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de Kabat Racing Research

Specialist in statistical research for the Thoroughbred industry

Female Jockeys: History of inequality

True equality is hard to find.  It is an elusive ideal that exists in theory, but one that real life seems to continually find hurdles to prevent.  However, horses give us the only sport where men and women compete on a truly equal basis.  In both racing and equestrian, riders are deemed competitive equals.  There is no ‘weight allowance’ for being a female jockey.   And the numbers are now well on their way to being equal too.  This season, the number of female apprentice jockeys has tipped over the 50% mark.  According to RISA, there are 289 apprentice jockeys in Australia, of which 150 (52%) are female.

Published in Breeding & Racing in 2014. Read it here.

 

Only the good die young?

American songwriter Irving Berlin once said “the toughest thing about being a success is that you have got to keep on being a success” and this neatly sums up a commercial stallion.  To be one of those household names, a stallion has to leave good racehorses every season, and continue to garner support in the sales ring.  Perhaps it is this need to keep the public’s attention is why many people believe that creating a successful stallion is more of an art than a science.

We can make a start by quantifying the oft-heard statement “only one in ten stallions will make it.”

Published in Breeding & Racing in 2014. Read it here.

 

Heat Stress in Thoroughbreds

Let’s be clear – no horse has ever died of heat stress on race-day in Australia.  The hot weather has made a few people hot under the collar about heat stress in our equine athletes.

What exactly is heat stress?  When a horse gets hot, they cool themselves down by sweating.  This moves the heat out of the muscles and into sweat droplets which are secreted out the skin cells.  When the sweat reaches the skin, it evaporates taking the heat away from the body.  All horses after exercise will sweat to cool their body down, and in the vast majority of cases this works well and the horse’s breathing and heart rate return to their resting rate quickly.

Published in Breeding & Racing in 2014. Read it here.

 

Colour Dominance: A Myth?

Zabeel’s recent retirement brings the Danehill/Zabeel era to an end.  The progeny of two great sires battled it out for supremacy on Australia’s racetracks, and the results are spectacular.  Aside from both being Gr1 winners, they had at least one other thing in common.  Both were bay dominant for colour, ie all their progeny were bay (except grey foals from grey mares). For a stallion to be bay dominant is an idea that garners plenty of comment, as if being genetically homozygous for colour also means he is dominate in all other areas of genetics and therefore will produce better quality runners.  But does this idea play out in reality?

Published in Breeding & Racing in 2014.

 

Golden Slipper Runners at Stud

A stallion making race is, logically, defined by the winning colts translating their racing success into successful careers at stud.  The Golden Slipper is one of those races that seems to provide more successes than failures, and winning colts are hugely sought after by stud farms.  With names like Flying Spur (90 stakes winners), Rory’s Jester (75), Marscay (67), Canny Lad (54) and Vain (46) among the 23 winning colts, it comes as no surprise that this race attracts more than its fair share of ‘stallion-making’ excitement.  But what about the placegetters?  How do the other runners stack up at stud?

Published in Breeding & Racing in 2014.

 

Magic Millions 2017

The vast number of Golden Slippers winners to come out of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale is verging on being ridiculous, writes Renée Geelen, but it’s a tag that the Queensland-headquartered sales company will happily accept.

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When Phelan Ready won in 2009, Magic Millions took their tally of Golden Slipper winners to five in seven years. And that’s not counting the winners they sold prior to 2003. Just take a moment to reflect on that. There are 15,000 foals born every year in Australia. This sale catalogues around 6% of them. And from that small pool have emerged a continual flow of winners of Australia’s most lucrative and respected juvenile event.

Since then, Magic Millions have sold three more; including the last two years – Capitalist and Vancouver – and both for under $200,000.

But this sale is about more than just one race. Magic Millions have made it easy to talk about the Golden Slipper; the results speak for themselves. In the time the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale has produced Pierro, Vancouver and Capitalist; their vendors have offered a total of 16 Gr1 winners and 129 stakes winners. Gold Coast graduates include horses like Horse of the Year Winx, Global Glamour, Awesome Rock, Lasqueti Spirit, and Stratum Star. That’s just for the 2016/17 season so far – we still have the Magic Millions carnival, Sydney Autumn and many more big races to come.

And is it any wonder that this sale provides racehorses of such depth and class? A simple look at the catalogue highlights how much vendors believe in this Summer auction as a source of top horses. The 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling sale includes 210 yearlings out of Group or Listed-winning mares, and for those buyers who like to see a proven broodmare, to dip in the pool of success, so to speak, there are 194 siblings to Group and stakes-winners, including  Stay with Me, Sebring, Capitalist, Buffering, Japonisme, and Awesome Rock.

In this year’s Gold Coast Sale there is just so much choice, with options galore for buyers trying to pick the eyes out of the catalogue. Without a doubt, many of these horses will write their way into racing’s history books. The question, as always, is which ones?

The full feature is here.

Melbourne Cup 2012

The first seven horses home in the Melbourne Cup were bred in Ireland.  Last year’s winner was born in France.  Where is the logic in trying to have the world’s best staying race in a nation that doesn’t value stayers enough to produce one of world class quality?  And does the Cup represent our staying stock or is it a race in isolation?

This article was published in Breeding & Racing in 2012.

 

Beyond Danehill

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Pictured: Danehill

We all know what an amazing influence Danehill has had on the Australian racing scene, but what about the shuttles in general?  Who has been the best and can we learn anything from analysing the worst ones?  And given the current trend towards locally bred and raced stallions, should the industry still be considering to shuttle stallions at all?

This article was published in Breeding & Racing in 2012.

 

Picking a Stallion (2012)

It’s that time of year again.  Time to sort through all the stallion options and find that one bloke who is the perfect match for your broodmare.  Time to weigh up whether you use a brand spanking new unproven bloke, or go for an older fellow who has runs on the board.  The benefits of new are that stallions tend to leave their best crops in their first three crops, but the downside is that 40% of new stallions NEVER leave a stakes winner.  So if you feel your breeding plan can’t cope with that kind of failure rate, it’s best to look at the proven chaps.  But how do you rate the proven stallions?

Published in Breeding & Racing in 2012.

 

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