MM Yearling Sales Catalogue 2022 (Part 1)


The yearling sales are about to commence. The MM Catalogue 2022 for January 11-17, is now available. I have attended the last fifteen or so and it is a wonderful experience. There are plenty of well bred horses on offer, and if you are in the market you just need to be able to pick the right one. This year I describe two that I believe will be successful racehorses. In support of my methodology I can report on the performance of the one yearling l selected from the MM 2020 series.  Lot 209 (Snitzel – Crystal Flute), now a 3yo, is racing in NZ under the name Meritable.  His record is 5 Starts 1-3-0 which includes seconds in a G1 and G2. I have applied similar methods to the yearlings selected in MM Yearling Catalogue 2022.

Street Boss

A winner of 2xG1 he goes from strength to strength as a versatile sire. Already with 58 SW, evenly spread between male and female offspring. Street Boss has SW/r of 5.57%.

Street Boss: siring winners everywhere

His female line has a whopping 6GFI of 18.3% and Almanzor (who also has yearlings in this sale) appears here. His G1 winners are spread geographically, by racing distance(1200-2000m) and surface (turf and dirt).  Amanoe, who ran a gallant second in last year’s Cox Plate is his most successful horse.

Lot 79 (Street Boss – Glory’s Girl, by Exceed & Excel)

This cross has already produced four SW with Elite Street (G1, 2xG2, 1XL) the winner of the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth being the most successful. The SW/r for Street Boss crossed with Exceed and Excel mares is a healthy 14.29% . Glory’s Girl comes from a strong female line with 6GFI of 9.30. The colt from this mating has a PRI score of 95.0.This all points to a very capable horse.

Lot 613 (Street Boss – Tennessee Gold, by Lonhro)

Lonhro: 26 wins from 35 starts, a real champion

This cross has produced a SW from two only runners. Arcaded (G2, G3) won the Blue Diamond Prelude (1107m). The SW/r for Street Boss crossed with  Lonhro mares is 50%, admittedly with little data. Tennessee Gold has a female line with 6GFI of 8.67. Allez Wonder (Toorak Handicap winner) and the Melbourne Cup winner Rainbird are part of this line and if her genes flow through, this filly is classic material. Her PRI score of 91.5 lends support to this view.


Longevity of a PRI Score

The Longevity of a PRI Score

A PRI score will change with time, but what is the longevity of a PRI score? Any process that involves statistical methods is only as good as the information in a data base. This particularly true when the data is continually changing. Any method using a data base must be robust enough to accommodate these changes. A data base which involves racehorses is continually changing. Just consider the AEI (Average Earning Index). Every run a horse has will change its AEI value. Similarly, every time a horse wins a Stakes Race, the pedigree compatibility factors will also change. The change will be almost imperceptible for a cross such as Northern Dancer x Mr Prospector. But what about the lesser lights?

Up Dated Results

To test the robustness my analysis system I re-examined the data entered in my first post of 2.5 years ago (Yearling Prices and Racing Ability: the rewards are hard to find). The updated results are given in the table below:

*PRI Score measured Feb 2019

**PRI Score measured Aug 2012

***PRI Band/Medium AEI is from Flavone Private data base. For example, Honesty Prevails with a PRI score of 93.8 lies in the data base band of PRI scores 95-90 which have a medium AEI value of $110k.


Firstly, as a prelude I need to state that the examination of seven horses is hardly statistically significant, but my conclusions are backed up by a considerable amount of data I have accumulated in over 20 years researching the subject. Secondly, breeding and/or finding good horses is an inexact science with a bit of art thrown in. For example, within PRI bands there is considerable variation in AEI values. However, I would predict that more likely than not the AEI figure is close to what you would expect from a horse with PRI values within that band.

  1. The PRI values measured for these horses in 2019 have not changed dramatically from those measured in 2021. The longevity of a PRI score held up well.
  2. In their racing career all these horses failed to return anywhere near their purchase price.
  3. The link between PRI score and AEI is reasonable for these seven horses. What was predicted is reasonably close to what was achieved.
  4. A phone call to me in 2019 would have saved some people a lot of money!


Will Winx be a better Broodmare than other Champion Mares?

It has been reported that super mare Winx (Street Cry-Vegas Showgirl) is going to be serviced by the Danzig line stallion I am Invincible. Is this another example of “Best to the Best”? Is there something in the combined pedigree that will provide confidence that the mating will produce a significant racehorse? What does a PRI about the projected racing ability of Winx progeny tell us?

