Pedigree AnalysisThe impact of Teddy with Northern Dancer’s strain

December 19, 2017Ken McLean

Caption: Teddy (FR) (Ajax-Rondeau by Bay Ronald)

In Australia, our yearling catalogues reveal the progression of specific lines that are deemed commercially popular. As we skip through those catalogue pages we discover a host of youngsters with duplications of Danzig and his son Danehill.

Each year we see a growing proportion of Australian yearlings inbred to Danzig and Danehill, mainly because this sire line is heavily represented in our stallion ranks. Therefore, the question arises, how many yearlings inbred to Danzig and Danehill will have a chance to inherit the best racing genes and become a stakes winner? Most of the duplications happen via sons of these stallions.

When I worked in Kentucky I was fortunate enough to be on hand to inspect Northern Dancer and many of his descendants, and because I managed Overbrook Farm’s homebred stallion Storm Cat (Storm Bird-Terlingua by Secretariat) during his first three years at stud, I needed to research Northern Dancer and his progeny to discover any clue as to what are the best lines to test to produce stakes runners. I was rewarded because definite strains showed up in each generation.

The key ancestor who played a significant role in the production of Group or Graded stakes winners was French champion Teddy (Ajax-Rondeau by Bay Ronald-Doremi by Bend Or-Lady Emily by Macaroni). The second most important strain was reinforcement of champion Native Dancer via sons (especially Atan and Raise a Native). Raise a Native became the sire of Mr. Prospector and Alydar.

TEDDY was a bay colt foaled in France in 1913 and the fourth foal of his dam. Owing to World War I, he was sparingly raced, winning eight races including the Prix des Trois Ans, a substitute race for the French Derby. He retired to stud in 1918 and became leading sire in France. Because of the success of his sons Sir Gallahad III and Bull Dog in North America, Teddy was sold to the US in 1931 and despite being near the end of his stud career, got the fast American milers Sun Teddy (ex Sunmelia by Sun Briar) and Case Ace (ex Sweetheart by Ultimus).

Teddy sired tough performers with clean airflow and two of his finest sons in France were Ortello (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe) and Marcel Boussac’s great stallion Asterus (Champion Stakes). Of course Teddy also sired outstanding females and famous mare La Troienne (ex Helene de Troie by Helicon) is probably his greatest gift to the breed.

When Northern Dancer and his sons were matched with mares possessing Teddy’s descendants, a decent upgrading of performance occurred and Gr.1 performers appeared. Major ancestors who played a vital role in the success of Northern Dancer and his descendants can be identified as being:
* Sir Gallahad III (Teddy-Plucky Liege by Spearmint), winner of the French 2000 Guineas, who became leading sire and broodmare sire in North America and reliable for stamping his progeny.
* Bull Dog (Teddy-Plucky Liege by Spearmint), a fast brother to Sir Gallahad III and leading sire of two year-olds many times in the US. He later became a great broodmare sire and his son Bull Lea also played a significant role when his strain met up with Northern Dancer.
* Marguerite de Valois (Teddy-Plucky Liege by Spearmint) sister to these brothers and ancestress of influential sire Fappiano.
* La Troienne (Teddy-Helene de Troie by Helicon) who established a dynasty and produced champion Bimelech and descendants that produced champions, including the mighty Buckpasser.
* Fair Trial (Fairway-Lady Juror by Son-in-Law), sire of Court Martial and Petition, whose dam is half-sister to Mumtaz Mahal, second dam of Mahmoud. The outstanding sire Lyphard is by Northern Dancer from Goofed by Court Martial and carries a source of champion Ksar and Sans Souci II. Mumtaz Mahal’s grandson Mahmoud (English Derby winner) is the sire of Almahmoud, second dam of Northern Dancer.

THE pedigree of Teddy reveals the presence of many high-class performers. His sire Ajax, foaled in France by champion Flying Fox, was unbeaten with eight victories including the Prix Lupin, Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and Grand Prix de Paris. What did Ajax have in his genotype that entitled him to become the champion colt of his generation and an influential sire?

