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 Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League 
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Post Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
Season 1 - Won't talk to this too much aside from to say this was the season that made me appreciate how much further in the game I could go in terms of breeding, even though I was at the time winning in game a lot of the major G1 flat races, not including sprints, had unbeaten horses, and won many of the big races over the jumps, in addition to being champion trainer year in year out etc. I finished the league season with no winners on the flat and only 2 over the jumps, the balance of my team was also dreadful without understanding the league schedule, and I was not trialling horses at this point. Most of my horses in breeding had full potential by 5yo, crusing burst was non existant 30% maybe and speed likely no more than 70% full.

Season 2 - My break out year really, though I mostly won in the handicaps and lower group races. I finished the year with 11 winners on the flat, all handicaps and with only two horses rated higher than 100; and 27 on the NH, which included a handful of G2 and G3 races, but no G1's. What I changed for this season was essentially to stop playing the game and start playing the league, I stopped caring about what my horses did in game, with everything being about getting them ready for export and then trial. Yes I still watched most of the big races, as I do today, and I entered them sensibly but I just blitzed through things alot quicker. I also started specifically breeding differing distances so I could maximise the number of races I could enter each week, and started to consider the way they aged for the same end, cannot win them unless your in them. In terms of breeding I had started to work on a system that allowed me to maximise exports in the smallest amout of time possible (will go into detail on that later). And finally at this time I was not stat breeding, though I was looking to improve this by breeding with and buying the odd game horse looking for something I was missing. Indeed towards the end of this I had stumbled upon a game horse (via the barn) who introduced cruising burst into the equation, ultimately leading to 'Chess' and 'Great White Hope' runners up respectively in the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup in this season. My best breeding now was still full potential at 5yo, some going at 6yo and a smaller number starting to go at 4yo. I had one single colt who maxed at 3yo but failed at trail, though did go into the barn and continues to hold a place there. Crusing burst was around the 60% mark and speed 90-100% depending on distance etc, though it was clearer now that you could get anything into any distance in breeding. It is also worth saying I did my homework for this season, I read a stack of forum posts likely dating back years, breeding stable management, quirks theories on hiddle variable etc etc etc.

Season 3 - Whilst this is still going, I have now two G1 winners on the flat, never thought I would see that this season, a lot of near misses and a lot of other good group wins. And a decent few G1 winners on the Jumps, 7 if I recal from 5 different horses. So 'The Method of Play'

Finding your breeding lines:

There are three variables to consider here, before this season I was only really focussed on the first two, the last is a learning in this season.

1 - Stats - simply put the bars on your horse. Key = Potential, Extra Speed and Crusing Burst. Need to have = Finish Application, Consistency, Confidence and Enthusiam (in my view a key add for jumpers). Desirable = Ground, Distance & Training adaption and jumping. Bonus - Battling qualities, but devilishly difficult to breed and maintain.
2 - Trial Performance - how well they perform in trial
3 - Race Style - I am adding this one as I think with the level of the league players as it stands now, horses are becoming increasingly similair, whatever your handicap so he who breaks first seems to be a good place to go, and though I dislike exporting with instructions I will now look for this as it naturally occurs in game.

I set up my barn then with horses that represent these values, some now have a good mix of all of these, others maybe just one, Like a 100% full speed or top trialling 2m chaser or even front running 1m'er etc. Actually right now I use two barns (deleted the old and started new) one where the stock is from and for the jumps and one from and for the flat, export seeded, though the method was the same when I did not have the things I needed, just go with the best you have. And I had been mixing this up a little mainly to interbreed certain stats in both lines, Jump and flat, but I am covered now so will keep these seperate, mostly to maintain jumping abilities and ground preferences. Jumpers simply need more stat types.

I also like to maintain a 10/1 ratio between colts and mares, it is not uncommon for my barns to hit max capacity over time, and require yearly maintenance.

