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  Family C-21: Sylph

Initially included in the Australian Stud Book with Sylph and her daughter, Irish Queen (1874), for whom the family is sometimes named, two generations later the family was relegated to the ASB's appendix, where it remained until 1946, when the Sylph family was omitted. The success of various descendants in the 1930s, '40s, and early '50s, allowed readmission in 1952, after admission requirements were amended, along with the Josephine Family (C - 19) and Beatrice Family (C - 24). The family is still producing stakes winners today, with recent winners including the sprinter Dance Band (1985, winner of the STC Festival Handicap and eight other races) and the big 40:1 winner of the 2000 MVRC William Crockett Stakes, Queensland-bred Whattaroa (1997).

The family traces to Creeping Jane, by Plenipo (by Sepoy, an arabian, or imported Little John; probably the latter), a broodmare in the stud of Mr. Douglas; her dam's pedigree is not known. Bred to Victorian stallion Impudence (1860, by Australian-born Touchstone, whose dam had arabian blood), Creeping Jane produced Sylph in 1865, who raced for John Canute James Johnson, the son of Captain John Johnson (M.P. for Gippsland and South Gippsland in the 1850s), who leased, and then developed Mewburn Park in Gippsland (Victoria) in 1847, purchasing it in 1854. Mewburn Park consisted of 38,000 acres, on which Johnson raised vast herds of cattle for Australian and New Zealand markets. J.C.J. Johnson operated the cattle business. Sylph won the Sale Flying Handicap and the Heyfield Ladies' Purse in Gippsland, and placed twice, in six starts. Her owner died relatively young, age 29, and Sylph passed into the hands of Victorian bookmaker Morris Jacobs, according to Barrie, although the Australian Stud Book says the breeder of all her foals was a Mr. M. Bryant. She bred eight live foals, all by Irish King (1868, by imported Ace of Clubs). Irish King won the Adelaide Ace of Clubs Produce Stakes, was second in the Ascot Vale Stakes and the Victoria Derby, and third in the Melbourne Cup. Of Sylph's foals, her 1874 filly, Irish Queen, is the one who continued the family line.

Irish Queen was sold as a yearling to Sir Thomas Elder, a South Australian merchant and pastoralist on the Darling Downs, who operated an export horse trade under the name Elder and Baker. Elder imported the noted arabian stallion Abd-el-Kadir in 1879, and also brought the influential broodmare Josephine into Australia from Great Britain (from Family 9, not the colonial mare Josephine). He also imported the English Two Thousand Guineas winner Gang Forward (1870, by Stockwell). who became a very successful stallion, particularly of juveniles and sprinters. For Elder, Irish Queen won the South Australian Sapling stakes in her first start, and went on to win the South Australian Derby in 1877. In Elder's stud she bred eleven foals including three good winners -- Land League (1880, by Gang Forward; winner of the 1882 PARC Christmas Handicap), and her brother Gladstone (1885, winner of the 1891 VRC Standish Handicap), and Sedition (1882, by Neckersgat; winner of the 1889 VRC Newmarket Handicap).

It was Sedition, whose native-born sire was successful as a stallion in South Australia and Victoria, who continued the family line. She ran four years, winning the 1889 VRC Newmarket Handicap (beating Lochiel and Carbine) and other good races. Her daughter, Treason (1892, by Trenton) was a sprinter that raced 27 times in eleven months, with wins of the Moonee Valley Purse and the Epsom Purse, and two handicaps in her 13 placings.

Treason's daughter, Elvo (1900, by Melbourne Cup winner Malvolio) raced for Sir Colin Stephen, a senior partner in one of Sydney's best-known legal firms, a leading polo player, and chairman of the Australian Jockey Club from 1919 to 1937. Brother-in-law to Sir Adrian Knox, another well-known turfite, as a young amateur rider Stephen won 58 races, including the Bong Bong Picnic Race and the Tirranna Cups, which he won while riding Elvo. Under the guidance of trainer Tom Payten, she was unplaced once in her first season, and in succeeding years won over a distance, including the VRC Hotham Handicap and Autumn Handicap, the AJC Place Handicap and Sydney Handicap, and was placed twice in both the AJC Summer Cup and the Tattersall's Club Cup. In Sir Colin's stud, Elvo produced Barlow (1908, by Fortunatus), winner of the 1913 AJC Summer Cup and the 1915 Tattersall's NSW Club Cup, and two fillies, Vole and Malt Lassie. The Stephen family continued to nurture this family for many generations, and it was Sir Colin Stephen's daughter, Mrs. Denis Allen, owner of the Adrian Knox Stakes-wining mare Sal Volatile (1933), who successfully lobbied to have the Sylph family readmitted to the ASB in 1952.

