Posts Tagged ‘equineexcellence’

(A rich and elegant puzzle Part 3 of 3) With all things lined up in their favour, why are four of Rich N Elegant’s sons not proving to be top sires? And why is there one son who is?  That’s the intriguing question I posed to Ray Chaplin of Australian pedigree consultancy equineexcellence.biz

This blog can only summarise Ray’s work  – his full report with the tables is available free of charge by emailing contact@equineexcellence.biz and it is well worth a read.

So good on paper and on the track – but not the impact at stud: Why? – by Ray Chaplin

Considered by many to be the greatest standardbred mare in harness racing history, Rich N Elegant is the first mare ever to produce three sub 1:50 performers: Red River Hanover (1:48.4), Royal Flush Hanover (gelding) (1:49.3) and Rocknroll Hanover (1:49.4).
Assessing her dam line

Rich N Elegant is by Direct Scooter out of the Abercrombie mare Proven Perfect who had four foals for three winners (75%wtf). Her second dam Shifting Sands by Shadow Wave from the Ensign Hanover mare Golden Miss had thirteen foals for eight winners (57%wtf). These results indicate a significant genetic upgrade has taken place.

We identified the source and positioning of this EEATM Genetic Excellence Affinity between Direct Scooter and Proven Perfect and armed with this information we researched the breeding barn performance of Rich N Elegant’s second and third dams. From the nineteen progeny of these mares one stood head and shoulders above the rest – the 1969 Bret Hanover colt Strike Out. Strike Out exhibits the same EEATM “Genetic Excellence Affinity” between sire and dam as does Rich N Elegant, and both these performers are by sires with proven superior genetic attributes – Direct Scooter and Bret Hanover.

Assessing her sires:

Rich N Elegant has produced top performing racehorses from three different sires: Western Hanover (for Rustler Hanover, Richess Hanover, and Red River Hanover), Cam’s Card Shark (for Royal Flush Hanover), and Western Ideal (for Rocknroll Hanover).

We assessed the genetic excellence indicators of the dams of each of these sires and compared the strengths of Wendymae Hanover (dam of Western Hanover) with Jef’s Magic Trick (dam of Cam’s Card Shark) and Leah Almahurst (dam of Western Ideal).

Western Hanover takes the bronze medal, Cams Card Shark the silver and Western Ideal the gold, based solely on the race and breeding record of their dam.

We believe that the dam line of a sire plays an important role in the overall genetic makeup of any progeny the sire produces. Western Ideal has a significant genetic strength advantage over Western Hanover.

Assessing her sons:

We then assessed and compared the race records and premier racing achievements of Rich N Elegant’s big four stallions. These results were benchmarked against leading stallions in the USA and Australasia today – Bettors Delight and Art Major.

Rocknroll Hanover clearly shines, with Bettors Delight and Art Major following. Rustler Hanover and Red River Hanover rate less, and Richess Hanover rates least.

These same sires were next assessed and benchmarked on their progeny records to date, looking at USA, Australian and New Zealand results as at October/November 2010.

Rocknroll HanoverWith far fewer starters, Rocknroll Hanover is already ahead of the accumulated totals of his three siring siblings in terms of worldwide starters, $1M plus earners and $500K plus earners.

Interestingly, of Rocknroll Hanover’s five $500K plus progeny to date, four (including his highest two earners Rock N Roll Heaven and Put On A Show) are from quality Artsplace mares.

Whilst it is early days, these insights may have important implications for those breeding to Rocknroll Hanover in Australasia. Currently he has thirteen Australasian bred 3yo+ foals but none of them are from Artsplace mares. Given the limited number of Artsplace mares in Australasia, time will tell if Rocknroll Hanover is able to emulate his North American breeding barn performance in the Southern Hemisphere.


Well, the research evidence in this report does not provide a categorically proven answer to the question “What’s going on here?”

However our research suggests that the reason is primarily linked to “genotype” excellence factors of the individual stallions, the genetic strengths of the mares they served and the number of those that created a proven EEA™ “Genetic excellence affinity©” between sire and dam when expressed at conception.

Of the eleven progeny $500K+ that were sired by Rustler, Red River and Richess all exhibit the same common EEA™ “Genetic Excellence Affinity©” between their respective sires and dams as does the leading lady in this report “Rich N Elegant”

Another factor may well be how many quality well matched mares each stallion received in his first two books which would contribute to ongoing stud success as a result of attracting a continuing supply of quality mares

Finally there may be a “halo” effect resulting from the combined racetrack success of Rich N Elegant’s three Western Hanover colts and therefore a tendency to evaluate each of these sires on the basis of their combined efforts rather than as individuals (even though they are full brothers).

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The two Australian companies in my previous blog are specialised pedigree consultants. That’s their primary focus, although they acknowledge the breeding needs to take other things into account.

Breeding consultants, on the other hand, should advise on good matches in a wider sense – compatible types, family strengths and weaknesses, even qualities the market is looking for or what will build future value (broodmare prospects if the foal is a filly).

They should be upfront about any particular breeding or pedigree theory they prefer. Their strength is in their ability to research and understand your mare and her family in detail and to have done the same with a wide range of the sires available to New Zealand breeders.

There are not many independent pedigree or breeding consultants in New Zealand who specialise in standardbreds. In fact Frank Marrion, well known to us as a prolific writer on breeding, may be the only one currently.

The studs have Tesio-based advice and some good insights on their stallions which are useful but don’t fit what I’m referring to here as independent advice.

Frank advertised his consultancy services a few years ago and has since been kept very busy by the response and is now having to cut back this line of work. While this is a pity, it certainly shows that there is a market for someone who is respected for their knowledge and independence. His clients have included some big names in breeding as well as many newcomers wanting a good steer.

Frank doesn’t pull his punches. “I don’t support paper pedigree matching or the search for ‘magic bullets’, as I don’t believe they exist other than the possible benefits of doubling up to superior mares in the right places. Rather I recommend breeding for type, or being familiar with the traits of sire and dam for compatibility and breeding to their respective strengths or away from their weaknesses, and then shortlisting complimentary outcross blood in the sires. The breeder’s budget and plan for the foal also comes into making sire suggestions. But just paper matching, I think that can do a lot of harm and waste of a lot of other people’s money, if the consultant doesn’t care about the individuals in question,” he says.

“Most breeders like to do their own thing, for better or for worse, but there are also a lot who are genuinely in need of some help (particularly relative newcomers to the game) and are really appreciative of an overview of a situation. These are also the people that are most likely to fall prey to consultants!” he adds.

Frank Marrion says budgets and whether the plan is to race or to sell are other important considerations.

“I find Tesio useful for certain things, but I’ve learned that focusing on the mare type and sire type is far more critical. Once I’ve ascertained suitable sire types for the mare, I will use Tesio to come up with an order of preference based on compatible outcrosses – although that sort of thing is pretty much in my head – and supply the Tesio test matings to accompany the reports and recommendations to my clients. I don’t make any promises or guarantees other than I hope to assist people to avoid mistakes,” he says.

Looking at examples of client reports prepared by Frank Marrion, I can see his hallmark thoroughness and almost obsessive attention to detail. As a breeder, I like the insights they would give me into my mare and the clear rationale behind each recommended sire. I would miss the potential X factor, but I can always add that ingredient if I want, or use my own understanding about how to find it.

Frank Marrion’s charges for reports varied, about $300 depending on the time and work involved. If he had already done some work on the family previously it would be at the lower end, maybe $100. ‘Bulk lots’ would see a lower unit price or a negotiated flat fee.

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