By any measure, the 2020/21 Breeding Season was simply sensational.
Launching amidst a rollercoaster of new breeding regulations, an unchartered new Racing Season, lucrative breeding incentives, Covid-19 challenges including imposed movement restrictions on transport and people, and an uncertain economic outlook, there was understandable trepidation among the industry when 1 September 2020 ticked over. But again, the resilience, optimism, practicality, and collaboration of the harness racing industry came to the fore to deliver one of the greatest breeding seasons in most people’s memories.
The logistical efforts of Geoff and Lorraine Barnes, for example, epitomise the season, partnering with Studs to plot a path and timeline for semen transport through the regulatory minefield, and finding themselves busier than ever, covering thousands of miles and making thousands of deliveries to underpin what was to become the reality of a successful season for so many.
In the end (as of 5 May 2021), services totalled 5,144 which was an increase of 10.3% on the previous year, reversing 12 consecutive years of decline at averaging 358 each year over the same timeframe, and only the second increase since Equine Influenza (EI) which interrupted the 2006/07 season.
Even more impressive was the staggering 11% increase in mares served nationally. Each State ended the season in positive territory with 4,843 mares served in total – 478 more than the previous year.
Breeders spent a gross amount of $25.9m on service fees from the 197 registered Stallions during the year. This was seven Sires more than the previous year.
Rounding out the impressive statistics was the fact that Twenty-one (21) Sires served over one hundred (100) mares. This was a massive 75% increase on the previous season (12), and the first time in 12 seasons that more than 20 Sires had achieved such a feat.
The resultant foal numbers will assist wagering growth into the future as they will underpin the equivalent of 2 additional race meetings per week (on going), or at the very least, add valuable runners to increase field sizes.
For more information, please contact Andrew Kelly on +61 3 9227 3000.