1600m race time may be a moderate predictor of offspring success in Hong Kong
23 Feb 2015
1600m race time may be a moderate predictor of offspring success under similar conditions for horses that have raced in Hong Kong (heritability 0.52). Researchers from the University of New South Wales conducted a statistical analysis of the heritability of stats that are commonly used to assess potential stud ability, such as lifetime earning and race win time, in Hong Kong Thoroughbreds. Race time over 1600m was the only significantly heritable trait to come out of the study. Previous studies into thoroughbred heritability, have also struggled to find significant results, with many other factors such as trainer and track conditions, having significant effects on the outcome of a race.
The study concludes that while genetics do contribute to a horse’s ability to win a race, a horse with a lesser pedigree can still achieve high level wins with the help of favourable conditions, such as a good trainer.
Hong Kong provides a unique race environment to study because horses are predominantly trained atone track (Sha Tin) and all horses are imported. Hong Kong also provides one of the most stringent environments in terms of regulation of racing and training procedures, compared to other countries in the world.
Velie, B. D., Hamilton, N. A. and Wade, C. M. (2015), Performance selection for Thoroughbreds racing in Hong Kong. Equine Veterinary Journal, 47: 43–47. doi: 10.1111/evj.12233