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International Interest in WA

WA-BRED yearlings have attracted growing numbers of international buyers in the past few years, says WA Bloodhorse Breeders Association executive officer Veronica Jackson-Smith.

Ms Jackson-Smith said Singa-pore and Malaysia had proved to be the most lucrative markets while a small market was developing in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

“For the past two or three years, we’ve sold about a third of our premier yearlings to international buyers and they have raced pretty successfully in these markets,” she said.

“We’ve been marketing in Asia for the past ten years and our success there has gradually improved each year.

“We began with two yearlings and last year sold sixty-nine, selling predominantly in the middle to upper market.”

Successful racehorses such as Awesome Aus and Azabu Park have elevated the image of WA-bred yearlings in South Africa, while Singaporean buyers have been impressed at the speed with which WA horses acclimatise to South East Asian environments.

Ms Jackson-Smith said that, compared to the rest of Australia, WA yearlings represented great value for money.

“You can buy a reasonably good yearling for $25,000 to $30,000 in WA, whereas in Sydney the average price is $100,000 and $80,000 in Queensland,” she said.

“We’re very isolated here in the West and it’s quite hard to attract Eastern States’ buyers because they have so many sales of their own.”

Magic Millions managing director Murray Tillett said yearling prices were going up Australia-wide.

“They are increasing as much as 10 per cent and WA should stay in line with that,” Mr Tillett said.

“I’m confident there will be growth. We have a good market over here and the stock market is strong.

“However, WA still has the cheapest yearlings in Australia by a long shot,” he said.

Ms Jackson-Smith said the win by WA-bred yearling Rogan Josh in the 1999 Melbourne Cup and McKinnon Stakes would help to attract more Eastern States’ buyers to this year’s sales.

She said the current aim of the WA bloodstock industry was to attract more local buyers.

“It’s a bit slow here and a big part of that has to do with the fact not enough people go to the races,” she said.

Ms Jackson-Smith said turf clubs had a major role in marketing the racing industry as a whole.

“The WA Turf Club is doing a good job with racing and administration but whether they do enough to try and encourage new people to race horses and come to the races is another matter,” she said.

“It’s difficult to do but I think they have to spend a bit of money.

“They’re on a tight budget but they should focus more on attracting the 25 to 40 age group which has more disposable income,” she said.

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