Nicking, the theory that certain lines have an affinity for one another, has perpetuated through Thoroughbred breeding since the 18th century. Measuring the success of a sire line when crossed with a broodmare sire line, nicking is a highly-regarded mating tool within the industry. Some prolific nicks that have been responsible for outstanding sires and runners include Nasrullah/Princequillo, Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer and Galileo/Danehill.
Since the advent of computers, various programs and websites can generate nicks off of hypothetical pedigrees to assist with mating decisions. Nicking sites draw from the number of stakes winners produced by a cross to give a rating for the success of the nick.
As with any pedigree theory, nicking should not be the only criteria considered when planning a mating. Many other principles like conformation, commercial appeal, strength of female family and inbreeding should be considered before breeding. A nick must be weighed against other factors and carefully interpreted to best aid the breeder in their mating decision.
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