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The Demise Of The Small Breeder

Harness & Greyhounds
JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
Bit of a read, and it is orientated towards the Thoroughbred Industry, but it says everything that needs to be said about the decline of the "hobby breeders" and the effect it is having on the Industry. Those who promote the fallacious "Grow The Industry By Shrinking The Footprint" narrative should read this and then clean out their desks. They have mismanaged the industry to a future that is a microcosm of the past. It mirrors what is happening in NZ and mirrors what has happened in WA in particular and Australia in general. The big picture of Harness racing has been lost in the drive towards racing being for the exclusive few.




+1 -1

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Comments

  • savethegamesavethegame    2,857 posts
    Small time Breeders need alot luck and some.

    ,With old statement "breed the best to the best and hope for the best".

    There have been real lucky players like Ed. Dewar who purchased Remit who payed who own way with descendants resulting in. over 885 winners.
    One Brilliant broodmare does put you in the drivers seat. with options.

    The Lewis family just prior to coming to W.A 76? had the Australian broodmare of the year Lulu's Gem no doubt helped the family with all winners she produced --Inters winner Carclew, & there kick-start horse W.A. Pallaton.

    Numbers allow the. big breeders to camouflage the pain associated with breeding. .

  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    Volume of foals bred by big breeders remains pretty constant, it is the dozens and dozens, make that 100's of mares in back paddocks throughout the agricultural regions that we have lost. Name a past country centre and immediately, some names spring to mind. Merredin, Bill Whitfield, Kellerberrin the Tillers, Groves etc, Trayning Mourbey, Clausen, Mulcahy, Cunderdin Coleman, Quinn, Baxter, Dave Reid at Capel, Brian Cross at Collie, Giblett and Brookes in the Blackwood, Wards and Riseborough at Wagin, Majors, Cowchers at Williams......and that is literally just scratching the surface. Creating a list of all the champions and top liners that emerged from "backyard" hobbyists and farmers in the regions would take forever.

    The policy of rationalisation has been, and will remain, the most devastating of decisions ever undertaken and the micro industry it has created is now falling down around the feet of generations of failed administrators, both past and present.

    warrenrobinson, LightningJake likes this post.

  • warrenrobinsonwarrenrobinson    114 posts
    The most foals born in WA was back in 1977- 1387, 1996-800, 2007-550,2017-400 current figures around 350.

    Vincent_vega likes this post.

  • warrenrobinsonwarrenrobinson    114 posts
    Now that's what you call a demise.
  • getthechangegetthechange    321 posts
    I agree that reducing meetings and as a result reducing the footprint of the industry will have and has had a negative impact it nevertheless seems a stretch to imply that the industry participants mentioned have stopped breeding or being involved because of "devastating decisions made by generations of failed administrators".
    Warren comments that we had 1387 foals born in 1977 - there weren`t many big stud farms in 1977 and most of the foals were by colonial bred sires that had been good racehorses but the scene was changing with the influx of US stallions. Whilst there were some verry good horses sired by colonial sires the likes of USA sires like Captain Hook and Racy Prince were the fore runners to what is now predominantly a breeding industry dominated by US sires. Horses like Bill Whitfields  Express Adios stood at reasonable service fees and were sought after but now a good colonial race horse like him receives little patronage. Service fees kept getting and keep, getting higher and the progeny getting faster and faster resulted in many deciding not to keep breeding when the returns from their horses didnt justify breeding another horse(IMO)
    Many many yerars ago I was told by Harness racing form tipster and radio tipster John Sullivan that in his day if you had a horse that on four metro stake races you could buy a house and land.
    About that time I had won a metro race and could buy a Ford Falcon - now the winning stake money for a metro race buys a new sulky with wheels
    times change -  there is no daily news - no Sunday Independent - no Sports Action - No Sports Review - no newspaper boys - theres no horse pulling the breadcart or ,milk cart  - there are no bread or milk deliveries - feed costs more - shoeing costs more - breeding a horse costs more - fuel costs more -  farmers hav  quad bikes not horses - gallops and trots were the only place you could have a bet - cant remember what order but competition came when the casino opened and  greyhounds started .-- futher competition with Sports betting - = tour de france - cricket - afl etc etc  all have added competeition for the beting dollar for the iindustry in a society that isnt horse minded and is more and more anti horse racing and more likely to bet on a sport of theiir choice
    industry administrators do what they think is best but their task is unenviable  and whether or not changes have been successful is hard to tell
    mobile or standing starts
    country trots used to start at 7:15 to 7:30 so workers could get to the meetings
    then they started earlier because the tab closed at 8:45
    saturday used to get people on course but GP changed to Friday for turnover
    perhaps they should have stopped Us stallions from standing
    perhaps they should have stopped NZ imports