Ajax was heavily line bred to famous mare Pocahontas via both sexes. His highly-strung sire Flying Fox was inbred to Galopin (the sire of champion St Simon) via two daughters. The dam of Ajax was line bred to Pocahontas via two daughters (rather unique) and involved the impeccably bred French Derby winner Wellingtonia, a key ancestor also found in Tracery’s pedigree.

Rondeau, the dam of Teddy, was by Bay Ronald (son of great mare Black Duchess) from Doremi, a mare bred on the Bend Or/Macaroni nick. Was this important? Yes, because Doremi represents a female version of the Bend Or/Macaroni nick and compliments the male versions of this nick, such as popular sires Ormonde (Bend Or-Lily Agnes by Macaroni) and Bona Vista (Bend Or-Vista by Macaroni). Bona Vista became the sire of Cyllene (grandsire of Phalaris) and every time Cyllene’s descendants met up with Ajax or his son Teddy there was potential for major upgrading of performance. Thus, in Teddy’s pedigree, the reader should note Ormonde and Doremi are genetically related. (see Chart 1)


Next, we should examine the brothers Sir Gallahad III and Bull Dog, sired by Teddy, as they had profound impact on Northern Dancer’s best progeny. Sir Gallahad III was an athletic horse exported to the US. Physically, he inherited characteristics from his broodmare sire Spearmint (English Derby winner by Carbine). With perfect shoulder angle, Sir Gallahad III possessed a magnificent head with big soft nostrils, strong hindquarters, and clean legs. However, he was taller than his brother Bull Dog. A leading sire of fast stakes winners, Bull Dog was built more like a sprinter with abundant fast-twitch muscle fibre, more likely inherited from St Simon and Macaroni.
The dam of these brothers was the talented mare Plucky Liege, who possessed speed and stamina and came from a particularly strong female line. Her dam, Concertina, was by champion St Simon (son of Galopin) from a grandaughter of Macaroni. Thus, if one lines up Plucky Liege with Teddy, we find a link between Teddy and Concertina. Classic winner Spearmint acted as a partial outcross for hybrid vigour.

Why am I detailing these strains so far back in today’s pedigrees? Because they are important genotypes that are being reinforced many times in the pedigrees of today’s best international stakes winners. (see Chart 2)
Northern Dancer’s best sire sons had Teddy and Plucky Liege in their pedigree patterns and this mix offered valuable genes to transmit to future generations. Sadler’s Wells and his brother Fairy King, Nureyev, Nijinsky II, Storm Bird, and Danzig are superior sons representing Northern Dancer’s line today, all with support from Teddy. The only great sire son without Teddy in his pattern is Lyphard. Plucky Liege also produced English Derby winner Bois Roussel and Admiral Drake, both successful sires.

Before I touch on the need to include champion Native Dancer via a “son” for the Northern Dancer tribe, we need to try to understand Danzig’s special genotype.


DANZIG was a brilliant racehorse who had the misfortune of never winning at stakes level. A winner at his only start at two years in fast time, he ran twice at three years for two wins, including an Allowance over seven furlongs in 1:22.0. Sadly, he broke down owing to a structural weakness in his nearside knee. Researching Danzig’s male progeny, I discovered few colts inherited knee problems, but unfortunately his knee weakness did surface in some of Danzig’s fillies. Danzig is out of Pas de Nom (Admiral’s Voyage-Petitioner by Petition-Steady Aim by Felstead, a son of Spion Kop by Spearmint). Steady Aim of course won the English Oaks.

Danzig’s broodmare sire Admiral’s Voyage was by Crafty Admiral, a fast horse inbred to the brothers Sir Gallahad III and Bull Dog. Pas de Nom gets a dose of classic speed from her sources of Tracery and Spearmint, strains that compliment Nearco, the father of Nearctic who sired Northern Dancer.

If we study the pedigree of Danehill (Danzig-Razyana by His Majesty) we find his second dam Spring Adieu is by Buckpasser (4mx4f to Teddy). If we study Danehill’s son Redoute’s Choice, we find Teddy is reinforced again, via Nijinsky II and Sir Ivor’s dam Attica by Mr Trouble. If we study Danehill’s son Fastnet Rock we discover Teddy present in his dam via Nijinsky II, First Rose and Sir Ivor. Successful sire Dansili (by Danehill) is out of a mare line bred to Sir Gallahad III and Bull Dog. Danehill’s son Duke of Marmalade has Buckpasser duplicated, plus Teddy’s sons Case Ace and Bull Dog, and so the list goes on.

