|Thursday, July 13, 2006||Contact: Tamarisk Doyle|
|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:
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”.