Understanding Breeding- Part One

By Evie
A not so new breeding trend has really become obvious in these last few years. This is the phenomena of breeding sprinters to middle distancers.

Such examples include Marsha and Mecca’s Angel who were both bought for extortionate prices by Coolmore (Marsha being the most recent, being sold for 6 million guineas at auction), both with the intention of being sent to Epsom Derby winner Galileo.

These hybrids of speed and stamina are commonly seen as the perfect candidate for running as a miler. Think of Churchill or Winter as the most recent examples of this. Both of their dams (mothers) were sprinters or bred on sprint pedigrees. Laddies Poker Two (Winter’s dam) won the 6 furlong Wokingham Handicap in her career, and Meow (Churchill’s dam) won the 5 furlong Grangecon Stud Stakes, as well as the 5 furlong Curragh Stakes and ran 2nd in the 5 furlong Queen Mary Stakes.

Both Churchill and Winter are by Galileo, and both were perfect milers, both winning their respective Guineas doubles (consisting of the English Guineas and the Irish Guineas) and both could even get up to a mile and a half, with Winter even winning the mile and a quarter Coronation Stakes on heavy ground. The turn of foot that they have inherited from their dams playing a massive part in their success.

This need to breed for speed has lead to the increase in value of sprinting stallions, such as Caravaggio. He also holds three year old form, capable of winning high class sprint races as a two and three year old. This timing of his peak performances show that his offspring are likely to also peak as three year olds they will be in time for the classics (such as the Guineas), which are highly coveted.

Unfortunately his success also emphasizes how large the loss of Scat Daddy as a sire (Father) was. This loss of sprinting blood again raises Caravaggio’s value.

It would be suitable to assume that mares by Galileo who have had great success as middle distance horses would be sent to Caravaggio, because as an American bred horse he is the source of new blood to enter the breeding shed. It would be expected that mares like Minding, Found and Winter would be sent to Caravaggio to introduced more speed- and new blood- to theirs.

Another famous horse bred to this combination was Secretariat. His sire, Bold Ruler, was crowned Champion Sprinter when he was racing, whereas his dam Somethingroyal belonged to a mostly stamina based pedigree.

Expect many more horses bred to this cross to come in the future.

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