The Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has today approved a fund of €1m to assist racecourses to increase their stabling capacity.
‘One stable per horse’ was a key requirement as part of the industry’s Covid-19 protocols to ensure that stable staff could comply with social distancing guidelines and to deliver on greater equine infection control measures, as well as being a key goal in the HRI Strategic Plan launched for the industry last March.
Jason Morris, Horse Racing Ireland’s Director of Racing, said:
“The rule by which racecourses must provide each horse with their own stable has been in place since racing moved behind closed doors in June of last year for both human and equine disease prevention reasons.
“As a result, the number of horses running in some races at some racecourses is lower than it could be when the maximum stable capacity is reached. Field sizes have been reduced since last June for social distancing and other operational reasons, and the aim of the new Racecourse Stable Yard Expansion Scheme is to help racecourses to prepare for when we emerge from racing behind closed doors and the number of runners can safely revert to pre-Covid-19 levels.
“We have written to all racecourses to inform them of the new scheme which sets aside €1m with the goal of increasing stabling capacity. The fund allows racecourses to avail of a grant of 40% of the cost of the construction of additional stable boxes and is similar to previous racecourse capital development programmes which have produced very positive results, both customer and industry facing, at so many racecourses.
“It will be the case going forward that racecourses which cannot accommodate maximum runners run the risk of only being able to stage seven or even six race cards, which could reduce their future fixture allocation.”