino, who is short of top class on the flat.  In an attempt to make him a 'superstar', they first tried to make him into a Cup horse (breeding is Dansili, a miler, out of a 10F winner by Generous).  Strangely enough, he didnt stay 2M on the flat.  Someone then had the bright idea of turning him into a star hurdler (Dansili doesnt get many top hurdlers, especially those who dont stay and need fast ground).  fortuately, Dan had one look at hurdles (or one school over) and decided he didn't fancy it.  Sensible chap.  He was probably bemused how he even got to see a hurdle when he finished 7L behind an Arc winner, and 6L behing a Breeders Cup winner in races not run to suit him earlier in the year.

Personally, I think Dandino can win more group races on the flat-maybe not a G1 in this country, but maybe some more G2's and G3's, and possibly a German/Italian G1.  Doesn't seem all that bad to me, plenty of prize money to be won as well, but it probably won't make him the superstar that is needed for the business model.

As for the American jaunt, I am not a vet but I have some professional knowledge regarding the type of isues Soviet Song suffers from (medically)-the latest reports seem much more encouraging, which hopefully means we can get our Speightstown colt and those 4 G1's you talked about......
Report RoyalAcademy January 19, 2012 5:09 PM GMT
As far as I can see, Elite are depending on mostly home-breds to produce flat winners. Ffestiniog (95 Efisio) and Kalinka (94 Soviet Star) crop up as foundation mares all the time.

In another life a much older colleague of mine was close to the great MV O'Brien who believed that home-breeding programmes alone were not sufficient to guarantee success in Ballydoyle. This would be especially true perhaps of Elite where the mares have modest enough pedigrees albeit that they have been extremely successful and proficient at producing winners.

The Aga Khan, Khaled Abdullah and Lord Weinstock (RIP) are/were the exceptions to this rule thanks to mares with pedigrees of outstanding brilliance and longevity but I would guess that Elite would have to splash the cash to increase the chances of the next Soviet Song and the next "superstar". Even Ballydoyle are huge buyers of yearlings every year and they have a wonderful global broodmare band across all their operations.

A horse such as Dandino racing in Italy or Germany is unlikely to thrill Elite's members if this is where he has to go to rekindle his career.
Report Big Black Cat January 19, 2012 7:47 PM GMT
You are quite right that most of our mares are daughters of KALINKA (Soviet Song, Affinity, Kalinova and Sister Act) and FFESTINIOG (Oceans Apart) and they have been excellent foundation mares with pretty outstanding records.

I agree that the breeding programme needs greater diversity (we cant all have a HASILI in our broodmare band, can we!?)  We do have a purchased mare CHINA TEA (HIGH CHAPPARAL-MOLASSES) who is a full sister to the useful french colt MAGADAN-she has a yearling by HALLING and is in foal to DUKE OF MARMALADE.  She has a nice pedigree and hopefully could produce us a very nice middle distance horse.

We recently sold another bought filly SINFONIA (by SINDAR) from an Aga Khan family. Personally I was very disappointed that the filly was sold and not added to the breeding programme (not deemed to be good enough quality based on a single run as a 2 yo).  She was a horse that Sir Henry Cecil liked, but could not stand training.  I think she might have definately added a different dimension to the rather limited Elite gene pool.

The most exciting young mares we potentially have, however are AFFINITY (SADLERS WELLS-KALINKA) who has just produced a filly foal by MARJU (hence very closely related to Soviet Song).  And finally SISTER ACT, who is a full sister to Soviet Song, who produced a quality colt by OASIS DREAM (who unfortunately was lost on the gallops) and has another quality 2yo this year called RIBBONS (by MANDURO) who is in training with James Fanshawe.  I think she might be the daughte of KALINKA who replaces her mother as another top mare for the club, based on her two progeny to date, but of course, she doesn't add to the genetic diversity in the broodmare band.

So I am in total agreement that the club would be well served by some other bloodlines, but to be absolutely fair to Elite, we have a very good record of breeding some quality animals from a pretty small band of broodmares.
Report Prima Donna January 27, 2012 12:53 PM GMT
If Soviet Song was mine with her very poor record as a breeding prospect I think I'd forget sending her to anything expensive as like Pot M suggests doubt they'd really want such a tricky mare on there books.I'd go for something that's not as popular so wont be pressed on book sizes and therefore number of covers,a drop down in grade would mean a mare like SS would be a scoop so they would try their utmost to get her in foal.But obviously you'd still want something with ability that will race.For me a horse like very tough Firebreak who has shown from dross he can get a top class runner and also he can get something that can run regularly in decent races which should at least give her multi owners some fun.With her shocking breeding record she's fast becoming a major disappointment.
Report Big Black Cat January 27, 2012 1:31 PM GMT
PD thanks for your comments.  Soviet Song's poor breeding record is due not only to her well documented problems in conceiving, but maybe also due to the length of her career.  Would you or anyone else have any opinions on this-I can see the thought, she was in training from 2-6 years old-most mares are usually off to the paddocks at 3 or 4?

