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Historical TB male line question

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  • Historical TB male line question

    I'm reading a book by Alexander Mackay-Smith (former editor of COTH) called "Speed and the Thoroughbred: The Complete History," and something he wrote isn't computing, for me.

    In at least three places in the book, he wrote variations on the same thing, and I quote: "Finally, there is the tail male line of the Darley Arabian 1704, the only such line of racing Arabians which survives unbroken since the eighteenth century" (p. 164). And, on p. 173, "Of all the tail male lines, only one racing line survives unbroken, that of the Darley Arabian." For some reason, he feels that the Byerly Turk tail male line ended with The Tetrarch, and that the Godolphin Arabian's tail male line ended with West Australian (1850): "...the length of the tail male line of the Godolphin Arabian 1730 was even shorter. The last top-class sire in this line was West Australian 1850...none of West Australian's sons were able to reproduce their sire's record at stud" (p. 165)

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know, there's a small but thriving Godolphin Arabian male line, and a tiny but extant Byerly Turk line, yes?

  • #2
    My Prominent Sire Lines in America poster says the most recent lines in the Godo. and BT are:

    Godolphin: Tiznow, Bertrando, Officer, Bullsbay, Put it Back & Colonel.

    BT: Luthier, Crozier, My Babu, Ambiorix, Djebel, Tourbillon.

    I'm not a bloodlines expert, though, so can't comment further.

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    • #3
      The Byerly Turk survives mainly via Ahonoora, mostly in Europe. In addition to my stallion Legal Jousting - I believe there is at least one other son of Indian Ridge in North America.
      Equine Web Design http://www.tbconnect.net | Kingsgate Stud home of Legal Jousting (IRE)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by K~2 View Post
        The Byerly Turk survives mainly via Ahonoora, mostly in Europe. In addition to my stallion Legal Jousting - I believe there is at least one other son of Indian Ridge in North America.
        Why he would say the Godolphin Arabian (Turk, Barb?) is dead is beyond me. West Australian was the sire of Australian who was imported to the United States and is the Hastings sire line. (Fair Play, Man O'War). In Europe a stallion named Solon sired one great stallion, Barcaldine, and there is a European branch that most recently included Sheshoon and his son, Sassafras. This branch may be dead, but it may be hanging on in Eastern Europe or one of the other "lesser" racing countries around the world.

        Perhaps what he meant is that neither the Byerly Turk or the Godolphin Arabian were actually Arabians. We know that the Darley Arabian was imported from Syria and probably was an Arabian. It's generally believed that the Godolphin Arabian was probably a Barb or Turk. Mostly likely Barb, since he was sent to France from North Africa.

        The Tetrarch branch of the Byerly Turk is probably extinct today except for Gemini Twist and a colt by Triple Twist who may or may not be gelded. The Dollar line from the Byerly Turk is the line that is barely hanging on in France, Japan, and GB/UK. Indian Ridge is certainly the branch that is most prevalent today.
        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
        Thread killer Extraordinaire

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        • #5
          Well, now I'm going to have to go have another look at my quarter horse mare's pedigree- pretty sure she harks all the way back to both the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerly Turk.

          Just checked, and indeed, she (well, really all quarter horses and standarbreds and saddle horses) goes through Diomed to all three- Godolphin, Darley and Byerly.

          It appears Mackay Smith referred exclusively to 'racing' lines, but still I find it puzzling.
          Last edited by Beverley; Mar. 9, 2013, 07:49 PM. Reason: Adding info

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          • #6
            This is maybe a silly question, but how do you determine what is a "sire line"? Is it going back through the sire to his sire to his sire (ie staying along the very "top" of the pedigree)? If I do that with Lucky (a 2002) he goes straight back to the Darley.) With my old ottb (a 1985), he dead-ends with the Byerly Turk. Obviously in both cases they're dead ends (geldings), and in the case of my old OTTB his sire's long gone, too, and not especially prolific (Amberbee). Or is there some other determination of what sire line a horse is from?
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            • #7
              Originally posted by danceronice View Post
              This is maybe a silly question, but how do you determine what is a "sire line"? Is it going back through the sire to his sire to his sire (ie staying along the very "top" of the pedigree)? If I do that with Lucky (a 2002) he goes straight back to the Darley.) With my old ottb (a 1985), he dead-ends with the Byerly Turk. Obviously in both cases they're dead ends (geldings), and in the case of my old OTTB his sire's long gone, too, and not especially prolific (Amberbee). Or is there some other determination of what sire line a horse is from?
              You've already found it.

              Generally, a sire-line is just that: a tail-male line to the remotest traceable ancestor; for thoroughbreds that means one of three surviving lines: Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian or Godolphin Arabian.

              Sometimes, however, a branch of one of these may be referred to as a sire-line for argumentative purposes, as in which produced the most successful runners or which produced the most successful sires of sires. For instance, as of 1900 St. Simon was the most prolific sire-of-sires in the world. But today you'd be hard pressed to find a racing tail-male St. Simon - just as you'd be hard-pressed to find a racing non-tail-male Phalaris. Yet both these stallions were tail-male Darley Arabians.

              Hope this helps.
              **********
              Starts with an 'S,' ends with a 'T.' You figure it out.

              **********
              "Houston, Tranquility Base here, picking up where we left off ..."

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              • #8
                Actually, I believe today the most common way of referencing the three TB sire lines is through their descendants. That would be Eclipse (Darley Arabian), Herod (Byerly Turk) and Matchem (Godolphin Arabian). I believe all the other sireline branches from the founders are dead except for those three.
                "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                  The Tetrarch branch of the Byerly Turk is probably extinct today except for Gemini Twist and a colt by Triple Twist who may or may not be gelded.
                  Viney, there is a pure TB son of Good News Joe standing in Ireland. A friend of mine has a 4 yr old TB (imported) by him. Don't have anymore info than that sorry.
                  Unrepentant carb eater

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                  • #10
                    I guess it depends on your definition of top-notch.

                    my current saddle horse (a gelding) was by Bertrando
                    A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lizathenag View Post
                      I guess it depends on your definition of top-notch.

                      my current saddle horse (a gelding) was by Bertrando
                      Tail male to the Godolphin, if I'm doing this correctly...

