Bookmakers on duty at Punchestown but may not take bets on every race

Donnacha O’Brien outlines training plans after announcing retirement from saddle

Bookmakers might not take bets on every race at Punchestown on Tuesday due to a dispute with the racecourse’s organisation and Horse Racing Ireland. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Bookmakers might not take bets on every race at Punchestown on Tuesday due to a dispute with the racecourse’s organisation and Horse Racing Ireland. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

 

Bookmakers have rowed back on the threat of ‘strike’ action at Punchestown’s fixture on Tuesday although they may not bet on every one of the seven races.

On Sunday the Irish National Professional Bookmakers’ Association (INPBA) said a service couldn’t be guaranteed at upcoming race meetings due to a dispute with the racecourse’s organisation and Horse Racing Ireland (HRI).

That has arisen on the back of widespread bookmaker unhappiness about various race-planning issues as well as charges imposed on layers in relation to poorly attended midweek fixtures in particular.

On Monday the INPBA chairman Ray Mulvaney said there had been positive reaction from various industry stakeholders to their weekend statement but that he hadn’t heard from either HRI or the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR).

It leaves open the prospect of Tuesday’s fixture having as much focus centred on the betting ring as the track.

“There will be bookmakers in Punchestown. Whether we work all the races or not remains to be seen, regarding if AIR come back with a mediation process so we can move forward.

“We want to serve the racetracks but our voice needs to hard,” said Mulvaney.

The charges issue, which means bookmakers pay five times the admission price to stand in the ring, appears to be particularly contentious.

Donnacha O’Brien expects to have his licence to train by the New Year. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Donnacha O’Brien expects to have his licence to train by the New Year. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

The INPBA wants to negotiate that in the light of declining attendances at midweek meetings which in turn has contributed to falling bookmaker turnover.

“If AIR do come back, our members will want to see what they come back with: so ‘watch this space’ for the want of a better expression,” Mulvaney added.

Dual champion flat jockey Donnacha O’Brien, who announced his retirement from the saddle on Sunday, expects to have his licence to train by the New Year.

The 21-year-old Classic-winning rider has confirmed he will train out of the Longfield yard near Cashel that David Wachman operated from until his own retirement.

“There’s a bit of paperwork to fill out but hopefully I’ll have a licence in the next few weeks or maybe in the New Year might look more likely.

“I’ve a small team of horses to look forward to and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in,” O’Brien reported.

His brother Joseph gives the expensive purchase Dlauro a first start over flights at Tuesday’s Punchestown programme.

Bought for £410,000 after winning a point-to-point, JP McManus’s runner won a bumper at the course in May and could be forward enough to beat a three-pronged attack from Willie Mullins.

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