Often we hear from breeders and successful purchasers at the Yearling Sales about the reasons why a particular yearling was bred the way it is or why a successful buyer bought a particular yearling and such reasons all form valuable insights into human behaviour.
Much of this reasoning when it comes to Commercial breedings and Yearling selection focuses around known successful crosses and that which is already proven and established in an endeavour to "beat the odds" or gain a "leg up".
And why not?
We will use a most recent example to illustrate this and add some additional comments of our own in a hopefully constructive manner.
This week's Inglis Premier Sale in Victoria saw the sale on the last day of Lot 560, a filly by Choisir out of Group 1 winning mare Costa Viva ( Encosta De Lago ) who was victorious in the NZ 1000 Guineas and named NZ 3YO Filly Of The Year in the 2013-14 season. Costa Viva's own dam is the Group 3 winning mare Vivacious Spirit ( Bel Esprit ).
The subject filly was purchased for A$400,000 ( the second top Lot of the day )by Adrian Bott & Gai Waterhouse working in with Bruce Slade.
Bred by Rick Jamieson ( of Black Caviar and Jameka breeding fame ) it is interesting to read the comments of Gilgai Farm manager Kelly Skillercorn in ANZ Bloodstock News ( 3 March 2021 ).
"The cross is 13 per cent stakes winners to runners and I wouldn't imagine he ( Choisir ) has been bred to many Group 1-winning mares by Encosta."
"She is the first foal Rick has bred out of the mare as we bought her in foal to Pride Of Dubai and she was bought to go to Choisir."
"He was a proper mating for the mare in Rick's mind and we've got a colt foal out of her to follow by Choisir as well."
In an ironic coincidence, Costa Viva was purchased by Jamieson out of the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale for A$400,000, the same price that her Choisir filly has now sold for.
Interestingly, with Choisir now "pensioned off" Stud duties, it is planned to send Costa Viva to freshman sire Ole Kirk in 2021.
So enough of the background, we would like to return to the Choisir-Costa Viva breeding match and add our comments as we see appropriate.
Firstly, we are going to approach this in the reverse order to that which we are normally accustomed by taking a look at the Tesiopower likely Dosage Indicator outcomes which as we have said before are not truly gospel but which we find are a reasonably reliable indicator and certainly a "better to have" than "not have".
A 5-generation Dosage Index for this breeding match reveals category scores of Brilliant 11.5, Intermediate 4.5 and Classic 11.5 with not much prevailing in the "Staying" categories.
Overall, these outcomes tell us that this filly should be naturally precocious ( a likely two year old ) and carry on to be an outright sprinting type.
When talking about a cross such as Choisir over Encosta De Lago ( and it's superior ratio of Stakes winners to runners ) invariably what is being referred to is the top three quartiles of the subject's pedigree i.e. both sides of the stallion's pedigree and the top half of the mare's pedigree.
So often the "bottom half" of the mare's pedigree can get scant regard and it is often here where a lot of the "genetic treasures" can lie.
If the top three quartiles of a yearling's pedigree are proven ( returning figures above average or even better ) then it can often be the fourth quartile that defines the difference between an above-average performer and an elite performer.
In the case of the Choisir-Costa Viva filly we know that her damsire's paternal bloodlines ( Fairy King ) work well with the paternal bloodlines of Choisir ( Danehill ) as this has been demonstrated time and again to perhaps even greater effect with Fairy King's full-brother Sadler's Wells.
We also know that Encosta De Lago's own delta pattern breeding to Northern Dancer at 2x5 ensures he will also supply a female sex-balancing line of this highly influential forebear ( and via his top daughter in Fanfreluche ) to any mare or stallion with male only lines of Northern Dancer.
And this is important as whilst fillies are immune from the influence of "plodder's syndrome" any colts carrying four or more male only lines of Northern Dancer can succumb to this influence ( refer to Jack Glengarry's findings in Let's Breed A Champion Racehorse ).
This could be good news for the ensuing younger full-brother to the Choisir-Costa Viva filly as both will carry 5x4x7x6x7x7 sex-balanced linebreeding to Northern Dancer.
It is also worth noting here that Costa Viva carries Northern Dancer at the very heart of her breeding core being bred on a 6x5 reverse-sex cross to Northern Dancer.
But there are other forces at play with Costa Viva's breeding match with Choisir and for these we need to go to the mare's maternal pedigree and the all too often forgotten fourth quartile ( aka bottom quartile ) of the Choisir-Costa Viva filly's pedigree.
The first thing to note is the strength of not just the damline but particularly that of the damsire line where quality sprinting influences abound.
Granddam Vivacious Spirit is a daughter of Bel Esprit, great granddam Bit Of Bliss is a daughter of Snippets and 4th dam Hawaiian Island is a daughter of Last Tycoon so it is more than obvious that the filly carries some likely very powerful male presences deep in her maternal pedigree.
If we look at the 7-generation pedigree chart we notice that the first notable and highly desirable duplication of blood occurs from one of these male presences deep within Costa Viva's maternal bloodlines.
We refer here to Lunchtime, the sire of Snippets.
Lunchtime is of course the damsire of Choisir so herein lies the first opportunity to sex-balance to this precocious male forebear at 3x5 for maximum potential influence in endeavouring to extract his best attributes.
One thing we do like to see in a mating is a solid under-pinning to Native Dancer ( again for reasons of speed ) wherever this is possible and this mating has it in bucket loads primarily because of the multiple prevailing presences of Northern Dancer ( his dam Natalma is by Native Dancer ).
Costa Viva has at least three lines of Native Dancer through her sire Encosta De Lago but equally she also has three lines of Native Dancer through her dam Vivacious Spirit.
These sis lines of Native Dancer are set to mesh well with Choisir's own sire Danehill Dancer who is also well-immersed in lines of Native Dancer including being 5x4 reverse-sex crossed to Native Dancer.
As well as Native Dancer, the mating also realises a strong under-pinning to Hyperion through his sons Rockefella and Stardust ( in Choisir ), and son Hornbeam and daughter Lady Angela ( found in both Choisir and Costa Viva behind Lunchtime and Northern Dancer respectively).
As a son of the highly influential bluehen Selene, look to Hyperion's multiple presences in Choisir to mesh well withthe female line of Selene that Costa Viva carries via New Moon ( a half-sister to Hyperion ) who can be found as the 3rd dam of Star Way in the maternal pedigree of Encosta De Lago ( sire of Costa Viva ).
As a result of all these genetic connectors, it is easy to identify why Lot 560 has a distinct likely speed inheritance that will shape her likely destiny as a classy true runner for the Waterhouse / Bott training partnership.
Keep a watch out for her when the juveniles step out next season.
Premier Pedigrees was born out of Ken Mackay's passion for horse pedigrees to offer a very affordable pedigree matching service and valuable recommendations to new and existing Australian and New Zealand clients for both thoroughbred and standardbred mares.