Jul 16


Australia_faceWhen Australia cantered to victory in the Irish Derby he began to look more and more like the eventual successor to his sire Galileo. That is a lofty peak to scale seeing that standing in his way is another son of Galileo the undefeated Frankel. Since they both have the same sire the determining factor will come from their dams. It is in this area that Australia has a distinct advantage.

Before we get into the advantage Australia has over Frankel on the dam’s side let’s look at Galileo and the progression that took place to make him what he is. Galileo has both a dam (Urban Sea) and a granddam (Allegretta) which are Cluster mares. Galileo has a classic winning half brother in Sea the Stars who has already sired a classic winner in his first crop in Oaks winner Taghoora. Rumor has that another Sea the Stars colt Sea the Moon will be favored in the German Derby on July 6th. Galileo is already the worlds leading sire and now his half brother is emerging as another serious classic stallion. The most reasonable explanation for this is that Urban Sea and her dam Allegretta represent a concentrated form of classic speed. They pass this speed on to their numerous offspring. If you refer back to my original essay in Broodmaresinc.com I take the following quote from the master breeder Federico Tesio. He said, “The dam of a popular stallion is a female who through him can produce many offspring in 11 months.”

Galileo and Sea the Stars are pumping the blood of their dam Urban Sea into the thoroughbred gene pool 100 times faster than she can. They have hundreds of foals per year while their dam can only produce one. This helps to explain the importance of cluster mares and their relationship to their sons. Now let’s look further into the pedigree of Galileo, and then his son Australia.

Galileo 4
Galileo sire is Sadler’s Wells. His dam is not a Cluster Mare but, his 2nd dam Special is a star mare and his 4th dam Rough Shod is a Cluster Mare. Sadler’s Wells is a son of the great Northern Dancer whose dam Natalma is a Cluster mare as is his 2nd dam Almahmoud.

Moving further up the sire line we come to Nearctic whose 2nd dam Sister Sarah is a Cluster Mare as are his 3rd, 4th and 5th dams. Nearctic is sired by Nearco whose dam Nogara is a Cluster Mare as is his 2nd dam Catnip. Finally, Nearco is by Pharos whose dam is Scapa Flow another star mare. It’s easy to see the progression that kept the male line alive. What is truly amazing is that unless you were aware of Cluster Mares and their influence on the breed when you looked at Galileo’s pedigree you would not be able to discern what you were looking at.

Another key ingredient in evaluating Galileo’s pedigree is that once you learn that his pedigree is loaded with Cluster Mares you might come to the conclusion that all of this was just a major coincidence. However, this is not the case and it is the reason that I will go out on a limb and project that Australia will follow his illustrious sire’s footprints into stallion stardom. If 50,000 mares are foaled world wide each year only one or two will develop into a Cluster Mare. The odds of having a Cluster Mare fall into your hands are 50,000 to 1. So with so few Cluster Mares floating around how did so many end up in Galileo’s pedigree.

To understand this we have to go back to the concept that a Cluster Mare represents a concentrated form of classic speed. If this is the case then her sons can flood the gene pool with her concentrated speed. The reason that Nearctic’s best sons were Northern Dancer and Icecapade is because both were produced by mares who were either Cluster Mares or daughters of Cluster Mares. The Male line of Northern Dancer leading all the way back to Pharos and beyond succeeded because the great stallions in the direct male line are the sons or grandsons of Cluster Mares. Wherever you find a continuing male line you find Cluster Mares. They’re not there by coincidence; they are the reason for the success of the line.

This brings us back to Australia. He is likely to follow his sire Galileo into stallion stardom because where Cluster Mares are concerned he is bred just like Nearco, Northern Dancer, and Galileo. The connection is that all of these stallions have both a dam and a 2nd dam that are Cluster Mares. Where Australia is concerned his 2nd dam Selection Board by Welsh Pageant just achieved Cluster Mare status. This is how it came about. Ouija Board, Australia’s dam, won four classic races. They were two editions of the Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Turf as well as the Epsom and Irish Oaks. Therefore, in one generation Selection Board had one runner who had won 4 of the required 5 races. She only needed another runner to win one more classic to be recognized as a Cluster Mare, but she had 5 more generations to accomplish this. The requirements for Cluster Mare status is to have two or more runners win 5 or more of the most important races on the calendar within 6 generations. When Australia won the Epsom and Irish Derbies she now had 2 winners which had won 7 races within 2 generations.

Australia 19

Australia Derby

Australia Derby

Let’s surmise that Australia wins the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe this fall. If this were to happen, which he likely will if the turf course in Paris is firm. Australia will give his dam Ouija Board three of the required five races in the first generation. Quija Board would then have another 50 or 60 years to get two more classic wins. It could easily be that by the time Quija Board attains Cluster Mare status she will long be dead.

This is what you need to consider! If Ouija Board is a Cluster Mare, she is one right now. It may take another 5 generations for us to have the proof, but if she is in possession of a concentrated form of classic speed she’s going to give it to Australia even if it takes years for the confirming proof to reveal itself. For further info on how a mare can be a Cluster Mare without even generating the required numbers, go to the essay entitled Concentrating Classic Speed which is in the Archives from August of 2013 in broodmaresinc.com. Look up Buchan and his dam Hamoaze. Always keep in mind that you as the breeder are the ultimate arbiters of what makes a Cluster mare. The more you understand about the concept the more likely you will be to breed classic horses.


Understanding Cluster Mares and their impact on the breed is of vital importance in the evaluation and understanding of pedigrees. Since Broodmares Incorporated is dedicated to the development of the classic racehorse and we are about to move into a very exciting area of pedigree inquiry that combined with knowledge of Cluster Mares will give breeding professionals a decided edge. This area of inquiry involves the use of Predictive Analytics using novel machine learning techniques. Hence, we’re teaming up with data science expert Dr. Sarvapali Ramchurn of Southampton University, United Kingdom, who has demonstrated the effectiveness of such techniques in predicting football player performance. Through this partnership we aim to make a major advancement in evaluating thoroughbred racing and breeding stock. Stay tuned for further updates as we make advances into this exciting area of inquiry.


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