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Posts Tagged ‘Standardbred sires New Zealand’

Firstly, congratulations to the team that produce the annual Register of Standardbred Sires of New Zealand; it’s a great publication with a stack of information, not just for New Zealand sires. You can access it online here. (The other great source of information about sires, mares and progeny in New Zealand is the HRNZ Info Horse webpages here.)

I got back from holiday to find a copy of the Register in my letterbox – and one of the things that struck me most strongly was that almost every other page I turned was featuring a trotting sire. What a huge change we have seen in New Zealand over the past 5 or so years.

The main change for trotting is in the marketing (I won’t say “demand” because that is less proven at this stage) of European lines here, through frozen semen. There has always been a few, now and then. But “European bred trotting sires” is the new “black”, it seems. So everyone wants to have them in their shop window.

Let me do an overview of numbers, using the index of the Registrar as my “quick guide” to compare this season with five years ago:

2009/10 Trotting sires

Total number available  23

Frozen semen  11

Over $5000 service fee  4

Top service fee  $US$22,500 for Muscles Yankee

Majestic Son alabar 2013

Majestic Son parading at Alabar (Photo: Bee Pears)

20014/15 Trotting sires

Total number available  36

Frozen semen  26

Over $5000 service fee  7

Top service fee  $NZ12,000 Muscle Hill

2009/10 Pacing sires

Total number available  54

NZ bred pacing sires 11

Frozen semen  4

Over $5000 service fee  14

Top service fee $NZ25,000 for Christian Cullen; $US17,000 for Rocknroll Hanover; $AUS15,000 for Somebeachsomewhere

2014/15 Pacing sires

American Ideal

American Ideal at Woodlands Stud. (Photo Bee Pears)

Total number available  44

NZ bred pacing sires: 17

Frozen semen  8

Over $5000 service fee  14

Top service fee $NZ12,000 for Bettor’s Delight

So what trends can we pick up here?

  • Influx of mainly frozen semen trotting sires, both from Europe and North America. NZ breeders now have access at reasonable prices to a huge range of quality trotting sires, whereas only 10 years ago (2004/5 season) the commercial options were a mere 14, and several of them not well proven at the highest level: Armbro Invasion,  Brylin Boyz, Call Me Now, Continentalman, Dr Ronerail, Holdonmyheart, Grant Our Wishes, Malabar Maple, Monarchy, Simon Roydon, the mighty Sundon, plus frozen semen from CR Commando, Dream Vacation, Muscles Yankee. Today we can access the current best from North America and Europe, as well as those proven good sires based here or shuttling regularly such as Majestic Son.
  • Fewer pacing sires, but growing quality and number of NZ bred pacing sires; the number offered has always been thereabouts, but the standard is getting higher and now comparisons have to be made with international benchmarks such as Group race success or excellent times rather than just local enthusiasm. The competition is fierce now, and it is a tricky balance between setting fees low enough attract the average breeder but still getting quality mares and the owners/trainers who want competitive 2yos and 3yos so the sire can build a reputation quickly.
  • Moderation of service pacing fees; reality has kicked in – overseas sire owners can no longer expect NZ breeders and buyers to automatically respect every well performed stallion that is made available here – we have been burnt in the past, and we have stronger local competition now. I believe the service fees this season are very well set and offer breeders some excellent options.
  • On the other hand, the service fees for trotting sires has increased overall as the quality of sires offered has improved. Saying that, we are still getting some extremely reasonable prices for world class European trotting sires as “introductory” offers in recognition of the market here and the stakes we run for. There are some mighty good buys amongst what is available, if you are willing to take a risk on a European or North American sire.
  • Frozen semen for trotters and pacers is becoming more acceptable, and that demand will push the technical improvements needed to make booking frozen semen less of a flip of the coin in terms of getting the mare pregnant. That, in turn, is improving breeders’ confidence in booking to frozen semen sires – a wider range, and no longer regarded as so far outside the square.
  • Frozen semen is also allowing a wider range of suppliers into the market – there is so much less risk when you are not shuttling live stallions, and less pressure to get maximum bookings in the first year or so. You don’t need a huge stud farm and facilities, just a good freezer! (Only joking).

For many ordinary breeders, including myself, the new vast range of trotting sires on offer is a bit bewildering. Especially the European sires – we get better information now on what is happening in Europe, but you have to be a real trotting junkie with great broadband access (I fail on that count) to really keep well informed and familiar with the European trends. Where can we go for objective advice on what is a reasonable punt and what is a high risk option?

And then there is the familiar question: How well does a sire’s success in a totally different environment and breeding pool translate to our country? There are some interesting links to several of these newly available trotting sires through old classic and well proven bloodlines – I see Workaholic in several of them, whose dam Ah So is by Speedy Count who is quite an influential damsire in the pedigree of European trotters. And of course  his sire Speedy Crown, and Super Bowl and his sire Star’s Pride appear regularly as well in the European/American mixed bred trotters.

Overall, you can probably quote the sports saying: Class is permanent, and form is temporary. The very best sires will probably succeed anywhere. (Although that has not always been the case with some top sires Downunder, as even Somebeachsomewhere is having a struggle getting traction as a sire in Australia, and a great sire like Life Sign didn’t seem to work with our mares!)

There is a wealth of choice out there this season. Go for it!

 

 

 

 

 

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