Racing is full of optimists, but even the most devout racing enthusiast can get bored with hearing people say that there has never been a better year to breed your mare than this one, writes Renée Geelen.
Let me tell you something. This year it is actually true. And there is an excellent reason why 2016 is the best year to breed your mare. Consider these two numbers. Prizemoney is on the rise; and the foal crop has fallen to under 14,000. In basic terms, this means that there is more prizemoney on offer for each foal born. Less horses – more money. Even a pessimist would have to agree that the equation looks quite attractive.
For the breed to race enthusiast who is looking for a value sire in the Under $10,000 (ex GST) range, this news is great because unlike other years, much of the prizemoney increases have been spread across all racing classes. That’s not to say that a less expensive stallion relegates a breeder to less prizemoney. We all know that isn’t true. Every year there are plenty of examples of horses that were cheaply bred beating the expensive ones. Or a cheap yearling smashing their way to Gr1 glory while the millionaire yearling languishes in a country maiden. Racing is a wonderful leveller, as they say, and everyone who has a crack is in to win.
A wonderful pin-up horse for the good value stallion this season is Our Boy Malachi (Top Echelon – Rusticate, by Rustic Amber). Winner of the Gr2 Expressway Stakes, and Gr1-placed, he finished this season with 18 career victories and nearly $800,000 – and is by a stallion who stands this season for just $3,000. His dam was a good solid broodmare before he arrived with 6 winners from 6 runners, and now she has a group winner on her record.
The boom success of Written Tycoon this season provides another grand example for breeders with this level of budget to get excited about. A non-Gr1 winner, Written Tycoon started out his stud career in the Under $10,000 category and dropped to just $6,600 at his lowest point. He sired three Gr1 winners this season (Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, Doomben Ten Thousand winner Music Magnate, and NZ’s Manawatu Sires Produce winner Luna Rossa). Both Capitalist and Luna Rossa were sired off a $13,750 fee; but the principal remains the same. Quality can be had for a value price, and Written Tycoon had many stakes-winners from his earlier crops (hence the price rise for the crop that resulted in a Slipper winner).
In 2016, the $10,000 and under service fee category includes some interesting prospects, including 24 stallions that have already sired a Gr1 winner. The return of Mongolian Khan’s sire, Holy Roman Emperor, provides a good opportunity for Queensland breeders to utilise a proven sire who is sought after in both hemispheres.
If you want to take a punt, there are 29 freshman sires announced this season, and 13 of them are priced under $10,000. These include group winners Bull Point, Dandino, Jabali, Nostradamus, Panzer Division, Prince Cheri, Rock Sturdy and Va Pensiero.
Every season there are enough top class horses produced off mid to low end range service fees that give a confidence boost to breeders who don’t own commercial mares. And even if you do, a horse like Written Tycoon shows that you don’t need to spend big to get a winner of the most commercial race in Australia. And this year, with the prizemoney equation in the favour of the racing owner, there are more reasons than ever to send your mare to a stallion.