Notable Descendants



Bacchus br.c. 1922
(Magpie - Malt Lassie)
A stayer raced and trained by W. Kelso, he won three races, including the 1927 AJC Anniversary Handicap (12 furlongs) and the 1928 AJC Randwick Plate (16 furlongs), and was second eight times in his career. His dam also bred Translator (1921, by Linacre), a winner of the MVRC William Reid Stakes.

Caesar b.c. 1934
(Silvius - Wingecarribee)
Unlike his staying sire, Silvius, and virtually all other good winning Silvius offspring, Caesar was a flat-out sprinter, winning the VRC Ascot Vale Stakes, the 1937 Warwick Farm Hobartville Stakes, the Tattersall's NSW Carrington Stakes, and, in 1941, the AJC Challenge Stakes. He was bred at A.W. Thompson's famous Widden Stud in NSW; his sire was leased by Thompson from his owner Sir Sidney Kidman.

Fidelity br.f. 1933
(Constant Son - Wolverine)
Key mare in this family, from which it descends to the present, she was bred and raced by Sir Colin Stephen. Fidelity won the VRC Maribyrnong Plate, the Mimosa Stakes, the Ascot Vale Stakes and the AJC Easter Plate. She came by her sprinting brilliance naturally; her second dam, Vole, broke the record over five furlongs at Randwick.

Salamanca br.g. 1945
(Genetout - Sal Volatile)
He upset the great New Zealand-bred Melbourne Cup winner Dalray (Family C - 3) in the 1952 1-1/2 mile Queen's Cup by three lengths, held in that year at Randwick; that year he also won the City Tattersall's Club Gold Cup. His successes were partly responsible for the readmission of the Sylph family to the Australian Stud Book. His owner, Mrs. T.L. Rutledge, was a daughter of Sir Colin Stephen, owner of Elvo (1900), who bred Elvo's offspring and many of her good descendants (including Fidelity, see above). Salamanca's dam, Sal Volatile (1933), was a winner of the of the Adrian Knox Stakes (the Oaks Stakes equivalent in Sydney) and was owned by Mrs. Denis Allen, also a daughter of Sir Colin. Sal Volatile also produced 1949 Perth Cup winner Gurkha (1943, by Burhan Ali).

Descent Chart

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

Creeping Jane (f. 18-)by Plenipo
 Sylph (f. 1865) by Impudence
  Irish Queen (ch.f. 1874) by Irish King
   Land League (ch.f. 1880) by Gang Forward
   Sedition (ch.f. 1882) by Neckersgat
   | Treason (b.f. 1892) by Trenton
   |  Elvo (b.f. 1900) by Malvolio
   |   Barlow (b.g. 1908) by Fortunatus
   |   Malt Lassie (br.f. 1909) by Maltster
   |   | Translator (blk.g. 1921) by Linacre
   |   | Bacchus (br.c. 1922) by Magpie
   |   Vole (b.f. 1912) by Petrillo
   |    Wolverine (f. 1919) by Woorak
   |    | Wingecarribee (f. 1928) by Rossendale
   |    | | Caesar (b.c. 1934) by Silvius
   |    | Literature (f. 1930) by Baralong
   |    | | Red Wendy (f. 1938) by Peter Pan
   |    | |  Belbeiys (b.g. 1951) by Nilo
   |    | |  Aurora (ch.f. 1956) by Pan II
   |    | Fidelity (br.f. 1933) by Constant Son
   |    |  Crusader (b.c. 1942) by Titan
   |    |  Virtue (f. 1944) by Dark Lover
   |    |  | Desiree (f. 1959) by Port Vista
   |    |  |  Skidelle (f. 1970) by Skid
   |    |  |   Imperial Ladybird (f. 1983) by Lord Silver Man
   |    |  |    Whattaroa (f. 1997) by Nine Carat
   |    |  Honesty (f. 1946) by Burhan Ali
   |    |   Honey Belle (f. 1958) by Port Vista
   |    |   | Beau Babylon (g. 1966) by King of Babylon
   |    |   Rendezvous (f. 1959) by Port Vista
   |    |    Danube (f. 1968) by Bogan Road
   |    |     Cotillion (f. 1979) by Whiskey Road
   |    |      Dance Band (g. 1985) by Galleon
   |    Voleuse (br.f. 1926) by Magpie
   |     Sal Volatile (br.f. 1933) by Salmagundi
   |     | Gurkha (ch.c. 1943) by Burhan Ali
   |     | Salamanca (br.g. 1945) by Genetout
   |     | Angelica (f. 1949) by Brueghel
   |     Moonraker (f. 1934) by Rionscup
   |      Arustra (f. 1940) by Bulandshar
   |       |Rustler (g. 1948) by Defaulter
   |      Racket (f. 1941) by Solicitor General
   Gladstone (ch.c. 1885) by Gang Forward

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