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"You need big cahones" | The make or break decisions of a horse breeder

Horse breeder Joe Foley joined the lads on Friday Night Racing to discuss what he looks for in a prospective purchase, and the kind of person it takes to thrive in an industry with little room for mistakes. 

In the professional world Joe Foley inhabits, there is a requirement of horse breeders to be something approaching clairvoyant in their decision-making.

"You have to do it all yourself really," he admitted of where the call on what horse to purchase ultimately lands. "You have to have big cahones.

"This is a high-risk industry and that's why there aren't too many people doing it."

On a foundation built upon experience and a keen eye, Joe Foley identified those elements in a horse's background and character that he tends to focus on when considering the purchase of a stallion.

"There are a huge amount of things to look for," he explained, "but it is race record first.

"You look at pedigree second and then temperament is something I put a lot of emphasis on. If the horse has a bad temper it is often passed on to their progeny and that's no good

"I like to see if they have that will to win, like any good sportsperson or athlete. Do they have the ability to dig in during the final 100 metres of a 5 km race?"

As with almost any industry, there has been a proliferation of new ways and means for measuring these elements. Nevertheless, Foley, who enjoyed tremendous success at Royal Ascot last week through two of his stallion's progeny, remains firmly reliant upon his own judgement.

"There is a far greater technical side to the industry but whether it is accurate or not, nobody really knows," he conceded. "There are loads of people assessing the horse's gene pool and genetics, another load of people assessing the heart, but I don't think it is an exact science.

"I remember when I should have been studying for my Leaving Certificate many years ago, I studied the pedigree theories around bloodstock and racing at the time.

"After two years of this intense studying I decided that nobody really knew. I haven't listened to anybody ever since and I just do my own thing."

You can watch horse breeder Joe Foley back in full on Friday Night Racing here

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Friday Night Racing Horse Racing Horse Racing Ireland Joe Foley Johnny Ward

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