"No Rating" Doesn't Equal "No Meaning"

A reader wrote in to ask for clarification on the No Rating return after running a TrueNicks hypo-mating report for Niigon with a Richter Scale mare. Niigon is a son of Unbridled, by Fappiano, by Mr. Prospector. Richter Scale is a son of Habitony, by Habitat, by Sir Gaylord.

Question: I just purchased a TrueNicks hypothetical mating and received a report with No Rating. Hardly worth the $20. I presume this is because of insufficient data. Not much value here so why charge for it? By the way, another nicking product had this mating at A+. Why the difference? -Breeder in Canada


  • Scot: Your question is an important one, and the answer involves the way nicks are calculated in different rating systems.


    The TrueNicks No Rating score is actually a valid and meaningful return. It indicates that this cross has not yet had 15 runners or stakes winners from at least two different dams, even taking into account the third generation on the sire side and the fourth generation on the broodmare sire side. In effect, a No Rating return tells you that you're in uncharted territory. While the cross has not been proven or disproven, it is one that has had insufficient opportunity to determine a statistically well-founded evaluation-which is, in itself, useful to know.

    TrueNicks avoided the practice of digging further back in the pedigree or "relaxing" the grading standards for less-common crosses, because such procedures devalue the calculation. While it might feel reassuring to see a letter grade, it really isn't much help to score such distant relatives as Mr. Prospector over Sir Gaylord, for example. (For what it's worth, the TrueNicks score of Fappiano over Doubledoor-effectively, the grandsire of Niigon over a full sister to Habitat, Richter Scale's grandsire-yields a "B," with a 1.99 variant score that is right at the cusp of "B+.")

    In the particular cross of Niigon over a Richter Scale mare, we see some promise for future attempts at the broader cross. Your TrueNicks report shows the five best foals from this cross, including a grade III-placed mare and another stakes-placed mare-fairly impressive given limited opportunity.


  • Alan: Firstly, I would argue that the TrueNicks page actually gives more information than other nicking products, whilst essentially coming to a very similar conclusion.

    Both reports give a five generation pedigree, with a dosage profile, the TrueNicks page also listing inbreeding.

    We have the TrueNicks score as NO RATING. This means that-even when one goes back to the Fappiano/Habitat cross-that there is insufficient evidence on which to base a rating (specifically: there have been fewer than 15 starters and/or two stakes winners out of unique mares). The other nick product shows A+, but note that this is accompanied, in parentheses, by the notation (1 SW). This means that there has only been one stakes winner on the cross. Thus the other product rates this mating an A+ on the evidence of only one stakes winner. At this point, it is important to note that the other program does not know how many times this mating has been tried, so the A+ rating could be based on one stakes winner from one foal, 10 foals, or 100 foals-so, I would suggest it has little validity. It also doesn't tell us anything about the standard of the stakes winner or other foals bred on the cross.

    When we come to the TrueNicks report page, however, we have the additional information which tells us that the one stakes winner bred on the cross is a graded stakes winner, and that there is also a stakes-placed horse bred on the cross. A little research also tells us that the third horse on the list has won almost $150,000 with a best BRIS Speed Figure of 94. We now know that the cross has produced three useful or better horses from a maximum of 14 attempts.

    With this knowledge, if I liked other aspects of the mating, I may well consider it worth trying.

    So, I would suggest that the TrueNicks page actually provides all of the information that other nicking products provide and more-other than a rating which is based on only one stakes winner.


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