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Melbourne cup preview - the pedigree angle

There are many different ways of analysing a horse race and thankfully, they don't all come up with the same answer. Some rely on weight ratings, others focus on time or their own visual assessment. On Cup Day, it's incredibly popular to use a dart or go by colours, when you'll always hear about the winners from your once-a-year punter friend, but never any evidence based on a useful sample size. 

Another angle of research which some people swear by is by deep analysis of the breeding. You'll hear plenty of debate about certain horses and whether they can stay 3200m, That's when you look to the pedigree analysis from experts such as Winning Edge Investments.

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Melbourne Cup Preview
By Geoff Mcmurray

Overview

So who will and who won’t run the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup. Let’s review all this year’s runners and make an assessment from pedigree as to who will be the strongest stayer at the end of 3200m.

Pedigree analysis allows you to make an assessment of any horse’s inherited racing ability and speed profile which provides an insight as to its optimal racing distance.


What is pedigree analysis?

In simple terms, pedigree analysis is the study of any given horse’s ancestors for patterns of inheritance that have contributed to the horses racing ability (or predicated racing ability) both in terms of quality and in terms of preferred distance.

In order to view a horses ancestors I use a software program named TesioPower. The software enables you to view a horse’s pedigree back multiple generations.

There are a number of factors I analyse in determining a horse’s inherited racing ability.

1.       Inbreeding – this is the duplication of successful ancestors (either male or female) in a pedigree within the 4th generation.

2.       Line Breeding – this is the duplication of successful ancestors (either male or female) in a pedigree in the 5th generation and beyond.

3.       Rasmussen Factor – this is a special condition where a successful female ancestor is duplicated in a pedigree through two (or more) different offspring.


Inherited Racing Ability

Once I have analysed a pedigree, I give it a rating based upon what I believe its inherited racing ability is. The below table provides meanings in relation to the ratings assigned.




Pedigree Rating
Pedigree Rating Definition
Description
AAA
Superior inherited genetic racing ability
Inherited genetic ability that aligns to Group 1 level racing
A
Excellent inherited genetic racing ability
Inherited genetic ability that aligns to Group or Listed level racing
B
Good inherited genetic racing ability
Inherited genetic ability that aligns to Metropolitan level racing
C
Average inherited genetic racing ability
Inherited genetic ability that aligns to Provincial level racing
D
Below average inherited genetic racing ability
Inherited genetic ability that aligns to Country level racing


Speed Profile

Using the TesioPower pedigree software a speed profile for any pedigree can be obtained. That speed profile is based on presence of ‘Chefs de Race’ (about 200 successful stallions worldwide) that are present within the first 4 generations of any horse’s pedigree.

Points are assigned across five aptitudes – Brilliant, Intermediate, Classic, Solid and Professional.  The ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Intermediate’ aptitudes basically identify a preference for shorter distances (up to a mile) with ‘Classic’, ’Solid’ and ‘Professional’ aptitudes identifying a preference for longer distance races.

So let’s analyse this year’s Melbourne Cup field …..


2017 Melbourne Cup

1 – Hartnell (AAA grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
5
3
13.5
4
0.5

By brilliant winner of 2400m G1 English Derby in Authorized, dam is by Anabaa (G1 sprinter) and grand dam by Rahy (a 1700m Group winner and half-brother to G1 stayer in Singspiel). Speed profile suggests 3200m isn’t a problem and that was evidenced by last year’s placing in what was a solidly run Cup sitting wide the trip.

2 – Almandin (AAA grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
1
3
12.5
2
0.5

By Monsun (G1 2400m winner) from a Tiger Hill (G1 2400m winner) mare and grand dam by Kings Lake (2000m G1 winner). Speed profile suggests 3200m isn’t a problem and that was proven winning last year’s Cup.

3 – Humidor (AAA grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
5
6.5
22.5
3
4

By Teofilo a G1 winning 2yo but has sired G1 winners up to 2400m. Dam is by Zabeel who is probably the greatest staying influence in Australasian racing history. Speed profile says gets 3200m easily.

4 – Tiberian (C grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
6
4.5
10.5
2
0

By Tiberius Caesar Toamasina Speed profile suggests 2400m and a touch further OK but a real query at the 3200m in this class.

