Why is horse racing still on in Ireland but not in the UK? Ruby Walsh explains all

Ruby was speaking on the latest episode of our From the Horse's Mouth Podcast.


I was down at Limerick for a race meeting behind closed doors recently and it was probably the most boring day of my life.

There was nobody to talk to – not that we were allowed to anyway. It was such a long day.

Horse racing is more than just a sport. What most people see is the shop window at each race meet, but the list of the amount of people usually working behind the scenes is endless.

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But the Irish Horse Racing Board have trimmed the race meets back to the absolute bare essentials and it is remarkable how few people you actually need in order to run a race meeting.

When they are behind closed doors, there is no one there about from the actual races, no bookmakers, no catering companies. And because it is an outdoor event, it is easier to maintain that social distancing.

But it is different in the UK.


PADDYPOWER - PETER CROUCH ADVERT Windsor race course 27/02/20 Credit: Dan Jones Images www.danjonesimages.co.uk dan@danjonesimages.co.uk


All the latest International horse racing odds are over on PP.com now

There is a completely different reason racing was closed down there and only behind closed doors in Ireland – and it comes down to ambulances.

The main ambulance service is used at UK courses, so they’ve had to be closed down as those resources are obviously needed elsewhere at the moment.

But in Ireland we have the Order of Malta at the track, which aren’t used by the Irish National Ambulance Service.


Soon, they may well be needed by the government in the future, and that could lead to a change to the current plan to carry on behind closed doors.

I can see why the board are carrying on but the question to think about is how long they can do it for.

Racing in Ireland will only continue whilst they have the medical staff on-site and if it continues, then it means the country doesn’t need the medical staff, which is a good thing for everybody.

All the latest International horse racing odds are over on PP.com now

What do you think?