Horse racing is big business. In the United Kingdom and United States, the biggest horse races each year bring in millions of pounds. The races also payout millions to the winners of the top competitions. The 2018 Cheltenham Festival will pay £4.5m in purse money while the Kentucky Derby will pay out millions as well. But the UK and US aren't the only countries in which horse racing is major business.
It may surprise many to find out that horse racing is helping to spur Ireland's economy and it is more important than racing in the UK or US. According to CNN, the horse racing industry in Ireland employs nearly 30,000 people. It isn't just betting on horse races and attending them that brings in serious cash in Ireland. Training and breeding horses provides the country with a large influx of money. Combined with races, training and breeding thoroughbred horses, the industry makes €1.8 billion. Horses bred and trained in Ireland are exported all over the world. These horses then generate even more money through betting on race days.
While the training industry in Ireland is booming, some younger trainers are going abroad. These trainers hope to take the knowledge they have learned at home and build better race horses in other countries. Thanks to stud farms around the globe and horse racing interest from the UK, Middle East, Australia, US and everywhere in between, Ireland's horse racing industry is thriving.
The Cheltenham Festival 2018 will see a large number of Irish trained horses. The 2017 festival saw more than two-thirds its races won by Irish trained horses. Nineteen of the 28 races that took place at last year's festival were topped by Irish trained thoroughbreds; and the same thing could happen again, this year. In the last five Cheltenham Festivals, Irish trained horses have reached double-digits in race wins.
Perhaps the most well-known Irish trainer is Willie Mullins. The famed horse race trainer has four major horses running at this year's festival. Douvan, Faugheen, Yorkhill and Killultagh Vic are expected to perform well. The festival will also see other Mullins trained horses involved. The odds of him having a winner this year are high.
Part of the money generated by Irish horse racing comes from betting. Punters wager on horse racing every day in Ireland. A number of betting websites throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe take wagers on races in Ireland. Betting with 10Bet, Ladbrokes and Bet365 is possible for punters from all over. The past success of Irish trained horses means punters may favour the horses of Mullins and other trainers from the Emerald Isle in 2018.
The biggest race of the Cheltenham Festival will be the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The race has seen three Irish trained horses win in the last four years. Mullins has never trained a Gold Cup winner despite his successes. His compatriot Nicky Henderson has trained two of the last seven, however. This year, punters should look out for the Irish trained horses. It's big business for Ireland and horses trained in the Emerald Isle could be big winners for punters.