In The NZ Breeding Barn…….Stallion News (as of 1/7/24)

Rob Courtney

The good news for trotting breeders is that Volstead the 1:51.3 son of Cantab Hall is again available throughout Australasia for the 24/25 breeding season albeit via frozen semen courtesy of Llowalong Farms in Victoria.

His progeny, especially his current 3yo crop, have been ‘on fire’ in Australia with 27 starters producing 15 winners of 27 races & $474k in prize money to date, putting him 5th on the 3yo sires table behind Sweet Lou, Art Major, American Ideal & Bettor’s Delight, just $25k behind the latter who has had 11 more starters.

Here in NZ, his standout performer has been the filly Empire City, now the winner of 7 from just 11 starts & $176k with much more in store one would think.

The bad news is that the 40 services made available to NZ breeders for 24/25 are all but taken already despite his service fee being more than 3x what it was when first available in this part of the world.

Its early July and certain protagonists are already firing their rosters and fees at prospective breeding for the upcoming season.

Alabar, one of the heavyweights in this field, have announced their service fees with a number of their stallions having reduced fees from what they were in the previous season.

Tactical Approach

‘Newbie’ & current US Trotter of the year Tactical Approach (by Tactical Landing) enters the NZ scene at $9000 + gst

Social media feedback suggests this move has been well received by breeders with comments around “no breeders, no industry” a common theme amongst the feedback. One hopes that ‘other forces’ in the harness racing industry come to terms with how important the breeder really is.

Llowalong Farm, with Dr Kath McIntosh as its driving force, has also been quick off the mark to announce their roster.

As well as having the southern hemisphere rights to Volstead, they also boast King Of The North, T1:50.3 & $1.3M (by Walner) in their roster.

Last season he served 74 mares in NZ alone and this was clearly the best total for any trotting stallion available to NZ breeders. What The Hill was 2nd with 52.

MacIntosh has been active on social media advertising a $100,000 cash payout to any owner(s) who wins the NZ Sires Stakes 2yo races (filly and/or colt) with progeny sired by King Of The North in the upcoming breeding season. The stud makes no secret of this incentive being clearly directed at trotting breeders.

King of the North

Fear The Dragon had his stocks positively reinforced at Addington recently when Aretha (from Zoetica/Art Major) duly obliged for Macca Lodge Ltd in a 2:00MR on a cold winter’s night. Fear The Diva (from

Divine Diva/Mach 3) made it a memorable result by running into 3rd in what was a very promising raceday debut.

With a variety of challenges along the way, studmaster Brent McIntyre hasn’t had the best of luck with the son of Dragon Again since his arrival in the 18/19 season and last season was very tough with only 3 mares visiting his court.

Fear The Dragon

Very surprising considering he was a top racehorse in a class that included Huntsville & Downbytheseaside. This year, until very recently, he was the leading 2yo sire in America based on money won and he has continued to leave a steady stream of quality horses in that country. Obadiah Dragon (2 wins) is arguably his best horse to date in this country.

The leading first season sire in Australia is Poster Boy and quite clearly. From a 2yo crop of 73, he has left 8 2yo winners of 13 races & $240k in stakes. The son of Somebeachsomewhere who won 22 of just 30 starts is out of an Artsplace mare (Aston Villa) and this represents the same cross that has produced boom sire Captaintrecherous.

Poster Boy attracted just 2 mares in NZ last season and at the fair stud fee of just under $5k, he would seem to represent good ‘value’.

Stay Hungry, another son of SBSW, is 2nd on that first season list followed by Captain Crunch.

Also of note is that colonial stallions The Storm Inside & Soho Tribeca who have been well patronised by local breeders, sit 4th & 6th respectively on that same list