Page 1

The IrishTrainer



Verbal Dexterity impresses in National

Jim Bolger’s improving colt enters frame for 2018 Classics



High Quality Carpet Fibre for Gallops, Ménages & Lunging Pens Delivered in bales

from £85 per tonne plus VAT and delivery anywhere in the world.

Call UK 0044 (0)1785 719991 OR EMAIL or



Foreword The returns on rate valuations from the beginning of the year are beginning to come in and we are seeing that the appeals made through Eamonn Halpin & Co Ltd are having a good amount of success and many valuations have been reduced as a result. It appears that Meath is going to be the next county up for revaluation. I would suggest any premises that are up for revaluation either to contact our office or David Halpin on 085-7089959 or email for advice. Eamonn Halpin & Co Ltd are offering a special rate for members of our association. A series of roadshows on the stable staff pension will begin shortly, visiting six towns over the next two weeks, and it is important that trainers and representatives of their staff attend these meetings for an update and information on the new pension scheme. Regarding non-runners, if you decide not to run would you please advise the reserves as early as possible, for their convenience. Your co-operation would be much appreciated. Finally, just a gentle reminder about our Annual General Meeting, a note for your diary on Tuesday 28th November, at 3pm in the Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co. Kildare. The more trainers present, the better we can represent your views and needs.

Kind regards, 

Michael Grassick / Irish Racehorse Trainers Association

CONTENTS Winners Abroad........................................................................... 5 Interview with Derek McGrath............................................ 6 HRI report for first half of 2017 ....................................... 10 Stabling at Tramore ................................................................ 12 Stable staff pension roadshow ....................................... 12 Revaluation of rates assessments ................................ 14

COVER PHOTO: Trainer: J S Bolger Jockey: K J Manning Owner: Mrs J S Bolger

Breeder: J S Bolger & John Corcoran Photo: Caroline Norris

Irish Racehorse Trainers Association – Curragh House, Dublin Road, Kildare Chief Executive: Chairman: Vice Chairman:

Michael Grassick Noel Meade Michael Halford

Tel: 045 522 981 Fax: 045 522 982 Mob: 087 258 8770 email:

Council Members: Jim Gorman Jessica Harrington Andrew McNamara Aidan O’Brien Patrick Prendergast Jnr.

Eoin Griffin Tom Hogan Eric McNamara Andy Oliver Dermot Weld

Published monthly by Anderson & Co Publishing Ltd. For all advertising enquiries please call: 041 971 2000 VISIT WWW.IRTA.IE FOR THE LATEST NEWS AND UPDATES


Sunday 29 October RACE




The 188Bet Handicap Steeple Chase (Veteran Chase Series, 0-150) 3m 1f



The 188Bet Handicap Hurdle

2m 4f



The 188Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Steeple Chase (Grade 2)

2m 4f







The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier)

3m ½f



The 188Bet Handicap Steeple Chase (0-150)

2m 4f



The 188Bet Hurdle

2m 4f



The 188Bet Handicap Steeple Chase (0-140)





12pm, Monday, 23 October

Saturday 11 November


12pm, Monday, 6 November

Please contact Andrew Tulloch (Clerk of Course) on +44 7831 315104 for further details.

Introducing the


on Friday 1 & Saturday 2 December with £700,000 in total prizemoney across two days. Featuring the £250,000 The Ladbrokes Trophy (Grade 3)

ENTRIES CLOSING MONDAY 30 OCTOBER, 2017 (HRI) We are always keen to attract runners from Ireland and will provide hospitality to connections including transfers to and from Heathrow Airport. In addition, some help with covering the cost of horse transport may be available. For further information please contact:

Richard Osgood - Clerk of the Course E: Mob: 07977 426 947 Tel: 01635 39654 04


Harriet Collins - Head of Communications E: Mob: 07827 957 113


Going Places? Fifty Years Flying Horses

Doncaster provided Aidan O’Brien with a standout treble, Capri in the St Leger (G1), Seahenge in the Champagne Stakes (G2) and Music Box in the Sceptre Stakes (G3), while Jessica Harrington chipped in with more black-type when Beautiful Morning won the Listed John Musker Stakes at Yarmouth. We had a splendid six-timer for Pat Shanahan, which included a double at Newbury with Set In Stone and Fivehundredmiles, likewise at Hamilton with What Wonders Weave and Souls To The Wind, plus Unite The Clans at Windsor and Set In Stone at Musselburgh.

