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'It's a busy household as my wife is working on the frontline'

Industry figures tell us how they are managing in self-isolation

Eamonn Reilly: a fan of the documentary Three Identical Strangers
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BBA Ireland's Eamonn Reilly tells us about how he is managing – both personally and professionally – with the Europe-wide lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus

How is life ticking over for you?

Like a lot of people in the industry, I'm doing my best to work as much as possible from home. With more time on my hands I have enjoyed keeping the garden in shape - we have been blessed with great weather.

I'm lucky enough to live near the Hill of Tara in County Meath where I enjoy bringing the dog for a walk. I'm also keeping in touch with my family with Zoom quizzes on a Saturday night.

It's a busy household as my wife, Vivienne, is working on the frontline as a nurse. My three children have been busy with online exams, two are at university in Dublin and one is still in secondary school.

Thankfully the youngest didn't have state exams this year.

With no racing or sales in Europe at present, your scope to do business must be limited. What are you doing instead?

While business is limited, I'm keeping in regular contact with my colleagues in BBA Ireland, and with my clients regarding the matings for their mares. I'm also assisting Natasha Langan of our busy insurance department with regards to valuations.

With the easing of restrictions, I'm looking forward to visiting stud farms and trainers in the next few weeks.

What's your view on online sales, if they had to happen in Europe this year?

Ideally sales would happen in person where we can view the animal and bid facing the auctioneer. The atmosphere of a sales ring would be impossible to capture in an online setting.

However, that said, we have to move with the times and adhere to whatever the sales companies must do to keep the industry afloat during these difficult times

What vibes are you getting from clients about their participation in the industry in the short term?

First of all my clients are anxious to get racing started again as they have been paying full training fees and have not had an opportunity to earn prize-money. Furthermore, there is no window of opportunity for them to sell their stock should they be lucky enough to win.

However, nobody has indicated that they would be leaving the business anytime soon, thank god.

What's your best guess on what will happen to the market this year, and how long it will take to recover?

I definitely think the yearling market will be affected, but by how much is anyone’s guess.

My go to sound board in all of this is my good friend Colin Bryce alongside his wife Melba, who own Laundry Cottage Stud. Colin works in the City and has a wealth of knowledge with regards markets and he is hopeful for the future

However, trying to buy a well-bred mare or filly at the end of the year will be as difficult as ever - as I know too well! I'm optimistic that things will bounce back by as soon next year, provided racing goes ahead.

Do you think there will be any positives to come out of the crisis eventually?

It's hard to say what will come out of the crisis as only time will tell. However, it was encouraging to see the sales companies all working together for the good of the industry.

It has also opened the industry up to the possibility of increased digitalisation such as online bidding and vendors providing video footage of their stock.

Any film, TV or book recommendations to share to get through home confinement?

Netflix has been a great help to get through confinement; I tend to like anything based on real life. I enjoyed the film Lion and would definitely recommend that.

I have also enjoyed watching documentaries recently; Three Identical Strangers is another good watch.

What are you most looking forward to when racing returns?

I'm looking forward to the progeny from Newtown Anner Stud running as I have purchased the dams of many of them.

Two to keep an eye on when racing returns are Windsor Pass, a Lope De Vega filly out of Carte De Visite with Jessica Harrington, and Thunder Kisses, a Night Of Thunder filly out of Desert Snow who's with Ger Lyons.

Jim Bolger tells me he has a nice crop of two-year-olds for this season and I'm looking forward to seeing them run as I helped to buy a lot of the dams, and even granddams at this stage!

Gerrardstown Stud have a nice filly called St Clerans, by Golden Horn.

I also purchased Bob Edwards of E5 Racing a nice two-year old colt by Pride Of Dubai who's in training with Wesley Ward and is expected to be out early.

There's plenty of horses to look forward to so June the 8th can’t come quick enough!

Read more Life in Lockdown Q&As with industry figures

Julian Dollar: 'A standout foal would be the Dubawi half-sister to Waldgeist'

Oliver St Lawrence: 'Stallion masters will have to look at dropping fees'

Ian Bradbury: 'I'm fortunate to have a young, enthusiastic and talented team'

Mathilde Texier: 'Curbs on travel are greatly limiting the scope of my work'

Richard Knight: 'It's been great to see the sales companies work together'

Tony Fry: 'Would I buy a horse over the internet? I must admit I wouldn't'

Ed Harper: 'Our stud secretary says clients have never been so organised'

Adrian O'Brien: 'There are plenty of reasons to maintain a spring in the step'

Billy Jackson Stops: 'The buying bench is going to be heavily depleted'

Alex Elliott: 'Cooking and cycling were two things I never thought I could do'

Joey Cullen: 'Racing has the chance to showcase itself to a captive audience'

Claire Sheppard: 'The TBA had to move quickly to save the covering season'

Tomas Janda: 'Lower prices could encourage new buyers to get involved'

Matt Hall: 'Films are a waste of time – I watch festival replays instead'

Tom Goff: 'I've painted two garden seats. God, I sound so middle-aged!'

Simon Sweeting: 'Rightly or wrongly I'm having all my mares covered'

Richard Kent: 'Stud fees and sales house charges will have to come down'

Philippa Mains: 'The industry is a family and we help each other out'

Claire Goodwillie: 'People have realised if you're not online you're invisible'

Tina Rau: 'I'm enjoying post-dinner quarantinis with friends over video call'

Daniel Creighton: 'The market will recover – the only question is when'

Ed Player: 'We're happy to move with the times and embrace online trading'

Patrick Sells: 'Chasemore Farm is effectively operating in a bubble'

Chad Schumer: 'Racing in the US being cancelled is the biggest frustration'

Tom Blain: 'Trade will be down but all we can do is roll with the punches'

Ted Voute: 'We'll need to strengthen the way we showcase young stock'

Simon Kerins: 'We'll embrace any format that will help get horses sold'

Barry Lynch: 'The industry has often bounced back as quickly as it dipped'

Tim Lane: 'Working with horses does you the world of good in these times'

Jerry Horan: 'My sister butchered my haircut. I think it was payback'

Violet Hesketh and Mimi Wadham: 'Social distancing isn't hard - just lonely!'

Henry Beeby: 'Nick Nugent and I have entered a beard growing competition'

Charles O'Neill: 'ITM will be ready to go when the markets open up again'

Freddy Powell: 'We're improving our online sale platform in case it's needed'

Bumble Mitchell: 'Online sales could be tricky for outlying studs like mine'

David Stack: 'I had to give a garda a lesson about the birds and the bees'

Colm Sharkey: 'I've been torturing myself trying to sort out my golf swing'

Rachael Gowland: 'I didn't realise how much I loved racing until I couldn't go'

Sam Hoskins: 'I've been listening to endless Cold War podcasts on my tractor'

Niamh Spiller: 'Video calls are very important to keep everyone motivated'

Jamie Lloyd: 'Staff have had all their own gear labelled, even wheelbarrows'

Micheál Orlandi: 'The stallions are flying and that gives me great hope'

Richard Venn: 'The French are in a good position to get back racing sooner'

Tim Kent: 'It's difficult to plan when we don't know when racing will resume'

Russell Ferris: 'Weatherbys had contingency plans that we activated at once'

Grant and Tom Pritchard-Gordon: 'Inglis Easter has kept us busy since January'

Peter Hockenhull: 'The social side of meeting and chatting to breeders is gone'

Polly Bonnor: 'We've fulfilled every feed order, including all our exports'

Richard Lancaster: 'We're fortunate that some Shadwell staff live on site'



My clients are anxious to get racing started again as they have been paying full training fees and have not had an opportunity to earn prize-money
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