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The First Scientific Principles of Thoroughbred Breeding, Parts 1 and 2, by Harold Hampton

March 18, 2011

Chapter One of The First Scientific Principles of Thoroughbred Breeding, Parts 1, by Harold Hampton, 1954, begins,

“The purpose of this publication is to set before the Racehorse Breeder the startling discoveries in the breeding of Thoroughbreds that have been made over the last eleven years by private research, and which now herald a coming revolution in Thoroughbred breeding. For this is the story of a successful search for whatever may be the cause of speed in outstanding racehorses; the discovery of a fundamental link and links in the chain of inheritance; of how we can utilise them as far as possible to produce greater racehorses and to eliminate some of the many so-called natural losses by which the industry is crippled.”

London-born New Zealander Harold Hampton was a pioneer in in-depth line breeding research. He began studying the theory of thoroughbred breeding around 1950 and published the first two parts of his early findings in 1954 and 1956. Part 1 (1954) features a report on research, with dedicated sections on great blends in thoroughbred history, the cause of great blends, and present day standards of racing ability, and Part 2 discusses the origin of speed, using examples of different breeding types affecting speed.

These two booklets describe his newly-discovered, basic principles of breeding, which have since been shown to be valid both by research methodology and by practice. Hampton believed that instead of looking at racing and performance, the key was in the throwback of the dam, and whether or not it was matched by the sire. This idea was actually the conceptual breakthrough that led many breeders, owners, and researchers on to further insights and successes.

I have both of these books, which are like magazines or large pamphlets, with Part 1 being 40 pages, and Part 2 96 pages. Both are filled with photographs and pedigrees to illustrate the principles discussed.

According to Sport Horse Breeder, when Hampton was asked what he considered the perfect pedigree, he said that would be 4×4 to a full brother and sister, with each having reinforcement to its ancestors. He particularly liked to see one side of the pedigree develop the dam ancestors of the full siblings and the other side to develop the sire side ancestors. He said the closest he ever saw of his ideal pedigree was in the Thoroughbred Fair Trial.

Have his principles benefited you? Please feel free to comment.

Since this post, these books have now sold.

  1. mike permalink

    glad to see some people still folow what my father was studying an teaching others

    • Yes, Mike, I think a lot of people still follow your father. His books are quite well-respected. Thanks for your message. Are you working in the business too?

      (Sorry for the delay in response. A family member has been sick.)

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