Opinions on the Cap: Headley Bell


Headley Bell | Mill Ridge photo

It appears there is a growing consensus with stallion farms in Central Kentucky on limiting their stallion's book to around 140 mares. As I mentioned before to T D Thornton, we wrote in the syndicate on Oscar Performance that we would limit his book to 140 mares and not breed Southern Hemisphere so we believe in this.

Yet, I also mentioned that I think it should be left up to the individual farms to make this decision rather than a directive from The Jockey Club. This country is based on free trade, and I personally do not buy into the idea that it is limiting the genetic pool. Who is an authority to suggest this and what great horses have they bred over generations? It appears that the inbreeding to Danzig in Australia has been successful and they will navigate the next cross that works. In Ireland, Coolmore has an abundance of Sadler's Wells but will manage to navigate the next great line without any industry mandate. They have a lot more at stake than anyone and I am going to bet on them.

Finally, I remind those who were not around in the '80's, when seasons to Northern Dancer were trading for $1 million and Mr. Prospector for $1 million and Nijinsky for $1 million and Seattle Slew for $1 million.. all NO GUARANTEE! You could only obtain no guarantee seasons at Matchmaker or Stallion Access, auction houses for seasons and shares or on the street. And then…we had the crash and everything was rewritten, based on the market.

This is an inexact sport/business and that is one of its greatest qualities…along with the horse.. and the land.. and the people…I think many stallion farms will choose to limit their book to 140 mares and promote this because that is what they believe. Breeders will choose to support them or not. I personally do not feel it right to dictate to Coolmore/Ashford or Wayne Hughes or whoever might choose that they should limit their book. The market will decide this in the end when breeders choose to support those farms and those horses. What might be the next directive.. that stud fees have gotten too high and we need to limit them?

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