THIRTY years ago a Brisbane-based greyhound fanatic by the name of Alan Capper produced some fascinating statistics about the breeding of greyhounds.
Alan, you see, is uniquely placed to be able to dissect greyhound racing because he has been keeping records of city winners throughout Australia since the early 1960s.
Thirty years ago he went looking for a recipe for success, just what was needed to produce that elusive city winner.
By "city winner" I mean those dogs that win at The Meadows and Wentworth Park on a Saturday night, Sandown, Albion Park and Angle Park on a Thursday night and Cannington on a Saturday night.
It is the elite of racers.
Thirty years ago, Capper used his statistics to find a fascinating insight into what makes a city winner.
This is what he found.
Putting any broodbitch to any sire, Capper's statistics showed, would produce ONE city winner from 27 pups.
Putting a non-city winner to a TOP sire would produce ONE city winner in 27 pups.
Putting a city winning broodbitch to any sire would produce ONE city winner in 18 pups.
Mating a city winning bitch to a TOP sire would reduce your odds to ONE city winner in every seven pups.
But Capper found if that city winning broodbitch had a mother who had won a feature race, or had produced a feature race winner, and the city winner was put to a TOP sire, the odds greatly reduced.
This mating could be expected to produce ONE city winner from every four pups produced.
Thirty years later, and now with thousands and thousands of results to call upon, Capper says the statistics have not changed one bit.
If your aim is to produce a city winner, then if you breed with a bitch that herself won on a city track and she had a mother that was either a quality race bitch or producer, then chances are she could produce (on average) two city winners in a litter of eight pups.
While Alan's figures have been out in the greyhound world for some time now, and have been ridiculed by all those greyhound breeders who do not have city winning broodbitches to breed with, the stats stand firm.
Obviously every bitch has to be taken on her merits.
There are exceptions to every rule.
During last week, an email came through to my home from Alan Capper.
He was in statistics mode once again and had produced a chronicle of the really great broodbitches that had graced Australia's greyhound world.
Remember, these bitches are based on stats kept by Alan since 1960.
Asked to name the best producer of quality greyhounds since 1960, Alan says his stats showed Travelling Girl (Tegimi-Freckled Pick) that legend producer for Dennis Reid on the Northern Rivers of NSW, is the best.
Dennis Reid and I have been friends for 30 years. There is no more astute dog man. His son Mathew has a gift as well.
Travelling Girl NEVER won a city race.
Well, I can hear you all saying, the best producer of feature race winners in Australia since 1960 NEVER won a city race. Doesn't that defeat Alan's argument?
As I said earlier, there are exceptions to every rule, but Travelling Girl was no exception.
Travelling Girl was a litter sister to Kenthurst Kate who was a sensational stayer winning the Gabba Gold Cup.
But when that pair was broken in, it was Travelling Girl who showed the most potential.
At the first trial Travelling Girl was given after breaking in, she smashed the track record at Lismore. At her second trial she smashed a wrist.
From then on, Travelling Girl was unable to handle bends. She won a half a dozen races up the straight.
She was always going to be a broodbitch for Dennis Reid and his family and that she became.
(Kenthurst Kate would eventually producd Association Cup and Gabba Gold Cup winner Clover Park a bitch Dennis Reid would refuse to breed with when she retired because of her poor nature.)
Travelling Girl's pedigree shows 4x3 line breeding to Venetian Babe and her half brother High Louvre. She was also sex balanced to the import Which Chariot.
But more importantly than any of that was the fact her sire Tegimi was out of a bitch called Viola Lee (Tivoli Chief-Temora Lee) which made her a sister to legend Temlee.
Viola Lee was perfectly positioned in the pedigree of Travelling Girl to be able to impact immensely with any stud dog she mated.
She only had to cross with Temlee somewhere in the pedigree of those stud dogs and a genetic explosion was waiting to happen.
Dennis Reid always lamented putting Travelling Girl to Acacia Park. The litter was an absolute dud.
Acacia Park had NO Temlee in his pedigree. When Travelling Girl was mated to Brother Fox and Pretty Short, both with LOTS of Temlee, she produced star after star after star.
This is the damline today of Lochinvar Marlow and his full brother Godsend.
Byam Rose (Byamee-Enabek), according to Capper, is next best on the all time top feature race winning dams.
The Victorian bitch was intensely line bred 3x2 to Lassalla and her litter brother Percyton Lad both racetrack and breeding legends from the 1940s.
There was no doubt with such intense in-breeding to sister and brother that Byam Rose had to have inherited the best of both their genes.
Rowan Vale, second dam of champion sprinter and sire New Tears, is heavily in-bred to Byam Rose.
Tegimi, while a moderate stud success, also produced champion stayer Bay Road Queen who also became a legend at stud.
Of the latter day broodbitch stars, Capper says Gold Rush Bale (Lansley Bale-Jindara Bale) is a goldmine for the Wheeler family.
Oddly, says Capper, she does not stem from the famous Gail's Beauty damline that has been the mainstay of the Wheeler family juggernaut for decades.
But Gold Rush Bale's fifth dam Namor Star (Roman Earl-Glendale Star) is bred identically to Gail's Beauty.
Both carry intense line breeding to Brenda Gay. In Namor Star's case it is through Brenda's Daughter and her litter brother Top Linen.
If you look at the pedigree of legend Temlee, you will see that he carries intense line breeding to none other than Top Linen and Brenda's Daughter.
So tell me, would you think Temlee and Namor Star would be a pretty good mix within pedigrees?
Yes, I do too!
Other broodbitch legends include Elsie Moss, Winsome Blue, Tenthill Flyer, Fullock, Supreme Dot and Britmarc.