The yearling sales calendar has undergone further upheaval with the news that Ireland’s flagship yearling sale, the Goffs Orby Sale, will be switched to Doncaster on the slightly later dates of Thursday 1 and Friday 2 October.

The Sportsman’s Sale, which normally follows the Orby, will be held a week earlier on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 September, again in Doncaster.

The move follows feedback from a multitude of vendors and purchasers, and reacts to concerns that overseas purchasers, in particular those from the UK, will be unable to attend a yearling sale in Ireland whilst the Irish Government’s 14-day self-isolation requirement remains in place.

Announcing the decision Goffs Chairman, Eimear Mulhern, said: “In view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current Irish and localised protocols, and in the best interests of our clients and the Irish Breeding Industry, the Board of Goffs are announcing today that it will, on a purely once off occasion, stage the Orby and Sportsman’s Sales in the Goffs UK sales complex in Doncaster. Goffs shareholders have always sought to provide the Irish industry with an independent sales company with its own ethos, integrity and values and it is in line with this core principal that we have decided to stage the sale at our own premises in the UK.”

Goffs Group Chief Executive, Henry Beeby added: “Naturally our first preference would have been to hold what is the Irish National Yearling Sale in Kildare Paddocks but, given the current issues caused by Covid-19, we judge that is not in the best interests of our vendors who have supported us with a stellar selection of wonderful yearlings. Our job is to attract the widest and most diverse group of buyers to our sales and we feel that can best be achieved in 2020 by moving our yearling sales to our UK site as a one-off to deal with the uniquely challenging problems caused by Covid-19.

Henry Beeby: “The Orby and Sportman’s Sales will provide their usual world class service” – Photo: George Selwyn

“Our sales complex in Doncaster is the newest in the world and has been universally praised for its horse and customer friendly layout since it was opened in 2008. It is certainly fit for purpose in selling the best as has been clearly demonstrated by selling the world’s highest priced NH horse ever last May (£620,000) and this year’s top priced European Breeze-Up two-year-old when we hosted the Arqana Breeze-Up Sale on 1 July (£650,000). The showing areas for the yearlings are second to none and we will ensure that the facilities for attendees are enhanced as much as possible once we have taken the UK Government’s directives into account. In addition, Doncaster is easily accessible from every part of the UK and is just 1½ hours from central London by train whilst our superb network of international agents will continue to promote these world class Orby yearlings around the globe. Alongside that Goffs Online will allow absent buyers to participate in the sale and we will ensure that clear videos of yearlings are available for inspection as well as accommodating any buyers who want to bid by telephone. In short, Orby and Sportsman’s will provide their usual world class service and the only difference will be geographical on this occasion.”

The new date will also allow those buyers who wish to attend the first two books of the Keeneland September Sale in Kentucky to self-isolate for two weeks.

Both sales will continue to receive the support Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, despite the change in location.

Brian Kavanagh, Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive, confirmed ITM’s involvement, saying: We would far prefer that the Orby and Sportsman’s Sales be held in Ireland but regrettably, that is not realistic in the current uncertain climate. Horse Racing Ireland understands Goffs’ decision to relocate the sales on a once off basis and will support Goffs and Irish breeders in these unique circumstances through the continued and proactive work of our subsidiary, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing.”

The remaining Goffs sales programme for 2020 will stay in Ireland and any yearling vendor not wishing to sell in the UK will be accommodated in the Goffs Autumn Sale on 2-4 November.

The Goffs November Foal and Breeding Stock Sales are being planned for Kildare Paddocks.

“The situation with our market leading foal sale is entirely different as by far the biggest group of buyers are Irish so, to be clear, the November Sale will be held in Kildare Paddocks on its planned dates,” said Henry Beeby. “Goffs Foals are true market leaders with Europe’s top priced foals being sold at Goffs in five of the last six years headed by the world’s best in 2019 at €1.2 million, and this year of all years it makes most sense to sell Irish foals in Ireland whilst the Breeding Stock section will be enhanced with our online platform, videos and agents on the ground.

“The December NH Sale is also a largely domestic affair and, as we clearly showed at our recent Land Rover Sale, we can deliver a safe and compliant environment for successful sales in Ireland when the buyers are largely domestic.”


Tattersalls Ascot Yearling Sale shifted to September 7

The Tattersalls Ascot Yearling Sale, originally scheduled to take place at Tattersalls in Newmarket on Tuesday, 8 September, will now be held on Monday, 7 September.

The date has been brought forward in response to the decision by Arqana to move their Select Yearling Sale to begin on 9 September. The revised Tattersalls Ascot Yearling Sale date aims to facilitate those who may wish to attend both venues.

A total of 257 yearlings have been catalogued to this year’s auction, all of whom are eligible for the £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes. Last year’s renewal has already been advertised to good effect this season, notably as the source of this week’s Lowther Stakes heroine Miss Amulet alongside Molecomb Stakes winner Steel Bull.