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Racing braces for virus impact on sales

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London, United Kingdom (AFP) – Racing needs to “keep calm and carry on” in the middle of the greatest crisis the industry has faced, according to Henry Beeby, group chief executive of leading auction house Goffs.

The rallying call from Beeby comes ahead of its premier yearling sale, the Orby, which will take place at the company’s sales complex in Doncaster, northern England.

Goffs and leading rivals Tattersalls, who hold two major yearling sales in October, totalled more than £200 million ($258 million) over the three sales last year.

However, this year’s auctions come after worrying predictions from other leading voices in the sport, which is suffering badly from the coronavirus fallout.

Ralph Beckett, who is due to take up his role as president of the National Trainers Federation in January, fears 10 percent of the 500 licensed trainers in Britain will hand in their licences.

The British Horseracing Authority has predicted racecourses will lose £250 million-£300 million this year due to the ban on spectators.

Such losses filter through to lower prizemoney and act as a deterrent to those toying with the idea of buying horses.

While English racing is widely regarded as the best in Europe, the prizemoney has always been a problem when compared to the costly training fees.

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