The Australian Stud Book – What Is It and Why Does It Exist?
From the perspective of someone who wants to buy a racehorse, you’ll want to know the history of the horse and its breeding. After all, the whole reason behind buying a racehorse is to get yourself a horse that has every chance of first being competitive, and hopefully becoming a champion of the track.
In order to make an informed decision and a good purchase, buyers need a way to look into the bloodline of the horse, the history of that bloodline, details about the breeders, the mare, the stallion.
For certain breeds of domestic dogs and cats, there needs to be proof that the breed is a purebred, and breeders also need to adhere to certain industry standards, practices and expectations.
Some dogs are show dogs, so this is especially important. Well, it’s even more important if a racehorse buyer or syndicate is going to offload (possibly a lot of) cash to purchase a racehorse that may not yet even be old enough to start training, let alone have a proven track record.
So how can a buyer be certain of the bloodline, quality and heritage of the horse they plan to buy? Is it merely a gamble and hope the breeder is telling the truth?
That can be the case if you’re not dealing with a reputable breeder, or making the purchase with the help of a qualified and experienced bloodstock agent who is working with your best interests in mind.
The way to avoid any ambiguity is to only deal with recognised thoroughbred breeders, enlist the help of a recommended agent, and do your research with the help of the Australian Stud Book.
What Is the Australian Stud Book Exactly?
Often simply shortened to ASB, the Australian Stud Book is a division of Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA). The idea of the Stud Book is to provide a resource where members can delve into the lineage of horses and be able to determine whether or not the breeding stock meets the quality they are looking for, or warrants the price placed on a horse by the breeders.
As an example, it would be no accident that Australian born and bred Melbourne Cup horses are as good as they are. No owner of one of these horses would have just purchased a random foal or yearling from an unknown breeder, hired a trainer and the horse went on to become a national champion.
It could happen in rare cases, but it’s not very likely.
All these champion horses would have had a traceable history of breeding. These horses would have been bought from recognised breeders who are transparent in their practices, have a reputation for honesty and quality when it comes to their breeds, and have their information accessible in places like the Australian Stud Book.
The very first Australian Stub Book was actually compiled way back in 1878 by William C. Yuille. At the time he was sporting editor for the Melbourne Weekly Times. He also ran his own bloodstock agency out of Bourke Street in central Melbourne.
Since those early times the Australian Stud Book has evolved into the wealth of valuable breeding information it contains today.
The ASB is also the founding member of the International Stud Book Committee, of which there are now 9 member nations.
What is the Goal of the Australian Stud Book?
For starters, it helps to ensure the breeding and parentage of all thoroughbred horses either born in Australia or imported into Australia.
It also ensures that breeders and their breeding lines are in agreement with and compliant with international breeding standards for thoroughbred horses, including racehorses.
Let’s quickly list just a few more facets of the Australian Stud Book:
- Provide breeding statistics and trends for national and international use
- Ensure high standards of staff development are met
- Make recommendations to the Board of Australian Racing, especially in regards to new technologies and how these technologies can receive rapid implementation
- And more…
Without something like the Australian Stud Book, there would likely be a downgrade in quality racehorses and no way of truly knowing the lineage and history of a thoroughbred horse you wish to purchase.