Report Prima Donna January 27, 2012 2:52 PM GMT
I'd assume yes that's a highly likely scenario with her going on and on......and on,as you may know mares kept in training for too long can become very hard to get in foal.
I myself once had a very good runner who went on for too long she didn't get in foal for 2 years so we gave her another year off doing nothing with her at all just letting nature take its course,it did work as the next time of asking she went straight in foal and from then on was a regular breeder.I have recently been wondering if Goldikova may suffer the same situation as Soviet Song has to date.I think with this sort you need endless patience or they can be enough to drive you to drink!Good luck with her BBC.
Report Big Black Cat January 27, 2012 10:43 PM GMT
Thanks PD.  I am pleased to say that the latest medical bulletin on Soviet Song is highly encouraging for her having a successful covering this year (or at least, her chances now are as good as they have been for a couple of years).

Like yourself, I do wonder about how Goldikova gets on this year at stud.  I hope for her owners that she doesn't have the same problems as our mare.

Funnily enough, the chances of a really top mare producing some top class offspring seems to be not that great.  There are some notable exceptions (MIESQUE being one) of course.  I had the pleasure of a brief chat with a lady who used to look after ALlEGRETA when she was in training.  She was of course the dam of URBAN SEA, who in turn was the dam of GALILEO and BLACK SAM BELLAMY (I believe).  Her contention was that the very best producing dams are rarely the real top class racemares.

The first four home in the 2003 1000 Guineas (Russian Rhythm, Six Perfections, Intercontinental and Soviet Song) were all exceptional fillies who won multiple Group ones including Breeders Cup races, and beating colts in the process.  And none of them have produced a Group 1 winner as yet as far as I know ( last time I looked).
Report potentialmillionaire January 27, 2012 11:01 PM GMT
I think BBc that as these great race mares have such a high profile it is easy to get hung up on their failures at stud by dint of the extensive reporting of them. However any study made will prove quite categorically that they have considerably better records at stud than the general population. Your example does not read well for sure, but then again microscopically few broodies produce Gp 1 winners anyway. The difference between the mega stars is difficult to assess from race to race or season to season so there might be only a few lengths between them and the merely useful fillies on the track also.
Flame of Tara, Urban Sea, Dahlia, Time Charter, Miesque, Slightly Dangerous spring to mind immediately. Good at both jobs.
Report Prima Donna March 8, 2012 4:48 PM GMT
Big Black Cat,What's the situation with Soviet Song?Is there no chance?If so what's going to happen to her will she go back to the UK or stay in the states?Lots of questions I know.Happy
Report Big Black Cat March 8, 2012 8:58 PM GMT
PD- this is how I understand the situation at present.

SOVIET SONG came into season last month, but (in veterinary terms) she only put up one follicle so wasn't covered.

They are hoping to cover her when she next comes into season (any time now I understand).

There has been no information on what will happen to the mare whether she's in foal, barren or whatever.  Elite do keep another broodmare in the US, and her progeny so far have remained in the US until they are yearlings, and then come over to the UK to go into training as 2 year old.

As I mentioned earlier in the thread, she went to the US for specialist veterinary treatment to eradicate the problems she has conceiving.  This appears to have been successful and everyone is hoping for a positive outcome.  I would be surprised if she stayed in the US even if she remained barren, but I don't honestly know what they are planning.
Report Prima Donna March 9, 2012 5:51 AM GMT
I see,I was asking because I noticed a piece on the Racing Post site yesterday which described Soviet Song as

"  Soviet Song, a five-time Group 1 winner who has been retired from broodmare duties,"

But after reading it again perhaps they are talking about Sister Act her sister but as she's only 8 and is in-foal to New Approach it seems unusual to say the least unless of course the whole family is plagued with fertility problems.Anyway lets hope sending her to the U.S. does pay-off and you get her back in-foal.
Report Big Black Cat March 9, 2012 8:50 AM GMT
I was wondering why you were asking the question PD-now I know.

If SOVIET SONG has been retired from duties as a broodmare, this hasn't been announced to the members.  That doesn't mean it's not true of course.

They are very keen to get her in foal for obvious reasons, but there does come a time when you have to say 'enough is enough' and leave the old girl to enjoy her retirement.  She obviously owes us absolutely nothing, and her wellbeing is absolutely paramount as far as I'm concerned.

If it is the end for her then we have lots of tremendous memories, not the least of those being her five group ones.  The day she beat ATTRACTION for her first Falmouth Stakes win will live long in the memory for me, especially as she had had a relatively troubled 3 yo old career, and some setbacks at the start of that 4 yo season.

I am very excited about SISTER ACT's covering, as her first foal by OASIS DREAM was a real quality colt (sadly died on HRA Cecil's gallops one morning) and her 2 yo by MANDURO is another similar quality filly (so I am told by many more knowledgeable people than myself).  I am hoping that she can take on the baton from KALINKA (her and SS's dam) and lead the broodmare band on into the next generation.

Report potentialmillionaire March 9, 2012 7:03 PM GMT
BBC and PD. When I got to the end of that article to see that Kirtlington Stud was in Newmarket I decided that it had been written by a 12 yo niece/nephew of one of the equally useless experts who ply their trade on there. At the end I decided that perhaps they were talking about the retirement of the dam of Soviet Star et al.
Let us know when you get the definitive BBC
Report Prima Donna March 9, 2012 7:23 PM GMT
Pot M,However many times I read that article I still none the wiser.I'm still confused as to which mare they are on about,so I've come to the same conclusion as you..........a 12 year old sounds about right.Thinking about it mind perhaps the Racing Post have recently had a bus load of school children all submitting fanciful articles for publication under the banner of 'work experience'clearly they haven't done their homework.....that goes for the editor as well!!!The old saying 'get your facts right'springs to mind.Sorry to hear about the mare twinning has she since been re-scanned?
Report Big Black Cat March 13, 2012 6:39 PM GMT
Latest News- SOVIET SONG was not covered this month as her swab came back with a positive culture.  She has been treated and they remain hopeful that she will be covered on her next heat cycle.

