03/07/2017 9:29AM

Bergman: Andover Hall continues to produce champions

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Peeo Ploff
Andover Hall sired 2016 Elitlopp winner Nuncio.

Hitting a home run is often the term used by those in the industry that purchase yearlings and look to win the most prestigious races. In order to swing for the fences, those looking for top trotters need to find the best blood. Andover Hall, now a veteran at Hanover Shoe Farms, has combined the best of bloodlines with an impressive look. What he has produced is a rarity in the sense that he’s been able to send out horses in North America and Europe to win the sport’s most prestigious events.

It’s no small feat to sire a Hambletonian winner as Andover Hall did back in 2007 with the fabulous Donato Hanover. At the same time, there’s a greater degree of difficulty when you take into account that the now 18-year-old stallion has in fact been responsible for the last two winners of the Elitlopp. In 2015 it was the exported Magic Tonight capturing Sweden’s trotting classic and then in 2016 Nuncio proved his superiority in the classic held last May.

That Nuncio was just a $7,000 yearling that has now earned more than $3 million collectively on two continents is representative of the type of bargain Andover Hall has been for those looking for quality trotters.

Trainer Noel Daley is no stranger to finding the best from the breed and it hasn’t cost him six figures.

“I’m not looking to spend six-figures,” Daley said. “When I first saw Magic Tonight he had a great look about him at Steve Stewart’s place. The dams’ first foal had sold for a lot of money but we were able to get Magic Tonight for $40,000.”

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Magic Tonight was a solid campaigner in North America during his 2 and 3-year-old season improving each year and then blossomed in Sweden. “He was a good horse and they gave him time to mature over there,” Daley said.

Daley also had perhaps the best filly Andover Hall has ever produced in the $1.1 million winner Cedar Dove. “She was just a natural from day one,” said Daley. “You know when Andover Hall went to stud he was a big, good-looking horse with a great pedigree. Both Cedar Dove and Magic Tonight were on the medium to small side.”

Cedar Dove captured the Breeders Crown for sophomore fillies in 2011 at Woodbine. The highlight of her 2-year-old campaign was a solid second behind Crys Dream in the Goldsmith Maid at Woodbine after overcoming post 10.

Cedar Dove is now a broodmare and Daley is more than excited about what she may produce. “Carter Duer has her first foal, a yearling filly by Muscle Hill. There’s no telling what she might bring. I was very happy when the owners decided to breed her to Explosive Matter in 2016. She has to be the best quality mare that he’s ever bred.”

The Muscle Hill-Cedar Dove yearling filly is named When Dovescry, a tribute to the recently deceased pop star Prince.

As accomplished as Andover Hall is as a stallion, there is no doubt his fillies are in line to make him a top broodmare sire as well. Certainly if the aforementioned When Dovescry turns out it will further his standing, but he’s already produced the millionaires Classic Martine and Archangel. The latter has a 1:50 mark for his sire Credit Winner.

The rich blood of Andover Hall has helped him stand out among his brothers, and successful sires in their own right, Conway Hall and Angus Hall. Among the three, his foals have to compete in the ultra-competitive Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program that year after year gets flooded with the top trotting sires. Andover Hall continues to produce solid stakes and raceway horses.

Longevity is earned in this business and Andover Hall, having produced Donato Hanover in his first year at stud and coming up with the International star Nuncio some seven years later, has proven his worthiness time and again. For a modest $7,500 fee the next champion may not be that far away.