We have always held family 21-A, which is headed by Queen Anne’s Moonah Barb Mare, in high esteem. It is from this family, after all, that our very first Reine-de-Course, Too Bald and ultimately her expanded family of Hidden Talent, descend.
Yet another important Reine-de-Course, *Clonaslee, was named seven years after Too Bald in 1998. To paraphrase the beginning lines of our story on that branch of the family: ‘The 21-A family is nothing if not versatile. Some might even call it schizophrenic. Consider that from this clan come such disparate horses as the incredibly fast Too Bald group that includes speed influences like Capote and Baldski and that from another, headed by Lost Soul, come such out-and-out plodders as Providential and Pampered King II.”
So this particular family, though it is not one of the larger families in the stud book, has three distinctly important groups of Reines-de-Course: The quick Hidden Talent group which traces to the Belinda line; the precocious-to-mid range *Clonaslee group that traces to Oaks winner Lonely; and the stayers, headed by Cocotte via her main branch of Lost Soul.
In this issue, we will deal only with the Lost Soul group, but we will return to this family and wrap it up with commentary on Orrison and Venturesome, who have established families that deserve, at bare minimum, some commentary. Additions, if any, to the Reine list will likely come in the form of an update rather than a full-blown story.
From Yorkshire’s Great Sledmere Stud
One seldom thinks of a foundation mare of this era coming from a commercial farm, but that is precisely what Sledmere Stud became. Owned by the Sykes family, legendary land owners in Yorkshire, England, for over 200 years, Sledmere was founded in 1801 by the first Sir Tatton Sykes, after whom the 2000 Guineas and St. Leger winner was named.
At one time home to over 100 mares, Sledmere was responsible for breeding – and selling – such giants of the turf as Mumtaz Mahal and Teresina (dam of *Alibhai and ancestress of Toussaud). Also from Sledmere came our subject, Lost Soul.
Lost Soul was purchased either as a yearling or a five-year-old mare in foal to *Blenheim II, depending on which account one believes. Either way, the family remained under the control of Major Lionel Holliday for quite some time. He did, however, sell one of the most important members of the family, Lost Soul’s daughter Phase, due to the outbreak of WW II. She was purchased by leading Irish owner-breeder Joe McGrath.
Cocotte – Inbred to the Wagtail Clan
Cocotte, a Macaroni half sister to Oaks winner Lonely and the sixth dam of Lost Soul, actually has a more intriguing pedigree than her classic-winning half sister. Cocotte is inbred to Wagtail via a 4 x 4 cross of three-quarter siblings Belinda (Blacklock-Wagtail) and Easter (by Blacklock’s son Brutandorf out of Wagtail). Actually, Macaroni’s sire Sweetmeat (by Gladiator out of Belinda’s daughter Lollypop) is closely enough related to Miss Sarah (by Gladiator out of Easter), who is the second dam of Cocotte, that it would not be much of a reach to call that pair three-quarter siblings since they are by the same sire and out of three-quarter sisters.
In addition to this relationship, Cocotte is linebred x8 to Prunella via Parasol x2/Penelope x6. The Penelope crosses are via full siblings Whalebone x4/Whisker/Web. (It should be noted that one of the Whalebone crosses – as sire of Moses – is one of those old-time ‘either ors’ with Whalebone being one of two possible sires).
Further inbreeding is to full siblings Selim x2/Castrel; x2 Alfred Mare (Boudrow Mare/Highflyer Mare) and to Young Giantess x2 (Eleanor/Sorcerer) – the last named are supported only by dam Anonyma. Crossover breeding also includes x4 Blacklock, x3 Sir Peter, x2 Stamford and x2 Orville. Of such complexities come foundation matrons of the highest order.
Lost Soul’s Pedigree
After six more generations were compiled and Lost Soul joined the Cocotte family, there had been a fair amount of modernization in the pedigree, the most important addition of which was the great Galopin and his flagship son St. Simon. Lost Soul was inbred to St. Simon x2/Angelica (full siblings out of St. Angela). Galopin also appears via Galicia and Atalanta in the pedigree of Solario, Lost Soul’s sire.
Speed to counter St. Simon’s classic inclinations appear via Bend Or x2 (Rosalys/Ormonde) and good galloping ability is gained from Isonomy (Isoletta/Gallinule). She is a study in balance.
A Classic Granddaughter
By the time Neasham Belle won the 1951 Epsom Oaks, this branch of the No. 21 family had been in the hands of Major L. B. Holliday for quite some time. Master of the York and Ainstey Hunt according to The British Bloodstock Review, Holliday was a leading breeder in Yorkshire who developed not only much of Lost Soul’s family but also the family of Reine-de-Course Miranda; Belle Sauvage (whose second dam, Brulette, is a Reine-de-Course) and several other good tail-female lines, including those of Springtime and Tsianina.
Lost Soul was stakes placed as a runner, and when covered by Derby and St. Leger winner Windsor Lad produced Neasham Belle’s dam Phase, a winner who prior to producing her classic winning daughter had gotten her classic-placed full sister, Netherton Maid, second to Imprudence in the 1947 Oaks.
While Neasham Belle was said to have won her Oaks quite easily, it was also pointed out that Family No. 21 had yet to produce a Derby winner. Epsom Derby, that is.
