THE ANSWER LIES IN THE GENES….maybe

What does one do when the Classic races are upon one and the racing centre concerned provides limited opportunities for the current crop of three-year-olds to show their paces over ground?

Inevitably one tries to become an instant expert on breeding to win, despite the fact that many, far better qualified, have tried and failed to do so for more than a hundred years. Had they succeeded we would all be clamouring to enter horses in either the Kentucky or Epsom Derby – and sorting the chaff from the grain in the Bloodstock South Africa 2000 (Gr3) to be run at Borrowdale Park on Sunday would be a piece of cake.

Except for Suave Singer and Latin Queen the rest of Sunday’s acceptors faced off in the 1600m Zimbabwe Guineas, where Print The Pounds triumphed. Subsequently the daughter of AP Answer met Eversolucky, Tallie Two and Suave Singer in the 1800m GWM Steed 6 TBA Silver Slipper, second leg of Zimbabwe’s Triple Tiara, on March 8.

Eversolucky, followed by Tallie Two, won the Silver Slipper easily, leaving some doubts whether Print The Pounds (third) would see out the extra 200m in the Bloodstock 2000, second leg of our Triple Crown. Of course the claims of Print The Pounds can’t be dismissed on the strength of one run, nor can one safely assume that the further Eversolucky goes the better this Ashaawes filly is going to like it.

Eversolucky, winner of the 1800m TBA Silver Slipper last time out.

Eversolucky, winner of the 1800m TBA Silver Slipper last time out.

In my quest to become an instant “fundi” I found this on http://www.chef-de-race.com: “For years, breeders (and handicappers as well) have based their assessment of whether a future foal or today’s runner will stay a given distance on the performance traits of their ancestors. What we have learned over the years, however, is that by using the “guess” approach, very few breeders have been able to consistently breed legitimate classic horses and that even fewer handicappers have made a profit simply using pedigree analysis. I think the situation is best summed up by paraphrasing Dr. Franco Varola, the originator of the aptitudinal approach to Dosage. Varola made the point very clear when he said that the aptitudinal type of a sire is determined by what he passes on to his foals in the breeding shed, not by what he expressed as a racing stallion.”

In other words look at what a stallion has produced rather than what he himself achieved in racing. Apart from Ashaawes (USA) the sires involved in the 2015 Bloodstock 2000 are West Man (USA) whose sons are Mica Point and Young Antwun; Soar With Eagles is represented by So Ruler and Tallie Two; Print The Pounds is by AP Answer (USA); Suave Singer was sired by Judpot (USA); Latin Queen is a daughter of Latino Magic (IRE), while Merhaba is by Mullins Bay (USA).

Taking into account runners in South Africa and Zimbabwe, only, a quick count of winners over 2000m or further revealed that West Man (first runners in 2005) has only sired one winner over 2000m and you can count on one hand those who have gone further than 1600m. Ashaawes fielded his first crop in 2011 and five have won over 2000m and beyond. Mullins Bay (first runners 2012) has produced 12 winners over the distance, and six of Judpot’s progeny (first runners 2013) have won from 2000m to 2500m.

Not conclusive perhaps but it certainly suggests that horses with Classic potential are in short supply when compared with the number of sprinting and middle distance winners produced by these sires.

It is hard to bring AP Answer, Soar With Eagles and Latino Magic into this reckoning. AP Answer and Latino Magic only have juveniles and three-year olds racing to date, although Opah Latino won over 2600m at Turffontein in August. Soar With Eagles, who stands in Zimbabwe, has had less than 50 runners in total, of which only So Ruler has won a 2000m race.

In any event Merhaba, by Mullins Bay and a winner over 1600m, now begins to look more interesting. Trained by Gokhan Terzi , he is stable mate of Eversolucky and Latin Queen, and will be ridden by Apprentice Wesley Marwing. Marwing was aboard Eversolucky when she won the Silver Slipper but Quinton Riddle takes this ride on Sunday.

Thanks to the web page previously mentioned I can also inform you that “Kingmambo, a multiple Group 1-winning sprinter/miler has become one of the world’s great distance sires. An unqualified international success, in North America alone his runners have won 22% of their stakes races at a classic distance.”

Fortuitously both Soar With Eagles and Ashaawes are by Kingmambo. Ashaawes’ daughter, Eversolucky, handled 1800m with ease in her last outing and please note that Ashaawes’ son, the Mike de Kock-trained Sanshaawes, was beaten late in the recent Abu Dhabi Championship over 2200m, having led until the final 50m.

Soar With Eagles, sire of Tallie Two and So Ruler, is out of the Nijinsky mare, Bound. He is a full-brother to the successful Archipenko (USA) standing at Lanwades Stud, Newmarket. From a handful of runners in South Africa Archipenko has produced Kingston Mines (GB) winner of the J & B Urban Honey Stakes run over 2800m in January 2015. Kingston Mines has also won an 1800m and a 2800m race. If the strength lies in their genes Soar With Eagles’ runners can’t be overlooked. So Ruler shed his maiden over 2000m. Tallie Two has not yet tried the 2000m trip but can usually produce a storming finish.

So, having completely muddied the playing field, what can one do other than chase one of Borrowdale Park’s huge quartets?

Print The Pounds, still in the running for the Triple Crown, has to be included. We can’t leave out Eversolucky, Suave Singer or Merhaba, as is the case with So Ruler and Tallie Two. Ignore Mica Point, Young Antwun and Latin Queen if you dare … but you can’t trust horses. I haven’t considered any input from dams which is probably a dangerous thing to do.

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