Another month of Summer has passed by in a flash – but at least with the increased
rainfall we now have something resembling grass on the paddocks. As with all livestock owners, the stud industry has been feeding both hard feed and hay to the horses which would usually be enjoying the green stuff at the moment. This will inevitably increase production costs, at a time when the initial sales figures for 2019 are not looking promising.
The BHA have recently increased the number of races, and therefore the demand for horses, to record levels for 2019 and yet the market for horses seems to demand the cheapest possible price. We received an offer for a yearling recently for £2000 – on a covering which cost £5000 – let alone the associated costs! How can that be sustainable
for breeders? The increase in races, together with the slump in market prices will lead, in my opinion, to one of three issues (or a mixture of all of them) –
- either the same horses will race in them and increase the risk of injury as a result,
- or field sizes will be small due to lack of fresh runners,
- Both of the above due to breeders cutting their production
- or breeders will breed cheap horses for the lower level market leading to a reduction in the quality of the pedigree and a potential chasm between the group / listed races (10% of the calendar) and handicaps (the vast majority of races) by way of breed quality and accessibility to non-millionaire owners.
The last point will inevitably lead to lower prize money and an even greater feeling of “them and us”. It will also reduce the number of good stallions, at currently good prices, as many stallion handlers will find it unprofitable to keep them.
Syndicate buyers and smaller owners must realise that whilst they dream of “bought cheaply and wins a Group 1” horses, the reality is that there is a difference between cheap and unsustainable prices. It seems that buyers and their trainers are happy to drive prices down from breeders, but then make few allowances in their own training fees. As the old saying goes “it costs as much to train a bad horse as a good one.” Look at the horses which win the classics – few, if any of them are cheap buys!
Goodbye Little Mo
As some of you who follow me on Twitter will have seen, we sadly had to say goodbye to our broodmare Littlemoor Lass. She suffered a training injury which prevented her
racing, and was retired to stud by us as a result. The daughter of Derby-winner Motivator, she was a beautiful looking animal who produced two colts and two fillies in her all too short career. We loved her from the day I bought her as a 9 month old, to the day I held her for the vet. The pain of loss is a measure, I hope, of the affection we had for her. Rest easy lass.