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Australian Stud Book expects 24,000 mares to have been covered in 2009

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Australian breeding activity down 10 per cent

AUSTRALIAN sires covered over 23,000 mares during the 2009 southern hemisphere breeding season, with breeding activity in the country looking set to be 10 per cent down on 2008.

Keeper of the Australian Stud Book Michael Ford said the reduction was not as severe as expected and was "heartening for the industry".

At January 20, 2010, there were 23,320 mares reported as being covered in the 2009 season by 710 stallions, compared with 26,480 in 2008, a drop of 12 per cent and below the 2007 equine influenza-affected total of 24,580.

Ford estimated that by the time late reports were filed, the final tally would be nearer 24,000 - 10 per cent less than in 2008.

Ford said: "Major yearling sales, both here and overseas, were down 30 per cent, and with my faith in the hardiness of Australian thoroughbred breeders, I thought that the number of coverings may decrease by 15 per cent, yet it looks like being less than 10 per cent."

The busiest sire in Australia in 2009 was Coolmore's Fastnet Rock, who covered 272 mares. Three other stallions covered books of over 200 mares: Bel Esprit at Eliza Park (251), Choisir at Coolmore (227) and Darley's Lonhro (212).

TEN BUSIEST SIRES IN AUSTRALIA 2009
 Stallion  Stud  Mares covered 2009
 Fastnet Rock  Coolmore  272
 Bel Esprit  Eliza Park  251
 Choisir  Coolmore  227
 Lonhro  Darley  212
 Northern Meteor  Widden  198
 Sebring  Widden  190
 Encosta De Lago  Coolmore  176
 Stratum  Widden  173
 God's Own  Eliza Park  168
 

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