GROUP 1 winning Limerick jockey Billy Lee is impressed by a new report highlighting the importance of the racing sector to the Irish economy.
The report, carried out by Deloitte for Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), reveals that the sector delivered €2.5 billion to the economy in direct and stimulated expenditure in 2022, up by a third from 2016, and supports a total of 30,350 jobs, an increase of 1,450 in that same period.
Lee said: “In addition to my day job as a jockey, my sister Gillian (Scott) and I run Pondfield Stables in Ballingarry. It’s a small operation – Gillian has a trainer’s license and trains both flat and jump horses. Between us, we have about 15 horses in our care and that includes a few horses I breed, along with young horses that I prepare for the sales and breeze-ups. Gillian has one full-time person working for her and from time to time we use some contractors to help us on the farm.”
He continued: “Our vets, farriers, contractors, and the lads we get our shavings and bedding from are all local, as is the co-op from where we get our feed and supplies. They are all working for the majority of the 27 trainers and 255 breeders in County Limerick. Simply put, if there wasn’t a breeding and racing industry in Limerick, those suppliers wouldn’t be in business. Together we all create jobs and spend our money in our local towns and villages.”
Suzanne Eade, CEO of HRI, stated: “Racing has a huge impact on the rural economy, none more so than County Limerick. A county with a rich breeding and racing tradition – there are 255 registered breeders and 27 licensed trainers, along with Limerick Racecourse which attracted 93,000 racegoers in 2022 and generates important economic and social benefits for the region.”