With an average of about $7909 per yearling, 99 yearlings were sold during the 2017 Bathurst Yearling sale last 19th March.
This figure does not justify the investment and hard work done by the breeders for almost 2 years before the yearling sale. I have not seen any article (or even social media post) commenting on the results of the yearling sales. This article is dedicated to majority of horse breeders who share the same fate as we had.
Some highlights on the Bathurst Yearling Sale 2017:
Total bid for the 99 yearlings was $783,000
Out of these 99, 1 was a gelding, 47 were fillies, and 51 were colts.
Out of the $783k, $3k for gelding, $339k for fillies, and $441k for colts.
Stallion with most number of sired yearlings, Shoobees Place (11), Sportswriter (10)
Highest bids were the colts from Art Major.
Clarinda Park Horses’ “TEDDY” (Lot 45), a colt by Art Major and Edna Anne, was sold for the amount of $22,500, the 3rd highest bid on the sale.
In Photo: "TEDDY", a colt by Art Major x Edna Anne (1.55.4, $105,811, and a group 1 winner). Teddy was sold for $22,500 at Bathurst Yearling Sale 2017.
The highest bid on the day was for LOT 98, a colt by Art Major and Macrandra, for $26,000.
Is it just me or the figures above (and on the breakdown/results) are not figures horse breeders would want. Majority of the horse breeders were hit pretty hard with the results from the recent Sydney and Bathurst sale.
(i) SERVICE FEES: Service fee alone cost a lot. Getting your broodmare sired by a stallion is not cheap. Especially when they market the stallion to have "won this", "won that", "won here", "won there". In harness racing industry at the moment, for a whopping $25,000 for a service fee, you will get the attention of the buyers. Other than that, your future at the yearling sale is bleak at best. Based on the table provided, the average cost of buying a yearling at a yearling sale is about twice the service fee of the yearling’s sire.
(ii) REQUIRED FEES: If you are not in a stud farm nor know anything about horse breeding, you would cough up about $1000 to $2200 for fees such as insemination, foaling down, and weaning (depending on which stud farm you prefer to go).
(iii) AGISTMENT FEES (optional): If you don't have your own paddock, it would cost an additional $3000 to $4000 for agistment of the mare (and the foal). Again, the figure depends on the charges of the paddock owner.
(iv) YEARLING PREP (optional): And if you are going to hire people to handle and prepare your yearling for the yearling sale, it would cost $20-$40 per day. Ideally, 4 weeks.
With all the fees alone (excluding the service fee from the stallion), a breeder might be looking for about $4,560 upto $7,320 before the yearling sale. This does not include any veterinary fee if something unfortunate happens to the mare and foal.
Also, this does not include the stress and worry that comes with it. For about 2 years, you would be worrying what will happen to the horses. You would be asking questions such as "are they okay", "have they being fed well", "will they sell good", etc.
So no wonder that some people resort to different marketing scheme. Some breeders would relate the yearling to any possible horse winners out there. Some will come up with an "algorithm" to pair up a broodmare to stallion that will produce the best yearling. Without any proven methodology and scientific study, you might as well rely to a magic 8 ball.
It took me days to recover from the results we had at Sydney and Bathurst yearling sale. Upset is not the word to describe it. I was devastated.
The real winners on the yearling sales are not horse breeders, but the buyers who get a pretty good deal from the yearlings. For small-time breeders like us, we’ll be lucky to get a breakeven. With the kind of return of investment (ROI) like this, the question I have in mind, would there be a new generation of horse breeders after this generation?
For the copy of the yearling sale results at Bathurst, please click here.
For the photos taken by Clarinda Park Photography, you may view it in the Clarinda Park Horses Facebook Page/Album.