Racing industry hoping for ‘pro-business’ budget measures
O’Leary’s expensive purchase, Poli Roi, makes hurdles debut in Galway
Brian Kavanagh: “I’d hope for some indication of longer-terms plans with regard to betting tax and details of allocated funding for the Horse & Greyhound Fund for next year.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Horse Racing Ireland officials are hoping “pro-business” measures for the bloodstock industry will be included when the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe reveals his budget plans on Tuesday.
Racing was allocated a record €64 million as part of the Horse & Greyhound Fund a year ago. That was up €4.8 million on the previous year and was a third consecutive increase after Government funding reached a low of €43.4 million in 2014.
The bloodstock industry is waiting to see if the fund will receive another boost for 2018 and Horse Racing Ireland has lobbied for an increased 2.5 per cent betting tax. The current one per cent rate is absorbed by betting firms.
HRI has submitted to Government that a 2.5 per cent duty, with customers picking up the balance, would still mean Ireland has one of the lowest rates of betting tax in the world. Bookmaker organisations have opposed such a move.
“I gave up trying to predict budgets a long time ago. I would hope for some indication of longer-terms plans with regard to betting tax and details of allocated funding for the Horse & Greyhound Fund for next year,” said HRI’s chief executive Brian Kavanagh on Monday.
Uncertainty over any potential impact from Brexit continues to be a concern within the horse industry and Kavanagh added: “Generally I would like to see a pro-business budget which will assist trainers, breeders and everyone within racing as they face the challenges of Brexit.”
Racing continues at Galway on Tuesday where Michael O’Leary’s £300,000 Cheltenham November Sale purchase Poli Roi makes his debut over flights in the opener.
The former point-to-point winner carried the Ryanair boss’s colours to success on his bumper debut and was an admirable third to his stable companion Fayonagh in Punchestown’s Champion Bumper on his only subsequent start.
O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud colours will be carried by A Genie In Abottle in the conditions chase although on decent ground over this trip the course and distance winner Arbre de Vie could be a better option for punters.
Poli Roi’s trainer Gordon Elliott can also strike in the Beginners Chase with Midnight Escape who looks a potentially smart recruit to the bigger obstacles.