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Bluebloods : NZ Sires Preview June 2010
What is a commercial yearling? My definition of a commercial yearling is: a great type by a sire who is in demand, from a female family buyers can relate to. This definition opens the door for breeders with a wide range of budgets. Remember: the resulting yearling won't be sold for approximately 2 ½ years after you mate your mare. There are many factors which lead to a lack of success and, regardless of how smart you are or how much money you have, a number of them are outside your control. What you can do is reduce the risk of failure. You don't have to live in the Waikato or further north to be successful as a commercial breeder. And you don't have to be a major stud or well-known vendor to make profitable sales. Genuine buyers want to buy what they perceive are the best yearlings available within their criteria. The majority of buyers will consider all yearlings - including yours, if they tick all the boxes. In fact, coming from a small or lower-profile draft can be seen as an advantage by buyers. PREPARE A BUDGET This may include the purchase of a mare, as well as insurance, transport, vets, agistment (this is a cost, even when you own a farm), service fees (often you will have to pay for two or three services before you sell the first yearling), foaling & weaning fees, rearing costs and sale preparation costs. The NZTBA has good, up-to-date information about production & selling costs online at: www.nzthoroughbred.co.nz HAVE A PLAN Once you have established your budget, you must develop a plan focused on the goal. The goal for many is to own a top commercial mare or mares who can be mated to a commercial stallion and produce yearlings who sell in excess of $150,000 at Karaka. Many believe that only those with huge budgets can achieve this -- that's not true. Buying high profile fillies and mares will increase your chances in the short term, but it won't guarantee you make a profit. BUY THE RIGHT MARE FOR YOUR BUDGET & YOUR PLAN Unless the mare leaves a quality type, she will always struggle commercially. This is both the great leveller, and the variable that gives you an opportunity. You want to breed from the mare that can produce a correct & athletic individual: either a mare with a proven record of leaving that kind of horse, or a mare with the looks and/or genetic makeup to produce the required type. Some families and sire lines consistently produce good looking, correct types that sell well -- they are the ones to target. This may mean buying a young mare who has little black type up close, but ticks all the other boxes. At first she may seem to have limited commercial appeal, but if she is well mated and leaves good types she can quickly be elevated in status. Example 1 Saveke (2000 m. Centaine-Tramaurea), purchased off the track for less than $30,000. Her first two yearlings, both by Pins, sold for $200,000 and $180,000 at Karaka Premier. Example 2 Myladys (2001 m. Kingfisher Mill-Perspicacious), purchased for $7,000. Criteria: a nice type, capable of leaving offspring that first and foremost would perform on the racetrack, but with enough going for her that she warranted a reasonable investment of time & expense, and if she produced a very good foal, it could be sold for a nice profit as a yearling. She needed to tick as many boxes as possible: type, race performance, pedigree with potential for upgrades, able to be served early. Budget: up to $20,000 Example 3 Snazzy Lass (2004 m. Viscount-Na-Ayim), purchased for $70,000. Criteria: potential to develop into a top Premier Sale mare, so she needed to be young; suitable for a commercial stallion; strong female pedigree. Budget: $50,000-$100,000 SELECT THE RIGHT STALLION FOR YOUR MARE Sire quality is a key factor sales companies use to decide which sale a particular yearling will go to. That's because it's also a key factor in many buyers' decision-making. I often see yearlings by the sire of the moment sell for high prices, despite what I'd consider weaknesses in their female pedigree. The trick is selecting that sire almost three years before the resulting yearling is sold. One way to do this is to use proven stallions such as Zabeel, O'Reilly, Pins & Pentire -- as established sires, they are very unlikely to fall out of favour in the period between conception and sale. However, their service fees may be out of reach of many breeders, or too much money to spend on particular mares, so we must also consider other options. Beware, though, that a saving now of $5,000 to $20,000 on a service fee to a lesser stallion can mean losing the extra bids that will give you a very profitable sale two-and-a-half years from now. In other words, it can often be worth paying that bit extra for the stallion component. For New Zealand-based breeders, it's worth comparing Australian and New Zealand service fees, and the number of stallions available in each price band. I've converted 2009 Australian fees to NZ dollars at a rate of 80c to our dollar: $200,000 and above $100,000 to $199,999 NZ--0 Aus--2 NZ--0 Aus--4 $50,000 to $99,999 $30,000 to $49,999 NZ--2 Aus--7 NZ--2 Aus--27 $20,000 to $29,999 $10,000 to $19,999 NZ--6 Aus--14 NZ--12 Aus--62 Despite this massive difference in fees, the 2008-09 season saw New Zealand stallions: • Filling positions 1, 3, 4, 7 & 8 on the Hong Kong General Sires List • Topping the Macau General Sires List • Topping the Malaysian General Sires List • And in Australia, 17 New Zealand-bred horses won Group One races. These are the results that count, so it's not hard to understand the strong demand for our better horses, even in difficult economic conditions. Questions to ask about stallions: • Is the stallion getting every opportunity to succeed? • Is he a stallion that buyers can relate to? • Am I over-mating my mare? • Will he suit her on type? • Can I duplicate any proven crosses? • Is this mare worth spending extra on? • Should I be going to a proven stallion? • Is the stallion likely to be in demand in 2½ years time? The advantages of unproven stallions Look back at top sires like Zabeel and O'Reilly: most have stood at low fees at some stage, usually in their third or fourth seasons -- which can be excellent times to send a mare to a young stallion. By the time you offer your yearling, he could be the hottest young sire in the country. Look for unproven stallions: • who have had strong books of mares • who have left athletic types that are sound and well- made, and seem to be types that will train on whose early progeny have sold well as yearlings & have been purchased by well-respected agents or trainers. BREEDING FOR THE RACEHORSE MARKET Less expensive stallions can also be considered if you are breeding for the racehorse market. In New Zealand we have several proven stallions standing at service fees below $10,000, including a couple who feature highly on the Hong Kong Sires List. There are also some exciting unproven horses that seem great value. Once again, it's a matter of working out what's likely to appeal in three or four years' time to the buyers of racehorses, although the most important factors will be racing ability and soundness. These horses must pass all necessary vet tests. However, buyers of racehorses that show ability are far more forgiving when it comes to conformation than the majority of yearling buyers - so remember this when entering your yearling into a sale. Guidelines for selling racehorses If your horse shows promise, chances are you will be approached by an agent and you are likely to be offered more than you would have received in the sale-ring. Racehorse buyers generally prefer horses of good size, at least 15.3hh, but preferably 16hh-16.1hh and between 500-530kg in bodyweight. Small horses are harder to sell in Asia as they are often asked to carry big weights and a small horse is often perceived to be at a disadvantage. Lightly framed horses are disadvantaged by the tropical climate, because they take longer to bounce back after a hard run. Correct conformation and good temperament is important. A lot of buyers prefer geldings. Horses recover better after gelding in New Zealand than after export to Asia. June 2010 17
Tyreel Easter Yearlings
NZ Sires Preview July 2010