It's the middle of July and in a very short time the new season's foals will start arriving and that means work for me and fun for our audience with the annual Breednet Foal Gallery poised for action in 2012.
The Breednet Foal Gallery showcases foals from all over Australia and New Zealand ranging from commercial blue-bloods to the much loved babies of hobby breeders dreaming of a Group I success.
A selection of these foals are also shown on TVN's popular Thoroughbreds program each week which returns to air on Tuesday August 7.
Some of the most anticipated foals are those by first season sires and some of the busiest of those boys include Rothesay (Glenlogan) and Tickets (Widden), who covered 152 mares each in 2011, followed hotly by Blue Diamond winners Reward for Effort (Chatswood) and Star Witness (Widden), who covered 150 and 147 mares respectively.
It's amazing what a difference 12 months can make in the life of a stallion and how their popularity can wax and wane while they do little but sit in a paddock.
Over the past year Fastnet Rock has soared into the stratosphere with a spectacular run of success on the track and in the sale ring, while his first son to retire to stud in Wanted, has set the weanling sales alight with some slashing first foals.
These two factors have combined to generate tremendous interest in sons of Fastnet Rock and three who will be expecting their first foals this spring are Hinchinbrook, Stryker (Three Bridges Thoroughbreds) and the previously mentioned Rothesay.
All three are Group winners from superb female families, but Yarraman Park's Hinchinbrook (pictured) is the one that has had the best upgrade to his stocks through the burgeoning success of his three-quarter brother Snitzel.
A year ago, Snitzel was doing a good job and looked to be on track for a solid career as a 'bread and butter' type stallion, but few would argue he's taken a quantum leap this year with horses like Sizzling, Snitzerland and Aliyana Tilde stamping him as a good bit better than that.
Hinchinbrook now finds himself as a three-quarter brother to the leading third season sire in the country in Snitzel and by the champion stallion in Fastnet Rock, who has broken all prizemoney records.
If you have a mare in foal to Hinchinbrook, who stood last spring at a fee of $16,500, you'd be entitled to feel that you may have pulled the right rein.
Yarraman Park are eagerly awaiting the arrival of his first foals and are keen to share them with us all, so have taken sponsorship of the Breednet Foal Gallery in 2012.
Vinery Stud's Congrats (USA) is a stallion that was much admired at the stallion parades in August last year, the powerful bay son of AP Indy attracting much business following on from those days based on what people saw.
He covered 140 mares at a fee of $22,000 and given the promising start made here in Australia by another AP Indy son in Bernardini (USA), whose oldest progeny are two year-olds, breeders will be quietly optimistic about his fortunes.
We know exactly how good sons of Redoute's Choice are at stud, which is why all eyes will be on the first foals by Tickets and Beneteau (Arrowfield), a couple of former brilliant juveniles with big pedigrees and opportunity aplenty.
If their foals impress, breeders will be only too happy to dive back in second season and punt these stallions to succeed at modest fees of $11,000 and $9,900 respectively.
The sire who has had had the biggest change in fortune in the past 12 months is undoubtedly Starspangledbanner, (pictured) who is in fact no longer a sire!
Now back in work at Ballydoyle, Starspangledbanner had his stud career curtailed by Coolmore in the wake of poor fertility, however some lucky breeders do have mares in foal to the four-time Group I winner.
Starspangled foals will be a one off limited edition and as such we can't wait to see them!
Send your foal photos to email@example.com