There are many diverse aspects to the bloodstock industry: from planning breed-to-race matings, to identifying racing or breeding prospects in the claiming ranks, to choosing a sale or consignor for your prized yearlings. Please feel free to contact me for assistance in making any of these important decisions.


Auction and Private Sale Representation

Galway Bloodstock LLC can provide you with expert evaluation of thoroughbred racing and breeding stock. These transactions will be characterised by open communication between all parties. I also have a network of colleagues within the bloodstock and veterinary professions who can be readily conferred with if additional opinions or consultations are warranted.


Matings Recommendations

Nothing is as exquisitely random as genetics. With every mating comes endless possibilities seemingly regardless of planning. You can't dictate whether a mating will result in a colt or a filly, let alone a graded-stakes winner or a claimer. Not surprisingly, racing ability is poorly heritable (published to be approximately 30-35% heritable). However, measures can be taken to stack the odds in favour of your success.

My approach to planning thoroughbred matings centers on a few basic tenets:

    preference to outcross

    Inbreeding increases the probability that both copies of a gene are inherited from the same individual. The greater the degree of inbreeding, the greater the percentage of genes will be "identical by descent". This can be beneficial to a foal if two copies of a superior gene are inherited. However, inbreeding is most commonly associated with the duplication of recessive genes whose detrimental traits are only manifested when two copies are inherited. This can lead to undesirable consequences such as parrot mouth, cleft palate, club foot etc.

    It can be safely assumed that hundreds (possibly thousands) of genes contribute to racing ability. It is highly unlikely that carefully planned inbreeding to a superior individual will result in the duplication of a meaningful complement of his/her good racing genes, while avoiding duplication of any detrimental genes in the progeny.

    Inbreeding to a moderate degree is often advised (and sometimes inevitable) in order to fulfill other criteria you deem important when selecting a stallion to mate to your mare. However, inbreeding for the sake of it is a risky proposition in my opinion. Therefore, I recommend maximising the number of superior individuals in a pedigree while restricting their duplication.

    physical compatibility

    Following simple rules of common sense, such as breeding a light-boned mare to a stallion with solid constitution, or breeding a short-coupled mare to a stallion with scope should serve a breeder well. Indeed, most breeders consider these factors. However, many breeders use stallions they have never seen. Instead their stallion selection techniques rely on commercial breeding theories, some of which have no basis in fact, scientific or otherwise.

    racing compatibility

    It has been shown that, if anything, surface preference is slightly more heritable than racing ability. It stands to reason that the distance and surface preferences of a stallion and mare should be reconciled when attempting to breed a successful racehorse. There is ample evidence that certain sirelines are more prolific on turf vs. dirt, or in Europe compared to the US or Japan etc. By taking these considerations into account, you can maximise the value and market appeal of the offspring, and also potentially impact its racing ability.

    keep it simple

    A common-sense approach to matings decisions is best. There are myriad breeding theories that possess varying degrees of validity. Some are founded on small sample sizes that give misleading results, while others contradict basic laws of genetics. In the end, nothing can guarantee breeding success. Complex genetic traits such as racing ability cannot be predicted. That is a fundamental basis of life, and is certainly the basis of the thoroughbred industry.




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