Apr 20

Melbourne Cup imports mostly leave owners out of pocket

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More than half of the European horses racing in Australia leave their owners out of pocket and their success at group 1 level has stalled in recent seasons, according to the results of a recent study obtained by Fairfax Media.

As a record 11 internationally trained horses prepare to line up in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup – many bought by local interests to target the race – the new figures reveal 57 per cent of imported European horses earn less than $50,000 in prizemoney once racing in Australia. Eight per cent do not earn any prizemoney at all.

The $50,000 figure is the industry-agreed estimate for quarantine, shipping the horse to Australia and subsidising its first racing preparation. That figure does not include any purchase price.

The study reveals 39 per cent of imports fail to win more than $30,000, the minimum cost for the horse to travel, leaving owners counting their losses without taking into account purchase price.

The rush to win Australian riches, in particular the Melbourne Cup, has driven the number of European imports flooding the Australian market from 29 in 2008-09 to 128 in 2013-14.

Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock’s Darren Dance, who has Seismos in this year’s renewal, has been one of the more successful importers of late through the deeds of money-spinners Dandino and Jakkalberry. But even he concedes most purchases would run at a loss as the squeeze has been applied on the market in recent years.

“I would think the majority of horses are going to lose, much like the rest of the industry,” he said. “Most horses cost money but it’s your hobby. Apart from the travel costs, you’re looking at about $70,000 to $80,000 in fees for noms and acceptances. You can spend $130,000 really quickly.

“In a Melbourne Cup, if you can run top eight, you will get $120,000 back. My strategy has always been to not bring a horse here if you don’t think they can run top eight. So far we’ve been able to achieve that with a fifth and a third in the race.”

The study’s figures suggested Australian breds had a mortgage on the group 1 sprints over 1450 metres or less, winning 71 of 76 in the past three seasons. But as expected, Australian breds won only 42 per cent of majors over staying distances over the same period.

In a further sign that the Australian breeding industry is not in tatters, like many have suggested, the number of European-bred horses made up 11.5 per cent of horses contesting group 1 races in Australia last season but won only 9.7 per cent.

In most cases the earning potential of imported horses is restricted to prizemoney with none sold on to Hong Kong or Singapore yet. Very few follow the path of previous Melbourne Cup winners Americain and Fiorente and head to stud.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.