'We breed speed to speed too much' - Bjorn Nielsen's warning to industry
Owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen has warned of the perils of breeding for speed as he attempts to pull off a remarkable Gold Cup-Derby double.
Speaking to the Racing Post as part of a big interview for Sunday's newspaper, Nielsen looked ahead to next week's Investec Derby at Epsom, where English King will attempt to add to Stradivarius's sensational third Gold Cup triumph.
Nielsen said: "Of course every pedigree needs speed but we have perhaps come to a pass where we breed speed to speed too much."
Quoting Federico Tesio, the Italian visionary who bred Ribot, Nielsen added: "Tesio said, 'We are striving to find the fastest horse who can carry the most weight over the longest distance.' Tesio also believed, 'If you go on breeding speed to speed you end up with nothing.'"
Nielsen bred the mighty Stradivarius but got English King through the sales ring, saying: "He was bought by my friend Jeremy Brummit at the Deauville October sale. Jeremy is an extremely clever man and, being a Yorkshireman, is lucky enough to know everything. He rang and said, 'I have found the best horse in the sale and you have got to have him.' He cost €210,000."
Would Nielsen have paid more? Ever the trader, Nielsen answered: "I would have gone to €211,000."
Read more from Bjorn Nielsen and Alastair Down in the Big Read, available to members from 6pm on Saturday or in Sunday's Racing Post newspaper. Join Members' Club here and get three months for just £10 using the promo code 3FOR10