The Irish racing industry has taken another significant hit after Tattersalls Ireland postponed the Derby Sale, a mainstay of the jumps' sales calendar, and the May Sale because of Covid-19 travel restrictions just five days before the auction was due to begin.
Tattersalls Ireland CEO Matt Mitchell outlined the "insurmountable" obstacles which they were unable to overcome in order to allow the 466 store horses (Derby Sale) as well as the 234 entered for the rearranged May Sale to go under the hammer.
With Irish coronavirus restrictions still requiring a 14-day quarantine period on entering the country, the decision was taken to reschedule the sales for August 11-13, although that could still be in doubt and a move to a British venue hasn't been ruled out.
"It was reconfirmed that all attendees; be it vendors, purchasers or employees who were due to arrive in Ireland from the UK are required to self-isolate for 14 days without exception and therefore their attendance at the sale would not be possible," he said.
"We are very conscious of the impact that this decision will have on our valued clients, but we are also mindful of our wider social responsibilities and the prevailing Government guidelines."
2020 Cheltenham Festival winners like Ferny Hollow, Honeysuckle, Monkfish and Shishkin are all Derby Sale graduates, with a whopping total of just over €17million changing hands at last year's sale.
"We will continue to explore every avenue to allow sales to take place in Ireland as soon as the current restrictions have been eased," he added.
Meanwhile, a busy evening of Irish action sees the €75,000 AXA Farm Insurance Midlands National (7.25) down for decision at Kilbeggan, where former Grade One-winning hurdler Yanworth may be the one to side with.
Enda Bolger's 10-year-old hasn't pulled up many trees since switching to the Limerick trainer, but Mark Walsh's mount is the class act if back to his best, and the benefit of a recent spin over hurdles may swing it.
Yanworth's last top-flight triumph was the 2017 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree, where he outstayed Supasundae. And, amazingly, Jessica Harrington's 10-year-old is the star attraction at the Westmeath track when he is sure to be a warm-order favourite for the KilbegganRaces.com Hurdle (5.55) under regular pilot Robbie Power.
The Listed Midsummer Sprint Stakes (7.15) heads affairs at the Curragh this evening where Make A Challenge can bounce back from an abject display at the same venue on Derby weekend to kick off a busy few days for Tipperary trainer Denis Hogan.
The concluding Ebor Trial Handicap (7.45) is another competitive affair but Dermot Weld's Dalton Highway showed his prowess as a stayer here 12 days ago and the dual-purpose performer can prove best.