THE death occurred last week of 74-year-old Merv Laffey.
Merv was a Queenslander who loved greyhounds and way back in the mid 1980s, he listened to the advice of a pretty astute local dog man by the name of Jim Gallaway.
Jimmy tipped Merv into buying a bitch called National Queen (Tangairn-Bay Road Queen). She'd been racing in South Australia and looked a likely staying prospect.
She was out of champion stayer Bay Road Queen winner of the 1982 National Distance title and the Association Cup.
Bay Road Queen (Tegimi-Village Swallow) carried four crosses of legend broodbitch Gorgeous Babe, three through her son Magic Babe but importantly one via her daughter Gay Glint.
Tegimi's dam was none other than Viola Lee the full sister to the immortal Temlee.
National Queen, who Merv Laffey bought and gave to Jim Gallaway to train in Queensland, was by Tangairn a grandson of Temlee, thus she carried intense line breeding to the brother and sister Temlee and Viola Lee.
Tangairn was in-bred to the virtual full brothers Chief Zephyr and Oakley's Pal, to the brother and sister Venetian Babe and Venetian Court, and traced to that grand foundation bitch Tapestry along the tail female line on both sides of his pedigree.
National Queen showed plenty of ability for Merv Laffey and Jim Gallaway finished second to the great bitch Fifi She's Not in the 1987 Qld Futurity at the Gabba. The Gabba track record breaker Hopeful Doll was third.
Merv bred with National Queen as you would expect he would considering she was Group placed and out of a champion race and broodbitch.
Her half sister Bay Supreme (by Waverly Supreme) was a Victorian staying star of her time and would eventually produced SA staying star True Temptation (dm of Token Prince).
From National Queen, Merv and his long-time mate Eric Tedford got a bitch called Tenthill Flyer who under the training of Jim Gallaway would win the Lord Mayors Cup at the Gabba and run a track record at Moree.
But it was as a broodbitch that Tenthill Flyer would achieve virtually Hall of Fame status by producing the first two inductees into the Australian greyhound racing Hall of Fame, Flying Amy and Tenthill Doll.
National Queen would also produce for Merv Laffey the bitch Boronia Blossom (by Wary Suspect) and she would go on to win two National Distance championships and an Albion Park Gold Cup.
Flying Amy, of course, would produce sensational galloper and stud success Just The Best.
Tenthill Doll would produce a litter by Head Honcho of which Merv got a bitch he would name Springtime Magic and she would also become Queensland greyhound of the year.
There were many, many others from National Queen who would make their presence felt.
Her unraced daughter Lulu Fox became the dam of Brindle Cheli who, for Barry and Sharon Morris, would twice become Albion Park's leading broodbitch after a fabulous race career.
So many females from the National Queen damline are still producing today.
The extremely promising young Queensland stayer Mocha Shocker has National Queen as his fourth dam.
He is just one of many, many examples.
Another, and one I find particularly interesting, is the Victorian galloper Smoke Home (Bombastic Shiraz-Daintree Lady).
To the time of writing this, Smoke Home has proven himself with 79 starts for 18 wins and 15 placings. He won the Bill Collins Memorial last year and has been a highly consistent sprinter in top grade on both Melbourne tracks for as long as most can remember.
National Queen is his fifth dam.
Daintree Lady is out of Honchytonk Girl who is out of Tenthill Melody who in turn is out of Tenthill Flyer.
Tenthill Melody (Farloe Melody-Tenthill Flyer) was a litter sister to one of the fastest race bitches Queensland has produced, Tenthill Flash.
She was a fine stayer who eventually was sent to Ireland for a stud career but not before she went to Head Honcho to produce the 2001 Ipswich Auction winner Pacific Flash.
Honchytonk Girl, second dam of Smoke Home, is a genetic sister to Pacific Flash, both being by Head Honcho and from litter sisters.
In Ireland, Tenthill Flash became the dam of Ardera Cross who won a number of Opens.
The line has virtually died out in Ireland and England.
But in Australia it continues to prosper.
Daintree Lady, dam of Smoke Home, was a short course specialist able to run 400m and not much more.
But to the staying type Bombastic Shiraz she has whelped Smoke Home and the very smart Daintree Palace etc
While it is the National Queen damline we are concentrating on mostly in this column, Smoke Home's biggest influence within his pedigree is the 4x3 powerful link between Shining Chariot and his sister Centrefire.
Daintree Lady, dam of Smoke Home, is by Light Of Fire whose dam is Centrefire. Shining Chariot is the sire of Bombastic Shiraz's second dam.
I for one would expect Smoke Home to be able to have a stud career that might surprise a few breeders.
This intense line breeding to the Shining Chariot and his full sister Centrefire, combined with the added reinforcement of this family via Bowetzel who is found twice in the pedigree of Bombastic Blonde (dam of Bombastic Shiraz), gives his pedigree a degree of saturation that can work in his favour.
I suggest those of you who are interested in such things should check closely the pedigrees of many of the best sires over many years and you will see they carry strong line breeding similar to that in Smoke Home's pedigree.
All stud dogs have fors and againsts.
Putting bitches with Just The Best in their pedigree should certainly help Smoke Home if indeed he does get the opportunity to go to stud.
Bitches with Awesome Assassin (a SON of Light Of Fire) in their make-up will also help him. Bitches with daughters of Walkabout Sid should also help him.
And daughters of the brothers Where's Pedro and Hallucinate who carry Bobniak, the SON of Farloe Melody, in their damline will also be ideal for Smoke Home.
Let's hope such a consistent and genuine galloper as Smoke Home does get some opportunity at stud.
Merv Laffey would be proud.