Posts Tagged ‘horses’


Shocking – Melbourne Cup 2009 Winner

November 5, 2009

G1 VRC Melbourne Cup 3200m 2009 Results

SHOCKING (b h 4y Street Cry (IRE) – Maria Di Castiglia (GB). Trainer: M A Kavanagh) 51 (C W Brown)

CRIME SCENE 53 (K Mc Evoy)

MOURILYAN 54.5 (G Schofield)

Master O’Reilly 55 (V Duric)

Harris Tweed 52.5 (C Newitt)

Alcopop 52.5 (D Tourneur)

Viewed 58 (B Rawiller)

C’est La Guerre (Nicholas Hall)

Kibbutz 52.5 (Chris Symons)

Newport 52.5 (Peter Wells)

Daffodil 51.5 (C Munce)

Munsef 53 (Z Purton)

Gallions Reach 52 (D Dunn)

Leica Ding 50.5 (Craig Williams)

Ista Kareem 53.5 (L Nolen)

Allez Wonder 50.5 (Ms Michelle Payne)

Capecover 51.5 (N G Harris)

Basaltico 51.5 (D Nikolic)

Zavite 53 (M Zahra)

Spin Around 52 (M R Du Plessis)

Roman Emperor 54 (J Bowman)

Fiumicino 55.5 (S R King)

Warringah 52.5 carr 53 (D Oliver) last.

Scr: Changingoftheguard.

3/4 len, 1-1/2 len. Time: 3:23.87. (Last 600m 36.60).

Most years I sit down and do a little study into the pedigrees of the horses running in the major Australian horseraces. I am not remotely interested in betting, but I do appreciate a good horse and get a lot of enjoyment linking history and horses. Thoroughbreds are of particular interest to me – and if you ever get a chance to see it, I do have a bookshelf devoted to tests the history of Thoroughbred, Arabian and Standardbred horses in Australia!

Unfortunately, this year I did not get a chance. Otherwise I might have taken more notice of the eventual winner, Australian-born Shocking (b h 2005 Street Cry (IRE) from Maria Di Castiglia (GB), by Danehill (USA)).

As I have to run out the door to do some errands, I cannot ponder too much longer on this; but I pose this question: what kind of impact have descendants of Danehill (USA 1986) had on the major Australian horseraces?

In restrospect it does not seem a huge surprise that a horse of Shocking’s calibre would take out Australia’s major horserace. A grandson of Danehill on his dam’s side, and a direct male line descendant of Native Dancer (USA gr h 1950), he carries some high quality bloodlines!

One thing that fascinates me is that every name in a horse’s pedigree is a tie to the history. Every one of those horses has been bred for a purpose, linked to people who perhaps tied their hopes and dreams into their animals, and many of these Thoroughbreds carry an impressive genealogy of major race winners with them. If only I had more time to explore these ideas, but more pressing priorities await!



364. Horsey!

June 27, 2009


Graphite pencil on paper, June 2008.


Art For Sale

June 6, 2009

Some recent additions to my RedBubble Bubblesite and RedBubble Profile, where some of my illustrations and photographs are variously available for sale as greeting cards, art prints, posters, canvases, framed and matted prints and 100% cotton t-shirts in a selection of colours and styles.

My RedBubble Bubblesite Gallery is a simple storefront where people can view and purchase art and t-shirts. My RedBubble Profile provides a lot more information and detail, where other holders of RedBubble accounts can comment, favourite and purchase items. I am really enjoying RedBubble – if you are interested, sign up!


This is available at: or

See other Bass Coast Photos, available as greeting cards: or or or or

Photos from the Bass Coast, Victoria, Australia. Situated on the South East of the Australian mainland, the Bass Coast is a beautiful stretch of beaches and Marine National Parks. It is notable for its fossils of dinosaurs and bird life – as well as being a spectacularly clean place. I grew up in the area and while I don’t live there anymore, I love travelling there to photograph and sketch it, and to make sure my suburban-raised children grow up knowing what a clean, syringe-free beach is like! The Gippsland Tourism website has information for travellers to the area, see: and I am always happy to share info on travelling  to the South Gippsland region, for any blog readers who are interested! The above photo was taken in Kilcunda, which is not far from Wonthaggi.