NO talk of retirement, however, and still hopeful of a successful covering.

Its the hope I can't stand.

Thanks for your interest and thoughts.

Report jmc27 April 1, 2012 3:42 PM BST
BBC two beautiful pictures of Soviet Song and her Oasis Dream colt are in the link below I saw these pictures on the RP comments on the death of Montjeu some beautiful snaps on the pages especially the one of Yeats
Report Big Black Cat April 2, 2012 12:02 AM BST
Thanks for the link jmc.  I had not seen those photos before.  Of course, the foal is now a 3yo called SOVIET DREAM in training with James Fanshawe.

As for SOVIET SONG, she was due to be covered last Wednesday, and had put up 3 follicles (all good).  However, there has been no confirmation that she was covered from the club, which probably means that she wasn't (all bad).

No news is no news, as they say.

Report Big Black Cat April 12, 2012 2:47 PM BST
SOVIET SONG was covered by SPEIGHTSTOW on Wednesday.  Needless to say, there are may sets of fingers being crossed until her scan in about 2 weeks time.
Report Big Black Cat April 12, 2012 2:48 PM BST
That's SPEIGHTSTOWN, of course.
Report potentialmillionaire April 12, 2012 8:28 PM BST
That's good news BBC. I can't remember but you probably told us, does she conceive easily when she is finally clean enough to cover?
Report Big Black Cat April 12, 2012 11:04 PM BST
Bit of a mixed bag to be honest PM.  IIRC in her first season she was covered twice, unsuccessfully, by GALILEO and then once more, again unsuccessfully by MONTJEU.  A problem was identified after this and she was sucessfully treated for that.

She was then covered by OASIS DREAM once (maybe twice) and went on to produce her only progeny to date (SOVIET DREAM).

The rest of the time, they have been unable to cover her due to various problems-they did have a very late try with OASIS DREAM last year, but that was more out of hope than expectation after all of the problems she has had.
Report potentialmillionaire April 13, 2012 1:26 PM BST
Well I know how frustrating - and expensive - it is so I wish her well!
Report Big Black Cat April 14, 2012 6:00 PM BST
Thanks PM. Although I'm not in the breeding business myself, I can only imagine how expensive this process has been. Specialist equine vets cannot be cheap, and the fees for just boarding a mare are significant, I am told   I can attest to the frustrations though.
Report Jezebel April 19, 2012 5:06 PM BST
I used to be a member of Elite, so I wish all the remaining members luck and hope you get good news of a successful Sovie covering.  Didn't she also slip/'reabsorb' to Ravens Pass after an initial successful scan - I think that was my last year in the club (2009?) and it was only discovered when it got to the Oct 1st terms point.

She sounds like just the kind of mare who would be so much better served (no pun intended!) by some of the veterinary advancements that are currently prohibited in the racehorse breeding industry!
Report Big Black Cat April 24, 2012 1:15 PM BST
Thanks Jezebel.  Yes, she did 'slip/absorb' to Ravens Pass IIRC.

We are anxiously awaiting the results of the 14 day scan with fingers crossed.

Incidentally, SOVIET SONG's dam KALINKA has been retired this year after her NEW APPROACH foal failed to survive after birth.  This ends a fantastic career as a broodmare for her - not many mares produce a Group 1 winner on the flat, and a Grade 1 winner over jumps.

I hope the old girl has a long and happy retirement-she deserves it.

Report Big Black Cat April 27, 2012 1:26 PM BST
Very pleased to report that SOVIET SONG has been scanned in foal to SPEIGHTSTOWN.  Fingers remain firmly crossed that she can now carry her foal successfuly to term.

I am sure that there are a lot of very relieved staff and Elite members.  Also, well done to the stud and the vets for looking after our girl so well.
Report potentialmillionaire April 27, 2012 6:26 PM BST
BBC that is great news. I imagine there are a lot of people as keen as you in the Elite group on this outcome and I think it reflects very well on Elite that you are all so engaged.

It would be good to think Soviet Song could still create a legacy that her race record so richly desaerves.
Report Prima Donna April 27, 2012 9:57 PM BST
BBC,That's some exciting news,good luck with her I hope she's able to carry the foal full term.Sending her over to the States is both brave and not a cheap option but with this news it sounds like money well spent in getting the result all of you owners wanted,well done.
Report Big Black Cat April 30, 2012 8:42 AM BST
PM and PD, thanks. I am sure all the staff and members are very pleased and very relieved, just as I am.

Thanks for your insights and thoughts on this thread.  They have been intereting and educational.

Report Big Black Cat May 25, 2012 3:52 PM BST
Unfortunately, it has just been reported that SOVIET SONG was examined by ultrasound, and was found to be in the process of re-absorbing her pregnancy.

