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Weatherbys Return of Mares 2020

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The Weatherbys Return of Mares to the 30th of September 2020, just published, shows the number of live foals registered to date in The General Stud Book totals 12,778 (13,443 in 2019), of which 4,236 (4,655 in 2019) are registered in GB and 8,542 (8,788 in 2019) in Ireland. This is a decline across both countries - a combined reduction of 665 foals (-5%) – is due in part to slower registrations in 2020. This decline is in line with global Thoroughbred foal crop trends which have seen a decline in the last 15 years of 35,000 foals (-28%) from 123,000 in 2005 to 88,000 last year.

More foals were born earlier in the season - January (585 vs 564 in 2019) and February (2268 vs 2183 in 2019) - at the expense of the three busiest foaling months, March (3320 vs 3539 in 2019), April 3982 vs 4240 in 2019) and May (2240 vs 2392 in 2019). June also declined – 358 vs 472 in 2019.

The total number of broodmares reported at stud in 2020 is 22,362 (22,919 in 2019), a fall of 557 (622 from 2018 to 2019) or 2.4% from 2019. Of these, 2,667 (2,927 in 2019) or 11.9% were not covered (1,160 in GB & 1,507 in Ireland). A total of 313 or 1.4% were barren. 

Of the 22,362 mares, 19,691 (20,149 in 2019) were covered by registered stallions and 13,235 (13,893 in 2019) conceived (5,117 in GB & 8,118 in Ireland), an overall conception rate of 67.21% (68.95%) after deducting the 191 (369 in 2019) mares which were exported or died.

The number of stallions declined by 20 in Ireland – from 252 in 2019 to 232 in 2020 – and by three in GB from 152 in 2019 to 149 in 2020. The number of stallions covering more than 200 mares was lower than in 2019 and the most number of mares covered by a stallion rose to 298 in 2020 (Maxios). This is similar to 2018 (Order of St George & Soldier of Fortune).

Due to the unique challenges presented by Covid there are indications that foal registrations were, carried out later by some breeders. 

The ongoing receipt of foal registrations in recent weeks would appear to support this view. This would lead to a higher than normal number of foals being registered between the publishing of the Return of Mares in October and its Supplement next February.

FOALS 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
GB

4552
(-16%)

4502
(-1%)

4227
(-6%)
4302
(+2%)
4255
(-1%)
4466
(+5%)
4597
(+3%)
4674
(+2%)
4726
(+1%)
4655
(-1%)
4236
(-9%)
IRE 7128
(-26%)
6890
(-3%)
6884
(-)
7051
(+2%)
7440
(+6%)
8205
(+10%)
8792
(+7%)
9044
(+3%)
8987
(-0.5%)
8788
(-2%)
8542
(-3%)
TOTAL 11680 11392 11111 11353 11695 12671 13389 13718 13713 13443 12778


The Return of Mares reports key data across the Thoroughbred population in GB and Ireland, including:

  • In GB 4,236 foals were registered to 30 September 2020, a reduction of 419 (-9%) compared to 2019, comprising 2,091 colts (49.36%) and 2,145 fillies (50.64%).
  • In Ireland 8,542 foals were registered to 30 September 2020, a reduction of 246 (-2.8%), comprising 4,391 colts (51.40%) and 5,151 fillies (48.60%).
  • The combined 2020 crop comprises 50.73% colts and 49.27% fillies.
  • The percentage ratio of foals between GB and Ireland moved strongly in favour of Ireland at 33.15:66.85 in 2020 compared to 34.63%:65.37% in 2019, 34.46%:65.54% in 2018 and 34.07%:65.93% in 2017.
  • March and April remain the busiest months for foaling in GB: 1,278 in March (30.17% of total) compares to 1,375 in March 2019. 1,264 in April (29.84% of total) compares to 1,388 (29.8% of total) in April 2019. 2,542 combined for the two months or 60.01% of the foal crop. This compares to 2,763 or 59.3% of the 2019 foal crop.
  • While March and April also remained the busiest months for foaling in Ireland in 2020, totals declined and more foals were born earlier, in January and February. January saw 354 foals born (compared to 287 in 2019) and 1,333 in February (compared to 1,241 in 2019). This combined January/February total of 1,687 compares to 1,528 in 2019, an increase of 159 or 9.5%. 2,042 foals were born in Ireland in March (23.91% of total) compared to 2,164 in March 2019; 2,718 in April (31.82% of total) compared to 2,852 (32.45% of total) in April 2019; 4,760 combined for the two months or 55.72% of the foal crop, compares to 5,016 or 57.08% of the 2019 foal crop.
  • 8,161 mares at stud in GB in 2020 compares to 8,439 in 2019, 8,667 in 2018 and 9,015 in 2017, a reduction of 854 mares in three years.
  • 14,201 mares at stud in Ireland in 2020 compares to 14,480 in 2019, 14,874 in 2018 and 14,434 in 2017, a much more modest reduction, than in GB, of 233 in three years.
  • 6,997 mares in GB were covered in 2020 (85.74% of mares reported at stud) compared to 7,307 in 2019 (86.59%) and 7,409 mares in 2018 (85.49%).
  • 12,694 mares in IRE were covered in 2020 (89.39% of mares reported at stud) compared to 12,842 (88.69%) in 2019 and 13,193 (88.70%) in 2018.
  • 5,117 mares conceived in GB (73.13% of mares covered) compared to 5,524 (77.57%) in 2019 and 5,803 in 2018 (80.60% of mares covered).
  • 8,118 mares conceived in Ireland in 2020 (63.95% of mares covered) compared to 8,369 (66.11%) in 2019 and 8,720 in 2018 (66.74% of mares covered).
  • 19,691 total recorded coverings in GB and Ireland combined in 2020 compares to 20,149 in 2019, 21,297 in 2018 and 20,819 in 2017 – a decline of 1,128 in three years.
  • Number of stallions in GB has reduced by 3 from 152 to 149 in 2020 and from 158 in 2018.
  • Number of stallions in Ireland has fallen 7% from 252 to 232.
  • Maxios covered the highest number of mares at 298.
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