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6th December 2005

(Century – Ruby, by Seventh Hussar (FR))

In an era when breeders are searching for outcrosses to the all pervasive Northern Dancer and Mr Prospector strains, it was particularly sad to note the recent death of Rubiton.  The 23-year-old sire was what is now virtually an endangered species, a male line descendant of the Byerley Turk (of the three “founding fathers” the male line of the Darley Arabian, and his great-grandson, Eclipse, has more or less swamped those coming down from the Byerley Turk and his great-grandson Herod, and of the Godolphin Arabian through his grandson, Matchem.  What’s more, probably more than 90% of the Darley Arabian/Eclipse descendants come down through the much more recent Phalaris).

So, we’d hazard a guess that Rubiton shared his male line with what is probably less than 1% of the current population of the breed.  Virtually the only branch of the Byerley Turk still functioning is that of the great French horse, Tourbillon, who appears in the fifth generation of Rubiton’s pedigree.  The line continues through Tourbillon’s son, Djebel, winner of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe during WWII, and the English 2,000 Guineas hero, My Babu.  This branch of the male line arrived in Australia with Better Boy, a winner over a mile.  A four time Champion Sire in Australia, Better Boy sired 35 stakes winners, and one of the best of those was Rubiton’s sire, Century.

Linebred to Mumtaz Begum through the three-parts-brother and sister, Badruddin (broodmare and sire of My Babu) and Mumtaz Begum (dam of Nasrullah, the grandsire of Century’s dam), Century was a superior speedster, whose victories included the Newmarket Handicap (G1), Sires’ Produce Stakes (G1) and Craven A Stakes (G1).

Century too went on to great success as a sire, with 45 stakes winners, of which Rubiton was the best.  Like his sire, Rubiton possessed high-class speed, and he captured the Manikato Stakes (G2) over 1200m. and Futurity Stakes (G1) and Memsie Stakes (G2) over 1400m.  However, Rubiton was a much more versatile horse than his sire, and he also captured the Underwood Stakes (G1), L K S Mackinnon Stakes (G1) and W S Cox Plate (G1), all at around 2000m.  As a four-year-old, he captured six of seven starts, and was Highweighted Horse of the Year on the Australasian Classification for 1987-88.  Rubiton was an outcross at five generations, but it is interesting to note that where his sire was linebred to Mumtaz Begum, his dam was by Seventh Hussar, who had two crosses of Fair Trial, and one of Tudor Minstrel, that pair being grandsons of Lady Juror, a half-sister to Mumtaz Begum’s dam, Mumtaz Mahal.

Like his sire and his grandsire, Rubiton was a highly successful stallion.

To date he has sired 29 stakes winners.  They are headed by Fields of Omagh, who followed his sire as a winner of the W S Cox Plate (G1); the George Main (G1) and Stradbroke Handicap (G1) victor Adam; Newmarket Handicap (G1) and Victoria Racing Club Stakes (G1) winner Rubitano; Patezza, who took the Doncaster Handicap (G1); Flavour, winner of the Victoria Racing Club Stakes (G1); Ruby Clipper, who took the Allan Robertson Fillies Championship (G1) in Australia; as well as graded scorers Monopolize,  Innovation Girl, Dilly Dally, Flak Jacket, Fubidium, Truly Wicked, Rubicall, Millrich and Royal Rubiton.  Rubiton worked with a wide range of broodmare sires, and this isn’t particularly surprising, given that he was potentially always likely to pick up on more Nasrullah, Fair Trial and Tudor Minstrel, as well as any other Mumtaz Mahal sources, such as Royal Charger, as well as Mahmoud, Rivaz, Malindi, Mirza II, Pherozshah, Nilo, Nizami and Jambo.  In addition, his second dam was by Star Kingdom’s son Todman, and his third by Landau, who is bred on a similar Nearco/Hyperion cross to Nearco.  So, there was always plenty of likely strains for Rubiton to pick up.  Fields of Omagh, one of his best runners, does have a rather interesting pedigree, as his broodmare sire, Cerreto, is out of a mare by Crepello, and Crepello’s dam is a three-quarter genetic relative to Better So, the dam of Better Boy.  That combination also appears in grade one winners Cheviot (also by a son of Century out of a Cerreto mare) and Kensington Palace, so it could be one to note.

We mentioned at the introduction to the article, about the potential for strains which were an outcross to Northern Dancer and Mr Prospector, and Rubiton mares are already doing sterling work in this area.  The Mr Prospector/Rubiton cross has already come up with the grade one winning Dash For Cash (by Secret Savings) and graded victor Bellton (by Bellotto).  There are five black-type winners on a Northern Dancer/Rubiton cross, including graded scorers Great Glen (by Regal Classic), and Speedy King (by Hennessy) and Danerich (by Danehill).

Sad to say, the sire line may not be with us too much longer, especially since New Zealand fairly recently lost Century’s good son, Centaine (sire of Kinjite).  Rubiton does have Adam at stud, but this tough performer hasn’t been getting the best opportunities.  Rubiton’s brother, Euclase, has been a useful sire, but very much in the shadow of his sibling.  Still perhaps we’ll see Rubiton wield an influence as broodmare sire of a top-class Northern Dancer or Mr Prospector line stallion in the near future.

With Thanks to