Terrible news for all concerned, the management, the members and especially the vets and the team in the US who have worked hard to get this far.
Report Prima Donna May 25, 2012 4:13 PM BST
That's very disappointing news BBC,I'm afraid I think I'd give up with her.As good as she was when racing now she's sadly just what's known as a dreg!Her total retirement beckons.It's a pity the UK doesn't have a similar attraction like the U.S's Kentucky Horse Park,she would plenty of visitors wanting to see her I'm sure.
Report Prima Donna May 25, 2012 4:14 PM BST
***she would 'get'plenty of***
Report potentialmillionaire May 25, 2012 5:48 PM BST
BBC that's desperate news. It can be absolutely heartbreaking this breeding malarkey and I am sure all involved on here will know what all at Elite are feeling like right now.

Obviously where she goes from here will be a point of much debate. I would love to know exactly what her problems are considered to be, but perhaps the actual nitty gritty is not relayed to you members. Sometimes ofcourse it isn't really possible to pinpoint the exact problem anyway.

If she isn't viable to continue with it would certainly be nice to think that she could move forward with a slightly more public profile again so that her owners/fans could re-live the glory days again. Perhaps we should consider another arm for our National Stud along the lines of the KY Horse Park. Presumably the Irish National Stud can testify as to how popular/viable their old boy network is proving?
Report Big Black Cat May 26, 2012 12:48 AM BST
PD and PM, thanks for the comments.

I am too of the opinion that it's time to give up with SOVIET SONG.  I think I said earlier in the thread that her welfare is paramount, and she owes us nothing.  We have tried hard, and maybe nature is trying to tell us something?

I would like to see her come back to the UK and move up to board with Maurice Camacho at Star Cottage Stud.  Maurice nurtured her as a foal and yearling, and still boards her dam and her half sister.  There are regular club visits to the stud to see the mares and the Elite horses in training with Julie Camacho.

She did board at the National stud whilst being treated in Newmarket before her trip to Kentucky, and apparently was extremely popular with their visitors.  Every time I saw her, she seemed to thrive on all the attention, and was a bit of a catwalk queen.

Her problems have been relayed to the members PM-Initially it was fibroids, and latterly a chronic uterine infection, which appeared to have been successfully treated as she was in foal.  It's blindingly obvious that her problems appear to be chronic and unfortunately insurmountable.

So, it would seem highly likely that her 3 yo colt Soviet Dream will be her only progeny.  He has recently been gelded, as in the words of his trainer, 'he wants to be a stallion, before he has earned the right to do so'.

All is not lost, however, as the club still owns her full sister, who has produced 2 very fine foals (a colt by Oasis Dream who sadly died on the gallops) and a 2 yo by Manduro, who is in training with James Fanshawe.  She is in foal to New Approach.

Whatever happens, she has earned the right to a happy and peaceful retirement, and we will all remember her wins with great pride and pleasure.
Report potentialmillionaire May 26, 2012 1:54 PM BST
Well BBc as I'm sure you know, the bloodstock game is littered with mousey untalented full sisters doing a much better job than their siblings at stud.

Let's hope that can happen for Elite and Soviet Song can retain her figure and flutter her eyelashes at a host of admiring visitors!
Report Big Black Cat May 26, 2012 2:51 PM BST

Whilst SISTER ACT has none of the form of her illustrious sister, she was far from lacking in ability.  She was entered up in several G1 races as a 3yo, and on her first ever run finished half a length second to dual subsequent G1 winner PROMISING LEAD (owned by Prince Khalid Abdulla).  Sadly, she suffered a knee injury and acheived only a Kempton maiden win in her career.

Regarding your 'sisters' comment, well indeed you are quite right.  In fact, to illustrate this,  the dam of PROMISING LEAD (mentioned above) is a mare called ARRIVE, who herself is a full sister to the Judmontte blue hen HASILI......

He runs a pretty tidy operation does Prince Khalid....
Report WinningColors May 28, 2012 1:06 PM BST
Sorry to hear of all her problems but retire her to a horse park ? No way - if she were mine, I'd look for an anyold stallion and just turn her out with him - coloured, sport - whatever - if she gets in foal and goes to term, then brilliant, it will probably reboot her system and set it back to default and she can back to a class stallion next time. If she doesn't, nothing's been lost, has it ?

Alternatively, flush her, freeze any embryos you get (will at best be only two per flush), and hope the Rules of Racing change to allow the use of AI and surrogate dams.
Report sammy_fool May 28, 2012 5:31 PM BST
agree with winning colours -just turn her out with any young stallion -even a sport horse colt-i have done this before and it has worked on a mare that was tired by vets up and down and in few countries as well-she now has had 4 foals since then and her 1/2 breed foal (ist foal) is a great horse and we ride/jump him.
Report RoyalAcademy May 28, 2012 5:34 PM BST
It can be absolutely heartbreaking this breeding malarkey and I am sure all involved on here will know what all at Elite are feeling like right now.

jeez guys....ease up!

at the end of the day racehorses are commodities.
Report potentialmillionaire May 28, 2012 7:51 PM BST
Stand by it R.A.! (When does your Summer Exhibition start incidentally?)

Do you not get attached to any of your breeding stock? When I've got a lot of money invested in something that is a massive gamble and I get to struggle to bring about a conception, deliver a foal, nurse them the myriad problems it can be every bit of heartbreaking.

