More Studs Backing New Breeding Reforms

09 September 2020

Following recent statements from Haras des Trotteurs and Llewellyn Farms, Empire Stallions is the latest Stud to publicly support Harness Racing Australia’s (HRA) new breeding reforms, which are designed to help grow the Australian harness racing industry and the long-term sustainability of the sport.

In a joint statement, David James and Donna Egan, explain that, “The decision to limit stallion books is absolutely the right thing to do for the health and longevity of the Standardbred breeding and racing industry.

“There are many positives in this decision – it is good for the breed, good for the smaller guys in the industry and will provide more young, unproven stallions a chance to excel as many will.  Limiting Standardbred stallion books in Australia will promote the diversity of the Standardbred gene pool and provide many more opportunities for outcross stallions both imported and Colonial-bred.

“Stallion limits will encourage the standing of Australian-bred stallions and also help level the playing field as to the number of mares each stallion breeds per season. Currently, there are only 2 or 3 prominent stallions at the top service fee level that dominate the racing scene with sheer numbers and their progeny win the majority of stakes money. With unlimited books, we have virtually pushed out the small breeders, stud farms and racehorse owners because they cannot be competitive.

“A small breeder who, in the past, bred 5-6 mares a year to a variety of stallions, can now only afford to breed one mare at the higher priced level if he wants to win a major race or sell for top dollar at the yearling sales. There is no reason to breed hundreds of mares per year to any one stallion – the southern hemisphere is the only place known to allows this - even the Jockey Club in North America is limiting all U.S. thoroughbred stallions to 140 mare’s per season!

“Other benefits from limited books will be increased prices at the yearling sales, while the value of broodmares in foal to fully booked stallions will definitely increase. Limited books should also encourage both small and large farms to stand additional stallions and upgrade their rosters. We applaud HRA’s efforts to recognize these issues and implement this rule”.

HRA CEO, Andrew Kelly, said, “while opposition from some sectors of the breeding industry has been predictable, overall the support for HRA’s recent breeding and racing season reforms has been overwhelmingly positive.  People are seeing the bigger picture and appreciative of the long-term benefits that these important reforms will bring for all involved and at all levels right across the industry”.

For more information contact HRA CEO, Andrew Kelly, on +61 3 9227 3004.