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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Day without racing in Ireland given thumbs-up but betting turnover will be hit

Bernard Caldwell: Irish Stable Staff Association chairman says blank Sunday is a fantastic initiative
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Have you been trying to find Sunday's racecard in Ireland? You can stop now. We will put you out of your misery. There isn't one.

This is the first of five Sundays through the summer without Flat racing to help ease the workload for stable staff during the busiest months of the year and BoyleSports say their horseracing turnover will be halved as a result. 

Leon Blanche of BoyleSports said: "We'll be down 50 per cent on horserace turnover compared to a normal Sunday. We have to go with whatever the racing calendar states. Whenever racing is on we take bets, it's as simple as that. It's unfortunate as a lot of people associate Sundays with Irish racing but you have to look out for the stable staff too."

Paddy Power say they will be affected too but are happy to take the blow according to their spokesman, Paul Binfield.

"It will undoubtedly affect turnover and footfall in the shops. But it’s important the stable staff aren't forgotten as they're arguably the sport’s most important constituents and in effect keep the show on the road. Without them we wouldn’t have a product and a Sunday off is the very least they deserve," Binfield said. 

In his daily Facebook blog, trainer Ger Lyons said the decision to have this blank Sunday is a step in the right direction.

Lyons said: "We have no racing [on Sunday] which I think is the way forward in order to look after our staff crisis in Ireland. I have no problem racing on a Sunday but propose [that should be] for Group 1 races only. Having a blank Sunday would allow us to give staff a free day every now and then. Believe it or not it’s something as simple as that that will make the difference between someone wanting to work in our industry or not, it’s not all about money for them, it’s about quality of life."

Bernard Caldwell, chairman of the Irish Stable Staff Association, welcomes the decision to have a blank Sunday.

Caldwell said: "It's an absolutely fantastic idea and fair play to HRI for agreeing to it with us. People in racing have families and kids and isn't it great that they get to spend a Sunday with them? It's a terrific move and thankfully the weather has played ball and everyone should get to enjoy the day."

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People in racing have families and kids and isn't it great that they get to spend a Sunday with them?
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