Cheltenham 2015 and the boys are back in town….

 Tuesday March 10th and the magic that is national hunt racing is epitomised on day one of the Cheltenham Festival!.  The predictions were that it would be a day to remember, one for the history books and it did not disappoint.  Everything was in place on one of those beautiful Spring days when you cannot help feeling that all is right with the world. Yet even those with only a passing interest in racing could not help but be captivated by the events that were to unfold.     In the space of a couple of hours we were witness to the highs and lows that can only be experienced at the highest level of an elite sport.  Whether you are following the mesmerizing talent of Willie Mullins and his Clonsutton team or just like to bask in the glow of the collective talent displayed every year Continue reading here [...]

Inspiring a New Generation!

A couple of years ago a colleague asked me had I always been interested in making a career for myself with horses.  I explained that at a very young age I had actually wanted to be a show jumper.  My dream had been to compete at the Royal Dublin Society Horse Show and in particular ride the winning round for the Irish team to take the Aga Khan trophy for Ireland.  She had smiled at me indulgently and replied ' Who didn't back then?!'.  Those were the years when show jumping was a national sport and it seemed as if the whole of Dublin and beyond (interested in horses or not) attended the  horse show each year.  Eddie Macken, Paul Darragh, Con Power, John Ledingham, Gerry Mullins and co were household names and for all the right reasons.  Irish bred horses ruled the world and the success Continue reading here [...]

A View From The Outside

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which is the governing body for racing in Britain, unintentionally threw the British (and Irish to a lesser extent) racing industry into turmoil last September when it implemented changes to the use of the whip in race riding.  These changes were implemented as a result of feedback from a review group comprising industry stakeholders and welfare representatives established by the Authority.  Originally implemented to address a perceived welfare issue it was stated that the Review would lead to a significant tightening of the rules and penalties relating to the use of the whip by jockeys, as well as a renewed focus on jockey training, to ensure that the best equine welfare standards were maintained throughout the sport.  (BHA, 2011) While this Continue reading here [...]

The Irish Bloodstock Industry- A Funding Dilema

  There was a heartfelt collective sigh of relief recently from all those involved in the Irish bloodstock industry that, after five consecutive cuts to funding, the reduction to the budget of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI)  will be no more than €800,000 in 2012.   This shortfall in funding will be offset by increased media income in 2012. HRI, as the governing body for horse racing and breeding, will now have a total budget of approximately €45m in 2012 down from an all time high of €61m in 2008.   During the HRI  awards at Leopardstown  before Christmas Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, announced the second quarter of 2012 will see the introduction of the much heralded Betting (Amendment) Bill  to bring all forms of betting into the tax net.  There is Continue reading here [...]