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        BREEDING FORUM >> Numbers really are fascinating
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Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2021 9:25 am

I am never surprised to find that whenever I look at a page of statistics, just plain numbers really, a whole collective of stories are revealed. Some interesting, some challenging and some just puzzling.
I have always tried to understand the relationship between the elite racehorse and the general population and comprehend just how small the number of top class horses there are and this is important because they are the horses that become top stallions and mares which hopefully will aid and abet us in producing the next generations of elite race horses.
Its worth having a look at the list of the top rated horses of 2020 say the top 30 or so. For this exercise I am going to take the top 26 simply because this takes us from an official rating of 130 to 117. Not that there is anything special or significant about 117 itís a mark that below which you would not really expect a successful stallion to emerge although there will be exceptions.
In 2020 this top 26 was comprised of 15 colts, 3 fillies and 8 geldings.
So here is the first story or rather question. Why so few fillies? Is this a real illustration of level of ability or an aberration on the part of the handicapper who fails to see the merit of a mare or filly, and how do we account for the fact that when fillies race against the colts they get a weight allowance. Should we reduce the official rating even further?
I have started to look at the pedigrees of these elite horses strictly according to rating with the object of determining how much Northern Dancer blood they had. How much Galileo, how much Sadlerís Wells, how much Danzig. And this work is in progress but the next thing I notice is how little have any Galileo in their pedigrees. Are we seeing a decline in his significance, you wouldnít think so just looking at the results of big races.
Lets speak numbers for a while, there are 8259 horses with a rating for 2020 and we are looking at 26 rated over 117. Is that 0.3% of the rated population. And lets not forget there are still quite a few who are so dire or unsound that they have never achieved a rating of any number. And again if we are talking stallions take out the geldings and fillies we are selecting from the top 0.2% of the 2020 racing population. And we worry about pedigree diversity!
And here is yet another puzzle I just noticed that in the top 10 horses there are 5 with Dancing Brave in their pedigrees and another with his sire Lyphard. I suppose that I am surprised because Lyphard although important as a Northern Dancer stallion was hardly in the Danzig or Sadlerís Wells class and great horse though he was Dancing Brave was an abject failure at stud.
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