Moroney senses opportunity for New Zealand breeding industry

Bloodstock agent Paul Moroney. Photo credit: Trish Dunell

Despite some tough times in the New Zealand thoroughbred breeding and racing industry at present, experienced bloodstock agent Paul Moroney believes there are opportunities out there that can be capitalised on.

Moroney has been busy during this year’s edition of the National Yearling Sale with eight yearlings purchased during the Book 1 session of the sale along with a further three to date from Book 2.

He has been impressed with the quality of individuals he has seen at this year’s sale, making particular comparison with what he perceived as a less than convincing catalogue at the recent Magic Millions Sale on the Gold Coast.

“Having been to the Magic Millions sale this year, personally I thought the quality was down a lot there,” he said.

“I think the problems they have had with drought there in certain areas shone through. There were a lot of horses that were nowhere near as well-grown as in the past and lacked top-line, lacked bone.

“Here in New Zealand they have had a great year to grow horses, they have been naturally grown and the problems have been far less. That means a better stature and constitution.

“With the drought having lasted a long time in Australia it is also the foals at foot and even potentially the ones that are being carried by mares at the moment that are affected.

“It could mean a three-crop advantage for New Zealand to get some of the lost ground back, which could be a real advantage for us.

“I could be wrong as it is just a hunch I have, but I think there could be some Australian trainers who haven’t been here who could rue that decision.”

Moroney believes the Book 1 session of the sale was strong and stood up well under the current economic conditions, however, he cautioned that the breeding industry was facing some rapidly approaching challenges with both the local stallion and broodmare markets.

“The main sale had a lot of really nice horses and was quite strong,” he said.

“Leading into the sale there seemed to be a lack of buyers on the showgrounds, but it did pick-up, although the clearance rate and aggregates were slightly down.

“I think some people who didn’t come might be kicking themselves as the New Zealand horses fly wherever they are around the world and there was a really nice lot of athletic horses here.

“They might have lacked the really top-end horses and that showed. The competition was high on the fewer ones that really stood out but across the board it was a wonderful sale and especially for Waikato Stud.

“They had a nice line-up of horses from a stallion (Savabeel) that is really well-received.”

Moroney was happy to see the increased number of New Zealand trainers active during Book 1 although he is keen to see breeders in New Zealand upgrade both their stallion selections and broodmare bands to ensure they continue to attract a powerful international buying bench to the sale.

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“Potentially some of the broodmare families are getting a little long in the tooth. It would be great to see an injection of new blood,” he said.

“It has been a little sticky for some vendors and it has become a real buyers market this year.

“Sometimes the buyers have to get a win and that might have been this year.

“A lot of those sold are being retained in New Zealand, which we need badly for our racing.

“A lack of numbers could really hit us hard as the foal crop is down and more are being sold overseas.

“With the New Zealanders being able to buy this year it might be a godsend for our racing and give us a chance to get some more New Zealand-trained horses out there, especially competing in Australia.

“It seems to have come down to a two or three stallion sale as far as New Zealand-based stallions are concerned and we badly need some new sires coming through.

“It is a rebuilding stage for the Industry and we are lucky to have people like the Lindsays coming through who are prepared to put their money up.

“Savabeel is considered to be a classic type but he has also thrown speed and that is a good thing as speed and middle-distance stamina meets the requirements of people. If we had another half-a-dozen of those it would be wonderful.

“It is very difficult to compete on the international market for that type of stallion so I would like to see our breeders pool their resources and get two or three more of those good European classic horses as they have worked in the past from day one in New Zealand.”