Trainer J. Holt
High Syce is in many ways the forgotten horse of Queensland racing as he was sold to big Melbourne owner Rita Buxton in 1928. High Syce was bred at Canning Downs Stud near Warwick and did his early racing in Brisbane where he won the QTC Sires, QTC Derby, QTC St Leger and QTC Guineas. Buxton bought High Syce after winning the Cox Plate with Highland, who like High Syce was by Canning Downs’s sire Highfield. For Buxton and trainer Holt, High Syce won the 1929 Caulfield Cup, Caulfield Stakes and Melbourne Stakes.
Further information on High Syce
High Syce was perhaps the best of Highland’s progeny. As a two-year-old, he won the QTC Sires’ Produce before going on to win the Queensland Derby as a three-year-old. In all, High Syce won 10 Stakes races in Queensland during 1927 and 1928 before venturing to Victoria.
During 1929, High Syce won the Caulfield Stakes, October Stakes, Melbourne Stakes, and his biggest victory, the Caulfield Cup. High Syce actually set the race and track record during this victory. High Syce started among the favourites for the Melbourne Cup which was won by Nightmarch with the immortal Phar Lap running third.
The pedigree of High Syce shows four lines of Stockwell, but this is overshadowed by the close duplication of St Simon in the third and fourth generations. We also see that Highfield’s fourth dam is a mare called Hamptonia, by Hampton out of Feronia. High Syce’s damsire is a stallion called Syce who in turn has a stallion called Ayrshire as his own damsire. Ayshire is important in the case of High Syce in that he is a three quarter brother to Hamptonia.
Highfield can still be found in modern pedigrees, although his influence is now relegated well back. Given his local Queensland heritage, it comes as no surprise to see Highfield present in the pedigrees of such good local gallopers as Bulldog Yeats and two of Sequalo’s stakes winners in full siblings, Shysu and Sequallan. Highfield also appears in the female line of another good Queensland bred galloper in Foolish, by Iglesia.
Interestingly, we also see Highfield’s making an impact in Singapore where he appears in the pedigree of their good stakes winner, Lim’s Classic.
Syce, who we saw was the damsire of High Syce, is a critical influence in Queensland breeding. Standing not all that far from Canning Downs at nearby Lyndhurst Stud, Syce was a son of the classic stallion, Cyllene.
Syce was noted as a prolific sire of winners and was also renowned as a good sire of two-year-olds. He was also considered important at the time for introducing the bloodlines of the leading female Parrafin into Australia.
In total, Syce sired 16 Stakes winners. Perhaps his best were Had I Wist who won eight Stakes races in Brisbane, Molly’s Robe who won the Queensland Guineas as well as a VRC Newmarket and Oakleigh Plate, and a filly called Lyndhurst Lady who was regarded by many as the best two-year-old in Australia in spite of her winning only one Stakes race.
Andrew Lemon in Volume 2 of The History of Australian Thoroughbred Racing notes that High Syce won 20 and had 28 starts in Queensland however this is not verified at this time.