One of the major reasons for shuttling stallions in the early days was to upgrade the local breeding stock. The success of Danehill supported this concept, leading to a belief foreign stallions were superior to Australian stallions. However, Danehill was an exception to the rule.
Some consider that Australia was seen as a dumping ground for stallion deemed unsuitable for the US or Europe. In recent times, the success of local stallions such as Commands and Redoute’s Choice has swung the market around, and now local stallions are increasing in popularity.
Many believe that all shuttle stallions are overpriced and over hyped. Whilst some are, the lack of success that some shuttle stallions experience in Australia is not due to the lack of quality of the stallion. The problem is that a lot of the stallions chosen to shuttle here are unsuitable for the tough Australian conditions.
The answer is to be careful when selecting a Northern Hemisphere stallion to bring to Australia. If the stallion is to have a chance at success in the Australian market, he needs to have a record and/or family history of early 2yo performance, which is very important to the Australian market. He must have the scope to go on as a 3yo and must also have speed, acceleration, and turn of foot.
Many Northern Hemisphere stallions are not tough enough to withstand the hard tracks of Australia. Horses that prefer the soft tracks of Europe will not be successful in Australia. The same goes for fine-boned horses.
The stallion must have the conformation of a sprinter. Whilst we are known for the Melbourne Cup, Australian racing loves a good sprinter, so any stallion that cannot produce this cannot be successful here. He must be built like an athlete, with a good shoulder and good hindquarters.