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Bravo to a breeder brave enough to tackle a controversial issue; THOUGHTS ON SUNDAY Richard Griffiths reflects on the big events and talking points in the bloodstock world.

Byline: Richard Griffiths

IT'S always great when someone in the bloodstock industry is prepared to lift their head above the parapet and say what they really think.

This particular Irish breeder has always been a hero of mine - and his standing has only been increased by a recent letter to the Thoroughbred Daily News.

"My name is Dermot Cantillon," he begins portentously. "I own farms in Kentucky [Lemons Mill Farm] and Ireland [Tinnakill House], so I take a very keen interest in the topic being debated."

That topic is the future of American breeding and Dermot doesn't hold back.

"Talk to the shippers from Ireland and the UK about the number of foals, mares and yearlings being shipped back to Ireland and the UK - it is only a fraction of what it was five years ago. There is now a perceived view that American horses are inherently unsound.

"The number of American-bred two-year-olds to be presented at this year's European sales is significantly down. At my Irish operation, I have for various reasons a number of mares with American pedigrees and over the last number of years I have seen a definite bias against buying good stock from these mares. There is now an ever-diminishing respect for the USA suffix in Europe."

Kerpow! Great stuff, Dermot, who goes on to say that the American industry lacks proper leadership.

If only everyone was so prepared to say publically exactly what they think.

Then - who knows? - they might even be able help solve the problems that concern them.

Hard times at Headquarters FOR all that bloodstock has bounced back from the travails of overproduction and a depressed global economy, no-one should think that every sector of the industry has been able to patch up its wounds.

Far from it. Newmarket in particular has been swirling with concern about two well-known ventures, one of which is a particularly famous stud that has been discreetly on the market for some time. A sale is said to be close. The other venture is rumoured to have lost key clients and staff and may soon be forced into closure.

Not so bright and breezy? BY far the most striking aspect of the first American two-year-old sale of the year, held at Barretts on Monday, was the fact that 44 of the 77 lots offered were unsold.

Whether this is a trend or a blip will unfold soon enough - there's a two-day OBS sale on Tuesday and Wednesday, while Fasig-Tipton's Florida juvenile auction takes place a fortnight tomorrow.

But you do start to wonder about the European breeze-up climate. The yearling sales of 2011 surprised everyone with their robustness, meaning that it may well have been harder than expected for those who consign juveniles to pick up them up as yearlings for prices that allow them to turn a profit.

There is no guarantee at all that the 2012 breeze-ups will produce the same kind of buoyancy that we saw last autumn. So it could be that, unless realistic reserves are set in the coming months, the European breeze-ups may also be most notable for the number of offerings that didn't sell, rather than those that did.

Horseyball A WEEK off in Egypt brought the chance to read at last Moneyball, the study of baseball sabermetrics - impressed? - that we are trying to use to help create a new way of studying stallion statistics.

What an experience it was - and Egypt wasn't bad, either. It is fair to say that the book, based on the Oakland A's baseball team under its maverick general manager Billy Beane, stimulates the mind from the first page onwards. Unless it was the rum and pineapple? The A's had a success rate that far outweighed an annual players' budget dwarfed by the profligate likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Beane and his team showed that moulds can be broken. Here are a few thoughts: is too much emphasis placed on what a sire can't do than what he can? And should we be trying to work out what a sire might do in the future rather than his past achievements? There's something in the air on this one, I promise you.

Dermot Cantillon: "Less respect for the USA suffix in Europe" BEST OF THE TWEETS SackvilleDonald The attrition rate in North America of Kentucky Derby candidates falling by the wayside is amazing #lessdrugs The leading bloodstock agency questions US medication policy badgersbs Galileo ex Fleeting Spirit filly foal #bredinthepurple Badgers Bloodstock, agents for Paul Makin, show off the owner-breeder's regally bred new arrival (pictured) Follow us on twitter @rpbloodstock for the latest news THE NEXT DAYS **Tuesday The start of the two-day OBS March Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, where subsequent Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes winner Currency Swap was on offer last year . . . . . . but stallion owners, breeders, sales companies and pedigree enthusiasts in Britain and Ireland will be focused on a certain race meeting closer to home that kicks off on the same day
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Mar 11, 2012
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