Irish Debt Crisis To Impact On 2011 Cheltenham Festival

Tagged under: 6 The Festival Meeting

Following the news that Ireland have formally asked for a rescue package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund it seems clear that the downturn will continue to get much worse before it there are any prospects of a sustained recovery .

The Irish budget for 2011 is expected to be the toughest in living memory and the horseracing and bookmaking industrie's in Ireland are basically at war with each other as they fight to maintain the share of falling revenues .

With this background it is no suprise that the trend since 2009 of less Irish visitors to the Cheltenham Festival is expected to continue .

Managing Director of Cheltenham Racecourse Edward Gillespie had this to say "Until recently, about 7,500 to 8,000 people travelled from Ireland to the Festival each year,since 2009 that is down by about 30%."

Gillespie confirmed that Cheltenham has also lost a number of significant Irish investors as sponsors, and there has been a drop in the number of Irish box-holders .

According to Gillespie the Irishness of the Festival dates back to the 1950's and he is determined to do everything possible to maintain it .

Once again St Patricks Day falls on the Thursday of the Festival in 2011 and Gillespie expects a large turn out from British based Irish racing fans .

Irish bookmakers are expecting an increase in betting duty to be announced in the 2011 budget which they say will lead to more shop closures and thousands of jobs being lost .

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