Tesio's firm belief in the primacy of pedigree and performance found its way into a common racing adage - "Performances Make a Pedigree". Hackneyed but true enough, because if we accept the pedigree as the starting point - the scaffolding - then the performances provide the other embellishments of the structure. The more a horse races, more is the performance data that accumulates and becomes the basis on which he is campaigned further. However, every now and then, one has to go back to the pedigree, especially when the horse is aimed at distances longer than previously attempted. Will he get the distance? Will she stay? To hazard a guess at the future, one has to go back to the past, to the pedigree.
To understand the "will stay/will not stay" conjecture, it is necessary to know what is involved. Take a race over 2,400 m. Let's assume that there are 12 runners, all sprinters running at level weights. One sprinter will win the race but it does not make it a stayer nor can the sire be called a stallion who imparts stamina to his progeny. Take another race, also over 2,400 m., at level weights, which is contested by an assorted field of sprinters, milers and stayers. The race is run at a false, slow pace for the first 800 m. and so in effect becomes a mile contest. The chances are that it will be won by the best miler in field. It is this situation which is the basis of another of racing's aphorisms - "Horses run against each other; not against a clock or a scale of ratings". The ability of a horse to stay - or sprint - is relative to the opposition.
If Arabian Prince, the winner of last year's Stayers' Cup, were to run against Six Gun Smith over 1,200 m. at level weights, the odds must be overwhelmingly in his favour to win. Similarly, Successor, a top-class sprinter, will probably beat a mediocre stayer over a trip. Class takes precedence over aptitude when the horses are at level weights. It is when there is very little to choose between the class of the contestants that the stamina - or speed - factor comes into play.
Six Speed won nine of her 11 races including 3 Gr.1 events. As an unbeaten winner of five races, all up to a mile, she was an odds-on favourite to win the Kingfisher Derby Bangalore (Gr.1) over 2,000 m in 2000. She almost did but was nailed by a head on the post by Allaire. Allaire was at 8/1 and like Six Speed was trained by Darius Byramji so there were unflattering innuendos doing the rounds after the race. Four months later, the two fillies met again in Bangalore 1000 Guineas (Gr.2), over a mile and Six Speed held on to beat Allaire by three- parts of a length. Both then went to Mumbai where Six Speed won the Kingfisher Indian 1000 Guineas (Gr.1), while Allaire, taking on the colts, was beaten only a neck by Simply Noble. The play-off between Six Speed and Allaire took place in the Kingfisher Indian Oaks (Gr.1) over 2,400 m. and the daughter of Razeen slammed Six Speed, who finished third, by ten lengths. What these race results illustrate is that over a mile Six Speed was better (three- fourth length) than Allaire, there was not much (just a head) to choose between the two over 2,000 m. but over 2,400 m. Allaire was vastly superior (ten lengths). The results would have been no surprise to anyone who had studied their respective pedigrees.
Take a more recent case. Last year, Siachen beat Moonlight Romance by a length in the Fillies' Trial Stakes (Gr.1), and reproduced that form to a milligram in the Giantti by Gitanjali Lifestyle Indian 1000 Guineas (Gr.1). Then came the HDIL Indian Oaks (Gr.1), and China Visit filly overturned the form by almost seven lengths. Not only that, Siachen finished third, being beaten also by Sunlight. The superior stamina of Moonlight Romance and Sunlight, both bred on the China Visit-Razeen cross, obviously came to the fore. One could say that Siachen didn't stay but that's a relative and not an absolute statement. Though she was only third, Siachen stopped the clock at 2 mins. 30 secs. None of the previous 58 winners of the Indian Oaks have recorded a faster time!
The question then is did Siachen stay or did she not? The connections obviously felt that she did not because she was brought back to a mile for her next start and then to 1,200 m. this Bangalore Summer Season where she easily disposed off the Sprinters' Cup (Gr.1) winner Attila! What is undisputable, though, is that Siachen's undoubted superiority over Moonlight Romance at a mile was no longer in evidence at a mile and a half. That raises other questions. At what point between a mile and a mile and a half did Siachen's class give way to Moonlight Romance's superior stamina? What would the result have been had the two clashed over 2,000 m? There is no definitive answer to those questions.
Let’s go back to Six Speed. After her run in the Kingfisher Indian Oaks (Gr.1), she was given time off and came back to racing only during the Bangalore Summer Season when she won the Chief Minster's Cup (Gr.3), over 1,200 m. That was the last time she was seen under the colours. Six Speed lost only two races - both won by Allaire - but in those races she did finish ahead of horses like Altimara (Calcutta Derby, Gr.1), Endorsement (Maharaja's Cup, Gr.2), Il Diablo (2nd in Herbertsons Bagpiper Gold Bangalore Derby, Gr.1), Perceived Value (The Hindu Deccan Derby, Gr.1, Golconda St. Leger, Gr.2 and placed 2nd in McDowell Indian St. Leger, Gr.1, 3rd in McDowell Indian Derby, Gr.1), all of whom had stamina and class. The sheer class of Six Speed enabled her to beat those horses over 2,000 m and 2,400 m.
Then there was Royal Tern, a winner of the Indian Derby (Gr.1), and one of the finest horses of his time. His nemesis was Own Opinion who got the better of him in the Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr.1) - when a clever ploy of using two pacemakers in relay was employed - and the Indian St. Leger. The examples of Six Speed and Royal Tern illustrate how staying ability is a relative and not an absolute attribute.
Running Flame won 10 races over distances ranging from 1,400 m. to 2,800 m. Surely, while she did win over a wide range of distances, there must have been her 'ideal distance'. A much respected Handicapper felt that the filly had put up the best performance of her career when she won the Castrol Indian 1000 Guineas (Gr.1) by head from Priceless Asset over a mile. Horses have short careers and there is a paucity of big races over specific distances which are well spaced out. Hence, they perforce have to take their chances when they become available, sometimes over distances which are not their best.
Good horses run as much with their heart as with their limbs. They hate to admit defeat and will strive even beyond their tether. A top-class miler like Siachen, sent over a mile and a half in the Oaks, would have taken much out of herself. A rubber band returns to its original state when stretched within certain limits but snaps if that limit is exceeded. So it is with horses. Running in the Super Mile after her Oaks run, Siachen was beaten into sixth place by an average filly like Aloisia. Obviously, she had not completely recovered from her exertion in the Oaks. Given plenty of rest thereafter, she has happily resumed her winning ways.
Class and stamina. Like pedigree and performance, they are the two sides of the same coin.