Happy New Year from LCS. We are limbering up for the breeding season while , as usual, trying to prevent the yearlings from doing themselves a mischieve while behaving like rowdy adolescents!

We will cover 16 mares in 2024 including 4 boarding mares.

Amongst the stallions being used are Blue Point (our only overseas cover), Nathaniel, Mohaather, Mostahdaf, Baeed, Chaldean, Kameko, Modern Games, Showcasing, A’Ali, Harry Angel, Bated Breath and Cracksman.

We have 11 to foal down starting on 30/01 (if she is on time) and we are expecting to Ardad, Kameko x2, Bated Breath, Showcasing, Lope de Vega, Ulysses, Harry Angel, Cracksman, Calyx, and Havana Grey.

2023 was a difficult year for those operating outside the very top echelon of the breeding industry. At LCS, we were lucky to have had a nice crop to present at sales in Newmarket and Doncaster and we sold 6 yearlings and 4 foals for an acceptable return.

We also parted company with one broodmare, Apres Midi and we will probably further slim down the group of mares we own during the course of this year.

Unless a breeder has a top quartile mare going to a top quartile stallion, one might lose less money standing on the street corner and handing out £5 notes, so difficult is the market below the very top. And so thinning out makes sense and we will continue to do so this year and ongoing.

Breeding in the UK is becoming an especially elitist business and will continue on this track, shrinking from its present size, unless significant prize money increases can be accessed.

In due course, this will severely reduce the numbers of animals being bred and that will surely render many of the UK’s colourful canvas of racing locations as surplus to requirements as race fields cannot be filled.

And so elitism in breeding will spawn elitism in racing .

Perhaps a smaller tighter industry will be a more healthy one for those trainers, owners, breeders and staff able to survive but the unique character and egalitarianism of British racing will be lost in this scenario.

Happily there are moves afoot to address prize money in a radical fashion and we await the ideas being mooted with interest.

It is also fair to point out that very small changes in demand have very large efffeccts on price in the bloodstock markets and so a return of even a small number of buyers missing from this years sales could help redress the losses experienced in 2023 although, again, this would have limited effect below the top quartile, as the economics underlying the core of thoroughbred production are simply not sound.

It is time to save the bacon in our view and there is an urgent need for the industry to act.

More as the season progress and for now, we wish our friends in the industry a good season.