|Guest Column: Great Foundation Mares: Almahmoud|
13 February, 2015
– Lisa Barrett
The past century has thrown up some great foundation mares who have gone onto play a significant role in breeding and racing affairs around the world. One such mare was Almahmoud, who through her top class daughters has sired some of the century’s most influential racehorses and sires, Northern Dancer, Halo, Artic Tern and Machiavellian.
Almahmoud was a rare horse, she turned out to be as good as she was bred to be: her sire was the 1936 Epsom Derby winner and Chef de Race stallion Mahmoud, and her dam was Arbitrator, an unraced daughter of the champion mare Mother Goose, who was one of the top fillies of her generation. She was descended through her sire’s dam to the “spotted wonder”, the great English stallion, The Tetrach.
Almahmoud proved to be a competent filly on the track, winning two races, the Colleen Stakes and the Vineland Handicap, before being sent to stud, where she was to make the most impact through her various daughters, who in turn, would become significant contributors through their own progeny to racing and breeding.
First of her influential daughters was Cosmah, whose 1969 colt by champion Hail To Reason, was to have a significant impact on breeding and racing. A one-time Grade One winner of the United Nations Handicap (1974), Halo’s most significant contribution was through his son, Sunday Silence, who revolutionised and revitalized Japanese breeding and racing to such an extent, that he is spoken about in revered terms even years after his death.
Thankfully for KZN breeding, we have a son of Sunday Silence standing right here in this province Admire Main, who stands at Summerhill Stud. It wasn’t just through Sunday Silence that Cosmah’s son Halo was to have such a profound influence.
He also sired Southern Halo, a leading sire in Argentina for over 11 years, and sire of the Grade One winner and successful stallion More Than Ready. Like his great granddam, More Than Ready has shown incredible versatility when he hit the breeding shed.
Sire of 18 Group One winners and 141 lifetime Stakes winners, his best progeny to date include the outstanding Group One winners Sebring, Verranzo, the champion Australian filly More Joyous, American Regally Ready, and South African classic star and stallion Gimmethegreenlight.
More Than Ready has a representative right here in KZN, Traffic Guard [pictured left] who stands at Summerhill Stud, whose first yearlings go on sale in 2015.
Like her great dam, Cosmah proved to be a prolific broodmare and several of her daughters, Queen Sucree, Suprina, La Dam Du Lac and Cosmiah have all produced multiple Group and Stakes winners between them, ensuring that Cosmah was voted Broodmare of the Year in 1974.
Cosmiah is the third dam of a former resident sire of KZN who went on as a broodmare sire – Our Casey’s Boy.
If one is interested in pedigrees, look back two generations in Scott Brothers stallion Mogok’s pedigree, and you will find his great granddame is Cosmah.
Almahmoud’s 1957 filly Natalma by Native Dancer is the other of her influential daughters.
Not only was she the dam of the immortal Northern Dancer, but she was a stakes-placed filly who produced several top class progeny.
Her gelding Native Victor was a multiple Canadian stakes winner, and her other progeny were all Stakes placed, the best of them being Artic Dancer who produced the champion filly La Prevoyante (by Buckpasser), who went onto defeat the boys on grass, winning 12 consecutive races at the age of 2.
Tragically she collapsed and died at the age of four of a lung haemorrhage after the running of the 1974 Miss Florida Handicap.
Natalma was bred back to Buckpasser and produced Spring Adieu, who was the third dam of the great Danehill, whose blood courses through the veins of several of KZN’s stallions.
The other of Natalma’s significant daughters was Raise The Standard by the champion racehorse Hoist The Flag. Raise The Flag in turn went onto produce the Group 3 winning filly Coup De Folie, who was the dam of Machiavellian (by Mr Prospector) sire of one of South African and KZN’s top sires, the late Kahal, as well as Mullins Bay who stands at Summerhill Stud.
Last of the most influential daughters of Almahmoud was Bubbling Beauty by Hasty Road. Unplaced in her two starts, this didn’t influence her ability in the breeding shed, and she produced the top class colt Artic Tern, who was not only a multiple stakes winner himself, but who produced the champion Polly’s Ark and French Derby winner Bering, himself a good stallion who in turn sired the champion American-bred racehorse and stallion, Pennekamp.
As you can see from her pedigree, influences from the great British racehorse The Tetrach and Fair Play (sire of Man O’War) run deeply and prominently through Almahmoud, which has undoubtedly contributed to her potency in successfully passing her top genes down through the generations to her descendants.
She is without question, a true blue foundation mare.
– Guest Writer
“Lisa Barrett”, her psuedonym, currently works at a stud farm in the KZN Midlands. She is absolutely and totally crazy about horses and every aspect of them. She is fascinated by every aspect of the racehorse business, especially pedigrees and would like to one day write a book on her favourite sire!