02/17/2013 5:29PM

British foal crop declines for fourth straight year


The size of the British foal crop declined for the fourth consecutive year, according to figures released Sunday by Weatherbys.

According to those figures, 4,366 foals were registered through the end of 2012, marking the lowest crop in two decades. Numbers are expected to rise slightly this spring after late returns are added.

The crop size represents a drop of 6 percent compared with the initial figure of 4,635 registered foals in 2011, mirroring the corresponding 6 percent drop in the number of active broodmares. New broodmare registrations in Britain declined by 5 percent from 2011 to 2012.

“From these key indicators of the British Thoroughbred industry we have worrying figures; a continuing decline in the number of active broodmares, new broodmares, and the foal population,” Weatherbys operations director Paul Greeves said.

“Obviously, this is a concern for the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and they are doing everything they can—notably [implementing] the British Owners and Breeders’ Incentive Scheme, or BOBIS—to try to ensure the British industry and British breeders get direct support.”

End-of-year foal registrations in Ireland endured a considerably more modest decline in 2012, dropping only .05 percent from 2011. As with Britain, those numbers will be revised once late registrations are counted. New broodmare registrations in Ireland rose 10 percent in 2012.

Although not an official industry calculation, statistics reported by Racing Post indicated that the number of foals born in Britain and abroad by British-domiciled mares in 2012 declined 4 percent from 2011, from 5,336 to 5,110. Racing Post reported the number of foals born in Ireland and abroad by Irish-domiciled mares in 2012 at 6,911, compared with 6,917 in 2011.