By Duane Ranger
Don’t be surprised to see the trotting ranks bolstered at the APG Yearling Sales in Brisbane in the next few years.
In 2018 Racing Queensland and international breeders, Haras de Trotteurs, have joined forces to stimulate the breeding of trotters in Queensland.
Haras de Trotteurs and Yabby Dam Farms principal, Pat Driscoll, said the partnership gave participants the chance to win and take ownership of one of 14 well-bred broodmares.
“The offer was open to breeders, trainers, owners and trotting enthusiasts, who wanted to includes the ownership of a mare, with a free service to one of Haras des Trotteurs’ stallions for the first year.
“The winners could have gone to any stallion but we were offering the free service to Used To Me, Dream Catcher, and En Solitaire,” Driscoll said.
One such new owner(s) was delighted couple Brian McCall and Rachel Beaton.
“This is a fantastic concept and those who organised it need to be applauded. We drew out Madam Commander (Majestic Son – Commander Jewel, NZ) and she is a lovely mare.
“When the idea was first mooted we thought the mares would be old horses coming to the end of their breeding careers, but this couldn’t be further from the truth,” McCall said.
“Madam Commander is just four and has huge breeding potential,” added the Queensland trainer and APG auction spotter.
He said he put the mare to Haras de Trotteur's French stallion, Used To Me (Nuage De Lait – North Lane) twice this breeding season, but her cycles weren’t compatible.
He said he would keep her fit until the next breeding season and likely head back to Used To Me again.
“I liked the pedigree match-up,” McCall said.
Driscoll said the concept was a ‘no brainer’.
“I personally love trotters and wanted to provide a more solid base for them here in Queensland. They are a much more majestic animal than pacers.
“Trotting is international whereas pacing seems to only be run in Australasia and North America. There is huge potential to be had here in Queensland,” Driscoll said.
He said each mare that was offered must remain in Queensland for at least the initial breeding season to ensure offspring are QBRED eligible - with a minimum expectation that the foal’s first race start be in Queensland.
“The new owner must also fund transport costs to Queensland for both the mare and semen,” Driscoll said.
He also paid a tribute to fellow supporters of the concept - prominent trotting owner Jeroen Nieuwenburg and Racing Queensland.
Racing Queensland Harness Development Strategy Manager, David Brick, said the generous offer would be a major stimulant to the local ranks.
“Many thanks must go to Pat for this generous offer to help stimulate breeding in Queensland, and to Jeroen, who has been pivotal in helping to get it off the ground,” he said.
Mr Driscoll said he was a passionate supporter of the trotting gait and hoped the initiative will kick start the breeding of trotters in Queensland and lead to the introduction of two-year-old trotting races in the state.
Brick said the trotting gait had experienced a resurgence in recent years, driven largely by international wagering returns, and Australian breeders being able to access the best international breeding lines.
He added a number of initiatives will be introduced in the coming season to grow racing opportunities for trotters, including enhancements to last year’s Winter Carnival program through the $20,000 Haras des Trotteurs Marathon and the $15,000 Haras des Trotteurs Mobile joining the $30,000 Seelite Windows and Doors Queensland Trotters Cup.
“There will also be the new QBRED trotters features in 2018/19, and the introduction of a juvenile trotters series similar to the Foundation Series established in New South Wales,” Brick said.
The ballot was drawn publically at Albion Park on Saturday July 7. The 14 new owners (with mares) are:
John Edmunds (Bartali), Alex Cain (Bella Sorella), Gerard Maloney (Bigonluck), Gary and Jodey Whittaker (Calder Luck), Graydon McCoombes (Ella Galleon), Ken Wills (Eilish Monarch), Paul Morris (Fiona Jay), Anthony Perkins (Lucky Love), Rachel Beaton (Madam Commander), Heather Warl (Majestic Elsa), Colin Knox (Mya Grace), Gary Chequer (My Dreamweaver), Rob Plunkett and Shane McConnell (Parisian Dancer), and Shane McConnell (Yankee Duchess).