CLUB Menangle, which brought Lazarus home Down Under to stand at stud, has brought the harness racing industry up to date on a disappointing first season ‘return’ in Australia for the champion.
Following an enormous first season at stud in North America at Deo Volente Farms, Lazarus was able to obtain an 80 per cent “in foal” outcome, with 136 mares bred and 109 positives.
He arrived from North America for his first ‘Down Under’ stud season looking a picture of health and ready to begin his first breeding season in the Southern Hemisphere.
An initial examination of his fertility, under the supervision of the veterinary staff at Charles Sturt University and Dr Angus McKinnon at Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital, indicated his semen was well above average and did not indicate anything untoward.
Yirribee Stud was delighted with his willingness to breed and his semen production.
During the early part of the season his positive returns were 86 per cent.
Into the season, reports of “in foal” positives began to taper off and subsequently became more problematic.
As the return of negatives increased, Dr McKinnon arranged for further testing at the University of Sydney and the University of Newcastle.
Following consultation with Club Menangle’s North American owners, Taylor Made Stallions, a further independent review of the circumstances was undertaken by Dr Andrew Grierson, Woodlands Stud (NZ).
Dr McKinnon provided a report to Club Menangle on January 31, 2020 advising that what appeared to have occurred were changes to spermatogenesis (the production of mature sperm), associated with travel.
Acute thermal stress from a fever, scrotal insulation or trauma are well-documented associations with subfertility.
The good news is, this subfertility is not a permanent condition.
A regimen will be in place to monitor his temperature at every point on his way to quarantine, on arrival in Australia, travel to Yirribee and every day while in Australia to minimise the risk of this occurring again.
Both Dr McKinnon and Dr Grierson have indicated that prior to his return trip to North America, Lazarus appeared to be on the improve, based on morphological changes.
This has been supported by initial testing by Dr Charles Scoggin of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, Lexington, upon the return of Lazarus to the United States.
After analysing the results, Dr Scoggin stated; “Given the past circumstances surrounding this stallion, his sperm quality has rebounded and improved from comparative tests done in December, 2019. “He appears poised to have another successful Northern Hemisphere season.
“From what I’ve seen thus far, I would have no issue using this semen to breed mares.”
During the North American breeding season, Club Menangle and Taylor Made Stallions will closely monitor Lazarus’ North American breeding results.
While Club Menangle would have wished to provide an earlier update to the industry, the existence of veterinary evidence on which to base any public advice, was unavailable.