(Photo: BlueStream Pictures)
By DAVID BRASCH
THERE is a small bunch of greyhound breeding ‘nerds’ out there who like nothing better than analysing stats on what makes Group winners, city winners etc.
Almost 30 years ago, Queenslander Alan Capper came up with a recipe for producing city winners.
He found that those bitches that won at Albion Park, Sandown and Angle Park on a Thursday, and at Wenty, The Meadows and Cannington on a Saturday night far outproduced other bitches.
It was a simple formula.
Use city winning females, whose dam and female family kept producing city winners, put them to a leading stud dog and off you go towards city winning success.
Now, NSW dog man Charlie Riccio, a self-confessed greyhound breeding nerd, has compiled a bunch of stats that give us a huge insight into breeding a Group 1 winner.
It wasn’t an instant look at Group 1 winners and their make-up for Charlie. He’s been looking at the stats for almost 10 years.
Charlie has analysed the racetrack performances of the mother of every Group 1 winner – that’s 298 races – from 2012 to 2020.
He focussed on the mothers of every one of those Group 1 stars and especially the race distances those females had won over before going to stud.
What he found is amazing and presents a thorough insight into how breeders should plan for coming up with a Group 1 winner.
Charlie found that of those 298 races, seven bitches that had never raced produced the winners of nine Group 1 events.
That is indeed a staggering figure. It is just 3.02 per cent of the overall number of Group 1 winners.
The stats on bitches that did not win races further than 500m during their race career were just as telling.
Of that list, just nine were able to produce the winners of 11 Group 1 races. That is just 3.69 per cent of the total.
As Charlie said: “With the proliferation of short-course races throughout the country today, I expected this number to be much better. Consider the number of bitches that have won races under 500 metres. It must be huge.”
With city racing being generally restricted to 500m, 600m and 700m events, more of them coming over 500m, it would be expected that bitches that won races from 500m to 564m would have a huge influence on success in Group 1 racing.
Charlie’s figures show that 74 bitches, winners between 500m and 564m, produced the victors of 106 Group 1 events. This is 35.57 per cent of all Group 1 events.
But, the staggering aspect of Charlie’s figures came when he analysed the figures for bitches that had won races at longer than 565m.
These bitches produced 57.72 per cent of the Group 1 winners in Charlie’s study.
Some 95 bitches, winners at further than 565m, produced 172 of the Group 1 winners at a percentage of 57.72.
“Some of the figures were skewed,” Charlie said. “For instance Chloe Allen produced Fernando Bale who won eight Group 1s.
“But, it is obvious if you want to put the odds in your favour of getting a Group 1 winners either by breeding or buying pups, then you have to look at bitches who won over distance further than 565 metres.
“Of course, bitches who won over 500 metres and more are just as great a chance of producing at the highest level.
“But, if you are thinking of breeding with a bitch that could not win past 500 metres and hoping to get a Group 1 winner … consider your options.”
It is obvious from Charlie’s figure that short-course winners and unraced bitches still have a chance of achieving the greatest success, but only a paltry six per cent.
Consider the Wheeler family’s great producer Maple Bale (Spiral Nikita-Vista Bale by Golden Currency).
Maple Bale did not race after breaking down as a young bitch about to start her career. She was lengths better than her litter brother Buttsie Bale.
The fact Buttsie Bale won The Schweppes in WA and was a finalist in the G1 Perth Cup as well as The Schweppes, All Stars Sprint, WA Sprint C’ship, Winter Cup, Sprint Challenge and SA Derby was not lost on the Wheeler family.
They used Maple Bale at stud and she became a great, great producer.
An unraced bitch, he is the mother of G1 Sapphire Crown winner Lamia Bale.
Another daughter, Kerrigan Bale, is the mother of G1 Zoom Top winner Just Terms.
And Buttsie Bale?
The Wheelers also gave him an opportunity at stud. He just happens to be the damsire of champion Dyna Double One. Buttsie Bale’s daughter Crystin Bale won the G1 National Futurity and then became Double One’s mother.
As Charlie Rizzio said: “Maybe, like Maple Bale, there are significant stories behind those unraced bitches that produced the winners of Group 1 races.”