Jumps stallion owner Sean Kinsella says "filly has become a dirty word"PICTURE: Edward Whitaker
It's official - jumps filly foal registrations down
CLAIMS that there has been a significant reduction in the number of National Hunt-bred filly foals being registered has received official endorsement.
The 2010 Return Of Mares shows a heavy bias towards colt registrations for some of the major jump stallions, prompting Shade Oak Stud owner Peter Hockenhull to argue recently: “This is not something we can sweep under the carpet, it needs addressing. Statistically you have a 50-50 chance of having a colt or filly, yet for a lot of these stallions they are having a far higher percentage of colts registered.”
Now his concerns have been backed up. Last year there were 1,285 filly foals registered in Britain and Ireland as being intended for a jumps career, or 21.71 per cent of the overall filly population. Those figures mark a steady decline in jumps-registered filly foals over the last five years. In 2009, there were 1,848 British and Irish filly foals registered as jumps bred (24.39 per cent of the filly foal population), whereas in 2006 the figure was as high as 2,701 (30.38 per cent of filly foals).
“The figures basically back up what Peter Hockenhull has been saying,but it is difficult for us to try to put the definitive answer in terms of why it is that fewer fillies are being produced
for the National Hunt market,” said Weatherbys executive director Paul Greeves, although he did suggest that the longer-term, more costly nature of raising jumps horses for sale meant that some breeders may have cut back in the current climate.
There has also been a drop in the British and Irish crop of colt foals bred for jumping, falling to 1,515 last year (23.92 per cent of colt foals born) from 2,893 in 2006 (33.63 per cent of colt foals).
But in the last five years the number of jumping-bred filly foals in Ireland alone has fallen to 989 (27.51 per cent of filly foals)last year from 2,893 (33.64 per cent) in 2006.
Knockhouse Stud owner Sean Kinsella, who stands top jumps sire Beneficial, told the Racing Post about his concerns over the fall in NH filly foals last month, saying: “People don’t want fillies now – filly is a dirty word. I had a half-sister to a black type-placed horse who was given to me; the breeder hadn’t bothered to pay the stud fee and register her.
“A lot of good fillies are going to slip through the system. I think it’s shortsighted – they’ll register a crooked colt foal. I sold a filly for €500 and I got €5,000 for her brother. People should register them, mind them, and they’ll be worth something to someone.
The wastage of jumps-bred fillies also raises a welfare question, Kinsella said. “If people register them they look after them; if they don’t, perhaps they won’t be feeding them.”