1st May 2012
An odd time of the year to be contemplating stallion fees but the fees drive the valuation and that decides what might be “in play” and so it is a subject which is never dormant. The recent announcements about southern hemisphere prices brings home the gradual shift in power to other places. That, and the steady rise in the international achievements of Japanese-breds racing abroad reminds us that success in the bloodstock industry involves major investment.
Once upon a time the European fee was double the Australian fee, leading us to grumble that we were subsidising the Australian industry with seed which would grow to fill the vacancies in our marketplaces in Hong Kong and Singapore. Now the industry in Australia is confident enough to have several six figure fees in evidence. There is a stallion in the Hunter Valley who is available to Northern Hemisphere breeders at a quarter of his Aussie six-figure fee – Lonhro. Fastnet Rock is advertised at €175,000 in Australia for 2012, not many contracts issued at that number in Tipperary. Exceed And Excel is half price in Europe.
It is not all one way. Darley will give you Bernardini at a 35% of his US fee if you fly your mare to Australia and Medaglia D’Oro and Hard Spun are cheaper down under too. So what do you think of So You Think at €52,000 or £43,000? That’s the special introductory offer in Coolmore Australia. An equivalent fee up here would make him the second dearest new horse to stud in the last three years in Europe. Tell somebody somewhere that prize money counts – it has taken time for the Australian industry to reap the fruits of a stronger financial structure but maybe it is happening now.
The deflation in stallion fees in Europe has made profitability more attainable but in the long run the quality of the product indicates the health of the industry. If we don’t attract the best stallions to these shores, they will find custom somewhere sunnier.