*Barra II

It must surely be the dream of every breeder to buy a foundation mare and watch her family branch out to glory.  And while it might be frustrating to see it happen in the hands of someone else, any taproot imported to this country like *Barra II which can establish both outstanding male and female lines is still a feather in the cap of her importer.

More French Herod Blood

So we are certain that John M. Schiff would have been proud to know that not only did his Tourbillon daughter *Triomphe become the second dam of Hoist the Flag, but another of his imports, *Barra II, would become the second dam of the imperial little Lyphard.  Bred by Comtesse A. de Foucher de Careil, the winning daughter of Herod-line =Formor was imported to America as an eight-year-old in 1958.

Like *Triomphe, Barra II was a rich source of Herod blood.  Inbred 4 x 4 to Chouberski, who tails to Herod, she also had a double of Herod-line Omnium via her sire’s double of Basse Terre (Bruleur/Terre Neuve).  While also loaded with St. Simon via St. Frusquin, Rabelais, Parisina and St. Damien, it is the Herod blood that catches the eye, since at the time of her importation St. Simon’s tail line was again on the rise via Prince Rose (*Princequillo) and *Ribot.

Putting Down Roots 

Before she came to America the winning chestnut had produced two foals, a winning filly by Man o’ War-line =Buission d’Or (FR) named =Dragonnette who shows no named foals and a gelding by St. Simon-line  =La Varende (FR) named *Barras.  Barren in 1958 she was bred to Blue Prince her first year in the states and from that match got a winning filly named Bearded Lady whose family made a name for itself in Columbia.

The next year, to the cover of *Court Martial, she would produce Ladies and New York Handicap winner Goofed, dam of Lyphard as well as his half sister Nobiliary, a queen among fillies who was classic placed in both France and England before winning the G1 Washington D. C. International over males in the U. S.  Sadly, Nobiliary produced only three foals, none of note, and both of her fillies died.

*Barra II has a couple of other stakes producing branches, but nothing to touch Goofed.  We shall address them later in this article.

The Taproot

*Barra II traces to the Prix La Rochette and Prix Morny winner Lucie (FR) by Melton.  This taproot is family 17-B, family 17 being headed by the Byerley Turk Mare, Branch 17-B by British-bred Biddy by Bran.

Various other lines of this branch of Family 17 have produced good horses from Russia to New Zealand.  But the Louveciennes branch that produced *Barra II had been in France for six generations when it hit pay dirt with its breed-altering daughter of Formor, and she remains its greatest strength.

However, we could not help but notice that another branch of this family via Santa Lucia was responsible for one of Round Table’s greatest sons, He’s A Smoothie, the grand Canadian bred who knew and loved his handicapped owner.  Sadly, He’s A Smoothie broke a leg at Saratoga and never went to stud, but that does not diminish his rare ability and unique personality.  There are still a handful of lines stemming from his dam, Ratine by Bahram; look for them and consider them possibilities for a Lyphard-line sire.

Yet another branch of the family gave us Polly Flinders (GB) by Polly’s Jet.  This line accounted for Irish One Thousand Guineas winner Prince’s Polly by English Prince.  So while there is much of worth in 17-B, *Barra II is the queen.

The Auction

In 1969, Goofed and her weanling son (later named Lyphard) were both purchased at the Keeneland fall mixed sale.  Goofed went to Nelson Bunker Hunt for $33,000 and Lyphard was sold to Capt. Tim Rogers of Airlie Stud in Ireland for $35,000.

Rogers had earlier syndicated champion Habitat and with the advent of Robert Sangster and his purchase of Nijinsky II, Rogers followed with his own Northern Dancer son – Lyphard – as a possible pin hook.  But Rogers did not make the amount of money one might think with a Northern Dancer son who followed so closely on the heels of a horse who would win the first English Triple Crown in 35 years (and probably the last ever).

Instead, Lyphard was sold to Alec Head for $37,800 at the Newmarket October yearling sale.  It was only natural that the trainer would be intrigued with the colt.  He had trained *Barra II, who was sound enough and tough enough to win not only on the flat but over hurdles as well.

Thus when Lyphard debuted in the colors of Mrs. Pierre Wertheimer, Head also trained the colt.  The small bay, who strongly resembled his sire, won the Prix Jacques le Marois, Prix de la Foret and Prix Daru, all Group 1’s in France.  He also won the non-graded Prix Herod (fitting given his second dam’s bloodline).

The Little King

Retired with six wins in 11 starts and over $200,000 in earnings, Lyphard began his stud career in France at Haras d’Etreham and ended it with a flourish at Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Ky. in the U. S.  Always a popular horse, Lyphard sired 115 stakes winners and was either leading sire or among leading sires in France, the UK and the U. S. on 10 occasions, leading the sire list twice in France (1978 and 1979) and the U. S. once (1986).

Among his best offspring were Three Troikas (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe), Reine de Saba (Prix Diane), Manila (Breeders’ Cup Turf) and Dancing Brave (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, 2000 Guineas).

Though he sired both good fillies and good colts, his sire line seemed in trouble for awhile.  Today it is strongest through Bellypha/Linamix.  But Ghadeer (in Brazil) and Elliodor in South Africa have also done well.

