It's In The Blood


Phearson (Exosphere) struck a blow for old-fashioned Australian bloodlines with his bold all-the-way display for a second career Group 3 success in Saturday’s Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Randwick.

No fewer than 10 of the first 14 names in the gelding’s pedigree have (AUS) beside them. What’s more, the other four are from the country just next door, with two of those achieving racetrack glory in Australia in Octagonal (Zabeel) and Shadea (Straight Strike), the parents of Exosphere’s sire Lonhro.

Looking back a shade, the most notable duplications involve some regal colonial names.

First, Kaoru Star (Star Kingdom) is doubled up at 5f x 4f through Confidentially, dam of Exosphere’s damsire Danzero (Danehill), and No Finer, the dam of Pins (Snippets), Phearson’s damsire.

Kaoru Star was in fact the winner of just one black-type race, and it was probably more grey than black, in the 1967 QTC Hopeful Stakes (Listed, 5f). That was a principal race that died out altogether just three years later, although it has some credibility in being won by Gunsynd (Sunset Hue) in 1969, the first of the great grey’s 22 stakes victories.

But, a little like how I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) won only a Group 3 and a Listed, Kaoru Star went on to be a stand-out at stud, siring 36 winners of 84 stakes races. These were headed by five-time Group 1 victor Planet Ruler, triple top-tier victors Full On Aces and Marceau, and of course the flying Luskin Star, winner of six modern Group 1s including – like Full On Aces – the Golden Slipper.

The next Aussie titan crossed into Phearson is Biscay (Star Kingdom), coming in at 5m x 5m through two heavyweight sons: Marscay, sire of Exosphere’s second dam; and Bletchingly, the grandsire of Phearson’s crack second dam Miss Distinction (Bletchencore).

For all that Biscay is a household name, in proper households at least, he was another whose racing career – despite six wins from eight starts – reads as relatively modest and was far eclipsed by his stud deeds.

Biscay’s three stakes wins were of the lower-level two-year-old variety, in Caulfield’s Debutant (Listed, 4f) and Merson Cooper Stakes (Gr 3, 6f), both modern Listeds, and Flemington’s Maribyrnong Plate (Gr 2, 5f), now a Group 3. He ran fourth in the 1968 Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 6f).

But at stud he sired 41 winners of 85 stakes races, with 10 winners of modern Group 1s headed by the outstanding Bounding Away, who claimed six at the top level, ranging from the Blue Diamond (Gr 1, 1200m)-Golden Slipper double to the Australian Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m); plus dual Oaks winner Lowan Star and Oakleigh Plate (Gr 1, 1100m) victors Scarlet Bisque and Zephyr Bay.

Biscay was never champion sire, but two of his sons were, in his other Golden Slipper winner Marscay (1991, 93) and Bletchingly, who won a modern elite-level race in the 1975 The Galaxy then a Group 2 (1100m), and scored three champion sire titles in the seasons when his most famous offspring Kingston Town was in his pomp (1980-82).

Of course, where you have Kaoru Star and Biscay, you have spade-loads of that fountainhead of Australian breeding, Star Kingdom (Stardust, by Hyperion).

The great British import was champion sire four years on end, from 1959 through 1962, then won another after a two-year gap, whilst his arch ‘rival’ Wilkes (Court Martial) won his first two of three.

Star Kingdom sired 57 winners of 172 stakes races, with his greatest racetrack performers headed by the champion Sky High, winner of 26 principal races, including no fewer than 18 modern Group 1s, ranging from the 1000 metres of Flemington’s Lightning Stakes and the 1200 metres of the Golden Slipper, to the then-2400 metres of the 1960 Victoria Derby.

There were also six-time modern Group 1 winners Time And Tide and Kingster, five time top-tier victor and inaugural Slipper hero and leading sire Todman, plus quadruple Group 1 winners Noholme and Fine And Dandy – one of five Star Kingdom offspring to take the Slipper.

For all that, in a Darwinian circumstance, the Star Kingdom sireline has all but died out. It’s down to its very last sire, and that’s not looking good. It’s Toorak Toff, who comes from Star Kingdom-Biscay-Bletchingly-Cossack Warrior-Brave Warrior-Show A Heart, and who has had three minor stakes-winners from nine crops of runners and covered six mares in Tasmania last season.

And yet we see how Star Kingdom can still pack a punch elsewhere in a pedigree such as Phearson’s, where he’s present at 6m, 6m x 5m, 6m.

That was a handy bit of spice for Glenlogan Farm’s Steve Morley, who designed the mating for Phearson by putting his dam Chateau D’Yquem (Pins) to Exosphere, when the Golden Rose (Gr 1, 1400m) winner was in his first season at Darley.

As an aside, how is the Golden Rose going as a stallion-maker? In 20 runnings up until the past five, it’s been won by only one subsequent stand-out sire – Zoustar (Northern Meteor) in 2010. And unlike most of the other 19, he also claimed a stronger stallion-maker in Flemington’s Coolmore Stud Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m).

The other 19 include Duporth (Red Ransom), Denman (Lonhro), the aforementioned Star Kingdom flag-bearer Toorak Toff, Epaulette (Commands), Hallowed Crown (Street Sense), and Astern (Medaglia D’Oro). Then there’s Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) and The Autumn Sun (Redoute’s Choice), who still need more time to rise or fall, and have won bigger races besides.

Of the past five winners – Bivouac (Exceed And Excel), Ole Kirk (Written Tycoon), In The Congo (Snitzel) and Jacquinot (Rubick) have just started siring, and Militarize (Dundeel) is still racing.

