Arrowfield Stud, one of the most high profile thoroughbred breeding farms in Australia, has withdrawn its catalogued horses from the Easter Yearling Sale.
The Inglis Easter sale is one of the biggest thoroughbred auctions in the country and traditionally attracts cashed-up international and local buyers vying for the cream of the crop.
However, following government restrictions imposed on public auctions earlier this week to combat the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, Inglis had little option but to move its Easter Sale to an online format.
Arrowfield Stud general manager Paul Messara said they subsequently made the tough call to withdraw their draft of more than 60 yearlings and instead sell them by private treaty.
“These are unprecedented times and we really don’t know how the market is going to respond or what’s going to happen,” Messara told AAP.
“At this point in time, we felt it best that we withdraw from the sale, particularly an online sale.
“With the large volume and high quality stock we’ve got, this is a big part of our income for the year so we’ve just got to be very mindful of that.”
Messara said Arrowfield’s decision was not based solely on economics, although that was an underlying factor.
“We just didn’t want to leave ourselves exposed,” Messara said.
“It’s a new landscape at the moment. Obviously they were disappointed and we’re disappointed. We made the decision we had to make.
“They’ve been good partners of ours and will be in the future.
“Hopefully everything goes back to normal and we will be back there next year but we’ve got to ensure that can happen and these are trying times. Nobody really knows what is around the corner so it’s a tricky situation.”
Arrowfield will compile photographs, videos and supporting information on their yearlings for private buyers to access and says on-site inspections of the horses at their Hunter Valley farm are welcome.
During a difficult period for the breeding sector, Messara says it is critical racing continues for as long as possible as any stoppage will have widespread ramifications for the entire industry.
“If that stops it will be huge unemployment for our industry and it will stop the whole wheel turning,” he said.
Arrowfield has a stake in star colt Castelvecchio who won the Rosehill Guineas last Saturday and is in line for a tilt at next month’s $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.