The half-year returns for the Irish horse racing and breeding industry, published by Newbridge-based Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) last week, show a steady decline in key performance areas and bookmakers’ on-course betting in particular.
Bloodstock Sales bucked the trend with sales of €22.9 million delivering 14.5% growth on 2011.
And sponsorship monies increased by 36% to €2.8million, up from €2.06million, driven by the successful introduction of the new Dundalk Winter Series which added 13 fixtures in the first quarter and for which the prize money was fully funded by SIS and Dundalk Racecourse.
Other key areas, which had rallied at the same point last year, lost momentum in this period.
Tote betting was down by 1.4% at €24.5 million and average attendance was down by 5.3% at 3,139, although overall attendance was almost level with 2011 at 496,000.
The Tote turnover was severely affected by the weather disruption to the Punchestown Festival meeting. On-Course Bookmaker betting took the hardest fall with turnover of €39.7m, down 19% on the same period last year, which in its turn had fallen 10% on the previous year.
Bookmakers’ on-course turnover has fallen by 52% from 2007 to 2011 and this could exceed 60% by the end of 2012 if present trends continue. Registrations of new owners fell by 11.2% to 397, compared to 447 at the half-year 2011 and the total horses in training figure fell by 6.7%, down to 7,668, compared to 8,217.