Sex Selection in the Sire


It is not easy to track genes in racehorse families. Occasionally, statistics can indicate that there is sex selection in the sire. The catalogues have started to arrive so how do we use the information to buy a winner? Well, it is a useful document to find most the information in one place. However, a catalogue is unashamedly a selling document and to improve your chance of success you need to know more.  Sometimes the information that is not there is just as important. Both sides of the pedigree require more data. Here is a tip for the male side.

Performance of the Sire

This information can be found in the Australian Stud book or, or a number of similar data bases.  The data shows things like stallion fees, winners/runners, best performers, premiership tables, siblings etc. However, sometimes you have to dig deeper than this. To illustrate the sort of information which could be useful in your investigations let’s look at the stallion performance of Foxwedge (Fastnet Rock-Forest Native).


Foxwedge was an excellent racehorse. In the G1 William Reid he pushed Hay List and Buffering into second and third places.  As a Sire he has a winners/runners ratio of 43.7% which puts him close to horses like So You Think (44.4%) and Nicconi (41.7%). However, what makes his performance worth another look is the fact that his progeny has won three of the highest quality G1 races. Not all G1 races are the same no matter what some industry people say. The table below lists some of the important winners of these races that have been won by his daughters.

All three of Foxwedge’ s G1 winners are fillies. Further investigation shows that of his 18SW, 15 are fillies and 3 are colts. Is there some sort of sex bias operating here? Is it a case of sex selection in the sire? Well, that may be true to a small extent as In the 2013-2015 crops there are 178 fillies and 142 colts.  However, this difference would not explain the SW disparity. It could be chance or is there is a sex-linked factor expressed in the X chromosome of Foxwedge that is related to racing performance. This gene is reinforced by the X chromosome in some of his mares. How do you use this information? If you are interested in Foxwedge progeny, give preference to the fillies. At a service fee of only $11,000 they are definitely worth a look.

Pretty Polly and Australia


Pretty Polly and Australia

I took an interest in the Pretty Polly Stakes while researching the Capricornia Sales. This race has some interesting association with Australian Racing. The association involves Pretty Polly herself, the jockeys, and the pedigree of some of the 2018 field.

Who was Pretty Polly?

    Pretty Polly: superstar

Pretty Polly (Gallinule- Admiration) was foaled in Ireland in 1901. As a 2yo she had nine starts and won them all. A 3yo, she won all the Fillies Classics and became only the fifth filly to complete the Fillies Triple Crown. This series commenced in 1814. Her racing career lasted 3 years and numbered 24 Starts, 22 wins and 2 seconds. She won 15 straight races.

Broodmare Status

At stud, Pretty Polly had seven registered foals. Although none of them achieved much on the racetrack, her four daughters were very successful broodmares and formed the now famous Pretty Polly family. Pretty Polly  is the fourth dam of the great sire Donatello ll and the fifth dam of Brigadier Gerard. This horse with a record of 17 wins and a second from 18 starts achieved a timeform rating of 144-equal third with the best in history. Derby winners haven’t escaped the family either. Pretty Polly is the sixth dam of the Epsom Derby winner St Paddy.  She has been named as the Matriarch of Family 14-C, the most successful female family in Thoroughbred racing history.

But where does the Aussie connection come in? In 1924, Pretty Polly had her final daughter Baby Polly (Spearmint –Pretty Polly) and Spearmint is a son of the mighty Carbine and he needs no introduction.

The Pretty Polly Stakes

Peeping Fawn: the iron filly

In honour of the great race mare and broodmare, the Pretty Polly Stakes commenced in Ireland in 1948. Originally it was a G2 3yo fillies race over 10f (2012m) but has now been given G1 status and is open to both fillies and mares. For me, 2007 had the most interesting winner, Peeping Fawn (DanehillMaryinsky). She won 4xG1 before her second in the Epsom Oaks and she is closely related to Rags to Riches (A P Indy-Better than Honour) who was the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in 100 years. Both mares share the same grandmother, Blush with Pride whose dam is Best in Show. The fillies won their races in 2007.

The 2018 the race had only six runners. Fillies and mares from Australian sires  Foxwedge, Fastnet Rock and So You Think. comprised half the field. Urban Fox (Foxwedge-Lomapamar) won easily.

The Jockeys

Bill Williamson

Bill was a great Australian Jockey. He is best known in Australia by his win on Dalray in the 1952 Melbourne Cup and his partnership with the mighty New Zealand champion Rising Fast. He went to Europe in 1960 and had great success. Few people know that he won not one but two Arc de Triomphe and he still holds a record which is unlikely any Australian Jockey is going to match let alone beat. Bill is one of six jockeys that have each won three Pretty Polly Stakes and shares that record with Lester Piggott, Michael Kinane and three others.