Robert Waley-Cohen: successful jumps breeder at Upton Viva StudPICTURE: racingpost.com/photos
Waley-Cohen warns on jumps filly foal problem
THERE has been a 40 per cent drop in the number of National Hunt broodmares being bred to in Britain and Ireland, and according to leading jumps owner-breeder Robert Waley-Cohen, it poses “serious implications for the sport” over the next five years.
Waley-Cohen may be best known as the owner of Long Run but he is a successful breeder at his Upton Viva Stud in Oxfordshire and acts as vice-chairman to Toby Balding on the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’s National Hunt Committee.
Speaking a day after the Racing Post revealed a substantial decline in the number of jumps-bred filly foals being registered, he called for an increase in the number of races staged for fillies and mares only.
He said: “The fact the number of [jumping] broodmares is down by 40 per cent in the last three years does have serious implications for the sport as a whole in four, five, even six years’ time. We have got to be very concerned about that.”
The concern is that there will not be enough horses produced to cater for the jumps fixture list.
“We have a problem coming and we’ve got to make fillies more valuable at auction. How do you do that? You create protected racing opportunities for them, so that there’s some reason for a trainer to go and buy them.
“We need more opportunities for filly-only bumpers and filly-only novice hurdles.
“How come the French are producing so many successful horses? Because they have a really good platform, so that if there’s a race for newcomers over fences, there’s one for geldings and one for fillies. And these races can be worth £22,000 to the winner. That makes it worthwhile to buy a filly.”