  

 


Harry Speed put Garvan Donnelly on the map at Ayr followed by Allfornothing at Catterick for John McConnell, Breezolini at Hamilton for Adrian Joyce and Breeze at Newcastle for Fozzy Stack. Then to close out, Johnny Murtagh proceeded to have a treble with Passionata at Chepstow, and Passionata and Les Arceaux at Carlisle. For the National Hunt, Vino’s Choice scored at Perth for Gavin Cromwell. Gordon Elliott had a double with Knockmaole Boy at Perth and Lilywhite Gesture at Hexham and Pat’s Pearl went in at Bangor for John McConnell.


Great work and Well Done. Contact: Ann Munnelly | t: +353 (0)45 877001 e:

 


3pm Tues 28 Nov 2017 Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

  

 05


Michael Grassick in conversation with

MICHAEL: “Now that you’ve settled into your

role, what are your feelings and thoughts for the future?” DEREK: “Settled in are very bold words, is it

possible to settle in when stepping into a three-year phase? The first phase has involved contractors pulling down and removing what has been there for over a 100 years and at the same time we have continued to race and now have the contractors organised to begin the new building work. “We have to prepare for a whole new future because of the needs of the business. The aim is not only to put the Curragh back to the levels of popularity it deserves, but Flat racing too, which is a tall order but the big ambition.” MG: “Does the Flat have an image problem,

do you feel?” DM: “You don’t need me to tell you it does.

Racing in general, but the Flat in particular, has its challenges. Coming in from other sports as I have and comparing rugby as a good example, it was a relatively young sport and not afraid to embrace new ideas and challenges. Recognising 06

racing as an industry, a sport, a betting outlet, all the elements involved complicate the challenge, but every stakeholder wants to see it successful and there is a shared responsibility, but ultimately the customer must be at the top, the customer is the most important part. “We need to move away from the standard measurement of success, which is attendance figures. It’s more complex and involved than that. We need to keep people who are already customers and provide for everyone who visits the course in the way in which they wish to be entertained. Galway and Leopardstown are already doing this and there is a great expectation placed on the Curragh, way above the norm. The reverence people have for the Curragh can be seen; trainers who are in shirt sleeves elsewhere would never come here without a suit and tie, this is seen as our headquarters and is respected. MG: “How will you deliver that and live up

to those expectations?” DM: “We have a huge responsibility to inform

people and invite them to come and see what the industry sees as the benchmark. We have to try

to match what’s being achieved internationally. We want to promote a debate of what the Curragh means and what Flat racing means.”

anything else. There have been some trainers leaving and there are a few vacancies, but we want to work with trainers to develop the Curragh as a place to want to work and train.”

MG: “Have you a budget to expand

and improve the gallops?” DM: “Yes, there will be investment in the

training grounds as well, we are considering the Stepaside and Polytrack at present. We’re also aware of the wider need to look at the whole surroundings, where it’s situated, who are the bodies responsible for each part and encourage a safe environment for trainers to bring their horses to work. “Sophie Candy has recently come on board and together we can see that every corner of the Curragh needs improving. We recognise that to attract owners and trainers it needs investment and the Board is very serious about it. The construction of the new racecourse facilities is the priority, but in order to achieve our ambition we need a complete strategy to underpin that world class facility. The stabling and stable yard needs upgrading and not only the buildings, but how it is operated, its cleanliness and attention to every detail.” MG: “How have numbers been at the

training centre, from its height to now?” DM: “We had 1,500 horses in training here at the

peak and now just under 1,000. That has been down to the function of the economy more than

MG: “For young trainers coming along,

there isn’t only the cost of setting up, but the annual maintenance costs too, have you any plans to help set up yards and encourage new trainers?” DM: “No, but the longer answer is that it is

something we would look to create, but we can’t do it on our own and will look at ways we can work with other bodies to do that. We would consider ideas and be very supportive at all levels, from established trainers to new trainers setting up. I feel this should be a shared responsibility with IRTA.” MG: “Could the training grounds end up

within the fenced area?” DM: “I wouldn’t be completely qualified to

answer that, but we are working with the Department of Defence and the lease is currently under renewal. We all have a duty of care and are conscious the Curragh is under-framed by many by-laws. There are lands outside of the racecourse grounds on which we’re licensed to train, but because we don’t have authority of that land it can present a challenge, but we are talking to the various bodies responsible.” continued � 07


