Overproduction woe as demand for foals drops

Foal crops grew significantly in Britain and Ireland in 2016

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Overproduction woe as demand for foals drops By Martin Stevens 9:41AM 29 NOV 2016

THIS autumn's Flat yearling sales, at which around 1,000 lots were recorded as unsold, illustrated that increases in the Irish and British 2015 foal crops of ten and seven per cent respectively were unwarranted.

The stagnation in demand – the number of lots sold increased year-on-year by only 45 despite 321 more yearlings on the market – has evidently had a knock-on effect to foal trade this winter, with traders who had their fingers burned wary of reinvesting in crops that expanded by five per cent in Ireland and three per cent again this year.


This month 3,077 foals, Flat and National Hunt-breds, have come under the hammer at Goffs and Tattersalls venues in Newmarket and Fairyhouse. Some 2,191 of those changed hands for a clearance rate of 71 per cent.

Last year the figures stood at 3,094 offered and 2,310 sold at a clip of 75 per cent. So only 17 fewer foals have been offered in 2016 than in the preceding year, but the number purchased has dropped by 119.

Results from the foal sales are unlikely to tell the whole story of the effects of overproduction as, despite the foal crop having grown this year, the number who have been taken to market has dropped as sales houses moved to protect figures by restricting catalogue sizes.

Tattersalls actually managed to improve the clearance rate to 77 per cent from 74 per cent at this week's December Foal Sale by accepting 141 fewer lots.

But Tattersalls Ireland hosted a new Flat foal sale earlier in the month, likely hosting some of the horses who had been turned down for Newmarket, and at that only 60 per cent of the 112 on offer found buyers.

Goffs held numbers at its November Foal Sale and, almost inevitably, the clearance rate suffered with only 694 lots out of 1,041 on offer sold for a clearance rate of 67 per cent, down from 77 per cent in 2015.

Goffs chief executive Henry Beeby said after the sale there will need to be "mature reflection" on the issue of overproduction this winter.

It was not all bad news at the foal sales if you had a lot by the right sire, of course. Reliable crowd-pleaser Dark Angel had 24 sell from 30 offered at Tattersalls this week for an average of 96,583gns, while another commercial standing dish, Kodiac, had 20 out of 24 sell for a 91,550gns average.

Tamayuz was one of the less ‘obvious' sires who compiled a good set of results in Newmarket, with five out of six sold for an average of 57,600gns for prices ranging between 20,000gns and 85,000gns. Not bad for a crop conceived off a €15,000 fee.

    Read More at Racing Post Bloodstock

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