An Al Duncan musing

8th December 2012 : Listed juvenile fillies hurdle races - a good idea?

A couple of seasons back, Well Disguised was a fine race mare for 'Lucky' Dave and myself, and Donald trained her to win 4 races and placed numerous times.  Well, I just couldn't let her go, and so I've kept her as a broodmare, and she has a lovely filly foal by Sulamani and is again in foal to that highly promising NH sire.

Now I see my continued involvement with Well Disguised as an extravagance, rather than a business venture. Donald himself has bred some fine winners over the last decade or so, and Allan Gilchrist has had remarkable success with the progeny of his late broodmare Youandi. I'd be delighted with a fraction of their success.

It's fascinating for me when I get the chance to have a few words with 'commercial' breeders like Robert Robinson (Distillery Stud) and Malcolm & Joanna Imray (Eildon Hill Stables).
In continual attempts to improve my knowledge from a position of complete ignorance, I find it fascinating to read any published articles on breeding and the bloodstock industry in general.

The 'Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder' is eagerly anticipated each month, and there a a few good websites as well, like Weatherbys Stallion Book online. Those kind people in Ireland send me bloodstock catalogues and DVDs from time to time as well.
And it was a DVD from Ireland which focused on the promotion of the NH-bred mares, and that the Irish and UK racing authorities were specifically planning more mares-only events, including listed races, into the respective Racing Calendars that made me sit up. Statistically, the chances of breeding a filly as against a colt are 50%, yet fillies realise about a quarter ot the value of a similarly bred colt/gelding at the sales. Many are left unsold, and an increase in valuable mares-only NH races would certainly re-address that trend.

So, a listed 'mares' only hurdle at Aintree today (8th December), caught my eye. This must be what the combined brains of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the British Racehorse Authority have been working towards.
Let's have a closer look.

From my brief analysis then, this listed 'mares'-only hurdle has attracted only one filly bred with National Hunt racing in mind - L'Unique - and she was bred in France!

I suspect that races like this are not going to help my Sulamani filly much in a couple of years time, but goodness knows what commercial NH breeders make of it all.



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