Imminent Ascot sales set to go ahead as companies monitor coronavirus situation
Goffs will review sales after Irish government restrictions end on March 29
Tattersalls Ascot is pressing ahead with preparations for its forthcoming sales despite overseas fixtures having been cancelled or postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Keeneland has abandoned its April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale altogether, while Fasig-Tipton has done likewise with its Gulfstream offering and Osarus has put back its breeze-up auction by five weeks to May 12-13.
But, in line with UK government recommendations announced on Thursday that did not go as far as banning large gatherings, the Tattersalls Ascot March mixed sale on Thursday and the same venue's breeze-up sale on Wednesday, April 1, are currently expected to go ahead as planned.
Matt Prior, head of Tattersalls Ascot and Cheltenham Sales, said on Friday: “We're following government guidelines that it's business as usual, although we're constantly monitoring the situation as we appreciate it's changing all the time.
“We have an open dialogue with Ascot racecourse about their response to the spread of coronavirus.
“For potential buyers from overseas we would say that their travel plans should be dictated by their own country's public health guidelines, and would remind all clients that they can get in touch with us to assist with bidding remotely should the need arise.”
The Goffs group, which conducts sales in Britain and Ireland, is set to hold a boutique jumps auction at Aintree on April 2, followed by the breeze-up fixture in Doncaster on April 22-23 and the Punchestown sale on April 30.
The company's chief executive Henry Beeby said: “We're maintaining a watching brief and will review the situation on March 29, when the Irish government's restrictions are currently set to be lifted.”
The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced on Thursday that until March 29 all schools, colleges and childcare facilities in Ireland would close, with indoor mass gatherings of 100 people or more and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people would be cancelled. All state-run cultural institutions will be closed until that date.
The bloodstock industry will not only have to deal with the administrative disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, but also worldwide financial turmoil which could have a negative effect on investment in thoroughbreds.
The FTSE 100 fell by 10.9 per cent on Thursday, the biggest drop since the financial crash of October 1987, although there was a modest recovery in the European stock markets on Friday.
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