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Picture: The Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Charles Dickens is one of the horse’s who provides evidence for fans of the Trippi X Dynasty nick (Chase Liebenberg).

Top SA Racing Writer Mike Moon Looks Into Breeding As A Punter’s Form Tool

Study The Blood, But Beware Of The Nick Geek

Mike Moon (The Citizen)

Race form will always be the primary tool of the punter’s trade, but a working knowledge of the breed can give an edge.

Any serious racehorse player needs to know a little bit about thoroughbred bloodlines. Race form will always be the primary tool of the punter’s trade, but a working knowledge of the breed can give an edge. The key thing is not to get confused or intimidated by pedigree jargon.

At the most basic level, she – or he – should know which sires produce sprinters and which are more likely to hand on staying genes to their sprogs. Var means speed, Gimmethegreenlight middle-distance potential and Silvano stamina, for example.
But nothing is cut and dried. Take current boom sire Rafeef, who had a significant big-race double on 2021 Derby day at Turffontein with sons Master Archie (over 1100m) and Aragosta (over 2450m).
Of course, a mother has just as much say in the genetics as dad does. Broodmare Halfway To Heaven’s first three foals became Grade 1 winners over classic distances, so no-one looks too hard at the fathers of her offspring.
Then there are nicks. With covering season upon us, so to speak, nicks are a major topic of conversation on stud farms. Essentially a nick is a stallion producing better racers when mated with daughters or granddaughters of another particular stallion than he does with other mares. Research into this “magic formula” delves back through generations, numbing minds and putting it into the realms of computer science – not to mention lucrative businesses capitalising on program and app wizardry.
The motto of racehorse breeders used to be “breed the best to the best and hope for the best”, but nowadays they seem to want more precision. “Family numbers”, “dosages” and “cluster mares” are other rabbit holes to get lost in, not to mention “quantitative genetics to accumulate good additive genes”.
Trippi X Dynasty
An example of a successful nick was provided by top bloodstock agent John Freeman in his newsletter last week: Trippi x Dynasty.
Says Freeman: “The Trippi x Dynasty cross works; stakes-winning own brothers Somerset Maughan and Charles Dickens are prime examples. Other recent results underline the mating.”
Five-year-old Somerset Maugham landed the Settlers Trophy at Durbanville in late-September and three-year-old Charles Dickens won the next race on the card to extend an unbeaten record to three and spark great expectations.
The reverse mating is also true, reveals Freeman, with stallion sons of now deceased Dynasty finding success when mated with daughters of Trippi. Examples cited include Sweet Future, Pink Tourmaline and Hoedspruit.
This level of complexity should surely be left to pedigree geeks; punters have enough trouble deciphering form, speed ratings and the mercurial temperaments of runners – and the connections!
Consider, too, there are even some breeders who reckon nicks are all BS.
So, in this case, a little knowledge might be a good thing. The punter’s watchword should be to keep it simple – unless you are an incurable anorak, in which case have fun getting your brain boggled!