Bluebird (horse)

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Bluebird
Sire Storm Bird
Grandsire Northern Dancer
Dam Ivory Dawn
Damsire Sir Ivor
Sex Stallion
Foaled 2 April 1984[1]
Country United States
Colour Bay
Breeder Seitz-Waldman Partnership
Owner Robert Sangster
Trainer Vincent O'Brien
Record 9: 4-1-2
Major wins
Ballyogan Stakes (1987)
King's Stand Stakes (1987)
Awards
Timeform rating 107 (1976), 125 (1977)

Bluebird (2 April 1984 – after 2004) was an American-bred, Irish-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. He fetched $1.1 million as a yearling and spent his racing career in Europe. He showed promise as a juvenile in Ireland in 1986 when he won on his debut and finished third in his only other race that year. In the following spring he finished second in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes before being dropped to sprint distances to win the Ballyogan Stakes and subsequently recording an emphatic victory in the Group One King's Stand Stakes. He failed to win in three subsequent starts and was retired at the end of the season. He later stood as a breeding stallion in Ireland and Australia and had considerable success as a sire of winners.

Background[edit]

Bluebird was a "lengthy, useful-looking"[2] bay horse with a white star and three white socks bred in Kentucky by the Seitz-Waldman Partnership. As a yearling the colt was offered for sale at Keeneland and was bought for $1,100,000 by BBA Ireland[1] on behalf of Robert Sangster and the Coolmore Stud. He was sent to race in Europe where he was trained throughout his racing career by Vincent O'Brien at Ballydoyle.

Bluebird was from the second crop of foals sired by the Canadian-bred Storm Bird, who was the top-rated two-year-old in Europe in 1980.[3] As a breeding stallion in Kentucky he also sired Summer Squall, Storm Cat, Indian Skimmer and Balanchine. Bluebird's dam Ivory Dawn was an unraced daughter of Sir Ivor. She was a descendant of the American broodmare Sunday Evening who was the female-line ancestor of several major winners including Henrythenavigator, Indian Skimmer, Saffron Walden (Irish 2000 Guineas), Java Gold and Dark Mirage.[4]

Racing career[edit]

1986: two-year-old season[edit]

Bluebird began his racing career in a five furlong maiden race at Phoenix Park Racecourse in October in which he started odds-on favourite and won by one and a half lengths from the filly White Water Lady. Later in the month he was moved up in class and distance for the Leopardstown Stakes over seven furlongs at Leopardstown Racecourse. He took the lead approaching the final furlong but was overtaken in the closing stages and was beaten into third place by Antic Boy and the British challenger Mulhollande.[5]

1987: three-year-old season[edit]

Bluebird began his second season in April when contested the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes over seven furlongs in April and was beaten a short had into second by the Kevin Prendergast-trained Island Reef. In May the colt was dropped back to six furlongs for the BBA Sprint Stakes at Phoenix Park and won "comfortably" by two lengths from the British-trained Powder Keg and eight others. In early June he was stepped up in class for the Group Three Ballyogan Stakes over five furlongs at Leopardstown and won by half a length from the filly Flawless Image.[2]

Bluebird was then sent to England for the Group One King's Stand Stakes over five furlongs at Royal Ascot and started the 7/2 third favourite behind Gayane (winner of the Sirenia Stakes and the Sandy Lane Stakes) and Hallgate (Diadem Stakes, Palace House Stakes). The other nine runners included Flawless Image, Governor General (Abernant Stakes), Singing Steven (Cornwallis Stakes) and Carol's Treasure (Windsor Castle Stakes). Ridden by Cash Asmussen he joined the leaders two furlongs out and drew right away in the closing stages to win by four lengths from the 25/1 shot Perion with the outsiders Orient and Sharp Romance in third and fourth. Timeform called his victory "as impressive a sprinting performance as seen all season."[2]

On his three subsequent starts Bluebird failed to run up to his Ascot form. At Newmarket Racecourse he started odds-on favourite for the July Cup but started slowly before staying on in the closing stages to finish third behind Ajdal and Gayane. After performing lazily in training gallops he was equipped with blinkers for his run in the William Hill Sprint Championship at York Racecourse in August. He refused to co-operate with Asmussen and dropped to the rear of the field before making some progress in the final furlong to finish fourth behind Ajdal. On his final appearance the colt was sent to France for the Prix de la Foret over 1400 metres at Longchamp Racecourse on 25 October. He made little impact as he finished ninth of the fourteen runners behind Soviet Star.[2]

Assessment[edit]

In 1986 the independent Timeform organisation gave him a rating of 107 (25 pounds below their top two-year-old Reference Point) and described him in their annual Racehorses of 1986 a being likely to stay a mile and win more races. In the official classification of two-year-olds in Ireland he was awarded a rating of 106, fourteen pounds behind the filly Minstrella.[5] In the following year he was rated 125 by Timeform, five pounds behind their best sprinter Ajdal. In the International Classification for 1987 he was rated the second best sprinter in Europe behind Ajdal.[2]

Stud record[edit]

At the end of his racing career Bluebird became a breeding stallion for Coolmore Stud at an initial fee of 12,500 Irish guineas.[2] Although based in Ireland he also stood for a time in Australia. After standing at the Castle Hyde Stud in County Cork he was retired from stud duties in 2004.[6]

The best of his offspring included Lake Coniston, Fly to the Stars, Swallow Flight (Sandown Mile), Dolphin Street (Prix de la Foret), Bluegrass Prince (Diomed Stakes), Delilah (Park Hill Stakes) and Twilight Blues (Duke of York Stakes) in Europe, Blues Traveller (Bay Meadows Handicap), Macaw (Elkhorn Stakes) and Aube Indienne (Yellow Ribbon Stakes) in North America and Flitter (Winfield Classic) in Australia.[7]

Pedigree[edit]

Pedigree of Bluebird (USA), bay stallion, 1984[1]
Sire
Storm Bird (CAN)
1978
Northern Dancer (CAN)
1961
Nearctic Nearco
Lady Angela
Natalma Native Dancer
Al Mahmoud
South Ocean (CAN)
1967
New Providence Bull Page
Fair Colleen
Shining Sun Chop Chop
Solar Display
Dam
Ivory Dawn (USA)
1978
Sir Ivor (USA)
1965
Sir Gaylord Turn-To
Somethingroyal
Attica Mr Trouble
Athenia
Dusky Evening (USA)
1967
Tim Tam Tom Fool
Two Lea
Home by Dark Hill Prince
Sunday Evening (Family 9-b)[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Bluebird pedigree". Equineline. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Timeform staff (1988). Racehorses of 1987. Timeform. ISBN 0-900599-46-4. 
  3. ^ Timeform staff (1981). Racehorses of 1980. Timeform. ISBN 0-900599-31-6. 
  4. ^ a b "Sweepstakes Mare - Family 9-b". Thoroughbred Bloodlines. 
  5. ^ a b Timeform staff (1977). Racehorses of 1976. Timeform. ISBN 0-900599-22-7. 
  6. ^ "Coolmore Stallion Bluebird Pensioned". The Blood-Horse. 17 November 2004. 
  7. ^ "Bluebird - Stud Record". Racing Post.