This week HRNZ announced the outturn of the 2023-24 breeding season.  Not unexpectedly, the mares bred were down on the previous season by about 200 or 10.5%. for the HRNZ press release and the link to the numbers by stallion.

HRNZ was advised in October ‘23.

In September 2023 a very large number of breeders (70% of the previous year’s mares bred) took part in our Survey on what they were breeding last season.  We were very worried based on our feedback from the studs and breeders on what was happening, so we asked you.

The survey suggested that the mares bred would be down 12%!

The outturn looked so dire that on 10 October 2023 we wrote to HRNZ proposing an immediate $2,000 bonus was established: to be paid $1,000 on a 42-day test and the balance, less the registration fee, when the foal was registered. Maximum three mares per breeder in the scheme.

Our letter opened:

We said this proposed $2,000 bonus:

  • is targeted to the smaller breeder;
  • will signal to breeders HRNZ’s confidence in the sport;
  • is targeted at getting mares bred this year; and
  • will be a significant contributor to about 15 percent of the mares (270) being bred.

This proposal did not proceed due to hesitancy about whether the timing was too late and ‘budget’ considerations.  The latter despite HRNZ having almost $5m of reserves, possibly higher.  A budget $1.1 million was needed spread over two years.

NZSBA Advocacy

In late July ’23 we advocated for the extension by one further year of the $1,000 Breeding Incentive Scheme. We believed that the evidence from our May survey of breeders demonstrated clear evidence that the BIS contributed “a great deal” or “a lot” to 19% of breeders breeding a mare in 2022/23. About 250 mares.  Again, it seems that that evidence was correct, though subsequent the conventional wisdom of some at HRNZ was that BIS was a failure.

August 2023 the Board chose to end BIS honouring the prior commitment to the $3,000 extra mare bred component from 21/22.  On the recommendation of the then Racing Manager the Board announced the Entain funded $12,000 2YO bonus for this season and next ($750,000 pa), the F&M credit scheme ($300k) and the NZ bred stallion bonus ($300k), the latter being a waste of money in NZSBA’s view.

NZSBA has always promoted a mare’s credit scheme, across all races, as the best medium to long term breeding incentive.

For our former Executive Manager’s view

Where to Now?

NZSBA will still advocate for the full mare’s credit scheme, across all races when a mare finishes 1st, 2nd or 3rd.  Regularly, owners are asking me if the credit showing on Infohorse for their mare is available for breeding. It is exciting.  For some breeders the credit will not be important, for others it may tip them into breeding.

Through the Utilisation Reference Group we will be advocating for more F&M’s races.  The proposed national racing bureau will help ensure they are programmed. Currently trotting F&Ms are severely disadvantaged simply because they have negligible separate F&Ms races, nowhere near to 30% that trotting represents in our sport.

Rest assured NZSBA will continue its advocacy.

John Mooney

Executive Manager