As the harness racing season ends on the 31st of July in New Zealand, Harnesslink thought it was an appropriate time to review how all the leading sires and other sires on the improve performed in each age bracket.
First up is the 2 year old division.
Two stallions dominated this division this year with Bettor's Delight and Art Major competing for divisional honours.
To be fair the playing field was tilted rather dramatically in Bettor's Delight's favour by the fact that Bettor's Delight had 230 two year olds eligible to race while Art Major only had 85.
As has become the norm worldwide it was the fillies by Bettor's Delight which really lifted him on the sires list.
His three biggest stake earners for the season in Joanne's Delight 1:56.8 ($134,094) Linda Lovegrace 1:57.7 ($127,789) and Kate Perry 1:56.7 ($117,872) are all fillies and the only fillies to earn in excess of $100,000 this season that were bred in New Zealand.
Bettor's Delight best colts were headed by Hug The Wind 1:56.8 ($102,332) Express Stride 2:00.2 ($76,660) and Bettor Spirits 1:59.1 ($61,601)
Foals - 230
New Zealand bred winners (Aus / NZ) - 30
% of winners to foals - 13.04
NZ stakes - $871,314
For a sire with just 85 two year olds eligible to race, Art Major had a great year with runners in all the major races.
The best colts were headed by Say My Name 1:57.9 ($87,673) Mighty Flying Major 1:58.4 ($60,156) and Art Union 1:58.4 ($56,853).
The best fillies were headed by Fight For Glory 1:59.2 ($83,936) Unforgiving 1:57 ($45,263) and Art Critic 1:56.9 ($20,836)
The elephant in the room for Art Major is of course Follow The Stars 1:53.8 ($272,080) with the Australian bred 2 year old dominating the juvenile scene in New Zealand.
Foals - 85
New Zealand bred winners (Aus / NZ) - 16
% of winners to foals - 18.82
NZ stakes - $528,121
The third place getter on the sires list is the elite sire Mach Three.
With a crop of just 73, Mach Three was up against it but it still was not one of his best years..
Mach Three did produce Chachingchaching 1:56.6 ($52,600) and Cyclone Kate 1:55.5 ($32,070) but his best performer was another of the Mark Purdon Australian imports in Supersonic Miss 1:54.1 ($137,128) who has legitimate claims to the two year old filly of the year title.
The fourth place getter was Courage Under Fire who from a very small crop of just 23 did manage to produce the biggest stake earning 2 year old in New Zealand last season in Alta Orlando 1:56.2 ($141,749).
Another that did not have his best year was super sire Christian Cullen who sired just two winners from 72 foals which by his very high standards is not like him.
However Christian Cullen looks to have a very smart colt in Bracken Ridge and several qualifiers that look way above average so his stats look like they will come right at three.
The best of the first season sires by a margin was the son of In The Pocket in Changeover.
In Aust / NZ Changeover had 13 individual winners and plenty of qualifiers, which bodes well for his future.
In the trotting ranks it was a two horse war all season between Love You and Majestic Son.
It wasn't settled until late in the season with Majestic Son claiming a narrow victory on paper but it was very hard to separate them really.
Monbet ($66,145) and Yaugunnakissmeornot ($26,180) starred for Love You while Wanna Play ($50,771) and Prince Feerless ($57,956) were the headliners for Majestic Son.
The newcomer Angus Hall made a big impression with his first crop, finishing third overall and siring the most individual winners with the smallest crop of any of the top three sires.