Japanese equine elite touch down after COVID hiatus

7 September 2021

This time of the year is very busy for equine biosecurity officers, as the world’s most valuable shuttle stallions touch down in Australia for the southern hemisphere breeding season.

Department PEQ spokesperson Lee Cale said a total of 49 international shuttle stallions travelled to Australia this season, to cover top broodmares all around the country. 

“This year’s incoming equine elite are worth a combined $500 million, and hail from France, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, USA, Japan and Canada,” Ms Cale said.

“Despite how famous or valuable these horses are, they still need to adhere to strict biosecurity requirements and stay in our Post-Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility at Mickleham for a minimum of 14-days. 

“While there, they are tested for horse diseases that Australia is officially free from including equine influenza, equine piroplasmosis and contagious equine metritis.

“This year is particularly relevant for three sires arriving from Japan. It will be the horses first visit in two years. 

“In 2020, Japanese stallions missed Australia’s breeding season when COVID disrupted available flight routes. One of the three sires, Satono Aladdin, will forward on to New Zealand. 

“Included in the Japanese consignment is Maurice. A multiple Group 1 winner in Hong Kong and Japan, he is known to racing fans as ‘The Beast from the East’. 

“Japanese Horse of The Year, Maurice has completed quarantine and is now en route to his home at the famous Arrowfield stud in Scone, NSW.

“The import of these horses is another interesting example of how our biosecurity system helps manage potential risks associated with animal imports, and why the work of our PEQ staff is so important.”

Other stallions include Admire Mars, who is derived from stock outside the famous Danehill line – a rarity in modern day Australian thoroughbreds.

A few of the horses are headed to the famous Coolmore stud in NSW’s prestigious Hunter region. 

This includes red-carpet sires American Pharoah and Justify. They’re the only two horses in 40 years to win the coveted ‘Triple Crown”, the three biggest races in the USA in the same year.

Nine standardbred stallions from the United States also arrived this month. The horses are referred to as shuttle stallions, as they’re ‘shuttled’ between the northern and southern hemispheres to align with the relevant breeding season. 

Bringing a horse to Australia? Find out about Australia’s biosecurity requirements here.