The latest Newsletter was sent out to members by email this month, but it can also be viewed online here.
Prize money extended to sixth place
The opening day of that Bellewstown July Summer Festival also saw prize money being extended down to sixth place for all Irish races, which recently received the approval of the Horse Racing Ireland Board.
This is a policy change that the AIRO Council has successfully lobbied for in recent times and the move by HRI was welcomed by the association, as AIRO Manager Aiden Burns said: “This will be an incentive for owners to run their horses in more races and have a chance of recovering some of their costs.”
At the lowest level in races worth €10,000, the prize money extension will see the owners of horses that finish in sixth place receive €200, which will contribute significantly to the costs of the entry fee and jockey’s fee.
Smaller Racecourse prize money
The AIRO Council also welcomes the additional allocation of prize money that is being given to Grade 2 and Grade 3 racecourses. Allowing owners the opportunity to win increased prizes, Horse Racing Ireland has provided €500,000 to 20 of these Grade 2 and Grade 3 tracks to enhance their feature races, and once such race that has been boosted is the Midlands National at Kilbeggan.
This year’s renewal has a prize fund of €100,000 and it is the first time that a six-figure race has been run at the Westmeath course which is a great credit to all involved. With AXA Smart Farm Insurance coming on board as race sponsor for 2019, it has allowed the prize fund of the race to be doubled within the space of 12 months.
With these Grade 2 and Grade 3 racecourses accounting for the majority of tracks in Ireland and the backbone of the sport, this initiative boost the prize fund of their feature races, is a very positive one.
Free Race Days
The AIRO Council is continually looking to improve the opportunities for owners, and to that end, there are no fewer than 115 free race days in total for current owners to attend throughout 2019.
05.08.19 - Cork
06.08.19 - Roscommon
07.08.19 - Sligo
08.08.19 - Sligo
12.08.19 - Ballinrobe
17.08.19 - Cork
15.08.19 - Tramore
19.08.19 - Roscommon
20.08.19 - Sligo
21.08.19 - Killarney
27.08.19 - Ballinrobe
28.08.19 - Bellewstown
29.08.19 - Bellewstown
30.08.19 - Down Royal
31.08.19 - Down Royal
02.09.19 - Roscommon
05.09.19 - Clonmel
06.09.19 - Kilbeggan
07.09.19 - Wexford
09.09.19 - Listowel
11.09.19 - Laytown
16.09.19 - Galway
17.09.19 - Galway
18.09.19 - Naas
21.09.19 - Gowran Park
25.09.19 - Sligo
27.09.19 - Downpatrick
28.09.19 - Navan
30.09.19 - Roscommon
On Monday July 29, Galway Racecourse will stage its 150th Summer Festival. As usual, the association will have a marquee for members on the opening three days of racing – Monday 29th July, Tuesday 30th July and Wednesday 31st July. Located close to the parade ring, complimentary light refreshments will be available.
This year the racecourse has plans in place for what will be an extra special year.
Prizemoney has been boosted to a record-breaking level of over €2.3 million. Each race will have a minimum value of €17,000.
New conditions are also in place which will be a welcome addition for those owners looking to gain entry and qualify their horse for the Galway Plate and Hurdle, with the addition of two qualifying races for the Plate and one for the Hurdle.
The Galway Blazers Handicap Chase and the Guinness Handicap Hurdle will each be valued €80,000. These two races are aimed at horses which do not make it into the Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle earlier in the week.
Bellewstown are set to undertake a major stable yard development project, with the construction of 110 permanent stables. The new build will ensure an adequate number of stables and will also greatly improve the quality of equine accommodation. Construction is to begin later this year.
New Roscommon weigh room
The latest upgrade of the facilities at Roscommon was officially opened by HRI CEO Brian Kavanagh last month. Worth almost €1 million, the development features new jockey changing facilities, drug testing area, weigh-room and press room.
Back Your Team Races
The inaugural Tote Backing Your Team Handicap Hurdle took place in Cork in mid-July and was won by the Gordon Elliott Racing Club with Smiling Eliza. The concept sees three races, worth €15,000 each, open to Syndicate and Club-owned horses only. Over 100 owners were entertained on the night and the series now moves on to Bellewstown on August 29th, before finishing at Gowran Park on October 5th.