Ireland has quite a history when it comes to horse racing as it’s one of the country’s oldest traditions. It’s simply part of Ireland’s culture and is one of the most popular spectator sports in the country. Irish people simply love to follow this sport and some to wager on it.

The Irish setting is simply the perfect habitat to care for horses. In fact, the Irish thoroughbreds are one of the fastest and strongest horses worldwide. These thoroughbreds are definitely are the most prized horses today.

Ireland plays an important role in today’s horse racing industry in Europe and it will surely remain the same for a long time. The Irish horse racing industry is now worth over 2 billion Euros and it’s still expected to grow as time goes by.

Horse race betting in the country continues to rise. In 2018, the Irish fixtures rose by around nine percent during the first six months. Almost the same happened last year, 2019, but better. There was an 11.5 rise in the turnover for on-course bookies.

The race betting rose from 3 million Euros that 2018 made to over 29 million Euros in the first six months of 2019. Online betting may have made quite a contribution to this as there are now many sites to place your lucky 15 bets. It’s simply easier for punters to place their bets on horse racing anywhere they are.

Brian Kavanagh, the chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland commented happily on how 2019 was for the industry. He said, “It is very encouraging that figures for the first six months demonstrate increased participation rates across the ownership spectrum, more horses in training, and people coming to the races in bigger numbers and enjoying the wonderful product we have.”

Horse Racing Ireland or the HRI is the governing body of the horse racing industry in the country. This government body is responsible for the development and promotion of the horse racing industry in the country. It is the one that publishes the racing calendars and form books.

Recently, the HRI launched a series of severing races for female jockeys in the country. It has added more races to the calendar. With four new races added to the existing schedule for female jockeys, the Ladies National Hunt Series was formed.

The HRI extensively consulted top amateurs Lisa O’Neill and Aine O’Connor to come up with this series. Shane Doyle, the race planning manager of the HRI said, “Lisa and Aine deserve credit for the great work they have done behind the scenes in putting the proposal forward and Horse Racing Ireland is delighted to provide additional opportunities for lady riders under National Hunt Rules to showcase their undoubted talents.”

Meanwhile, Lisa O’Neill also expressed her thoughts about the series. She said, “The Ladies National Hunt Series is a fantastic initiative by Horse Racing Ireland to create opportunities to heighten the focus on female riders. We have a great bunch of lady riders in Ireland and the seven races will give everyone great exposure, especially high-profile meetings at Gowran Park on Thyestes day and at the Easter Festival at Fairyhouse.”

The launch of this series already happened on New Year’s Day. It was called The Fairyhouse 2020 Ladies Handicap Hurdle which was the feature race at the County Meath. That day, it was Aine O’Connor who won with the Edward Harty-trained Spruce Up that is owned by JP McManus.

With regard to how the races will go, these will have five over hurdles and two over fences. The races are open to amateurs and professionals. The point system will be allocated to each rider based on their placings in the races. The double points, on the other hand, will be allocated to riders with only less than 10 wins in their racing career.

The winner of the Ladies National Hunt Series will be sponsored by the Connolly’s Red Mills. The overall winner will get a 1000 Euros of spending spree on its website and the superstore Cillin Hill that is located in Kilkenny.

The next race of the series will happen on January 23, Thursday, and this will be the €20,000 Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Ladies Auction Maiden Hurdle. The second race will be held at Gowran Park on Goffs Thyestes Chase Day.

After the second series on the 23rd of January, here’s when the others are to happen:

  • February 20, Thursday – the Handicap Hurdle at Thurles
  • April 11, Saturday – the Ladies National Handicap Chase at the Fairyhouse
  • June 7, Sunday – Handicap Hurdle at Punchestown
  • September 19, Saturday – Handicap Hurdle at Navan
  • November 9, Monday – Handicap Chase at the Fairyhouse

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