How important are bloodlines in racehorses?

Breeding the next big champion is what every thoroughbred breeder around the world and, of course, Australia, strives to do.

Breeding a champion is not a given however as there are many factors which come into play. As a punter, how much importance should one put on the horses breeding when placing our bets?

Winning Sires

A successful thoroughbred stallion usually retires from racing before he has finished his career. This is to ensure that a) he retires at the top of his game, quitting while you are ahead if you will, and b) doesn’t irreparably injure himself on the track and have to be put down, thus ending any future career as a sire.

A prime example if this is Frankel. Frankel won 14 races out of 14. He very possibly could have gone on to win more, however, he is worth more as a sire of future racehorses than winning a few more races and potentially ending his career, or life, badly.

Frankel foals are worth millions. His first foal went for $1.5-million on the yearling sales with no proof as to how it would actually do. So far only one daughter is a grade one winner.

Sires are known to pass on some of their skills to their offspring, sometimes. One always hears in the horse world, “who is he by?” as if the horse’s father is the be all and end all of his potentials. The fact remains that although in some cases it, mostly it’s not.

Frankel horse - horse racing - sports betting

The Danehill Paradigm

Danehill is one of the most prolific sires in the world. He was bred in America but his progeny have basically eclipsed the horse racing world on both sides of the equator. Danehill’s grandsire was the incredibly successful Northern Dancer who still has the record for the highest stud fees.

Danehill horses seem to win. Many Australian winners trace back to Danehill, such as Takedown and Redout’s Choice. The thing to remember here is that he bred a total of over 13 000 foals to race, 976 of which were winners, so it’s a numbers game.

Skill Over Breeding

A famous example of breeding being a total waste of time and money is an American horse called Green Monkey. Green Monkey sold at the yearling sales for 16 million dollars. Yes, you read that correctly.

His breeding was impeccable (he also traces back to Northern Dancer via Storm Cat and his sire Forestry), he was beautifully put together and he couldn’t sort his legs out down a track for a bucket of horse nuggets.

Green Monkey could not change gaits and got stuck in what is called a rotary gallop which resulted in the gorgeous bay being a total wash out of a horse and only completing three starts. Luckily, he is a stallion, although to date his stud fee is still only $5000.

So, Bloodlines or Not?

People will always put stock in a horses bloodline, and with a certain amount of good reason, in certain examples. Breeding can be indicative of a good horse, especially if the sire has other, already proven offspring. On the other hand, it may mean nothing at all. Horses are individuals. The best thing I can recommend is to research the actual horse.

Like one does when placing bets NRL premiership betting wagers, don’t go on how the team, or horse, should do on paper.  Look at its personal running history and soundness. Get to know what you are betting on instead of just betting according to a piece of paper.