Following the announcement by leading UK trainer, Hugo Palmer that his decision to withdraw 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold from the Epsom Derby was informed by the results of an Equinome Speed Gene Test provided by Plusvital, the company can confirm the DNA sample provided by the trainer was returned with a C:C genotype result.

Equinome scientists have found that horses with the C:C genotype have an optimum race distance less than or equal to 1 mile. From a set of almost 1,000 Group/Listed race winners tested to date, less than 1% of C:C horses raced in Europe have demonstrated their optimum trip at a mile and a half. Horses with the C:T and T:T genotypes are best suited to the Derby distance.

Commenting on the announcement, Donal Ryan, Chief Operations Officer, Plusvital, said, “It’s a fantastic endorsement to have a leading trainer such as Hugo Palmer publicly announce that the decision on whether to run Galileo Gold in the Derby has been informed by the Equinome Speed Gene Test. Hugo has a clear understanding of how to combine the scientific information with his deep knowledge and understanding of the horse to ensure it is given the optimal opportunity to perform at its best.”

He added, “We firmly believe that equine genetics will enhance the Thoroughbred breed by allowing owners and trainers to understand more about how to get the absolute best out of each individual horse for both racing and breeding.”

The Equinome Speed Gene Test was launched in January 2010 following the publication by Dr Emmeline Hill, a leading equine genomics researcher in University College Dublin (UCD) and Chief Scientific Officer, Plusvital, of a scientific paper which revealed the association of a gene related to muscle development with optimum racing distance in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Since 2010, more than twenty scientific publications, including studies by separate independent international research groups in the US, Italy and Japan, have further validated this study and investigated the effect of the gene in other horse breeds.

In the last six years, the use of Plusvital’s Equinome Speed Gene and Elite Performance Tests have been adopted in all the major racing regions of the world. Clients include some of the top 5 global racing and breeding organisations as well as owners and breeders with considerably smaller operations. Over 13,000 horses from 19 countries have been tested to date, including close to 1,000 Group/Listed winners, and over 90% of clients are returning.

The most significant recent development was the merger between Plusvital and Equinome, a UCD spin-out company, announced in December 2015, which has led to the creation of a broader equine science company which is currently headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs.

The growth of the company will involve the hiring of 50 new employees in the short term, and the investment of over €3.5 million in equine science research over the next 3-years. This will result in the introduction of a range of new scientifically-supported equine products in genetics and nutrition, amongst others.

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