Setting up the game:

Requires money, for which I used my export pool and just bring in horses to sell or those I know are stars in game and gamble heavily on them when they have their early race 40/1 odds etc. Another advantage of the combined schedule here is that you get two transfer windows, so 12 horses per season, so I decent barn can be built from export in no time. You also need all the training option in your stable jumps etc. Does not take more than a few seasons to have enough capital to operate with, usually 2 or 3 and a barn to work with.

Finding what your missing:

No one starts with the stats you need to breed competative standard in the league it takes time and patience to find it and then develop them with along with everything else. There are two main methods to tackle this, one is of course auctions and breeding with game horse, indeed I suggest you continue to do this no matter your level. You can extend this with following top in game horses to see when they come up in the barn or auction and by making some logical assumptions, speed will be in sprinters, crusing likely in distance horses etc.

The other way to do it, simply is starting new games, over and over again and exporting the things you need, I have not done a lot of this, largely due to finding what I needed in game and I also find it a bit soul destroying, but it is probably the fast track method to plug gaps.

Speed Breeding the game:

OK so lets start with an empty stable, which is usually how my breed/trial cycles start, and a barn of breeding horses that mix stats, trial performance and style.

Year 1 -

Breed, all you can do really. But in my approach I start by getting familair with my colts, who has what stats, which represent my best, who jumped well, who hit potential early, who won league races etc. I then select the mares in the order they come in the drop down, age listed I think and check the horse data. I first decide if I want to keep her, looking for stat deteritation and what she has breed or done as a trial/league horse, retire or keep and then do one of three things:

a) decide what she needs to improve or could improve in a colt and do a mix and match breed, speed into a long distance crusing burst strong horse, maybe from a sprinter etc, trial form into a statiscally superior looking horse who trials badly. Or superstar hold up horse with front runner.
b) breed my best with my best, matching distance and disciple, so jump or flat.
c) usually only when I am out of my home bred mares. Breed with game horses, applying the same logic

I then cycle through the season when I am done.

Year 2 -

You have a bunch of 1yo (least on the combined game). Start by doing a cull, getting rid of anything you do not like the look of, or offers no improvement, this is a purely stat based assesment, and if in doubt keep. I also name them at this point and mark them to be added to the export pool. The cast off's get retired from the game and dumped in the field, the odd one may go into the barn if it has something I want to enhance or bred in.

I then pick a training option for them, Flat this is amber all year, with a focus on speed or stamina if I think or know they may need it (my 3yo full potential line for example always ends up as a 'care your over racing this horse' after one or two races, stamina training seems to mitgate this to a small degree) jumpers or those I assume will be will jump train for the year.

You then repeat the breeding aspect of season 1 and cycle through to the end of the year, 1st of april for me on combined so I have some wiggle room. Save game and end the season pooling your entire crop of now 2yo horses. Check there are all in the pool, a simple count back as there are the odd glitches here, then crash the game and return to your save point. Unmark the save to the pool option and end the year again.

Year 3 -

Now you have a bunch of 1yo's and 2yo's. The breed process and the cull for 1yo process repeat, pooling again those you want to take forward. For the 2yo's you wait until around the time the jump season ends, early june I think, and about the time the Cheshum Stakes is run on a UK schedule and start them racing. Here the object is simple, get 5 races into them, I group them by sex and then distance, 5-7f, 1m-1.2m, 1.3-1.4m and 1.5m+ and enter them by group into the same race, this is just to speed things up, I then rush through 4 races per group aiming to be done by october. I then rest them for a bit and enter them into the last batch of US races end of season, these mark my export point. Around the 8th October so a good month in advance after rest, I put them into full training, I then monitor their fitness in the training window and when raring to go on full green, regardless of how far ahead the race this is, I look to export. I tend to find potential increase will have happened by now, so I check for horses that have not yet made it and ignore them, anything else full and say 70-80% potential depending on distance I export. I then run the races, and jump train them until the 1st of Feb. The final step is then to check to see how they are progressed at 3yo, I am more forgiving on my jumpers usually giving them an extra year, but flat horses with a lot of unrealised potential at this stage, go retire from game and are dumped in the field. I also delete said horses from the transfer pool at this stage, where they have already be copied.

