Horse Breeding - Thoroughbred Decision Making

A Look At How Breeding Effects The Horse Racing Industry

When it comes to breeding there are a number of top horses who if you are in doubt of who to pick then their name in the runners family tree should stick out like a sore thumb and make you consider backing the runner. This happens many times in maidens where no form is available and all you have are market clues and the sire and dam of the horse in question.

We are talking about the cream of racehorses, the thoroughbred. To be considered one you must have sex naturally, which means that when the horse dies it cannot breed any longer through the use of artificial insemination. An Australian Judge in a court case from 2010 put this debate to bed when the judge said "Racehorses must have physical sex for their foals to be considered thoroughbreds", upholding an international requirement that prohibits the use of artificial insemination.

The multi-billion dollar thoroughbred breeding industry sees the world’s most-prized horses being sent around the globe by their owners, including Dubai’s ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, as so-called shuttle stallions to physically mate.

"Federal Court Justice Alan Robertson yesterday dismissed a bid to make the country the first to allow artificial insemination for thoroughbreds, following a trial that spanned four months and concluded on December 19, 2011. He cited potential international consequences as a reason for his ruling."

Just imagine this was not the case and we could still probably see foals being bred from 30yr old frozen sperm from Nijinsky and other great horses from the past. You still have many top quality top runners who have been gelded to calm them down, as well as to prolong their racing career, and there have been many instances such as Al Kazeem who was retired off to stud only to find he couldn't get the horn and he was returned back racing for another season."

The richest horse ever, Galileo, who made over £180 million through getting paid to have sex, if we could be so crude, died tragically at 23 after "chronic injury". Throughout his Stud career, he produced 1,557 winners and 91 Group one winners! In fact, people were so desperate to get their female horses knocked up by the world's most famous super stud they were willing to pay £600,000 a time to let the top horse of recent memory (on and off the track), have his way in the hay so to speak. He produced so many winners with his super swimmers his progenies' own winning's combined came to a massive £204 million!

Galileo has a record five winners of the Derby alone, with the names of New Approach, Australia, Ruler Of The World, Anthony Van Dyck and Serpentine who won the Derby for Ballydoyle and Galileo in 2020. Also among his other notable progeny are Nathaniel, Waldgeist, Found, Love, Magical, Highland Reel, Teofilo and of course the best horse we have ever seen, Frankel who will be taking over Galileo's job at Coolmore as the top stud. 

The offspring of Galileo has won 45 classic races in Britain and Ireland in total and, who knows, there might still be a couple more to add to that tally over the next few seasons. Galileo covered 45 mares in 2021 and, though likely to be small in number, it’s worth pointing out that his final crop of two-year-olds still won’t hit the track until 2024, with two more to come before then, so we have 2 years left of Galileo yearlings being sold at auction for crazy prices before Frankel probably takes over at Coolmore as the top stud.

Now to get some of the magic Galileo's gene's into your foal you are going to want not only Galileo's traits which trainer AP O'Brien famously said that you could tell a Galileo colt because "his offspring are so tough they would run through walls for you", but also the unbeaten Frankel's who proved he could stay more than a mile, run without a pacemaker and run on pretty boggy ground as I remember his last race ever was all 3.

However, if you are wanting some of Galileo's genes in your mare you are going to have to go through the mighty Frankel, a king at a mile, and unbeaten for 14 races, but we must not also forget he won his last races over 1m 2f on softish going so he might not have the Galileo traits a Derby hunter is looking for with success at the Derby and Arc trip over 1m 4f but he already holds a number of stud records such as those listed below.

