Breeding in Victoria is good, 'Pure' fun with more rewards than ever.
They were some of the key takeaways as Breeders Week kicked off on Monday on SEN Track’s Trots Life, when host Jason Bonnington was joined by Harness Racing Victoria’s general manager of racing Stephen Bell and Harness Breeders Victoria president Nick Hooper.
Bell told listeners that, more than ever, breeding was at the forefront of HRV planning.
“We need to make sure we dedicate enough time and resources and energy and, more importantly, money, to the breeding industry in Victoria,” he said.
“(We need) to support and promote our breeding industry and make it number one in Australia to match our racing product.”
That purpose was reflected in the upgraded first-win scheme Vicbred Pure, announced last September and already lauded for inspiring momentum.
“We spent tireless hours with Nick Hooper and his committee, running through it, consulting with the breeding industry to try and make sure we were doing the right thing,” Bell told Trots Life.
“It’s a very large investment when we start paying these bonuses out, there will be an initial almost $1.5 million in bonuses for the 2021 foal crop.
“You can go to a colonial stallion now and win your first race, it might be a $10,000 maiden with a $12,000 first-win bonus. So that’s a pretty attractive first race to win. That will keep you in racing for a long time.”
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO STEPHEN BELL ON TROTS LIFE:
Under the announcement first-win bonuses start at $7000 and rise to $12,000 for Vicbred Pure horses, who are out of a Victorian-bred mare and by an Australasian bred stallion who stands in Victoria.
Hooper said the aim was to give “our best local-bred stallions a leg up, a chance to succeed and I think we’ve seen some really good things come of that”.
“For the first time last season we actually saw an uptick in the number of services after years of decline,” Hooper said.
“I think you can put that down to a range of initiatives having a positive impact on breeders’ behaviours.”
And Hooper said you didn’t need a big plot of land to become a breeder.
“If you are someone, like me, who actually doesn’t have a property, and I’m sure there are people listening in that category who are saying how do I get involved, there are plenty of opportunities,” he said. “Harness Breeders Victoria can help put you in touch with people.
“There are dedicated breeding establishments that will agist your mare, look after your mare, do the breeding, do the foaling, do the weaning of the foal, and you get the pleasure of wandering somewhere up country to go and pat all concerned and really have a great time doing it.”