Varola and the issue of dosage: A short history lesson

15 thoughts on “Varola and the issue of dosage: A short history lesson”

  1. Pedigree theorists who believe that Dosage, Nicks, or other methods on ‘how’ to breed a top class racehorse, are never comfortable in answering the fundamental question… “Why, is there a difference in ability between full brothers, or full sisters, if they both have the same ‘nick’ or the same ‘dosage’ of genes..?”
    Almost every top stallion in history had brothers who disappeared in the mists of time, Northern Dancer had three, Bold Ruler had a brother, Mr Prospector had no less than four brothers, why were they not good at stud.?, does dosage influence only work once in a pedigree, is breeding a second foal from the mare a waste of time?.

  2. Mr. Dane,
    Avalyn Hunter wrote an interesting article which appeared in the Blood Horse on February 13, 2009, which I would encourage you to read.
    The preliminary results of her research indicated that duplicating the mating which produced the “superior racehorse” substantially improved the odds of getting a good horse.

  3. Elaine., the above post proves Avalyn wrong with her conclusion.
    Natalma was mated with Nearctic several times, but the magic ‘nick’ only worked once.. one of her produce won the Kentucky Derby, the others were just second class or worse.
    Stud Book history proves that it is pointless 85% of the time, trying again with the same stallion and same mare for a second champion.
    Nicks and Dosage are only theories created by people with a copy of the General Studbook, or thoroughbred female family charts

  4. Commercially-driven products, such as Roman’s Dosage/Dual Qualifier and the various ‘nicking’ reports, may satisfy the neophyte’s need for quick answers to breeding questions but they serve only as a joke to professional breeders. In all cases their methodology is so inherently flawed that only those horse owners who need some sort of ‘expert’ justification for their decisions will ignore that obvious fact.

  5. Watcher., In the forthcoming “Genetic” conference at the Marriott hotel in Lexington, there are 18 experts on the subject, listed to give their opinion.. I wonder how many of them actually own a broodmare.

  6. Hal Dane, I don’t know, of course, but I would be interested in knowing the percentage of stakes winners to foals their mating selections have yielded.

    What may also be informative is any new statistically valid research on subjects which can help breeders produce better quality racehorses. I dont have much faith in the drive-through pedigree experts’ opinions primarily because they are driven by sales. But objective researchers who dont have a profit motive behind their label can be very enlightening.

  7. Mr. Dane, I don’t know if you actually read the above post, judging from your comments, but it is a historical account of how sires were selected in the US for dosage analysis, with Mr Rasmussen playing a role between Messrs. Varola and Roman, who had two very different types of dosage analysis. Dosage isn’t a breeding theory designed to produce better horses or stakes winners; it is simply a “gauge” as to distance aptitude in Roman’s version and “moral character” in Varola’s version. The article reproduced below the note was published in 1995 in DRF as a response to an interview with Varola that appeared in Thoroughbred Times. There isn’t a “silver bullet” here, nor is there one in “nicks,” which simply recite successful sire line crosses from the past. It’s information that some breeders use, along with many other criteria, to plan matings.

    And to Watcher, there are many “objective researchers” that make their information available for a price, just as there are stock analysts or professionals in other fields that do. I don’t expect anyone to work for free—including the plumber who fixes the sink with the latest gadget. Usually I’ve found that you get what you pay for. If you can find a vet, trainer, stud horse, boarding farm, or free pedigree research, I’d advise you–for free here—to do some due dilligence before accepting the “gift” horse.

    Tinky, yes it is interesting, thanks. But which dosage is flawed? Varola’s or Roman’s or Vuiliier’s? They are all quite different, and if you want to speak intelligently on each, I’d suggest you read up on each. The Aga Khan studs—one of the most successful European breeding establishments in the world—use Vuilliier dosage, and flawed to you is apparently “not” to them.

    Again, thanks for the comments from everyone—you, too, Diego, and Elaine.

  8. One last word Sid., you must admit that some ‘nicks’ that somehow seem to get good winners, also appear in dozens of bad horses bred on the same lines..and the bad horses far outnumber the winners..

    Dosage.. in Vuillier’s early work WAS meant to be a breeding method, it was shot down as nonsense, just like Bruce Lowe’s crazy idea of
    Breeding Winners By The Figure System.. which basically was ‘nicking’
    family X mares with family Y stallions..

    Are you speaking at the forthcoming genetic conference..?

  9. Hal, yes, of course, “nicks” appear in good and bad horses. There are four European Guineas winners in 2011 by Galileo out of Danehill mares, and from here on sons of Galileo will be bred to mares by sons of Danehill that will create hundreds of horses bred the same way on the Galileo/Danehill nick that will be less successful. That’s the nature of the beast.

    You are correct about Vuillier dosage, but apparently it was not shut down as nonsense to the Aga Khan Studs—who use it quite successfully, if you follow European racing.

    Yes, surprisingly I was invited this year—last year I was not—and have accepted the invite to speak. My topic will be more historical in nature—the diminishing of stamina sire lines in the US.

  10. Thanks for the response Sid., I keep up-to-date the winners of all the classic races from 28 countries around the world, 252 of them.

    In thoroughbred breeding there has always been a curious culture, when someone is successful a few times, gaining some publicity, it seems every other breeder jumps onto the bandwagen.

    If the Aga Khan’s success in the 1920’s and 1930’s was down to the Dosage method, you can bet your blue swede shoes that all other
    breeders will follow suit… it did not happen..

    His success was simply through the female lines in his stud descending from the few mares he purchased at the beginning of his involvement in racing.
    Note: actually nine out of ten pedigree “experts” think tha the Aga Khan bred the wonderful Mumtas Mahal.

    If you are going to push for more stamina in American Breds, there is plenty of staying blood in Europe for importation bay any courageous breeder.


  11. Sid,

    The Aga Khan’s purchase of Mumtaz Mahal was based upon the dosage profile of Lt. Col. J. Vuillier and the conformation report of George Lambton.

    Author and bloodstock agent Ken McLean in “Quest for a Classic Winner” wrote:

    “In 1922, George Lambton and Vuillier agreed that the best Yearling at the Newmarket Sales was the grey filly by the Tetrarch from Lady Josephine by Sundridge. She had a wonderful dosage profile with a mixture of the best English, French and American strains. The Aga Khan was adamant about owning her after his advisors gave their nod of approval. He paid top price for the filly with a bid of 9,100 guineas and named her Mumtaz Mahal. She became champion two year old of her generation. Mumtaz Mahal established a dynasty of champions and her grandsons Nasrullah and Mahmoud would exert tremendous worldwide influence.” – page 87

  12. Calvin:

    Thanks, I’m quite aware of that, but unfortunately it’s not worth bringing up because quite a few readers are in disbelief and I’ve found that though you can lead a horse to water, you can’t make him drink it…..

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