The 6% Factor

15 Feb 2009

NZTM's Adrian Clark looks at the NZ-bred proportion of Australia's racehorse population.


Sometimes the most important of information can be lost in the daily avalanche of news and statistics all of us working in the racing and breeding industry deal with on a daily basis.


One such key fact came to my attention recently - an accurate figure on the proportion of New Zealand-bred horses competing amongst Australia's entire racehorse population.


Last season, according to figures supplied by Arion Pedigrees (, Australia had a total of 29,970 racehorses compete.  The New Zealand-bred portion of that population number numbered 1803, representing a 6.01% share.


It's a small base of horses yet the impact of the kiwi equine athlete in Australia continues to be disproportionate to its numerical presence.  Group One racing during 2007/2008 in Australia is a prime example of the level of overachievement by the NZ-bred contingent.  Of the 67 Group One races contested in Australia last season, 14 of them were won by New Zealand-bred horses - that's a strike-rate of some 20.89%; not bad given a presence of just 6.01% of the racehorse population.


Individual black type winners numbered 370 in Australia during the 2007/2008 Season and the NZ-bred tally was 53, representing a 14.32% share.


The races that matter - Cups, WFA features, Derbies and Oaks - were very much a part of the New Zealand-bred haul last season.  The Cup wins included
Efficient's (by ZABEEL) Melbourne Cup and Master O'Reilly's Caulfield Cup.  The weight-for-age tally included El Segundo's W S Cox Plate victory.  The Derbies were numerous for the kiwis with Nom du Jeu taking the Australian Derby; Kibbutz on top in the Victoria Derby and Zarita taking both the South Australian Derby and Schweppes Oaks.


It's interesting to carry the racehorse population comparison into the current season.  The proportion of New Zealand-bred horses remains relatively constant at 5.79% accordingly to latest figures provided by Arion Pedigrees.  For the record, the first six months of the new season has seen a total of 33 New Zealand-bred black type winners in Australia.  The tally includes five Group One winners -
Maldivian (by ZABEEL, pic above)  (W S Cox Plate), Swick (Patinack Farm Classic), Alamosa (Toorak Handicap), Sousa (Spring Champion Stakes) and Orange County (Rupert Clarke Stakes).