This is the third in a 3-part series on SA Horse Racing Statistics for the 2019/20 Season! In this blog, The Punter analyzes South Africa’s top Racehorse Breeders to follow.
When studying a racecard, one should always consider the current form of horses, but also who they are connected to.
Every racehorse has a set of connections – a trainer, jockey, owners and a breeder. Valuable patterns and trends can be observed in how these racing partnerships bring horses on, and achieve success.
In this article, we’re going to focus on the connections who birth the racehorses, the Breeders.
Of course, there are many ways to debate who SA’s top racehorse breeders are. My analysis will specifically focus on two key factors of most interest to punters:
- Winner to Runner Ratio – the percentage of a breeder’s active racehorses that have won at least one race this season. Note this is not a win strike rate, but more a general indication of success in breeding horses that are capable of winning.
- Places / Runs Ratio – alludes to the place consistency of a breeder’s runners, and their general ability. Note that some very consistent horses may influence a breeder’s overall place strike rate. The stat is therefore a general guide, but not definitive on the spread of place consistency amongst a crop of runners.
The best way to use these stats
So how should punters make use of breeder stats? Here’s a few pointers:
- Breeder stats become more important when studying races where other information is limited. For example, Maiden Plate fields with large numbers of first-timers.
- Knowing who the top breeders are also matters on big Feature Days like the Durban July and Met. It is clear from the stats, that a great many feature winners come from a relatively small pool of top breeders.
- While breeder stats are helpful, don’t place too much value on them over other factors. Stats are merely a guide, and can never substitute for in-depth form studying. Remember that Breeders don’t ride horses, or prepare them for raceday.
Ready to dig in? Let’s take a look at The Punter’s Top SA Racehorse Breeders to follow.
Top Racehorse Breeders by Winner/Runner% and Places/Runs%
In the table below I’ve divided my top racehorse breeder selections into two categories: larger breeders with more than 100 runners this season, and smaller breeders with less than 100.
The larger breeders are in my order of personal preference, based on good ratings for wins and places.
The smaller breeders are simply ordered by stakes earned this season. This is to give you an idea of their size and success. I’ll discuss why I singled out these breeders from dozens of smaller operations across SA.
I’ve used shades of blue as a visual aid to show low and high numbers or percentages.
Top SA Racehorse Breeders to follow this season (100+ runners)
Let’s start with the big guys. My first pick is Varsfontein Stud, who’ve bred winners at a top rate of 46%. They also have the highest place to runs ratio of bigger breeders, at 34%.
The stud is home to Gimmethegreenlight, Master of my Fate and Judpot. It’s worth noting that this stud has bred 5 Stakes winners so far this season from a string of just 101 runners.
My second pick is Highlands, with the highest winner/runner ratio in this category at 47% (151 runners), and a good place/runs ratio of 30%. The stud has tasted Stakes success with 4 runners so far this season. Their stallions include Jackson, Pathfork, Canford Cliffs, and Potala Palace.
More consistency and silverware
My third pick is Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein, with the second biggest pool of runners so far this season (225). Their stats hold up well despite the big sample size (43% winners/runners, 31% places/runs).
These studs have bred the most Stakes Winners so far this season (9). Between them, the studs are home to the likes of Ideal World, Fort Wood (late), Soft Falling Rain and Flower Alley.
Drakenstein Stud (117 runners) rounds off my top 4. They have the second highest place/runs ratio in this category at 33%, and a healthy 40% winners/runners ratio.
The stud has achieved an impressive 7 individual Stakes winners so far this season. Their stallions include Trippi, What a Winter, Duke of Marmalade and Futura.
Best of the rest in this category
I struggled to separate the remainder of my picks, as there’s not much between their stats.
Maine Chance stands out with a 36% winner/runner ratio. And Klawervlei Stud deserves a special mention for sending out a huge pool of 395 runners while still maintaining decent win and place ratios.
Now let’s take a look at my shrewdy picks of the smaller breeders.
Top SA Racehorse Breeders (less than 100 runners)
My top pick in this category has to be Lammerskraal Stud. This breeder is all about quality over quantity. From 71 runners, they have 51% winners/runners, 30% places/runs, and 3 Stakes winners to their name.
Then there’s not much between Normandy Stud and Ascot Stud for me. They both have winner/runner ratios around the 40% mark, with around 1 in 3 runners placing on average.
My top 4 in this category is rounded off by St John Gray’s Graystone Stud, which is certainly a unique operation.
This stud achieves admirable success (39% winners to runners, 35% place/runs). All this from a small group of low-key stallions, including Jam Alley, Call to Combat, Announce and Damage is Done.
More honourable mentions
La Plaissance Stud is the private operation of owner Sabine Plattner. This stud has the highest place/runs ratio in this category at 37%. This is a credit to trainer Andre Nel.
There’s not much between the remainder of Avontuur, IR Heyns and PG de Beyer, but I do want to highlight three of the smallest breeders with great ratings.
WJ Engelbrecht has a good spread of decent runners in a few centres (32% winners/runners, 33% place/runs).
The 19 runners bred by the Estate of the late GJ Royden-Turner (KZN) have a top 63% winner/runner ratio, and 35% places/runs.
AN Foster has also achieved good success with a string of 19 in the Cape and PE (53% winners/runners, plus 3 Stakes winners).
Ready for more SA Horse Racing analysis?
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as I enjoyed preparing it for readers, clients and subscribers.
You can read the rest of The Punter’s 3-part series on SA Horse Racing stats here:
All the Best,