THE winning owners in 150 selected races across Irish flat and jump racing this year will be eligible to receive a €10,000 voucher from Horse Racing Ireland which can be redeemed at Irish bloodstock sales.

The initiative announced on Wednesday is "designed to stimulate and fortify Irish thoroughbred breeding, racing and sales."

Christened 'the IRE Incentive' the scheme will award a voucher of €10,000 to owners of Irish-bred winners of 150 selected races.

It starts this Friday with the first nominated race taking place at Dundalk. The qualifying races will be two-year-old fillies’ maidens; two-year-old auction maidens and median auction races; three-year-old median auction maidens; and National Hunt auction races.

The owners of each eligible winner – those carrying the (IRE) suffix and Foal Levy compliant – will have until the end of the following year to spend their voucher at any Irish-based sale on another Irish-bred thoroughbred.

Brian Kavanagh, Horse Racing Ireland chief executive, said: "The racing and bloodstock industry in Ireland has faced unprecedented and simultaneous challenges in the past year in the form of Covid-19 and Brexit, and the storm cannot be weathered by inactivity.

“We believe the IRE Incentive will deliver a strong stimulus to the business, delivering significant funds from the racetrack back to the breeders via Irish-based public auctions.

“We have seen on a regular basis – most recently at Cheltenham – the quality of horses bred in Ireland and their performances on racing’s biggest stages.”

John McEnery, chairman of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, said: "Events last week at Cheltenham showed just how desirable and formidable the Irish thoroughbred is. But standing still should never be an option from a position of strength. and we commend the investment, motivation and principles behind the IRE Incentive.”