Just to set the record straight, family 21-a produced Kentucky Derby winners Plaudit (1888) and Whiskery (1927), Irish Derby winners in Bachelor’s Wedding (1913) and Bachelor’s Double (1909), the latter named a Chef-de-Race, plus there are Derby winners in the Antipodes and Italy, a Queen’s Plate winner in Canada (the equivalent of a Canadian Derby), and oodles of Oaks, St. Leger and Guineas winners. Maybe no Blue Ribband adorns Wagtail’s kin, but they’ve won everything else!
A St. Leger Winner for the Clan
Hethersett, one of the best of Lost Soul’s kin and probably the best horse from this immediate family to carry Major Holliday’s white and maroon silks, was descended from Neasham Belle’s full sister, Netherton Maid. His pedigree was also touched with romance and tragedy and his is a story well worth the re-telling.
For starters, dam Netherton Maid died at the age of 11. But that was nothing compared to what happened to the males in the family line. Hugh Lupus, sire of Hethersett, was a champion in Ireland at two. Set to contest the English classics the following season, he acted up so badly on his plane trip over that the plan was scrapped. As it turned out, staying at home proved a successful back-up idea; Hugh Lupus won the Irish Two Thousand Guineas instead.
Next, Hugh Lupus was sent by ship to England for the Epsom Derby. The day before the race, he fell while crossing a rode, injuring a leg and forcing his withdrawal from the classic. His jockey, Rae Johnstone, who rode three Derby winners in all, said that he was certain that Hugh Lupus would have won the Derby had he been able to start.
The son of Djebel returned at four and became champion miler and then was retired to stud. Inbred 2 x 3 to the highly inbred Tourbillon and 4 x 5 x 3 to Bruleur, Hugh Lupus had serious fertility problems and sired only 105 foals, many of very high quality including Hethersett. Unfortunately along with the high quality his sire threw, Hethersett also inherited his tendency toward bad luck.
Favored in the 1962 Epsom Derby, Hethersett was part of a chain-reaction spill midway through the race that saw seven horses fall or lose their riders. Uninjured, he returned to win the Great Voltigeur and St. Leger Stakes, defeating Derby winner Larkspur in the Doncaster classic.
Hethersett went to stud before St. Leger winners were considered plodders and was thus highly sought after. For three seasons he stood, showing no signs of his sire’s tendency to fertility problems. But after just three years at stud, he died.
Just how terrible a blow his death was to breeding in general and to the Herod line in particular is reflected in his numbers: 80% starters; 62% winners; 15% stakes inners 8% stakes placed. Amazing numbers.
His best son, Blakeney, won the Derby for the sire line if not for the Lost Soul family and he got other such good runners as Prix Vermeille winner Highest Hopes, classic placed Dairy and *Hibernian, who won stakes in England, Ireland and North America.
Today, he lives on largely through Blakeney’s daughters with the most notable representative being 2006 Epsom Derby winner Sir Percy (GB). Sir Percy is already a stakes sire, but his pedigree is filled with stamina despite his being a champion at both two and three.
He could prove quite valuable, as he is an “almost outcross” with just one line each of Northern Dancer and Raise a Native via Ajdal. This is Mill Reef’s sire line, of course, via Shirley Heights-Darshaan. Pedigrees do not get any more classic, and Sir Percy deserves every chance to keep Hethersett’s Lost Soul line alive in pedigrees.
Reines-de-Course From the Lost Soul Branch of Wagtail
From whatever angle the Lost Soul branch of Wagtail is examined, it is clear that this is largely a stamina – and somewhat female biased – family. Therefore, unlike many Reine-de-Course families, we do not think inbreeding to it is probably a very good idea. Attempting to ‘shock’ speed into it by using either *Clonaslee or Hidden Talent would, to our way of thinking, simply result in an ‘either/or’ kind of match, getting one a plodder or a slow sprinter.
Rather, we feel that using the speedier Mill Reef lines on this family is the way to go. Dumka’s sub-branch is a good example. Since she is loaded with Lady Josephine lines, using a horse like Cherokee Run, whose pedigree is filled with hidden lines of this family (*Nasrullah x2/*Royal Charger x2/Tudor Minstrel/Juristic), would not only bring her up-to-date with more (relatively sound) speed but also play off the older, more established lines and might even result in a decent sire for the family. Doyoun has not done well as he is a direct descendent of Dumka and Lost Soul is anything but a sire-source mare.
Patience is required, as it will likely take two or three generations of injecting speed into the clan in order to make it viable for today’s racing. Though it can still hold its own in Europe, it would be overpowered in America in all but the longest races.
This is the type of family that actually deserves a book rather than a mere article, but we have given breeders a good look here and whether any of them have the courage to try and work with such a family is up to them. We feel it is well worth the effort. Few families are more consistently classic.
Reines-de-Course from this family include Lost Soul’s taproot dam Lonely, winner of the 1885 Epsom Oaks, Lost Soul, Phase, Netherton Maid, Bride Elect, Nearly, Dumka, Claudette, and Pradella. It has been quite a while since we have added a pure stamina Reine to the list. We can’t think of a better time to do so; seldom has the Thoroughbred been in such dire need of this type of family addition!