Is there a possible disaster looming for Australian racing? There has recently been a slow and steady decline in the thoroughbred horse population in Australia. This is potentially damaging for the Australian racing scene as thoroughbred horses have particular features that are sought after for endurance and speed.
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The problem at the center of this potential crisis is that the mare population in Australia has had stagnated fertility, with an average of only 67% over the past five seasons. Adding to this is the fact that there has been a noted decline in Australia’s national foal population. Since 2011, there have been 3610 less horses born than before this period. This all boils down to the worrying fact that fewer mares are getting pregnant, and that as a result we are seeing fewer foals born each year. This has the effect of less racehorses being trained and raced, thus jeopardizing the future of Australian horse racing.
It does not help that experts in the field are at a loss in terms of explaining the decrease in the thoroughbred population. Thoroughbred Breeders Australia has recently announced its support of the Thoroughbred Research and Development Levy, which gives bipartisan support to this vital research fund. This is a good start to help solve the problem, as it is reported that 99% of Australian breeders are asking for research and help so that they can breed more and better horses that will go on to perform well on the track. This levy will enable research to get off the ground and investigate the issue further. The institution of the levy is a big win for Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, as they have spent three years lobbying for such a levy and had government discard their pleas for such a levy, even when they stated how vital the thoroughbred industry is in Australia’s economy.
For all of us Aussie horse racing fanatics out there, we are hoping that the research that arises from the increased revenue from the levy will help to shed some light on this pressing issue so that we can begin to look for sustainable solutions. All we want is a healthy amount of new foals being born in each year to come, so that they can grow up to be successful racehorses on the track.
View from an anonymous contributor.
Category: Special interest