Cruising — one of the most successful and influential sport horse sires ever — has been cloned. By Sea Crest and out of Mullacrew, the stallion died in September aged 29 at Hartwell Stud in Co. Kildare, in the stable in which he was born. The stud took biopsies in 2011, and last year owner Mary McCann told H&H they hadn’t ruled out cloning the stallion.
However, last week (13 February) it emerged two clones were born at Hartwell Stud in 2012. Cruising Arish and Cruising Encore will be available for breeders this year.
“We were approached by an American company in 2011, and took the biopsies. It was a hard decision as a lot of people don’t approve of the idea of cloning, so it took about three months to weigh it up,” said Mrs McCann told H&H. “But after a lot of research we discovered how many clones are around, so we decided to go for it.”
The procedure — which involves taking cells from a donor animal and implanting them in an unfertilised egg with the DNA removed and being placed in a host mare — costs around £100,000.
When cloning horses, genes are identically reproduced. A horse and its clone share the same genetic background — but this does not mean that they will achieve the same results and performance in competition.
“Cruising was an amazing character. He was a lovely horse and had his own ideas about things,” added Mrs McCann.