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First Season Sires for the coming season

August 8, 2014

Today's SPORTSMAN newspaper highlighted the first season stallions whose first 2yo's will reach the track later this year.  I read this with a great deal of concern.  Concern not just for the racing industry, or breeders who are both impacted significantly, but I had great concern for the future of the thoroughbred.

We know that most first season sires will fail.  If lucky, you could guess that maybe 10% of stallions that go to stud have some sort of impact on the breed.  Most of these will have a moderate career as bread and butter stallions in the colloquial terminology.

Today's list contained an incredible sixteen first season stallion who all covered more than 100 mares for the season.  In fact, these stallions covered a total of 1952 mares out of the 22579 mares covered in the season.

From these covering, these top 16 stallions had 1376 live foals that are potential 2yo's for the season. The total number of live foals born in 2012 in Australia was 14997, so we see that a little over 9% of our horse population for the year was sired by 16 stallions who are unproven under local conditions.  This does not even take into consideration those first season stallions who covered less that 100 mares for the season.

If we further consider that these 16 stallions covered predominantly "commercial" mares with an aim of selling the progeny, we are seeing that almost 10% of our annual crop is now in the highly speculative range of matings.   If history repeats, and only 10% of these stallions succeed, the expense and wastage in this area alone is simply staggering.

I fail to see how this type of strategy is of benefit to the industry.  

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