David Brasch     833 Stewarts River Road  Lorne. NSW. 2439    Email - david@pedigreesbydesign.com
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EXAMPLES - Jeff Holland
IT was a few lines on that most informative of all greyhound websites, Greyhound-Data, and it made me take notice.
"The line didn't `die', it just started transferring its best genes to the dogs, instead of the bitches.
It's a similar thing with Sobbing Sal. Who'd argue that it's a dead line at present with a few top dogs at stud, but the actual damline is now weaker than the sireline which it produced.
Remember basic genetics says that the object of any bitch is to produce a son, who has more opportunity to pass on the genes than any bitch might."
The words were from NSW greyhound man Jeff Holland, a successful bookie for decades, and a greyhound breeder who has known great success with the dogs he has bred.
Jeff talks a lot of sense, so I took notice of those informative lines of his on the website and decided to contact him.
"I have been a professional bookmaker all my life and my father was a professional bookmaker as well," said Jeff of his background in the industry.
When the Hollands got serious about betting on greyhound races around the south coast of NSW and Wentworth Park, Jeff realized he had to be armed with information to win.
"Our biggest money earner in those days was the maiden races, or people betting on unraced maidens," he said.
It's no secret that most people have an opinion of their dogs and, for a couple of starts at least, like to put their money where their opinion is... in maiden races.
Jeff realized he had to know bloodlines to be able to make an informed book on those maiden races that contained unraced dogs.
"With so many by Brother Fox, or New Tears in those days, it was the damlines we needed to delve into to get an idea if a dog could have ability," he said.
"In the end we kept a formline on the damlines. It was very, very informative and as I said, our best money earner."
Jeff accessed as many of the most astute breeders in the industry as he could in those days. They gave him an insight money could not buy.
So when Jeff makes comments like that above, breeders should take notice.
"Take Sobbing Sal as just one instance," said Jeff.
"Her damline through her daughters is dead. It's because her sons Brett Lee and Big Daddy Cool are so in demand. It takes away so many of the options for breeders with Sobbing Sal's damline to breed to.
"The same can be said for her mother Wee Sal.
"It has to happen because it becomes impossible to access the best sirelines without inbreeding far too close."
But Jeff is totally against using "outcross" sires, imports either in Australia or overseas dogs whose semen is brought into this country.
"I don't see any benefit in breeding to those dogs," said Jeff.
"It will throw up an occasional good litter. Personally I'm not into breeding to an outcross sire to put down half the litter because they are no good.
"Why use an outcross on the hope you will get lucky and find a future broodbitch.
"I won't use imports or semen from overseas dogs unless I think they are the same quality as our sires which many, despite claims, are not. Just because a sire is imported, doesn't mean we should judge them any less harshly than we do our own sires."
Jeff says a number of years ago, during a prolonged power strike in NSW, he got hold of a number of greyhound magazines that were 20 or 30 years old.
It made for fascinating reading.
"I looked at all those great greyhounds of the time, specially the race bitches and their damlines who dominated in those days," he said. "When the power came back on, I got onto Greyhound-Data and looked them all up to see where they all where today.
"It was amazing. The majority of the ones that went to the import disappeared. But those who went to Temlee are still going today. What does that tell you?"
Jeff pointed to one great Australian breeder who he says has "averaged the speed line of his damline" by the use of imports.
"As a bookmaker, we had to do our homework on the possible outcome of races," he said.
"Races in this country are so competitive these days. It is a race to the first turn. While track records have fallen, so too have first sectional records.
"Both Kedo's Millie and Perfect Benji that we raced, held the first section record at Wentworth Park, but these days those records have been broken often."
Jeff says no one should ever breed away from that sort of speed.
"None of the US dogs run time to the first turn, and so many of the progeny of the Irish imports are the same. In Australian races, you must run fast to the first turn.
"I know the local breeders will rave about the influence these dogs may have as a sire of broodbitches, but I really question that."
Holland also believes it is almost impossible for a stud dog today to dominate as the likes of Temlee did in the past.
"They are all bred along similar lines so it is hard to them to jump out and take control," he said.
He is a great believer in track record breakers making the best sires. He also says their daughters almost always prove the best producers.
"Bread and butter sires do not throw on."
But he also points out he doesn't allow his theories to conflict too much with the reality that "breeding has many imponderables".
He says Token Prince will become a great damsire but he gives most of that credit to the influence of his sire Malawi's Prince who has been far and away the best influence as a damsire in this country for years.
These days Jeff Holland's gambling is done "on line". "The days of bookmaking on-course are gone... dead," he said.
Just like some of our great damlines.