Female factor

published: 14 May 2015 in Pedigree analysis

In recent articles in Bluebloods, I’ve written about the importance of the female line in thoroughbred breeding, most notably through the Rasmussen Factor (inbreeding to superior females within five generations) and the work of Floyd Oliver.

  In his 2013 book Breeding by Design, Oliver outlines a mating technique that might be thought of as ‘Stacking and Packing’. That is, taking a broodmare’s dam line and selecting a sire with additional strains of this bloodline.
  When both dam and sire come from the same female family (within five generations) this is known as a Rasmussen Factor (RF) Formula One pedigree. Oliver regards this structure as particularly advantageous in producing quality broodmares. His research suggests that many high class horses have been the beneficiaries of female-line inbreeding, either directly in their own pedigree or through the bloodlines of their broodmare.
  To test this proposition, I have examined the winners from three days of the recent Sydney Autumn racing carnival: BMW Tancred Stakes day (March 28, at Rosehill) and the two days of The Championships (at Randwick on April 6 and April 11). From 29 races in total, how many winners can be identified as matching the RF/Oliver breeding technique?
  At Rosehill, five of the nine winners featured special female bloodline characteristics. The opening race, the T.J. Baillieu Handicap-Gr 3, was won by the promising 2YO gelding Takedown (2012, Stratum 
x Apamea), from the family of the blue-hen mare Best In Show (1965).
  Best In Show has had a major influence on the Australian breeding industry through sires such as Redoute’s Choice, Domesday and Manhattan Rain. Her daughter Sex Appeal (1970, by Buckpasser) is also the dam of Try My Best (1975), the sire of the highly influential Last Tycoon (1983). Putting Redoute’s Choice to Last Tycoon mares produces an RF cross 5f x 5f to Best In Show, as seen in group winners and young sire prospects Master of Design and Drumbeats.

  Best In Show is Takedown’s 6th dam. As a son of Redoute’s Choice, Stratum also carries this strain, producing a 6fx6f cross in Takedown, an example of successful Stacking and Packing (SAP).
  At Rosehill, race two was won by the John O’Shea-trained Medcaut (2010, Commands x Lindisfarne, by Viscount). Another blue-hen mare, Eight Carat (1975), is both the second dam of Commands and the third dam of Viscount, thus producing a 3fx5f RF cross in Medcaut.
  Race six, the Vinery Stud Stakes-Gr.1, was won by Fenway (2011), bred on the successful cross of High Chaparral out of a Zabeel mare (in this case, Deedra, 1986, ex Joie Denise). To date, there have been 22 runners from this cross, producing five group winners: Dundeel, Alpine Eagle, Show The World, Hidden Asset and Fenway.* In each case, the horses are linebred 4fx5m to yet another blue-hen mare, Special (1969). She’s the second dam of Sadler’s Wells (sire of High Chaparral) and the dam of Nureyev (damsire of Zabeel).
  Also of note, Fenway’s third dam is the outstanding Australian broodmare influence, Denise’s Joy (1972), herself an RF, carrying a total of five strains of Lady Juror (1919) and six of Lady Josephine (1912), dam of the incomparable Mumtaz Mahal.
  Race eight, the Group Two Tulloch Stakes-Gr. 2, was won by the O’Shea-trained Hauraki (2011, Reset x Youthful Presence by Dehere). The Reset/Dehere cross has been strikingly successful. Its seven runners to date include three group winners (Rebel Raider, Set For Fame and Hauraki) and a further stakes winner (Cadillac Mountain, a full brother to Rebel Raider).* It’s an emerging cross of note in Australasian racing.

  Interestingly, Hauraki’s 6th dam is Tessa Gillian (1950, Nearco x Sun Princess), a full brother to Royal Charger, Hauraki’s 7th sire (through the Reset-Zabeel-Sir Tristram-Sir Ivor-Sir Gaylord-Turn-to line). Hauraki’s third dam Loralane (1977, 1977, Habitat x Lora) also carries this particular pedigree pattern, as Habitat is a son of Sir Gaylord. The net outcome is six strains of Sun Princess in Hauraki’s bloodlines (three from his sire and three from his dam), another example of the SAP approach.
  Finally, at Rosehill, the Group Three Neville Sellwood Stakes-Gr.3 was won by the imported galloper Pornichet (2010, Vespone x Porza by Septieme Ciel). SAP is evident in Porza’s bloodlines. Her 4th dam is Sly Pola (1957, Spy Song x Ampola). Her sire Septieme Ciel’s damsire is Green Dancer (1972), a grandson of Sly Pola. Thus Pornichet’s dam is crossed 5fx4f to Sly Pola, another broodmare matching Oliver’s preferred breeding theory.

