Horse Racing Ireland will receive an extra €2.4m in Budget 2023, bringing the Government’s total contribution to the racing authority to €72.8m.

Officials within the body will now begin work on setting out their own budget for the industry for next year, details of which should be announced in December.

Maintaining and increasing prize money levels, support for integrity and welfare schemes and racecourse capital development (with work on Tipperary’s new all-weather track set to begin) are likely to feature in HRI’s plans. Tackling the downward spiral of racecourse attendances is also likely to come into focus. The Harvest Festival at Listowel was a resounding success but flew against the general negative trend of attendances, which in HRI’s figures for the first half of the year were down on 2019 levels.

The point-to-point sector, in which action resumed last weekend, will also be hoping to attain more support in the face of soaring insurance costs.

There could well be good news for trainers and racecourses following news of the government’s Temporary Energy Business Support Scheme (TBESS). Details of that scheme have yet to be announced but it is expected that virtually all businesses in the equine industry will be eligible to lodge a claim for 40% of their monthly energy bills.

Conor O’Neill, manager of Punchestown Racecourse and chair of the Irish Racecourse Association said he suspects all racecourses have electricity bills of more than €10,000 a month.

The scheme will also help trainers’ gas and electricity costs around the yard but not will not provide any relief for fuel prices. In the last few months leading trainers have warned against the cost of bringing horses to the races rising to dangerous levels. That cost will likely come back on the owners if it hasn’t already.

Despite such rising costs and uncertainty in the wider world, the big yearling sales have gone very well for the leading sales companies in recent weeks, particularly at Goffs last week, where there was significant strength in the trade, specifically from the international market.