How can you be a breeder and not get emotionally involved? Let me know your secret!
Although I'm not sure I need to step back really, I guess I could work in a bank if I was so minded.
Report Prima Donna May 28, 2012 8:32 PM BST
RoyalAcademy,I like to look at this way,yes they are traded like commodities but personally I never forget they are all animals all sentient beings, and are always treated with respect kindness and compassion.Any keeper of animals whatever they are dogs,cats,cattle,sheep has a duty of care we must never lose sight of that,the bloodstock world is no exception!
This year we lost one of our mares due to complications after foaling,the foal is a filly of very low value I suppose I could of taken the decision if I looked on her only as  commodity to put her down as she has little if any value,but out of compassion I arranged for a foster mare to take over and now she is thriving and guess what I may even buy the foster mare when she has weaned the foal as I like her.If I do she will live with a couple of retired mares I keep at my own expense,I always enjoy going to see the old mares and have one who is worth to me more than any amount of money could buy.That's called kindness in my book I never forget my duty of care and am very happy to do this.
Report proxygene May 28, 2012 9:04 PM BST
just when I was worrying I might be too soft for this...Happy
Report RoyalAcademy May 28, 2012 10:27 PM BST
I was slightly tongue-in-cheek guys although pm's condolences were bordering on a dirge. No offence intended Happy

I have no doubt breeders and farmers get attached to stock (although there are many exceptions and intensive pig-rearing doesn't allow for much emotion) and I have even lesser doubt that the attachment is also in direct proportion to the number of black-type foals produced!

At a certain levels owners would have practically no contact with their broodmares and its undoubtedly the grooms and smaller operators that get sentimental. My interest in breeding usually extends to a leg of four or five at any one time so I never really get involved on the ground except for a couple of on-farm visits a year that ends up in a very convivial pub and we dream the dream over far too many pints.

A good friend of mine is lucky to have a brilliant sole mare and to say that the family are attached would be the understatement of the year (they have a hotline to Nicky Henderson for her every foal). Their attachment also manifests itself at the track whereby they will rejoice in the outing, the thunder of the hooves, the roar of the crowd and the beauty of the beast; me: it depends whether I win or lose when I gamble. (In commodity parlance, I prefer horses to soya, wheat and pork-bellies).
Report Big Black Cat May 28, 2012 10:43 PM BST
Interesting thoughts all round.

Would never have even thought of just chucking her in with any old stallion, to see what happens.  Trouble is, she is already 12, so you are looking at her being 14 before she would produce another thoroughbred.  Again, I understand that a mare is more likely to produce her best progeny earlier in life?  Of course, if she threw a filly, that would keep the direct line going, although we have several half sisters and a full sister.

I don't think of our broodmares as comodities, but that's probably because whether they produce a group winner or a selling plater, it will not cost me or make me any money.  This is probably why I have such a sentimental and possibly too soft a regard for what to do with the mare i.e. retirement, because I couldn't bear anything to happen if we kept on going with her.
Report yer ma May 29, 2012 1:27 PM BST
I agree with PD and PotM general sentiments but on other hand this thread had gotten a tad mawkish - end of the day its a mare not getting in foal that was a homebred and won over £1m on the track.  Hardly a greek tragedy.  One of us (PD excepted) buying a £50k mare in foal - losing it and then being infertile...that would be heartbreaking.  No offense intended BBC, your interest is clearly genuine.
Report Prima Donna May 29, 2012 6:16 PM BST
50k is 50k to any of us yer ma,I'm no exception.Though I doubt I'd call it heartbreaking,very annoying and disappointing maybe but like us all we take this sort of thing on the chin and always have in the back of our minds the old saying 'sh1t happens'!Then its onwards and upwards as we often say,after all that's horses!
Report Big Black Cat May 29, 2012 11:12 PM BST
Yer ma-no offence taken at all.  I am merely a sentimental fool who was hoping the 'once in a lifetime' horse he 'owned' a couple of hairs in, would have a long and sucessful breeding career and produce some offspring as good (or nearly as good) as she was.

I am not a hard nosed professional commercial breeder like some of you who have been so kind to give your thoughts and views discussing the mare, and you are quite right, its hardly a Greek tragedy to have bred and raced a mare to win over £1M.  However, you know what they say-'its the hope I can't stand'. I am genuinely disappointed that we have not been able to get more than one foal from the mare, due to her well documented problems.

However, its onward and upward as PD says, and the current plan is to try with her again next year.  What sort of response we get from stallion owners I hate to imagine, but I should imagine that the management will be going all out to get her in front of something top notch, as time is running out for the mare.
Report Prima Donna May 30, 2012 8:47 PM BST
BBC, WinningColors has a point maybe something to think about,I remember a tale about an English classic winning race mare from about 100 years ago who always returned barren despite all efforts,anyway her owner was so despondent at the lack of any success with her he turned her out with his teaser stallion a non winning colt one who was well bred but utterly useless as a runner.His stud groom had noticed her calling to him and he to her when either passed each others fields.But she was not expected to get in foal as everyone thought she was barren.Low and behold the teaser got her in foal and she had a colt,her owner put the colt into training and it went on to win two classics!

