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  Family C-12: Contessa

The Contessa family had a burst of brilliance at the beginning of the twentieth century, and then subsided into quiescence, producing minor winners for almost one hundred years until AJC Newmarket Handicap winner Swiftly Ann (1972, by Swiftly Morgan), emerged to win eighteen races and the goodly sum of Au$77,130 in her turf career. Her grandson, Hobartville Stakes winner Swiftly Carson (1985, by Luskin Star) and the offspring of his two unraced sisters, Pride of Tahnee (1984, by Best Western) and Traffic Watch (1991 by Salieri) have revitalized the family with high-class runners, one of which, the good racemare Lashed, recently began her career as a broodmare.

The family extends back to a mare by Herald, who arrived in Australia in 1827, imported by the Australian Agricultural Company. The A.A. Company was formed to encourage development and investment in New South Wales, in which shareholders were granted a million acres of land by the British government for a nominal 1s.6d/acre fee and would invest in imported livestock. Herald was used as a stallion at the company's leased property, The Retreat, at South Creek, and died a year after his arrival, so his unnamed daughter in this pedigree would date to 1828. The Herald mare, was bred to the important early stallion Rous' Emigrant, who stood at the Bungarribee stud near The Retreat. It is probable the Herald mare was sold, in foal, at the short-lived A.A. company's dispersal sale in 1834, to Captain John Macarthur, a military officer who had a significant influence on the economic development of New South Wales and on the bloodstock industry. Iris, by Rous' Emigrant, was born in 1834 at Macarthur's Camden Park Stud at Camden, likely the most significant thoroughbred nursery in the country at the time; ultimately Macarthur's holdings at Camden encompassed over 60,000 acres in grants and purchases.

Macarthur died the year Iris was born, and Camden Park's operations were assumed by his sons, James, William and Edward. The brothers imported thoroughbreds and purchased high-class native-bred and imported horses for Camden Park Stud; the arabian Satellite, that had been imported from Madras (India) in 1822, stood at Camden Park for some years, where he got Iris' daughter, Messenger (1845). Both Iris and Messenger were sold in March of 1858 in an unreserved sale at Camden Park. Messenger became the property of J. King Lethbridge, whose colonist father, Robert, settled at Werrington, near Sydney, while her daughter, an unnamed filly by Euclid, born around 1857 at Camden Park, was bought by Charles Grant Tindal, who had purchased the Clarence River station Ramornie, at Copmanhurst in 1852 (over a decade after the notorious massacre of Aborigines there).

Imported Pitsford, a winner of the 2,000 Guineas, stood at Ramornie, where he got some good racehorses and proved to be an excellent broodmare sire; taproot mare Beatrice (Family C-24) was one of his daughters. When the Euclid filly was put to the native-born Gemma-di-Vergy (imported in utero in 1863, later also dam's sire of Heris (Family C-14) and Myrtle (Family C -15)) , she dropped Contessa (1869), for whom this family is named.

Contessa became a broodmare in the Biraganbil stud of Richard Rouse, Jr., located on the vast acreage of Biraganbil station at Mudgee, near Gulgong. There she produced eight colts and three fillies. Her daughter, Marvelette (1886, by Marvellous), bred at Biraganbil, was the mare to establish the racing excellence of the family at the turn of the twentieth century, with four superior stakes winners. The family recently re-emerged from relative obscurity in Western Central NSW with such horses as the popular Australian gelding Shogun Lodge (1996) and his half-brothers, and the good Australian-bred/New Zealand-owned mare Lashed (1999).

Notable Descendants


Shogun Lodge
Shogun Lodge

Lashed ch.f. 1999
(Encosta de Lago - Traffic Watch)
Bred by Mrs. C.M. Upjohn, NSW, and raced by Sir Patrick Hogan, this good filly, winner of 7 races between 1300 and 2000 meters and over Au$900,000, first ran in Australia, where she won the SAJC Alcohol Go Easy Stakes, the SAJC Sires' Produce Stakes, and the 1600 meter VRC A.V. Kewney Stakes. In New Zealand she won three prestigious races at 2000 meters: the ARC New Zealand Stakes, the ARC Zabeel Classic (by 11-1/2 lengths), and the WaikRC International Stakes. She was bred to Zabeel, at the Hogan's Cambridge Stud, late in 2004, and ran while pregnant in the Auckland Darley Stakes the following March, placing third to the gelded Xcellent and the colt St. Reims. Thus far, her unraced dam Traffic Watch has also bred Watch the Tycoon, a minor winner. Her second dam, Tahnee's Pride, won twice at 1400 and 1600 meters, including a dead-heat for the Gosford Classic, and was half-sister to Swiftly Carson, a winner of five races, including the AJC Hobartville Stakes, as well as to the unraced Pride of Tahnee, dam of Shogun Lodge (see below).

