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Success Breeds Success

In the case of Thoroughbred nicking theory it is often literally true that success breeds success. Those of us who have been looking at Thoroughbred pedigrees for any length of time will note that as a stallion starts his career he is mated -- especially in this era of larger books -- to a wide variety of broodmare sire lines. It is almost like stallion managers take the approach that if a wide enough net is cast, they will catch something!

Invariably however, if the stallion breeds true to his sire line, the progeny that excel are usually from the broodmare sire lines that his own sire had success with. It is rare to find a successful stallion that does not have at least some positive correlation to the broodmare sire lines that his own sire nicked well with.

While it is one thing to identify a strong nick early in a stallion's career, it is another to sustain it. The challenge is especially difficult when the stallion is mated subsequently to a disproportionate number of mares from the broodmare sire line that he has previously had success with. From a statistical viewpoint at least, considering true opportunity by counting the number of times that the cross has actually been tried, you may end up with the nick rating being depressed over time if it is not a case of true affinity.

In North America, a good example is the Taylor Made stallion Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO) . Early success with mares by the likes of Buddha (TrueNicks,SRO), Magnificent Song, etc, has seen the stallion mated to a large number of mares by Storm Cat and his sons. Indeed there are now 82 foals bred on the direct Unbridled's Song/Storm Cat nick. When you consider that this is 8% of all the foals that Unbridled's Song has ever had it is quite a number. (And one that is likely to continue to increase as Storm Cat mares have high commercial value, and Unbridled's Song is a top-choice stallion from a commercial sense.) Thankfully, to date the nick has withstood the pressure, producing nine stakes winners -- a proportion higher than Unbridled's Song has done with all other broodmare sire lines and also better than Storm Cat mares have done with all other sire lines. It is just a solid nick.

We also note with interest that the reverse is also doing well. Hold Me Back recently joined Alpha Kitten, Etched, and Meal Penalty as stakes winners by sons of Storm Cat out of Unbridled's Song mares, giving us further confidence that the sire line affinity is indeed going to withstand the test of time.

Moving to Australia, we note that the Redoute's Choice (AUS) filly Allez Wonder (AUS) became yet another stakes winner (number 13 to be precise) for Redoute's Choice out of a Sir Tristram-line mare March 22 when she was the surprise winner of The Illawarra Mercury Keith F Nolan Classic. Redoute's Choice now has stakes winners out of mares by Zabeel (NZ) (3), Marauding (NZ) (2), Military Plume (NZ) (2), Dr. Grace (2), Sovereign Red (NZ) (1), and Sir Tristram himself (3). There is no doubt that in years to come he will receive a lot of mares by Sir Tristram and his sons and we are willing to bet that this nick also withstands the pressure of its own success.

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