Working for Irish Breeders

Plenty of Debate at ITBA’s Flat Seminar

Derby Festival at The Curragh Racecourse provided the ideal backdrop for a well-balanced and informative panel discussion last Friday afternoon as ITBA held its Flat Seminar – The Distance Debate.
06-July-23
Plenty of Debate at ITBA’s Flat Seminar

Derby Festival at The Curragh Racecourse provided the ideal backdrop for a well-balanced and informative panel discussion last Friday afternoon as ITBA held its Flat Seminar – The Distance Debate. The well attended Seminar boasted a stellar panel of Kevin Blake, Stuart Boman, Ado McGuinness, Jason Morris and John Oxx with ITBA Chairman Cathy Grassick taking on hosting duties.

The discussion entitled Sprinters, Stayers and everything in between set out to look at breeding for different distances to suit market demands and changes in trends over the past number of years together with looking ahead as to what the future of the sector might look like.

It opened with a look at recent research produced by Kevin Blake, which delves into the varying trends within the Flat breeding and racing sector and sets out to establish what the best breeding nations in the world are. Looking at horses rated 115+, Ireland firmly cements itself as a top breeding nation. On the back of Kevin's statistics however, his opinion is that Ireland is not breeding enough horses that will stay middle distances. He pointed to the fact that international markets (primarily Middle East, Australia) want horses that stay longer than a mile. Stuart Boman, Blandford Bloodstock discussed the Australian market in greater detail, confirming that he sees an increased demand for staying horses.

Champion trainer and Staffordstown Stud Director John Oxx was keen to point out that whilst speed is important, what we need is the balance noting that people can sometimes think that just because a horse runs over distance, they don’t have speed which is not the case. "Distance horses are still speedy horses. Carrying speed for longer is what we are trying to produce - the superior athletic specimen’’.

Group 1 winning trainer and IRTA Chairman Ado McGuinness highlighted that not all purchasers are in a position to seek out middle distance horses, noting that many would not be in business today as the wait is too long for that return on investment. To be more commercially viable a percentage of buyers will always be looking at that speedy 2YO.

The panel was in agreement that changing breeder behavior would not be straightforward and breeders must be confident that they will get results at the market place. Stallion owners, breeders and end users must be incentivised to change their behavior. Enhancing the successful median auction series and later Breeze Up Sales to shorten the cycle were just some of the suggestions put forward. HRI’s Director of Racing Jason Morris confirmed that more than just pattern changes are required and that by bringing in appropriately targeted and structured incentive schemes can change buying behavior.

Commenting on the Seminar, ITBA Chief Executive Una Tormey said: ‘’A huge thanks to The Curragh Racecourse for facilitating ITBA’s Flat Seminar and to our great panel for giving up their time ahead of a busy Derby Festival weekend. The discussion provided some valued insights into all matters pertaining to the current trends around breeding for markets demands. Those in attendance provided plenty of comments and questions throughout the afternoon and the debate was well balanced and informative. There were lots of food for thought and plenty of key items were discussed. I would encourage those who missed the event to watch it back via ITBA website’’

The Seminar can be viewed in full below or on our YouTube Channel.


To read Kevin Blake's full Stayers Project click here

May 27
2024
ITBA AGM
10-May-2024
ITBF’s biennial Conference, will soon be underway, hosted by Japan in 2024.
02-May-2024
The Annual General Meeting of ITBA takes place on Monday 27th May 2024, 4pm at ITBA HQ. This will be followed by an EGM.
29-Apr-2024
The ITBA are delighted to announce the appointment of Peter O’Reilly as the new Chief Executive of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association.
ITBA HQ, Greenhills, Kill, Kildare, Ireland. W91 FY62
+353 45 877 543