Storm Bird
English Champion 2YO Colt Storm Bird has an interesting genetic relationship with Nijinsky II (also English Champion 2YO colt). Bull Dog’s son Bull Lea became a great broodmare sire but he also left behind a decent son named Bull Page.

Bull Page features in the makeup of Storm Bird and Nijinsky II so let’s compare their dams to see any connection. Both Nijinsky II and Storm Bird inherited excessive nervous energy and were not easy subjects to train. If they could be described as having any minor genetic weakness, I would suggest both could have had stronger pasterns. Nijinsky II is out of Flaming Page, while Storm Bird is out of South Ocean. (see Chart 3)
Many Group stakes winners have the Storm Bird and Nijinsky II mix, a mix reinforcing similar high-class genes for early maturity.

If one wishes to duplicate Danzig or his best son Danehill, I believe one should aim to balance their pedigree pattern and ensure similar genes are deployed on both sides of chromosomal pairings. This means we need to focus on sons of Native Dancer, the sire of Northern Dancer’s dam Natalma.

Research shows by introducing a son of Native Dancer to descendants of Northern Dancer upgraded performance is possible. Whereas Northern Dancer was a small horse with first-class muscle fibre, he often sired progeny who were slightly long in the pasterns, or slack in the pasterns (e.g. Sadler’s Wells).

America’s Horse of the Year and Champion at Two and Three years, Native Dancer (Polynesian-Geisha by Discovery) had strong, short pasterns and remained sound at the end of his career. This grey horse offered size, scope, a long stride and wonderful temperament. Only once was he defeated and this came when narrowly beaten by Dark Star in the Kentucky Derby when his jockey moved much too late in the final furlongs. Native Danceris an ideal ancestor to reinforce many timesin matings. He is simply a genetic giant.

When his sons met up with Northern Dancer, a match involving a son and a daughter, sparks would fly! Mixing Raise a Native with Natalma is a proven way to upgrade racing class, or at least maintain it, and secure clean airflow.


Raise a Native
IDEAL sources of Raise A Native to use with Northern Dancer’s strain are:
* Machiavellian (Mr. Prospector-Coup de Folie by Halo), Seeking The Gold (Mr. Prospector-Con Game by Buckpasser), Woodman (Mr. Prospector-Playmate by Buckpasser), Miswaki (Mr. Prospector-Hopespringseternal by Buckpasser), Alydar (Raise a Native-Sweet Tooth by On-and-On), Majestic Prince (Raise a Native-Gay Hostess by Royal Charger), Fappiano (Mr. Prospector-Killaloe by Dr Fager), Exclusive Native (Raise a Native-Exclusive by Shut Out) and Gone West (Mr. Prospector-Secrettame by Secretariat).
* Atan (Native Dancer-Mixed Marriage by Tudor Minstrel) sired Sharpen Up, another successful cross with Northern Dancer’s descendants. Sharpen Up sired the brothers Kris and Diesis, both champions.
If you study the pedigree of Mr. Prospector, son of Raise a Native, it is significant to note his second dam is Miss Dogwood, daughter of Bull Dog. Raise a Native’s dam Sweetheart is by Case Ace (by Teddy), thus Mr. Prospector has Teddy duplicated (4mx5m).
In the selection process for a broodmare with duplication of Danzig or Danehill, does one breed away from these ancestors, should one outcross or perhaps seek compatible strains? What special line might we test? An obvious choice is Street Cry by Machiavellian. However, broodmares who possess a “daughter” of Northern Dancer in their pedigree patterns should have an edge to produce stakes runners when matched with stallions having a son or sons of Northern Dancer.

More Than Ready
A PROVEN stallion who comes readily to mind is Vinery Stud’s More Than Ready (Southern Halo-Woodman’s Girl by Woodman). His sire is inbred 3fx4f to Almahmoud. Southern Halo is out of Northern Sea, a “daughter” of Northern Dancer. More Than Ready’s dam is heavily line bred to Teddy and La Troienne, and is by Woodman (Mr. Prospector-Playmate by Buckpasser).

