IFA Horse Project Team Chair Richard Kennedy said Minister McConalogue should insist that Horse Racing Ireland and Horse Sport Ireland set aside at least 10% of the funds he allocates to them for breeders’ prize money.
“Breeders are the lifeblood of both sectors, but they need support and encouragement like never before. If HRI and HSI paid 10% of the prize funds for all races and high-level classes in the Olympic disciplines in Ireland directly to Irish breeders, it would help them to stay in business and maintain their bloodlines,” he said.
“Thoroughbred and sport horse breeders are in every parish in the country. The Government should be doing more to support them and helping them meet the increased costs they are facing,” he said.
In cases where the winner is not Irish-bred, these funds should be set aside to fund prizes for Irish breeders who have success on the international stage.
“If an Irish-bred horse wins at a high level abroad, the breeder should be eligible for a breeder’s prize. This prize could be funded from unallocated funds due to Irish races or classes being won by foreign-bred horses,” he said.
“Awards, trophies and acknowledgements are important for breeders, but prize money would help them survive and keep doing what they are doing,” he said.
“The funding currently allocated by the Minister is state funding, and the Minister is entitled to put conditions on the funding,” he said.
“IFA makes no apology for standing up for Irish Horse breeders. These are the people the Minister should be most concerned about, and they are the genuine grassroots of our sector,” he said.
“We have seen other countries making progress in recent years, particularly in the National Hunt sector where French-bred horses are making a huge impact. The winners of last weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival Grade 1 National Hunt races are a clear example of the growing trend of French-bred horses outperforming our Irish-bred horses. We need to respond to this and do more for our Irish breeders. We cannot be complacent,” he said.
Mr Kennedy said that he had written to the Minister this week seeking to meet with him to progress the IFA proposal.