Breeding Strategy

Should a breeder persevere with a breeding strategy based on pedigree analysis or chop and change to meet the current fashion? The latter is perused by many who want to make money at auction and it is very successful. But does it produce champion racehorses? The breeding season is well underway but perhaps it is not too late to put down an  observation from my current work. I must confess my clients in Japan and America are much more interested in breeding a champion than getting a quick buck at a yearling sale. I have been examining elements of the Best in Show broodmare line and it is a fascinating tale. There is no doubt Best in Show initiated the most successful female line in the last 50 years and it continues. Volumes could be written about the exploits of her family but space restricts me to an example.

Best in Show

There is nothing outstanding in the Best in Show pedigree. Her sire Traffic Judge was a good racehorse winning 2G1 ,2G2, 1G3, and was a moderately successful sire with five SW in 172 progeny. Her dam Stolen Hour was not a SW; 6 wins in 38 starts shows talent and soundness. In fact in the female tail line there is no SW back as far as 1728! However, on the female side of the pedigree there are two powerful genetic influences, War Admiral and La Troienne.; But these are present in other female lines that didn’t start a dynasty. There is just something special about Best in Show. She was sold for $25,000 at the 1966 Keenland sales.  A useful race horse winning $53,880 in 27 Starts; 5 wins, three seconds, and four thirds. Among her victories was the G3 Comely Stakes for 3yo fillies over a mile.

Best in Show Breeding Career

Her sixteen offspring included four SW (two  fillies, Blush with Pride and Monroe, and two Colts Gielgud and Malinowski ). Best in Show’s  greatness came from these and all her other fillies who were not SW.. The difference between Best in Show and other female lines is that they may experienced their fifteen minutes of fame but this did not extend to all the racing jurisdictions of the world. In addition they may have produced SW but not absolute champion horses which excelled on the track and in the breeding barn. We should notice that the Best in Show line has 14 horses that weren’t SW but they were still powerful performers. One of her fillies Sex Appeal by Buckpasser,  illustrates this      .

I know something about her as my horse Nishiazabu was inbred 4m x4f to Sex Appeal. This horse was a stayer who won Australia’s longest flat race (3600m) and subsequently a Horse of the Year nomination. Sex Appeal was unraced but she inherited the genes to make champions. So a breeding strategy .based on looking closely at the female pedigree won’t go astray. So you don’t necessarily need a SW. What you need is a sound breeding strategy based on pedigree and to persevere with it..

The Autumn Sun: Another Step Towards Greatness

Pedigree and Racing Ability

Pedigree and racing ability can be linked. On the racing aspect it wasn’t easy but The Autumn Sun proved what a champion he may be by his win in the G2 Hobartville Stakes. He has a PRI score of 99.8% with only two horses above him on my list. The Hobartville result was pretty much in line with PRI expectations but the second horse Vegadaze went better than predicted. The Autumn Sun win was even more meritorious when you consider that his best racing distance according to his pedigree is 2000-2500m.

Results for Hobartville Stakes G2 2019

Name Pedigree PRI Placing
The Autumn Sun Redoute’s Choice-Azmiyna 99.6 1
Vegadaze Lope de Vega-Rainy Daze 69.8 2
Bondi Snitzel-Bondi Blonde 93.8 3
Purple Sector Pins-Eden Valley 84.2 4
Rancho Notorious Hight Chaparral-Zedity 64.8 5
Paquirri I Am Invincible -Miss Solis 71.8 6

What a Pedigree

And what a pedigree he has! Virtually all the superior bloodlines for sires are present. Danehill and Galileo, back through  Roberto, Northern Dancer, Mr Prospector, and Bletchingly to Pharos, Ribot, Mill Reef, Nashua, Native Dancer and Nearco to Pharos, Hyperion, Polynesian, Mahmoud on the sires side.  The six generation female index (6GFI) is 11.8% showing a high level of SW in the female line; and two sensational female ancestors, Best in Show and Urban Sea are in his pedigree.  What more do you need!

Of course its not necessarily who the ancestors are but how the fit together in a pedigree. However, with a racing record of 7 starts for 3xG1, 1xG2 ,a G2 third and 2 other wins it looks as if the gene shuffle has come out very well. Great horses with a pedigree to match their racing ability aren’t too common. So will he make it as a sire? In my view he will be up there with the modern greats in this part of the world like Star Kingdom, Sir Tristram, Danehill and his own sire Redoute’s Choice. The only problem that he could confront is the same one that Secretariat had – too good for the available mares around.You can’t get better than perfection.

Great Uncle has done Great Things

A positive pointer on how good a sire The Autumn Sun might be is that his grandmother is the dam of Azamour (Night Shift-Asmara) who was a serious racehorse (4xG1, 1XG3). He once rated the third best horse in the world.and stood in Ireland with a brief visit to NZ. He has sired 39 SW to date. His best horse is probably Covert Love ( winner of G1 Irish Oaks, and G1 Prix de L’ Opera Casino in France).Azamour has already had G1 success in Australia when Best of Days won the Cantala Stakes at Flemington last year.