Poor sales prompt Irish breeders to take action
INDUSTRY figures yesterday pledged to try to combat the current lack of demand at Irish National Hunt bloodstock auctions, which was brought into sharp focus by a clearance rate of just 36 per cent at Tuesday's Tattersalls Ireland February sale.
Peter Molony, owner of Rathmore Stud and chairman of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association National Hunt committee, revealed that the ITBA would join forces with Irish Thoroughbred Marketing to launch a publicity campaign aimed at generating demand for Irish jumps stock in time for this summer's store horse sales.
Simon Kerins: figures at non-select sales are "disappointingly low"PICTURE: Caroline Norris
He said: "We want to put across that the downturn, though difficult, presents an opportunity to buy potentially high-class horses for very low prices."
Molony added that the campaign would also encourage vendors to prepare sales horses so that they are closer to being ready to run when they go through the ring.
Encouraging breeders not to use untried mares for producing sales horses is another of the ITBA's aims. "If there is one complaint I hear about Irish jumps stock, it is that a lot of horses are out of untried mares," Molony said, continuing a theme he had raised at an ITBA seminar last week.
"To encourage people to race fillies, an expansion of Pattern races for jumps mares has been introduced, and we would like to launch a leasing scheme so that breeders who may not be able to afford training costs can campaign fillies."
Tattersalls Ireland marketing manager Simon Kerins said that the sale company was working on its own initiatives which would be "unveiled in the fullness of time".
Reflecting on the 36 per cent clearance rate, he said: "We are in the middle of an economic downturn and coupled with overproduction, the amount of lots changing hands at our non-select sales is disappointingly low.
"Clearly many vendors' expectations were higher than the market was prepared to pay, and for many horses there was patently no demand. We would however expect the figures to be better at our select sales."
Doncaster's two-day January sale last week fared better than Tattersalls Ireland, with a clearance rate of 50 per cent. Managing Director Henry said at the time that the sale had been helped by a larger number of UK National Hunt vendors selling on home soil.