Year 4 -

You now have 3yo, 2yo and 1yo horses. In this season I stop breeding, this is merely a number based decision, usually I am at or approaching the 150 stable cap and simply cannot get more in, so this is very personal to me, I also find it keeps the process of trailing more manageable and logical. The 1yo process is the same, cull, train and pool. The 2yo process also the same, race, export and review/cull after the year end. The 3yo horses run a 5 race season, I hit all the UK and european classics, keeping the same sort of groups as I did when running them at 2yo, though I also split out into other races based on apparent ability or if there is indication of a distance preference. I look to be done now around August and rest them (usually 1.5 to 2mths) until the point I am preparing to run the 2yo's in there final race. I then put them into full training and monitor them for export in the same way I do at 2yo. I also make another stat based assesment and ingore those who have still not made the grade on potential. Cycle through again with all other steps, but add at the time you review the 2/3yo from this season, I do the same for the 3/4yo lot and again get shot before the end of the season those who I do not want to keep, jumpers at 4yo face a more through cull.

Year 5 -

Start with 4yo, 3yo and 2yo. Still no breeding, though I usually do a review and retire from the barn those I am done breeding with. All 2yo and 3yo steps repeat. 4yo I tend to race lightly and usually over hurdles, sometimes I just leave them to train all season if I think they are flat horses. I have not noticed racing at this stage really changes much beyond jumping. Cycle through to the next season.

Year 6 -

I back up my game to an external hard drive and make copies of the tff file, and I save the game twice so the load game and the back up game are the same, naming and numbering the tff so I know which cycle it is, 'pretrial1' for example. You have at this stage 5yo, 4yo and 3yo horses. Now the crappy bit, no more saving of the game............ First things first I now geld my horses, pretty much all 5yo and any 4yo who says needs it. 5yo and 4yo I simply jump train all season, exporting them late summer time when at full fitness (check for breathing issues), say one month to get fit with a little grace for injury, the 3yo is as per normal with a final cull after seasonal aging. When the year ends I also get the now 6yo horses fit again, start training end of december and export them early as possible, though a few day into Jan, this on the basis most will only be going one way from this point. They are after export retired from the game and dumped in the field as I now have them from 2yo to 6yo in the export bin, unless they are 3.4m+ chasers, who I keep until 9/10yo exporting along the way.

Year 7 -

Just 5yo and 4yo now, and the odd old chaser, repeat the train, export and retire steps, still no saving.

Year 8 -

Just 5yo, repeat train, export and retire. This continues until your barn is empty.

Crash game no saving. You now have the option to re-load the pre gelded save (breeding purposes) and a position you can play on from (which I sometimes do with my jumpers, though as often as not I am done at this point.) now the really crappy bit.

Trialing

I hate it. It is the one bit I need to get smarter with. In simple terms all horses get trialled at all logical races. For flat this is 2yo - 5f, 6f, 7f, 1m and 1.2m colts and fillies. 3yo 6f, 1m, 1.2m, 1.4m 1.6m 2m and 2.4m, 4yo and 5yo the same as 3yo. For Jumps 4yo 2m Hurdle, then 5yo at both chase and hurdle over 2m, 2,4m 3m, 3.4m and 4m (hurdles stop at 3m) repeated for 6yo. I trial on a range of flat courses, and jump mostly at Cheltenham and Aintree. I run batches of 24 horses in the trial, basically what fits on one page of the trial screen, run 5 races and get rid of any horse who is in the bottom page 4 times. I add more into back to 24 and repeat until I get a group of about 18-20. I then trial with just that lot and mark down any horse that comes in the top three. Lots of bits of paper at this stage with names and marks on. This is as far as I take it.

