Within a few years – if he still standing at all – Lazarus will be lucky to be pulling $4000 or $5000 a service, it he’s lucky.
That’s Club Menangle’s problem, and it is all of their own making.
Here is the industry’s problem.
The top breeders with the top-class mares who would have chanced their arm on Lazarus if he had fired off a circa 75 – 80% impregnation rate, are still going to send their mares to a top class stallion.
There are only five at present whose progeny generally attract sale prices of over $50 000 size-full Art Major, Bettors Delight, Betting Line, Sweet Lou and Captain Treacherous.
Only one these sires – Art Major – stands in Australia;the rest are frozen or chilled semen imports from New Zealand or the USA.
The truth of what I am telling you is evident by the fact that Art Major and Captain Treacherous already have full books this season (are sold out), and if Bettors Delight’s book is not closed yet, it soon will be. Betting Line and Sweet Lou aren’t far behind.
These sires are always popular, so this is no great surprise, but where the sting comes into the tiger’s tale is here.
All the less distinguished mares that would usually be spread out across domestic and/or imported sires in the lower service fee range – Tiger Tara, Vincent, Always Be Miki, the Rock n Roll’s, Tintin in America, etc – will now go to Lazarus, because the breeders only have to pay $2000 this year if their mare falls in foal, and can back end the rest of the payment until late next year.
In 2018 there were 1670 broodmares served by a stallion in NSW.
Only 1/3rd (approx 530) of these mares were served by NSW based sires
The remainder were inseminated with the chilled or frozen semen of a stallion from interstate or overseas.
(It may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with the harness breeding scene, but only 1 in 10 mares fell pregnant the old fashioned way, with a leg over. The rest were artificially inseminated).
The vast majority of those mares serviced by imported semen were matched with the leading sires detailed above. With the cloud hanging over Lazarus’ virility until we know definitively one way or the other whether he is a dud or just had stage fright last year, those mares still will.
At least half of them would have gone to Lazarus, so the only impact on number and stud masters dollars would have been at the top end.
Now however its going to be at the bottom.
Lazarus will still get a full book I reckon.
For $2000 bucks on a live foal guarantee and payment terms like these any owner of a non-top shelf mare would be mad not to send them. You don’t have to pay unless your girl gets pregnant, and if she does its only two grand for a baby by a stallion who would be a $10 000 shooter any of day of the week if only he could shoot straight.
It’s worth the punt, for if Lazarus comes good you’ve got a service to a top-liner that you would never otherwise be able to afford, or if you could you wouldn’t pay while the jury is still out, and it’s only cost you two lousy grand. I had that much on the Eels H2H on Saturday night (thank God it included extra time).
If you are short of coming up with the extra four or six thousand next September, you can always just negotiate to stretch out the payment terms for another 90 days, and then flog your weanling off at the early year auctions.
If Lazarus shoots at 70 or 80 percent you’ve got the bargain of the century.
If he doesn’t, and his poor strike rate on the root continues, then you still might get lucky by your mare copping a live round, and the laws of supply and demand will mean your foal will be worth a fortune.
And if you miss it costs you nothing, other than the ten or fifteen grand less service fee, agistment, feed, board, lodging, vets and all the other usual expenses, which really means that all you are missing out on is a few grand.
$2000 thrown up against a potential $50 000 windfall.
What would Jesus do?
Exactly the same thing that the NSW broodmare owners will do.
Try to raise Lazarus from the dead.
You know what that means don’t you?
The number of mares going to any other local sire is going to drop by 20 to 40 percent.
If Lazarus rises, a whole lot of other stallion owners are going to fall down and die.
And if he doesn’t they are going to as well, for who can afford to have their stud book slashed to ribbons in COVID-19 times like these?
This whole thing is a shambles, whichever way you look at it.
Club Menangle did this.
It should never have bought into Lazarus, or any stallion at all.
This is not going to end well, mark my words.
The club has a lot of explaining to do, I reckon.
To its members, to the breeder, to the industry, and to us all.
I will invite Club Menangle and APG chairman Robert Marshall to pen a response, and I will invite Mark Barton from Nutrien Equine Standardbred to do the same.
Watch this space.
Editor’s note – The calculations used in this article are approximates, and for the sake of ease and convenience based upon a 100 percent in-foal rate. We know and understand that this will never be the case, but it’s easier to use the assumption rather than scare off great salt of the earth trot people with an array of scientific calculations and numbers.