THE Listowel Race company is expecting to see fewer farmers at the September Festival because of the financial impact of the miserably wet summer.
It is hoped, however, that the loss will be made up by Kerry and Cork fans who are now free to spend their time and money on racing, as both county teams are out of the All-Ireland final.
Race meetings are down in general all over the country, including Galway, because of the wet weather and its effect on the pockets of farmers - one of the traditional mainstays of the big rural meetings.
Based on the interest at the Listowel Races Accommodations Office, however, it's still going to be a busy year.
"I've been travelling up and down the country all summer and everything is back, obviously, due to the weather," Listowel Race company director Pat Healy said.
"Galway was back, the Irish Derby at the Curragh was back and it's just the case nationwide. Farmers have been a huge part of our customer base always and we are hopeful that we won't be missing too many of our farming friends this year, but we know they are having a very hard of time of it," Mr Healy said.
Kerry and Cork's early exit from the championship might also be to the races' advantage. "While we were sad to see Kerry go out of the contest, the fact that punters won't be going to Croke Park, both from Kerry and Cork, might well prove in our favour."
There is much to be optimistic about, not least the Listowel brand as it exists today, Mr Healy added. "We've been going from strength to strength all along. The Wendesday Guinness Kerry National Day has been pushing 30,000 people and Ladies' Day on the Friday is hitting the same. Last year we had 95,000 people through the gates over the week and we're aiming to exceed the 100,000 mark this year. Galway is the only meeting to exceed that mark and we're second to it in the country."