Thrifty breeders provided a leg-up

April 16, 2020

Copy by Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria

Having changed the breeding landscape in America, Spendthrift’s Australian arm has turned its attention to assisting Aussie breeders by minimising the cashflow risks associated with producing quality stock.

Spendthrift’s purple and orange colours are instantly recognisable to US racing fans, but it’s the company’s significant investment in the Australian breeding industry that has been grabbing headlines of late.

Overshare pictured enjoying a walk at Spendthrift Australia.

The industry has welcomed the investment, which includes the sponsorship of Werribee racecourse, a commitment to spend up at local yearling sales and the significant development of Spendthrift’s farm at Romsey (Victoria).

But it is the vision of American billionaire B. Wayne Hughes to innovate with programs to assist breeders that may provide the greatest long-term benefit here.

One such initiative is the Breed Secure program, in which service fees to Spendthrift stallions are taken out of the proceeds of the sale of yearlings at auctions, eliminating any cashflow risk for broodmare owners.

Similar thought went into Hughes’s Share The Upside strategy, whereby breeders pay their stud fee upon the birth of a live foal and then are entitled to a lifetime breeding rights with the stallion.

It’s an approach which has already reaped significant reward for breeders in America, where Share The Upside stallion Into Mischief has changed the lives of many US breeders with a lifetime breeding right, following him from a $US12,500 fee in 2010 to a $US150,000 fee in 2019.

This is the philosophy on which Spendthrift was founded and one which Hughes believes has the potential to benefit both Spendthrift and the broader breeding industry.

“We are going to do what is best for ourselves and for the industry,” said Hughes. “It’s not something we are doing as a favour. The reality is, for us it is good, and for the breeders it is good.

“A lot of breeders are going out of business and that’s sad. We cannot, and must not, leave the breeder out.

“We are all gambling here. If we lose the breeders we won’t have any farms or stallions. We’re all in this together.

“Nobody is standing alone in this business and that’s something we all need to bear in mind.”

The operation signalled its intent with the purchase of Overshare as a yearling in 2016. The son of I Am Invincible now shares a barn at Spendthrift in Romsey with several other sons of champion sires, including Sebring’s 2017 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) winning son Gold Standard.

Purchasing yearlings by champion sires has been a specific focus for the Spendthrift team, combining with its Share The Upside strategy to provide breeders an opportunity-of-a-lifetime breeding right to a blueblood stallion.

“I want to give breeders a chance. It’s crazy with Into Mischief and all the things that have happened.

“For a small breeder, holding a lifetime breeding right to him is a home run, and it is one they probably couldn’t get any other way,” Hughes said.

Spendthrift’s support will extend to Caulfield on Saturday, where the operation sponsors the Spendthrift Australia VOBIS Gold Sprint (1200m) on Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day — fitting given Spendthrift’s growing influence on the Victorian industry.