What makes a great sire?

While breeding students can make seemingly astute obvservations about pedigrees and nicks and crosses, such wisdom normally comes in hindsight – writes Floyd Amphlett.

But basing any forecast on the basis of a successful racing career is flying in the face of history.

Take a long hard look at the table on the right. It is the list of leading open race sires over the last 37 years. What do you notice?

For a start, how many Irish Derby winners are in there? The answer is one – Linda’s Champion. In fact, how many lines of Irish form would the entire group have collated between them? You can rule out American imports Sand Man, Kinloch Brae and Hondo Black. And Aussie imports Top Honcho and Frightful Flash.

Slaneyside Hare barely raced in Ireland. Nor did Whisper Wishes. Of the four ‘Droopys’ sires only Jet had a significant Irish track career. Vieri won the Irish Puppy Derby but primarily raced in Britain. Scolari and Sydney had nine races between them.

On the flip side, where are the Irish champions? Where are the Due Rewards, Late Late Shows, Droopys Maldinis, Killahan Phanters, College Causeways, Bypass Byways, Judicial Prides, Milldean Panthers, Priceless Rebels, Chart Kings, Paradise Madisons etc etc. Every one a champion – but a flop at stud.

Conversely, think how hard it has been for the group in the table to make it to the top given the reluctance of breeders to use a dog ‘who hasn’t done it at Shelbourne’.

Breeders have always been seduced by fast times and presentation jackets, but the connection to successful breeding careers is tenuous at best.

Important changes have been agreed to the entry system of the BGBF British Bred Produce Stakes and will take effect immediately.
The Two Year Old Produce Stakes, first run in 1946 at Bristol as the Western Two Year Old Stakes (renamed the Western Two Year Old Produce Stakes the following year) and held since 1998 at Swindon, is the landmark competition for young British breds, and historically has been run on a four stage entry system – first the litter stage, which for the past three years has been free and automatic, then first acceptance for individual pups, followed by second Acceptance, then Final acceptance stage.
Entries for several years have been handled at Swindon by Mrs Sue Warren, who is retiring, and the BGBF and Swindon have agreed that it is now time to change this somewhat archaic ‘sweepstake’ entry system and bring it in line with other Category 1 competitions.  Entries will now be run in the usual manner for Cat 1s, with just one entry required. Closure date will of course be advertised in the BGBF Calendar, with the Final this year being held on September 19th.  Conditions of entry are that the greyhounds must be British bred, whelped in the relevant year (2022 for the 2024 competition) and fully named and registered in the Greyhound Stud Book.
Prize monies for the Final will remain unchanged – £10,000 plus Trophy for the winner; £2,000 for second; £1,000 for the other Finalists.  The Breeder of the winner will receive £2,000 plus a trophy, breeders of other Finalists will receive £500.
Liz Mort, chair of the BGBF said:  “It was time for a change for the Produce Stakes, and I believe the news will be welcomed by many breeders, trainers and owners!  The competition is a key stepping stone for youngsters and this will make entering easier and increase eligibility as in the past dogs have been refused entry because, eg, the litter stage entry was not completed.  We tried to resolve this by making litter entry automatic on registering for earmarking with the Stud Book, but some still missed out. Now any registered British bred can be entered, providing whelp date was within the correct year.
“I’d like to thank Sue Warren for the hard work and dedication she has put in to running this competition over many years.”
Peter Geeves, Assistant General Manager at Swindon, said: “The Produce Stakes is important to us at Swindon; we have enjoyed running it in the traditional way, but with Mrs Warren retiring, that isn’t feasible any longer. She has been has been committed to ensuring this competition has run well for so many years now, and we are very grateful to her.  It was time to bring it up to date and we believe that, with the BGBF’s support, it will continue to be a major landmark in the Calendar.
“Any payments for stage entries for this year’s competition that have already been received will be refunded.”