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Two yearling sales, two outstanding results.
Over the past month it was brilliant to see the demand for southern-bred thoroughbred and standardbred yearlings was still very strong at each code’s national yearling sales.
The recipe is appears simple.
Breed the mares with the right genetics to the right stallions on the most productive and fertile land in the country and the result will be outstanding horses.
A quick look at feature race results around Australasia — particularly in Victoria for the thoroughbreds — shows why there is demand for our yearlings in the sales ring.
The results have been outstanding and there is no other way to assess it.
But the wider question is why do other aspects of the industry not mirror the success of the sales ring?
Confidence within the ring is at its absolute peak compared to the rest of the game, which is ironic, considering the overall confidence in breeding horses is at what I would call an all-time low.
Anyone familiar with this column or who has any clue about racing will know what other areas of the industry are in a critical state.
Perhaps the bigger discussion point is how the success of the sales could be replicated, and how could it be used as a tool to leverage success in other aspects of racing.
One of the first things I have noticed is how inaccessible the sales are.
Both codes, in my opinion, do a poor job of bridging the gap between potential owners and the excitement and success of the sales.
How many punters or other racing fans who do not have direct contact or a prior relationship with a stable would know where to start?
I know it’s possible to ring a trainer or a buyer and inquire about a share in a purchase before or after the sale, but do those who are not closely connected to the industry know that?
The syndication market appears dead.
Harness racing had several highly successful syndicators who had great success and now they do not bother with it any more.
There are more options in the thoroughbred market, but compared to the size and scope of the industry the options are fairly minimal.
Of course, syndicators face something of a stigma — particularly overseas. There is a feeling that all they do is put huge mark-ups on their purchases and charge exorbitant management fees.
The reality is the opposite for those dealing directly with stables.
So why do the codes not have more involvement in directing people into horse ownership? What have either code’s regulatory bodies done recently to usher interested people into a share in a horse?
From my perspective, very little. And I do not count fluffy feel-good stories.
Yet the whole basis for the income of the industry is based on having betting product in the form of horses to race.
This is probably just yet another pipe dream for racing, but why not set up a hub for people to work through to own horses?
Why not have an industry or code-managed website listing opportunities or shares available in horses?
If people want a bet, they go to the TAB.
If they want a horse, give them somewhere to go.