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Mustard - a legend of the Sydney turf

It was a little difficult with the conclusion of Sydney's big carnival to reflect on the fact that there was no Mustard. The grand old warhorse retired in 2012, so this was the first year that we haven't seen him since he started racing way back in 2001.  In the modern thoroughbred world which sees plenty of young horses barely make it to their 3yo season, it is worth looking a little more closely at the career, and pedigree, of the former black type winner, Mustard.

The most notable thing is that Mustard has just celebrated his 13th birthday. This is a far cry from many horses who seem to struggle to race through their second and third years. To put this into some sort of perspective, Mustard raced against horses like Pimpala Player, Shags, Impaler, Gullcatcher, Academe, Jetspur and even Murphy’s Blu Boy. Of course, he also faced off against one of the great Australian sprinters in Takeover Target, most notably when he ran second to that gelding in the 2004 Pacesetter Stakes in Gosford. If we look at the sires of the runners that Mustard defeated on the weekend, we see that the youngest is Choisir, who was remarkably foaled only a couple of months before Mustard first hit the racetrack. In fact, when Choisir retired to stud after his successful UK campaign, Mustard had had his 30th race start in Australia.

Mustard took his earnings to a little over three quarters of a million dollar with his 16th win at his 107th race start. What may be even more remarkable is that Mustard had some 18 months off racing between August 2007 and April 2009. In an astonishing training performance, Mustard then raced from April 2009 to May 2010 without a spell. His most noted wins came at Group 3 level in the 2006 Star Kingdom Stakes over 1100m at Rosehill beating Shannon Bank and Denmarket, and the Concorde Stakes later that year over the same course and distance, this time defeating Regal Cheer.

The gelding is out of a Rigoletta mare in Altezza who had won two races in Sydney from 1400 to 1550m. She has had an interesting breeding history, with Mustard being her first foal. Unfortunately the mare was to not have another foal until 2006 when she foaled another colt by Magic Albert. To date, this horse named Chromed has yet to earn prize money in three career starts. Altezza subsequently produced a filly by Catbird, and two more colts by Excites and Shaft before again not being covered this last season. None of these later foals have yet made it to the races, so I am sure that connections have high hopes that at least one can follow in the footsteps of Mustard.

Altezza is a daughter of Princess Talaria who won four stakes races in the One Thousand Guineas, Gimcrack Stakes, Edward Manifold Stakes and Marlboro Classic in distances ranging from 1000m to 1600m. Princess Talaria was by the underrated Dignitas, by Round Table. At stud, Princess Talaria was a good producer, with six winners coming from her nine live foals. The best of these was perhaps the stakes placed Pearl Princess by Biscay who ran third in a Gimcrack Stakes. The daughters of Princess Talaria though have gone on to greater success with five of these producing stakes winners of their own. Pearl Princess went on to produce Silver Flyer by Kenmare, while others have produced The Mikado, Valuate, Deianiro and Sir Amadi. Interestingly, the granddaughters of Princess Talaria are also becoming prominent broodmares with Royal Purler and Magsaya both seeing this good mare as their grand dam.

If we were to delve a little further into the pedigree of Mustard though, we see that he has some more famous relatives than these. The female family actually traces to a mare called Field Rose who was imported to Australia from New Zealand around the turn of the 20th century. She actually produced a horse called First Principle, by the Champion Australian stallion, Malster, who was to win the 1914 Doncaster Handicap. A number of good stallions hail from this family, with perhaps the most important being Covetous by Luskin Star who was to produce ten stakes winners including the ill fated St Covet, who was one of the early stallions to stand at Glenlogan Park Stud in Queensland, and the excellent mare, With Me who won seven stakes races including the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate. Another stallion to share this female line was Pag Asa, a relatively moderate sire but the producer of one of New Zealand’s best horses in Bonecrusher. Pag Asa was a full brother to Covetous but stood in New Zealand. He sired seven stakes winners in total, including Quick Score who won the 1992 Apollo Stakes, but will forever be remembered for the deeds of Bonecrusher. Bonecrusher won a total of fifteen stakes races, of which six of these were in Australia. These were the AJC Derby, Australian Cup, Caulfield, Tancred and Underwood Stakes, and the 1986 Cox Plate.

The third interesting stallion from the family comes in the form of Haulpak who was a full brother to Princess Talaria. Haulpak stood in Western Australia and produced 32 stakes winners, although few had success outside of his local state. Among some of his best runners in the east were Chanteclair who won the Tramway, Hobartville and Ampol Stakes and the Epsom Handicap in 1986. Coal Pak had won a number of stakes races in WA before coming over to win the Oakleigh Plate also in that year. Paklani, Roadsong, Ropak and Pashenka’s Gem are other progeny of Haulpak to win stakes races in NSW and Victoria.

Sticks And Stones, the half brother to Haulpak by Faringdon is yet another stallion from this family. He produced only three stakes winners including the listed winners Full Page and Regal Habit. His best progeny was Our Diamond Lover, a result of a mating with this stallion and the wonderful broodmare, Eight Carat. Interestingly, Diamond Lover is the only Australian bred progeny of the mare who was later exported to New Zealand where she struck incredible success when covered by the fathr and son duo of Sir Tristram and Zabeel. Our Diamond Lover won the Group 1 Railway Handicap in WA, but went on to even greater success as a broodmare when she produced four stakes winners in Antwerp, Don Eduardo, Peruzzi and Tristalove. All have gone on to stud with varying amounts of success. Antwerp was to produce the wonderful galloper and good sire in Viscount, while Tristalove has produced full brothers Viking Ruler and Kempinsky. Her daughter, Chimeara also has gone on to produce De Beers, winner of 2006 Rosehill Guineas who now stands at Lindsay Park and whose oldest foals are now yearlings.

This all brings us back to Mustard, who is by Vettori, one of the earlier shuttle stallions. Vettori was a son of Machaivellian, by Mr Prospector, and had won the 1996 French Two Thousand Guineas over 1600m. He came to Australia from 1996 to 2000. Vettori produced only five stakes winners in Australia including Sound Action, who won the Ranvet Stakes and Australasian Oaks, and the grand old galloper, St Basil who won the 2005 Stradbroke as a rising nine year old. If we look at the six generation pedigree of Mustard, we see relatively little duplication of ancestors present. In fact, only the great Nasrullah who is found through his son, Nashua, and his daughter, Courtesy, the dam of Dignitas, and another legendary stallion in Princequillo are repeated. Princequillo appears through his most famous daughter, Somethingroyal, the dam of Sir Gaylord, as well as Quill who is the third dam of Vettori, and his son, Round Table, the sire of Dignitas.

In terms of dosage, we see that Mustard has a profile that reads [0.77/2/25] [10-3-10-3-0]. Often, we will say that the range of dosage indices between 2.00 and 2.50 are synonymous with versatile types of horses. While Mustard has only won between 1100m and 1400m, there are probably some who would argue that there is little in terms of versatility there. However, for those who understand the principles of dosage, much of Varola’s work related to developmental issues. Mustard has raced almost every year from ages two to thirteen, so in terms of versatility relating to age, I suspect that there have ever been many more versatile even if he competed over similar distances.

For those in the industry that seem to think that horses have a use by date, it was great to see old warhorses like Mustard proving that there is more to the thoroughbred than speedy two year olds


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