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These Thoroughbreds Are a Man-made Experiment

Breeding a racehorse is always a combination of art meeting science. Breeders spend a lot of their time studying and analyzing pedigrees. Then there is a dosage index that is a mathematical statistic to enable the breeder to understand the projected distance that the progeny will perform best at. It is a scientific study and art of matching nicks and indices.

Chaiti Narula | CNN-News18

Updated:December 12, 2017, 2:04 PM IST
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These Thoroughbreds Are a Man-made Experiment
Multidimensional stallion in its full glory (Courtesy: Usha Stud Farm)
The horse that runs the racetrack today is bred for speed, stamina and to eventually race. While popular notion holds that cheetah is the fastest land animal we know, it is anything but true. A cheetah has a short dash and yes, his speed can be hard to keep with. But a thoroughbred racehorse can give the cheetah a tough fight in terms of speed over a distance of a mile and a half as he is bred to race.

The thoroughbred, hence is the fastest land animal today over the distance of a mile and a half.

It was over four centuries ago, three foundation stallions were established as these were horses at different periods of time stolen from Arabia, brought to England and mated with English broodmares to be able to create a horse that runs faster than a cheetah over a distance of a mile and a half. And that’s how the thoroughbred came into being. The 3 founding stallions happen to be Byerly Turk, Godolphin Barb and the Darley Arabian. There were also other stallions of oriental breeding but proved to be of lesser influence but contributed to the breed.

Today when you see the champions kiss the turf and bring trophies home for the owners, they are all a result of this exercise that took place hundreds of years ago. Their bloodlines, if traced back will find its roots in the founding sires, or as I like to call it the all time sires of sires of sires! The thoroughbred chart today uses a pedigree chart tracing five generations. The top being the sire or the stallion or simply put the father’s generations and the bottom with broodmare, dam or simply put the mother’s generations. You can keep tracing back the bloodlines further to find their roots to their foundation stallions and that is proof you own a thoroughbred.

Today, the breeding industry has a common pursuit of finding the right stallion and the right broodmare depending on whether one needs the resultant foal to be a sprinter, stayer or a miler. The prices of these vary depending on the pedigree that takes centrestage with other factors like conformation and overall market factors. The sprinters will be found to be well muscled and they distance stayers will be found to be lighter, leaner and slimmer. And the most beautiful part is you can create them by just mating the right stallion with the right broodmare!

Hence breeding a racehorse is always a combination of art meeting science. Breeders spend a lot of their time studying and analyzing pedigrees. Then there is a dosage index that is a mathematical statistic to enable the breeder to understand the projected distance that the progeny will perform best at. It is a scientific study and art of matching nicks and indices.

While most professional breeders have mastered this art, there is a chance one can go wrong many a times. There are no guarantees that the resultant foal will live up to their sire’s and dam’s track records. But the probability of it is higher once carefully studied.

The Art And Science of Finding the Right Racehorse!

The children of Brat Pitt and Angelina Jolie don’t necessarily have to be the best actors. Similarly, the child of a golfing grand slam winner will never be the best golfer unless trained hard to be one. He may take to the sport perhaps better than others but there will be no guarantees there.

In thoroughbred racing as well, you will see a lesser known pedigrees go on to win the biggest races of the racing calendar – the derby, oaks etc. We have seen this in India itself. But your chances of doing better with your thoroughbred can increase if you pick the right stallion and broodmare.

So the next question is the influence of the stallion higher or the broodmare? Experts across the world have given conflicting opinions about this and there has never been a definite conclusion to this never ending debate.

Before buying your own racehorse, be sure to consult the right bloodstock consultant and better still, your own horse trainer to will be able to enable you to make the right choice from a whole host of stud farms across the country!

The top stud farms in India include Usha, Poonawalla, Nanoli, Dashmesh, Capricorn, Equus, Exhileration, Jai Govind, Kunigal, Viloo’s Greenfield, Manjri, Mebajeona and a few more that stand tall providing the best thoroughbreds to the sport of horse racing in India.

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| Edited by: Arnab Sen
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