Sire’s Performance

As sires go, I Am Invincible was a good racehorse but nothing special. Thirteen starts for 5 wins, 2 two placings and $270k in stakes earnedHis sire, Invincible Spirit, was a better racehorse winning a G1 and 2xG3. He stood in Australia for 4 seasons, returned to Ireland and now commands 60,000 euros. The female line of I Am invincible is not strong with a 6GFI of 4.1%. However, his grand dam sits right in middle of a thick vein of Pedrille bloodlines.The fact that s stallion’s fees are a poor predictor of a foal’s prize winning potential has been established for some time.

Mare’s Performance

Winx’s sire Street Cry was an excellent racehorse. He won the Dubai World Cup and the G1 Stephen Foster Handicap in America. His impressive deeds continued as a sire. His sire line has produced 241 SW, with 46xG1 individual winners.   As a broodmare sire he has produced 52 SW.  The Winx female line is weak with a 6GFI of 2.82% and she is the only G1 winner in 6 generations.

Putting the two together, what do we get?

New foals are about to arrive

The overall picture is of a complete outcross. There is plenty of line breeding in the back end but this is beyond the fifth generation and unlikely to have much impact in a sixth generation progeny. In the absence of any information to apply some of the favoured techniques in Pedigree Analysis, we can look at the statistics of breeding of Street Cry broodmares. The following comments can be made:

  • Street Cry broodmares have not produced a SW to any in the Danzig–Green Desert sire line
  • Storm Cat line sires have produced the most SW (12)
  • Following him are Mr Prospector(10), Danzig (10 including 5 from Danehill)
  • Sadler’s Wells has produced 6 with the most G1 performers (2)

The sole G1 winner from a Danzig line stallion Bellamy Road (from Chief’s Crown) was Diversify who won 2xG1. He joined War Admiral, Dr Fager,  Alydar and Kelso (who won 3 times)  as winners in the time honoured Whitney Handicap (now the Whitney Stakes ). The winner of this race automatically qualifies as a starter in the end of season Breeders Cup Classic worth $8m. So it is worth winning. But I diversify.

What does the PRI say?  

A PRI score can tell us the projected racing ability of Winx progeny. The PRI score for the I Am Invincible progeny is 68.8 which in my library suggest it will be unlikely to win in the city. Galileo would probably produce a stakes winner with a score of 88.5.   The best local I found was Lonhro with a score of 91.7 but you would need a colt because that is G1 territory. The Danehill line and there is plenty around would be worth investigating but I haven’t done that.

So, is I Am Invincible a good match for Winx?  I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Is Best to the Best the Best way to find or breed the Best Racehorse?

Calogues are now out

There has been some recent discussion about the wisdom of old adage “Breed best to the best and hope for the best. “ The apparent failure of the outcome of breeding from quality mares that have failed to pass on their racing talents to their offspring has fueled this discussion. I thought it may be helpful to comment on these matters now Catalogues are available. The information may be of assistance to those wading through the catalogues. Remember the catalogues are primarily selling documents. They certainly give you information about the stallion and the dam but these are racing facts crossed with racing facts. What is needed is information on breeding facts crossed with breeding facts.The horse’s potential racing ability can be established by a more detailed examination of the pedigree at the top of the page. PRI analysis is one way of doing this.

Importance of Genetics

Racehorses are complex individuals whose success at the end of the day can depend on millimetres and there are many factors governing success or failure. Training, health, nutrition, attitude, are all important factors. Luck is the most uncontrollable element of all (wet tracks, barriers, interference in running, jockey competence etc.).  All important but not considered here. However, unless the horse has the genetic ability to perform these factors become inconsequential.

The pedigree of a horse is said to govern only 30% of its ability. If this is true then it is the critical 30%. A good human analogy is the  athlete. Consider a young person of great athletic ability who trains hard, has a great competitive attitude and is willing and looks forward to making the necessary sacrifices in lifestyle each athlete has to make if they wish to reach the top. This person wants to play basketball at the NBL level but this athlete is only 5ft tall. What are the chances of them making the grade? Very little.The task is beyond their genetic capability. So it is with horses.

