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Thursday
Oct172013

THOROUGHBRED BREEDING AND RACING : GLOBAL TRENDS

Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing

“SUPPLY AND DEMAND”

There is a simple equation that explains most things in the world of economics: supply and demand. For a couple of years now, we’ve been urging our customers to “get in” on the broodmare market before it gets away, and recent evidence that the local foal crop, once close to 5000 a year, is now in the region of the lower 2000s, tells us we’re very near the “tipping” point.

History tells us South African racing needs at least 3000 foals a year to sustain its programme, and these figures suggest we’re woefully short. It also means that sooner or later, there’s bound to be upward pressure on prices for this reason alone, let alone improved financial conditions. Herein lies the opportunity. This morning, the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), reported that while there have been some notable areas of global growth in our industry, including prize money, there continue to be declines in others.

Breeding activity around the world has fallen dramatically in some areas - since the economic crisis. Over the last five years, the number of mares bred has dropped by 27% worldwide, with the number of foals born decreasing by 14% and the number of stallions covering mares declining by 11%. These trends do not seem to be abating. Double-digit declines in the number of mares bred (11%) and the number of stallions covering mares (12%) were recorded in 2012 as compared to 2011, with the number of foals born decreasing by 4% in that period.

Overall, the number of stallions covering mares worldwide is listed at 7,819, compared with 9,345 in 2010. In the United States, the world’s most active nation by breeding and racing activity, the number of stallions covering mares has declined by 23.2% just since 2010, with 643 fewer stallions listed in 2012 than two years earlier. The number of foals born globally dropped below 100,000 in 2012, with only 99,366 reported; in 2010, there were 108,288 foals born and in 2006, the IFHA reported that there were 121,828 foals born worldwide. Thus, the number of foals born has fallen by 18.4% over the past six years. “Declines from the largest breeding countries - most notably the United States, Australia and Argentina - have been a large factor, but this is not isolated to countries with bigger breeding populations,” said Andrew Chesser, IFHA deputy secretary general.

Among the best news in the IFHA annual report for participants in racing is that total prize money distributed across the globe has grown ever since hitting a low in 2007. In 2012, Chesser said the total surpassed 3 billion (over $4.06 billion) for the first time since the IFHA began keeping specific data in 2005. It’s fair to say the pool of prize money has never been larger and never been so diverse on a global scale,” he declared after noting that “many countries outside the top ten as ranked by number of races run saw a double-digit percentage increase in prize money, from 2011 to 2012. Those locales included Mauritius with a 41% jump; Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Oman, which all had increases of more than 20%; Serbia, Mexico and Bahrain, which reported growth between 14% and 16%, and Morocco, Brazil and Tunisia, with increases in purses between 10% and 13%.

Overall, Japan topped all nations in 2012 with total prize money offered of €766,485,906 (nearly $1.04 billion) for 16,717 races, with the U.S. second at €724,975,489 (about $983.3 million) spread over 44,929 races. The average purse per race in the U.S. of €16,136 ($21,885) was less than the average prize money reported in Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Macau, Qatar, Singapore and Turkey.

Races In Part I Countries in 2012

Nation Flat Races Graded Stakes Total Black-Type Races
USA 44,929 450 1,642
Australia 19,076 273 588
Japan 16,717 125 215
Great Britain 6,107 146 285
Argentina 5,607 155 220
Chile 4,821 63 95
France 4,368 110 235
Canada 4,294 42 203
Brazil 4,073 103 173
South Africa 3,833 121 198

Graded/Group Stakes Worldwide in 2013

Nation Graded / Group Stakes % of Total
USA 457 24.03
Australia 270 14.20
Argentina 161 8.46
Great Britain 147 7.73
Japan 124 6.52
South Africa 121 6.36
France 111 5.84
Brazil 104 5.47
New Zealand 80 4.21
Chile 63 3.31
Ireland 63 3.31

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