The overproducetion of young thoroughbreds is a major problem in the bloodstock world, with the supply of fledgling racehorses far exceeding demand. John Lynam, a bloodstock economist who has advised a number of studs and racing authorities over the past 25 years, believes the problem is two fold.
“At the bottom end, substandard foals with poor pedigrees are being bred. But overproduction is just as big a problem at the top level through sending a mare to a £25,000 stallion, when she doesn’t warrant that nomination. Breeders doing that are setting themselves up for a big loss,” he explains.
While overproduction has been taking place for years, changes to the format of the industry’s sales last year have highlighted the problem, with results in the sales ring taking a significant down turn.
However, Lynam claims that breeders can take some simply measures to try and ensure their yearlings are of sufficient quality that they receive interest when they reach the sale ring.
“Concentrate on producing an athletic-looking yearling,” he advises. “That’s the one type of animal that’s easy to sell, so get to know about conformation.
“Compile a list, first of a stallion that physically suits your mare. Second, look at pedigree and temperament, then finally choose the most commercial stallion of those left on your list. Your first priority has to be producing an athletic, fit horse.
“Breeders are working backwards at the moment, picking the commercial stallion first. There are some people who must have something by each of the sexy stallions, then try to fit that with their mares.
“It’s only the top 20% of a stallion’s crop that makes money, so you have to get a good-looking horse to get into that 20%. There isn’t much demand for a crooked yearling by a sexy stallion,” he warns.