Getting the sires list in order – Turf Talk: 23 April 2018

breeding list

THERE is an alternative headline that we don’t wish to use here because those of us who battle hard to represent South African racing and breeding overseas do not wish to invite criticism. So we shut up about such things overseas, but in this case now go a little bit public in South Africa out of frustration.

In anticipation of a block of professionals taking strong interest if exports “happen” relatively soon, we talk up South Africa way beyond the “do it because it’s cheap” or “do it because the sun shines” marketing. We have already developed broodmare bands for serious overseas players whose feet are currently cold for obvious reasons but are keeping the faith. We need more, quite apart from more serious racing investment in yearlings to stay or go and horses in training to generate local cash to reinvest.

If the steadfast efforts of the Equine Health & Protocols Team bear fruit soon, we in South Africa
shall have an array of potential participants having a very good look on a professional basis. Hence our columns like “Essential Work: Sharpening Up South Africa’s Databases” 5.3.18
and “Shall we have S.O.N.A. for SA Thorough-breds?” 12.3.18

Well, fear not. There will be no rehash to test your patience. Only focus on one single point.
That headline that we didn’t use? It would have been: SOUTH AFRICA DECLARES FRANKEL DEAD (OR UNREGISTERED).

Poet's Voice by Dubawi, sadly one asterisk is now correct.

Poet’s Voice by Dubawi, sadly one asterisk is now correct.

Around three times a week, I have sessions on the statistics pages of the two main sources: NHRA and Sporting Post. Each has merits.

Sporting Post offers alternative tables in various categories. The NHRA does the same under a different set of headings, and has the useful facility to sort by each column. Restricted Stakes can be included or not. So far very good.

The relative positioning of stallions under various headings is essential knowledge, especially by AEPR and Winner Percentage in addition to Total Stakes which is substantially a numbers game.

Since the NHRA’s new website went live quite some time ago, the same code that had applied before is in place. * denotes stallions that have died, left stud or not registered for the current season. **denotes stallions standing overseas. The rest, alive, well and standing in SA have no asterisk.

When sorting for (for example) Winners/Runners %, the top is invariably 100% for a list of sires of 1, 2 or 3 runners in SA. All the first 20 have 100%, LOPE DE VEGA standing out as having 3 runners and 3 winners.
But LOPE DE VEGA is shown as dead or not registered (one asterisk). And so is every other stallion on that first page. EQUIANO of Newsells Park Stud (Maine Chance’s sister stud) is another.

As it happens, another – POET’S VOICE – has sadly qualified for his one asterisk recently, but was awarded it prematurely. The successful 11-year-old-son of DUBAWI – 48% winners to 2yo runners – died unexpectedly recently leaving ourselves as one of the few with a mare in foal to him, ours carrying a colt.

On the next page of 20, about half also have 100% strike rates from a few runners and are shown as dead or not registered – like BATED BREATH and MEDAGLIO D’ORO who only have one runner each in SA, both winners, while GALILEO has 75% – also one asterisk. Yikes!

To prove that this is not a case of everything having one asterisk in what (early in Winners/Runners %) is essentially an overseas sires list, CANFORD CLIFFS has two asterisks! This is strictly speaking correct although he will qualify for no asterisks because he is or will shortly be standing in South Africa.

FRANKEL has one asterisk. “Yikes!” again. His 50% in SA is matched, with many more runners of course, by IMPERIAL STRIDE and JET MASTER. They have single asterisks too, but soon come TRIPPI, ORATORIO, DYNASTY and ELUSIVE FORT in the van of active South Africa based sires with no asterisks and cracking good percentages.

Why labour this point now? Why make this fuss? I have spoken and I have emailed gently and politely – more than once, most recently six weeks ago – pointing out that this is WRONG and it does not look good for any of us. It is still the same.

I am aware that there are good people beavering away trying to get the Stud Book returns to the ISB up to date for imports, which contain anomalies impinging on other Stud Books, as well as for domestic registrations. Crack on, good people, because The International Stud Books Conference will be on 11th May at which SA’s representative will surely be in friendly territory but will need to be convincing.


With potential export freedoms only a few months thereafter, could there be a more critical time in the modern history of the South African thoroughbred industry to make sure that the entire house is in order? Membership of the International Stud Book and qualification for Part 1 status in international cataloguing are national treasures to protect at all costs and – importantly – to be seen to be doing so.

OK. Risking a rehash here! Let me only add that while officialdom and bureaucracy are two important aspects of our breeding and racing lives, this piece is about commercial reputation. It is possible that more busy overseas professionals, some diplomatic others not, will be studying us.

Setting aside the question “How did it go live on line like this?”, here’s another one. How long would it take to whizz through the stallions list under the supervision of someone who instinctively knows the status of more or less every stallion in the world and can quickly check definitively if not sure? – tt.

Allan Bloodlines