  • The fastest sire to 50 Group winners in history and Champion Sire in 2021.
  • World class, the world over. An incredible 11% Group winners to runners and 16% blacktype winners to runners.
  • Sire of 20 Gr.1 winners, including Classic winners Anapurna, Logician, Soul Stirring, 2021 Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth winner Adayar and 2021 Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger winner Hurricane Lane, 2021 Australian Oaks winner Hungry Heart, 2021 Falmouth Stakes winner Snow Lantern, dual European Champion Cracksman, triple Gr.1 winner Alpinista, and 2YO Gr.1 winners Inspiral, Wild Beauty, Quadrilateral, Grenadier Guards, and 2021 J J Atkins winner Converge.
  • Already the sire of 16 individual stakes winners in 2022 and currently the leading sire in Europe by stakes winners (11) and three-year-old stakon becomes who is going to be the Dam to add that extra bit of distance into the blood that Galileo's progeny always had. When I look at a form sheet and have to flick over the 2yr old Maiden races where no form exists at all I could either just swerve the race because that is usually the best idea in cases like this or have a look at each runner's family tree to see who their Sire and Dam were.

There are many good horses out there who have the qualities you would want for multiple kinds of races but personally the following horses when sitting in the Sire section always make me sit up a bit, especially if none of the other racing horses have anything as exciting under their own lineage. The horses are:

Galileo, Frankel, Dubawi, Sea The Stars, and Montjeu, we have covered the first two let's look at the rest.

Whilst the mighty Dubawi is yet to produce an Epsom Derby winner himself, despite having great prodigy like Al Kazeem, Postponed, New Bay, Ghaiyyath, Creative Force, Modern Games and Yibir he is yet to produce a Derby winner for some reason. However, when you look at some of his top kids, Ghaiyyath for instance who beat Enable in the 2020 Coral-Eclipse, many of his kids are related also to Galileo through their Dam's sire, such as Ghaiyyath whose Dam, Nightime was sired by Galileo, the master himself. This mix should be taken notice of as breeding is more than just an art form and getting the right characteristics from a Dam and a Sire can make a dud or the perfect winning machine.

Sea The Stars is another horse with a good Derby profile and having won the Derby itself as well as 8 out of 9 of it's runs, it is almost the perfect horse having sired not only a classy famous stayer like Stradivarius who won yet another Yorkshire Gold Cup the other day and hopes to win another Royal Ascot Gold Cup next month but it also sired the super fast Baaeed who made it 7/7 and probably has only a few races left un him before we get to say goodbye.

Montjeu's has sired top horses like Hurricane Run, Fame And Glory, Authorized, St Nicholas Abbey and Camelot the only horse who has attempted the Triple Crown since Nijinsky in 1970 and only failed due to traffic problems in the St. Leger, So if you are looking for a horse who can run from 5f up to 1m 6f then a Sea The Stars horse might be the kind you are looking for.

Galileo became the top breeder of Derby winners in 2020 when Serpentine won the Derby making it 6 when Anthony Van Dyke won the race joining his other Derby winners New Approach, Australia, Ruler Of The World and Anthony Van Dyck. Also, he has sired the Arc winner and Enable's treble denier Waldgeist, he has also sired the top ranked unbeaten horse in racing Frankel who himself has sired many runners such now that Galileo is dead the Frankel seed is going to be in great demand.

Just some of Frankel's kids include:

Cracksman - Total Winnings £2,793,064

Adayar winner of the 2021 Derby, whose Dam's sire was also Dubawi, his sire being Frankel who obviously was sired by Galileo - £1,453,832

Hurricane Lane (Dam's Sire - Dubawi), my favourite flat horse of 2021, if only W Buick had rode it in the Derby/Arc and it hadn't only raced more, but won more Group races than Buick's pick of Adayar. The same with him picking Native Trail over Corobus in this year's 2,000 Guineas, and then:

Logician (GB) - £547,751

Mostahdaf (IRE) - £154,429 (Dam's Sire: Sea The Stars)

Outbox £620,580 - Always ridden if possible by Hollie Doyle.

The Grand Visir (GB)

John Leeper (IRE)

So there is a little brush up on horse progeny, Sires, and Dams, so that the next time you stare blankly at a Maiden Stakes race with no form at all you know which Sires to look out for and what sort of genes they have hopefully passed down to their children. Always use to check out a Sire or Dam and then see what kind of races it ran, prize winnings it made, and whether it is still out to stud or not. 

I am not claiming this is some kind of expert analysis of some top thoroughbreds currently out to stud but it might help you when it comes to picking a runner for a middle distance race if you have very little form to go on.


By The UK Horse Racing Tipster

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