Marvel Loch ch.f. 1899
(Lochiel - Marvelette)
"One of the soundest, hardest, and most genuine stayers on the Australian Turf," Marvel Loch was one of several first-class winners out of the sturdy mare Marvelette (1886). Owned by John McMaster of the Central West NSW, her principal wins were the AJC Metrpolitan Handicap and Autumn Stakes (12 furlongs), the RRC Rawson Stakes and the Tattersall's Rawson Stakes (both 9 furlongs), and the VATC Eclipse Stakes and the Caulfield Cup (12 furlongs), in the latter beating 30 other horses carrying 8 st-7 lbs. The mining town Marvel Loch, near Southern Cross, was named in her honor. Her daughter, Lochano (1908, by Positano) was another top stayer, winner of the AJC Doncaster Handicap in 1912, and the 13 furlong AJC Summer Cup in 1914, and her line bred on into the late 20th century, although without its earlier excellence. Marvel Loch's brother, Strathroy won seven races, including the AJC Summer Cup and VRC Loch Plate, both 14 furlongs, before his export to India, where, under the name Loch Arden, he won the Grand Annual Hurdle Race. A half-brother, Binnia (1902, by Grafton) won the AJC Sires' Produce Stakes (6 furlongs), and a half-sister, Noreen (1901, by True Blue), was another grand staying mare, winner of the Sydney Cup (16 furlongs) and the AJC Randwick Plate (18 furlongs). Noreen was bred by Samuel A. Blackman, a pastoralist at Cooyal, Mudgee, where he bred a number of good runners; his son, Sydney, was a jockey for the McMaster family when young. Marvelette (1886, by Marvelous) was bred at the Biraganbil Stud, Mudgee by Richard Rouse Jr., son of George Rouse, and grandson of Richard Rouse Snr., an early settler in the Hawkesbury area and owner of a number of famous horses, including Jorrocks, Hercules, and the imported stallion St. John.

Shogun Lodge ch.g. 1996
(Grand Lodge - Pride of Tahnee)
Popular, long-running Australian-bred and raced gelding won eleven graded stakes and two other races in 58 starts and over Au$4.6 million, from 1000 to 2000 meters, including the AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000 meters), the AJC Epsom Handicap (1600 meters), the Canterbury Stakes (1200 meters), the AJC George Main Stakes (beating the great Sunline), and the GCTC A.D. Hollindale Cup (1800 meters) twice. Of his twelve second places, he was runner-up in the AJC Derby and VRC Derby, and was second twice in the Doncaster Handicap, including a loss, at age five, by a whisker to Sunline, both horses carrying top weight. Later that season he was diagnosed with a heart murmer, but continued racing and winning until the 2003 Emirates Stakes (Groups 1), when he dropped dead during the running from a heart attack. He was bred by Mr. and Mrs. I. Millard, and trained by Bob Thomsen at Randwick for B.T. Aquilina and P.M. Bareta. His dam, the unraced Pride of Tahnee (1984, by Best Western) bred seven other winners, including G-1 winning geldings Referral (1994, by Dr. Grace, winner of over Au$1.4 million, including STC George Ryder Stakes, AJC Villiers Stakes, and the Hawkesbury Gold Cup) and the brilliant sprinter Singing the Blues (1993, by Bluebird, winner of eleven races in twenty starts to 1300 meters, including the VATC Oakleigh Plate). A half-sister to Pride of Tahnee, the unraced Traffic Watch, was dam of Lashed (see above). Another unraced half-sister, Sweet Luskin, bred three winners, including stakes-placed Ella Fire.

Descent Chart

Bold=winners of stakes races and important handicap and weight-for-age races

Mare (f. c1827) by Herald
 Iris (dk.br.f. 1834) by Rous' Emigrant
  Messenger (dkbr.f. 1845) by Satellite
   Mare (f. c1857) by Euclid
    Contessa (b.f. 1869) by Gemma di Vergy
      Marvelette (b.f. 1886) by Marvellous
       Strathroy (ch.c. 1894) by Lochiel
       Marvel Loch (ch.f. 1899) by Lochiel
       | Lochano (b.f. 1908) by Positano
       | Lochacre (f. 1917) by Linacre
       |  Brazen Loch (f. 1928) by Brazen
       |   Hilda May (f. 1940) by Tenacious
       |   | Binnia Maid (f. 1948) by Binnia Hero
       |   |  Gay Mortal (f. 1958) by Immortal
       |   |   Nuli Secundis (br.f. 1968) by Tudor Royal
       |   |    Nuli Gay (br. f. 1974) by Bandito
       |   |     
       |   Binnia Lassie (f. 1941) by Spear Chief
       |    Dulcieann (br.f. 1956) by Tossing
       |     Swiftly Ann (b.f. 1972) by Swiftly Morgan
       |      Tahnee's Pride (ch.f. 1979) by Boucher
       |       Pride of Tahnee (ch.f. 1984) by Best Western
       |       | Singing the Blues (b.c. 1993) by Bluebird
       |       | Referral (b.g. 1994) by Dr. Grace
       |       | Shogun Lodge (ch.g. 1996) by Grand Lodge
       |       Swiftly Carson (ch.c. 1985) by Luskin Star
       |       Traffic Watch (f. 1991) by Salieri
       |        Lashed (ch.f. 1999) by Encosta de Lago
       Noreen (br.f. 1901) by True Blue
       Binnia (b.c. 1902) by Grafton

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