Harness Racing Australia (HRA) has recently completed consultations regarding changes to The Australian Trotting Stud Book (Stud Book), most notably the process of application, approval and fees associated with Registering Stallions in the Stud Book.
While these changes will take effect from 1 September 2022, Studs and State Breeding Associations were provided notice and information regarding them in a presentation by HRA in April 2022.
With the excitement and hype of the 2022/23 breeding season ramping up early with reports of Stallions relocating, first season Stallions entering the market and expressions of interest outstripping supply leading to waiting lists for some popular Stallions, this Industry Notice covers some of the most frequent questions HRA receives.
What is The Australian Trotting Stud Book and Why is it Important?
The Australian Trotting Stud Book is the official pedigree and performance record of Standardbred horses registered in Australia.
In many ways it is the foundation on which the industry is built as only Standardbred horses meeting the registration requirements are eligible to be listed to breed or compete in Australian harness racing events. Further, only Standardbred horses eligible for inclusion in the Stud Book are recognised by international stud books for breeding and export purposes.
Who owns The Australian Trotting Stud Book?
HRA owns the Australian Trotting Stud Book and is responsible for the integrity of records which cover the registration and performance records of pacing and trotting Standardbred horses when registered in Australia.
Who Benefits from the Stud Book?
All sectors of the Australian harness racing industry benefit from the Stud Book. However, the principal beneficiaries are Broodmare and Stallion owners given the eligibility imperatives for breeding, both within Australia and internationally.
How much does it cost to Administer and Resource the Stud Book?
The annual cost of operating the Stud Book, along with the provision of ancillary data reports, including the Fantasy Mating system, and services to broodmare and stallion owners is conservatively in the order of $2million.
Unlike almost every other equine Stud Book in the world, which is commercialised to operate at a profit, the cost and resourcing of the Australian Trotting Stud Book has historically been borne by HRA in association with the six State Controlling Bodies (SCB’s).
What is a Stallion Registration?
Registration is not automatic.
A person wanting to register a Stallion as a sire in any given breeding season must make application for registration of the horse via HRA. This is a change in process for some sires, as prior to 1 September 2022, SCB’s had approved some stallion registration.
The application process includes the provision of information relevant to each Stallion which includes, among other details, proof of identify, transport movements, location, stallion ownership, semen ownership, agency/licence agreements, method and a declaration of the “total service cost” for a stallion service.
Additional information is to be provided to HRA during the breeding season regarding services by a sire and its movements between studs in Australia and into and out of Australia. At the end of the season a report as to the countries of location of the sire during the season is to be provided to HRA.
If registration is approved, a fee is payable.
Registration may be suspended or cancelled if the applicant or other persons connected with the horse engage in conduct that is detrimental or damaging to the industry or disparaging of HRA, its members, executive and staff.
How much is the Stallion Registration Fee?
Annual Registration of Pacing Sires will incur fees as follows:
Annual Registration of Trotting Sires will incur fees as follows:
All these Fees are subject to GST.
What is the Definition of “Domiciled”?
‘Domiciled’ will mean present in the relevant country for no less than 240 days in aggregate during the relevant breeding season.
What is the Definition of “Breeding Season”?
‘Breeding season’ is 1 September to 31 August.
What is the Definition of “Total Service Cost”?
“Total Service Cost” includes all of the fees or costs that may be payable to the connections of the sire or their associates in relation to the breeding except GST.
When is the Stallion Registration Fee Payable?
The $500 component is payable upon approval of the Stallion Registration.
The breeding component is payable only upon the birth of a live foal and invoiced to connections of the registered stallion in May of the following year.
For example: an insemination on 1 October 2022, resulting in a live foal on 28 September 2023 will have the Registration Fee collected from the Stud in May 2024.
When can a Stallion Register for the 2022/23 Breeding Season?
A stallion can register via the Stallion Registration Application Forms from 1 July in each season. Application will be open for Registrations until 31 October.
What Happens if Fees are not Paid?
A foal cannot be fully registered until all fees payable in respect of its birth are paid.
If fees are not paid when due, then registration of a horse and the issuing of service certificates can be suspended, withdrawn or cancelled and persons responsible for fees and connections of the horse included on an unpaid forfeits list.
The HRA Executive have discretion to waive fees in exceptional circumstances if it considers it appropriate to do so in the interests of the industry.
Does HRA Have an Estimate of what Revenue the Stud Book will Generate from Pacing Sire Stallion Registration Fees?
Yes. Using the most recent figures available, it is estimated that $900k will be collected in Stallion Registration Fees from Pacing sires.
Are all Stallions Impacted by the Stallion Registration Fee?
All approved Sires (pacers and trotters) will pay the $500 component, however, using the most recent figures available, more than 100 pacing sires (Australian Domiciled) will not be subject to the breeding component of the Registration Fee as described at parts (b); and, (c) (i) and (ii).
This equates to 100 pacing sires and more than half (54%) of the live foals born (pacer) not being impacted.
How will HRA use the Stud Book Revenue Generated by the Stallion Registration Fee?
HRA has flagged that these Stud Book generated funds will be utilised to part fund The TAB Eureka, but in reality, these funds can be used generally for the purposes of HRA.
Can the Person Registering the Stallion pass on the Stallion Registration Fee to the Broodmare owner?
The total service cost (which is a price inclusive of any fees) is a matter for stallion owners and studs to determine. Australia is an attractive and competitive market, so once a stallions registration is approved, it is expected that the total service costs be set at a level to maximise interest and revenue for stallions and their connections. This has always been the case, as evidenced by changes in advertised service fees which regularly occurs between seasons.