Australian sires covered more than 23,000 mares during the 2009 breeding season, as reported by Australia’s racingandsports.com.
Michael Ford, Keeper Of The Australian Stud Book, said the numbers were down about 10% from 2008, a surprisingly strong result.
“Only a 10% decrease from 2008 is heartening for the industry,” Ford said. “The Thoroughbred breeding industry had proved more resilient to the global financial crisis.
“Major yearling sales, both here and overseas, were down 30% and with my faith in the hardiness of Australian Thoroughbred breeders, I thought the number of coverings may decrease by 15 percent. Yet it looks like being less than 10%.”
Ford reported that as of Jan. 20 a total of 23,320 mares were reported as being covered in the 2009 season by 710 stallions compared with 26,480 in 2008, a drop of 12%.
The numbers are still below the 2007 equine influenza-affected total of 24,580, but Ford believes that when late reports are lodged the total will reach 24,000.
The leading stallion by mares covered in 2009 was Coolmore's Fastnet Rock. He set an Australian record of 272 mares, followed by Victorian-based Bel Esprit (251) and Choisir (227).
Australia's most expensive stallion, Redoute's Choice, covered 156 mares while first season sires Sebring and Northern Meteor made the top 10.
The top 12 stallions were all Australian-bred, as were 16 of the top 20.
“This is great news for the Australian Thoroughbred breeding industry, with breeders placing their faith in world class Australian-bred stallions,” Ford said. “The influence of Danehill was all-pervading, with six of the top 20 stallions being his sons and another four being his grandsons”.
2009 Stallion Coverings (Stud Farm)
272 Fastnet Rock (Coolmore)
251 Bel Esprit (Eliza Park)
227 Choisir (Coolmore)
212 Lonhro (Darley)
198 Northern Meteor (Widden)
190 Sebring (Widden)
176 Encosta De Lago (Coolmore)
173 Hidden Dragon (Lyndhurst)
173 Stratum (Widden)
168 God's Own (Eliza Park)
166 Dane Shadow (Kitchwin Hills)
165 Magnus (Eliza Park)
165 Oratorio (Coolmore)
163 Snippetson (Widden)
158 Tale of the Cat (Coolmore)
156 Redoute's Choice (Arrowfield)
156 Statue Of Liberty (Eliza Park)
153 More Than Ready (Vinery)
150 Commands (Darley)
148 Not A Single Doubt (Arrowfield)