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The Australian Racing Board reported that there were 3,875 yearlings sold at auction in the 2011-2012 season. With the high volume of horses on offer, you need a discerning eye to pick a winner.

Around 450 yearlings will go under the hammer at the QTIS 600 sale on the Gold Coast (17-18 March) and we’re seeking an exciting buy for our Adrenaline owners. The anticipation of a yearling purchase cannot be under-estimated. These young horses haven’t been broken in and they exude raw potential. There’s a clear buzz when the bidding begins.

But thorough inspection is required to choose a yearling with athletic ability that’s physiologically sound. How your racehorse is put together – its conformation – counts. We look for balance and symmetry so that undue pressure isn’t placed on your horse’s body. There’s little room for error if you want your horse to be a healthy competitor through the rigours of Australian racing.

Consider, for example, the angle of a horse’s pastern (that’s the sloping part of a horse’s foot between the fetlock and the top of the hoof). If it’s too straight, each time your horse’s hoof strikes the ground, the force sent vertically up its leg will be jarring. Too angled and there will be too much strain on your horse’s tendons.

The slope of the shoulder is another indicator of athletic potential. The angle of your horse’s shoulder blade in relation to the ground gives you an idea of both its length of stride and its shock-absorbing potential. If your horse’s shoulder is too upright, it’s more likely to suffer concussion‑related problems (like splints, bucked shins and joint deterioration).

There’s a satisfying symmetry in racehorse conformation. A horse with an upright shoulder often has straight pasterns. If your thoroughbred has nicely angled pasterns, you might expect to see a well sloped shoulder.

Of course, there are examples of racehorses with compromised conformation that have achieved outstanding success. Australian Racing Hall of Fame thoroughbred Tulloch had a sway back and stood only about 15.2 hands high. And it’s lucky Sir Tristram was bought unseen because his New Zealand connections were shocked by his conformation when he arrived from Ireland. But these are notable exceptions. With the investment of time, hope and heart that goes into owning a racehorse, would you want to take the chance?

SIR PRANCEALOT – ROSEBROOK (by Danzero)

SIR PRANCEALOT – ROSEBROOK (by Danzero)

By Kristen Manning What a great start the classy Sir Prancealot has made to his stud career in the northern hemisphere and there are exciting times ahead for fans of the promising young stallion with his first Australian bred runners just turning two. Already well represented by seven stakes winners…

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SQUAMOSA – PORCELLANUS (by High Chaparral)

SQUAMOSA – PORCELLANUS (by High Chaparral)

By Kristen Manning Making a name for himself as a reliable source of winners, the Victorian based Squamosa served small books initially but with the success of his progeny he has been better supported over the last few seasons. From his first 83 runners, Squamosa has been represented by 45…

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SPIRIT OF BOOM – ANOTHER HUG (by Al Maher)

SPIRIT OF BOOM – ANOTHER HUG (by Al Maher)

By Kristen Manning Spirit Of Boom enjoyed a marvellous career on the track and now he is doing just as well in retirement, the tough and classy campaigner proving himself to be one of the country’s most reliable stallions. Known for his soundness and durability, Spirit Of Boom raced 52…

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SPIRIT OF BOOM - SHE BRINGS JOY (by Sebring)

SPIRIT OF BOOM - SHE BRINGS JOY (by Sebring)

By Kristen Manning Spirit Of Boom enjoyed a marvellous career on the track and now he is doing just as well in retirement, the tough and classy campaigner proving himself to be one of the country's most reliable stallions. Known for his soundness and durability, Spirit Of Boom raced 52…

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