Irish tracks in bid to lure UK race fans
IRISH racetracks are hoping to cash in on a slice of the lucrative UK racing market by attracting visitors to some of Ireland's best-known courses.
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) chief executive Brian Kavanagh yesterday said it had been a "difficult" year for Irish tracks, with static attendance at many of the meetings.
But he said "early signs were promising" for both the late Easter Fairyhouse meets and for the jumps racing festival at Punchestown in May.
"Punchestown has developed itself into a huge festival and they very much target the English market; certainly, the bookings for the Punchestown Festival are very encouraging," Mr Kavanagh said.
The HRI stand at Cheltenham is hoping to lure even more racegoers to Irish tracks. Current figures show more than 80,000 people a year travel from the UK to Irish meets and studs.