Brian Russell Farewell to Joie Denise

Brian Russell Media - Breednet - 2 September 2009

THE RAFFLE of breeding is shown by the mating records of the late Tommy Smith’s queen of the racetrack of the 1970s, Denise’s Joy, and her best racing product Joie Denise. Denise’s Joy missed in six of her 16 seasons and Joie Denise, a first crop Danehill filly foaled when her mother was 20, also failed to go in foal five times, including servicing by two stallions in each of the 2006 and 2008 seasons, and slipped once.

Their stud records are recalled following the death last week at the age of 18 of Joie Denise at her owner John Singleton’s Strawberry Hill Stud at Mount White near Sydney.This winner for her breeders, the Arrowfield stud, of four of 16 outings, including the Queensland Oaks, and the only first class galloper out of Denise’s Joy had 14 seasons of use for nine foals, comprised by seven fillies and two colts.

Both gelded, the two males between them raced once, but the six fillies of racing age have all competed and five of them have won.Two raced by Singleton have been Sunday Joy (1999), an Australian bred daughter of Sunday Silence who won the AJC Oaks and third placed in the Rosehill Guineas, and the 2009 Melbourne Cup aimed Tuesday Joy (2003).

She is a Carnegie winner to date of four Group1s, the STC Coolmore Classic, Rawson Stakes,The BMW and AJC Chipping Norton Stakes, and also in earning over $3.2million runner up in the Victoria Oaks and third in the AJC Australian Derby and Oaks.

The daughters of Joie Denise are predictably set to make a huge contribution to breeding and racing in the future through their descendants.Their achievements and those of other broodmares descending from Denise’s Joy are likely to make her the most successful matriarch in modern Australian history.

A recent research by the Australian Stud Book showed Denise’s Joy the fifth most successful by stakes race wins with a score of 74 wins,19 of which were at Group1 level.The honour board was headed by Civic Pride with winners of 99 stakes, including 23 Group1s.

Denise’s Joy, a mare got at the Oakleigh stud in the Widden Valley by Seventh Hussar, a competent English handicap miler, whose 13 wins included four Group1s, has left a huge legacy through seven daughters, including Joie Denise, and their descendants.

Much of the family has been cornered by John Singleton and his good mate Gerry Harvey. Boss of retail giant Harvey Norman and owner of the Baramul stud in the Widden Valley, Harvey is partners with Singleton in the Magic Millions sales company and in the Vinery stud, Segenhoe Valley, Scone.

One of the biggest owners of broodmares and racehorses in Australia, Harvey has at least ten of the Denise’s Joy family at Baramul with the bulk of them being out of Christmas Spirit or her Rory’s Jester AJC Challenge Stakes winner Light Up the World.

Christmas Spirit is a three-quarter sister by Bletchingly to Christmas Tree, a dashing winner of six races who, because there has been a shortage of colts, was the first of only three representatives of the family to sire runners to date. Retired to stud in1988, Christmas Tree supplied 155 winners and 13 who won or stakes placed.

The other two Denise’s Joy sires are Christmas Tree’s much younger close relations QTC Stradbroke Handicap winner Thorn Park (at stud in New Zealand) and injury restricted fleetfooted Conatus, a Danehill sire standing on behalf of his owners, a Gerry Harvey headed syndicate, at Heather Pascoe’s Plaintree Farms near Toowoomba in Queensland. Both have their oldest progeny 4-year-olds and are exciting a lot of interest.

A brother to World Peace, a Danehill filly who won a Blue Diamond Preview, finished third in the Blue Diamond Stakes and who is poised to produce an Encosta de Lago foal, Conatus has stirred up so much enthusiasm in Harvey for his potential he has boosted the quality of the mares he is putting to him.The 2009 line up going to Conatus, a sire on a modest fee of $3,300, includes a number by each of Zabeel, Encosta de Lago,Testa Rossa, Strategic, Royal Academy, General Nediym, Marscay, Last Tycoon, Hussonet and Mossman and others by Sadler’s Wells,Tale of the Cat, Anabaa, Hellisio, Jade Robbery, Pins, Rory’s Jester, Success Express and Marauding.

Already enjoying success in Sydney with runners by Conatus, Gerry Harvey is aiming even higher with them. Currently he has 18 in work and two others with pre-trainers. Two of his new Conatus 2-year-olds have impressed so much that they have been nominated for the Golden Slipper and two Harvey Conatus 3-year-old fillies showing good promise are Verballed (with Neville Voight) and Olive Oyl (Marc Conners). Each of them has been second at its only race start.

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You cannot love a car the way you do a horse. The horse brings out human feelings the way machines cannot do. Things like machines may develop or neglect things in people…. machines make our life impersonal and stultify elements in us and create an impersonal environment.

—Albert Einstein