The Irish Greyhound Board today announced the allocation of industry supports worth €700,000 to the greyhound industry.
This funding builds on the 25% increase in prize money effective from 1 January 2016 which has increased prize money funds by an additional one million euro this year. In total the IGB plan to invest an additional €1.5m in the industry in 2016 which is intended to benefit all aspects of the Greyhound industry.
The additional funding also acknowledges those who participate in Greyhound racing events by introducing a recognition programme to support trainers (whether public, private or owner/trainers) who are providing the core racing greyhound product. A new breeder incentive scheme is also being introduced for breeders of all wining greyhounds.
Additional funds are also being made available to encourage ownership and involvement in the industry through a new initiative where owners have an opportunity to purchase racing ready greyhounds. There will also be dedicated stakes launching in conjunction with these sales.
1. New Breeders Scheme
The IGB will introduce a new Breeders incentive scheme with effect from 1 April 2016. Under the new scheme, IGB will pay €15 to the breeder of all wining greyhounds in recognition of the vital role of Irish breeder in on going repopulation and regeneration of the racing greyhounds. Payment will be made to all greyhounds whelped in Ireland and registered in the Irish Greyhound studboook. This initiative will introduce additional funds of circa €0.25 million per annum for Irish breeders. This scheme fulfils the commitment by the Irish Greyhound Board in its response to the Indecon Report on the industry to implement a breeders incentive scheme once funds became available.
2. New Trainers Support scheme
The IGB will launch a new payment of €800 to all trainers public, private or owner trained for every 100 dogs raced or part in excess thereof. Such a scheme is to recognise reward and develop the contribution of trainers at all levels of the industry to racing. It is a key priority of the IGB to support the role of trainers in the industry. Without greyhound trainers, the excitement of racing and the racing spectacle would be far less. As a group trainers are key to maintaining the industry, particularly those who are greyhound racing every week and often several days per week. It is estimated that this investment will provide funding of €225,000 per annum to trainers at all levels.
3. New Race Ready scheme
IGB will provide €50,000 to support a new Race Ready scheme which has the objective of encouraging ownership and syndication by creating three new stakes for unraced greyhounds sold at special IGB sales events to be held in Shelbourne Park and Cork later this year. Each owner will have the potential of purchasing a greyhound from the sales and winning an immediate first prize of €10,000 at each location. This stake will be open to the 24 highest placed greyhounds during the sales trial. There will be two further stakes at each event with first prizes of €4,000 and €3,000 respectively.
There will also be bonus payments for the highest placed bitch in each stake. This scheme is to encourage new owners and syndicates into the sport, by offering owners of the winning stakes the potential of ownership costs being significantly reduced for the first year. This scheme will operate so as to offer owners all possible information and assistance in advance about the greyhounds for sale. IGB staff will be available in advance to discuss pedigree lines with potential owners and also to offer any other advice. There will be strict controls on greyhounds entering these sales competitions and all greyhounds presented for sale will be drug tested at the sales trials. Greyhounds who return an adverse analytical finding will be disqualified from the stakes. The new scheme will also be supported by sponsorship of €6,000 from Stud Dog owners. It is also planned to associate other sponsors with this scheme.
4. Syndication Support
In addition to the direct industry supports, the IGB intend to set aside funding of circa €75,000 in 2016 to attract and support syndicates into greyhound racing. The fund will be used to promote greyhound ownership, to offer support to racings clubs and to provide hospitality concessions to syndicates. Support and advice on greyhound ownership will be available as well as guidance on pedigree lines together with information on sales prices, prize money and greyhound trainers.
5. Supporters Grants
A new fund of €75,000 is being created to target financial support to assist track supporters clubs in their work in the promotion and development of local tracks. This funding will be subject to a number of terms and conditions however it is planned that tracks eligible to apply for the funding must be able to provide plans to increase activity and demonstrate the benefit such funding will have towards their local track and patrons attending these venues. The application process for this funding will be announced in the coming weeks and circulated directly to all greyhound tracks.
6. Education and Training
An allocation of €50,000 has been approved for the development of a new industry training and development programme. It is intended that such a programme will cover practical and academic aspects of general greyhound knowledge including aspects of breeding, rearing, training and racing. The programme will be developed in conjunction with industry stakeholders and the intention is to introduce a formal educational qualification for those in the industry, which will be recognised both nationally and internationally. It would also be the objective of the programme that those already working in the industry would be eligible to receive the award on submission of evidence of this prior learning.
7. Match Races
Additional funding of €20,000 is being made available for match races between similarly graded greyhounds. It is anticipated that this will create a new spectator event at stadia and will be supported by a potential sponsorship opportunity.
Geraldine Larkin, Chief Executive of IGB said: “IGB is committed to improving greyhound racing so as to retain existing owners and attract new owners. We have benefited from the increased allocation in budget 2016 and the programme of measures outlined is structured so that the maximum number of people within the industry are receiving additional supports. Greyhound racing is a fast paced thrilling sport and it is the objective of these measures to support industry stakeholders in exposing the sport to the widest possible audience of new owners and race goers."