A no-deal Brexit “could have huge ramifications for Irish and UK horse racing,” according to Irishracing.com Editor Vincent Finegan.
Speaking to AffiliateINSIDER yesterday, Finegan stressed that the “movement of horses from one country to the other will virtually stop” in the event of no deal.
“The success of major racing festivals such as Cheltenham, Royal Ascot and the Aintree Grand National are very much dependent on Irish trained horses competing,” he continued.
“Cheltenham sees around 10,000 punters travel over from Ireland to their March Festival each year. If there were no Irish horses running those numbers would plummet.”
Finegan’s comments echo that of horse racing journalist Robin Oakley, who made a similar argument back in October, in an article for The Spectator entitled ‘A no-deal Brexit could cripple horse-racing’.
In it, he stressed the importance of the regular movement of tens of thousands of horses throughout Europe each year to the future of British and Irish racing.
“As [trainer] John Ferguson put it when I met him in the winner’s enclosure at Ascot last Friday with successful owner Michael Buckley and trainer Jamie Osborne, the horse buyers, sellers, owners and trainers at Goffs had been collectively spitting blood that six months away from Britain’s exit date the politicians have still left us without the haziest idea of what shape Brexit will take or indeed whether there will be a deal at all,” Oakley warned.
“Quite apart from whether or not we still see any free movement of people between Britain and the EU after Brexit (crucial to studs and stableyards desperate for qualified staff), they want to know what will happen to the free movement of horses.”
With less than three months left for Prime Minister Theresa May to negotiate a withdrawal plan, the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union without an economic agreement is looking increasingly likely.