Ruby Walsh has stressed the importance of small racecourses to the overall health of the sport and revealed why less well-known tracks are better placed to survive the coronavirus crisis than their larger counterparts.
The outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year has seen spectators banned from all racetracks indefinitely, placing a huge strain on the finances of venues due to lost revenue.
But Ruby used the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast to dish out a quick economics lecture, claiming that smaller racetracks often stand a better chance of weathering the financial storm.
Smaller racecourses are vital in the grand scheme of things. Most are run by local business people who have invested in them – shareholders and the like.
The likes of Tramore, Killarney and Taunton in the UK – there are loads, but they’re the three I can pull off the top of my head.
A lot of racecourses are run as non-profit, and a lot of the shareholders investing in those tracks will not be taking dividends, but they’re also most likely to be the ones that will survive because they won’t have massive debt hanging over their heads.
Any infrastructure or refurbishments they will have done, they will have had the capital to pay for it.
You will see, as the economics plays out, a lot of the smaller racecourses are more financially viable than the bigger ones because of borrowings and overheads.
That’s a very long-winded, boring, financial explanation, but smaller racecourses are vital.
The ones that will survive will be the ones with the smallest amount of debt.
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