Best On Breeding
Mark Smith - Friday, 3 March 2017

Two half-sisters born in England in the 1940’s are still exerting a major influence on the breed in Australasia.

The unraced Sunbride (GB) was imported to New Zealand where she spent her life at Te Parae Stud.

The daughter of the Solario stallion Tai Yang would ultimately cover herself in glory claiming the honour of Broodmare Of The Year twice.

But that seemed a long way off when the first four foals of Sunbride reached the track. None were of little consequence until she foaled a colt by Faux Tirage in 1952.  

 Coincidently that was the year when Sunbride’s seven years younger half-sister Easter Bride claimed the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Sunbride’s Faux Tirage colt was named Straight Draw He would win the VRC Melbourne Cup, AJC Sydney Cup and the Metropolitan Handicap.

Three years later Sunbride foaled Ilumquh (Sabaean) who won the Caulfield Cup and finished third in the Melbourne Cup as a 5yo. Three years later he finished second in the Melbourne Cup.

Eleven years after Straight Draw, the 20yo Sunbride foaled General Command (Agricola) winner of the AJC Sydney Cup, Metropolitan Handicap, and Chipping Norton Stakes.

Sunbride’s half-sister Easter Bride would also find a home in New Zealand in her latter years. She followed three of her daughters, Easter Rock, Easter Rocket and Watch It.

Easter Rock is the ancestress of numerous stakes winner most notably Ethereal, Darci Brahma and Stony Bay.

Easter Rocket is the great- granddam of that wonderful international success story Happyanunoit.

Watch It's descendants include the Victoria Derby winner Blackfriars (Danehill), the pride of Western Australian breeding whose son Black Heart Bart chalked up his fifth Group I win in last Saturday’s Futurity Stakes at Caulfield.

Back to Sunbride.

In 1957 she left Myrrh (Sabaean), the granddam of Victoria Derby, SA Derby, Perth Cup, WATC Australasian Derby and WA Derby winner and Dayana (Oncidium) and his Caulfield Guineas winning brother Grand Cidium.  

In 1959 Sunbride foaled Annie Oakley, the grandam of Queensland Oaks winner Triumphal Queen.

Sunbride’s final foal was General Command’s sister Bridesmaid (Agricola).

She became the dam of the AJC Hall Mark Stakes winner Down The Aisle (Imperialist) and one of the all-time great boom horses Gold Pulse (Oncidium) who would ultimately claim just a Listed stakes win although he did place in an AJC Derby and finish fourth in a Melbourne Cup.

Bridesmaid is the great- granddam of the Encosta de Lago mare Prophet Jewel. Although not a stakes-winner she was a six time winner in Sydney and Brisbane.

In two matings to the grand sprinter Choisir (photo bottom by Mark Smith),  Prophet Jewel has left the excellent, although largely untapped, Proisir and the Group I Caulfield Guineas hero Divine Prophet (photo top by Grant Courtney) who will line up in Saturday’s $750,000 Group I Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington.

Also the winner of the Group III Up and Coming Stakes at Randwick, Divine Prophet has already made one more start than his brother Proisir who was restricted to seven starts through injury before taking his place on the stallion roster at Rich Hill Stud.

A Group III winner, Proisir was second to Dundeel in the Group I Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick, second to the same colt in the Group I Randwick Guineas and third behind Pierro and Rebel Dane in the Group II Hobartville Stakes.

At his first run back from a spell, Divine Prophet was unplaced, although far from disgraced in the Group I CF Orr Stakes won by Black Heart Bart a son of Divine Prophet’s distant relative Blackfriars. 

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