Friday, 27 July 2012
Are we progressive?
This is a debate on which I would request as much feedback as there can be. The question is that are we a progressive horse racing and breeding industry? To start with one basic, let's take the case of auction sales. In an industry where we have almost 2000 foals born the last year, it is safe to assume that on numbers it's not too bad an industry. Leading breeding nations like Ireland have had approx 6000 foals born. Now, those foals are being sold / raced across Europe, a bit in the US and a small percentage beyond these countries. While a lot of people may think that ours is an Industry, it really is not. We're in a way still stuck in the license raj and we have no incentives or a push by the Govt. We pay huge import duties, and there isn't any encouragement from the banks or goverment. We also are a very close knit industry. In the sense that there are very few young new gen entrants in the industry whether it is racing or breeding or as professionals. Infact young potential trainers are hit hardest first by not getting a license to train in a major centre and I'd they do manage that then who do they go to buy horses for? That aside, talking from a more procurement point of view which is a basic for any industry, the basic is to be able to buy horses whether it is foals, yearlings, two year olds, mares or even stallion prospects. Ours is a fairly wealthy nation so to say at least pertaining to this industry. But there has to be an element of fair trade and in turn a contribution to the economy to the nation by virtue of increasing the turnover in real monetary terms towards the coffers of the economy. But how do we do that. To start with why can't we simply have more sales in our country. At the moment it is only the RWiTC who with the help of the Indian Stud Book (which to me is one of the best stud book depts) conducts sales. People will argue that MRC, BTC and the RCTC used to conduct sales in the past. But for whatever reasons they aren't holding them anymore is probably their learning from their experiences of the past. What we need to nderstand is that time has gone by and this country has changed. Besides, are the sales being conducted in the best possible way is another question. Maybe we need some more expertise and various kinds of tie ps and cross promotions. Every year every farm has mares to sell, they d be happy to sell foals, yearlings and two year olds. Similarly, owners that have ought yearlings may want to cash in or reduce losses and sell them as two year olds. As a racing and breeding fraternity and also as a potential industry to add to the coffers of the economy and to give ourselves a better chance to trade and be more exciting, we need to have many more sales. We need to have: Foal sales: there isn't much of a concept of pinhooking in India. This is an exciting concept where people take a chance on a foal which they may buy at a certain price and sell at a profit. Yearling sale: tried and tested in Bombay but didn't take off. Maybe we need to take in strategic partners like Tattersalls, Goffs, Inglis etc etc to improve the content and the package for sales. Mares sales: there are scores of breeders wanting to sell mares and a fair bit who want to buy them. For a new breeder, where does he go to buy? There are only a handful of bloodstock agents and what if one doesn't know them? How does one get across? An auction is the best and the most fair way by and large to buy or sell just like the stock exchange. Horses in training sales: this is such a huge opportunity. Like mentioned above if one does not have the connections in the industry the only way to sell a horse in training is to wait for an offer. Atleast in an auction you make yourself available to sell and people know that a particular is there to be bought. Two year old sales: As much as people may disagree we must have a cap on a certain percentage every farm must sell in the ring. It's such a whim that horses will not sell well in the ring. They sell all across the globe and in far richer economies than ours. There isn't a reason why people won't do the same here. Atleast they re getting a fair price and the breeders get paid as they should. These are things to be thought and deliberated upon. And they need to be thought of seriously. How far this industry has progressed over the last few decades is anybody's guess.