Derby figures underline revival
The early rounds of the BoyleSports Irish Derby provided concrete evidence of the revival within the industry, with all figures showing significant year-on-year increases.
Attendances for the first round were up by 9.5pc while they increased by 8pc for the second round, and pre-bookings have shown a massive increase of up to 37pc over the four nights of the classic.
The betting also increased markedly. The biggest increase was in the bookmaker turnover, which was up 21pc in the first round and then 6pc last weekend. On the same nights, the Tote Turnover was up by 4.8pc and 6.3pc.
There have been much improved viewing figures for the online coverage of the draws for each round. This coverage is set to continue for the remaining weeks.
Meanwhile, there have been no reports of any doubts concerning the 48 survivors for Saturday's third round and the sponsors have the unbeaten Ballymac Matt as their 11/2 favourite with Farloe Blitz at 8/1. They then go 12 Ballydoyle Honey, 14 Fair Taxes, Sidarian Vega, 16 Rural Hawaii and 20 bar.
By the way, entries for the BoyleSports Derby Plate for the dogs beaten in the first two rounds of the classic close this morning but already yesterday there were 30 entries in the book for what is to be run as a 36-dog event, with the first round on Thursday.
Night of Stars
The fourth running of the end-of-year Night of Stars has been officially launched and this year's major Celebration meeting will be staged at Shelbourne Park on Saturday, November 14.
The first three years of the Night of Stars have been hugely successful and it ranks second only in importance behind the Irish Derby final.
The formula will remain the same this year, with eight Championship Races over all distances from 350 up to 850 yards and with each winner receiving a massive €10,000 prize.
Already the indications are that there will be a powerful challenge from across the water, while most of the Irish champions will be in action
The meeting is funded by the combination of sponsorship and the sales of Club Tickets at €100 which covers admission, pre-racing reception, four-course dinner and wine in the Grandstand restaurant and membership of the Night of Stars Club.
Chairman of the NOS committee Pat O'Donovan confirmed that six of the eight sponsors have already been signed up and these include BoyleSports, BIF, VC Syndicate, Ted Hegarty and the Track Bookmakers.