THE bosses of Tattersalls Ireland and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing [ITM] are making confident noises ahead of next week’s three-day Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale.

For the past two years this sale has been relocated to Newmarket but it seems there will be no shortage of potential buyers on-site for the return to Fairyhouse.

Despite repeated criticism of prize-money levels in Britain from owners and trainers, and the threat of inflation and recession, the number of British purchasers booked in for next week’s sale is higher than in pre-Covid times.

Charles O’Neill, ITM chief executive, said: “The sales have been strong in England and the vibes are good. Bookings are well ahead of where we have ever been before. Our biggest headache has been finding hotel rooms for visitors.”

He added that the IRE Incentive, which offers a €10,000 sales voucher to owners who win selected races with an Irish-bred horse, is paying off. “There is at least €600,000 in vouchers in England to be spent. I am just back from Keeneland where Anthony Stroud told me he had orders to use vouchers won by Godolphin at the upcoming sales here.”

Tattersalls Ireland CEO Simon Kerins added: “All the signs are really positive. Finding hotel rooms is our biggest challenge and that’s a good problem to have.”

Part 1 of the sale starts on Tuesday when the first of 480 yearlings will enter the Ratoath ring. Thursday is reserved for Part 2 of the sale, featuring another 130 lots.

Looking further ahead ITM chief executive Charles O’Neill believes the following week’s Goffs Orby Sale will also see a significant uptick in the number of overseas purchasers attending.

O’Neill described trade at this week’s Kenneland Sale as “mind-blowing”. He said: “The appetite for horses there at every level is incredible. Their racing is in a very healthy state at the moment – the prize money, the breeding, it’s all dynamic.

“What’s noticeable is the very strong demand for turf horses and that is going to lead to increased interest from America in Irish horses. Last year there were 18 American buyers at Goffs. I would expect well over 50 this time. The strength of the dollar is a big help too.”