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  Family C-20: Sybil

This family is still active and successful, with two champion New Zealand fillies -- Let's Sgor (1987) and Spring Rain (1997) -- representing it within the last 15 years, both having won some races at Wellington, not far from the roots of their family line.

Like several other colonial families with New Zealand taproot mares, its origin traces back to a mare imported from New South Wales when British regiments were sent to New Zealand to secure land claims by early settlers. Its roots are firmly lodged in the rich farming Wanganui district of New Zealand, where a garrison was established to defend settlement disputed by the Maoris. The unknown imported mare produced a filly to the cover of Aether, the stallion brought to Wanganui by Henry Petre (originally named Petre in his honor as a director of the New Zealand Company, which established the settlement). Henry Petre (see Family C-17) brought both Aether and Riddlesworth to the Wellington area in 1843, the first thoroughbred stallions imported into New Zealand directly from Great Britain. Aether (1836), whose sire, St. Patrick, was a son of Walton, had been a fairly good stayer in England, winning Ascot's Albany Stakes, and second to Euclid in the Grand Duke Michael Stakes and the St. Leger Stakes. He spent a short time in New Zealand before being shipped off to New South Wales, where he did good stud duty, before being returned to New Zealand in the late 1850s.

This unnamed Aether mare was bred to Riddlesworth, who was at stud in Wellington until 1857, and in 1855 dropped Sybil for her breeder, Major William Rawson Trafford. The then-Lieutenant Trafford arrived in New Zealand from Sydney, Australia, with the 65th (2nd Yorkshire North Riding) Regiment of Foot in 1846, which was initially dispersed to Wahapu and Wellington, with headquarters at Auckland. The regiment's companies were dispatched to various locations in the North Island throughout its long service in New Zealand through 1865, notably the Battle of St. John's Wood, near Wanganui (July, 1847), and the Taranaki wars ("Second New Zealand War") of 1860-61. Trafford was at Wanganui in the Battle of St. John's Wood, and by the time the early race meetings were held at Wanganui in 1848-50, he was a captain, reputedly the best horseman of his time, winning races on the gelded Slipper. By 1860 Trafford was a major, commanding a small company consisting mostly of local militia at Wellington, and Sybil had passed into the hand of John Walker who settled at Wanganui and established the Aramoho Hotel north of it. Trafford also had an impact on colonial bloodlines as the owner of Sharkie (Family C - 17).

John Walker kept race meetings at Wanganui alive during the Maori uprisings, laying out a racetrack there and providing prize money. The great stallion Traducer, who changed hands many times, was owned by Walker and L. Daniell in the 1860s, and it was his early thoroughbred foals from the late '60s, such as Envy, Lurline and Defamation, that salvaged him from a life as a sire of half-breds at Wanganui. For Walker, Sybil bred four foals, two, Retribution (1863) and an unnamed chestnut colt (1864) by the Aether son St. Patrick, who had been bred while Aether was in Australia and imported into New Zealand, and two, Mystery Girl (1868) and Glenara (1870) by Peter Flat (1853, by Flatcatcher, imported to New Zealand by the Lee brothers from Great Britain in 1861). In 1874 Sybil dropped her last recorded foal, Young Sybil (1874, by Touchstone son Ravensworth (1860, imported to NZ 1865), brought into the Wairarapa, near Wellington by Richard Collins), for Charles Nairn and his brother, who established Pourerere, the first sheep station in Hawke's Bay and won many horseraces in meetings in the Hutt Valley and Waipureku in the 1850s and '60s.

Mystery Girl, bred by Walker, is the mare through which the family descends. She bred five foals between 1874 and 1880 for J.W. Jackson of Wanganui, a founder of the Taranaki Jockey Club. Jackson's stallion, Opawa, won the first two runnings of the Taranaki Cup (1876 and 1877), after traveling miles from Wanganui to New Plymouth for the race; in 1876 during the two-day meeting Opawa (by Ravensworth) won the Cup and three other races, a total of seven miles and five furlongs worth of racing. Opawa was the sire of Cheshire Lass (1876) and Conundrum (1879) from Mystery Girl, but it was Wairuareka (1880), by the Wanganui-based stallion The Painter (sire of the good race mare Denbigh that was later dam of the outstanding steeplechaser Moifaa), that briefly continued the family line.