I can't remember these horses names or who trained the colt who later went on to be a decent stallion.But if she was mine I might think about doing something similar,I'd have nothing to lose.
Report truehoncho May 30, 2012 9:32 PM BST
I would definately keep trying with her. Obviously I would lower my stallion sights. I'm sure there are stallion keepers at the value end that would be more than happy to give her a chance as they are getting a class act for their stallion and would be hopeful of quality offspring if she got a foal.

I have no idea where she is boarded, but I would also look at putting her somewhere in a family type atmosphere with only a couple of other mares where stress is at a minimum. I would also use local stallions to reduce travelling and spending nights away. Just some thoughts for what they're worth.
Report potentialmillionaire May 30, 2012 9:52 PM BST
I think with a chronically dirty mare I am not sure being turned out and Rogered 2 or 3 times a day is a great recipe. Prima's tale of old is an interesting one and it is certainly something that used to be tried with some success. However no-one had much of a clue back then and it was thought that several covers in a heat period was a good idea whereas now we know that the more covers just means more contaminants and we chose to supervise heat periods to cover at the optimum time for conception.

I think truehoncho talks some good husbandry. I reckon something like our old friend Helvellyn would be a good bet. I think you need to give a mare like that NO excuses so I would track down the youngest most fertile horse that was available so that if there is the slightest chance of conception he'll be delivering the ammo.
Report Prima Donna May 30, 2012 10:41 PM BST
That's valid but with the mares history and all the experts all working hard trying to get her in foal she's still barren!Sometimes with breeding we just have to let nature take its course.I'm not suggesting turning her out with a stallion is the ideal situation but on the other hand what have her connections really got to lose?Nothing at all,as chances are even after giving her another go she'd still be barren.Stranger things have happened,you never know it could work.What's often forgotten with breeding is its all a perfectly natural process.We can all be guilty of meddling too much some times,when perhaps the best thing we can do is stand back and let nature take its course.
One things for sure if connections did give it a go and it worked the story would be a widely written article in the industry press.
Report potentialmillionaire May 31, 2012 10:20 AM BST
I agree that mega intervention is not working the oracle but it takes a leap of faith to leave well alone doesn't it!

I think I would be going down truehoncho's route. She would stay at home in her own small herd and then walk in to the most fertile available.
But I daresay that's been tried before.

I wonder if a stallion that is finished through lack of interest - something like Haafhd last year - could be persuaded to run out with her so at least you'd have a chance at getting a filly to keep if she were to get in foal.
I just couldn't stomach the local 'coloured cob' purely in an attempt to get her 'back on track' - unlikely at very best.

I reckon that you need to give Posh Paddy a b0ll0cking BBC, he had just the sire you need!!
Report Prima Donna May 31, 2012 11:01 AM BST
Yes it would take a giant leap of faith to run her with a stallion,and only madness maybe to run her with a coloured cob,mind you I'm sure the resulting foal would have plenty of interest at Ballinrobe sale if they ever went down that route!
If she was mine I'd be inclined to do what truehoncho is suggesting really,but don't you think its a very romantic idea to run her with a TB stallion?That scenario would be such a great story if it came off and the foal went on to win a classic.
In fact I did suggest myself a similar situation using Firebreak earlier on this thread,but I agree Helvellyn wouldn't be a bad choice.No doubt Paul Thorman would be overjoyed at that prospect!
Report Big Black Cat May 31, 2012 5:25 PM BST
Thanks for the interesting comments all.

PM, I don't think she is considered 'chronically dirty' anymore.  I am assuming that her pre-covering swab prior to her Speightstown visit was clean, otherwise the stud wouldn't want their stallion to come down with 'equine clap' at the height of the covering season. 

I think her problem is a bit more deep seated than that i.e. thats 2 foals she's now re-absorbed in her breeding career.  That would make me far more concerned if she was really mine, than a chronic infection (which I am assuming has been sucessfully dealt with).

TH-I like your 'stress free' environment thought as well.  Maybe they should send her back up North to Maurice Camacho (as I suggested earlier) or back to Kirtlington where some of our other mares board.  I don't think you can underestimate the link between stress and conception in humans, so assuming its similar in horses.

I had a wicked thought last night though.  If you are looking to have her covered, then why not get her to visit Elites own Dandino.  Not a bad pedigree (Dansili ex Generous Diana), and what a story that would make if it turned out any good.

I must have missed Posh Paddys stallion earlier PM-please feel free to let me know.

Thanks all. Very much enjoying your thoughts and opinions.

Report Posh Paddy June 1, 2012 2:04 PM BST
Timing is everything in this game and I could have been the answer to Elite's prayers.Laugh

Could you imagine, SOVIET SONG running around the same field as my little scrot. 

Ah what could have been, by all account when my chap was relieved of his two veg the Vet stated they were the biggest he had ever seen!Surprised

On the actual subject I'm with PD, just turn her out with a stallion and see what happens, sometimes we can overcomplicate things with modern medicine.

