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 Limerick, Tipperary, Thurles, Clonmel, Cork, Killarney and Listowel 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.
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Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, Brian Kavanagh opened proceedings with a speech 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 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. Limerick alone has 28 training establishments and 281 breeding operations.
“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.
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.
Conor O’Neill, Limerick Racecourse Manager:
“We have a great team in Limerick Racecourse and we pride ourselves on the facilities that we provide for our racegoers, owners, trainers and jockeys. The Future Focus Racecourse Roadshow showcases the value of racing to the wider economy and this is very much evident in Limerick. Right now we are gearing up for our four-day Christmas Festival which is the highlight of the season in Limerick and is good for the local economy.”
Trainer Enda Bolger, on Limerick Racecourse:
“Limerick has been transformed in recent years and especially over the last few seasons. It’s a great track to bring owners to and the new manager Conor O’Neill has given it real boost. He was terrific when my good friend JT McNamara came to the track last year – he was really well looked after and I’d really give Limerick the thumbs-up.”
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