We are planning a Visitor Centre, which will inform the public of the importance of the training grounds and will encourage people to appreciate what happens here and the future stars generated on the Curragh. Derek McGrath

MG: “Would it help to keep charges down

by encouraging more users?” DM: “It is a business and run as a business, and

we’re very open to sharing ideas and looking at ways to achieve that. We have to look at the cost of maintaining the grounds and how does it run as a business.” MG: “Do outside trainers give a fair income

and how important a part are the facilities in their training regime?” DM: “That does generate a large proportion of

our income and it is very attractive to trainers, even with their own facilities, as we can provide a variety of facilities and it supports their own maintenance costs. Outside trainers do recognise the importance of the facilities here.” MG: “The Heath in Laois and the Phoenix

Park have closed, the Curragh is the only training ground left, could it be at risk from increased traffic and population?” DM: “We do recognise the problem of increased

traffic in the area and are looking into the introduction of dedicated pathways to provide safe access onto the Curragh to make it fit for purpose, and it’s an area in which we are very keen to get support from the Kildare County Council. The Gardai are very helpful and we have the benefit of political support, too. That’s part of the project. “We are planning a Visitor Centre, which will inform the public of the importance of the 08

training grounds and will encourage people to appreciate what happens here and the future stars generated on the Curragh. We’ve enjoyed great support of the Thoroughbred Trail and this all clearly needs the support of owners, breeders and trainers. “We know there is concern from trainers at maintaining their own business and we do need to talk about this and promote change.” MG: “The new Owners’ Lounge seems to

be a huge success, have you found that?” DM: “The critical period has been the past 12

months, with a view to the future, and we’ve seen owner numbers increase from the start of the year. A hundred were using it at the start of the season, which has grown to close to 400, so people have come to understand what’s there and have got used to using it. “It is a cost to the racecourse, but it is of greater benefit to the business in a wider sense. All owners bring people with them, so that’s of benefit to us. We would like to see the use of facilities here outside of racedays, with a conference centre, so any chance for people to be introduced to what’s available here is good for us. “Finally, I would just like to voice the recognition from the racecourse of the support we’ve been getting from trainers. We know it’s been causing difficulties and disruption, and we’d like to thank everyone for bearing with us. We are listening, we’re open and want to embrace what is important to you and we recognise it’s as much your future as ours.” �

THE CURRAGH TRAINING GROUNDS OFFERING TRAINERS WORLD CLASS FACILITIES FOR THEIR CHAMPIONS OF THE FUTURE Extensive Choice of Gallops Open and maintained 365 days of the year Daily rate available for non-Curragh based Trainers

To Book Contact: Pat Kelly: 087 8321215 / Richie Brophy: 087 6672556

Saturday 25 November RACE




Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)

2m 6f 177y



Betfair Steeple Chase (Grade 1)

3m 24y




12pm, Tuesday, 31 October

Betfair Handicap Steeple Chase (0-135)

3m 4f 97y



Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle

2m 2f 191y



Betfair Handicap Steeple Chase (0-145)

3m 24y



Betfair Newton Novices’ Hurdle (Listed)

1m 7f 144y



Betfair Graduation Steeple Chase

2m 5f 127y




12pm, Monday, 20 November

Travel allowances will be paid to overseas runners. For further details, please contact Kirkland Tellwright (Clerk of Course) on +44 7748 181595



2017 figures continue to emphasise importance of the racing industry

Punchestown Festival


he figures for the first half of 2017 were released by HRI in July and, coupled with the recent findings of the Economic Impact Study conducted by Deloitte for HRI, our government can be left in no doubt of the importance of the thoroughbred industry to the rural economy in particular and national economy in general. The first half of 2017 has seen the number of registered syndicates rise and an increase in prize money, field sizes and turnover at the sales. However, racecourse attendances and on-course betting have fallen, although Irish Derby weekend

only slightly, therefore, from 3,313 in 2016 to 3,206 up to the end of June this year and attendances at the major NH festivals in the first six months of 2017 were very strong, with Punchestown’s Spring Festival attracting a record attendance of 122,557. The resurgence in newlyformed syndicates is a positive point and the increase in prize money and active owners could be argued as boosting demand for bloodstock at public auction, a healthy knock-on affect, although the horses in training numbers have not seen any significant change, from 7,024 in 2016 to 7,057 up to the end of

is included within the figures and the limited capacity at the Curragh for Derby day impacted on the overall drop of attendance this year compared to 2016, with two fewer fixtures also. The average attendance fell