When my fella was a week old he got very very very sick and I spent a fortune on drips, plasma, drugs and vets fees to keep him going.  After about 4 days the Vet recommended he be put down.  I decided to give him another 12hrs but stopped all the treatment with the exception of Yoghurt & Complan. I wasn't holding out much hope and the Vet was not best impressed with the decision.  However the next morning he was dry and has gone from strength to strength!
Report Big Black Cat June 1, 2012 7:08 PM BST
Ah, PP, I think I remember the story you told on the 'A cautionary tale' thread, or I am having a senior moment?!
Report Big Black Cat January 8, 2013 12:59 PM GMT
SOVIET SONG will be visiting SPEIGHTSTOWN again this year, hopefully with more success this time round.
Report Big Black Cat March 2, 2013 7:31 AM GMT
SOVIET SONG was covered by SPEIGHTSTOWN on Thursday, so I guess its fingers crossed again.....
Report Big Black Cat March 18, 2013 8:57 PM GMT
I am delighted to say that SOVIET SONG has been scanned in foal to SPEIGHTSTOWN.

Here we go again!  Fingers crossed.
Report potentialmillionaire March 18, 2013 10:06 PM GMT
I've got them crossed BBC! At what stage did she absorb last year?

I suppose you never really get to relax with such a mare as their pregnancy's can always be a bit vulnerable at any stage.

Perhaps this is her time though. Let's hope that 2 years relatively easy conceptions are a good omen as to a more viable pregnancy.

Good luck, ofcourse!
Report Big Black Cat March 19, 2013 7:18 AM GMT
PM, thank you.  As I recall it was reasonably early, well before her 1st Oct scan.  I think as early as June, but don't quote me on that.
Report Big Black Cat April 23, 2013 12:39 PM BST
The good news is that her 42 day scan was fine, and all is looking good.

Waiting for the 60 day scan and then all systems go until October and beyond, I hope.

Wishing all you breeders out there similar success with your mares.

Report Big Black Cat May 4, 2013 10:10 AM BST
60 day scan done and all looking good.
Report Big Black Cat May 4, 2013 10:28 AM BST
For those of you are interested, Elite have had the following foals born this year:

b.f. Makfi-China Tea (Dam is a full sister to MADAGAN)

b.c. Exceed and Excel-Ffestiniog (Dam of several group winners inc BORDER PATROL and EISTEDDFOD)

Ch.c New Approach-Sister Act (Dam is a full sister to SOVIET SONG and dam of FTO 2yo winner RIBBONS)

b.f. Duke of Marmalade-Affinity (Dam is a SADDLERS WELLS half sister to SOVIET SONG)

b.f. Acclamation-Marlinka (Dam listed winning sprinter, closely related to SOVIET SONG)

b.f. Pour Moi-Sistine (Dam is 3 parts sister to the dam of CAMELOT)

Ch.c. Lemon Drop Kid-Oceans Apart (Dam is a useful winning daughter of FFESTINIOG)

The stand outs here are the NEW APPROACH colt who has been described as 'exceptional', and who's dam has made a very good start at stud, and of course the POUR MOI filly who is pretty closely related to CAMELOT!

I think the club has a pretty tidy breeding operation these days.  I have been a member for about 15 years and certainly the quality of the mares we have has improved markedly.

I hope this is of interest to some.

All the best
Report jmc27 May 4, 2013 2:33 PM BST
Thanks for sharing BBC :)
Report Big Black Cat June 3, 2013 9:32 PM BST
90 day scan complete and everything looking normal.  Good News.
Report Big Black Cat June 3, 2013 9:47 PM BST
If anyone is interested, this years coverings as follows:

BARALINKA (half sister to Soviet Song) in foal to SEPOY

CHINA TEA(Full sister to Madagan) in foal to KYLLACHY

SISTER ACT (full sister to Soviet Song) in foal to EXCEED AND EXCEL

AFFINITY (half sister to Soviet Song) in foal to CAPE CROSS

FFESTINIOG (Dam of several group winners) in foal to LAWMAN

MARLINKA (closely related to Soviet Song) in foal to EXCELEBRATION

SISTINE (3 parts sister to the dam of Camelot)in foal to LAWMAN

OCEANS APART (daughter of Ffestiniog) in foal to PROUD CITIZEN


KALINOVA (half sister to Soviet Song) in foal to IFFRAJ

Report Jezebel June 8, 2013 3:38 PM BST
Great news, hope you end up with a live foal next year.
Report potentialmillionaire June 8, 2013 5:25 PM BST
Thanks for placing those matings BBC.

I love to read what others are doing so I can go 'what on earth' and 'why didn't I'?

I have joined Elite with one foaling and one mating using  your stallions
Sadly, the rest are largely too grand for little me.

I wonder if poor Soviet Star will be allowed to stay out in the field now and quit with the seemingly never ending pregnancy tests!

I am sure I won't be the only one who hopes she can come up with a live foal with a bit of a shot.
Report Big Black Cat June 20, 2013 10:18 PM BST
She is fit and well PM/Jezebel thanks, looking very 'in foal' I am told and enjoying the Kentucky grass!

No more scans until September now, so she can incubate in peace one hopes....

Of course, we would love her to produce a top notcher like herself, but I honestly think that her sister (Sister Act) will prove to be a much better broodmare and she has made a great start at stud with Ribbons and a very fine New Approach colt foal.

Good luck with your matings this year PM. Hope you breed a good'un or two. We are very fortunate to be able to use some very nice stallions, and our broodmares are of a pretty good quality, which helps!
Report EuropeanBob August 3, 2013 5:01 PM BST
Just out of interest BBC what was the story with Soviet Dream.  I note he was tailed off in both his starts.
Report Big Black Cat August 6, 2013 12:57 PM BST

Sadly Soviet Dream was not very good!  He is now being retrained with a view finding a more suitable fulfilling career than his intended one.

