The inimitable John Sparkman noted in a comment on yesterday’s post that Ulrica ” was half sister to *Australian, sire of Travers winners Joe Daniels (1872), Attila (’74) and Baden-Baden (’80). *Australian, of course, also stood at Woodburn alongside Lexington.”
This, of course, sent me off in a flurry of associated inquiry, and I turned up an obituary of Australian from the Thoroughbred Record of Oct. 18, 1879. A foal of 1858, Australian was imported by A Keene Richards as a foal, along with his dam, the Young Emilius mare Emilia.
The colt won three of his nine starts at 3, then was sold to RA Alexander of Woodburn Stud along with “several other head of stock [through] Mr A Keene Richards’s agent, Frank Sherritt, for $5,000.”
Australian did no further winning and was put to stud at 5 in 1863. Even in Kentucky, somewhat on the periphery of the Great Unpleasantness, this was a tricky time to put anything to stud and try to concentrate on breeding racehorses.
Yet Alexander persevered. And Australian succeeded, despite the obstacles of fate and flesh.
The Record article noted that “Australian has not been a prolific sire, but rather an uncertain foal getter.” In addition to the important winners above, Australian did sire the great mare Maggie B B, Springbok, and Belmont Stakes winner Spendthrift.
The latter is Australian’s conduit to greatness and to the male line of present-day pedigrees. Through this sequence of top horses, Australian became one of the three “American male lines.” Spendthrift sired Belmont Stakes winner Hastings, sire of Belmont Stakes second Fair Play, sire of Belmont Stakes winner Man o’ War … sire of Triple Crown winner War Admiral and major winner War Relic. War Relic is the most common male line link for Australian today, and War Admiral is omnipresent in other positions of pedigrees.
As an individual, Australian is described as “a rich chestnut, without white, and stood scant 15 1/4 hands high. He had a neat head, good eyes, stout neck, good shoulders, excellent middle piece, stout back and loins, large stifles, good hips and quarters, clean hocks, stout boned and sound feet and legs. Taking him all in all he was not what might be called a very fine horse, but a plain excellently shaped one.”
Australian sired his last group of foals in 1878.