THAT legendary thoroughbred breeder Frederico Tesio had a saying.
It went something like this:
"The only thing a pedigree should be judged on is a one foot wide piece of wood … the finishing post at the end of Epsom's famous straight."
What Tesio meant was he judged everything he did in the world of breeding the thoroughbred on the English Derby.
Literally he meant winning is everything, everything else is just something to talk about.
For those of you unfamiliar with thoroughbred legends, Tesio is the legend of them all.
From just a dozen or so foals bred each year he produced some absolutely amazing results.
His crowning glory was the unbeaten Nearco and Ribot, both of who would become breed shapers at stud.
The Epsom Derby became the standard bearer for similar races throughout the world.
We of the greyhound world have plenty of derbies and their winners generally are pretty high class types.
Which brings me to Tiggerlong Amigo (Cosmic Chief-Tiggerlong Petal by Pure Octane) the winner of Saturday night's Group 2 WA Derby.
What a win it was, and what a continuation of a fabulous run being had by his trainer Darren McDonald.
Tiggerlong Amigo started favourite after running the quickest heat time and he landed the final by six and a half lengths.
In 18 starts he has won nine and been placed six times and has also won in 29.55 at Sandown.
He is part of an outstanding litter which also includes the McDonald-trained Tiggerlong Chief a multiple city winner and already a top grader.
Michael Finn at Wagga Wagga bred the litter back in November 2011 and what a great job he did.
Dam Tiggerlong Petal (Pure Octane-Tiggerlong Olive) was a pretty smart race bitch winning three at Wentworth Park and she was a Group 3 finalist.
(Yes, she is another example of a city winning bitch who was a Group finalist who has produced a Group winner.)
Second dam Tiggerlong Olive won 14 races and was a multiple Wentworth Park winner.
This is the direct damline nurtured by that grand Taree dog man Kevin Johnson since the 1970s and traces to Sannette Girl (Tientsin Tosca-Multi's Special).
Kevin is still churning out quality dogs from this family today.
One is Rose Sannette (Cosmic Rumble-Sarah Sannette) who recently finished third to Paw Licking in the Group 2 Maitland Gold Cup.
She too traces directly to Sannette Girl (her sixth dam).
If we trace the "Sannette" family even further we come to a bitch called Paratel (Spare Tank-Cigam).
Cigam is a sister to Secret Beauty the dam of legend producer Gail's Beauty.
Paratel, exactly like Gail's Beauty, is in-bred to legend broodbitch Brenda Gay.
While Kevin Johnson's damline has stood the test of time, it is the pedigree that Michael Finn put together that deserves special praise.
Putting a daughter of Pure Octane to Cosmic Chief was not only a brave thing to do, it was inspired.
Cosmic Chief, as we all know, is the quiet achiever of the stud ranks in Australia.
I think so much of him I have recently ordered two pups from a litter he has just sired.
He won the Warrnambool Classic (four of his litter were finalists), the Sandown Shootout, the Bert Bryant, the Victorian final of the National Sprint and was second in the Group 1 National Sprint final to Smooth Fancy.
He was also third in the Group 1 Paws of Thunder.
He was a quality race dog through and through.
A son of Brett Lee-Cosmic Goddess, he is bred on the very same cross as such greats as Where's Pedro and his brother Hallucinate, but even more so he is bred almost identically to Topgun winner Meticulous.
Cosmic Chief's second dam Miss Amberbee is a litter sister to Dance Portrait the dam of Meticulous.
This is the "Portrait" damline of which Primo Uno is one, star stayer Shimaguni is another, National Sprint winner In The Frame is yet another, and so is WA Oaks and Mandurah Oaks winner Deutronium.
But what is the standout in the pedigree of Tiggerlong Amigo is the fact the pedigree brings in a 2x2 cross of Cosmic Goddess (dam of Cosmic Chief) and Pure Octane (sire of Tiggerlong Petal).
They are bred on an identical cross.
Both are by Token Prince and both are out of a daughter of Bobniak.
Putting Cosmic Goddess and Pure Octane into this pedigree 2x2 and in the position they are found was placing them to impact the greatest upon the resultant offspring.
It has produced a Group 2 WA Derby winner.
Interestingly, the similarities don't end there.
Cosmic Chief is by Brett Lee. In the damline of Tiggerlong Amigo is a dog called Bearability a former 457m world record holder and a good sire thwarted by fertility problems.
Brett Lee and Bearability are bred on a similar cross.
Brett Lee is a grandson of Brother Fox from a daughter of New Tears. Bearability has Brother Fox as his third sire but he is also out of a daughter of New Tears.
So, in the pedigree of Tiggerlong Amigo, and his successful littermates, not only is there a most powerful cross of the similarly bred Cosmic Goddess and Pure Octane, but the mating also brought in Brett Lee and Bearability who are also bred along similar lines.
I've said this many, many time before.
This is a vast reduction in the gene pool and can often result in an upgrade in racetrack performances.
It helped that Tiggerlong Amigo's dam could run to be a city winner and a Group finalist.
And it also helped that she stemmed from a female family that has stood the test of time.
In December 2012, Tiggerlong Petal whelped 14 pups to a mating to Fabregas.
Some of these have been named.
In November 2013 she whelped 10 pups in a mating to Spring Gun.
It will be my bet that the Spring Gun mating will be able to run.
It brings in a cross of Big Daddy Cool and the similarly bred Bearability 3x3, and also duplicates and balances Token Prince again.
The Big Daddy Cool-Bearability link is found 3x2 in the pedigree of the outstanding race bitch Peggy May winner of the 2012 Group 1 Sapphire Crown and Group 2 Bendigo Cup.
She was also a finalist in the Australian Cup.
Derby winners certainly hold a special place in the hearts of their breeders.
Michael and Helen Finn will remember Tiggerlong Amigo's victory forever.