Brain Pedigree Introduction

Brain Pedigree Analysis – Introduction and Explanation

Brain Pedigree Analysis provides independent mating advice on the best matings for your mare after considering every stallion within your geographic and commercial criteria.

The over-riding purpose of identifying the best matings of your mare is because the best matings are most likely to fulfil the potential of your broodmare and help her produce the very best that she is capable of producing.

Laurel Oak Bloodstock Pty Ltd is the Australasian agent for Brain International Limited.


The Brain Pedigree Analysis System is unique.  The system is based on findings of 25 years of pedigree research by Patrick Brain.  Brain’s research identified a common pedigree pattern in the pedigrees of the majority of top class horses, regardless of when they performed throughout thoroughbred history.

Patrick Brain found that the sire and dams of the better horses had a larger degree of similar genetic background throughout their pedigrees than their lessor performed half-siblings.  In a way this was an extension to generally accepted line-breeding principles. However, rather than necessarily line-breeding within the first five or six generations to individual ancestors, Patrick Brain found that often reinforcing large groups of closely related ancestors further back in the pedigree was just as effective. The impact that certain ancestors would seem to lose the further back in the pedigree you go is offset by the sheer volume of closely related ancestors which can still influence the outcome of a mating.

Whether or not it manifested itself in close-up duplications in the pedigree or through large scale reinforcements further back in the pedigree, Brain found that this “commonality” or similar genetic make-up between sire and dam was the common link between the pedigree of the majority of top class horses even though this pattern only appeared in the minority of pedigrees overall.

After his initial discovery of this “common pedigree pattern”, the breakthrough for Brain came with the development of his computer programme which could measure the extent of reinforcement and line-breeding throughout pedigree back to 12 generations.  The development of the programme enabled Brain to research tens of thousands of pedigrees to confirm his initial findings and thereafter fine-tune those findings.

Unique Rating System

Before Patrick Brain could make his system commercially available he was faced with a problem.  While he could identify what was a good mating, a bad mating or something in between, he needed a common denominator by which he could efficiently compare one mating to another.

A rating system designed to measure the degree of reinforcement in any given pedigree to the extent that it identifies the likelihood of racetrack success naturally had some inherent problems, particularly given the multitude of permutations available in thoroughbred pedigrees !!

It took several years for Patrick Brain to develop a satisfactory rating system that measured the degree of reinforcement and line-breeding throughout any individual mating.

Since the Brain Pedigree Analysis system first became commercially available in 1991 in the United Kingdom the rating system has undergone some further fine-tuning to help it better reflect the better matings. This has resulted in an even greater accuracy in the quality of recommendations and the quality of results clients are achieving in recent years.

Comparison to other pedigree analysts

There are many “pedigree analysts” throughout the world. If there is one common thread amongst them it is the concept of line-breeding or in-breeding to reduce the gene pool of a prospective mating and help certain duplicated ancestors have a greater influence on the final product of a mating.

Many analysts have particular preferences such as sex-balanced line-breeding or duplication of influential female ancestors. Each of these can be positive influences in a pedigree and where Brain is unique is that he has analysed literally tens of thousands of pedigrees linking pedigree structure and compatibility to performance.

As a result Brain has an outstanding knowledge of the circumstances in which concepts such as sex-balanced line-breeding, line-breeding to female ancestors or line-breeding to male only ancestors are more likely to work better than others. This includes the parts of the pedigree, the quantities of these influences and the combinations thereof that are likely to have the greatest possible influence on the pedigree. Brain’s rating system is designed to take all these factors and combinations thereof into account.

What does a broodmare analysis comprise of and what do you receive?

A Brain analysis to identify the best matings for your mare is the main service that Brain provides.

For each analysis Brain takes your mare’s pedigree and extrapolates it back twelve generations, profiling her pedigree and identifying her genetic strengths.

Her pedigree profile is then run against the databank of stallions and each potential mating is “rated”.

