Day At The Track

Positive feel & full books as breeding starts

04:15 AM 15 Sep 2009 NZST
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Harness racing's premier 'Down Under' stallions have had no problems filling their respective books for 2009-2010, while lesser priced stallions are also holding their own just half a month into the new breeding season. In fact when Harnesslink contacted several Stud Farms this week there was an air of both confidence and optimism amongst breeders - in spite of the dubious state of the world-wide financial market.

The New Zealand breeding season kicked off on September 1 while Australia's season starts a month later on October 1.

Stallion Station reported that Mach Three, Courage Under Fire and Major In Art were fully booked, while Alabar Stud said the same of Art Major and Grinfromeartoear. Nevele R Stud said McArdle was also booked out.

"The premier stallions always look after themselves and sell out quickly because their records on the racetrack speak for themselves. But I think the bar has been lifted throughout the entire breeding industry and as a result the hobby breeder can now get himself a very good stallion at a very real price," said Stallion Station's Victorian-based marketing manager, Les Joslin.

He believed a stallion like Royal Mattjesty, who left his 12th two-year-old winner recently and sixth to run a two-minute mile or less, was a great deal at $4000 plus GST.

"He's only served 57 foals and has had just 26 horses to the races. It's a real buyers market out there at the moment and unlike years gone by everyone out there has a good chance of getting quality semen into their mare," Joslin said.

Graeme Henley of Alabar stud agreed saying Art Major and Grinfromeartoear had their books closed some time ago, while Elsu had received twice as many bookings than what he received last season and his orders were filling fast.

"There might be doom and gloom out there in some sectors of society but bookings are way up for us. We are really looking forward to the new season because our stallions have had a great 12 months on the racetrack.

"I don't want to look too far ahead but the stake decreases have certainly not affected us at this stage," Henley said.

He said Real Desire had returned after being away last year while Jeremes Jet had just embarked on his second season at Alabar.

Ged Mooar of Nevele R Stud also agreed that top-liners like McArdle looked after themselves when it came to getting a full book.

"Breeders have traditionally always gone to the ‘proven sires'. There are about 3000 mares in New Zealand each year and 1300 of them would be taken by the dozen ‘proven sires'. That leaves about 1700 mares fighting for the remaining stallions.

"It will be interesting to see how the season develops. Early indications are good but you never really know until the cheque is signed," Mooar said.

Other Nevele R stallions Badlands Hanover and Live Or Die have also attracted good bookings.

Meanwhile Tina Tilden the stud mistress at Woodlands Stud said Bettor's Delight was expected to serve approximately 200 mares in 2009-2010.

"He is a high fertile stallion and people know that and often leave their bookings a bit later because they know his semen is always available. American Ideal will serve about 80-90 mares again in his third season with us.

"The recession doesn't bite until the service fee is paid so it will be interesting to see how the season develops. We are already serving mares and our first pregnancy tests will be done this week. We don't muck around here at Woodlands Stud," the former Queenslander said.

Meanwhile, Noel Kennard of Wai Eyre Stud in Canterbury was unavailable for comment, but sources said bookings were above average for this time of year.

Duane RANGER (editor)

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