Although spectators may be more familiar with the decidedly more vocal individuals on top of them, horse racing is unsurprisingly all about the quality of the horse. A jockey exercises incredible skill in extracting the very best out of his ride but, at the end of the day, if the horse isn’t up to scratch, there will be no cup at the end of the race.
As a result, perhaps even more than training, breeding is of central importance to finding winners. Indeed, professional breeders and organisations use selective breeding to produce the correct phenotype or breed, and there is considerable debate over the relative significance of the stallion (the sire) as against the mare (otherwise known as the dam). Timing is also crucial, with those horses bred for competitive purposes born as close to early January as possible, ensuring extra physical and mental advantages against competitors in the same age group. The worth of proper breeding is borne out in the fact that one mare, La Troienne, produced fourteen foals in the early 1930s, twelve of whom were racers, and ten of whom were champions!
The many techniques and theories on the expensive process of breeding are all for one purpose