Its brings up an interesting conundrum for the Club however. Obviously we generally breed to race, but I am assuming a colt with Soviet Dream's pedigree (OASIS DREAM-SOVIET SONG) would have fetched a shilling or two at public auction?  Of course, we hoped he would live up to his breeding, or somewhere close to it, but he didn't. 

It would maybe be tempting to consider then sending the progeny from this mating to the sales, as this foal would also presumably be worth a pretty penny at public auction?

Would be interested to hear your thoughts on this you breeders out there.

(Of course as someone who doesn't have to pay the bills I say keep it and race it whatever!)

Report RoyalAcademy August 9, 2013 3:22 PM BST
BBC are you being incredibly naive or am I missing something?

As I understanmd you don't own a hair on the tail of any Elite RC horse but merely have "rights" to a miniscule amout of racing prizemoney?

If or when the "owners" of the Elite stock start selling foals or yearlings it will be to feather their own nest and no part of any grander plan?
Report Big Black Cat August 10, 2013 3:14 PM BST
All correct RA, I have sod all influence in what happens, and have no rights at all.

I was just putting myself in 'their' shoes by saying that if you had a foal that was potentially worth several hundred thousand pounds at public auction before it stepped on a racecourse, would you not consider flogging it to pay the bells (or feather your own nest?)Or would you let Soviet Dream mark 2 happen?

I disagree however about the grander plan aspect.  If you sell all your crown jewels from your breeding programme, then you go back to the days of moderate horses.  No one wants to be in a club full of moderate horse.  No members-no funds, no investment etc...

Before Soviet song the Club was bumbling along with less than 10000 members.  When she appeared as a 2 yo and won the Fillies mile, membership doubled over the winter, because everyone wanted a chance to 'own' a guineas winner...

The better the quality of the horses-the bigger the number of members I think you'll find as a rule of thumb.
Report Big Black Cat November 17, 2013 12:33 PM GMT
SOVIET SONG  has been confirmed in foal to SPEIGHTSTOWN, so we are looking forward to a foal on the ground in Feb/March 2014.
Report Jezebel November 17, 2013 1:57 PM GMT
Great news BBC, hope the rest of her pregnancy goes smoothly and she has a nice trouble-free foaling.  The fillies tend to be better than the colts from that family so fingers crossed for a pink one for you to join the broodmare band in due course.
Report Big Black Cat November 17, 2013 2:34 PM GMT
Thank you Jezebel, I am hoping for a safe foaling first and foremost and a nice healthy foal.  A filly would be nice, but we do have her full sister SISTER ACT, who has made a very promising start at stud, with her first runner RIBBONS being listed placed.

I am very encouraged to see SPEIGHTSTOWN is having another excellent season with his runners in 2013 as well.

Best regards
Report Big Black Cat February 10, 2014 6:44 PM GMT
Delighted to report that SOVIET SONG foaled a filly by SPEIGHTSTOWN recently.  Mother and daughter are doing well.

Report kincsem February 11, 2014 5:05 PM GMT
This is my first reading of this thread.
I did a test mating of Speightstown and Soviet Star on my software.
My thoughts were - a filly could be nice, a colt not so much.
Then I got to the end of the thread and saw she produced a filly. Happy
Report Big Black Cat February 11, 2014 6:52 PM GMT
Kincsem-I am sure that all of the members and management are delighted with a filly given the mare's breeding history, and the recent devastating loss of her sister whilst foaling.  There's something to carry the line on now from a breeding point of view.  And who knows, this lady may be nearly as good as her mum....
Report Big Black Cat March 5, 2014 12:45 PM GMT
SOVIET SONG has now been covered by ELUSIVE QUALITY.

And so the cycle begins, again....

Good luck to all the breeders out there......
Report Jezebel March 9, 2014 6:07 PM GMT
Great news BBC.  I've just been looking at the photos on Oak Lodge's FB page and she looks a smashing strong little filly.  Let's hope this has cracked the problem and she goes on to have a few more foals.
Report Big Black Cat March 9, 2014 8:16 PM GMT
They are very pleased with her Jezebel, thank you.  We have seen some photos but I will go and have a look on FB.  Thanks for the tip.
Report Big Black Cat March 12, 2014 10:47 AM GMT
There's a nice picture of SOVIET SONG and her SPEIGHTSTOWN filly foal on the RP Bloodstock section(in the foal gallery)
Report Big Black Cat March 24, 2014 11:25 PM GMT
And the great news is that SOVIET SONG is in foal to ELUSIVE QUALITY on her first covering.
Report potentialmillionaire March 25, 2014 11:42 AM GMT
Well done BBC.

It seems like the mare has done a bit of corner turning. Hopefully she can do a few decent models still and assemble a bit of a career. One more filly in 2015 and all at Elite can rest easy!
Report Big Black Cat March 26, 2014 12:07 AM GMT
I sincerely hope so PM, many thanks although I fear my only contribution to this pregnancy was crossed fingers.

Yes, one more filly would be nice, we have two from her sister who sadly died foaling this year.  A colt like Frankel would be nice as well, of course, although I am probably not the only one with such ambitions on here.

Good luck with your own plans this year too.

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