Last week news broke that former Celebration Chase and Desert Orchid Chase winner Sanctuaire will be based in Ireland for the coming season. Willie Mullins will take charge of the seven-year-old French bred star who looks certain to land a graded chase in Ireland this winter and could possibly land further success for Ireland at next year's Cheltenham Festival.
For those unfamiliar with racing a horse, unlike a person, is deemed to be ‘from’ the country that they are trained in. Hence, Sanctuaire will now be referred to as an Irish horse, albeit French bred.
This is a coup for the Irish racing industry and will further strengthen the hand of the likes of Mullins, who was part of an Irish team that won more than half of the races (14/27) at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival. This incredible achievement is testament to the hard work (and no shortage of funding) that has been channelled into the industry over the past two decades.
A closer look at yesertday’s racing in the British Isles might explain why you are likely to see more top class horses move to these shores. The answer is simple - money!
The graphs below present information on the total prize fund at each race track (August 12th) and the total prize money given to winning horses (there are prizes for up to 5th place usually).
A similar story occurred with first place prize money. Ballinrobe again came out on top. The seven winners yesterday evening shared more than £43,000! The winners at Ayr, Thirsk and Windsor shared just £23,279, £22,573 and £22,643 respectively, while those at Wolverhampton divided under £19,000 between themselves.
From the economist perspective, If you’ve got a horse in training there’s only one place to be – Ireland!