See or

Other Giraffe designs at

Romantic Giraffes! I’ve been amazed at the popularity of my giraffe designs. Turns out there’s a lot of fellow giraffe fanatics out there!

2898300-1-inri-inspired-by-easter or

INRI – inspired by the Latinised abbreviation of “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” I’ve made this as both a t-shirt (available in cuts and colours other than the default shown here). While I’ve generally avoided representations of Christianity in my t-shirts, and I on’t want to succumb to cheesiness, I felt that this was a labour of love. The brilliance, uniqueness and wonder of the Gospel – that Jesus died and rose again – means that the vile execution device of the Ancient Romans becomes a symbol of hope for millions of believers linked across the ages. Wow. I can’t begin to describe what Jesus means to me.

Other recent t-shirt designs include a winged horse and hmm another winged horse!


By Request?

April 21, 2009

I’m interested in hearing from regular readers (and there must be a few of you because in just over a year I’ve had 30,500 hits on this site). I would like to know if there are any topics on which you would particularly like me to write a blog post. I think it’s a symptom of the fact that I am doing half my usual university study load this semester, and would like to take advantage of the extra time to perhaps write a few short blog posts on up to 5 requested topics.

Please use the comments box to add your (genuine) suggestions. If you are reading this on, please follow the provided link to the WordPress Blog and add your comments there.

Suggested topics might include:

– Australian culture.

– Thoroughbred horse pedigrees (maybe there’s a particular horse you’re interested in and want to know a bit about its family). Australian horses preferred.

– Christianity and Apologetics. Have you got any questions about a particular area of apologetics? I may be able to dig up some information for you (as an interested layperson).

– Art! This is primarily an art blog, so I should probably write on art at least once in a while!

– Maybe you have some suggested ideas for my RedBubble Online Store and Gallery, where I sell some of my art designs as t-shirts and art prints.

– Vegetarianism. Do you have any questions about vegetarianism?

– Environmentalism issues.

– Books! I read a lot of books… so I might have some suggested reading ideas for you.

I really hope my readers can help me with this! Be creative.  🙂


327. Budenny

April 6, 2009


Graphite pencil on paper, February 2009.

It must be all the Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky books on my bedside table, or the interest in Eastern European culture I”ve developed since marrying a part-Ukrainian… but I thought I’d have a go drawing Russian types of horses. As most of the time I draw Arabians or Thoroughbreds, it was kind of nice taking a break and drawing the Russian breeds. This one is inspired by the Budenny breed of horse.

More information:


“The Budenny Horse”

Art For Sale:

I’ve got this for sale as an art print, available in various formats including matted and framed prints and greeting cards.

Go to for more information and to view in larger size.

All links accessed 5 March 2009.


Question #8 – Myth or Reality

February 11, 2009

Reading this on Facebook Notes? Hit “View Original Post.”

Do Unicorns exist, or have they ever existed?

Here’s the reader question of the day / week / month (whatever it happens to be)…

Feel free to leave an answer in the comments section. All views will be tolerated and it’s not meant to be a debate forum – just share what you think!


Akhal-Teke Horses

November 12, 2008

I have always thought this breed of horse was very striking and beautiful. An ancient breed, it is pretty rare in Australia. Here’s some links for you (all accessed 10 November 2008)…

Akhal-Teke, Wikipedia

Akhal-Teke, Wikipedia


Coloured Thoroughbreds

November 11, 2008

I’d heard a little about coloured Thoroughbreds recently, and intrigued I decided to search for more information. Generally speaking, Thoroughbreds come in a small range of standard solid colours. Thus, is would be a generalised assumption to say that Thoroughbreds never come in other coat colours – pinto, palomino, dun, zebra striped, dorsal striped, etc. However, I’ve had a few coloured Thoroughbreds drawn to my attention in recent weeks. They are in the pinto style of coat colour and wow – what striking animals they are!

