The value of the racing and breeding industry to the south-west region was highlighted at the Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Future Focus Racecourse Roadshow held in the Clarion Hotel in Limerick on Monday, October 19th 2015. Managers of Cork, Killarney, Listowel, Tipperary, Thurles, Clonmel and Limerick Racecourses spoke to the gathered breeders, trainers, jockeys and the media about their development plans, upcoming meetings and festivals and the significance of the racecourses to their local communities.
Guests included Mayor of County Cork, Mr John Paul O’Shea and a number of racehorse trainers and jockeys including Tom Hogan, Enda Bolger, Eric McNamara, Andrew McNamara Senior, Paddy Neville, Michael Hourigan, John-Joe Walsh and Jonathan Burke.
Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, Brian Kavanagh spoke about the significance of the industry, which generates economic activity and employment in rural areas and brings enjoyment and sporting excellence to the south-west region.
Mr Kavanagh set out the key statistics relating to counties Tipperary, Limerick, Cork and Kerry which are home to 33% of breeders, 30% of trainers,25% of fixtures, 19% of prize-money and 22% of attendances in Ireland. Cork alone has 78 training establishments and 816 breeders – the second highest county in Ireland in terms of the number of trainers and breeders.
“Racing’s contribution to the national economy is €1 billion annually, and this region is at the heart of that success story. That is an extraordinary return on investment from this sector and one it can be proud of,” he said.
Victor Quinlan, HRI’s Capital Development Manager gave a short presentation on HRI’s €100 million capital development fund, which will transform many of the racecourses around Ireland and he explained the ambitious plans already approved for four of the seven south-west tracks –Cork, Killarney, Listowel and Tipperary.
Master of Ceremonies Denis Kirwan interviewed each of the racecourse managers about their future plans, their impact on the local economy and strong links to the community. He also spoke to a number of trainers and jockeys about their experiences and thoughts on the seven racecourses and the value of the racing and breeding industry.
Michael O’Neill, Cork Racecourse Manager:
“It’s great to be part of the Future Focus Racecourse Roadshow, as it gives us the opportunity to highlight the major redevelopment work that we are carrying out at Cork Racecourse Mallow. The racing industry is extremely valuable to our region, and our racecourse plays a valuable part of that. The improvements that we are making will enhance the experience of both industry professionals and racegoers and help to build on the value of our industry to the region.”
Jockey Davy Russell, on Cork Racecourse:
“The management at Cork Racecourse are super and the staff are very friendly and really accommodating. It’s a great racecourse for kids. There is plenty for them to do and they really enjoy the playground.”