June 2017. Brian Kavanagh commented, “Horse Racing Ireland has invested significantly in broadening the ownership base in Ireland, providing marketing support for our trainers, as well


N  ational Hunt Runners up 8.9%

F  lat Runners up 6.2%

 ield Sizes up 7.5% F (individual runners from 4,776 to 4,971)

S  yndicates up 14%

A  ctive owners up 2.6% (from 2,892 to 2,967)

A  ttendances down 3.8%

Prizemoney up 8.4% (from €25.542m to €27.695m)

Race Sponsorship up 6.1% (from €3.277m to €3.477m)

Bloodstock sales up 17.7%

Horses in training up 0.5% (from 7,024 to 7,057)

Tote Betting up 9%

On-Course Betting down 6.4%

Healthy increases in runners and field sizes are very positive, and the recovery in the National Hunt sphere hinted at the end of 2016 has taken hold. –B  rian Kavanagh, HRI Chief Executive as introducing further measures to reduce ownership costs. Significantly, the first half of 2017 saw an 8.4% increase in prizemoney and a 6% increase in sponsorship. “Healthy increases in runners and field sizes are very positive, and the recovery in the National Hunt sphere hinted at the end of 2016 has taken hold. The buoyancy of the recent store sales and the active role played by Irish owners and trainers at those sales is testament to this, and bodes well for further growth in the future.” The increase in business for Tote Ireland has been driven by international betting markets

(most significantly USA and Israel), but a less positive trend is the continuing decrease in on-course betting. This could be down to lower Brian Kavanagh, attendances, as well as the HRI Chief Executive obvious competition from off-course betting and mobile betting apps. A clearer indication is provided by the more detailed Tote returns of off-course Tote (Irish pools), up 12.1% from €36.4m to €40.8m, offcourse Tote (international pools) up 3.3% from €3.0m to €3.1m, but on-course Tote down 10.4% from €4.8m to €4.3m. Brian Kavanagh reflected, “Growth has been most notable in Win betting, which has increased by 38%, and also Pick 6 betting, which has increased by 205%. As is the case each year, the Galway festival will have a major bearing on betting figures for the second half and the full year.”

Sunday 5 November RACE



The Cumberland Handicap Steeple Chase (0-130) 3m 2f 34y £25000 The Bet At Handicap Hurdle (0-150) 2m 4f 8y £25000 The Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Steeple Chase (Listed) 2m 4f £27500 ENTRY DEADLINE FOR ABOVE RACES 12pm, Monday, 30 October

3 2 1

Monday 13 November RACE


The Apollobet Graduation Steeple Chase ENTRY DEADLINE FOR ABOVE RACES 12pm, Monday, 6 November

1m 7f 207y £20000



Sunday 3 December RACE



The Houghton Mares’ Steeple Chase (Listed) ENTRY DEADLINE FOR ABOVE RACES 12pm, Monday, 27 November

2m 4f



Travel allowances available for runners in The Colin Parker Steeple Chase. Please contact Kirkland Tellwright (Clerk of Course) on +44 7748 181595 for further details.



Limited stabling facilities at Tramore We would like to remind trainers that Tramore racecourse has only 69 stables and this can create major problems when the amount of runners exceeds the amount of stables. Therefore we rely on the co-operation of trainers in order to facilitate everyone. For the situation to run as smoothly as possible at our next meeting on Thursday, 5th October, we request that trainers with runners in the first three races vacate their stables

Stable employees defined contribution pension scheme A new pension arrangement has been put in place for stable staff employed by licensed trainers and it is important that all licensed trainers and their staff are fully aware of the scheme. To help you understand what is involved and what the benefits may be, a series of roadshows have been organised throughout the country over the next two weeks. Each roadshow will cover the eligibility criteria for staff and detail the benefits of this scheme for the trainer and stable staff respectively. Scheme administrators Irish Life and Joe Byrne from Joseph G. Byrne & Sons, consulting actuaries, will be speaking and will explain the details of the scheme, and be available for any questions. You and your staff are invited to attend any one of the roadshows, whether that may be 12

immediately. Trainers with a multiplicity of runners must understand that they cannot be allocated stables for all their runners. It is essential, therefore, that trainers advise their staff accordingly and make all arrangements necessary for the smooth running of this event. If trainers have any queries please phone William Buckley, Stables Allocations Manager on 087 6217465.

the one nearest to you or another elsewhere, should the time and date be more suitable. Each of the roadshows will begin at 6.30pm and it is envisaged that the finish time will be no later than 8pm. Refreshments will be available on each of the nights. Given the importance of the scheme, we would encourage you to attend or to send a suitable representative who will record the relevant information for you. We would also ask that you encourage your staff to attend these sessions to enable them to understand more about the scheme and its benefits to them.

