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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 23 February, 2019

The story of the Irish scientist leading a horse racing revolution

A short film on Dr Emmeline Hill, the UCD geneticist who discovered the “speed gene” in horses.

Hill with Bolger at his yard in Coolcullen, County Kilkenny.
Hill with Bolger at his yard in Coolcullen, County Kilkenny.
Image: Nick Bradshaw

PUNTERS MIGHT NOT know the name Dr Emmeline Hill but she has changed the way we think about racehorses and their breeding.

Working with a team of Irish and international scientists, Hill discovered in 2009 a tiny similarity in horses’ DNA that could be used to identify their optimum racing distance.

Put simply: she found “the speed gene.”

Hill’s work at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science led further research which traced the gene’s origin back to a single British horse who lived 300 years ago.

Equinome, the company she founded with top Irish trainer Jim Bolger, now markets and sells the speed gene test to breeders, trainers and bloodstock buyers across the world.

Plans are in place to turn the story into a documentary but for now, here’s a short film about their work so far:

Source: UCD Research/YouTube

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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