Last year I wrote about the increased incidence of English trained horses running in big races at Dundalk. The trend continues.
Two of the biggest races of the year at the County Louth venue were run on the 23rd of October and 30th of Ocotber. Prize money on offer for both races was worth a combined €62,250. The first race resulted in an English trained 1-2-3. The second an English winner trained by Sir Mark Prescott.
Why are horse travelling, in what many might see, as the opposite direction across the Irish Sea? It's simply down to prize money. The best paying races in England on both days fell well short of what is on offer in Dundalk. Despite incurring travel costs coming to Ireland, the potential rewards far outweigh those on offer at Wolverhampton, where all-weather racing happens on the same day. Six of the seven races on the card at the English track offer total prize money of less than £3,000.
The Horse Racing Ireland 2014 Factbook (an excellent read) illustrates that nearly 2/3 of all prize money in 2014 was provided by the governing body. Investment in prizes will no doubt attract international competitors, as Dundalk so aptly illustrates, but the problem is that this money can then leave the country. A great spectacle for race fans but at a cost.