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Irish jumps breeders debate industry problems

A SERIES of talks between Irish National Hunt breeders have been held in the last fortnight to discuss the challenges facing their section of the industry.

The latest took place at Goffs this week, when the non-payment of stallion fees was on the agenda. If a covering fee isn't paid, the subsequent foal may be unable to be registered for racing or breeding purposes as a stud to which the money is owed can refuse to issue the necessary covering certificate.

Foal - Coolmore

"Some bills haven't been paid and at the same time trade is not good"

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

One stallion owner, John Kidd, whose Ballyash Stud in County Down stands the group winner Soapy Danger and Shirocco’s full-brother September Storm, said yesterday: "There is a bit of a crisis, some bills haven’t been paid and at the same time horse trade hasn’t been good."

But Kidd spoke of his concern that this could lead to a drop in the number of NH fillies in training.

He said: "I hopethat people are not going to stop registering filly foals. It would be a pity if people think a filly is not going to be worth anything in the future and not bother to register it because they don’t think it would be worth paying the stallion fee. It’s important to see these fillies racing.

"There are some very good female hurdlers and chasers in training in England and we need to aim to improve the race programme for mares and fillies in Ireland, as has happened there. Then fillies would be more appealing to trainers and buyers.

"The ITBA fillies’ scheme (which culminates in a bumper at the Punchestown Festival) will reap a lot of benefits. Previously we bred away without allowing the mares to prove themselves on the track."
Kidd also emphasised the growing belief that young National Hunt horses should be given more vigorous early training in the style of French-breds, who are currentlysuch a major force on the racetrack.

"Hopefully at the Doncaster Spring Sale (May 26-27),  Landrover Sale (June 9-10), Derby Sale (June 23-25) we will see three-year-olds broken and ready to go on," he said.

"The French horses are coming over to the UK and are six weeks off a run whereas some of ours are not even broken.  It's a big help to a trainer if they are saving three or four months work."

He added: "It’s a very good idea to have these meetings once or twice a year to discuss ideas, even in good times. A lot of the stallion men have a lifetime of experience in the industry and it’s good to hear what people have to say."




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