    perhaps society attitudes to horse racing has resulted in less wagering and there is nothing that can reverse the effects







    Pinballwizard, Markovina likes this post.

  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    Yes, a lot of that is indisputably true.....a domino effect of a changing of society, and  of attitudes, it cannot be denied.

    In the 1970's (and I know  it is a matter of scale and perspective), I think there were actually some fairly big stud farms.....Weirs had Adios Stud, Porters had Leyoro and Gallantry, Jane Brook Stud, Steers, Princess Anna Stud, Jurien Bay Pastoral Company...... a mix of colonial, NZ and imported USA blood....Highland Laird, Jidaluk, Dorman Creed, Benghazi Hanover, Renaud, Halwes, Waitaki Elect, Jackavin.....and of course then came Racy Prince, Captain Hook etc as things ramped up to compliment all the hobbyist and farm based operations (Admiral Way, Express Adios and company). Certainly a peak was hit with Summerfield and Lombo but once Artificial Insemination took over, the requirement to physically stand a stallion in WA disappeared and although the 80's saw increased number of yearlings offered (over 200 as a base for many sales in the 1980's), the number of actual stallions in WA has headed south. I don't know what the actual numbers are but I would guess at maybe 15 registered stallions in WA???

    So, it could be argued that one of the worst decisions that belted a lot of nails into the coffin of  local breeding industries was the approval of artifcial insemination, frozen semen in particular. SA has almost zero breeding industry and Tasmania and Queensland are not much better in spite of millions and millions of dollars being thrown at  schemes similar to the Westbred deal we have in WA. I think A.I. and surrogacy are still banned in thoroughbreds.

    It could also be strongly argued that the mobile barrier and the subsequent demise of 'real" handicapping was also an industry killer, yet another instance of following USA trends which hasn't been fruitful....but of course, "progress" as such can't be stopped in spite of awful outcomes. Think failed trends in food, education, civics and becoming the 53rd state of the Union (tongue in cheek but you get my drift)

  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    Not sure what year you bought your Falcon.

    In 1966, a new XR Ford Falcon Auto was $2446. The Free For All had a stake of $1400 with a $1,000 to the winner and the 2.21 races were worth $1250 with $880 to the winner, so 3 city wins for the new Falcon.

    In 1975, a Ford falcon 500 XB Auto cost $5,655, the FFA had a stake of $3,400 with $2,040 to the winner and the 2.21 races were worth $2,600 with $1,560 to the winner. So 3 and a half city wins for the new Falcon.

    In 1985, RRP for a EF GL Auto was $14,915, the FFA stake was up to $10,000 with $6,000 to the winner and the 2.21 was $7,400 with $4,400 to the winner, so still around 3.5 city wins required.
  • warrenrobinsonwarrenrobinson    114 posts
    The one thing i do know is that not one Key Performance Indicator has gained a tick over the last 45 years(unless someone  knows one) please post one).

    JimmyPop likes this post.

  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    There is one indicator that is the most disturbing of all. Harness market share.

    Given all of the above factors concerning the casino, phone betting, public attitudes, no horse pulling the bread cart, farmers with quad bikes etc etc, none of which can be denied, the stand out figure highlighting the demise of harness is the overall market share of turnover.

    Of those punters that still bet on racing of all codes, harness's share at around 10% of overall turnover, down from 40% to 50% in the last 50 years, is the most telling figure of all. And multiple decisions made by administrators, at both a state and national level, have placed the Industry in it's current parlous condition.

    warrenrobinson likes this post.

