Statistics Reflect Steady Growth In Irish Racing And Breeding

Most key statistics for the Irish Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry showed significant gains when compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, as the full-year statistics were released by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) on Thursday.

In the areas of ownership (+17.1%, 4,757), horses-in-training (10,208, +14.1% on 2019), Tote betting (total Tote betting rose +18.3%), and bloodstock sales (€215.4m, +30.3% on 2019 and +17.8% on 2021), figures are well over 2019’s. Owner retention rate is now 72.8%, with the number of syndicates increasing for the fourth consecutive year to 825 (+3.4% on 2021 and +24.2% on 2019). 2022 fixtures decreased to 388 from a record of 394 in 2021, but the first half of 2021 saw a readjustment to accommodate point-to-pointers on the racecourse. For the full statistics, please click here.

Suzanne Eade, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, said, “A strong and stable racing industry reflects well on rural communities in every county on the island and a key driver of our success is the number of horses-in-training which leads directly to employment in the country’s racing yards. While the overall number is down slightly on 2021, the figure of 10,208 is well ahead of the 2019 figure which bodes well as we start into a new year.

“Almost seven out of every 10 runners in Ireland (69.8%) won prize-money in Ireland in 2022, 5,686 horses in total, and that’s the highest number we’ve ever reported in this category. It’s an important indicator for us because we acknowledge the incredible loyalty displayed by owners to Irish racing during the Covid pandemic.

“While the cost of living continues to be an issue for all industries, we can be confident heading into 2023 that racing remains extremely popular in Ireland with attendances rallying strongly in the second half of 2022. Attracting more than nine out of every 10 people that went racing before the pandemic, back to the racecourse, is a tribute to the work put in by the tracks. It was encouraging to see such strong end-of-year crowds at Navan for Troytown Day and at Fairyhouse for the Drinmore meeting, at Naas, Punchestown and Down Royal to name just a few, and of course a very strong performance at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. 2023 got off to a great start with an incredible day at a well attended Tramore.

“A number of strong public auctions helped push the overall bloodstock sales figure past the €200m figure for the first time and a return of €215.4m is 30.3% ahead of the 2019 figure and 17.8% up on 2021.”

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