Peter Jackson, the chief executive of Flutter Entertainment has warned that barriers to the free movement of racehorses in Europe after the UK leaves the EU would hit 1,500 UK race fixtures.
The specific concern arises from horses going back to Ireland after racing in the UK. The UK authorities will have allowed free access but the EU may place requirements of entry regulation on horses coming from a non-EU country back into Ireland.
The implication for betting operators is that this may lead to fewer runners in the UK, causing smaller race fields and consequently lower betting margins.
Is this project fear for UK horse racing?
Will Lambe, executive director of the British Horseracing Authority, was quoted in the Financial Times as saying that while the government had confirmed there would be no additional checks on thoroughbreds entering the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the BHA was working with partners in Ireland and France to ensure there would be no hold-ups in the other direction. “The principle movement would be around thoroughbred auctions. We want to continue to attract the best thoroughbreds to race here and for breeding,” he said.
What we tend not to hear in the UK is the Irish people’s reaction to Brexit and the current stance on non-negotiation. The Irish are very concerned, as evidenced by the radio phone in programmes, and ask why their own government is not trying to solve the impasse.
David Redvers the racing manager from Qatar Racing said in the FT “The people . . . claiming to be concerned about [a no-deal Brexit], by and large, have vested interests and see it through Irish eyes, where they see Brexit as a disaster, rather than the realistic outcome, which is no one wants there to be a difficulty of transporting horses between Ireland, Britain, France and Europe. The entire industry will work together to overcome that.”