Tomatillo, Tamarillo’s clone, is set to become a TV star before his second birthday.
The controversial topic of cloning horses is the subject of a new documentary to be aired on Sky Sports this Sunday (7 December).
The first cloned horse was created in 2003 and there are now around 200.
Although clones are not allowed in racing, the FEI lifted its ban on clones in dressage, showjumping and eventing shortly before London 2012.
H&H broke the news in September last year that William Fox-Pitt’s Badminton and Burghley winner Tamarillo had been cloned. The documentary features footage of the Hon. Finn and MW Guinness’ Tomatillo at their Hampshire stud.
Despite his resemblance to Tamarillo, it is still unclear whether Tomatillo will compete.
“We will breed from him as soon as possible to see what kind of animals he produces,” MW says in the programme.
“We wouldn’t dismiss the idea of having him in competition, but breeding is the number one objective of this exercise.” Continued below…
Horse & Hound readers have their say about the concept of cloning and which horses they would most like to…
The documentary also features Peter Charles and Olga White’s less publicised cloning operation, involving Gem Twist. The Olympic gold medal-winning has cloned Murka’s Gem, who was foaled in 2011.
Peter argues that the cloning process is a vital way of introducing strong thoroughbred bloodlines back into British showjumping.
“There are not enough good horses in the world available for the number of riders that are prepared to buy them,” he says.
The documentary also focuses on those within the industry that do not agree with the practice.
Showjumper Tim Stockdale is concerned that clones will allow “big spenders” to corner the equestrian industry.
“I think it is driven by a business thought process as opposed to a sporting thought process,” he argues.
The Royal Veterinary College clinical research fellow Dr Madeleine Campbell and World Horse Welfare also raise concerns about the welfare issues surrounding the process.
As well as looking into how cloning is affecting the equine world, the programme also looks into other sports and how this subject crosses over into broader ethical issues
Cloned: Creating Designer Horses will be aired on Sky Sports 1 on Sunday 7 December at 6.30pm
Ref: H&H Thursday 4 December, 2014