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Freedman Slams Slipper Prize & Breeders
On Golden Slipper eve, 4-time winning trainer Lee Freedman (Bint Marscay 1993, Danzero 1994, Flying Spur 1995 & Merlene 1996) stirred the debate over the current breeding emphasis on 2YO speed with a column in The Melbourne Age newspaper declaring the world's richest juvenile race "is so over-funded & so pumped-up by our major breeders that it now almost solely determines our future stallions". With the Slipper (more than any other race on the Australasian calendar) proving a springboard to commercial success in the breeding barn in recent years, Freedman stated: "I find the demise of our classic races as the provider of stallions a little sad & believe we have lost our perspective by breeding too many similar sprinter-miler types. Our breeding industry now has such a reliance on the Slipper that we are no longer enjoying a diverse pool of stallions that can properly feed our classic races & our distance weight-for-age events. The Golden Slipper is so entrenched in this country as the race that makes a stallion that it will take years to change the thinking of the breeding industry. Some studs, mostly those with international roots, do take a more global view with their stallions; but locally, we are in danger of breeding the same sort of horse originating from just a handful of stallions, of which some have similar bloodlines. I have tasted a deal of success in the Golden Slipper myself & while the returns are excellent, the spin-off into the breeding barn is not healthy for the industry, which is keen to take steps internationally. The result of relying on the Golden Slipper to produce our stallions is that our place on the world stage may suffer. . . . . We risk being pigeon-holed as a country that only breeds for speed."