Johnny Ward: Horse racing might need gambling to survive, but gambling no longer needs racing

Racing is good for Ireland Inc but the industry is under pressure and the looming legislation restricting advertising will add to this

‘Irish racing is now like the Premier League: media money, not gate receipts, is where it is at.’ Picture: Inpho

Fianna Fáil helped make Irish racing what it is today, yet the sector enters 2024 mystified by the perceived belligerence of Minister James Browne. In 1968, Charles J Haughey introduced a tax exemption for stallion fees in the Finance Act. It would precede Ireland becoming a racing superpower.

At the turn of the century, Charlie McCreevy, then Minister for Finance, helped mastermind the Horseracing and Greyhound fund: racing, he argued, must never be at the ...