Thoroughbred industry research project ideas sought

In an exciting announcement for the Australian Thoroughbred breeding industry, a call for initial research project ideas, to be funded by new research & development levy, was made this week…

AgriFutures Australia is looking to fund research that will support the profitability and sustainability of Australia’s world-leading thoroughbred industry.

AgriFutures Australia has released an Interim Thoroughbred Horses Five Year RD&E Plan 2017-2022 and is now calling for preliminary research proposals (PRPs) that address one of the short terms goals specified under the six objectives in the RD&E Plan:

1. Continue to improve breeding outcomes and foal health and development
2. Reduce the incidence and impact of diseases and parasites in horses
3. Improve the safety of industry participants and the welfare of horses and enhance the sustainability of the industry
4. Promote education and training for the horse industry through opportunities for training researchers and by effective communication of RD&E to horse industry stakeholders
5. Industry planning, economic benefit studies and market research
6. Reduce injury and breakdown of horses in work and training

This is an exciting opportunity for researchers to contribute to the newly-formed Thoroughbred Horses RD&E Program.

The Thoroughbred Horses open call closes 5.00pm (AEDT) 19 February 2018.

Preliminary Research Proposal Submission Checklist

• All PRPs should be submitted online using Clarity.
• If the project requires statistical analysis, has a qualified statistician been engaged to undertake or support project design and data analyses?
• Does the proposal clearly identify who will undertake the bulk of the work? (This may not necessarily be the Principal Investigator, it could be new staff and/or students.)
• Has the proposal been discussed with AgriFutures Australia?
• Has the proposal been discussed with people in the Thoroughbred Horses industry?
• Does the proposal show knowledge and understanding of relevant prior research?
• Does the proposal clearly articulate what the applied outcome and impact for industry will be? (Even if the project is part of a long-term research program, there should still be a focus on an applied outcome that will increase industry profitability.)
• Does the proposal clearly outline a process for extension of research outcomes to industry? (i.e. beyond the distribution of research summaries and conference presentations.)

Researchers are strongly advised to contact AgriFutures Australia prior to submitting a PRP:

Melanie Bradley
Program Manager, Research and Innovation
02 6923 6913
0407 987 738

Government visa announcement boosts breeding sector

The Federal Government’s announcement regarding enhanced access to ‘Horse Breeder’ visas today is warmly welcomed by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA).

The decision follows a lobbying campaign led by TBA to put the ‘Horse Breeder’ occupation category on the medium and long term strategic skills list (MTSSL) for the purposes of 457 visas.

By putting ‘Horse Breeder’ on the medium and long-term list, visa holders can work in Australia for up to four years and also have a path to permanent residency – rather than being required to leave the country after just two years under existing arrangements.

“Access to skilled staff is one of the biggest issues in the Australian Thoroughbred breeding industry and that is why TBA has been closely engaged with the government and Members of Parliament to bring about this key decision,” TBA CEO Tom Reilly said.

“The number of staff recruited from overseas to fill these visa positions has been relatively small, but the value of these skilled and experienced staff is enormous.

“They fill key roles such as stallion managers, yearling managers and foal managers and are responsible for horses worth many millions of dollars. In addition, these internationally experienced visa holders undertake important mentoring roles of local staff.”

Emphasising the importance of access to skilled staff, in a survey of Australian breeders undertaken by TBA last year, 95% of breeders stated that the supply of competent staff is a critical issue in the Australian breeding industry. Some 85% of breeders also indicated that, compared to 10 years ago, it is much harder to find competent staff.

“TBA would like to thank Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, their advisers and other Members of Parliament who greatly assisted our industry on this issue.”

Mr Reilly said TBA undertook significant work, including with other industry stakeholders, to see this decision come to fruition.

“Our strong case was made in a detailed submission to the Federal Government late last year explaining how our industry could be negatively affected without access to long-term visa arrangements.” Mr Reilly said.

TBA is also mindful of opening up opportunities for local staff. At the end of last year Skills Impact Australia signed off on a new Certificate III in horse breeding, following input from TBA.

This new course will enable TAFEs to offer apprenticeship level programs in breeding which have not been available in some years.

“It is vital industry and training institutions now work closely together to ensure the new Certificiate III course is a success with strong enrolments,” said Mr Reilly.

Breeding industry hits Federal Parliament

Thoroughbred breeding plays a vital role in the rural economy and Australian society: that was the message echoed by Federal Government ministers and senior politicians at an event in Canberra last night.

