Thoroughbred horse racing as we know it is facing a legal challenge in Australia that has rocked the multibillion dollar sport around the world.
Sydney Federal Court is deciding weather to lift a ban on artificial insemination. The Sydney Turf Club has a rule that calls for racehorses to be the offspring of two horses that have physically mated.
Bruce McHugh, the former Sydney Turf Club Chairman, is challenging the ban, claiming it's an illegal trade restraint. He argues the rule makes breeding costly and dangerous for the horses, thus keeping him from getting into the industry.
McHugh's lawyer claims international rules banning horses by artificial insemination are "outdated and designed to protect large-scale commercial stud farms who now have a license to print money."
Most minor breeders don't have big money at their disposal and can't afford the risk associated with transporting horses to stud for several months, however shipping semen is much more affordable.
So-called shuttle stallions are sent around the world to breed with mares, earning over $330,000 per mating session.
A lawyer from the Sydney Turf Club claims artificial insemination would lead to semen being stored for use long after the stud's death. So in a way, a great stallion would never die.
He also says keeping the rules the way they are would maintain the tradition that has made the sport so popular. He claims European soccer could make nets bigger to increase scoring, but tampering with tradition could destroy the sport.
Justice Alan Robertson will decide a verdict in the case.