A look at Flat Breeding with The Snout

Back in November, I wrote an article on the importance of breeding within National Hunt racing, and how it can inform our betting proposition and create an angle within a race that perhaps the general betting public won’t have seen (thus creating value). Although that is completely true, the whole flat racing operation is revolved around breeding. Horses at 2 and 3 are ran with a mind on creating a positive impression that can be carried over once those horses are retired to stud. Therefore, what can we learn from where a horse’s genes come from? There are a few examples I want to pick out.

War Fronts – 2 YO form does not translate into 3 YO form

War Front was a very smart American racehorse, racing until 4 years old. Coolmore Stud, which is the world’s largest breeding operation who sends the majority of their horses to Aidan O’Brien, invested hugely in this stallion by purchasing plenty of his stock at auctions, but some really interesting facts have come out from his progeny which can help us bet more effectively. This is highlighted below:

2 YO War Front’s: 25.4% strike rate in the UK
3 YO War Front’s: 11.4% strike rate in the UK

That is clearly a significant performance indicator from horses that are out of War Front. In fact, backing all 2 YO War Front’s in the UK over the past 3 years to level stakes would bank you a profit; backing all 3 YO War Front’s would give you a fairly heavy loss.

We could talk about why this is the case; perhaps a trait of his is that they develop early and have physical advantages over other horses at 2, but the fact of the matter is that it again helps us to spot betting opportunities that others won’t.

Galileo – The Star Sire

When it comes to top performing Sires, there is a clear winner in the form of Galileo. This horse in 2016 delivered over £10million in prize money with his closest rival, Dubawi, showing just over £3.5million. It is fair to say that is complete dominance when it comes to breeding successful racehorses.

A great example of this is over the Guineas weekend. Galileo sired the winner of the 2000 Guineas, 1000 Guineas, and the Jockey Club Stakes. He has a complete knack of producing horses of top quality and you can expect all horses out of him to progress into potential high class performers

Champs Elysees – Distance is crucial

Probably one of my favourite sires in terms of giving a betting medium that is almost always ignored. He was a good horse himself, winning multiple races across France and America, with most of his success being over 12 furlongs. That seems to have translated into his progeny. Here are some stats to back that up:

Champs Elysees progeny % strike rate by distance:

5-6f: 3%
7-9f: 11%
10-11f: 16%
12-13f: 17%

It is clear that these horses benefit from a step up in trip and really improve their performance when over a staying trip. So many times horses show minimal performance over say, 7f, but then step up to 1m2f perhaps in a first time handicap and show their true potential.

Hopefully this has given an indication as to how important breeding is when assessing a horses’ chances in a race, and it can often highlight betting opportunities that most may have not seen.

The Snout.


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