Shuttle Service Worries 1995
Source: Harley Walden Archive
Featured Image: Collage of Australian Stud Books
Hypotheticals after 25 years:
- What is the situation today? How do we compare?
- Have we improved the breed?
Concerned Breeders have raised a petition to the Keeper of the Australian Stud Book calling for a restriction on the number of mares a stallion may cover in a southern hemisphere breeding season.
Breeders who sign the petition will ask the ASB Keeper, Dr John Digby, not to register the progeny of any stallion covering more than 85 mares in one Australian season.
The originator/s of the petition have not, at this point, publicly identified themselves, or the particular targets for the restrictions which are sought to come into effect from January 1, 1996.
Dr Digby is on leave, but is due to return to his Randwick office today.
But the ASB Keeper would be aware of the groundswell of concern involving prodigious stallion covers, and particularly dual hemisphere stallions serving upwards of 90 mares in both hemispheres.
He has assessed an early reaction from a good cross-section of the industry’s stud-masters, including a number of papers he has prepared on shuttle stallions and their perceived excessive annual coverings.
Dr Digby has also sounded the industry out on paper seeking debate on the continuing necessity of the ban on artificial insemination (AI), given the mushrooming shuttle stallion operation.
In a July (1995) discussion paper, Dr Digby noted: “It is ominous that the large scale use of dual hemisphere stallions is likely to produce exactly the result which we tried very hard to avoid by banning AI”.
He may not have on his desk today signed petitions from breeders supporting the 85-plus cover restriction during the three-month Australian breeding season.
Signatories to the petition notified the Keeper of “our concern with the unfettered use of stallions” in any one calendar year.
And “until, or unless, the scientific world is able to provide you and the Australian Thoroughbred industry with confirmation that (this practice) cannot have any detrimental effect of the genetic integrity of the Australian thoroughbred population” the 85-cover restriction should be enforced.
The restriction, the petition form goes on, should remain in force until a suitably qualified scientist appointed by the Keeper certifies that there can be no detrimental effect on the breed.
The Digby papers list some of the busier stallions in the northern hemisphere regions and in Australia for the 1995 calendar year, with the shuttles noted by an asterisk:
North America 1995
Temperance Hill 137
Cure the Blues 135
Phone Trick 128
West By West 119
Texas City 118
Septieme Ciel 105
Louisiana Slew 102
Sunday Silence 142
Jade Robbery 142
Toyn Bin 138
Hector Protector 138
Smackover Creek 129
Soccer Boy 118
Fuji Kiseki 118
Groom Dancer 116
Golden Pheasant 115
*Last Tycoon 107
Sakura Bakushio 106
Real Shadai 105
White Muzzle 101
Great Britain-Ireland 1995
*College Chapel 144
*Royal Academy 118
*Fairy King 110
*Grand Lodge 106
Sadler’s Wells 104
Celestial Dancer 116
Sports Works 107
Canadian Silver 103
Industry management will have to come to grips with the concerns of the petitioners, but economic factors will determine any future growth of the shuttle brigade – given that Australian-based horses are now reversing the one-time, one way traffic.
Among them is Segenhoe Stud’s Palace Music, back from a tour of duty in Japan, and only days away from what could be the biggest weekend of his career. (A 1990 foal, beginning in 1994 Cigar won sixteen consecutive races, tying the record set by Citation in 1949. His wins included the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup. The two-time American Horse of the Year retired the richest horse in the history of world Thoroughbred racing with earnings of US$9,999,815).