Written By David Brasch
THERE’S a saying that’s been around the horse breeding world that goes something like breed the best to the best and hope for the best!
It works, and it doesn’t. For every superstar on the racetrack who produces Group quality offspring, there will always be those who fail dismally. Putting a Group 1 winner to a Group 1 winner “should” produce a Group 1 winner. If only that were true.
When “genius” Victorian breeder Barry Smith put his Group 1 Adelaide Cup winning race bitch Mepunga Nicky (Premier Fantasy-Mepunga Diamond) to Group 1 Maturity winner Barcia Bale (Go Wild Teddy-Princess Bale) he was, naturally, hoping for the best - and he got it!
The result is Mepunga Blazer who retires to stud after just 22 race starts for 11 wins and five placings earning $157,000 in stakes. Jeff Britton trained him throughout his race career and he landed the quinella when Mepunga Blazer won the Group 1 Maturity emulating his very own father.
To say Mepunga Blazer was something right from the start is to show he was switched on to this racing game as a pup. At his very fourth start he won at Sandown in 29.23 (a career best). He would later win in 29.64 at The Meadows and 29.25 at Angle Park. He would run second in the Speed Star at Sandown and third in the SA Derby. Mepunga Blazer was special a very special race dog.
His litter includes other special gallopers like Chardy (9 wins, 17 placings, $36,000), Mepunga Tycoon (10 wins, 19 placings, $40,000) and Nicky’s Gift (8 wins, 11 placings, $21,000). All nine in the litter were winners.This is the very famous direct damline Barry Smith has been nurturing for generations. Dam Mepunga Nicky won 15 races and earned $177,000 and her litter brother Mepunga Geordie won 33 races and was placed 44 times for $161,000. That takes some doing. He was a finalist in the Perth Cup, Warragul Cup, Horsham Cup and Anniversary Cup all Group races.
Mepunga Nicky is no one hit wonder. She has also produced (to Bekim Bale) Absolute Power (13 wins, 12 placings, $63,000). As well as her Adelaide Cup victory, Nicky won the SA Oaks and was also a finalist in the Group 1 Maturity and Vic Peters. Mepunga Diamond, second dam of Mepunga Blazer, won 11 races and was a multiple winner at Sandown and The Meadows. Third dam Mepunga Anna won 20 races and was a sister to Mepunga Jet (finalist G1 Vic Peters).
Fourth dam Mepunga Silk was out of the famed producer Mystic Therese who was also the dam of the 1998 Group 1 National Derby winner Mepunga Blaze.
Barry Smith obviously loved the potential of Mepunga Blazer to name a dog so close to his Derby winner. Now that Mepunga Blazer has retired to stand with such legends as Barcia Bale and Fernando Bale under the guidance of Paul Westerveld, breeders will look closely at what could make him tick all the right boxes for their broodbitches. Obviously being a son of champion sire Barcia Bale will make him attractive. He has an outcross influence in Premier Fantasy as his damsire, but there is so much of this blood about to link with Mepunga Blazer, it can only be a good thing.
Bitches with Premier Fantasy’s son Fear Zafonic in their make-up could be an ideal possibility for Mepunga Blazer. But, the feature of Mepunga Blazer’s pedigree that appeals most for his chances at stud is the fact he is “balanced” in his pedigree to legend Brett Lee coming in 4×3 via son and daughter. MOST, champion sires carry a balance within their pedigree. Mepunga Blazer’s direct damline runs to a famed foundation bitch called Magenta. This bitch is found in the direct damline of Pretty Short, Malawi’s Prince and in the damline of Little Blade the sire of legend Brother Fox.
Mepunga Blazer has no Bombastic Shiraz (of Black Shiraz), no Collision (or Awesome Assassin), no Token Prince, no Just The Best, in his pedigree. He will be the perfect avenue for matings to bitches that carry these lines. He will be absolutely perfect for bitches with Where’s Pedro to link with his litter brother Hallucinate. Mogambo bitches could be an ideal potential mating. That’s because Mepunga Blazer’s second dam Mepunga Diamond is bred on the same Gun Law Osti/Osti’s Idol cross as Mogambo. Being by Barcia Bale, Blazer too will suit bitches with lots and lots of Wheeler damline.
Bekim Bale bitches will especially be suited because Mepunga Nicky (dam of Blazer) has already worked with him.The outcross influence of Premier Fantasy will also attract many strong crosses for Blazer. Daughters of Kinloch Brae will be especially attractive for him. That’s because of the special cross of genetic brothers Murlens Slippy and Fortress it will introduce.
There is no doubt studmaster Paul Westerveld would be approached at least weekly with the offer to stand different stud dogs. He has to be selective, and he also can be just that. His decision to give Mepunga Blazer his opportunity alongside such stars as Barcia Bale, Fernando Bale etc means Blazer will get his chance to succeed. His racetrack performances and his pedigree demand that.
It really is a case of putting the best to the best and getting the best.