Jane Mangan is trying to stay positive in a strange new sporting world

Jane Mangan is trying to stay positive in a strange new sporting world
1,500m runner Andrew Coscoran training on the beach cliffs in front of Bremore Castle Balbriggan prior to the lockdown. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

AS we drift through days with no meaning, weekends with no ending, floating into the summer like a messenger bottle weightlessly fading out to sea wave by wave, our minds continue to ride the storm and many of us wonder what the future might hold.

Many of us are off the payroll, instead occupying ourselves with belated spring cleaning and furthering our culinary skills. The gardens of Cork have never been looking better. Cars are waxed better than most legs! However, Covid-19 is never far from our thoughts, lurking in the back like Dementors in the shadows of Azkaban.

We settle down each evening to watch newsreaders tell us in great detail what we already know. It seems everything we hear, see, and read is negative news but rest assured it doesn’t have to be.

Forecasting economic recovery is completely pointless until we know when the world can resume some degree of normality. Instead of wallowing in dark thoughts over the impending recession, I prefer to focus on the positives. Somewhere among the grey cloud, there must be a light. New opportunities will present themselves; the key is to be ready and able when the time comes.

The world of breeding and racing thoroughbred horses is a global industry. At this stage of the pandemic, it seems Europe has been worst affected, with no racing or sales for the past month and for the foreseeable future.

A view of Fairyhouse Racecourse after Horse Racing Ireland after the cancellation of this year's racing festivals at Punchestown and Fairyhouse. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
A view of Fairyhouse Racecourse after Horse Racing Ireland after the cancellation of this year's racing festivals at Punchestown and Fairyhouse. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

However, as a relatively small group, we are awake to the example set by our counterparts in various parts of the world. Australia, Japan, and some American states continue to race in a closed setting while just last week, Australia’s premier yearling sale was run via an online platform for the first time.

Much of the equine world tuned in with inquisitive eyes hoping, maybe even praying this online strategy would pay dividends — thus giving hope to the rest of the world who are struggling to stage public auctions.

Much to the delight and relief of the global equine community, the sale traditionally run from Inglis headquarters in Sydney was a resounding success. Seven yearlings realised $1,000,000 or higher while 31 yearlings made between $500,000 and $900,000.

This ambitious strategy not only made a little bit of auction history last week, but perhaps more importantly it set precedence for sales houses across the world. The template is set, formula proven.

The right produce will always make their value whether its food or livestock, the world continues to turn in circles as will the equine industry.

With that sentiment in mind, it’s wonderful to see breeders across Ireland acting with such foresight.

Studs around the country have reported good trade despite the coronavirus as people continue to think logically.

Nothing produced means nothing to sell.

Obviously, we must all act with a degree of realism and while I can see some breeders shrink their numbers, we may have needed a little ‘wake up’ to bring our focus back to quality rather than quantity.

The significant cull of stock in 2008 was necessary at the time not only because of the economic crash, but because we had lost the run of ourselves during the Celtic Tiger.

It is important we recognise our own strengths and play those cards as wisely as possible.

I’m not a member of the medical community thus won’t profess to know anything in that area. Nor can I voice a valid opinion of the impending economic downturn but what I do believe is that negativity attracts negativity.

If we each focus on our own niches and concentrate on keeping our own boats afloat then the larger ship won’t ever sink. It might sound trivial but in life, what’s good for one sector knocks on to the next.

The equine industry is built on ‘the dream’ and we as a community will continue to believe the future is bright because life is what you make it. I can’t predict what will happen next week never mind next year but, the best way to predict the future is to create it.

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