By Peter Wharton
Studmasters and industry players in Tasmania are optimistic that the 2020/21 breeding season will be a bumper one, despite the challenges facing the industry as a result of the pandemic.
The introduction of several proven stallions, fertile pastures from above-average rainfall, increases to Tasbred Bonuses and a projected rise in stake money levels are cited as the key factors behind the positive outlook.
Kerrie Hymers, the owner of Tourello Standardbreds, Sheffield in northern Tasmania, said she was expecting a “bumper year”.
“We had a lot of early rain and the forecast is for a follow-up with rain in the spring,” Kerrie said.
“Our pastures are already knee-high which is what we need for rearing quality young stock. We are able to run stock and still cut our own hay, something we were unable to do in Victoria.”
Tourello Standardbreds, who is gearing up for its second season in Tasmania, has six stallions on their roster. The lineup has been bolstered by the addition of the former NZ 3YO of the Year and now highly promising sire Lincoln Royal and the proven American imports Tell All and Dawn Ofa New Day.
The roster also includes NZ 2YO of the Year Smiling Shard, Metropolitan (sire of the winners of over $4 million) and Cam’s Fool.
Lincoln Royal, a son of Mach Three, has sired almost 70 winners and more than $1.5 million in stakes including the smart performers Rupert Of Lincoln, Vivere Damore, Sabreur, Linc’s Tiger and Lincoln Road.
A Little Brown Jug and North America Cup winner, Tell All’s progeny are headed up by the crack Victorian mare Tell Me Tales (1:49.3), Sams The Master and Animated, while Dawn Ofa New Day’s Australian progeny include the Group winners Vultan Tin, Royal Verdict, Argyle Red and Uncle Lile.
“We have a selection of well-performed stallions with pedigrees to match most mares. We support our local breeders with discounts and loyalty schemes for returning clientele,” Kerrie said.
Sue Streit, the studmaster of Elderslie Horse Care and Spelling, said that following a “slightly late start to the breeding season booking numbers have created some optimism.”
“A reasonably wet winter followed by a ‘normal’ spring is doing its bit to give people confidence. The price of grain has already dropped. The paddocks are looking great with more rain promised,” Sue said.
“Additional breeding bonuses and increased breeding incentives are obviously going to boost mare numbers as well.
“The possible problems with the availability of fresh chilled semen has caused people to think laterally, either using local stallions or considering frozen semen. So far there is no problem with transporting fresh chilled due to the stud’s changing their routines and the efforts of the Barnes’s.”
Elderslie Horse Care and Spelling, located on 160 acres at Elderslie on the fringe of Hobart, has stood a number of stallions including the multiple Tasmanian Sire of the Year Time Stands Still and brilliant local Mountain Glory since being established in 2010.
The farm currently plays host to the successful American imports Stonebridge Regal and Sutter Hanover and is a semen base for mainland and New Zealand stallions.
Stonebridge Regal, a 1:48 son of Artsplace, has a number of top-flight Tasmanian pacers among his 90 Australian bred credits. They include this year’s Tasmanian Derby winner Micton Mouse, Ark Breeze (Granny Smith), Karalta Dazzler, Finn Mac Kee and Altana Blue.
A 1:50.2 son of Dragon Again, Sutter Hanover, a major Stake winner at two and three in America, ranks as the sire of the Bandbox and Tasmanian 3YO Filly Championship winner Still Hungover, the New Norfolk and Burnie Cup winner Fortino, and other good sorts in Sutter Man and Belliciouslips.
Sutter Hanover is now an emerging broodmare sire with the top WA three-year-old Major Martini and promising local youngster Watchmylips among his credits.
Faithful Park Stud, a 60 acre breeding and training establishment conducted by Melissa Maine and Gareth Rattray, of Latrobe, near Devonport, is also very positive about the breeding scene in Tasmania.
“The number of mares we are breeding this season is up on last year. I think the Breeder Bonuses and the reintroduction of the yearling sale have been the reasons behind the increased numbers,” Melissa said.
The Thirlstane Stud, Cressy, of one of Tasmania’s leading studmasters, Geoff Madden, has reopened after a 12-month hiatus.
Geoff stated that he was reopening the farm to keep faith with past clients.
“The Tasbred Breeder Bonuses give owners a chance to win some money and reinvest in breeding a foal. It has been the saviour of the breeding industry in Tasmania,” he said.