SALES companies and breeders have welcomed the IRE Initiative which could give up to 150 racehorse owners a €10,000 voucher to spend on a new racehorse.
Launched by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) this week and administered by Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM), the initiative is “designed to stimulate and fortify Irish thoroughbred breeding, racing and sales.” The scheme will award a voucher worth €10,000 to owners of Irish-bred winners of 150 selected races, the first of which was run at Dundalk last night.
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.
Simon Kerins, CEO of Tattersalls Ireland, said: “Not only is this incentive benefiting the owners who win the €10,000 vouchers, it will significantly drive trade at Irish sales which can only help Irish breeders and pinhookers.
“This initiative could not have come at a better time as the industry continues to deal with the pandemic as well as Brexit.”
Goffs’ boss Henry Beeby commented: “This is the supreme example of direct aid to the industry and we applaud HRI for leading this initiative. Irish breeders have faced unbelievable challenges in the last 12 months and this incentive gives a welcome boost at the optimum time. The €10,000 vouchers will only encourage investment in Irish horses at Irish sales which will provide a vital lifeline to Irish breeders after a torrid time.
“Hopefully this initiative will help to kick start the recovery alongside the vaccination programme and we can look forward to a vibrant Irish sales season in 2021.”
Shane O’Dwyer, chief executive of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, said: “The scheme follows extensive lobbying from the association over the years, that the breeding industry – its biggest stakeholder – receive a worthwhile contribution from the Horse & Greyhound Fund.
“It is fitting that the initiative is linked to the payment of the Foal Levy, which forms an integral component of funding for the breeding industry, namely the ITBA, ITM and the Irish Equine Centre.”
That sentiment was echoed by Yeomanstown Stud’s David O’Callaghan, a member of the Foal Levy Committee. “The Foal Levy is hugely important to the Irish bloodstock industry. All monies collected are used to fund essential services to our industry.
“It is essential that this scheme only applies to horses on whom the Foal Levy has been paid, as further reward to people who pay the Levy.
“Furthermore, I believe this scheme will really come into its own when it is expanded to include English racing and races in mainland Europe, America, Australia and perhaps even Hong Kong. Giving international buyers cause to come and spend at Irish sales is the real end-game, in my opinion.”
Brian Kavanagh of Horse Racing Ireland said: “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.”