• Tintinnabulation winner of The Nizam's Gold Cup (Gr.2)
  • Godspeed wins The Deccan Bookmakers Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.3)
  • Bold Majesty wins The Deccan Bookmakers Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.3)
  • The Myth wins The Mysore 1000 Guineas (GR.3)
Breeding Statistics For The Year 2011-12
By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Monday 12 Nov 2012
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

The racing year 2011-12 is over and the Stud Book Authority of India has compiled the various racing and breeding statistics. It behoves everyone connected with racing, punters included, to be aware of the salient aspects of the breeding scene because it is a vital input to the selection process. The full stats are available for viewing in the STUD FARMS section of this website which can be visited by anyone wishing to peruse them in their entirety.  

The most important table is the General Sires List where the stallions are ranked by gross earnings of their progeny. This year's list of the Top Ten is given below. 

GENERAL SIRES TABLE

Sire (Stud)

Starters

Winners

Wins

Stakes Earned (Rs.)

1. Always A Rainbow (Chettinad)

100

78

189

11,50,36,250

2. Alnasr Alwasheek (Poonawalla)            

95

43

90

8,16,32,718

3. Placerville (Poonawalla)

147

95

185

6,98,73,808

4. Rebuttal (Hazara)

74

41

85

6,57,43,425

5. Burden of Proof (Kunigal)

128

61

99

5,44,16,985

6. China Visit  (Usha)

104

57

96

5,18,31,060

7. Razeen  (Usha)

78

45

80

3,57,58,444

8. Diffident  (Poonawalla/Yeravada) 

109

61

99

3,53,40,239

9. Ontario  (Sohna) 

131

67

110

3,16,97,019

10 Major Impact (Manjri)

72

41

72

3,02,94,838

For the third time in last four years, Chettinad Stud's Mr. Prospector horse Always A Rainbow won the General Sires Championship. He was also the Champion Juvenile Sire for the fourth year running and headed the table of stallions ranked by the number of wins for the fifth consecutive year. The man who compared statistics to bikinis saying that what they revealed was interesting but what the concealed was vital, was spot on. It is safe to say that at least 95 % of Always A Rainbow's earning have been secured in the state of Tamil Nadu and it is a travesty for him to be crowned the national Champion Sire. By no stretch of imagination is he the best stallion in the country. This is a gross and crass manipulation of the system. Of course, the ones most affected by this are the people intimately connected with racing and breeding in India and if they choose to let the sleeping dogs lie, there is not much that those who have no stake in the industry can do about. 

It now seems certain that that the admirable sire, Alnasr Alwasheek, will go through his career without a Champion Sire title to his credit. More than half earnings came through just one runner, the star filly In The Spotlight. A Champion Sire should earn his laurels with consistent performance across the board and in that respect, perhaps, Alnasr Alwasheek has been a bit short of champion class. 

Rebuttal moved into the fourth spot with just two crops running for him and that was commendable and consolidated the good impression he had made last year. (Incidentally, both Razeen and Placerville became Champion Sires at the same stage in their careers). It was, however, noticeable that his exploits this year were a bit muted. He had four Classic winners from his first crop while this year he has only one in Super Speed; though, it is fair to point out that his second crop still has the winter Classics to add to the tally. That said, Rebuttal is perhaps the best of new stallions in recent years. His forte is precocity and speed and he will have plenty of winners upto a mile, few over added 400 m. and only an odd one beyond that. 

Apart from the three discussed, others were all the usual suspects. Glory of Dancer, Placerville and Razeen are dead; Alnasr Alwasheek (1989), Burden of Proof (1992), Diffident (1992), Steinbeck (1989) (who finished way down in 24th spot) and Major Impact (1989) are in the twilight of their careers. The table is poised for an entirely new look in the coming years.   

AVERAGE EARNING INDEX 

It goes without saying that the General Sires Table is a quantity index. The more runners a stallion has, the better are his chances of finishing high up. The AE Index is a tool that measures quality. It is ratio between the average earnings of all horses over a given period as compared to the average earnings of a particular stallion in that same period. Since the progeny of stallions no longer alive continues to race for some time after they are dead, the statistics embrace between 120 and 140 stallions. Of these, only 13 stallions standing in India, not counting the first season sires and those whose progeny races exclusively in Tamil Nadu, had an AE Index in excess of 1. That is to say that their performance was better than average. The remaining stallions were all below par. 