The databank of stallions considered for your mare is based on your own commercial and geographic criteria. The stallions are in the databank by state (New Zealand is treated as a “state” for this purpose), and we also categorise stallions as either as “commercial” or “recommended but not commercial”.

“Commercial” is defined as a stallion whose progeny would reasonably be expected to make the premier sale in their home state. For example, a “commercial” stallion in South Australia whose progeny would reasonably be expected to make the Adelaide Millions may not be commercial in New South Wales as its progeny would not be expected to make the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale or Magic Millions in January.

All “recommended” stallions, commercial or otherwise, must satisfy minimum performance criteria to qualify as “recommended”.  Initially, upon retirement to stud they must have achieved a certain level of performance at Group One or Two level. By the time their first crop has completed their four year old season they must have produced a stakes winner and must maintain a reasonable strike rate of producing stakes winners thereafter to maintain their “recommended” ranking. Stallions that do not qualify for the databank on race performance but are standing at major commercial studs are included in the databanks due to client demand.

Our stallion bank is reviewed annually and this method of assessing stallions has stood up to 20 years of actual results as very few non-performed stallions which retire to stud are subsequently “upgraded” due to their subsequent success at stud. While the criteria for inclusion in the databank are broad guidelines only, Brain reserves the right to include or exclude stallions based on their achievements and/or client requirements or commercial perceptions about individual stallions.

Once your mare is run against the databank of selected stallions the computer produces a printout of the top 30 rated stallions with your mare.  This list becomes the basis of additional “secondary” tests by Patrick Brain to consider the six generation pedigree structure of each mating and to consider how well each potential mating complements the genetic strengths of your mare.

While the computer does the legwork to sort out the “wheat from the chaff”, Patrick Brain’s extensive knowledge of pedigrees is used in the “secondary” tests to fine-tune the computer generated list and identify the best matings for your mare.

Patrick Brain will reflect his preferred stallions on your top 30 list with stars ranging from 5 stars down to 1 star.

A broodmare analysis costs $450 plus gst for a new mare or a discounted $400 plus gst for a reanalysis.

You also have the option of nominating stallions of your choice which will be analysed at a nominal charge of $22 each (inc. GST) while the mare is “in the system”.  This gives you the opportunity to test your own theories, your mare’s past matings etc etc.

With each broodmare analysis you receive:-

  • Explanatory notes for first time clients
  • The printout of the top 30 stallions with stars showing the degree of preference
  • The printout of your nominated stallions (where applicable)

Your reports are emailed to you.

The end result is that you have the stallions most likely to fulfill the potential of your mare identified for you by an internationally recognised pedigree expert independent of all studs after every stallion within your geographic and commercial criteria has been considered.

Other Brain services

Brain pedigree analysis system has been developed to provide a number of other services to help you race and breed better horses:

  • Yearling or single mating analysis – Patrick Brain can analyse yearlings or single matings. This service is particularly popular at yearling sale time as Brain is requested to analyse hundreds of yearlings for potential buyers at the major yearling sales. By prior arrangement an overnight analysis service is available at most major sales giving you the opportunity to inspect yearlings first before analysis. For yearlings and single matings Brain provides you with rating number for the mating combined with a star system where matings are given zero to five stars to reflect Brain’s opinion of the overall quality and potential of the mating.
  • Stallion analysis – analyses can be tailored to identify potential matings or compatible bloodlines for your stallions. There are many ways in which this can be done depending on the purpose of the exercise and stallion analyses are tailored to your individual needs.

Practical considerations

With 27 years of experience in the bloodstock industry and 23 years of actual Brain analyses Louis Mihalyka of Laurel Oak Bloodstock, a Member of the Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia, can assist you in the practical application of Brain Pedigree Analysis with regard to buy, keep or sell decisions with your broodmares, potential yearling purchase, stallion selections relative to compatibility etc.

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