Is it any wonder that The Mission (Choisir-My Amelia by Redoute’s Choice), inbred 3mx3m to Danehill, rose to become a Gr.1 winner of the 2017 Champagne Stakes? He has ideal genetic support from More Than Ready, sire of his second dam, Carry on Cutie, also winner of the Champagne Stakes-Gr.1. I suggest you analyse his pedigree for six generations because it shows heavy duplication of superior ancestors via both sexes. The Mission led all the way to win the Champagne Stakes, defeating Invade, and might capture this year’s Champion 2YO Colt title.

I am anxious to see if daughters of More Than Ready visit champion Sepoy as this looks likea dynamite cross for a potential Group stakes performer.

Sebring (More Than Ready-Purespeed by Flying Spur) has become a consistent sire of stakes winners and has a pedigree pattern that can take more Danzig and Danehill. The match of Sebring with daughters of Redoute’s Choice copies similar ingredients found in The Mission’s pedigree pattern. This cross has already produced Kiss A Rose.

Sebring’s champion son Dissident is out of a mare by Anabaa, thus duplicating Danzig 5mx3m, but note how Dissident’s second dam Palace Scandal (by Western Symphony) brings in Teddy via Nijinsky II and Cornish Prince. Dissident stands at Newgate Stud and won seven of 21 starts for earnings of $2,021,200. Among his victories were the Randwick Guineas-Gr.1, All Aged Stakes-Gr.1, C.F. Orr Stakes-Gr.1 and Memsie Stakes-Gr.1. Sebring, Champion 2YO, won the Golden Slipper Stakes-Gr.1 and ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes-Gr.1 and sires Group-winning colts and fillies.

Flying Spur is by Danehill from Rolls by Mr. Prospector, and it is essential to note the importance of his female line, which goes back to Fanfreluche, a “daughter” of Northern Dancer. The duplication of son and daughter of Northern Dancer in Flying Spur’s pedigree creates valuable sex balance.

As far as Street Cry (by Machiavellian) is concerned, how lucky is Godolphin to own so many well-bred daughters of this influential sire? Street Cry’s daughters should suit many Danehill line stallions. Two of the greatest race mares ever seen in past decades are daughters of Street Cry, namely Zenyatta and Winx.


Northern Dancer (CAN) (Nearctic-Natalma by Native Dancer)

Young sires to study
IT’S not easy when you are working on a tight budget to try and select a suitable stallion for a well-bred mare at less than $20,000 service fee. A lot of homework has to be done to select a compatible sire partner.
There is risk if I try to predict success for any young sire standing at stud in Australia. However,if I may be bold, perhaps I should draw attention to stallions with intriguing pedigree patterns who stand at affordable stud fees this year. Here is an interesting hit-list:

* Stratum Star (Widden Stud), The Factor (Newgate Stud), Alipine Eagle (Armidale Stud, Tasmania), Excelebration (Coolmore), Olympic Glory (Arrowfield), Puissance de Lune (Swettenham Stud).
Alpine Eagle might have been a very special horse. If you watch his performance in the Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1, when he was an unlucky runner-up, you must surely be impressed with his acceleration. He is by High Chaparral and bred on the same cross as champion Dundeel. Tasmania’s breeding industry is lucky to have him.

At only $11,000 fee, I believe Stratum Star is an absolute bargain with his special duplication of Kaoru Star. This handsome son of Stratum was indeed high-class, very sound, and with wonderful temperament. I love his pedigree pattern and the fact he had clean airflow and was so genuine on the racetrack.

Swettenham Stud stands Puissance de Lune at only $11,000 fee, another bargain in my opinion. By champion Shamardal (Storm Cat/Mr. Prospector cross) Puissance de Lune has three sources of Halo in his pedigree pattern and Halo is out of Cosmah, the half-sister to Natalma (dam of Northern Dancer). This grey horse is from a daughter of champion Unbridled’s Song, the sire of World Champion Arrogate. Unbridled’s Song supplies a valuable source of Fappiano. Adam Sangster has given small breeders the chance to use a multiple Gr.2 stakes winner at a very affordable fee.

Published May 2017

Ken McLean



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