After 1880 it was U. Marumaru, a Maori, who bred Mystery Girl's four additional foals. Rangipuhi (1887, by the Lord Clifden son Feve; imported to Auckland in 1875 by R. Fergusson) was a successful runner that won the 1894 Hawke's Bay Cup, and the WRC Handicap and WRC Thompson Handicap. Mystery Girl's daughter Muriwai (1888, by the Musket son Torpedo, imported from Australia by William Douglas to his Te Mahanga station at Hawke's Bay), was the mare that continued the family line, producing Miss Terina (1899), Canterbury Cup winner Apa (1902), and the good race mare and broodmare Equitas (1905, see below).

Notable Descendants

Equitas b.f. 1905
(Advance - Muriwai)
She was a speedy mare and pivotal in the family, since it was her staying offspring that continued the family line to the present. A story recounted in Tapestry of the Turf states she was a high strung filly and spent her first few years pulling a mail coach from Marton. Purchased by Tommy Lloyd, she was put to racing, winning her first three starts. In the ownership of F. Preston, she proved a good sprinter and weight-carrier, winning the CJC Steward's Handicap (6 furlongs), the WRC Telegraph Handicap, WRC Thompson Handicap (8 furlongs) and Champion Plate (10 furlongs), the Auckland Racing Club King's Plate (8 furlongs) and the ARC Islington Plate, beating the the famous, versatile black gelding Bobrikoff twice. Her half-brother, Apa (1902, by Addington), won the CJC Metroplitan Handicap in 1908.

Equitas bred two daughters that continued the family line. The first, Oratress (1915, by Demosthenes), was a good stayer. In 1919-1920, running for her breeder, F. Preston, she dead-heated with George Stead's Kilmoon for the 1-1/2 mile Wellington Cup. Sold to S.J. Gibbons, who would later use her in the stud, she won the New Zealand Cup. Oratress was a stellar broodmare, dam of the good stayers Oratrix, Concentrate and Oratory (see below), and four of her daughters bred on with some success, notably Oratory (1932) and Lady Oratress (1934), both of which have descendants racing today. The second Equitas daughter to continue the line was Equitant (1926, by Paper Money) -- Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) winner Hashi Hermit (1976) was one of her descendants. Equitas also bred a son, Murihaupo (1920), a winner of the DJC Hazlett Memorial Plate, and Martinaette (1921, by Martian), who was the dam of 1957 Awapuni Gold Cup winner Berne (1948).

Concentrate b.c. 1925
(Kilbroney - Oratress)
Superior New Zealand stayer by a high-class sire that tended to get late-maturing big horses that could go a distance. He was bred by S.J. Gibbons, who owned and raced his dam, and bred his siblings and half-siblings. He was sold for 800 guineas to Robert J. Murphy, a long-time commitee member of the Wellington Racing Club who had big successes with Concentrate's sister, Oratrix, and with two other stellar mares later on, Cuddle and Peerless. Trained by H.B. Lorrigan at Heretaunga, Concentrate failed to place in the New Zealand and Great Northern Derbies, but showed his preference for long-going when he won the New Zealand St. Leger and then the Great Northern St. Leger in the 1928-29 season. The next season he won the Auckland Cup, beating Star Stranger, and then the Wellington Cup, beating that good horse again, but Star Stranger turned the tables on him in the weight-for-age Trentham Gold Cup, and Nightmarch beat him into second place in the New Zealand Cup. In 1931-32 he was second to Phar Lap in the Melbourne (now Mackinnon) Stakes, and won the CJC Metropolitan Handicap. His sister Oratrix (1923) raced for Gibbons before her sale to Murphy; for Murphy she ran second in Sydney's Metropolitan Handicap in Australia before returning to win the New Zealand Cup (16 furlongs) in 1928. Their half-sister, Oratory (1932, by Gainscourt), won the 1936 Great Northern Oaks, and the 1938 WRC Thompson Handicap, and bred on, with several good descendants -- Prem, Wise Counsel and Alley Oop -- running within the last thirty years.

