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Purple zone operating Friday and industry plans for sales and racing dates 20 Sep 2007

With the opening of the Hunter Valley purple zone on Friday for horse movement within the zone to allow the 2007 breeding season to begin in earnest the industry is now addressing flow on affects from the equine influenza (EI) crisis into 2008.

Racing officials and thoroughbred sales companies are meeting on Friday to try and decide on appropriate dates for the 2008 yearling sales schedule, and the major race meetings for autumn.

With crucial Hunter Valley yearlings unable to be sales prepped at the normal time due to EI stress, and the current ban on horse movement across state lines, the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in January may be put back to February. With Easter early next year the traditional Easter Racing Carnival at Randwick and accompanying Easter Yearling Sale are expected to be set back at least a month.

Added to that complexity is the NSW State Government's continual push to take over Randwick for the Catholic religious event in July with presumably considerable construction work required in the weeks beforehand.

Magic Millions managing director David Chester has confirmed that the January date for their flagship sale cannot be used, and that the MM racing carnival featuring the $1 million MM 2YO Classic over 1200m that runs parallel with the sales, will also have to be rescheduled to allow inter-state horses to be fit to run.

Chester meets with Racing NSW officials on Friday to discuss potential plans.

"I cannot see an high competition early in the New Year in NSW and I think we have to put off the Autumn Carnival for as long as possible," said John Messara, president of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia on Thursday.

"It is my recommendation to reschedule the sales as late as possible as well," he added.

Messara was concerned that yearling buyers would have a crisis of confidence if they could not see high class racing and the progeny of young stallions performing on the race track.

However, Messara, also the chairman of Arrowfield Stud, was pleased with the announcement of the purple zone for the Hunter Valley.

"It is very significant and it will add another 5000 mares that are likely to get into foal in the Valley," he said.

Messara said that it was voluntary for studs and farms in the Hunter Valley to participate in the purple zone and that each farm would have its own bio-security arrangments.

He was also not worried about some of the shuttle stallions being re-exported immediately from the west Sydney Eastern Creek quarantine facility.

"We generally have an over supply of stallions. It will give new, young stallions a chance to succeed," he said.

"We have missed three weeks (of the breeding season) but I think we can make up ground," he concluded.

- Rob Burnet, Thoroughbred News


 

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