By Lloyd Jackson
White Robe Lodge and the Anderton family had much to celebrate on Easter Saturday when their resident stallion, Raise the Flag (Sadler’s Wells), sired his first Group One winner after Etah James took out the Sydney Cup (3200m).
Etah James’ stamina was two fold at Randwick. The 3200m is a test in itself but combined with the gluey track she had to be extra tough. The way she stuck to her task was typical of what New Zealand-bred stayers are renowned for.
Raise The Flag, a beautifully-bred stallion by Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer), is a half-brother to five Group One winners plus Champion Sire Dansili (Danehill). He has sired 11 stakes horses, most of which come into their own in races beyond 1600m.
The stallion was represented in the same race by Yogi, also a winner over 3200m.
The Andertons had reason for a second celebration with the victory by Royal Crown (Helmet), that same day at Caulfield. He also showed great stamina with his daring break from the 600m then staying on best in the Listed Galilee Series Final (2400m) for the three-year-olds.
Royal Crown descends from the Anderton’s foundation mare White Robe, their stud being named in her honour and becomes the newest stakes winner to represent the family.
White Robe (Sir Galloway) was well above average on the track, winning ten times and was stakes placed in the Southland Guineas. At stud she produced Princess Ermine, a Beaumaris (Beau Repaire) filly who never raced but when mated with another beautifully bred White Robe Lodge sire, Mellay (by Derby winner Never Say Die from Oaks winner Meld), produced the top-class Princess Mellay and therefore more than compensated for her non race record.
Princess Mellay was the first stakes winner in many generations of her line and the first descending from White Robe. In the interim, there have been a further 16 stakes winners, 13 of which trace directly to Princess Mellay herself.
On the track Princess Mellay had an excellent three-year-old season and was rated the second top filly of her year, taking out the Gr.2 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Riccarton where, as a four and five-year-old she added back-to-back New Zealand Cups (3200m) in 1970 and 1971. They were three of her 18 wins.
Her great grandson Blood Brotha (Danzighill) achieved the same feat in 2011 and 2012 although the race lost its Group One status in 1991.
Not only did Princess Mellay make a name for herself on the track she was named New Zealand Broodmare of the Year in 1982 through the deeds of her magnificent weight-for-age performer Prince Majestic who was by yet another beautifully bred White Robe Lodge stallion Noble Bijou, a Vaguely Noble (Vienna) half-brother to Allez France (Sea-Bird).
Trained by champion trainer Ray Verner, Prince Majestic raided Australian riches on several occasions, from the Gr.1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) as a three-year-old as well as the Gr.1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at four, both at Royal Randwick. His third Group One success was the Gr.1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill, also at four. In all he amassed 19 victories on both sides of the Tasman.
Three Group One winners represent the family, the two mentioned above plus last month’s Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Roger That (Shinko King). He traces to Princess Mellay via Heather Lyn (Yaminan Vital); grandam Group three stakes winner De Montfort (Random Chance) and third dam Lal’s Gift (Noble Bijou) making the latter a sister to Prince Majestic. Apart from Shinko King (Fairy King), Roger That is all “White Robe” as Random Chance and Yaminan Vital both stood at the Anderton’s stud.
From the same branch as Roger That is Prince Oz (O’Reilly), winner of the Gr.3 Stewards Stakes (1200m) two seasons back. His grandam is Lal’s Gift (above). Most in this family seem to appreciate middle to longer distances yet with the infusion of O’Reilly (Last Tycoon) the family can produce a stakes winning sprinter.
Royal Crown’s connection to Princess Mellay is via Princess Regina (Zabeel); grandam and Prince Majestic’s three-quarter blood sister Princess Lily (Noble Bijou) and Princess Orchid (Oncidium).
The manner in which Royal Crown outstayed his age-group opponents suggests a spring to look forward to. Caulfield often suits a front-running stayer. We are reminded of that fact by Might And Power (Zabeel), who we lost on Easter Sunday.