Horse Racing Breeding


Interested in how horse race breeding and horse types affect betting strategy? Read on to discover more about why breeding is so important in horse racing here!

Anyone with even the most basic understanding of horse racing strategies will know that horse racing breeding plays a massive role in the sport. In the same way that Formula 1 teams strive to possess the best possible engine technology in their cars, racehorse breeders are looking to produce the perfect animal. This makes horse racing different to other sports, as you will see if you read on. While concepts like NFT horse racing are changing the way racing works, old-fashioned horse racing breeding is still a vital part of the sport.

Horse racing breeding

What breed are racehorses?

So, let’s start with some basics, and answer the question ‘What breed are racehorses?’ for you. You may already have heard the term ‘Thoroughbred’ even if you do not know what it means. Racehorses are Thoroughbreds. Although the term is often used to refer to any purebred horse, it is usually used to refer to the type of horses used in racing. So, what is a Thoroughbred horse? It’s a racehorse.

Famous horse racing breeding operators

Rather than there being individual horse race breeders, as there are with horse trainers, the breeding of racehorses is usually handled by operations. These tend to be owned by fabulously wealthy people. Here are three of the top racehorse breeding operators.


Rising from relatively humble origins in Tipperary in Ireland, the Coolmore operation is now one of horse racing’s biggest names. With stables in Australia and the United States nowadays, Coolmore is headed by John Magnier, and their horses run at the vast majority of the biggest fixtures in the racing calendar. One of their most famous horses is Galileo, a stallion who commands huge stud fees. Aiden O’Brien runs the operation’s training wing, known as Ballydoyle.

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Godolphin, which was founded by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is one of the most powerful horse race breeding operations in the world. Established in 1992, the name is derived from the Godolphin Arabian, which was a stallion that was the progenitor for one of the three modern thoroughbred horse bloodlines back in the 1700s. Although it has deep roots in the Middle East, Godolphin now also has bases in the USA, Australia and Japan, as well as the United Kingdom.

One of the operation’s most famed horses is Dubawi, who is a star of the Darley breeding arm of Godolphin. A son of Dubai Millennium, Duabwi has sired many winners of classic races, and has commanded stud fees as high as $325,000 in the recent past.

Juddmonte Farms

Based in the USA and backed by Saudi wealth, Juddmonte’s recent success has been centred on three great horses – Arrogate, Frankel and Enable. Frankel, who achieved legendary feats when racing, continues to enjoy a fine reputation as a stud stallion. In 2018, Frankel’s offspring netted a collective $1 million in race prizes at Royal Ascot alone.

Why is horse racing breeding so important?

horse racing breeding
Credit: rogerblake2 (Creative Commons)

Horse racing breeding is important because so much of the sport is determined by a horse’s biological characteristics. Breeders are looking to produce horses that have the necessary physical attributes to succeed. While speed is important, breeders are also looking for endurance, resilience and the kind of instincts that can help propel a horse to victory when under pressure.

Breeders pay close attention to the bloodlines of horses. Bloodline is a term that basically means a horse’s family tree. Certain bloodlines are associated with specific traits, like stamina or speed. Breeders therefore often look to combine certain bloodlines in order to bring specific traits to the fore. This is why stud stallions and broodmares can command such high fees for their ‘services’.

This means that anyone putting together a betting strategy for horse racing needs to consider the breeding of any selections that they make. This is particularly important for anyone who wants to ensure victory as often as possible. While breeding is perhaps not as vital as a good trainer to a horse’s success, it sets the template needed for horses to win races.


Horse racing may well be changing, with the advent of concepts like virtual horse racing and NFT horse racing becoming ever more popular. Nevertheless, even in a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by digital technology, the flesh and blood nature of horse types means that good breeding remains vital to success. Whatever horse racing bet types you favour, always pay attention to a horse’s breed.

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