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Mare Scoring – How It Works

'Third dam does not make it Nationals quality'

The Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Bloodstock South Africa held a seminar for the KZN Breeders Club recently to discuss the scoring of mares for the National Yearling Sale.

Jehan Malherbe 

A number of examples of mares currently at stud were given of both suitable and unsuitable prospects, and how the panel chose the pedigrees and scored accordingly.

Amongst them, Jehan Malherbe gave Sahara a 4, the dam of Matador Man recently sold to Gary and Colleen De Klerk of Summerview Stud (scores are from 1-5).

Jehan advised breeders to be mindful and use the scoring as a guideline, drawing comparisons to lesser bred fillies with better race records, and better bred fillies with perhaps not as in-form race records, but well related – breeders must take into account what they have produced, and how many foals produced to date in relation to their success at stud.

Jehan also covered the various strengths of mare’s catalogue pages, who had progeny racing in overseas jurisdictions such as Kenya, Mauritius, Singapore, Hong Kong and Zimbabwe, and why some information couldnt be shown due to racing standards – such as Kenya.

Catherine Hartley addresses the gathering (Pic- Candiese Marnewick)

“Singapore and Hong Kong will count. An example is the Hong Kong Gr1 race that Singapore Sling won – its an International Listed race, but a Gr1 in Hong Kong. The QE II on the other hand, Champions Mile and Champions Cup are proper international Gr1’s from Hong Kong. The rest are considered to be Listed races from an international standard. In the catalogue we would show either as a Listed race, or “HK-Gr1″. Kenya dont have Black Type races at all. We have to conform to international cataloguing standards and we have international buyers attending our sales. We can mention at special request to add in if a horse won the Kenyan Oaks, but it will not be in Black Type.”

“If you have to look up to the third dam to find quality, it is not Nationals quality. A mare who scores 1.5 is not Nationals quality and will be excluded, however, if you have a mare that is a 1.5 and a colt that is 9 from a very good  Top 5 stallion, we will review it.” It was also important to review as a breeder, if the family in the first 3 dams has been successfully active in the past 10 years.

“When the entries arrive, we have 500 spots open and 350 horses score 15 points and above, and that is our cut off point – they will all be on the sale as they immediately qualify. From 13.5 to 14.5 will be considered and from there on, its by invitation only for the balance of the places available.” Jehan also gave examples of first season sires represented at the sales and the points allocated, and said the list of sires and their points will be available on the TBA website for breeders to view and plan ahead. All stallions start of on 2.5.

If he is a local Gr1 winner, he gets a 3. If he is an international Gr1 winner, he will get a 3.5. If he has an exceptional pedigree, he will get another half a point for pedigree. If you breed a mare that is a 4.5 to a stallion thats a 2.5, you will get on the sale. All first season sires are considered.

Jane Thomas – yearling inspector (Pic- Candiese Marnewick)

If you send a mare that is a 5 to a stallion who is a low score, and breeds a 9 yearling, it has to get on the sale as there is more than 14 points and it will be sold. Jehan also advised breeders not to send all mares to first season sires, as only 1 in 20 make it. He also advised to send mares to big sires to keep individual sales drafts balanced.

Jehan emphasised that breeders must not be scared to talk to the selectors – “we are not here to to fail or pass you, we are here to try and work together to put the right horses on the right sale. Listen to the selectors if they assess that a yearling will be better on a later sale.”

Chris Haynes and Jane Thomas of Bloodstock South Africa were on hand to discuss sales and yearling inspection and selection questions, whilst Catherine Hartley of the TBA also addressed all present and gave an update on the Studbook.



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5 comments on “Mare Scoring – How It Works

  1. Anthony says:

    Personally, I would like to know the highest merit rating that that specific mare achieved. This MR number should definitely be reflected at the top of the page

    1. karel says:

      MR ratings were included in the Vintage sale catalogues in the early years, then were left out later on instruction from the sale’s director.
      In the UK, Tattersalls breeding catalogues show official ratings.

      Sporting Post publishes a Buyer’s Guide for every sale, which has mare’s ratings and that of all of her offspring, by distance and with previous sale prices.
      You should really have a look, Anthony.

  2. Anthony says:

    Yes, thank you, I have seen this and made reference and use of the Buyer’s Guide. I just feel that it should be mandatory to be included in the catalogues.

  3. Ian Sanne says:

    As a small but highly invested stud, we have requested transparency on this scoring systems. It has taken over 10 years to gain traction at the TBA for the posting of stallion scoring. Mare owners should also be notified of the scores assigned by selectors. These should not be posted scores as that to me remains confidential between the TBA and the Breeder or Stud Owner.
    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that Jehan and John Freeman are willing to do the work of selection. Their effort is remarkable, and their feedback has always been sensible. I am glad that Jehan is open to discussion. I do however believe that we need more transparency, and independent review of the process. As breeders we invest significant money to support the TBA, and owners. I expect that the selection process should be attended by at least three of the Executive Committee Members elected to be on the Council, to ensure the independence and only pedigree and phenotype selection criteria are used.
    I am concerned that the sales companies do not have enough skin the game, the lack of profitability of the breeder, trainer, and owner is killing the game; whereas all those working on commission appear to be only interested in the short-term profits. I did not that the recent sales are reviewing two costs – the commission rates declined to 7% at the recent 2 y.o. Sale; and the very high added stakes costs of the CTS sales are falling away. The cost of sales driven by commissions and added stakes means that we give up nearly 15% of turnover or sales to the sales companies. That is killing our desire to be breeders into the future. It’s time that all the agents and insurers Kuda (CTS) and Equine (BSA Sales) consider that the current state of affairs is threatening their business sustainability as much as it is threatening the existence of the entire industry.
    Ian Sanne, Oldlands Stud

  4. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    I’m trying to get my head around the concept that breeders support owners with their significant investments.

    I note the comments around the sales race levies. The April sale offered the opportunity to sell at CTS without those levies. Yet Oldlands never made use of the opportunity and included their draft on the section with levies a condition of sale.

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