Thoroughbred breeders turned out in huge numbers for a discussion on jump racing in The Lord Bagenal Hotel in Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow last week.
The two main topics on the night were the increased influence of French-bred horses in Irish racing and the need to change the Irish racing programme so that it resembles the French system which gets horses broken-in and racing at an earlier age.
Organised by the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, the talk featured contributions from panellists Peter Molony (Rathmore Stud and Goffs), bloodstock agents Anthony Bromley and Bertrand le Metayer, vendor Walter Connors, Richard Pugh of Tattersalls Ireland and p2p.ie, and Charles O’Neill of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing.
Molony urged breeders to look at their own mares and decide whether they are commercially viable.
“I’m going to say it again, you need to look at your mare, if she is not good enough to be commercial, unless you’re doing it for a hobby, you shouldn’t be breeding from her,” he said.
“The mare is everything and I think that is where the French have a huge advantage because they have generations of mares who have raced. They are breeding from sound stock. We’ve bred from too many unraced mares over the years, but this is changing.
“People will come back to me and say we can’t afford to buy the Quevegas, the Annie Powers and the Honeysuckles, but there are so many more of these race mares coming on the market now, because there is more and more of them racing every year, and they are actually becoming more and more affordable.
“If you look at some of the mares’ sales this year, there were a lot of top-class race mares, who were actually very buyable. You could buy a bumper-winning mare, who is a half-sister to a blacktype horse. People need to look at what you’re breeding from. Subsidies are always asked for but, I said it back in the noughties, people want to be paid to get off a sinking ship, surely you should just step off it.”