Goffs has announced that its forthcoming Land Rover Sale of National Hunt store horses will take place in Ireland as planned despite a failed bid to have certain overseas buyers made exempt from the country's 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors. Tattersalls Ireland's Derby and May Store Sales will also go ahead as planned at Fairyhouse on Aug. 18 and 19 and Aug. 20, respectively.
The sale is set to take place next week on Aug. 12 and 13 and only incoming visitors from 'Green List' countries' will not have had to quarantine for 14 days prior to the sale. That list extends to 15 countries and includes Italy, Norway and Greece, but travellers arriving in Ireland from Britain, France, Spain and America among others would have to undergo the stipulated period of isolation.
A joint submission which “sought to respect the quarantine requirements” was made by Goffs, Tattersalls Ireland, Horse Racing Ireland and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing to urge the Irish government to allow a limited number of key overseas buyers to be present at both the Land Rover Sale at Goffs and the Derby Sale at Tattersalls Ireland on Aug. 18 and 19. This was denied following consultation with Ireland's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
“Naturally we are disappointed that our submission cannot be implemented at this time as we had worked with HRI on a proposal that was workable but respected current government policy,” said Goffs Group chief executive Henry Beeby. “However we recognise the increasing challenge facing the country and appreciate the difficult decisions facing the government as the country battles this pandemic. On behalf of Goffs, I apologise to all our clients who are affected, first and foremost those UK buyers who had accepted the invitation, and our vendors who have supported us with such an outstanding group of horses. As we have stated, the sale will proceed with detailed social distancing protocols in place. The Goffs team is continuing to proactively promote the sale and will provide as much assistance as possible to any buyer unable to attend by linking them with Irish agents, highlighting those entries that can be viewed online and encouraging the use of Goffs Online to bid. We will publish a list of agents who confirm their attendance and are available to act as an inspector whilst we are also available to take phone bids from any potential purchaser.”
He added, “As to future sales, we will continue to monitor the situation and look at any and all options as matters evolve but we would reiterate that the modern-day Goffs was set up to provide a world-class sales facility in Ireland and to serve the Irish breeder. At the same time we have a superb sales complex in the UK so we have options to serve the industry on both sides of the Irish Sea. However, we feel it would be imprudent to rush in to any finite decisions beyond next week at this stage and we would ask for calm heads and the continued support of our loyal clients as by working together we can deliver the best results for the world-class Irish horses so sought after around the world.
“For now we look forward to next week as we have a superb group of horses to offer and we should remember that recent editions of the Land Rover Sale have welcomed over 350 Irish buyers whilst modern technology can allow others to participate. It's not ideal but nothing is at the moment and the health of the nation must be the priority.”
Tattersalls Ireland Chief Executive Officer Matt Mitchell said, “Naturally we are disappointed that our joint submission to government has not been approved, but we fully respect the decision and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that the Derby and May Store Sales run as smoothly as possible. While the sales will take place under strict protocols, we will be working tirelessly to assist purchasers in any way we can, in particular those who cannot be present due to the travel constraints. We regret not being able to welcome to Fairyhouse our overseas purchasers whose loyalty has been rewarded with purchases that consistently deliver on the track. While the circumstances are difficult, we believe they are not insurmountable and our new live internet bidding platform and telephone bidding facilities will be at the disposal of all those unable to attend the sales.”
Horse Racing Ireland's chief executive Brian Kavanagh commented, “Like many other sectors, Covid 19 is having a serious impact on all aspects of our business and the international travel consequences are becoming ever more complicated. I wish Goffs well with what will be the first public sale to be held in Ireland since February. While some visitors may not be able to attend in person, the current situation requires us to be as creative as possible and through Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, Horse Racing Ireland will assist Goffs and their international buyers in any way we can.”