Not having researched much about them, all I can say is that the name Biscay (AUS ch. h. 1965) appears in a few of the coloured horses’ pedigrees. I don’t know if that’s significant or not, though – I’m not particularly knowledgeable about coloured equine genetics.

Here are a few links to give you more information (all accessed 10 November 2008).

An Australian Thoroughbred stud advertising a pinto stallion. The photos are definitely worth a look!

“Coloured Thoroughbred a first for Australia.”

A USA Thoroughbred stud specialising in rare coloured Thoroughbreds. Check out their beautiful cremellos at

“Britain’s first coloured Thoroughbred”

Australian Coloured Standardbreds Stud. Standardbreds, originally derived from Thoroughbred and trotting stock, are the breed of horse used in Australian harness racing (as well as in many other countries). Like Thoroughbreds, they are usually solid coloured.

Nite Spot, a German-based coloured Thoroughbred stallion.


Quarab Horses

November 10, 2008

Regularly reading Australian Arabian Horse magazines, I kept coming across Quarab horses. While I guessed that it probably meant an Arab Horse with Quarter Horse blood, I figured I’d better investigate further.

Basically, the Quarter Horse x Arabian is called a Quarab. There is a breed registry for these horses in the USA, the International Quarab Horse Association.

Some useful links (with photos):

They look like beautiful horses, some more Quarter Horse type, others with the distinctive Arabian conformation often coupled with striking colour markings.


Melbourne Cup 2008 Winner – Viewed

November 4, 2008

Well, the Melbourne Cup 2008 has been run. As always, it was an exciting race with a very, very close photo finish. However, the winner was clear by – ooh – maybe an eyelash.

I had determined ahead of time that I would have a look at the pedigree of the winner, so here goes…

The place results of the Group 1 VRC Melbourne Cup 2008 (Tuesday, November 4) were:

1st – Viewed [AUS b. h. 2003] by Scenic (IRE 1986) from Lovers Knot (NZ 1990), by Khozaam (USA 1982).
2nd – Bauer [IRE gr. h. 2003] by Halling (USA 1991) from Dali’s Grey (GB 1996), by Linamix (FR 1987).
3rd – C’Est La Guerre [NZ b. g. 2004] by Shinko King (IRE 1991) from La Magnifique (NZ 1987), by Kampala (GB 1976).

Having a glance at the recent ancestors of Cup winner Viewed (AUS), I thought it would be worthwhile having a closer look at some of the names in his pedigree.

Sire: Scenic [IRE b. h. 1986] by Sadler’s Wells from Idyllic, by Foolish Pleasure.

Dam: Lovers Knot [NZ b. m. 1990] by Khozaam from Mount Tryst, from Sir Tristram.

Sadler’s Wells (USA b. h. 1981) – Northern Dancer x Fairy Bridge
Sadler’s Wells was a winner of several major races, and was the leading sire in various countries for several seasons in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Idyllic (USA b. m. 1982) – Foolish Pleasure x Where You Lead
This mare’s main claim to fame is simply as being the dam of Group 1 winner Scenic!

Khozaam (USA b. h. 1982) – Seattle Slew x Par Excellance
This stallion had success as a racehorse and has stood at stud in Australia and the Philippines.

Mount Tryst (NZ b. m. 1980) – Sir Tristram x Mountain Heights

Great Grandparents:
Northern Dancer (CAN b. h. 1961)
Nearctic (CAN br. h. 1954) x Natalma (b. m. 1957)
Northern Dancer won several major American races, including the 1964 Kentucky Derby. He won several awards both as a racehorse and breeding stallion. His descendants include Danehill (USA b. h. 1986, by Danzig, from Razyana), who sired many great Australian racehorses.

