Most key statistics for the horse racing and breeding industry in Ireland showed significant gains in 2022 when set against the last comparable pre-pandemic year of 2019.
Full-year statistics, released today by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), show a levelling off of many of the figures achieved during the Covid-affected years of 2020 and 2021, but in the areas of ownership, horses-in-training, Tote betting and bloodstock sales, figures are well ahead of 2019.
Reported attendances rallied strongly in the second half of 2022, down just 2.2% on the same period in 2019, and delivering total attendances of 1.248m, a 5.1% decrease on the annual figure for 2019.
Compared to 2019, the total number of owners is up 17.1% to 4,757, with an owner retention rate running at 72.8%. The number of syndicates has grown for the fourth year in-a-row to 825, an increase of 3.4% on 2021 and up 24.2% on 2019. This figure includes 240 syndicates set up for the first time in 2022.
The total number of horses-in-training for 2022 was 10,208 an increase of 14.1% on the 2019 figure, but 3.5% lower than in 2021 when a significant number of older horses, excluded from running in point-to-points, were registered to allow them compete on the racecourse.
The number of fixtures fell back to 388 from a record 394 in 2021. The first six months of the 2021 fixture list saw a readjustment to the racing calendar to accommodate point-to-pointers on the racecourse, fixtures that reflected in that year’s total entries, eliminations, runners and the numbers of horses-in-training.
Once again, there was a notable increase in the overall figure for bloodstock sales at public auction which came in at €215.4m. It represents a rise of 30.3% on 2019 and is 17.8% ahead of the 2021 figure. The Goffs Land Rover Sale, Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale, Goffs Orby Sale, Goffs November Foal & Breeding Stock Sales and the Tattersalls Ireland Goresbridge Breeze Up all performed especially strongly.
While total betting on-course lags 3.7% behind the 2019 figure of €78.9m at €76m, total Tote betting of €71.2m shows an increase of 18.3% on the same year.
Suzanne Eade, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, said:
“A strong and stable racing industry reflects well on rural communities in every county on the island and a key driver of our success is the number of horses-in-training which leads directly to employment in the country’s racing yards. While the overall number is down slightly on 2021, the figure of 10,208 is well ahead of the 2019 figure which bodes well as we start into a new year.
“Almost seven out of every 10 runners in Ireland (69.8%) won prizemoney in Ireland in 2022, 5,686 horses in total, and that’s the highest number we’ve ever reported in this category. It’s an important indicator for us because we acknowledge the incredible loyalty displayed by owners to Irish racing during the Covid pandemic.
“While the cost of living continues to be an issue for all industries, we can be confident heading into 2023 that racing remains extremely popular in Ireland with attendances rallying strongly in the second half of 2022. Attracting more than 9 out of every 10 people that went racing before the pandemic, back to the racecourse, is a tribute to the work put in by the tracks. It was encouraging to see such strong end-of-year crowds at Navan for Troytown Day and at Fairyhouse for the Drinmore meeting, at Naas, Punchestown and Down Royal to name just a few, and of course a very strong performance at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. 2023 got off to a great start with an incredible day at a well attended Tramore.
“A number of strong public auctions helped push the overall bloodstock sales figure past the €200m figure for the first time and a return of €215.4m is 30.3% ahead of the 2019 figure and 17.8% up on 2021.”
CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO 2022 IRISH THOROUGHBRED RACING INDUSTRY STATISTICS TABLE