Sunday, April 14, 2024

Better to promote local breeding


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Importing horses over the years has played a crucial role in the development of the local racing industry, a move which has worked out well alongside the local breeding industry. But recently the Barbados Turf Club purchased another five horses for sale to the public, however the selling of these horses has proven somewhat difficult for the Club.

One would quickly jump to the state of the Barbadian economy as being the major factor in the slow nature of the sale which for the club is not to turn a profit but to help facilitate public participation in our beloved sport while helping to enhance the standard of racing and by extension help local breeding.

Outside of the importeds that went on to capture the Gold Cup a high number of others wind up running with horses rated as low as 50-0. That being the case it begs the question “Why can’t the money allocated on the purchase of imported horses not be invested in support of breeding?”  

Such a move would make it cheaper to breed horses, offer higher purse value, increase incentives for breeders and stock levels which will see bigger fields offering better betting opportunities.

This would also give the less well off the chance to own more than one horse and also generate more employment in the industry with valuable spin off of more revenue for the Turf Club.

In the last three and a half decades, local champions Coo Bird, owned by George Devere Davis, and Apostle, first owned by Elias Haloute and later Sir Charles Williams, successfully and consistently dominated the Garrison Savannah for well over eight unbroken years, respectively.

Despite never landing a Gold Cup, the two flag bearers distinguished themselves at the very top level plus their tenure is great testimony to our breeding industry’s success. In breeding, the statistics of the parents influence the statistics of the offspring.

Those breeders who have helped with the advancement and development of good races and a high standard of equines are Sir Charles and Lady Williams, Challenor and Diana Jones, Bruce Bailey, Hopefield Stable, Gay Smith, Aysha Syndicate, George Devere Davis, Brighton Blood Stock, Melrose Farms, Sunset Farms, Estate Of Major R. A. Stoute, Joanne Hearst-De Castro, Paul Noel and John D. Chandler to name a few.

The bar for the continuance of local breeding was significantly raised in 1997 when Incitatus brought joy to the industry by becoming the first locally bred creole to capture the Gold Cup. Federico made it two wins in succession for the creoles the following year. Incitatus later journeyed outside of Barbados and won a of couple grade and stakes races at Woodbine Race Track over in Canada.

Using the Gold Cup performances as a measuring stick to gauge the overall contribution of the importeds, since Bentom won the Gold Cup in 1986 until Daylight Express’ victory in 2009 there have been 15 imported Gold Cup winners who have made the Garrison their home; among them Sandford Prince and Blast Of Storm shine brightest.

The combination of Sandford Prince and Alto Jane are the lone Gold Cup winners to produce a Derby winner in Alaska Pete in 2000. Two former Gold Cup runners have fathered Derby winners in the time span mentioned – Nosferatu sired Incitatus (1996), Pan Woman (2001) and Janak fathered Fresh Milk (2008) and Voldemort (2014). Additionally, Knight Rider last year’s Derby winner is the son of Storm Arrow another imported.

During that period another outstanding imported was the 2005 Gold Cup winner Feet On Flames who after starring on the track for over six years, later sired Nekitta the winner of the first two jewels of last year’s Triple Crown. While some owners race for the pure joy of winning the performances and longevity of our locally bred creoles is unquestionable.


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