Fairy Bridge (USA b. m .1975)
Bold Reason (USA b. h. 1968) x Special (USA b. m. 1969).
Fairy Bridge won her only two race starts. Interestingly she was half-sister to Nureyev – that is, their mother was Special (USA b. m. 1969). Nureyev (USA b. h. 1977) was the son of Northern Dancer (CAN b. h. 1961). Northern Dancer was bred to Fairy Bridge to produce Sadler’s Wells. Clearly, something about the crossing of these family bloodlines was a success. Both Sadler’s Wells and Nureyev were highly successful and significant sires of champion racehorses. Nureyev was the damsire of Zabeel, who is mentioned below as the son of Sir Tristram (IRE b. h. 1971).

Foolish Pleasure (USA b. h. 1972)
What A Pleasure (USA ch. h. 1965) x Fool-Me-Not (USA b. m. 1958)
Foolish Pleasure carries a triple cross in the first five generations to Blenheim (GB br. h. 1927), through his great-grandfather Mahmoud (FR gr. h. 1933), through the great-great grandparent Mumtaz Begum (IRE b. m. 1932) and through the great-grandmother Bouillabaisse (GB ch. m. 1935). He also carries a double cross to Mumtaz Mahal (GB gr. m. 1921, by The Tetrarch from Lady Josephine), who was considered one of the fastest 2 year old filllies ever and in an influential broodmare in modern pedigrees.

Foolish Pleasure won many significant races and was US Champion 2 year old Colt in 1974. He won the 1975 Kentucky Derby.

Where You Lead (USA ch. m. 1970)
Raise A Native (USA ch. h. 1961) x Noblesse (GB ch. m. 1960)
Where You Lead was placed four times in four race starts, with three major race placings at Group 1 and Group 3 level.

Seattle Slew (USA br. h. 1974)
Bold Reasoning (USA br. h. 1968) x My Charmer (USA b. m. 1969)
Seattle Slew was winner of multiple major races including the 1977 Triple Crown, which consists of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

Par Excellance (CAN b. m. 1977)
L’Enjoleur (CAN b. h. 1972) x Cam Shaft (CAN ch. m. 1962)
Par Excellance was the winner of a few major races.

Sir Tristram (IRE b. h. 1971)

Sir Ivor (USA b. h. 1965) x Isolt (USA b. m. 1961)

A sire of Melbourne Cup winners Gurner’s Lane, Empire Rose and Brew, and major Australian and New Zealand major race winners. Sir Tristram’s son Zabeel was also a successful racehorse, and is the sire of major Australian race winners such as Might and Power (1997 Melbourne Cup), Octagonal (1996 AJC Derby), Jezabeel (1998 Melbourne Cup), and Efficient (2007 Melbourne Cup).

Mountain Heights (NZ br. m. 1972)

Rocky Mountain (FR br. h. 1966) x Wuthering Heights (NZ m. 1956)
In the first 5 generations, Viewed carries a double cross to Native Dancer (USA gr. h. 1950), through Northern Dancer’s dam Natalma (USA b. m. 1957) (Native Dancer x Almahoud); and through Where You Lead’s sire Raise A Native (USA ch. h. 1961) (Native Dancer x Raise You).

I always find it interesting exploring the families of major Australian race winners. Often, what one finds, is a rich history of amazing names in Thoroughbred horseracing. The human history that goes with these horses is likewise fascinating. Clearly, today’s Melbourne Cup winner has come from some quality bloodlines – and what an exciting race that was!

In case you aren’t sure, here’s a rough guide to interpreting the information.

“Sadler’s Wells (USA b. h. 1981) – Northern Dancer x Fairy Bridge”
This means that the horse Sadler’s Wells was born in the United States. “b. h.” is short for bay horse, that is, a bay coloured stallion. He was born in 1981. His father was Northern Dancer and his mother was Fairy Bridge.

