The word Markham in Irish means horsemen and the Markham Family now based in the rich Hunter Valley region of NSW are certainly well versed in the breeding and rearing of Standardbred horses.
John and Sue Markham and previously John’s parents Ernie and Dianne have been selling yearlings in NSW since 1976 when they offered a yearling by Toliver Hanover at the annual Parramatta Livestock Sales in Sydney.
Lets throw in a little piece of history here – Parramatta Livestock was owned and conducted by George Aiken , the late father of current leading Victorian based trainer David Aiken. George was also the breeder of Christian Cullen’s granddam Pleasant Evening.
The Markham’s have been selling their yearlings under the Rainbow moniker for the past 40 years ….. and these Yearlings are raised on the fertile limestone soils adjacent to the Hunter River near Muswellbrook.
They have been supporting the APG Sales for 32 of the 33 years that APG has been in business. In the early days of APG’s entry into the Standardbred Yearling market , the Management and auctioneering was handled by the same George Aiken of Parramatta Livestock fame.
John and Sue are huge believers in the Artsplace sireline in their Broodmares and rightly so as Artsplace is clearly the greatest Broodmare sire in Harness Racing history and now his son Art Major has become the dominant broodmare Sire in our Country. There were ten individual Group One winners in Australia last season from Art Major mares placing him head and shoulders over his opposition in this department.
Four of the five pacing bred Rainbow yearlings being offered this Sunday at the Neds APG Sydney Sale are either from Artsplace [ 2 ] or Art Major [2 ] mares.
The Markhams have also achieved massive success from breeding from daughters and granddaughters of the blistering fast Qld trained female Hike Along [ by Land Grant ].
At stud she produced seven winners and remarkably six of those winners qualified for the APG 2 year old Finals …… now that must be some sort of record.
Three of the Rainbow yearlings in Sydney have Hike Along as their third dam and those same three have Fake Left as the sire of their granddams – so there is a proven formula for success.
John Markham especially likes two of his Pacing colts that will go under the hammer on Sunday – LOTS 633 and 651.
“ The Captaintreacherous colt is a cracking type , one of the best colts we have ever bred “ said John yesterday. “ The Always B Miki colt has really blossomed over the past 2 months and is a lovely moving colt . “
Sue Markham though has taken a liking to another colt , that being LOT 578.
“ John let me select the sire for this mare , Rainbow Sue , and I love the resulting foal by Sweet Lou. He is a strong , powerful type and with a white love heart on his forehead [ just like the champion Thoroughbred Lankan Rupee ]. “said Sue yesterday.
Well Sue may have chosen very cleverly with the mating as this LOT 578 is bred on the same cross as clearly Sweet Lou’s best son in this Hemisphere in Spirit Of St Louis.
The Rainbow Pacing draft is rounded out with a Betting Line Colt from an Artsplace mare [ LOT 514 ] and LOT 658, a Sweet Lou Filly , once again bred on the same cross as Spirit Of St Louis .
John and Sue have also taking a liking to breeding horses of the diagonal gait and will offer two Yearlings by Australasia’s dominant sire of Trotters in Majestic Son.
They both descend from the Family of the incomparable Maori’s Idol and the Filly in particular [ LOT 665 ] looks to be an eye catching type. Her Video shows her to have a lovely , well balanced and fluent action and being from a Sundon mare makes her bred on a highly successful cross.
Now there is more good news from the Rainbow team that should put a smile on the dial of any potential purchaser. All of the Rainbow yearlings are Eligible for the lucrative NSW Breeders Challenge Series and All are Paid Up Fully for the Series.
So make your way to Stable J on the weekend.
As Dolly once said “ If you want the Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow , you have to put up with some rainy days first .”
Well we’ve certainly had the rainy days !!!