A football title for a horse racing post that will follow. But these are the iconic words of Irish jump racing handicapper Andrew 'Sandy' Shaw when asked why, after 4 days of racing at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, the score for the week read Great Britain 5 - Ireland 23.
Shaw continued "Back in the 80s, in the bad days as such when we were lucky to come out with one winner, it used to be the other way around. We didn't win any handicaps over there but it's turned on its head now and I think that's one of the main reasons – we just have the best horses. It's a bit like the Premier League versus the Championship. It's a great tribute to Horse Racing Ireland and the programming committees that are there. We have the races in place to encourage people to come over; prize-money makes such a big difference as well. Sporting John's Grade 1 win in the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase was worth £20,000 to the winner and that would probably be €50,000 or €60,000 here. I think it's a straightforward situation, it's all about the economics. The money is here and the best horses are here, that's why we're so successful." (The full piece can be found here.)
There you have it. "It's all about the economics".
Our blog addressrd this on several occasions in the past. This link here from 2019 looks the the difference in prizemoney at both Dundalk (Ireland) and Lingfield (Great Britain). This here is a similar story from 2014. And this here is from 2013 and compares Ballinrobe to 4 other Britisj racecourses
Finally, this link here, plots the success of Irish horses at the Cheltenham Festival and Irish government support of Horse Racing Ireland. The piece is from 2013 and the Irish success has increased since. Our soon to be published book, Advances in Sports Economics, has a chapter dedicated to this.