Defence Minister Marise Payne and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten traded stories of their interest in breeding and racing, while training identities James Cummings and Peter Moody spoke of how the broad Thoroughbred industry had shaped their life.

“We held our first Thoroughbred Breeders Australia event in Canberra last year and got a great turnout, but tonight surpassed our expectations,” said Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) chief executive, Tom Reilly.

“We had our pitch prepared to sell our industry: jobs in the regions, investment from overseas, export opportunities, but, by the time we got up to speak, leading politicians from all sides had made the point for us. It was very gratifying that so many politicians were so well informed that they advocated so strongly on our behalf.”

Trade & Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo & TBA CEO Tom Reilly at TBA’s Parliament event 2017

Defence Minister Payne, who herself has an avid interest in racing and breeding, said the TBA forum was “a really important event on the parliamentary calendar” and politicians thanked breeders for their event.

“Thank you for what you contribute to the economy in Australia. Thank you for what you contribute, because your industry is a vital one to Australia,” Minister Payne said.

Breeders representing every state in Australia were in attendance including Tom Magnier of Coolmore Stud, Antony Thompson of Widden Stud, Ron Gilbert of Highgrove Stud, Chris Watson of Mill Park, as well as Mark Webster of Inglis and Vin Cox and Barry Bowditch of Magic Millions.

Significant foreign investors Zhang Yuesheng of YuLong Park, China, and the head of Aquis Farm, Justin Fung, were also part of the breeding delegation.

Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten, Mrs Nola Marino MP & TBA President Basil Nolan

Bill Shorten told how he had worked on behalf of jockeys as a union rep, and that he now lived within walking distance of both Moonee Valley and Flemington racecourses.

“Racing has events that create great interest and put us on the map, especially in Melbourne during spring. But without breeding, without the hard work that goes on at farms across Australia we don’t have those races which are such a part of Australian society,” said Mr Shorten.

“Rest assured, we (Labor) are very interested in the industry. We are very interested in what we can do for you,” he added.

Minister for Defence the Hon Marise Payne, TBA CEO Mr Tom Reilly, Yulong’s Mr Yuesheng Zhang and Mrs Nola Marino MP at TBA’s Parliament event 2017

Politicians who attended the event included Trade Minister Steve Ciobo, Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan, Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastucture Anthony Albanese and Small Business Minister Michael McCormack among others.

Government Chief Whip Nola Marino, a co-convener of the Parliamentary Friends of Primary Producers, which hosted the event with TBA, also breeds and races horses in her electorate of Forrest, south of Perth.

“What an extraordinary job the breeding industry does in rural and regional Australia. It underpins, like so many agricultural industries do, so much of our regional economies,” Mrs Marino said.

Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon, Shadow Agriculture Minister and also a co-convener of the Parliamentary Friends of Primary Producers, emphasised the importance of the industry to local towns and regions.

“This event is a great opportunity to give parliamentarians a fuller appreciation of the breeding industry. The sector is a very, very important part of the agricultural industry,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.TBA representatives have spent several days in Canberra this week meeting one-on-one with Ministers, Opposition representatives, key advisers and senior bureaucrats briefing them on key issues in the industry.

Guest speakers Peter Moody and James Cummings spoke passionately about breeding.

“Whenever you’re in at the ground level of something it’s satisfying and that’s what breeding involves,” said former trainer and leading breeder Peter Moody.

“Being a breeder is a bit like being a parent, it involves a lot and your not always pleased with how it turns out!”

Caroline Searcy with Godolphin trainer James Cummings & Group 1 winning trainer & breeder Peter Moody at TBA’s Parliament event 2017

Cummings, who is head trainer for Godolphin in Australia, added: “My grandfather Bart said that all breeders thought they had a champion until a trainer got involved! Luckily he was able to breed a horse called Saintly, which he also trained, to win a Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.

“I always admire the commitment breeders make to this industry and all the work that goes into making the champions of the future. Nobody knows whether a horse is a future champion as a foal, but breeders commit to giving all horses the best start in life from an early age.”

Widden’s Antony Thompson, VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott & Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack at TBA’s Parliament event 2017

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) is the national peak body established for the benefit of the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry, which is the second largest in the world.

TBA has a membership base of 4,200 individual breeders and other industry participants, and is also the parent company of the six state breeders’ associations.

These members make up more than 60 per cent of individual breeders, who are responsible for about 90 per cent of thoroughbred production in Australia.

National Breeding Awards Celebrate Australia’s Best

The Australian breeding industry celebrated its best and brightest today (Sunday August 27) with five prestigious awards handed out at a ceremony held in conjunction with Coolmore Australia’s annual stallion parade.

