published: 05 Sep 2018 in Freshman 2018

THOSE watching Spieth stymied for a run in the Stradbroke-Gr.1 on June 8 were probably nodding their heads in sympathy for the horse whose style of racing probably robbed him of his chance at Gr.1 glory. There is no doubt the handsome chestnut had the ability, but sitting way off the pace in elite sprints makes it hard to run down the leaders, especially if you strike trouble along the way.

  The son of Thorn Park came close twice, beaten a short half-head in the Darley Classic-Gr.1 (1200m) by Malaguerra, after being 11th of 12 at the 400m down the Flemington straight, “striking traffic at a crucial stage” according to a report by AAP, and then going down by the same margin to Terravista there in the Lightning-Gr.1 (1000m) after being sixth of nine at the 400m and again held up at a vital stage in proceedings. At his previous run before the Classic he’d flown home after being 11th in a field of 16 at the 400m to win the City Tatts Lightning-LR (1100m) at Randwick in 1:03.24 (34.75) by three-quarters of a length from Kaepernick.
  Still, his 18 starts yielded five wins and four seconds for earnings of $626,600. Second on debut at Sandown in September 2015, he then won at Pakenham (1200m) next time out. He struck a purple patch of form in May and June 2016, winning at Kembla Grange (1200m), Rosehill (1100m, 1:03.17, 33.45) and Flemington (1100m) before a spell and then his win in the Lightning on October 15 that year. That was followed by the two Gr.1 seconds in November and the following February, leaving no doubt he was among our best sprinters.
  He was then unplaced twice before finishing second to mighty sprinter Redzel in the Concorde-Gr.3 before two more unplaced runs in 2017. His two starts in 2018 saw him run a close fifth behind English in the Doomben 10,000-Gr.1 on May 12 after being eighth of 12 at the 400m and his eighth of 16 behind Santa Ana Lane in the Stradbroke (1350m) on June 9. In that race he was 13th at the 400m and had a wall of horses across the track in front of him. Spieth was only 3.65 lengths from the winner on a track rated heavy (8), when he was much better suited on top of the ground.
  “Spieth retires as one of the unluckiest sprinters in recent times and we will be committing 30 of our best mares to him including the dam of Stradbroke winner Santa Ana Lane and he will be limited to 175 mares in his first season,” Shane McGrath said. “There won’t be a better looking or better value first season sire in the Hunter this year.”
  While Spieth’s race record makes him immediately attractive to breeders, his Danehill-free pedigree also opens up lots of possibilities. He is a son of the Stradbroke-Gr.1 winner and Champion NZ Sire Thorn Park, himself a son of champion miler and international sire success Spinning World (USA) (by Nureyev and tracing to Best in Show). What’s more Thorn Park is also a descendant of great mare Denise’s Joy and his first two dams are by the King’s Stand-Gr.1 winner Bluebird (USA) (Storm Bird-Sir Ivor cross) and Bletchingly (Biscay-Relic). Sire of more than 300 winners, his 29SW also include Jimmy Choux, Ocean Park, Norzita and The Party Stand.
  Spieth’s imported dam Stella Livia (GB), a winner at 1150m and 1400m, is by another speedster in Titus Livius, a dual Gr.2 winner in France and runner-up in the King’s Stand-Gr.2. Titus Livius is a son of Machiavellian (Mr. Prospector-Coup de Folie by Halo), like Danehill a descendant of Natalma (his third dam). He is inbred 3x3 to that mare and her half-sister Cosmah. As Titus Livius is out of Party Doll, by Be My Guest, he brings in another line of Natalma via her son Northern Dancer, while his third dam Mia Pola (Relko-Polomia by Mahmoud) is a stakes-winning half-sister to Grey Dawn. 
  Stella Livia’s three foals to race are all winners including Thrill, by Flying Spur (who is by Danehill and from the same family as Spieth), while her dam Sombreffe is by the Danzig son Polish Precedent (Danzig/Buckpasser cross, third dam the earlier mentioned Lady Be Good) and from Somfas (What a Pleasure-Ciboulette by Chop Chop), a half-sister to Fanfreluche (Northern Dancer), the fourth dam of Encosta de Lago and third dam of Flying Spur.
  Sombreffe left 10 winners including Gr.1 winner Ransom O’War (Red Ransom), while stakes placed Somfas had 12 winners from 19 foals, notably Gr.2 winners and sires Snadee (USA) and Russian Bond (both by Danzig) and Gr.3 winner and sire Cristofori (Fappiano). This is also the family of Gr.1 winner and sire Charm Spirit (Invincible Spirit) and to the similarly bred Brazen Beau (I Am Invincible), whose dam carries Ciboulette and her three-quarter sister Prize Answer 3x3. This is family 4g.
  Spieth looks certain to nick well with mares from the Danehill-line, particularly Redoute’s Choice and his clan, Flying Spur and Choisir, while Encosta de Lago (Fairy King/Fanfreluche) line mares and also those by I Am Invincible also appeal. His line of Nureyev also makes him look good for mares carrying that horse’s three-quarter brothers Sadler’s Wells, Fairy King and Perugino and the cross with Zabeel mares (Sir Ivor/Nureyev) could also be an intriguing one.