The Australian Stud Book has released figures for the last serving season and it reported Western Australia’s 41 registered stallions covered 1,462 mares in 2023.

That was up 8% from 2022.  Australia-wide, there were 17,720 mares and that was down 11%.

Darling View Thoroughbreds filled the top three positions in WA with reigning champion Playing God (pictured) covering a career-high 144 mares in his 10th book.  Second-season sire Splintex served 110 mares and newcomer Lightsaber 100 at the Atwell family’s stud in Mundijong.

The owners of those 144 mares booked into Playing God paid an increased service fee of $33,000 (inc GST).  Breeders have faced rises year-on-year since 2019 and that begs a certain question.

Will he go up again to something like $40,000 in 2024?

Western Australia’s super sire set a new Perth Magic Millions record when agent Sheamus Mills paid $625,000 for the full-sister to Group 1 winner Bustler and his current crop of 39 yearlings averaged over $119,000 at the Magic Millions off a $16,500 fee in 2021.

Brent Atwell told ANZ Bloodstock he sees no issues being able to find spots at future Swan Valley Sales for the increasing number of Playing Gods, although he intends to also send some yearlings to other sales around Australian.

“As far as my point of view goes, the more we can get into the Perth Sale, the better,” Atwell said.  “Trainers want to buy fast horses and that’s what he’s producing.  We will look to other sales around the country and hopefully they will be well received especially after how well they sold here last month.”

Magic Millions WA manager David Houston said Playing God has revolutionised WA breeding.  “It’s been a long time since there’s been a horse as dominant,” Houston added when interviewed by ANZ Bloodstock.  “He’s relevant everywhere.  Everyone wants a Playing God and our other stallions across the board are going very well, too, so we’re in good safe hands at the moment.”

Nationwide, Newgate Farm sire Tassort (Brazen Beau) was the busiest sire in 2023 with 232 mares at an $11,000 (inc GST) fee.  Next best were Better Than Ready (213) at Lyndhurst Stud and Alabama Express (206) at Yulong Stud.