There has been plenty of discussion on this matter. As we approach the next breeding season it might be time to revisit the topic. Much of the discussion revolves around the different views on what a champion is and what is a success or a flop.However,what can’t be denied is that the progeny of champion Australian and NZ race mares fail to earn much when tried as racehorses.
Firstly we are talking about an overall champion horse. A mare that has succeeded at the highest level each year for at least 3 years. Not a 2yo champion, nor a 3yo champion, there will be one of those every year. We are talking about a mare that has successfully tested herself in open company against others who aspire to be called champions.
How many of the champion mares are there?
Information published and attributed to Arion, states that there were 306 mares of champion level in Australia in the period 1938-2008 (70 years). This means that on average there were 306/70 = 4.37 in Australia in any year. Extrapolating this data to the present and given that a champion’s career should go at least 2 years (and in my view 3 years) this means there are 2×4.37 = 8.74 or 3×4.37 = 13.11, champion mares running around today.
We have Winx but who are the other 10 or so? If a definition of a champion is suspect then the conclusions drawn from it are equally suspect. There has to be winner of each of the 73 G1 races currently on offer in Australia but that does not make the winner a champion. Remember Andy Warhol “… in the future everyone will be world- famous for fifteen minutes.”
Well what is a flop?
The simple test is that if the horse does not recover its sale price (or its market value if not put into the ring) it is a flop. Some may argue about residual value but that is conjecture.
In order to examine the issue further we examined the progeny of five mares of the 21st century. Their champion status cannot be questioned. They won the title of Australian or New Zealand horse of the year.The stake money earned by their progeny appears in the table below.
*Ethereal has been added to the list, she was runner-up to Sunline as Australian Horse of the Year. There can be no doubt she was a champion.
How do we interpret the results?.
The results hardly support the view that champion race mares throw champion progeny. A couple of the mares are still producers but the signs aren’t promising.The average of $27,000 per foal is very poor. It makes my own modest attempts of 19 named foals winning an average of $47,000 looking good. My mares cost less than $10,000. These progeny aren’t cheap. $1.3(NZ) would have bought you the Stravinsky-Sunline colt at the 2017 sales. Why do Champion Australian and NZ race mares fail to become Champion broodmares? We shall discuss this at a later date and make comments about why it is so..