This is not a phenomenon restricted to India but happens the world over. Nature bequeaths prepotence rather grudgingly. The thirteen above average stallions for the year 2011-12 were:-

1.    Rebuttal                   2.47

 2.    Alnasr Alwasheek     2.41

 3.    Valid Concept           1.68 

 4.    Steinbeck                 1.58

 5.    Sunday Doubt           1.53

 6.    China Visit                1.40

 7.    Placerville                 1.33

 8.    Quest Star                1.30

 9.    Razeen                    1.29

10.   Burden of Proof         1.19

11.   Major Impact             1.18

12.   Don Micheletto          1.03

13.   Ajaad                        1.02

As a stallion gets older, he finds it difficult to hold his place in the table. This will be especially true of stallions like Alnasr Alwasheek (In the Spotlight) and Steinbeck (Wind Stream) whose earning have been augmented substantially by one outstanding runner.  

The value of the AE Index table becomes apparent by the presence of stallions like Valid Concept, Sunday Doubt, Quest Star, Don Micheletto and Ajaad who are unable to make their presence felt in the General Sires Table on account on insufficient representation. They are the value-for-money stallions. 

FRESHMEN STALLIONS 

The most exciting table is that of the Freshmen Stallions. They, after all, are the future. In 2011-12, a dozen stallions started their careers in India. At the outset, it looked as if it would be a very exciting contest between Poonawalla's Ace and Sohna Stud's Noverre. Ace, a son of Danehill who had raced for Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle team and the former Darley stallion Noverre had a lot going for them. Ace was the first stallion imported by the Poonawallas this millennium and there simply had to be much anticipation about a horse following in the footsteps of Malvado, Riyahi, Placerville and Alnasr Alwasheek. On the other hand, Noverre had had a stint abroad, sired horses like the Prix du Jockey Club, Gr.1 winner Le Havre and there was informed opinion that perhaps Darley had discarded him prematurely. Indeed, it did look an exciting match in propsect. Nor was it going to be restricted just these two for there was Capricorn Stud's Mull of Kintyre, a son of Danzig himself no less. A Gr.2 winner himself, he had sired the Boyle Sports Irish 2000 Guineas, Gr.1 winner Araafa while standing in Ireland.  

This how it panned out at the end of the year.

Sire (Stud)

Starters

Winners

Wins

Earnings (Rs.)

AE Index

1. Ace (Poonawalla)

(Danehill - Tea House)

51

19

25

2,36,27,110

1.30

2. Noverre (Sohna)

(Rahy - Danseur Fabuleux)

29

16

28

2,32,08,155

2.25

3. Marcus Andronicus (Sholavaram)

(Danehill - Fiji)

14

10

36

1,81,72,225

3.64

4. Mull of Kintyre (Capricorn)

(Danzig - Retrospective)

39

18

33

1,41,47,160

1.02

5. Mathematician (Sans Craintes)

(Machiavellian - Zibilene)

14

10

17

81,68,816

1.64

6. Sharp Attack (Gee)

(Storm Cat - Foppy Dancer) 

18

8

12

60,28,995

0.94

7. Ivory Touch (Mare Haven)

(Storm Cat - Lady Bonanza) 

20

8

12

45,21,375

0.63

8. Cool Creek (Doaba)

(Desert Style - Shining Creek) 

17

7

9

43,41,515

0.72

9. Home Affairs (Mebajeona)

(Dansili - Orford Ness) 

9

6

7

32,88,965

1.03

10. Chatham Strait (Ruia) 

(Deputy Minister - Brulay) 

12

4

9

29,73,000

0.70

11. New Famous (Yeravada)

(Jules - Hale'n Harty)

12

6

7

27,16,030

0.64

12. Crown Jewels (Noble) 

(Oasis Dream - Rubies From Burma)

9

2

2

9,39,100

0.29

Ace had started off with an advantage of nine live foals more than Noverre. That advantage received a further boost when quite a few Noverres were afflicted with a strange, mysterious illness resulting in Ace having far more actual runners. The numerical superiority eventually enabled Ace to land the title but it was a close run affair. The contest, however, failed to excite. Very early in the year, Noverre died making the outcome more academic than significant in the long term context. Ace had three black-type winners in his first crop including his sole Classic winner Equine Lover. He failed to sire a Grade 1 winner while Noverre had two. What disappointed most was his low AE Index of just 1.30. Most stallions fail to improve significantly on their first season index so Ace has to improve dramatically if he is to make a distinct mark on the Indian-bred. Of course, some stallions (Malvado, notably) do start a bit slowly and the earliest that a stallion should be judged is after the first crop has had a chance to run in the Invitation Cup. One hears that further reinforcements from Coolmore/Ballydoyle are on the way and if that is true, then perhaps optimism is cautious at best at Ace's home. 