  On the first day of The Championships, four winners carried special female characteristics in their pedigrees. In three cases, this involved RF broodmares, namely:
- Furnaces (2012, Exceed and Excel x Heat Of The Fire) won the Kindergarten Stakes-Gr.3 for 2YOs. Heat of the Fire (2003, Strategic x Bon Fire) is inbred 3m x 3f to Summoned (1978, Crowned Prince x Sweet Life), the dam of Zeditave (sire of Strategic) and second dam of Bon Fire, thus producing a SAP broodmare pattern.
- Artlee (2010, Excellent Art x Danelee Dancer, by Danehill Dancer) won the inaugural Country Championship Final. His dam is an RF crossed 5m,5f x5m to Natalma.
- Candelara (2011, Real Saga x Jadana by Jade Hunter) won the Adrian Knox Stakes-Gr.3. Jadana is line bred 5mx5m,5m Relance (1952) through the half-brothers Match (Jade Hunter’s second damsire) and Relko (1960), which features 3fx3m in Jadana’s dam Star County.

  The one RF winner on the first day of The Championships was Pride of Dubai (2012, Street Cry x Al Anood by Danehill), triumphant in the ATC Sires Produce Stakes, adding to his Blue Diamond victory in February. The colt is line bred 5fx5m,5f to Natalma via three half-siblings: Raise The Standard (2nd dam of Machiavellian, the sire of Street Cry), the great Northern Dancer (2nd sire of Danehill) and Spring Adieu (2nd dam of Danehill). On the final day of The Championships, the listed South Pacific Classic was won by the very smart Federal (2011, Medaglia D’Oro x Virago by Danehill), RF linebred 5mx5m,5f to Natalma.
  The Arrowfield Sprint-Gr.2 was won by the Chris Waller 3YO Delectation (2011 Shamardal x Grace and Power by More Than Ready). Delectation’s dam is bred 7fx7f to the American legend La Troienne in the RF Formula One pattern. With Shamardal carrying two strains of La Troienne, More Than Ready four and Grace and Power’s damsire Defensive Play a further two, a total of eight strains of the US blue-hen have been packed into the dam line, an ‘Oliver special’.

  One of the feature races, the Australian Oaks, was won by Gust of Wind (2011, Darci Brahma x Starrystarrynight by Sadler’s Wells) at just her fifth race start. She’s an RF 5m,5f x4m to Natalma (also crossed 6mx4f to Special via the three-quarter brothers Sadler’s Wells and Nureyev, the damsire of Darci Brahma’s damsire Zabeel). Starrystarrynight (2001, Sadler’s Wells x Upper Circle by Shirley Heights) 
is also an RF, 4mx5m Lalun.

  Finally, the Queen of the Turf Stakes-Gr.1 was won by Amanpour (2010, Northern Meteor x Newscaster), the 5th dam of which is Natalma (1957). Thus both Amanpour (5m,8m x5f,6m Natalma) and her second dam Stormy Dream (1993, Storm Cat x Natalma’s Dream, crossed 4m x 3f to Natalma) are examples of RF Stacking and Packing.
  Patterns such as these reflect breeding outcomes beyond the realm of random chance. Of the 29 races examined, 13 winners (or 45 percent) carried special female characteristics in their bloodlines. Five of the winners were RFs (17 percent), with a further three featuring Oliver-style SAP (10 percent). Among their broodmares, four were RFs (14 percent) while a further two featured SAP (with one of those, the dam 
of Delectation, a Formula One SAP).**

  While the Rasmussen Factor and Stacking and Packing techniques have their critics, this sample of winners from the Sydney Autumn Carnival points to an impressive level of success. Any breeder following the RF and Oliver theories has a growing pool of positive research on which to base their work. Importantly, these methods do not exclude the use of other mating theories. Very often in the breeding industry, the debate is reduced to ‘mine versus yours’ scenarios when, in practise, several worthwhile strategies can be incorporated into the one mating plan.
  At a minimum, the RF and Oliver strike rates are impressive enough to warrant close study and consideration by Australian breeders.

* The author wishes to thank Arion Pedigrees, www.arion.co.nz for use of its statistical database.
** Note double counting for Gust of Wind, herself 
an RF, out of an RF broodmare n