Two of the world’s very best harness racing stallions have ventured from North America to join Victoria’s breeding industry this season.
Minister for Racing Denis Napthine today visited one of Australasia’s premier standardbred studs, Empire Stallions at Avenel, and inspected the two former magnificent racing machines and now stallion kings, Somebeachsomewhere and Rocknroll Hanover.
Somebeachsomewhere was the 2008 North America Horse of the Year, unbeaten over six starts as a two-year-old and winner of 14 out of 15 starts as a three-year-old. He is fully booked for the season. His first offspring in North America started racing this year and are already burning up the track.
RocknRoll Hanover was the first two-year-old pacer to run a sub 1.50 mile and the first pacer to win three $1 million races. His first three crops have already accumulated $43 million in earnings.
“These two stallions are as good as you get anywhere in the world and their North American owners have determined Victoria as the best place for them in the Southern Hemisphere breeding season,” Dr Napthine said.
“That is a great display of confidence in Victoria’s breeding industry.
“The decision by Empire Stallions’ principals David James and Donna Egan to stand these stallions gives local breeders the chance to access the best of the best in stallions.
“Empire Stallions is an important part of Victoria’s breeding industry, which includes more than 2,000 full time, part time and hobby breeders supporting harness racing.
“The Coalition Government recognises the contribution of the harness breeding industry to jobs and the economy in Victoria and is providing $1.55 million over four years, to the Vicbred Platinum Series to promote breeding, owning, buying and racing horses in Victoria.
“While Victoria already leads the nation for breeding pacers and trotters – with more than 40 per cent bred here – Vicbred Platinum will create important additional incentives for fillies and mares to be owned and raced in Victoria,” Dr Napthine said.
“Vicbred Platinum will make the state even more attractive for local and interstate breeders to bring their broodmares to foal in Victoria, which creates employment and economic stimulus,” Dr Napthine said.
In just a few years Empire Stallions have sired four two-year-old Australasian Breeders Crown Champions, three two-year-old Pacing Colts of the Year, a 3-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year and a Horse of the Year – the outstanding juvenile performer, Lombo Pocket Watch, who was sired by another Empire Stallion, Jet Laag.