ROADSHOWS Wednesday Sept 27th Keadeen, Newbridge Thursday Sept 28th

Canal Court, Newry

Monday Oct 2nd

Woodford Dolmen, Carlow

Wednesday Oct 4th

Silversprings, Cork

Thursday Oct 5th

Dunboyne Castle, Meath

Monday Oct 9th

Ballykisteen, Tipperary

Black type opportunities for National Hunt Fillies and Mares RACE


Sunday 10 December Henrietta Knight Mares’ Listed Bumper 2m




Thursday 22 February Lady Protectress Mares’ Listed Chase

2m 4f






Thursday 9 November ‘Bud Booth’ Mares’ Listed Chase





Wednesday 17 January ‘New’ Mares’ Listed Bumper





Please contact Jack Pryor (Clerk of the Course) on +44 7909 000955 for further details.

Badger Chase Day Wincanton’s richest race day, featuring the Badger Ales Trophy & Elite Hurdle

Saturday 11 November RACE



EBF NH Novices’ Hurdle

1m 7f 65y



3 Cond. Jockeys’ Handicap Steeple Chase

2m 4f 35y



Bruton Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

2m 5f 82y



Stan James Elite Hurdle (Ltd. Handicap) (Grade 2)

1m 7f 65y



Rising Stars Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 2)

2m 4f 35y



Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Steeple Chase (Listed)

3m 1f 30y



Racing UK Intermediate Open NHF

1m 7f 65y




12pm, Monday, 6 November

For further details, please call Clerk of the Course Barry Johnson on +44 7976 791578 13


Revaluation of rates assessments – results of representations stage By David Halpin, Eamonn Halpin & Co. Ltd., Rating Surveyors As you will no doubt be aware, the Irish

Curragh area, but also to do with the outsourcing

Racehorse Trainers Association has been

of parts of the revaluation project, which meant

battling the proposed increases in rates

that there was a different approach from the

assessments. On the 15th September 2017,

same organisation. Therefore, if you are not in

the new Valuation Lists for Sligo, Leitrim,

County Kildare, you are much more likely to

Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Kildare,

be faced with an unsustainable assessment.

Carlow, Kilkenny and South Dublin County Council areas were published. First off, it must be stated that the problem

Finally, we are currently awaiting confirmation from our legal representatives concerning the rateability question. Indeed,

of significant over-valuation has in no small part

even if the numerical value of an assessment

been resolved. The problem was at its most

could be deemed fair, if the legal case is positive

acute in The Curragh and surrounding areas,

it requires an appeal as significant further

which has now seen an average reduction of

savings could be achieved in all cases.

30-35% based on the proposed levels. This must be regarded as a serious result in the context of these assessments. It does not mean, however, that every valuation is now fair and reasonable. In particular, the largest facilities (60+ boxes) still face very significant bills and in most cases, significant and unsustainable increases. In addition, it would appear that any

Assessments can now be appealed to the Valuation Tribunal, which is an independent quasi-judiciary similar to An Bord Pleanala. Though we are currently making contact with all trainers who availed of our services at representations stage, we would encourage all trainers to attend a meeting on Monday 9th October 2017 in the Keadeen Hotel’s Beech

problems which have been solved have only

Room, at 2.30pm, so that the most up to date

been solved in Kildare County. This is in part

information concerning a further appeal can

to do with the concentration of trainers in the

be presented.

IMPORTANT rates meeting for all trainers A meeting has been scheduled for all trainers on Monday 9th October to discuss the revaluation of rates. This will be held in the Beech Room, Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, at 2.30pm, and light refreshments will be served beforehand. The Valuation Certificates were published on 7th September and we believe that the final 14

date for appealing the rates will be Friday 13th October. It is highly likely that appeals will be needed, as it is unlikely that the matter will be fully resolved. However, we do expect that the valuations will be uniformly reduced. David Halpin from Eamonn Halpin & Co Ltd will attend the meeting and explain every detail of the process and will be able to answer any questions arising.

COMING SOON The 2018 IRTA Racing Diary



Published early December, now is the time to let us know what you want included in your diary. Call 041 971 2000

The Irish Trainer October 2017