When a male racehorse finishes its career there’s a high chance that its owners will seek to put it out to stud. This is a horse racing term that effectively means it mates with female horses across the country – and sometimes the world – with the intent to produce the next generation of champion horses.
But it’s well worth knowing what the stud industry is all about and why owners do it. So, in Paddy Power’s latest Demystifying Racing guide, we take a look at what a horse going to stud is all about…
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What is ‘going to stud’ in horse racing?
When a horse goes to stud it retires from racing to instead spend its days mating in order to (hopefully!) produce a champion racehorse. Stallions – male horses that haven’t been gelded – can be said to be ‘standing at stud’ or ‘at stud service’, while broodmares – female horses – are sometimes said to be ‘out to breed’. Female horses are also known as mares or stud mares.
Covering (the term for equine insemination) takes place throughout the year with some stallions pairing up with over 100 mares. Pairings are recorded in a stud book, which tracks the lineage of all thoroughbred racehorses.
The reason for all this is to breed a racehorse with the similar characteristics of its sire and dam. It can be a bit of an expensive lottery but the industry evidently thrives on owners hoping they will hit the jackpot and produce the next iconic champion.
The one big issue for owners, though, is that they won’t know if they have a champion horse in the making for months after it is born. Horses can run as juveniles around two years old and then compete in big races at three.
How much do stud fees cost?
Brace yourself. Stud fees for a single cover can go into the hundreds of thousands of pounds. Irish stallion Galileo, for example, supposedly has fees of £500,000. However, the majority of stud fees hover between £1,000 and £20,000, while only a handful of horses go over £50,000.
So is it worth it? Well, Galileo was himself sired by Sadler’s Wells, who won the Epsom Derby, the Irish Derby and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2001, and has been champion stud every year since 2010. He’s more than proved his worth to his owners.
Meanwhile, Japanese horse Deep Impact commended over £300,000 per cover when he was at stud, while Frankel’s fees weren’t too far off that figure too.
However, sometimes the investment in a champion racehorse can prove costly. Fusaichi Pegasus was sold for around £45m after winning the 2000 Kentucky Derby but failed at stud. He sired a handful of race winners but his fees have plummeted to just £5,000.
As a punter you’re unlikely to hear much about the lineage of horses at the racetrack. Sometimes it makes a nice media story when a champion horse sires another, but in terms of horse racing betting the smarter directives to help you place your bets can be found in the form, weight and going.
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- What are the different types of going in horse racing?
- What is a bumper horse race?
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- What is a listed horse race?
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- Why are there different grades of horse race?
- Why are there 3 different types of National Hunt race?
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- How many different classes of horse race are there?
- What is a claiming race and what do they mean?
- What is an optional claimer in horse racing?
- What is a shadow roll and why do some race horses wear them?
- Why do some races start from stalls and some not?
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- What is a yearling horse and when are they ready to race?
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- What is a conditional jockey?
- What does the term ‘connections’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear cheekpieces?
- Who are the stewards in horse racing?
- What does ‘weighed in’ mean at the end of a horse race?
- What is a nursery race?
- Why are some National Hunt races run without fences?
- Why are some horses given a tongue tie during races?
- What does it mean when a horse is ‘pushed out’?
- How are horse racing ratings calculated?
- What does it mean when a horse has a ‘wind operation’?
- How high are the fences and hurdles in horse racing?
- What is an apprentice jockey?
- What is a Bull Ring in horse racing?
- What does the phrase ‘Look of Eagles’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear a ‘weight cloth’ during races?
- What is the Triple Crown in horse racing?
- What is a Steeplechase race in horse racing?
- How high are the Cheltenham Festival fences and hurdles?
- Why is the Champion Chase named after the Queen Mother?
- Why does Cheltenham racecourse have an Old Course and a New Course? What’s the differences between the two?
- What is the Cheltenham roar? What difference does it make in races?
- Why are there no jumps in the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper?
- How many fans usually attend the Cheltenham Festival? How big is the capacity?
- What is a juvenile in horse racing?
- Grand National fence names and the stories behind every Aintree jump
- How high are Grand National fences at Aintree Racecourse?
- What are Grand National fences made of at Aintree Racecourse?
- Grand National fences: Order of jumps, total and which are taken twice
- Grand National weights: Why do horses carry different weights at Aintree?
- How many people usually attend the Grand National? What is Aintree’s capacity?
- What is the distance of the Grand National? How far do the horses run?
- How does a horse qualify for the Grand National?
- When did a horse last win the Grand National carrying top weight?
- Do Grand National reserve horses ever run in the race at Aintree?
- What is a sire and a dam? Why is breeding so important in horse racing?
- What’s the difference between a colt, filly, gelding, stallion and mare?
- What do horse racing commentators mean by sectional times?
- What is the Royal Procession at Royal Ascot? Which members of the Royal Family attend?
- How do they choose Epsom Derby stall numbers? Is there a draw bias?
- How long does it take horses to complete the Epsom Derby? How fast are the runners?
- How many racehorses does the Queen own?