IN Racing
Karaka all go, even in red
New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale in March is set to go ahead, even if the country enters the red alert level.
NZ Racing Desk | January 20, 2022
Photo: Supplied

New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale in March is set to go ahead, even if the country enters the red alert level of the COVID-19 traffic light system.

On Thursday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the entire country would enter the red traffic light alert level once the Omicron strain of COVID-19 entered the community.

New Zealand Bloodstock were quick to quell fears that this would put their National Yearling Sale in jeopardy, with Managing Director Andrew Seabrook citing the pod system successfully utilised at the Boxing Day races at Ellerslie last year to remain in the 100-person limit of gatherings in the red traffic light setting.

“The one positive that came out of today is that there is not going to be any internal border closures, which guarantees both horses and buyers will be able to get to Karaka for the sales,” Seabrook said.

“We are able to conduct a sale here at Karaka under the red zone of the traffic light system.

“At Ellerslie on Boxing Day they had 900 people on site at the races. They had nine pods of 100 and adhered to all the protocols and guidelines.

“We will definitely have the sale here at Karaka. I think the worst-case scenario is that the general public wouldn’t be able to attend the event and it would almost be like an invitation only event.”

Seabrook said the sale company had the added advantage of hosting the smaller standardbred sale in February, giving them a chance to test the pod system.

“With less people and less horses, the standardbred sale is a good way to give the pod system a test run,” Seabrook said.

Seabrook is also approaching the Government to see whether the sale could get an exemption from the number restrictions if the country were to enter the red alert setting prior to the sale.

“I am penning a letter to the Government to see whether we can get an extension on that number limit of people whereby we don’t have to have those pods,” Seabrook said.

“This is a significant event returning $60-80 million to the industry and it’s the most important week of the year for the industry.”

Those on-site at Karaka will need to be at least double vaccinated, while Seabrook also highlighted that on-farm inspection opportunities will be commonplace in the build-up to the sales, which commences with Book 1 on March 7, including the popular northern region farm tour conducted by Stuart Hale. 

New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale New Zealand Bloodstock Andrew Seabrook Stuart Hale