Brian Kavanagh CEO of HRI
©Healy Racing Photos
Horse Racing Ireland has released details of some of its budget measures for 2013 including areas of particular focus for the Governing Body.
The Board of HRI approved its budget and agreed a number of priority areas for 2013 at its final meeting of the year which was attended by Chairman designate, Joe Keeling.
The Board confirmed its commitment to maximise efficiencies in the organisation of racing and is targeting savings of up to €1.5m per annum. A joint working group has been established between the Turf Club, the INHS Committee and Horse Racing Ireland and is working with Chartered Accountants – Smith Williamson on this issue.
2. Prize Money Levels
There will be no change to base prize money levels for 2013, with a minimum race value in Ireland of €7,000. Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh stated “Horse Racing Ireland is committed to supporting prize money to encourage people to invest in bloodstock and to keep horses in training in Ireland. HRI’s key priority within its 2013 budget is to protect the prize fund so all base values will be retained at their 2012 levels.”
In light of the current economic difficulties, the Board approved the introduction of a new programme aimed at recruiting owners to Irish racing both from the domestic market and by targeting inwards investment from overseas. Working through Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, this will see the recruitment of a new ownership executive with responsibility for attracting new owners and enhancing the experience of existing owners.
4. Media Rights
The Board agreed that formal bids should now be sought for the Irish racing media rights which are due for renewal at the start of 2014. These are the non LBO (licenced betting office) rights, particularly direct to home TV and video streaming.
5. Curragh Redevelopment
The Board agreed to establish a joint working group with the Turf Club to advance proposals in relation to the future redevelopment of the Curragh Racecourse.
6. Integrity Services
A small increase (2%) in the integrity services budget as presented by the Turf Club was approved.
7. Industry Grants
Grants of €695k, €605k and €950k were approved for the Irish Equine Centre, RACE / Farrier School, and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing respectively. The Irish Equine Centre and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing separately receive funds from the Thoroughbred Foal Levy.
8. Point to Points
A small increase in the funding for point to point racing was approved, including provision for 115 point to points spread between the spring and autumn seasons.
9. Racecourse Drainage Scheme
The Board approved a grant scheme totalling €450k to provide 40% grants towards approved drainage works to be carried out at Premier and Category 1 courses. Twelve courses in total will benefit under this scheme which is aimed to help address some of the drainage problems encountered as a result of the exceptionally wet year.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of HRI, concluded “Despite a fall of €1m in income from the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund, through cost-cutting and using other sources of income, we have been able to maintain prize money levels and integrity services for 2013, both of which are fundamental to remaining competitive internationally and to enhancing the reputation of Irish racing. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to introduce a racecourse drainage grant scheme following on from the 2012 racecourse improvements grant scheme which was heavily oversubscribed by racecourses.”