  • savethegamesavethegame    2,857 posts
    Harness was the fastest growing sport 60s and was grave concern to the galloping code.,this night sport which could involve the whole family.
    It never capitalised on the Golden years, early eighties the warning signs were surfacing way too many tracks that raced under the non-tab banner, funded by the tracks that were TAB. so the downward spiral began.
    Remove all underserables with life time bans never took place, so the genuine without fan fare or fuss just walked
    ,Hong Kong model with jail time a option . gives the punters and the industry credibility and confidence to bet on the product. .

    TimmyBee, JimmyPop likes this post.

  • Vincent_vegaVincent_vega    511 posts
    edited July 7
    JayJay said:

    There is one indicator that is the most disturbing of all. Harness market share.

    Given all of the above factors concerning the casino, phone betting, public attitudes, no horse pulling the bread cart, farmers with quad bikes etc etc, none of which can be denied, the stand out figure highlighting the demise of harness is the overall market share of turnover.

    Of those punters that still bet on racing of all codes, harness's share at around 10% of overall turnover, down from 40% to 50% in the last 50 years, is the most telling figure of all. And multiple decisions made by administrators, at both a state and national level, have placed the Industry in it's current parlous condition.



    To many short price favs, and participants not wanting to serve it up to the favs creates a boring sport so market share will keep on declining. Everyone all so happy to run 4th and 5th so let the fav go to the front and run a merry race without and resistance. The results are a fait accompli in about 80% of races. Thats why nobody is interested in betting on it.

    oldhendo, JimmyPop likes this post.

  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    Whilst inputting stuff into the growing monster (my data base), came across the following from 1986/87 season.

    Western Australia:
    Licensed drivers   952
    Licensed Trainers  1395
    Registered Stallions  135
    Recorded Services   1688
    Recorded Foalings  1082
    Named Horses   836

    And that wasn't even when the Industry was at its peak.

    2022/23 Season : (from RWWA Status Report
    Licensed drivers 44
    Licensed Trainer/Drivers 218
    Licensed Trainers 168
    Registered Stallions  18
    Recorded Foalings  336
  • Chopchop43Chopchop43    172 posts

    JayJay said:

    There is one indicator that is the most disturbing of all. Harness market share.

    Given all of the above factors concerning the casino, phone betting, public attitudes, no horse pulling the bread cart, farmers with quad bikes etc etc, none of which can be denied, the stand out figure highlighting the demise of harness is the overall market share of turnover.

    Of those punters that still bet on racing of all codes, harness's share at around 10% of overall turnover, down from 40% to 50% in the last 50 years, is the most telling figure of all. And multiple decisions made by administrators, at both a state and national level, have placed the Industry in it's current parlous condition.



    To many short price favs, and participants not wanting to serve it up to the favs creates a boring sport so market share will keep on declining. Everyone all so happy to run 4th and 5th so let the fav go to the front and run a merry race without and resistance. The results are a fait accompli in about 80% of races. Thats why nobody is interested in betting on it.

    This might seem a bit selfish but as an owner/trainer if I sit down and do my form and come to the understanding that my horse has no conceivable chance of beating the odds on favourite, why would I even consider taking it on ?? A) every chance I cost myself earning b) every chance I don't have a horse for the following week. I know the sport is all about turn over to succeed, but the cost of getting the animals to the race track is only getting higher as an owner/trainer ,and I can't speak for overs in my position , but I will always look after my interest over that of the betting public

    Offthebit, LightningJake likes this post.

  • Vincent_vegaVincent_vega    511 posts
    edited July 7
    Each to their own, you pay the bills so thats your call and rightly so.
    I dont have any pacers anymore but i was more than happy for one of mine to light it up and put yourself in the race and make presence felt. Running 4th or dead last meant nothing in my book. I wanted to go out swinging and be exciting.
  • sonnysonny    1,136 posts
    Yes , You are right Chop ,but if it was a race that was worth a lot to the winner you may change your mind...

    Gilgamesh likes this post.

  • savethegamesavethegame    2,857 posts
    Back when you had to win three to get to qualifying stakes and the next class was 2.21.
    .
    Decision making time for small stables that could run regularly in the money, re Qualies and back them for place.They knew if they were to win. Then 2.21 front, win was a bridge to far for some of there horses, and running places would be very irregular.

