MARTIN O’Donnell, the Senior Steward of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee [INHSC], has welcomed the extra funding available to point-to-point committees from next month.
Starting with the Lisgoold fixture at Ballindenisk on January 3rd, hunt committees which stage a point-to-point will receive a grant of €7,500 from Horse Racing Ireland [HRI], plus another €500 from the INHSC for as long as racing is staged behind closed doors.
O’Donnell said: “The Stewards of the INHSC welcome the board of Horse Race Ireland’s decision to agree to our request for extra grant aid of €1,000 for hunt committees. Following substantial contributions of over €48,000 by the INHSC to ensure a successful season this autumn, we are pleased to announce that we will continue to contribute directly to hunt committees in the spring to the tune of €500 per fixture, as well as providing the racecards for every fixture, in conjunction with p2p.ie.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the INHSC thanked everyone involved in the running of fixtures during the extended autumn season. The 2020 spring season was stopped prematurely in March due to Covid-19 but, thanks to the creation and implementation of strict raceday protocols, the autumn season started on September 19th and passed off without incident. A total of 37 fixtures were staged, just one meeting was lost to bad weather.
The INHSC outlined the contributions made by the following organisations:
In its statement, the INHSC said: “These contributions were paramount in giving hunt committees the confidence to run point-to-points in line with all Covid-19 protocols and ensure a successful event took place for the benefit of handlers, owners, riders and all involved in the industry.
The statement continued: “With hunt committees facing the prospect of running fixtures behind closed doors for most, if not all, of the spring season, the INHSC has been working hard to secure extra funding and provide clarity to hunt committees. The INHSC made representations to HRI during the budgetary process and is delighted that the board of HRI agreed to its request that hunt committees receive an extra €1,000 grant, so that every hunt committee that stages a point-to-point will now receive €7,500.
“Furthermore, as long as fixtures are held behind closed doors in spring, the INHSC will contribute €500 per fixture to every hunt committee and, as in the autumn, in conjunction with p2p.ie, will provide racecards free of charge to all hunt committees.
“This additional financial assistance amounts to €1,500 for every fixture held, along with the elimination of various other expenses normally incurred by hunt committees pre-Covid, such as the €200 additional prize money for feature race, the cost of production of race cards, the cost of marquee hire, to name just a few.”
O’Donnell added: “We believe that hunts can plan with financial certainty to run their fixture to the high standards we have come to expect and have become accustomed to, up and down the country. I want to reassure everyone that the INHSC is committed to running the spring 2021 point-to-point season successfully and in compliance with all Government guidelines as applicable throughout the year. We will continue to be on hand to advise and assist hunt committees wherever necessary during the course of the forthcoming spring season.
“Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone involved in point-to-pointing in Ireland a happy Christmas and new year, and hope everyone stays safe and well.”
Autumn PTP season in numbers
1 meeting cancelled due to weather
37 fixtures staged
512 handlers had runners
1,892 hunter certificates issued
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