Lady Christine ch.f. 1944
(Christopher Robin - Lady Oratress)
Top stakes winning juvenile of 1946-47, she was bred by wealthy grazier Sir Thomas Duncan of Otairi (also owner of Oratory), a thoroughbred breeder and owner for over 50 years (he died in 1960), and purchased as a yearling for 400 guineas by hotelier Charlie Pateman. She won the Wanganui Debutante Stakes and the WRC Wellesley Stakes before being beaten in the Welcome Stakes by Excellency, another classy filly that went unbeaten in her five starts as a juvenile. Laid off for several weeks, when she went back to racing she won the CJC Champagne and Challenge Stakes, and the Fitzherbert Handicap at Trentham (carrying 9 st.-3 lbs.). She did not win again until the age of five. She bred on, and her branch is still successful today, with two champion fillies -- Spring Rain (1997) and Let's Sgor (1987) among her descendants.

Let's Sgor ch.f. 1987
(Creag-An-Sgor - Alycide)
1990-91 co-champion Filly of the Year in New Zealand, trained by Murray Baker, won six races at ages two and three, including the WRC New Zealand Oaks, the ARC Great Northern Champion Stakes, and the WaikRC SirTristram Fillies' Classic, and placed second and third a number of times. Sent to the U.S., her only good race was a third in the Soft Copy Handicap at age six. To date she's bred three winners including Smart Score in the U.S., and Lesgor in France, the latter the dam of Guilia, juvenile winner of a maiden race at Thirsk (UK) in 2005. An unraced daughter, Alyancer, bred two winners, including the gelded Canadian stakes winner Archers Aylancer. Her dam, Alycide, won two races, and also produced the gelded Eager to Sgor (1991, by Creag-An-Sgor), a winner of eight races in New Zealand and the Anniversary Cup in Australia.

Spring Rain ch.f. 1997
(Centaine - Pearl Dragon)
Champion juvenile filly in New Zealand in 1999-2000, bred by Mapperly Stud and purchaed for $70,000 as a yearling and trained at Matamata by Roger James. She won her first four starts at age two, including Te Rapa's Mercedes Classique (worth $400,000) and the WRC Wakefield Challenge Stakes, and ran third in the Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes. At age three she showed herself to be a sprinter-miler, winning the WRC Wellington Guineas and the Hastings Highview Stakes, ran second in Trentham's Telegraph Handicap, and third in Sunline's Waikato Draught Sprint. At age four the best she could do was third in the Telegraph Handicap and fourth in the Waikato Draught Sprint. Her dam, Pearl Dragon (1985, by Grosvenor), won six races to 1550 meters, including the QTC Asgard Handicap, and her grandam, Oncide (1968, by Oncidium), won eight races to 11 furlongs, including the Hastings Gold Cup. Oncide also produced Torquay (1977, by Wharf), a classy three-year-old winner of the Great Northern Oaks and the Manawatu Breeders Stakes and dam of nine winners, including Seraphic (1985, by Imposing), a winner of eight races to 2200 meters, including the Rotorua Challenge Stakes and the MRC Glen Oroua Transport Handicap, and later dam of four winners.