5 – Marmelo (A grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
7
6
27.5
9
2.5

By Duke of Marmalade (G1 winner over 2400m) from an In The Wings (multiple G1 2400m winner) mare. Speed profile says would only be getting warm at 2800m and beyond. The 3200m should be right up his alley.


6 – Red Cardinal (A grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
6.5
2
14.5
5
0

By Montjeu (multiple G1 winner including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe) from a Zafonic (G1 sprinter/miler). Speed profile says should have no worries with the 3200m.

7 – Johannes Vermeer (B grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
7
5
19.5
4.5
0

By champion sire Galileo (multiple G1 winner at 2400m) from a Holy Roman Emperor (G1 winner up to 1400m) mare. His speed profile says should have no problems with the extra trip. It is very similar to that of past Cup winners in Viewed and Americain so don’t let the distance query put you off this one if you liked the Caulfield Cup run.





8 – Bondi Beach (B grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
6.5
7
23
4
0.5

Another by champion sire Galileo (multiple G1 winner at 2400m) from a Danehill mare and grand dam by Selkirk (a G1 miler). Speed profile would suggest the 3200m is not a problem.


9 – Max Dynamite (B grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
5.5
3
16.5
0.5
0.5

By Great Journey (G3 miler in Japan) from a Monsun (Sire of Almandin and Fiorente). His speed profile says should have no issues with the 3200m.


10 – Ventura Storm (A grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
5.5
3.5
12
1
0

By Zoffany (G1 winning miler) from a Haafhd (G1 winner at 2000m) mare. His speed profile says OK to 2400m but a risk any further.

12 – Wicklow Brave (A grade pedigree rating)
Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
8.5
1
21.5
11
2

By Beat Hollow (a G1 2400m winner) from a Rainbow Quest (winner of the G1 2400m Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe) mare and grand dam by Sanglamore (G1 2400m winner). Speed profile says further the better and this supports his race record at 2800m and beyond and in numerous G1 races.

13 – Big Duke (B grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
4
4
9.5
1.5
1


By Raven’s Pass (a G1 winner at 2000m) from a Polish Precedent (G1 producing stallion but better milers) mare. I have no worries with his speed profile to around 2400-2800m but a slight risk past that.





14 – US Army Ranger (B grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
5.5
1
13.5
5
1

By champion sire Galileo (multiple G1 winner at 2400m) and from a Dalakhani (multiple G1 2400m winner) mare. Speed profile says 3200m will be right up his alley.

15 – Boom Time (B grade pedigree rating)
Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
8
9
18.5
0
0.5

By Flying Spur (G1 winner up to a mile) from a Snippets (G1 sprinter) mare. His pedigree rating suggests he would be fine up to 2400m but a real query out to the 3200m.

16 – Gallante (B grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
9
4
19
4
0

By Montjeu (multiple G1 2400m winner) from a Machiavellian (G1 sprinter) mare and grand dam by Green Desert (G1 sprinter). Speed profile says should get the trip and won the Sydney Cup over 3200m although in average time.


17 – Libran (AAA grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
5.5
2
16
5.5
2

Lawman (G1 winner over 2400m) from a Sadler’s Wells (multiple G1 winner up to 2000m). His speed profile says would just getting warm at 2000m. The distance increase will really suit.

18 – Nakeeta (C grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
4
0
8
2.5
0.5

By Sixties Icon (multiple stakes winner over 2400m and beyond) from an Easy Red (by Hunting Lion who has thrown G1 milers) mare. His speed profile says 3200m will be of no concern.


19 – Single Gaze (B grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
10.5
5
7.5
2
0

By Not A Single Doubt (Group sprinter) from an Intergaze (G1 winner up to 2400m) mare. Speed profile suggests would be competitive up to 2000m but a risk past that. Placed in the Caufield Cup at the 2400m last start but was assisted by sitting near pace on a biased leaders/fence track. I can’t entertain on pedigree up to the 3200m.

20 – Wall of Fire (C grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
3.5
1
9.5
3
0

By Canford Cliffs (G1 miler) from a Galileo (multiple G1 2400m winner) mare. His speed profile says the 3200m should not be an issue.


