There has been mounting pressure by heavyweight Australian breeders on Inglis and Magic Millions to rethink their previously announced new dates for the all-important sales series in Australia next year. One of them has yielded.
Inglis, which had moved its marquee Easter yearling sale a month later, has again revised its dates. Its Easter and Classic yearling sales have been pushed back an additional week to give buyers and vendors more preparation time. The Australian Easter yearling sale will start April 20, the day after the AUS$3-million Golden Slipper (Aust-I).
The equine influenza outbreak has already forced changes to the annual Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling sale, which generally features 1,500 yearlings and kickstarts sales across the world each year. It has been moved to March. That decision is under review, as major breeders are not happy with the change. Many would prefer that Magic Millions reschedule the event yet again to late May.
During the past week, directors of Inglis, Magic Millions, and Aushorse, have discussed ways to improve the span of 2008 sales dates. It is widely agreed by participants that an 11-day gap between the revised dates for Magic Millions and the Australian Easter yearling sale, as announced last week, would not be feasible for the big farms.
When Inglis initially moved its sales dates, Magic Millions followed suit. But the 11-day gap between the two largest Southern Hemisphere yearling sales was promptly called to task by farms who just are not geared up to prepare hundreds of yearlings at a time.
John Messara, president of Aushorse, has been consulted about the new Inglis sales dates. “The extra week will help,” he said.
Said Inglis’ managing director Mark Webster: “We originally moved the Easter sale back to mid-April to allow Magic Millions to sell in either February or June and provide an eight-week gap between our sales. The move was also in line with a delayed start to the Sydney Autumn carnival.
“Last week Magic Millions announced their plans to take our old Easter dates in March, which was surprising, noting buyers will also be in Sydney for the Autumn carnival. I have expressed my concern that in doing so; they only provide an 11-day gap between our two sales. At the Aushorse meeting on Monday, both parties were asked to move their sale dates or change their sales format to widen the gap. Inglis have done this, but to my knowledge Magic Millions has not agreed to any further changes or concessions at this stage.
“Inglis was also asked by Aushorse to consider moving the Classic sale back into February. At this stage I’m reluctant to do this, due to the current EI situation. It’s still a consideration, but I will need to be convinced that all yearlings will be vaccinated in time and be allowed to cross state borders. I will also need to be convinced that Sydney trainers will be ready to buy in February."
The revised schedule for the major Inglis sales in 2008 is:
* March 2-4: Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale -- Oaklands, Melbourne (unchanged)
* April 20-28: Australian Easter Yearling Sale -- Newmarket, Sydney (select session April 20-22; classic session April 25, 27-28)
* May 4-7: Australian Easter Broodmare Sale -- Newmarket, Sydney (select session May 4-5; general session May 6-7)
Dates for the Autumn Yearling Sale at Oaklands and the Scone Yearling Sale are expected to be announced within several weeks.