Day At The Track

The importance of foal numbers

05:20 PM 29 Sep 2014 NZDT
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Art Major - Dominant sire in Australia Bettor's Delight - Dominant sire in New Zealand Mach Three - Leading 3 year old sire in New Zealand 2013/14
Art Major - Dominant sire in Australia
Bettors Delight - Dominant sire in New Zealand
Mach Three - Leading 3 year old sire in New Zealand 2013/14

The breeders involved in harness racing in Australasia have access in 2014 to the leading sires in the world but just three North American sires continue to dominate our breeding scene at the moment and they are Art Major, Bettor's Delight and Mach Three.


Art Major stands in Australia and is completely dominant on the stakes money charts in that country due in no small part to the large numerical advantage he holds over his two main opponents.

The charts below show quite clearly the advantage he has. 

Art Major   4 year olds - 167

                  3 year olds - 129

                  2 year olds - 153 

Bettors Delight

                   4 year olds - 56

                   3 year olds - 84

                   2 year olds - 74

Mach Three

                   4 year olds - 53

                   3 year olds - 33

                   2 year olds - 49

As you can see Art Major has a huge advantage and thats what you see every time you go to the track.

You see Art Majors everywhere and that reinforces the message that he is on top.

But the big numbers are only important if the stallion can deliver elite level racehorses and Art Major can do that in spades as he has shown over many years.

New Zealand

Skip across the Tasman to the home of both Bettors Delight and Mach Three and you get a completely different picture, again entirely due to foal numbers.

Bettors Delight is completely dominant there on the stake money won list due in the main to huge books which have given him huge foal numbers most years.

He is extremely fertile and has the added bonus of being a great filly sire as well

The charts below show that huge advantage Bettors Delight has numbers wise over Art Major and Mach Three.

Bettors Delight

                  4 year olds - 117

                  3 year olds - 234

                  2 year olds - 220

Art Major

                  4 years old - 98

                  3 year olds - 87

                  2 year olds - 49

Mach Three

                  4 year olds - 160

                  3 year olds - 77

                  2 year olds - 94

Last years three year old season in New Zealand was different from normal in so much as Mach Three had more foals than either Bettors Delight or Art Major for the first time in living memory.

The result was that Mach Three won the 3 year olds stake money list  quite comfortably from Bettors Delight and Art Major which proves once again that foal numbers do matter when it comes to winning sire premierships

Now plenty of sires are trying to break the dominance of the big three and the latest is Sportswriter.

He met the first requirement for all new stallions trying to dislodge the top three in that he had the largest crop of 2 year olds with 155 of any sire in Australia last season and he did leave 33 winners from his first crop.

But when it came to the big money races, the Art Majors and Bettors Delights scooped up most of the money.

So a good start for Sportswriter but not up with the big boys yet.

Another stallion who has been given a big chance to join the big boys in Australia is Shadow Play who served a huge book of 295 mares last season in Australia and a further 80 in New Zealand on the back of a great first season in North America.

His first crop of two year olds in Australasia were good last season without being brilliant so the jury is still out as to weather he can challenge the big three.

Rock N Roll Heaven served a book of 215 mares in his first year at stud in Australia and a further 52 in New Zealand so his first crop which are two year olds in the current season will be watched with great interest.

His North American results in the super tough New York Sires Stakes have been very good so the signs so far are positive.

Auckland Reactor is another stallion who has been handed an opportunity to join the big three serving 212 mares in New Zealand and 182 in Australia in his first season at stud.

With that number of mares, Auckland Reactor needs to make a big slash right from the start or else he will be discarded quickly.

As it stands the big three continue to dominate but one thing is very clear.

To compete with the Art Majors, Bettors Delights and Mach Threes is never going to be easy as they are world class sires who perform in both hemispheres.

For any new sire to challenge the dominance of the three established top sires, he needs a book of mares of a comparable size and quality to what they regularly serve or he is really going to struggle.

Harnesslink Media

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