A prized broodmare sire, Lyphard’s daughters produced over 200 stakes winners including champions Hatoof, Tight Spot, Bubble Gum Fellow and Bering to name only a few.

Lyphard was pensioned in 1996 and lived nine more years until the grand old age of 36.  Always among the favorites at Gainesway because of his kind demeanor, he was sometimes referred to as “a little Cadillac in the breeding shed”.

Because of his unique Herod-rich bottom line, he was a little harder to breed than many Northern Dancers but he brought with his rather outcrossed bottom line a toughness many lacked.  That inbreeding to this line using Lyphard produces a good racehorse was proven out in the mare Princess Olivia, dam of G1 winner Flower Alley.

The Best Daughter Branch

In order for a mare to leave a truly indelible impression on the breed, she must in fact get not only a great son but a great daughter as well.  And while comparisons to Lyphard are impossible with a mare due to the sheer number of foals he could produce, *Barra II also got a top daughter branch via Goofed.

Her Bold Forbes daughter Barb’s Gold, group placed in France produced champion Seeking the Pearl by Seeking the Gold, herself a stakes producer.  She also got the Spectacular Bid mare Hooked Bid who got Group 1 Crown Oaks winner =Magical Miss in Australia.

Anya Ylina by Seattle Slew’s sire Bold Reasoning was stakes placed in France and is responsible for a branch which has gotten stakes horses from England to Peru to India.

Tertiary, a full sister to Nobiliary could not win a single race.  But she produced several good horses in Europe including Group 2 placed Tertian by Danzig and Dark Nile by Riverman.  Enthraller, a sister to Barb’s Gold, produced a branch that got stakes horses in Japan and Australia.


Finally we come to the ‘meat’ of *Barra II and Goofed’s family line and that is the placed Reviewer mare Dumfries.  Sad to say it had to be a Reviewer daughter who carried the day since he was known to throw not only his own physical problems but that of his family line, La Mome.

Nevertheless it is Dumfries that did the work and her best daughter Dance Review, to no one’s surprise, was by Northern Dancer.  This family accounted for any number of really good horses including G1 or Group 1 performers Another Review, No Review, Dance Colony, Promenade Girl, Dance City, Ashkal Way (IRE) Flower Alley, Urbane, Suave and Karsavina (IRE).  No matter how one reads it, this is a superior group of mares.

The Lost Cause

Nothing makes us madder than waste in the Thoroughbred and next we come to a branch of *Barra II’s line that was indeed wasted.  Her daughter Bambar by Ambehaving was twice bred to leading sire Raja Baba (from A. P. Indy’s potent *Uvira II line) and twice she produced stakes horses:  Bunka Bunka, a stakes winning filly and Far Out East, a stakes winning colt.

Far Out East was a huge waste.  Bred to mediocre mares in California, his beautiful blood both top and bottom was tossed to the four winds.  And while there may still be someone out there who has a bit of his blood, it is not common or easy to find.

If such a mare would exist, she is a slam dunk for Suave, which would pick up both the *Uvira II and *Barra II lines as he is a son of A. P. Indy from the *Barra II family line.  One can always hope.

The Great Strength

While everyone has always been willing to climb on Northern Dancer’s bandwagon, few have volunteered the thought that he was a thing of beauty.  In fact, we have often hear him referred to as that ‘vile little beast’.

Lyphard resembled his sire in the extreme, which is to say he was a rather common looking, cobby little thing without much stature to catch the eye.  Now that does not mean he had no personality, because he was a nice horse to be around.  But what we always found to be special about Lyphard was his utter ability to be recessive looks-wise in his offspring yet pass on his pedigree.

Thus, some of his best horses were very regal like the near-black Lypheor (sire of Royal Heroine), Manila and Dancing Brave and of course his great grandson, Linamix.  All are evolved, refined members of the little round sire from whence they descend.

A Family On The Brink

America needs more Linamix blood, of that we are certain.  And since we see very little Manila (he was exported to Turkey because he was a ‘grass horse’) or Dancing Brave (he was sent to Japan).  And since Lypheor died young, well we just need more Lyphard, period!

The female branches of *Barra II as noted above can still be saved if some are brought to this country or rescued from regional markets where they may be languishing with breeders unaware of what they have.  This would be especially true of mares carrying Barcas or Far Out East or female lines tailing to *Barra II absent Reviewer like Anya Ylina or Tertiary.  Most of this blood is in France, but then that is where it originated, so there is no surprise there.  And a good stayer can still be appreciated abroad, something we consistently fail to do in America, which is reflected in the lower purse and status of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon.

New Reines-de-Course

*Barra II, as head of this line, is thus named a Reine-de-Course, along with her great daughter Goofed and Goofed’s best daughter Dumfries.  While we wish we could get away from this Reviewer business (Dumfries’ sire) we simply can’t avoid it here.  And it has never been our way to name a mare in the hope that she might prove worthy, though we have our fingers crossed for Anya Ylina and Tertiary.

We’ve always thought Lyphard was rather unique.  Because we are not Northern Dancer fans per se, we would still have to call him our favorite.  Horses like Royal Heroine and Manila alone sold us long ago.

Family 17-B