Capital Development grants for Bellewstown, Clonmel and Dundalk Racecourses have been announced following approval by the Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) under the Racecourse Capital Development scheme.
Grant aid of €152,000 has been approved by HRI for Bellewstown, subject to final planning, for a new stable yard consisting of up to 80 permanent stables, with scope for further future expansion. This will enable Bellewstown to move away from temporary canvas stables and enjoy the safety and biosecurity benefits that a permanent structure will provide.
Other works at Bellewstown, part of a total planned spend in excess of €380,000, will include a hard standing path between the stands and the parade ring, and a remodelling of the existing Tote and restaurant buildings. The work is expected to take place after this year’s racing schedule.
Manager of Bellewstown, Kevin Coleman, commented: “We have been operating from temporary stables in Bellewstown for many years and we are grateful for the support from HRI which will allow us to upgrade to permanent stable facilities. This will improve conditions for stable staff, trainers and horses competing at Bellewstown.”
For Clonmel, HRI grant aid of almost €300,000 has been allocated towards the estimated €788,000 cost of a new weigh room building which will be located to an area immediately west of the parade ring. The parade ring will also undergo some minor adjustments, thus creating a better connection between both areas. The existing weigh room building will remain fully in use during the construction phase which is expected to commence later this year. The new build of circa 450m2 will accommodate facilities for jockeys, valets, racing officials and stewards, as well as medical rooms.
General Manager of Clonmel, DJ Histon, commented: “When planning the location for the new weigh room building, we considered a number of layouts and configurations and we believe that the selected location, coupled with a well thought-out design and layout, will provide a significant upgrade on the current building for this important industry facility. We are also undertaking a number of other improvements, including stable staff facilities and ambulance roadway works, but the new weigh room building will be the most significant of our immediate plans at Clonmel.”
Plans for Dundalk Racecourse include a new dedicated owners’ and trainers’ facility, and the upgrading of television sets around the racecourse, including within the main panoramic dining restaurant. There is currently no permanent dedicated facility for owners and trainers at the stadium and the new facility, which will be located to the side of the main grandstand with views over the parade ring, will be a welcome addition. Grant aid of €252,000 is being provided by HRI towards projects totalling €720,000 at Dundalk Stadium.
CEO of Dundalk Stadium, Jim Martin, commented: “We are excited to make strides to afford owners and trainers a dedicated facility to which they can enjoy fantastic views of the parade ring and top class hospitality at Dundalk. It will be a wonderful enhancement to the facility in addition to the upgrading of the network of televisions within the Stadium. We are grateful to Horse Racing Ireland for their support and look forward to works commencing.”
HRI Chief Executive, Brian Kavanagh, said: “HRI is delighted to be announcing approval of these capital development grants as part of its on-going commitment through the Racecourse Capital Development scheme to improve facilities at Irish racecourses throughout the country. The approved projects will provide construction work and local employment, further emphasising the vital role of racecourses as contributors to their local economies. Racegoers and those working in the industry will benefit from the enhanced facilities at Bellewstown, Clonmel and Dundalk.”
All 26 Irish racecourses were eligible to apply for funding under the Racecourse Capital Development scheme with HRI providing 40% of the cost of approved projects. It is estimated that the entire Racecourse Capital Development Fund will support in the region of 1,300 direct and indirect jobs during the course of its completion.