Back to Phearson, Glenlogan made a splash by paying $420,000 at the Karaka Yearling Sale of 2008 for Chateau D’Yquem, in an auction averaging $94,000. By Snippets’ (Lunchtime) far-and-away finest sire son Pins (83 stakes-winners), she was well credentialed.

One half-sister, Gee I Jane (Jahafil), was New Zealand’s champion sprinter-miler of 2005-06, winning a Group 1 at home in the Telegraph Handicap (Gr 1, 1200m) and another in Brisbane’s BTC Cup (Gr 1, 1200m). Another half-sister was Miss Jessie Jay (Spectacularphantom), who’d won three lower-level stakes races.

Better was soon to come. Miss Jessie Jay threw New Zealand’s champion 2YO and 3YOs of 2009-10 in, respectively, Banchee (Oratorio) and Katie Lee (Pins), the latter being Chateau D’Yquem’s three-quarter sister.

And Chateau D’Yquem made an early dash at living up to her family, winning two of four starts in early 2010 for Peter Moody, the last at Caulfield, before breaking down.

“She was a beautifully-bred mare, and very talented,” Morley tells It’s In The Blood. “Peter always had the opinion that she was a black-type mare, but she tore a tendon and we never saw the best of her.”

Chateau D’Yquem’s first four foals were all fillies who were short on ability and size.

“So for her fifth foal we were after a bigger, rangier type of stallion,” Morley says. “The first priority in that mating was physical, and then we’d find the right match genetically.”

Exosphere, kicking off at Darley for $27,500 (inc GST) and a fair lump of a sire at 16.3 hands, fitted the bill.

“She was a very easy mare to mate genetically, being a Snippets-line mare out of a Bletchingly mare,” Morley says,There were plenty of lines open to us.”

Morley likes seeing Kaoru Star and Biscay doubled up in a pedigree together. He was also keen on an American, Relic (War Relic) duplicated at 6m x 6f, as the second damsire of Octagonal and Bletchingly’s damsire.

“The stallions I liked the most in their duplications and their positions were Kaoru Star and Relic,” says Morley. “You’ve also got half-siblings crossed like Northern Dancer and Spring Adieu, which is very common, and Nasrullah and Dodoma.”

Nasrullah (Nearco) makes six varied appearances, through five different sons and a daughter, while his half-sister out of the influential Mumtaz Begum (Blenheim), Dodoma (Dastur), appears in Pins’ female side.

Mumtaz Begum crops up eight times in Phearson’s nine-gen pedigree, through Nasrullah and two separate daughters, and her dam – the great Mumtaz Mahal (The Tetrarch) – is there four times in the first nine rows, three through Mumtaz Begum and once via another daughter in Rustom Mahal (Rustom Pasha).

So, with this Australian-flavoured pedigree, backed by rich European lines and a dash of Americana all put together, Glenlogan decided to sell Chateau D’Yquem in foal. And thus Fernrigg Farm – who bought her in their infancy for $130,000 – goes down as the breeder of Phearson. They sold him for $65,000 at Inglis Classic of 2019.

“We bought the mare because it was a family we really quite liked,” says Fernrigg’s Rae-Louise Kelly. “We were just setting up and didn’t have the money for huge expensive buys, but we were also fans of Exosphere, and we bought two mares in foal to him.

“Phearson was a very straightforward foal, quite scopey and very relaxed.”

That trait runs in the family. A video posted by Kelly of Phearson’s younger half-brother, who turned out to be Da Optimist (Exceed And Excel), went viral, possibly for the wrong reasons, since while he was supposed to be out being hand-walked, he decided to lay down for a little rest.

Sold by Fernrigg for $100,000 to New Zealand’s Lyndhurst Farm, Da Optimist months later became the equal second top lot, fetching $525,000, at the 2020 Karaka Ready-To-Run Sale. He went to Hong Kong, where he was an abject failure, and has returned home to win at Waikato and Taranaki.

Similarly, Exosphere hasn’t made many headlines as a sire, and now stands at Queensland’s Oaklands Stud for just $6,000 (inc GST). But, with eight crops on the ground, he’s made some recent inroads.

This season, the 11-year-old has had three stakes-winners, amidst 37 winners from 94 runners. Phearson has two of his four stakes wins, with last Saturday following Rosehill’s Festival Stakes (Gr 3, 1500m) in December, while Moonee Valley Classic (Gr 2, 1600m) winner Skybird has emerged as a star of the future.

Exosphere’s most successful progeny, however, still counts as Easter, a six-year-old gelding born of his one 2016 season of shuttling to Darley in Europe. Easter races in the US and claimed a second Grade 2 in December as his third stakes victory.

Whatever went into Phearson, his trainer Brad Widdup is delighted with how the six-year-old has progressed.

“He’s always shown above average ability, and he’s made the progression through his grades to stakes class that most of them can’t achieve,” said Widdup, who feels Phearson throws more to his Snippets/Pins line dam than his sire.

“I was at Godolphin when Exosphere was running, and he was a big hulk of a horse. Phearson’s long, lanky and lean. He’s a strong bugger, but he’s more of a lean, mean fighting machine.”

Privacy Preference Center


Cookies that are primarily for advertising purposes



These are used to track user interaction and detect potential problems. These help us improve our services by providing analytical data on how users use this site.

_ga, _gid, _hjid, _hjIncludedInSample,