Dam = mother horse
Sire = father horse
b = bay
gr = grey
bl = black
br = brown
ch = chestnut
h = horse (stallion)
m = mare (female horse)
Country of birth:
USA = the United States of America
AUS = Australia
GB = Great Britain
FR =  France
CAN = Canada
NZ = New Zealand

“by” = “referring to the last horse mentioned, its father was…”
“from” or “out of” = the horse’s mother

“Viewed [AUS b. h. 2003] by Scenic (IRE 1986) from Lovers Knot (NZ 1990), by Khozaam (USA 1982)” means:
The horse in question is named Viewed. Viewed is a bay stallion born in Australia in 2003. Viewed’s father is Scenic. Scenic was born in Ireland in 1986. Viewed’s mother is Lovers Knot. Lovers Knot was born in New Zealand in 1990. Lovers Knot’s father is Khozaam. Khozaam was born in the USA in 1982. This makes Khozaam the maternal grandsire (grandfather) of Viewed.

*You are encouraged to do the research yourself regarding these bloodlines. Information is given here in good faith but its accuracy is not guaranteed.*

References (all accessed 4 November 2008):


Flemington Melbourne Cup Carnival Race 2 Bloodstock Musings

November 4, 2008

As I write, the Flemington Melbourne Cup Day racing is on the tv in the background. I have always had a soft spot for Thoroughbreds, and while it’s been less frequent in the recent past, I spent a lot of time during the last decade studying the bloodlines of Australian Thoroughbred Horses. The best location for this is the Australian Thoroughbred Studbook.

I’m not particularly interested in gambling, nor in the inane vanity of the fashions and ‘celebrities’ that make up the between-race chatter. But the bloodlines of certain Australian lines of horses have been of interest to me – especially those of Thoroughbred, Arabian, and Standardbred lines. Perhaps its just convenient that each of these breeds are involved in racing! More information available, you see! And they’re beautiful creatures, that does help.

I looked up the winners of the previous two races just out of curiosity. Watching the horses in the mounting yard before Race 2, the mare Origami Miss caught my eye. Lean, beautiful, lovely walking action. I tipped her as one of the two horses most likely to win the 1700 m – which she did. After that I announced that I absolutely must check out her pedigree for more information. An animal that beautiful must be from a quality family, right?! Her immediate family does throw up some significant and high quality names.

ORIGAMI MISS, Winner Race 1700 m handicap, Flemington, Victoria, Australia – Tuesday, 4 November 2008.

Origami Miss (AUS) 2004 is by Helissio (FR b. h. 1993) out of Royal Isolt (AUS ch. m. 1998), by Royal Academy (USA b. h. 1987). Helissio is by Fairy King (USA b. h. 1982) from Helice (USA 1988). He is an attractive 16.2hh stallion who won several Group 1 and 2 races in France during his racing career, as well as a place in the Japan Cup, Tokyo.

Helissio‘s sire is Fairy King (by Northern Dancer [CAN 1961] from Fairy Bridge [USA 1975], by Bold Reason [USA 1968]. Interestingly about Fairy King, he is a full brother to the legendary Sadler’s Wells (USA b. h. 1981) whose progeny are extremely successful in top class European racing. Sadler’s Wells is a horseracing icon, with his great success at racing and stud. His daughter Playful Act set an astounding world record price for a Thoroughbred broodmare, sold for USD$10.5 million at the 2007 November Keeneland breeding stock sale.

References (all accessed 4 November 2008):
Australian Stud Book

Racing Victoria Limited

Stud Information on Helissio:

All-Breed Database

Coolmore Stud




horses and apologetics

July 25, 2008

I have just stumbled across a website that manages to combine two of my most favourite discussion topics – Christian apologetics and horses! So I just had to let others know about it.

It’s called “eQuest for Truth” and can be found at I think the title is clever!

So, if you’ve ever wondered how horses can be incorporated into Christian ministry, they have some pretty good ideas at the eQuest website.


The Neighbours Had Kittens

February 18, 2008

Visual Diary Kitty

9.57 pm – Monday 14 January 2008

The neighbour’s cat had kittens, and they play in our driveway. They’re so cute.  I love cats… and dogs… and rabbits… and ponies… and cattle… and, well, I like animals. Simple as that – probably why I became a vegetarian (that was back in 1995 … still veg!)

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