Back to the game

I tidy up the export pool, deleting anything any age that is not on the sheets. This usually brings me down to about 300 horses that are good at something at some point. I tidy up the transfer pool with the same logic though as they are all exported at 2yo, it is just if they develop at any age. I then make another copy of the tff 'Posttrail1' etc.

I then retire the whole stable, either to the barn for breeding or from the game dumping in the field, trail form and stat assesment, the un gelded aspect give me no limitation on the boys. I do sometimes play a few on for the jumps, but not often and I also look at the barn dynamics and using the copied tff files, to bring back from export anything I think I am missing or want to ramp up breeding with, G1 league winners for example or any winner for that matter. I then rinse and repeat the whole process, or cycle. But this time trialing the old against the new specifically by what they were good at (4-6 horses usually per age and distance bracket). I would say with this method and the time I have I end up with around 700 export files from each cycle, 300 carry forward potential team candidate files and I am usually with the time I have able to run 2 or 3 cycles and trails between each league.

Thats about it really. I know this approach will not be for everyone, as it really means you give up the game, but I simply prefer the league. The game I have beaten, the league for me cannot be, least not for more than a single race in a single season. And apologies for the bad english and changing tense in compling this, I have been typing this on and off for an hour or so :)

Hope it is of some use, or at least of interest and I am sure some others use very different approaches that are equally as successful. But this one works for me, largely logical, read I have OCD, chap that I am :)

Josh


Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:04 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
Great read Josh very informative fair play to you for doing it I have written several over
the years.

Just one note i never trial 3YOs passed 2 miles no races for them

All my time mainly goes into breeding just 3YO my 2YOs And 4+ come in the final
2 weeks before the league season and i breed my best 3YO's at each distance
to get the 2YO & 4+ saves alot of time just concentrating on 3YO

Jumps i trial every flat horse and work from there

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Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:30 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
Nice Read Josh.

I hate Trialing in this game, i always loved trialing in SO5. I hate cheltenham/kempton/aintree race courses, i dont trial those courses any more and perhaps it puts u at a disadvantage at the festival but the bends make a mess of the races. When the new game comes out im picking one course and sticking to it, i like chepstow over the jumps.


Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:06 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
It is this sort of information that needs to be pinned so it is easy to access for new players.


Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:13 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
NPG319 wrote:
It is this sort of information that needs to be pinned so it is easy to access for new players.


Done

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Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:29 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
Lets make sure we point some of the people who come in the live stream but not in here towards this. It is very informative.

Seems pretty clear to me now that the advice I received in her from John, Paul (George & Ringo), Josh, Jim, Doug, Gray and others allowed me to bypass Season 1 and I would guess that I am currently at a level between 1 and 2, as is Daniel/Taunton. If we can get other new trainers to read this then there is no reason why they can't all have first seasons like Daniel and myself.

Well done Josh

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Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:55 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
Lordedaw wrote:
Lets make sure we point some of the people who come in the live stream but not in here towards this. It is very informative.

Seems pretty clear to me now that the advice I received in her from John, Paul (George & Ringo), Josh, Jim, Doug, Gray and others allowed me to bypass Season 1 and I would guess that I am currently at a level between 1 and 2, as is Daniel/Taunton. If we can get other new trainers to read this then there is no reason why they can't all have first seasons like Daniel and myself.

Well done Josh


Great read, Josh. And I agree with you, Martin. This is a good starting point for new trainers.

I have trawled the forums for info since I got the game in 2015, and have probably done ok with the breeding even though I didn't think about joining the league.

What is important to mention is that is probably better for new trainers to just jump in and get the experience of the league. I was afraid to join because I thought my horses would be a laughing stock, hopelessly outclassed and a nuicance to the other trainers.

