NZ Gr1 winners summary 2006-07

The season of 2006-07 had 20 individual winners of 24 Group One races. Multiple winners were Sir Slick (3), Seachange (2) and Darci Brahma (2).

Cape Cross leads the list of most successful sires – not only leaving Seachange, but also Mikki Street and Gaze. Pins (Legs, Porotene Gem) and Volksraad (Sir Slick, Willy Smith) were the other sires to leave more than a single Gr1 winner this season.

And talking of sires – stallions of all siring abilities left Gr1 winners this season. At the top end there was Danehill (Darci Brahma) at 14%SW/foals and Redoute's Choice (Redoute's Dancer) at 10%SW/foals. Half the Group One winners were sired by stallions who run at over 4% SW/foals (twice average), but this also means that the other half were sired by sires who aren't great producers. Only 4 of the Group One winners were by sires whose SW/foals ratio is less than the industry average.

This just goes to show that any one way of measuring stallion performance isn't perfect. SW/foals ratio is my personal favourite, as it measures chance for the breeder, but needs to be taken in conjunction with other statistics to show the whole picture.

Still on the subject of sires, thirteen of the 20 Group One winners were sired by stallions who were Group One winners themselves. All but one (Mellifont) of the sires represented this season were stakes winners or placed (Volksraad).

Moving to damsires, Kaapstad was the outstanding player in this role, leaving the dams of 4 individual Group One winners (Magic Cape, Dorabella, Jurys Out, Captivate). Only Centaine left more than one Group One winner as damsire this season (Legs, Alamosa).

Looking at the female families of this season's Group One winners, we find that all the individuals had at least one stakes winner in the family within three generations. Seven of them were either out of a stakes winner or had a stakes winning sibling. Eight Group One winners had a stakes winner in generation two (either their granddam or her offspring) and the other five had no stakes winners in the first two generations, but had at least one in the third generation of a catalogue page.

There was a 50/50 split between horses inbred and outcrossed. Using the definition that 5x5 or further away is outcrossed – 10 Group One winners fitted this criteria while the other 10 had a cross in their fourth generation or closer (including 4x5 etc). The most inbred by this measure was Floydeboy who carries a 3x3 to Nijinsky.

Another way of measuring inbreeding is to look at the Wright's Inbreeding Coefficient. This averages out to 1% for the whole population. There were 13 Group One winners whose Wright's Inbreeding Coefficient was less than 1%, with the remaining seven being more inbred than average. Floydeboy was the most inbred at 5.12%. The most outcrossed was Jurys Out at 0.23%.

Of that seven that were more inbred than average, five had Northern Dancer as their closest cross, one had his son Nijinsky and the other was inbred to Sir Ivor. Does this mean that we can effectively ignore inbreeding to Northern Dancer? I'd say that we'd need to line this figure up against opportunity (how many horses in the population are closely inbred to Northern Dancer) to find an answer. And even then, five individuals is not a huge sample size.

The final thing to look at is the performance of the dams of our Group One winners. Two of the Group One winners had Group One winning dams (Darci Brahma and Prize Lady). Seven were out of stakes winning or placed mares, seven were out of winning mares while placed mares left one Group One winner (Seachange). An unplaced mare was responsible for Jurys Out and she had only one raceday start. Unraced mares left four Group One winners.

The summary of the season shows that a Group One winner can come from anywhere. From sires with outstanding statistics like Danehill, to those running at less than 1%SW/foals. From stakes winning mares (35%) to unplaced mares. From highly inbred horses to highly outcrossed horses.

All that this shows is that type is more important than any number crunching or pedigree analysis, but there is still a place for pedigree analysis as some buckets punch above their weight when you consider opportunity.

- Renee Geelen


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