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Horse Racing: BLOODSTOCK DESK - Paint-coloured stallion a first after clearance from officials.

Byline: By Rachel Pagones

I WAS FRAMED, a flashy dark brown and white four-year-old owned by Melanie Phillips of Haggs Wood Stud near Doncaster, became the first thoroughbred to be registered as a paint-coloured horse by Weatherbys following the annual meeting of the International Stud Book Committee (ISBC) on September 26 in Newmarket.

The American-bred stallion, only recently broken to ride, was bred from a thoroughbred sire and dam who were both splashed with the striking dark-and-white patterns recognised by the American Paint Horse Association (APHA), a breed registry.

I Was Framed's sire, the late Racey Remarque, was well known in the obscure but enthusiastic circles of thoroughbred Paint breeders. An unraced grandson of Halo, Racey Remarque was out of the mare Patchy Lassy, also unraced but a registered Paint as well as thoroughbred.

I Was Framed's dam, Dance Spot, was also double-registered. The winner of two of 28 starts, the California-bred was sired by the unusually-coloured Dancebel, a grandson of Northern Dancer.

Phillips acquired I Was Framed from a friend who had imported him from the US. Although she submitted his registration papers to Weatherbys early in the year, the record-keepers had to wait for the annual meeting of the ISBC before they could register the horse of a different colour.

"A decision was taken back in 2003 or 2004 that the case of any unusual colours be taken to the ISBC," explained Weatherbys Stud Book director Andrea Mercer.

One of the requirements of the

ISBC was a blood test to determine the horse's actual colour - a matter which has yet to be settled, said John Flynn, head of the bloodtyping unit at the Weatherbys Ireland laboratory.

The two main patterns recognised by the APHA are tobiano and overo. Tobiano horses may have white across their backs, with dark colour on one or both flanks, and their spots form regular ovals or round patterns. They generally have four white legs, their tails are often two colours, and their facial markings are like those of solid-coloured horses.

Overo horses usually do not have white across their backs. The white tends to be splashed erratically, and the tail is generally a single colour. Overos also have distinctive white head markings covering most of the face, and at least one dark leg. Both tobiano and overo horses can be predominantly dark or predominantly white.

While the differences between types may be confusing to the eye, the types are genetically distinct. The tobiano pattern is coded by a single gene which scientists can identify.

However, the overo pattern is more complex. "There are a number of different mutations of one gene [involved] and it has a more complex inheritance than tobiano," said Flynn.

Increasing the complexity of overos is the existence of a mutation called lethal white gene. Foals who receive two copies of the gene - one from each parent - are all white and die within days from an incurable intestinal abnormality.

A test done by Weatherbys and confirmed by the Gluck Equine Research Center in Kentucky found that I Was Framed did not have the tobiano gene. Last week, Weatherbys sent a blood sample from the horse to geneticists at the University of California, Davis, to try "to identify the actual colour pattern that he has", said Flynn.

I Was Framed covered about 20 mares in his first year at stud this season, according to Weatherbys.

The reaction among breeders has been mixed, said Phillips. "In Britain, people either love it or they hate it - it's like Marmite," she said.

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History-maker I Was Framed has covered about 20 mares in his first season at Melanie Phillips' Haggs Wood Stud
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 6, 2006
Words:609
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