01/21/2010 12:00AM

Australian breeding figure down


The Australian breeding industry saw a 12-percent decline in number of mares bred in 2009, according to figures released Jan. 21 by the Keeper of the Australian Stud Book, Michael Ford. But Australia's busiest sire, Coolmore stallion Fastnet Rock, covered 272 mares for a new Australian record.

The previous record, set in 2007, was 265 mares for Eliza Park stallion Bel Esprit.

Breeding reports filed by Jan. 20, 2010, show that 710 stallions covered 23,320 mares in 2009.

Ford said he had expected the number of mares bred to decrease by 15 percent after a downturn in the global yearling market, traditionally the target for most commercially bred stock. He added that the stud book is still waiting for late mares-bred reports that he expects to bring the total to 24,000 for a decrease of only 9 percent from last year's 26,480.

In a statement accompanying the 2009 breeding statistics, Ford called them "heartening for the industry."

The rest of Australia's top 10 sires by mares bred in 2009 are Bel Esprit at Eliza Park with 251, Choisir at Coolmore with 227, Lonhro at Darley with 212, Northern Meteor at Widden Park with 198, Sebring at Widden Park with 190, Encosta de Lago at Coolmore with 176, Hidden Dragon at Lyndhurst and Stratum at Widden Park with 173, and God's Own at Eliza Park with 168.