ASB forecasts 700 sires to cover 24,000 mares in 2011

Michael Ford, Keeper of the Australian Stud Book, reminds breeders that the official covering season for thoroughbreds commences September 1.

The progeny of any stallion covering mares prior to this date will be recorded as foals of the 2011 season rather than the 2012 season.  The progeny of any thoroughbreds produced artificially will not be accepted into the Australian Stud Book nor the Australian Non Thoroughbred Register.

Some 31,137 thoroughbred mares are active in Australia and there are 146 mares in the Non Thoroughbred Register, mares which have ancestors not returned to the Stud Book.

Ford expects 24,000 of these mares to be covered by 700 thoroughbred stallions, adding that the produce of Non Thoroughbred stallions have not been accepted since 1992.  To date, 640 stallions have been returned compared with 674 this time last year but late notifications are expected to push the total to 700.

Ten years ago in 2001, 1,135 stallions were listed for stud duties, and of those, 24% or 262 were from the Star Kingdom line, including 165 from Biscay’s branch of which 75 were Bletchingly descendants.

For 2011, there are only 35 descendants of Star Kingdom standing at stud, a loss of 22 from last year.  Of these, 35 descend from Biscay, the best being Show A Heart.

Ten years ago, there were 109 descendants of Danzig, 49 of which were by Danehill, his popularity growing year by year. For 2011, there are 232 sons, grandsons or great-grandsons of Danzig, the same as last year.

These include 188 Danehills: 86 his sons, 102 his grandsons: 37% of all stallions standing descend from Danzig including 30% from Danehill which had 26% last year.

Interestingly, while the Native Dancer line, which includes Mr. Prospector’s descendants had 91 on the roll in 2001 or 8%, for 2011 this line has decreased to 72 with an increased share of 11%.

The great Better Boy line now only has 10 representatives, all descendants of his son Century.  Gone also from ten years ago is the old staying line of Blandford, and the famous St. Simon line.

Finally, the influence of the 1935 Italian-born colossus Nearco continues to dominate.  Of the 640 stallions, 473 descend from him through his sons Royal Charger (Sir Tristram – Zabeel), Nasrullah (Bold Ruler, Grey Sovereign, Red God), and his dominating grandson Northern Dancer.

Nearco actually had 537 descendants in 2001, and they comprised 50% of all stallions at stud and this has now increased to 75.  Nearco is several generations removed from the current group of stallions which means the various branches which descend from him provide variability for the thousands of mares with Northern Dancer in their pedigrees.