Webinar Q&A: You asked, Byron answers! (Part III)

You asked, Byron answers! (Part (III)

The Blood-Horse recently hosted an online seminar called "What Is TrueNicks," in which Alan and Byron presented an overview of the TrueNicks system and answered users' questions. The response from the Webinar audience was overwhelming, and the TrueNicks co-founders wanted to make sure every question was answered. Here is the first round of questions, with responses from Alan. Look for additional updates over the next few days. If you have not seen the free Webinar, you may see it here: http://www.bloodhorse.com/webinars/truenicks1/register.aspThose who have already registered may sign in here to re-view: http://www.bloodhorse.com/webinars/truenicks1/index.asp.
- TrueNicks Guru

Q: Why does Northern Dancer/Northern Dancer usually yield a no rating when the nick has had lots of success?
Byron: I am not sure I agree that Northern Dancer/Northern Dancer usually yields No Rating. I think I have run a few thousand TrueNick ratings myself and have yet to see a rating that had a Northern Dancer line stallion and a Northern Dancer line mare run out a No Rating. I would think that the only time that this would occur would be when two obscure Northern Dancer lines met, like say if a mare by Worldwatch (a son of Nijinsky II who stood in Chile) was sent to South Africa and mated to their leading sire Jet Master (a son of Northern Dancer's son Rakeen). This would probably get a No Rating as the number of times that Jet Master has seen Worldwatch mares would be low, as would the number of times Rakeen and his sons have seen mares by Nijinsky II and his sons so it would go back to Northern Dancer/Northern Dancer and this might end up with a No Rating. It certainly doesn't occur as often as "usually". 





Q: I ran a nick rating with a stallion on a different system and it shows an "A" and I did the same cross on true nicks and it rates a "D" why such a difference.
Byron: This question has been framed in a different way and answered previously but worth repeating again. The answer is in the completeness of the database and the calculation that is being applied to it. Each company uses a different database and a different calculation. Alan recently posted an article on the good stakes winning filly Lightmyfirebaby which is an example of where the ratings differ.




Q: With your system, how can you allow for the laws of probability such that, the more something is tried the lower the overall success rate due to the inclusion of more substandard stock. The Kingmambo/Sadler's Wells cross is a good example of my point. This cross has produced some outstanding runners but has been tried consistently and may fall down with your ratings.
Byron: This is an interesting question as it does give us a chance to talk about the logic flow that TrueNicks uses. Kingmambo when mated to Sadler's Wells mares has been a very good mating with some outstanding horses like Virginia Waters and Divine Proportions good examples. It is a TrueNicks B+ rating with a variant of 2.19 indicating that it is performing twice as good as opportunity would dictate. There is no doubt that Kingmambo sees an extraordinary number of Sadler's Wells mares but the rating is very solid and will most likely stay in that B to B+ range, which is still a strong mating, even with more horses being bred on the cross as the quality of the horses being used and the subsequent opportunity (as far as being raised well and given to good trainers) that they are given. Interestingly if Kingmambo is sent a mare by Barathea the TrueNicks rating is slightly better as an A (variant 3.39). This is because we are then looking at Kingmambo when mated to mares by Sadler's Wells and his sons and TrueNicks then includes all the matings for all sons of Sadler's Wells that have visited Kingmambo and there are stakes winners out of mares by sons of Sadler's Wells as well.

If you then look at a random son of Kingmambo in Admire Mambo and mate him with a Sadler's Wells mare, it actually rates better than Kingmambo himself with Sadler's Wells mares as we are then looking at Kingmambo and all his sons when mated to mares by Sadler's Wells. This dataset includes a number of stakes winners including the G1 winner Ibn Khaldun (by Dubai Destination) and a number of stakes winners by King's Best out of Sadler's Wells mares.

