We have determined, from our analysis of thousands of pedigrees, that the most successful racehorses are those with pedigrees in which the genetic strengths of both the sire and dam are correctly matched.
These findings are in line with accepted genetic theory that prepotency, or the ability to transmit desirable, dominant genes, results from a large number of gene pairs being homozygous (alike).
In over 80 cent of all matings we have found that such strengths are not matched, and the optimisation of a mare’s potential is not achieved.
The concept of the “nick” is popular with breeders, to a great extent because of its simplicity, but the acceptance of this idea by breeders is, under a different guise, the acceptance of the same principle, that of reinforcing the genetic strengths of both sire and dam. However, mating decisions based on such “nicks” take no account of as much as 50 percent of the mare’s pedigree.
The key to our system is our ability to pinpoint what are the genetic strengths in a particular pedigree and to match these with corresponding strengths in the sire or dam, taking into consideration the mare’s entire pedigree.
By breaking up a mare’s pedigree twelve generations back into its eight thousand or so individual ancestors, and summarising those ancestors which are most numerous. a remarkably clear picture emerges as to the precise ancestral (genetic) pool from which the mare’s present genetic make-up originates.
By forming a profile of the pedigree of every standing stallion back twelve generations, we are able to match the pedigree profile of any mare with that of a large number of stallions. By computing an index of the extent to which the profiles of a particular sire and dam match we are able to rate all the stallions in order of the extent to which they match with any given mare.
Comparison of pedigrees from differing geographical backgrounds.
One of the greatest advantages we gain from defining pedigrees in this way is the fact that no matter what the geographical background of a particular thoroughbred may be, its pedigree can be defined in terms of concentrations of ancestors whose names are common to all pedigrees.
This is particularly meaningful given the cosmopolitan nature of the pedigrees of stallions world-wide, where common genetic backgrounds of ancestors close up in a pedigree are only identifiable through looking further back in the pedigree. However great the dissimilarities close up in pedigrees being matched, major similarities in their genetic pool are often identifiable further back.
The dangers of attributing too much influence to close up duplications of ancestors
Our research has shown striking general dissimilarities when comparing the pedigrees of a particular sire and dam despite what appears to be prominent linebreeding to one particular ancestor relatively close up. Often the pedigree outside such isolated duplications is dissimilar to an extent that renders the pedigree as a whole incompatible.
It is precisely this fact which renders most “nick’ analysis valueless, as unless the rest of the pedigree outside the “nick” is also “compatible” our research shows the nick will rarely be effective.
Our research is conclusive that the greater the degree of similarity between the common ancestors of sire and dam, the better the genetic conditions for the production of superior racehorses.
When we perform an analysis of a broodmare we compute “compatibility ratings” between the mare and each stallion we have elected to consider for the mare.
This rating is the measure of the degree of correlation between the main concentrations of ancestors within the mare’s pedigree, and those of the stallions matched. The nearer the score is to 100, the higher the degree of compatibility.