Noverre's two Grade 1 winners were Hachiko and Commander. Hachiko faded after winning the Poonawalla Breeders' Multi-Million while Commander has to be thankful that his stable-mate Neona (by Ace!) skipped the Nanoli Stud Pune Derby. On form, Neona had the CV to be upsides of Commander in that race. Overall, Noverre's performance was patchy just as it was while he was at Darley. There will be four crops of Noverre in India and they should tell us if his early death was a blow to Indian breeding. For the moment, the jury is still out on him. Noverre's place at Sohna was taken over by Mull of Kintyre. His first crop born at Capricorn gave him an AE Index of 1.02 and that is rather low for a first season sire. Sans Craintes Stud's Mathematician finished with a better index and while he appears to have limited Classic potential, he ought to prove himself a consistent, reliable sire in the Ajaad/Midtown mould. The rest, unfortunately, will sire their share of winners but are unlikely to make a breed-shaping contribution.   

STUD FARMS 

The Stud Farm championship is decided by a complicated formula that the Turf Authorities of India have adopted. There is one point of every race won, 10 for a Gr.3 win, 20 for a Gr.2 victory and 30 for a Gr.1 triumph. Then, there are bonus points and points for placing in Graded races. One could argue with the logic of the point system but then any system has its flaws. The question is whether such a system is necessary. Over the last few years it has been seen that the table of stud farms ranked according to their gross earnings produces a very similar table. In any case, the table is unlikely to see any major changes as long as one farm fields a vastly greater number of runners and another monopolises stakes and black-type points in the state of Tamil Nadu. 

The 2011-12 rankings, based on the formula, are given below. The figure in the brackets after a stud farm's name shows its position in the table compiled on the basis of gross earnings.

1.   Poonawalla Group (1)

2.   Chettinad/Sholavaram (2)

3.   Usha/Mehra (3)

4.   Hazara (5)

5.   Sohna (6)

6.   Kunigal (4)

7.   Nanoli (11)

8.   Dashmesh Group (7)

9.   Manjri (9)

10. Chanhill/Capricorn (8) 

As in the case of stallions, the tables above are 'quantity' tables. The SBAI also works out the AE Index for stud farms and this 'quality' index table is a bit different from the ones above. 

1.    Chettinad/Sholavaram  2.26

2.    Hazara 2.25

3.    Mebajeona 2.02

4.    Usha/Mehra 1.60

5.    Poonawalla Group 1.55

6.    Kunigal 1.37

7.    Chhatari 1.17

8.    Vikram Greenlands 1.12

9.    Nakul 1.09

10.  Gee 1.02 

The astonishing fact is that only ten stud farms had an Average Earning Index in excess of 1. What it also says is that all other nurseries produced horses which were below par!  Mebajeona (Vijays Pride) and Vikram Greenlands (Toroloco) found themselves in the top ten courtesy of one outstanding horse and they will find it hard to hold their places next year. Chhatari, Nakul and Gee are a revelation. Nakul and Gee have been around for some time. Chhatari is a new concern based near Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. 

For over a decade, Razeen and Placerville rattled the sabres for the right to wear the Champion Sire's crown. They are still at it, now fighting for the Champion Maternal Grandsire accolade. This year, Placerville ousted Razeen with what looks a very comfortable margin. The difference in their earnings, however, is less than stakes won by In The Spotlight. 

PAST THE POST 

Nothing in racing and breeding is etched in stone. However, it is certain that more the inputs, better the chances of making a successful educated guess. There is one piece of factual information that will always be missing - the sale price of an entire crop. The total stakes disbursed in a year are known. An educated guess is that the sale price of a crop in India or elsewhere for that matter far exceeds the stakes on offer. A simple deduction which then presents itself is that as a rule owners can never recover their investment. They survive only because they either love the sport immensely or have very deep pockets.