The event, hosted by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA), recognised the outstanding achievements of horses and breeders during the 2016-17 season.

Securing the coveted Champion Australian Sire award was Arrowfield’s Snitzel (AUS), who established a new Australian record for progeny earnings, amassing over $16 million dollars in prize money.

Leading broadcaster and breeder Alan Jones AO accepts the award for Champion Australian Sire, Snitzel (AUS), on behalf of Arrowfield Stud

Snitzel recorded 26 individual stakes winners for the season, highlighted by Group One winners Russian Revolution (AUS), Redzel (AUS), Summer Passage (AUS) and Invader (AUS). The award was presented by TBA President Basil Nolan to leading broadcaster and breeder Alan Jones AO on behalf of Arrowfield Stud.

Snitzel (AUS) was also crowned Champion Sire of 2YOs, with eight individual two-year-old stakes winners for the season and two-year-old progeny earnings of $4.9 million.

“It’s been a wonderful year for Arrowfield and I’d like to thank the whole team there who have done a wonderful job, as they do in all studs. We couldn’t survive without the work of the staff and they do a fantastic job.

“It’s been a remarkable year for Snitzel, he equalled Danehill’s record for the most stakes-winners in a season which is quite extraordinary, so we are very honoured, very priviledged and very thankful.”

Champion First Season Sire was awarded to Coolmore’s Pierro (AUS), with Basil Nolan presenting the award to Coolmore’s Tom Magnier who was delighted with the result.

Coolmore’s Tom Magnier accepts the award for Champion Australian First Season Sire, Pierro (AUS)

“On behalf of the shareholders in Pierro, I just want to say thank you to the people here who supported him. He’s got some great mares booked in again this year so the future is very bright for him.”

The highest rated juvenile of his era, Pierro was represented by seven two-year old winners for the season with Group Three winning filly Tulip (AUS) his best performer.

Presented by Jacqueline Stewart, the Manager of Owner and Breeder Services (Keeper of the Australian Stud Book), the Australian Broodmare of the Year went to Vegas Showgirl (NZ) for the second year running.

Vegas Showgirl is the dam of champion mare Winx (AUS) who remains unbeaten in her last 18 starts and is currently rated the world’s best horse on turf, world’s best mare and world’s best middle-distance racehorse.

Segenhoe Stud’s Peter O’Brien accepted the award on behalf of Vegas Showgirl’s owners John and Deborah Camilleri of Fairway Thoroughbreds.

The final TBA award of the morning, the Aushorse Breeder of the Australian-Bred Exported Racehorse, went to Mr Enrique (Henry) Cojuangco, breeder of the ill-fated Hong Kong champion Rapper Dragon (AUS).

Australian-bred Rapper Dragon made history during the season by becoming the first horse to sweep the Hong Kong four-year-old series, winning the Classic Mile, Classic Cup and Hong Kong Derby and earning the title of Hong Kong Horse Of The Year.

Gooree Park Stud’s manager, Andrew Baddock, accepted the award on behalf of the late Mr Cojuangco who passed away in 2015.

Speaking at the awards, which were compered by Caroline Searcy, TBA President Basil Nolan congratulated recipients on their success and wished the breeding industry the best of luck for the upcoming season.

“Our industry continues to go from strength to strength and I am delighted that we can gather today to celebrate the success of these outstanding individuals and the contribution they’ve made to the breeding and racing landscape of Australia and the world.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish all breeders the best of luck for the upcoming season and I look forward to our industry enjoying another successful year.”

Following the TBA National Awards, Thoroughbred Breeders New South Wales (TBNSW) recognised two other outstanding achievers.

NSW Champion Broodmare Of The Year was awarded to National Colour (SAF), dam of South African Group One winners Mustaaqeem (AUS) and Rafeef (AUS).

The President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement was presented by TBNSW’s Les Young to Mr Rob Manwaring, breeder of Capital Gain (AUS) and Grande Rosso (AUS).

TBA Award Winners:
Champion Australian Sire: Snitzel (AUS)
Champion Australian Sire of 2YOs: Snitzel (AUS)
Champion Australian First Season: Pierro (AUS)
Australian Broodmare of the Year: Vegas Showgirl (NZ)
Breeder of the Australian-bred Exported Racehorse of the Year: Mr Enrique Cojuangco

TBNSW Award Winners:
NSW Champion Broodmare: National Colour (SAF)
President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement: Mr Rob Manwaring

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