Nick ratings have become an integral part of the decision-making process in the mating and purchasing of Thoroughbreds. Most breeders recognize that an affinity or compatibility can exist between two Thoroughbred sire lines, such that, when crossed, those lines yielded a greater proportion of superior runners than when either one of them are crossed with other lines. Great breeders, from Federico Tesio (whose most important legacy to the Thoroughbred breed was Nearco, whom he bred specifically with a nick in mind) to present-day breeders around the world have relied on observed nicks to help guide their breeding plans and decisions.
In order to identify nicks in a systematic way, WTC developed a method based on sire-line analysis. The effectiveness of this method is demonstrated by the immensely popular Lukas At Auction, written by Joe Bagan. Ongoing studies by WTC show that nearly 30% of the Thoroughbred population are the product of highly successful nicks ("A" rated nicks) while over 70% of stakes winners are "A" rated nicks! With overwhelming results like these, the Werk Nick Rating® should become an important part of your selection process.
These nick ratings are based on the percentage by which a certain sire line, when combined with a certain broodmare sire line, exceeds its performance, on average, with other lines. To make the rating easier to understand, we have developed a scale which converts the percentage to a letter grade ranging from "F" to "A". In some cases, the rating may be as high as "A+," "A++" or in rare cases an "A+++." We emphasize that an "A" rated nick does not guarantee success, nor does an "F" rated nick guarantee failure. An "A" rated nick indicates that a far greater percentage of stakes winners has resulted from that cross than expected. An "F" rated nick indicates that the number of stakes winners resulting from a cross is at least 50% below expectations. This does not mean that there cannot be success or will not be success from such a mating in the future. It does mean that in all the experience of the last 20 years of winners of open stakes races, that type of mating has had a lack of success as measured by stakes winner production.
The overall evaluation of Thoroughbred purchases and matings is a complex proposition, and to be successful requires the use of every tool available. Breeders and buyers of Thoroughbreds gain an important advantage when they use the Werk Nick Rating® to plan matings or evaluate proposed purchases. The Werk Nick Rating® enables breeders and buyers to avoid crosses that have had little or no success in the past. At the same time, it enables them to duplicate successful sire-line crosses, thus dramatically increasing their chances for success.
For a practical businessperson seeking a sound return on money invested, it makes no sense to buck measurably unfavorable odds. Breeding a superior racehorse is already a difficult enough proposition. The Werk Nick Rating® allows you to see into the future by looking into the past -- and thereby to avoid mating patterns that have failed.