                      When was the book written? Is it new? (And it cracked me up, I was playing with 'follow the sire' on pedigree query, did my two, then used the first name that popped into my head, Animal Kingdom, forgetting he and Lucky have Blushing Groom up top....that started to look familiar really fast...)
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                      • #12
                        I forgot about Last News. Thank you for reminding me of him.

                        You know, it's rather funny in a way. Roi Herode was imported to stand in Ireland by a breeder whose goal was to revive that Herod line in British racing. It worked for several generations, then that branch died in racing. Now it only lives in jumpers and barely in them.

                        Mackay-Smith wrote most of his books in the middle of the 20th century. He was a true expert in his field, so one would suspect that his statements on racing Arabians were based on the non-Arabian origins of the Godolphin and the Turk.
                        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                        Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                          The Tetrarch branch of the Byerly Turk is probably extinct today except for Gemini Twist and a colt by Triple Twist who may or may not be gelded. The Dollar line from the Byerly Turk is the line that is barely hanging on in France, Japan, and GB/UK. Indian Ridge is certainly the branch that is most prevalent today.
                          He is intact and will remain that way unless he gives me reason why he shouldn't be
                          There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse-Robert Smith Surtees
                          Breeding TBs, Connemaras and TB/Conn crosses for eventing
                          www.twistoffateeventing.com

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                          • #14
                            When you consider how many "power sires" have come and gone over the last 150 years or so, it's amazing the power of the Darley line. When I started following racing you couldn't open a racing magazine without seeing ads on every other page for sons/grandsons of Bold Ruler. From the early 60's through the 4yo campaign of Spectacular Bid, he was so dominant that some feared for the strength of the breed because of him. Then, he faded. Aided by his own premature death at 17 in 1971 and the rise of the Northern Dancer line (based on increased grass racing and the overseas buyers at sales) by the late 80's Bold Ruler was dependent upon his great great grandson Seattle Slew to carry on. Slew sired AP Indy and thus saved the line at the top levels. Man O' War was very influential but has oddly come down to today via a circuitous route involving unlikely stallions. If you could have asked anyone in 1940 they'd have figured that 70 years later MOW would have been carried on by War Admiral, of course.
                            F O.B
                            Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                            Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

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                            • #15
                              Let's not forget Himyar, who lives only barely in tail male through Ack Ack.

                              Hyperion, I think, may only be alive in Australia through Star Kingdom, and only barely through him.


                              There is always a new sireline that develops when one saturates the breed. The only thing is that whatever the new line is these days, it will probably derive from Stockwell somehow. The King Fergus branch of Eclipse is almost extinct tail male. We'd never have thought that the Herod lines that so dominated American racing for centuries would have become extinct, but they have. No Lexington and no Hindoo/Hanover any more. It's not just Bold Ruler; it's Nasrullah and Princequillo--gone or almost gone.

                              You're right about MOW, but I'd move back one generation to Fair Play and maybe one more back to Hastings.
                              "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                              Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                              • #16
                                This a very interesting discussion. But what of the females? The tail male line might be full of previous 'power stallions' who fade away but presumably, the female side would also be carrying the genes? And they are not so likely to disappear as a majority of female TB are mated but few of the males.

                                A thought that occurs to me is that TBs are often said to be inbred but this discussion suggests otherwise.
                                "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

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                                • #17
                                  While it's possible to find in pedigree study the name of any horse (that had offspring) it is specifically "sire-lines" of the Darley, Godolphin and Byerley being discussed.
                                  Some horses are destined to see their impact on the breed come through different routes. War Admiral for example is found often via any number of his highly productive daughters, but none of his sons sired much. Secretariat sired the dams of Storm Cat and Gone West, two very important stallions (one from the Storm Bird sireline, the other Raise a Native) but none of his own sons was able to carry on.
                                  An interestng example is the great Calumet stallion Bull Lea. A useful runner, he sired Citation, Bewitch, Armed, Coaltown, Twilight Tear and so many more yet none of his sons were that good at stud. In fact none of Calumet's great colts did much at stud at all. Bull Lea's most likely appearance today comes via his son Bull Page, sire of Flaming Page, the dam of Nijinsky.
                                  Last edited by Linny; Mar. 19, 2013, 11:44 PM.
                                  F O.B
                                  Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                  Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

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                                  • #18
                                    Sad, too, because Bull Lea is probably the best American-bred line in jumping TBs. I'd say that he is probably also found through his daughter Two Lea, but not often. She was the dam of On-and-On and Tim Tam and Pied d'Or. I'd almost kill to find a mare with On-And-On close and doubled.
                                    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                    Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by twistoffate View Post
                                      He is intact and will remain that way unless he gives me reason why he shouldn't be
                                      Do you plan to stand him at stud once he's old enough? (hope so!)

                                      Also, what became of Lucky in Gold's 2012 colt?

                                      Still mourning the loss of Triple Twist...

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by zipperfoot View Post
                                        Still mourning the loss of Triple Twist...
                                        Me too... Every single day...

                                        Yes, I will stand his son as long as he proves worthy. The other colt is in VA. I believe he is for sale.
                                        There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse-Robert Smith Surtees
                                        Breeding TBs, Connemaras and TB/Conn crosses for eventing
                                        www.twistoffateeventing.com

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