My experience is that even though my horses are not world beaters, they are competitive in some races, there is a race for everyone, and that the world that is the league is so great to be in. I had no expectation of getting a winner the first season, and I am thrilled that I actually have managed to get a few. But my intention in joining the league was to overcome my fear of participating and approach it like a semi-universe where you could encourage other trainers, enjoy some great races and just have fun.

I have to say that the level of togetherness, helpfulness and to support and congratulate other trainers is so high. Everyone wants the best for each other, and that is what is so great with the league. Add in the professional way the team runs the league, and it is a great experience. I see myself as a novice trainer, hoping to improve a little bit each year, and I acknowledge that some trainers are far beyond others. It is just like the real world, but just like the real world, miracles can happen and my horse can make a surprise.

And I am probably the best Norwegian trainer in the league and in the world right now, and that is probably the only thing I will be the best Norwegian in ever :lol: :lol:


Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:51 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
As Doug Requested some screen shots of horses

Here is Coffee De London (Grand National Winner)
Dougs Fuzzy Screen (Multiple G1 Winner)
Pandamonium (RSA Winner and my highest rated jumps horse at 175)

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:36 am
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
Thanks Paul :-)

Interesting bars for Coffee De London compared to Pandamonium.

This visual should give new and existing trainers an idea of what they need to aim for if they are aiming to train Group/Grade 1 winners.


Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:47 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
Grand national horses are very unique Doug there are not many top 4 mile gamebred
hence the stats are not as good but i was amazed to get a full bar GN horse

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:38 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
pjrhodes1970 wrote:
Grand national horses are very unique Doug there are not many top 4 mile gamebred
hence the stats are not as good but i was amazed to get a full bar GN horse


Right now it seems all I am breeding is 10f and up to 18f horses on the flat with some horses with similar but not as good bars to your GN winner.
Might be time to see if I can get the 18f horses to stay over 4 miles????


Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:13 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
Thing is with Grand National horses you have to breed Gamebred x Gamebred no
flat horse can produce a national type not even out of a national horse they both
have to be national horses thats why there stats are not as great and it takes a while

but having 5yos now makes it so much quicker then waiting until they are 9 to export

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:37 pm
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
pjrhodes1970 wrote:
Thing is with Grand National horses you have to breed Gamebred x Gamebred no
flat horse can produce a national type not even out of a national horse they both
have to be national horses thats why there stats are not as great and it takes a while

but having 5yos now makes it so much quicker then waiting until they are 9 to export


And there is another hot tip to breeding good long distance chasers and National horses :-)


Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:35 am
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
I started my National breeding when the game came out (SO6)

I bought a decent gamebred 4m4 mare i sent her to the best 4m+
gamebred stallion in the breeding pool as i say took a while but
after some time i got decent horses it finally produced Black Coffee
who you will remember won the Starters Orders GN exhibition 3
years ago

i can honestly say that Coffee De London is only 4 or 5 generations down from Black Coffee
i actually looked at his pedigree yesterday when i exported him at 6 and his sire is
last years GN horse and the grand dam is the GN horse from 2 years ago up from
there is Black Coffee so not that many seasons to produce them

compared to my flat 1m4 horses where there could be 1000s of generations through
them its a different world and as Leon said it does not take long to get competitive
NH horses the flat it takes FOREVER

If i was starting from scratch i would not even look at the flat id be breeding a jumps
team

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Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:39 am
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Post Re: Rags to Riches - My Approach to Breeding for the League
Nice read Josh. Your thinking concerning gelding your horses makes a lot of sense.

Battling Qualities - For the longest time my horses were all the usual 10% Battling Qualities. I got around to breeding some BQ into my lines. I noticed something about the horses with even modest improvement in their BQ - You will see it in their formcard running line comments - Comments like "Battled back" and "Gamely" and perhaps a couple of other comments (Needs more study) start to show up in their races. You never (rarely?) see that in horses with 10% BQ. The game doles out good BQ horses err well never to be honest.

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Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:46 am
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