Thursday, July 13, 2006Contact: Tamarisk Doyle
045 842841
Irish Racing publishes record numbers

Irish racing attendances grew by almost 10,000 in the first six months of 2006, putting the sport on target to exceed the all-time record attendance figure of 1.43 million achieved in 2005. The half-year figures, released by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) today, show continuing buoyancy in racing despite the counter-attractions of the World Cup and a run of bad weather which saw over fifteen meetings, principally in May, cancelled. On-course bookmaker betting grew by €3.7 million to almost €82 million while the Tote grew by €0.6 million to €21.4 million. Sponsors continue to respond enthusiastically to racing’s growing popularity, increasing their investment in the sport by 3% to €3.5 million. Prize-money increased by €0.6 million to €24.2 million.

The key performance figures are as follows:

  • Total Attendance: 559,046 up 9,801 +1.8%
  • Total Tote Betting: €21.4m up €0.6m +2.8%
  • Total Sponsorship: €3.6m up €113,150 +3.1%
  • Total Bookmaker Betting: €81.8m up €3.7m +4.7% (on-course)
  • Total fixtures (ex NI): 133 down 2 -1.5%
  • Total no of races: 1,021 down 18 -1.7%
  • Total runners: 14,605 down 53 -0.3%
  • Total Prize money: €24.2m up €0.6m +2.6%

    Commenting on the figures, Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) said: “The strength of our racing festivals under-pin this good performance in what we always knew would be a very competitive year. The growth of media coverage and expansion of betting platforms, together with a generally competitive sporting environment means that racecourses must work hard to retain existing customers and recruit new ones. Racing is attracting a new audience through marketing campaigns focused on younger people, fashion and families; improved facilities at racecourses and, most of all, through the great achievements of our trainers, jockeys and horses”.