All genetic ducks need to line up
AS of now that outstanding equine athlete Black Caviar is just another brood mare in a gigantic genetic pool.
As of now, despite her unbeaten race record she holds no advantage whatsoever over any other broodmare in that same gigantic genetic pool.
She’s got a mane and a tail and she eats hay, just like all the rest of them.
From its inception the breed is littered with examples of “unraced half-sisters” proving to be much better broodmares than their illustrious blood relations. Black Caviar is well and truly on her own in that big green field of dreams. How will she stand up? Put simply Black Caviar is a brown mare foaled at Rick Jamieson’s Gilgai Farm at Nagambie on August 18, 2006. She was by the speed horse Bel Esprit from the unraced and unbroken mare Helsinge.
She won each of her 25 race starts and the racing world will be watching and praying for her over the next, hopefully, 15 or more years to see how the genes crumble for this fabulous thoroughbred in the breeding barn.
The genes certainly crumbled right for her on the racetrack.
She consistently demonstrated she was a freakish galloper and so therefore it’s not unreasonable to assume that something freakish happened when the genes were stacked for the filly which became the idol of the race crowds.
Would it be possible to genetically pinpoint just where all that surging brilliance came from?
Certainly not. It wouldn’t be possible to pinpoint where all that brilliance came from with any definite accuracy. For a start we’re told by science there are 20,000 gene points in the equines. Most of us have a fair bit of trouble winning Lotto every week; the combinations you can get from just six little numbers out of 45 usually proves too much for us, and we don’t win it.
Do we ever stop to consider the combinations you can get from 20,000 out of 20,000 with the thoroughbred?
But never mind, with our own peculiar brand of megalomania, let’s presumptuously look at it anyway.
The pedigree of the thoroughbred could quite easily be described as a million inexplicable conundrums rolled into one but let’s look at a few of the genetic options which may have made Black Caviar so great.
Why not start with her fifth dam Folk Song.
She was a well bred mare foaled in GB in 1968 who won once from four starts.
She was by the “nerve case” champion miler Tudor Melody who was from the Hyperion sire line.
She did in fact hold three lines of Hyperion’s sire the very successful Gainsborough.
Folk Song was culled and sold in foal to a grandson of Grey Sovereign named War Path and finished up in Denmark. Yes, of all places Denmark. That breeding backwoods, Denmark.
(The outstanding Nasrullah stallion Grey Sovereign incidentally, was bred by an entrepreneurial young bookmaker named William Hill.)
If you were in Denmark, a land noted for its fairytales more than any- thing, on the morning of May 3, 1976 and somebody said to you “look here I want you to look at my little grey filly foaled this morning.
“She is by War Path out of Folk Song and I am telling you Sir/Madam she will be a champion.
“She will be a Group 1 winner and furthermore within 30 years the family of this mare culled from England will produce the greatest sprinting mare the breed has seen.”
No doubt you would have thought you were talking to the ghost of Hans Christian Anderson himself.
Only he could come up with a fairytale of this magnitude.
That little grey filly was named Love Song, and she did all of that. Coming out of Denmark she did become a Group 1 winner and, after being purchased by leading Australian breeder David Hains, she became the fourth dam of Black Caviar. Such are the vagaries of the breed. The thoroughbred has always been known as the noblest of animals.
The thoroughbred is the only domesticated animal bred as an extension of the way the species to which they belong, fitted into the environment in the first place. All of them stand up. All of them stand alone under racecourse pressure.
None better than Black Caviar. And now the great mare is well into the next stage of her life, lovers of the thoroughbred throughout the world will be watching her and hoping and praying for her.
For as long as Black Caviar lives, every foal she produces, every time one of her siblings steps on to the racetrack this Nagambie bred champion will be headline news throughout the racing world.
Perhaps, when space permits, we could delve deeper into that mysterious genetic enclave which is the pedigree of Black Caviar.
We could look at some of the great names which appear in her pedigree, some of the combinations and duplications which may have made her so great. And as her foals step closer to the racetrack, carrying the burden of having her as their mother, perhaps we could look at what sort of a genetic picture they present.