Of course, once a son of Kingmambo has enough data to be considered on his own account then he is. Take King's Best as an example. Early in his career his rating with a Sadler's Wells mare was the same as his own sire but now he has served enough Sadler's Wells mares, and indeed mares by sons of Sadler's Wells to generate his own ratings. Unsurprisingly he has been outstandingly good with this blood (as you would suspect as his female pedigree has also operated well with Sadler's Wells), more so than his own sire (A/3.77) and rates even better with when mated to a mare by a son of Sadler's Wells (A+/5.80). I guess this also shows that a good nick rating will go across a generation or two.




Q: How do I get a TrueNick?
Byron: You can order TrueNicks through http://www.truenicks.com/ or also via www.equineline.com




Q: I have a mare that is 3×4 to Danzig what Stallion line do I go to improve this mares chances of soundness in a foal.
Byron: You have sort of framed this question with the implied understanding that inbreeding to Danzig immediately means unsoundness. I am not sure that this is true. That said, there are some very sound influences in the breed like Hail to Reason - some sons of Roberto & Halo might suit - and sons of His Majesty, maybe a horse like Pleasant Tap.




Q: Do you identify when planing matings certain Stallions that have been known to throw bleeders.
Byron: There is nothing within TrueNicks itself that makes any adjustment at all for that type of thing but as far as Alan and I doing pedigree work for clients then yes we do make adjustments in our recommendations for horses that we believe leave a high proportion of bleeders. This is no different however to mating mares carefully who might have breathing difficulties or any other conformation defect.




Q: Are you planning to also cover European-based stallions in your database?
Byron: We already do...to a certain extent. If you do a hypothetical TrueNicks mating you can use any horse you like as the sire and mate it against your mare. As far as "subscribed" European stallions, enabling you to mate your mare against these stallions for free, we are currently in talks with a number of major stallion owners in Europe and hope to have these added to the TrueNicks subscribed stallions this year. Stay tuned!




Q: If a stallion's book were all maiden and young producing mares, how would they calculate the CI?
Byron: The answer is it cannot be until those mares age a little more and have foals from other sires. Eventually a CI will be generated for that group of mares (unless they all only had one foal!). In regards to TrueNicks we require a number of foals of racing age to be bred out of the group of mares that the calculation is done on to be bred by all other stallions (other than the sire line in question). We don't make a calculation unless there is enough data to do so.




Q: Is there a rule of thumb for inbreeding to the same dam? Is there any advantage to doing this?
Byron: Firstly let me state that utilizing the two concepts is not necessarily mutually exclusive. You can plan a mating which is good nick, and has inbreeding to superior females. As far as the validity, we conduct a study of the TrueNick on a group of over 100,000 contemporary horses and found a measurable and significant correlation between the nick rating and stakes success. In addition to finding evidence for the validity of nicks in general, it is very easy to establish statistical evidence for nicks working and not working in the case of individual stallions.

Inbreeding to superior females is a popular breeding theory and I myself have used it in the past and will continue to do so. However unlike the Truenicks program I don't believe the same test has been applied to inbreeding to superior females. Indeed of the studies that I have seen, which were based on large but far from complete databases, it seems that when inbreeding to superior females it is more often the case of not only inbreeding to specific females in a very small subset of names but also their presence appearing through specific offspring. This nuance makes wholesale application of inbreeding to superior females a little more problematic than one is led to believe.




Q: I have a Bertrando mare that is 16.1 hands high, correct with a good hip, I would appreciate potential stallion suggestion
Byron: I love Bertrando and his son Officer (TrueNicks, SRO). Obviously the "home bred" nick with Benchmark has served the Wygod's well out there in California and they are doing well also with the impressive young sire Tribal Rule. I would actually look at a son of AP Indy if I had a Bertrando mare. Bertrando has done well with Seattle Slew line mares (Officer is an example) and the reverse Seattle Slew/Bertrando cross seems to be working well also with Malibu Moon and Jump Start both having stakes winners out of Bertrando mares. Maybe if you could find a son of AP Indy that carried a little Fappiano, like say AP Warrior, it might prove most profitable.

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