Racehorse purchaser Ross Doyle fears Covid-19 could do more damage to racing than 2008 recession

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Ross Doyle, renowned purchaser of top-class thoroughbred racehorses, has spoken of his concern for the horse racing industry due to Covid-19, believing the crisis will do more damage to the industry than the 2008 recession.

“We don’t want to get too negative with so many people’s livelihoods at stake,” admits Doyle, “but unfortunately it is now reality. We’re going to be looking at a very similar situation to this (the 2008 financial crisis), in fact it might be slightly worse. It’s going to be very tough but, in our game, there’s an unbelievable amount of resilient people, a great community that gets together and pulls for each other. And, that’s going to stand the bloodstock and racing industry in great stead.”

Doyle, who purchased 2019 National Hunt winners Lostintranslation and Reserve Tank, believes everyone will not be able to bounce back from this international crisis:

“Not everyone is going to be able to bounce back, if we’re being realists about it. As long as we can hang in there for now and get a bit of clarity from higher up. Listen, there’s health workers out there, people losing loved ones and that is obviously a lot more important at the moment.”

Doyle, whose horses won 267 races in 2019, says he feel people are scared of making the wrong decision about racing and that’s why it’s important to have as much knowledge as possible before making any call:

“I know we’re all chomping at the bit and there are livelihoods at stake, but it’s important that we make right decision. Once the season is back, whether that be racing or sales, it can drive on quietly and nicely under the radar, but also giving people a sense that they are back to normal slightly; and hopefully long term we might get out of this quicker than we thought.”

Ross Doyle hopes that by pushing the schedule back six to eight weeks might give some people the chance to rejuvenate:

“I don’t want to be too negative, but it’s likely we’ll be pushing the schedule back about 6-8 weeks. We could also see the yearlings pushed back six to eight weeks, with the way things are going it’s likely a lot of stuff will just be getting pushed back further than this.

“It might not be a bad idea to give racing people the chance to rejuvenate themselves slightly. The most important people in racing are the owners, if they get a bit of excitement back something to look at with horses running, it’ll probably be a lot different.”

Thanks to Betfair for their assistance with this article.

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