Positive Trends In Irish Racing Figures

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Racehorses on The Curragh | Emma Berry

The number of horses in training and racehorse owners in Ireland rose year-on-year in 2021, and were among numerous positive figures released by Horse Racing Ireland reflecting on the state of the Irish Thoroughbred industry.

There were 10,579 horses in training in Ireland last year, which was up 14.4% from 2020 and 18.2% from 2019. Likewise, the owner retention rate of 80.7% up was 9.6% on 2020 and 8% on 2019. There were 1,062 new owners registered in 2021, up 36.1% on 2020.

This desire for horse ownership was also reflected at Irish bloodstock sales; bloodstock sales were up 71.3% on 2020, when Irish sales among the most impacted in the world on account of persistent lockdowns, and 10.6% on 2019. A total of €182.8-million was spent at Irish sales last year.

With racecourse attendance severely impacted by the pandemic the past two years, on-course betting turnover of €12.9-million was up 65.1% from 2020, but down 82% from 2019. Total off-course betting was up 2.8% from 2020, but down 6.2% from 2019.

“So many of the figures announced today show a remarkable resilience in the horse racing and breeding industries,” said Suzanne Eade, chief executive officer of Horse Racing Ireland. “The figures for the numbers of horses-in-training have jumped by over 14% year-on-year at a time when attendance of owners at racemeetings was severely curtailed. That support from owners is vital, placing the industry on a secure footing and reflecting favourably on levels of employment across the industry and the wider economic activity that brings. It is hugely encouraging that all categories of ownership have grown and a record owner retention rate is a terrific vote of confidence in the industry.

“Irish Bloodstock sales were hit very badly in 2020 but last year's figures for horses sold at public auction improved greatly with a succession of sales performing well. There was a vibrant trade at the Irish store sales and buyers from 22 countries invested at Irish yearling sales, with Irish-foaled horses sold to 31 countries in all.”

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