Irish racing will receive a Government grant of almost €64 million next year. This represents a €4.8 million increase on the 2016 grant and is the third consecutive such increase delivered by Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan.

Although Minister Noonan made no reference to racing in his Budget speech on Tuesday, the grant increase was confirmed by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed at a press briefing.

"A further €6 million has been allocated to the Horse & Greyhound Racing Fund, as per the Minister for Finance's commitment, and it will be divided 80-20 as usual between the two sports," he said.

Horse Racing Ireland issued a brief statement on the grant. It read: "Horse Racing Ireland welcomes the announcement today by Minister Creed of the intention to fulfil the commitment to the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund for 2017 which will increase expenditure for horse racing by €4.8 million next year."

In 2008 racing received its biggest annual grant of €62.6 million. Due to the recession that figure fell every year until reaching a low of €43.4 million in 2014. The grant was back up to €59 million this year and today's news means that the 2017 grant will exceed the the peak 2008 figure.

Horse Racing Ireland usually publishes its own budget plans after its December board meeting. Priorities in recent years have been increasing prize money at all levels and reducing costs for owners.