Gary Hadden Discusses Mating of Reckless Abandon

Last weekend was an exciting one for bloodstock consultant Gary Hadden (haddenbloodstock.com). Gary recommended the mating that produced Reckless Abandon, a son of Exchange Rate (TrueNicks,SRO) who won Sunday's Darley Prix Morny (Fr-I) and solidified himself as the top European 2-year-old. The colt previously took the Norfolk Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot and Prix Robert Papin (Fr-II) at Maisons-Laffitte. Gary kindly agreed to write a guest blog for TrueNicks explaining the mating that led to Reckless Abandon.

by Gary Hadden

Reckless Abandon, undefeated winner of the group I Darley Prix Morny, was bred by Nick and Jane Forman Hardy, owners of Car Colston Hall Stud based near Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Although Car Colston Hall Stud has never had more than 10 mares in production at any one time, Reckless Abandon has become their fourth individual group I winner. Three of those group I winners originate from their foundation mare Wiener Wald. Sant Elena, who is a granddaughter of Wiener Wald, was a dual winner over 6f in England before being placed second in the Flaming Page Stakes at Woodbine over 12f! As she was already in North America, the decision was made to send her to Kentucky to be covered.

There were three components to the recommendation of Exchange Rate for Sant Elena. The first but least significant at the time was the first generation cross. Sant Elena is by Efisio, who was a grandson of Forli, but there was little data (in terms of crosses) as this sire line has had little exposure in the American breeding industry. In Europe at the time, Danzig line stallions were starting to build a promising record with mares by Efisio (there are now at least 10 stakes winners bred on the Danzig/Efisio cross).

The second attraction to the mating was that Reckless Abandon would be inbred 5x4 to influential foundation mare Native Partner (the dam of Formidable, who is the sire of Efisio, and also 4th dam of Exchange Rate). Although there was little evidence on this type of duplication at the time (inbreeding to Native Partner would later appear in the pedigree of gr. I winner Bribon), I do like inbreeding to superior females when one strain comes in the tail female line of either the stallion or the mare but that is based on anecdotal evidence. I feel the most important elements to consider when utilising any form of inbreeding are the position in the pedigree that it will occur and the strains that are being used.

The third factor to recommend the mating was that the hypothetical foal that would become Reckless Abandon would contain inbreeding to Buckpasser and his sire Tom Fool; at the time this was something that was becoming prominent in the leading progeny of Exchange Rate. Exchange Rate's broodmare sire, Seeking the Gold, is bred on the same Mr. Prospector/Buckpasser cross as Woodman, who is the second dam sire of Sant Elena. Current figures show 10 of Exchange Rate's 29 stakes winners contain inbreeding to Buckpasser/Tom Fool including ALL four of his gr. I winners. There is also something similar at play in the female family of Sant Elena. The fourth dam of Chapel of Dreams (dam of Wiener Wald and 3/4 sister to Storm Cat) was by Menow (sire of Tom Fool and grandsire of Buckpasser). There are currently 13 stakes horses originating from Chapel of Dreams, 12 of the 13 (including gr. I winners Ticker Tape, Reckless Abandon, and Crowded House, and gr. II winner Juniper Pass) are by stallions which contain at least one additional strain of Menow, Tom Fool, or Buckpasser. Wiener Wald of course throws in an additional strain as she is by Woodman (dam sire is Buckpasser).

Commercially it was thought Exchange Rate could work. The brief from the clients was for a proven, mid-range stallion that could work in Europe and be recognisable to European buyers. Although Exchange Rate was not proven in Europe at the time, it seemed likely that a proven son of Danzig out of a mare by Seeking the Gold would have no problems working in Europe. Exchange Rate's early runners were good 2-year-olds, which we felt would suit the profile of the pedigree and they were also showing good form on the turf. Physically Sant Elena and Exchange Rate are both average in size and well conformed, the mare was only carrying her first foal so we had no evidence to suggest that we should not try it.

I have done recommendations for Sant Elena since she retired to stud. She also has a yearling filly by Dansili (he has a very strong record over mares by Efisio: five of racing age bred on the cross, all five have run and won, which includes gr. II winners Delegator and Illustrious Blue). She is in foal to Aqlaam, whose first foals impressed (his sire, Oasis Dream, has also combined successfully with mares by Efisio). Her 2013 mating plans are currently under discussion with Keith Haggins (farm manager) and, of course, those very proud owners of Car Colston Hall Stud!

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