Descent Chart

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

Mare from NSW
 Mare (f. 1845) by Aether
  Sybil (b.f. 1855) by Riddlesworth
   Mystery Girl (b.f. 1868) by Peter Flat
    Wairuareka (f. 1880) by The Painter
    | Ata (f. 1886) by Somnus
    |  Marionette (f. 1894) by Forester
    |   Motoa (br.c. 1903) by Conqueror
    Rangipuhi (b.c. 1887) by Feve
    Muriwai (b.f. 1888) by Torpedo
     Miss Terina (f. 1899) by Handsome Jack
     | Hansome Jill (f. 1911) by Advance
     |  Handsome Girl (f. 1930) by Humbug
     |   Carlanut (f. 1942) by Rulanut
     |    Nut's Romance (f. 1954) by Knight's Romance
     |     Crackanut (f. 1965) by Cavalier
     |      Crackapon (b/br.f. 1978) by Le Fripon
     Apa (b.c. 1902) by Addington
     Equitas (b.f. 1905) by Advance
      Oratress (b.f. 1915) by Demonsthenes
      | Windbag (f. 1922) by Absurd
      | | Peach Blossom (f. 1934) by Peach Brandy
      | |  Sports Post (c. 1947) by Paper Boy
      | Oratrix (b.f. 1923) by Kilbroney
      | Concentrate (b.c. 1925) by Kilbroney
      | Dialogist (f. 1931) by Diacquenod
      | | Persian Gulf (c. 1948) by Pherozshah
      | Oratory (ch.f. 1932) by Gainscourt
      | | Persuade (f. 1942) by Coronach
      | | | Convince (f. 1951) by Amber
      | | |  Ta Vince (f. 1961) by Targui
      | | |   Havoc (f. 1977) by Wandering Eyes
      | | |    Prem (g. 1986) by Shy Rambler
      | | Confess (f. 1945) by Christopher Robin
      | | | Specialite (f. 1961) by Sabaean
      | | |  Special Royal (f. 1969) by Bally Royal
      | | |   Wise Counsel (c. 1986) by Centaine
      | | Touch (f. 1949) by The Bigot
      | |  Farlena (f. 1961) by Cappielluca
      | |   El Burkha (f. 1969) by Rich Gift
      | |    Alley Oop (br.f. 1977) by Sovereign Prince
      | Lady Oratress (f. 1934) by Laughing Prince
      |  Flying Ace (b.c. 1939) by Bulandshar
      |  Miss Oratory (f. 1941) by Christopher Robin
      |  | Ivory Tower (f. 1955) by Sabaean
      |  | | Tauporae (f. 1966) by Pakistan II
      |  | |  Otairi (f. 1977) by Noble Bijou
      |  | |   Hussain (br.g. 1987) by War Hawk
      |  | Conference (g. 1957) by Sabaean
      |  Lady Christine (ch.f. 1944) by Christopher Robin
      |  Lucky Tor (f. 1946) by Beaulivre
      |   Suntor (f. 1961) by Summertime
      |    Oncide (f. 1968) by Oncidiium
      |    | Torquay (f. 1977) by Wharf
      |    | | Seraphic (b.f. 1985) by Imposing
      |    | Pearl Dragon (f. 1985) by Grosvenor
      |    |  Spring Rain (ch.f. 1997) by Centaine
      |    Alycide (f. 1970) by Oncidiium
      |    | Sumacidium (f. 1981) by Avaray
      |    | | Eager to Sgor (g. 1991) by Creag-An-Sgor
      |    | Let's Sgor (ch.f. 1987) by Creag-An-Sgor
      |    Onsun (f. 1971) by Oncidium
      |     Onshore (f. 1977) by Wharf
      |      Sir Daniel (g. 1985) by Sovereign Dynasty
      Murihaupo (b.c. 1920) by Sunny Lake
      Martinaette (f. 1921) by Martian
      | Hippolyta (f. 1932) by Gainscourt
      |  Berne (b.g. 1948) by Ruthless
      Equitant (br.f. 1926) by Paper Money
       Ista (ch.f. 1946) by Coronach
        Easter O (br.f. 1952) by Dogger Bank
         Eastern Hope (b.f. 1961) by Ferriol
          Shin Hope (ch.f. 1967) by Shinzan
           Hashi Hermit (ch.c. 1976) by Tudor Period

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