Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council
Forum Led by:
Dr Ernest Manea and Ken Dyer
1. First produced in 1992, the Prizemoney statistics (see Charts 5-10) for each country were converted into $US for ready comparisons, however, due to highly variable currency exchange fluctuations the $US conversion no longer reflects the improvement being made at a local level.
For example, Australian prizemoney $AUD converted to $US shows increases from $US34m in 1993 to $US47m in 1996, an improvement of 38%. However in 1997 and 1998 the exchange conversion of $AUD drops prizemoney to $US40m, a fall of 15% on 1996. Overall from 1993 to 1998 the apparent overall $US improvement is only 17%. Please note this dramatic exchange variation.
Within the Australian economy prizemoney has actually shown a steady annual increment each year from $AUD47m in 1993 to $AUD61m in 1998, an improvement of 30% over a 6 year period.
This is also apparent with the currencies of other nations. If you were to analyse your own local currency exchange rates, you will find the same occurence. No doubt the conversion of all currencies to $US will allow total worldwide annual prizemoney figures to be calculated, however, this would be at the expense of disclosing local improvements. It is suggested that in future compilations the $US conversion be continued in addition to the local prizemoney statistics also being included.
Refer to Chart 5 where this suggestion has been simulated as it applies to Australia.
As for retrospective adjustment of Charts 5 to 10, the countries themselves should have their own exchange currency statistics in their archives and could forward same to Finland for incorporation in 2001 statistics.
2. Generally, it would seem that racing days, purses, races, numbers of horses racing and foals being bred have fallen over a period of 8 years whereas paradoxically prizemoney has risen considerably over the same period.
The fall in foalings defies the conventional wisdom that if prizemoney increases it will encourage more people into breeding more horses.
Clearly it does not, except in the case of France and Italy, where prizemoney has increased and over a ten year period both countries still have a net gain of foalings of around 9%, whereas in all other countries there is a net loss of foalings ranging up to 58%. It has to be asked why France and Italy have achieved this success and are in such remarkably good order. What is the difference in their method of breeding, racing , marketing and promotion in comparison to all other countries? The key success factors must be identified.
An analysis of the benefits of sires stakes racing, breeders bonuses, encouragement of breeders and owners, marketing and promotion together with other relevant matters within all countries would be of great benefit to all and may highlight why France and Italy are doing so well in these areas.
In most countries the number of Racing Days, Purse Races, Horses Racing has declined in the main. A 6 year decline with the exception of France and Italy whose totals have either increased or only declined marginally.
Overall, the following percentages apply on a worldwide basis –
Prizemoney (Charts 5–7)
Currency fluctuations have distorted the results for 1997 and 1998. Therefore conclusions cannot be safely reached except that it appears as a general conclusion that all countries have improved prizemoney within their own economic region.
Wagering (Charts 8-10)
The same conclusion generally applies to Charts 8 – 10 as it does in Charts 5 – 7 with the exception that on track wagering appears to be in decline whereas correspondingly off track wagering increases! Is a trend emerging?
It could be said that in many countries the total of on and off course wagering in 1998 has fallen below totals in 1997 and earlier years.
Percentages, Deductions (Charts 11–14)
There are marginal increases or decreases in most countries in percentages returned to bettors. Australia, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Canada and the USA appear to have maintained their returns to bettors over recent years.
Horse Population (Charts 15–16)
The world annual total of foalings has fallen constantly to total 23.15% over a ten year period with some countries showing heavy percentage falls.
The peak of foalings in most countries appears to have been in the 1989-1991 period of time. The exception to this has been Germany, France and Italy whose foaling totals peaked later in the 1993/94 period.
France and Italy were still breeding more foals in 1998 than in 1989 but it is noticeable that even their figures are showing a decline from the later peak.
Sires Fertility (Chart 16)
Chart 16 shows the fertility ratio of sires in the various countries. The variation ranges from 45% to over 70%. This variation, however, may result from the fact that not all foals are registered in a foaling year and are registered in a later year when ready to race. Not all Registries require foalings to be registered in the season of birth.
Insemination Techniques (Chart 17–18)
As the charts clearly indicate nearly every country allows the transport of fresh or frozen semen. This has placed a challenge on National Registries to ensure that DNA or blood typing of foals are carried out to prove the genetics of the foals. It also means that Registries must co-operate with each other by ensuring that DNA and blood markers of stallions are available to countries where the foals are born.
This leads to the fact that not all laboratories use uniform systems causing some problems in far away laboratories. Semen from deceased stallions is allowed for use in some countries but is not uniformly accepted. These are policy implications which require further international co-operation.
Embryo Transfers are permitted in a large majority of countries, always subject to strict control. There are many wide-ranging views in this area particularly with regard to mares that are still racing. This remains a contentious issue.
DNA fingerprinting or blood typing is routinely carried out in all countries but not all countries have progressed to DNA fingerprinting. As technology improves it is expected that DNA testing will become the normal identification test in all countries as will micro-chipping of horses particularly for racing stock when the technology is proven. Further policy needs to be developed in this area for international standardisation.
Prepared by: Ken Dyer