An Example of Breeding Quality Mares  to the Best that worked

Firstly let’s look at the big picture of crossing the Best with the Best. The English Oaks commenced in 1779 one year earlier than the English Derby. In the last almost 250 years how many Derby winners have sired a Derby winner from an Oaks winner? None, until 2014 when the paradoxically named Australia (Galileo-Ouija Board) saluted. There is some controversy that this was the first example because in 1995 Lammtarra (Nijinsky-Snow Bride) won the Derby but Snow Bride had become an Oaks winner after Aliysa, who was first past the post, was disqualified. Only five other Derby winners have been out of Oaks winners

Australia (Galileo-Ouija Board) winner English and Irish Derbies 2014

The fact that the mare and stallion may not be genetically compatable and able to produce a high quality horse is not usually mentioned in the discussion on the poor breeding performance of successful race mares.   Tthe breeding career of Coco Cobanna shows this. Coco Cobanna was a high quality race mare. In 2000 she was winner of the G1 AJC Oaks, 3rd in G1 SA Oaks, and winner of the G1 Metropolitan Handicap and the G3 Colin Stephens. The Table:below sets out her breeding career

What is a PRI?

The factor PRI (Pedigree Racing Index) in the above Table is a way I calculate a theoretical racing performance from looking at various stallion crosses. In data base I have constructed the PRI values range from 100 to 43.3; only two horses have reached the perfect 100 and they won almost $6m in stake money.  The PRI values calculated for each of Coco Cobanna’s foals pretty well parallel their racing performance. All the major sire lines available in Australia at the time, Danehill, Storm Cat, Mr Prospector were tried using high quality sires (the Best); the only sire line missing is perhaps Sir Tristram. 

A breeding strategy of Best to the Best cannot be dismissed on the basis of one result. Coco Cobanna is a good example of breeding quality mares to the best bloodlines around and was definitely a sound plan. But it failed to deliver its objective. To be statistically significant this result will probably require looking at least 20% of the horses in the thoroughbred data base which now probably exceeds 2.5m. Even with modern computers a Herculean task. However, it does show that calculation of an index like PRI will give guidance to the probable racing performance of any horse. In retrospect, armed with the knowledge above Coco Cobanna would have been better served by a Danehill son (2002 was the last year Danehill himself stood).

So my advice to  people who look at catalogues is to do more homework around the mare and its relations. Look at the broodmare sire carefully. Does it have SW from the stallion whose progeny you are looking at. If not, what about other stallions in the sire line?

Good luck, we all need plenty of that.



Racing Performance and Pedigrees

PRI: Linking Pedigree to Racing Performance

The study of pedigrees is a wonderful way of getting close to the greatest race horses in history. However, how can we link that knowledge to the goal of breeding a superior race horse? Superior is defined by the ability to win races and earn stake money to pay its way. We need to be able to relate pedigree with racing performance. The Sales Catalogs do this to a degree, but these documents are selling an outcome based on racing performance X racing performance. These characteristics  may or may not be necessarily linked. What we need to look at is an outcome showing racing performance linked to pedigree X racing performance…

John Henry: Rated 23rd in America’s top 100 racehorses of the 20th Century

PRI: Developing a System 

We have been developing a system which will better link racing performance to pedigree termed PRI (Pedigree Racing Index). This involves measuring the compatibility of stallions in the first four generations and applying statistical methods to come up with a % figure which is related to the probability of the horse being a superior race horse. We can then relate this number to the library of PRI scores for many horses built up over the years. The PRI scores in the library range from 100 to 43.3. Only two horses has received 100. One horse won at 10 of 12 starts and earned $3.88m

Have I found PRI helpful?

Does it work? The evidence I can show using PRI measured by linking pedigrees with racing ability is the result of my breeding program over the last 15 years. My mares cost between $250 and $11,000.

Named Winners Wins Placed Stakes Av $
19 13 37 2 $888,817 46,779

In comparison with the above, I have raced 11 horses with other owners. Nine of these horses were winners and their average earnings were $26,722.

Can PRI be useful?

Is the PRI analysis foolproof? Certainly not. It sometimes gives results that are not easy to explain. Racing performance linked to pedigree is still a very useful tool as the following will demonstrate. At the yearling sales a few years ago a friend of mine bred a horse by Encosta De Lago and it made $250,000. The horse was well conformed and looked very powerful. I had already given this horse a PRI of 47.3 and believed it would probably never win a race.

However, I didn’t think it was my prerogative to tell neither the breeder nor the purchaser of my opinion. The horse is racing in Hong Kong and last week I looked for the performance of the now 6 years old.. But I was wrong because he has won two minor races bit it took 38 starts. PRI analysis might have avoided the expenditure for such a limited return.