Most Popular Sires of 2016
Tara Madgwick - Monday, 6 March 2017
Here are the facts - The Australian Studbook have released official covering statistics for the 2016 breeding season which is always interesting reading as we see just which stallions were the top choice for our breeders.

Top 20 Busiest Sires in Australia for 2016 (source Australian Studbook as at March 1)

NicconiTop of the heap is Widden Stud's quiet achiever Nicconi, who sired his tenth stakes-winner on Saturday when Time Awaits landed the Listed SAJC Cinderella Stakes at Morphettville.

He might be a 'bread and butter' stallion, but Nicconi is proven, reliable, gets a good type and was obviously priced at a level to please given he covered 110 more mares that he did last year.

Woodside Park's reigning Champion 2YO Sire Written Tycoon set a new benchmark for himself in covering his biggest ever book of 224 mares. Riding on the back of siring last year's Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, 2016 was always going to be a break out year for this stallion, who turns 15 this year and is completely free of Danzig blood.

Widden Stud's Star Witness had the stars align to achieve his biggest ever book of 220 mares. His service fee was dropped for last spring to $16,500, his lowest fee to date and shortly after he produced dual Group I winner Global Glamour and Group II winning colt Star Turn…. breeders couldn't book in quick enough once the tide started to turn!

DissidentNewgate Farm's Dissident was the right horse in the right place this year.

In 2015, the Australian Horse of the Year covered 197 mares at a fee of $38,500, but last year the son of Sebring was facing stiff competition from his barn mate and paternal half-brother Criterion, who was the new big banger at Newgate priced at $35,750.

Dissident's fee was reduced slightly to $33,000 and when Criterion hit a hurdle with fertility, he was right there ready and waiting to pick up those mares still keen to be covered by another just as good son of Sebring.

Criterion has been declared sub-fertile getting just 15 mares in foal, so while his debut season ended in tears, for Dissident it was the cloud with the silver lining.

Yarraman Park's I Am Invincible is hotter than hot and breeders know it. He might be standing now at five times his original service fee of $11,000, but he's worth every penny.

Newgate Farm's Deep Field actually dropped back a bit in his second season going from 257 mares in 2015 to 204 last year.

The numbers this horse will have when his progeny start racing are going to give him a distinct numerical advantage over his peers… always assuming his progeny can run!

As an example, his Group I winning full brother Shooting to Win stands at Darley and has covered books of 156 and 148 mares.

Spill the BensThe most popular first season sire turns out to be Aquis Farm's brilliant Snitzel sprinter Spill the Beans, who has nosed out Coolmore's Golden Slipper winner Vancouver by just a couple of mares.

A Group II winner from the family of champion filly and Australian Horse of the Year Bounding Away, Spill the Beans covered 201 mares at a fee of $11,000.

He was also the busiest sire in Queensland by quite a margin over Eureka Stud's Spirit of Boom, who covered 146 mares at $11,000.

Coolmore's So You Think appears next having covered 188 mares at a fee of $49,500, with bookings no doubt increasing as the spring went on and his stock started to show their hand.

Now here we are in the autumn and So You Think has two Group I winners on the board in Inference and La Bella Diosa, so breeders who thought he had irons in the fire, have been proven correct.

The burgeoning success of So You Think may have helped the cause at Arrowfield with their Champion 3YO Dundeel, another son of So You Think's sire High Chaparral.

Dundeel covered his biggest book of 182 mares last year at a fee of $27,500 and encouraging sales results with his first yearlings this year give reason for optimism.

SnitzelWidden Stud's Sebring and Arrowfield's Snitzel were the most expensive sires in the Top 20 busiest list, the former covering 185 mares at $77,000 and the latter covering 169 mares at $110,000.

It was the first year since 2011 that Snitzel has covered less than 200 mares, with those past huge books currently driving his runaway success on the track.

Snitzel leads the Australian General Sires List with progeny earnings approaching $9million, as well as topping the 2YO Sires List and 3YO Sires List.

Everywhere you turn, there's a Snitzel!

The days of shuttle stallions dominating the landscape are clearly over with the most popular shuttlers being Toronado (IRE), who covered 142 mares at Swettenham Stud, Dream Ahead (USA), who covered 135 mares at Emirates and More Than Ready (USA) and Real Impact (Jpn), who both covered 134 mares at Vinery and Arrowfield respectively.

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