    Seemed to be a Fremantle thing Poyser, Johnson, Sheedy would all shoot for the rails behind the leader just to run a ticker--they all had a horse for next week mindset. from a stand the starts were everything .
  • sonnysonny    1,136 posts
    Hi Save the Game,  The pools held a lot more then and Bookies would take 1/4 e/w then..  Different now..

    savethegame likes this post.

  • Chopchop43Chopchop43    172 posts
    Well I mean I did have one particular horse that raced in a derby and a nugget and both races he drew terrible, not to mention if he didn't lead he didn't try so we looked after he both times, it really doesn't change my perspective on having them driven to suit
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    2,975 posts
    Pretty interesting thread which ive just got around to reading , highlighted by GTC post , the old milk and bread in the 60s delivered by horse and cart , i had a paper run on the push bike for a couple of years their , and not every morning , but a free newspaper got me one of those yeast buns , quite a treat at 6.30 am in the morning  !!

    The bottom line re WA Trots , yes there could be more pride and enthusiam by certain administrators in the product , however anyone on this forum who thinks they can materially increase the turnover on WA Trots then they get a Gold Medal and a Statue , because no Trotting Administrator Aust Wide can do that at present , basically because of the reasons GTC outlined , so much more competitive market for the gambling dollar , look at all the bet types on AFL Football , and the Syd Metro gallops , say Randwick , you can bet in the run , during the race 

    Pretty chilling words from the Vic Govt , no more govt handouts , and youve got to stand on your own 2 feet , The new i think his title is Chairman of Vic Harness Racing he said multiple people have said to him , why dont we go back to the Showgrounds or Moonee Valley where they got crowds 

    However as M Radley said , no one has got the magic bullet as to how to increase turnover 
  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    2,883 posts
    edited July 11



  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts

    This was an announcement from May from HRV:

    “These changes will also bring operational raceday savings, as
    Harness Racing Victoria continues to prioritise reducing costs while
    maximising revenue through wagering.” 

    New features of the proposed calendar include: 

    • Consistent night racing at Shepparton (Tuesday), Bendigo
      (Wednesday), Ballarat and Kilmore (share Thursdays),
      Melton/Geelong/regional cups (share Fridays), Melton/major cups (share
      Saturdays) and Cranbourne (Sunday). 
    • Regular racing on Wednesday afternoons at Maryborough or Charlton. 
    • Regular Friday afternoon racing at Mildura to enable earlier travel
      for participants and horses, and provide a strong lead into night
      meetings at Melton/Geelong/regional cups. 
    • An increase in race meetings in locations where a larger percentage of participants and horses are located. 

    Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association president Anthony Butt
    welcomed the focus on maximising returns to participants through
    prioritising wagering activity. 

    “The bottom line is we have to try and increase turnover to survive
    and having the most races at tracks with full fields is crucial to
    that,” Butt said. 

    “We’re pleased no clubs are being closed down, some will have less
    meetings, but the sport needs to have the most racing on the tracks
    where most of the horses are and people like to punt. 

    “Regular racing at tracks like Melton, Bendigo, Shepparton, Ballarat,
    Cranbourne and Kilmore gives trainers and drivers certainty about where
    and when racing will be on, and a lot of trainers live in those
    areas.”

  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    2,883 posts
    Adam Hamilton posted this on twitter re the above JayJay:

    "Some early positive signs during challenging times for Victorian Harness. HRV has tinkered with race scheduling and calendar. Turnover last week was the second biggest of the year, behind only Hunter Cup/GSS weel (Feb 3). Baby steps but encouraging."

    It will be interesting to see if the improvement is maintained.

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  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    Yes, I posted the above after briefly seeing your first post re Hamilton Chariots.....it appeared in a strange format and appeared outside of the content box and then disappeared altogether as "edited".

    It seems that HRV obtain and share Turnover Data without the long delays and non publishing mindset that occurs with RWWA. Any signs of growth is good but Victoria coming off a pretty low base. Locking in regular days for tracks is a good thing I believe but handicapping (and reducing the preponderance of $1.20 favourites) in my mind is the key to reconnecting with regular punters.

    JimmyPop likes this post.

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