21 – Thomas Hobson (B grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
5
4
12
4
2

By Halling (multiple G1 winner over 2000m) from a Danehill Dancer (G1 miler) mare. His speed profile suggest 3200m and beyond are right up his alley.


22 – Rekindling (B grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
4
1
15
6
1

By High Chaparral (multiple G1 winner at 2400m) from a Salse (G1 winner over 1400m) mare. Has a real stayer’s pedigree the 3200m is not a problem for him.


23 – Amelie’s Star (AAA grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
9
4.5
18.5
1
4

By Testa Rossa (G1 sprinter/miler) from a Zabeel (champion staying stallion) mare. Speed profile says the 3200m is well within her grasp.




24 – Cismontane (B grade pedigree rating)

Brilliant
Intermediate
Classic
Solid
Professional
4
5
20.5
5.5
1

By High Chaparral (multiple G1 2400m winner) from a Volksraad (producer of G1 winners up to 2400m) mare. Speed profile suggest the 3200m will be no problems.


Analysis of pedigree ratings
Analysing the race from a pedigree rating perspective we would want to consider those horses with either an AAA grade, A grade or B grade rating. That leaves us with Hartnell, Almandin, Humidor, Marmelo, Red Cardinal, Johannes Vermeer, Bondi Beach, Max Dynamite, Ventura Storm, Wicklow Brave, Big Duke, US Army Ranger, Boom Time, Gallante, Libran, Single Gaze, Thomas Hobson, Rekindling, Amelie’s Star and Cismontane.

However with so many high rated pedigree crosses for the purposes of this review I am going to narrow it down to only those horses with AAA grade and A grade ratings. So that narrows it down to Hartnell, Almandin, Humidor, Marmelo, Red Cardinal, Ventura Storm, Wicklow Brave, Libran and Amelie’s Star.


Analysis of speed profiles

Analysing the race from a speed profile perspective, you need to look for horses that have a genetic profile that suggests distance won’t be an issue (that also meet the pedigree rating criteria). So that then leaves us with Hartnell, Almandin, Humidor, Marmelo, Red Cardinal, Wicklow Brave, Libran and Amelie’s Star.


Analysis recent history – Melbourne Cup winners

Not since Vintage Crop in 1993 has there been an overseas horse that has won the Cup without having a lead up run in Australia. That being the case I’m happy opposing Red Cardinal and Wicklow Brave who are not in the class of Vintage Crop.

So that just leaves Hartnell, Almandin, Humidor, Marmelo, Libran and Amelie’s Star.


Analysis of form – those that are left

Hartnell – not sure how well he is going. Humidor lapped him in the Makybe Diva Stakes and then just ok in the Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes. Looks a run short up to 3200m and has to give the rest weight.

Almandin – was enormous first up sitting wide at Mooney Valley before lapping the field in the JRA Trophy at Flemington with 61kg. Track bias was against him when running forth in the Bart Cummings last start but still run home in fast sectionals. Huge weight drop here. Jockey looks only query but he has been in high class form this season.

Humidor – big win in the Makye Diva Stakes, ok in the Turnbull Stakes behind Winx, track bias was against him in the Caulfield Cup and run a great second in the Cox Plate in track record time. Has had plenty of miles this preparation so that suits getting out to this trip. Question is his race manners as he won’t want to over race here.

Marmelo – won the Prix Kergorlay in France (always a good lead up for the Cup) and his local debut in the Caulfield Cup coming from the tail on a leader biased track was huge. Tick plenty of boxes.

Libran – best of the roughies. Good win from last in the Kingston Town at Randwick before running well against leader biases in both the Metropolitan and St Leger (again at Randwick). Really charged home late in the Mooney Valley Cup. Ticks plenty of boxes here but has to be a good track to do his best.

Amelie’s Star – no luck when charging home in the Naturalism Stakes (against severe track bias) before getting all favours in the run but winning the Bart Cummings brilliantly. Complete forget in the Caulfield Cup when ridden upside down on pace. Quality stayer and gets in well here.


The Final Word

Almandin clearly on top for me. With an AAA grade pedigree, no questions around distance and his win in the JRA Trophy said he is in red hot form. Reckon he peaks here and just needs a half decent ride to be going very close.

Definitely going to be saving around Humidor, Marmelo, Libran and Amelie’s Star.

Best of luck with all your investments in the Cup.





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