The key stats and figures behind the last three months in Irish racing
The average prize-money for a jumps race in Ireland has never been higher.
Statistics for the final quarter of 2017 have revealed the average purse for an Irish jumps race was €17,124 during October, November and December.
That impressive figure is up 23 per cent from €13,896 over the same three months of 2016.
Indeed, the average prize per race is considerably bigger than in Britain, where the average jumps pot was £12,638 (€14,331) for the final quarter of last year.
Joseph O’Brien, who won Ireland’s richest hurdle race in 2017 – the Guinness Galway Hurdle – with Tigris River, says the prize-money situation in Irish jump racing is very positive and that he hopes it will continue to grow over the next decade.
“The prize-money is great in Ireland at the moment and the most positive thing of all is that it is getting better and better all the time,” said O’Brien.
“It’s important we don’t go down the road of having too many low-grade races. They are always fiercely competitive in their own right but it’s important to keep up the quality of our jump racing. We are very lucky with the prize-money on offer at the moment and it’s crucial that it continues to move in the right direction.”
It was a similarly positive tale on the Flat where the average prize-money per race was €14,716 during October, November and December. That was up 22 per cent from €12,062 over the same period in 2016.
Andrew Lynch was the busiest jump jockey in Ireland over the final quarter of 2017 with 166 rides. Davy Russell, who is 21 winners clear of the injured Ruby Walsh at the top of the jockeys’ table, had 164 rides with Sean Flanagan the third busiest with 155.
Colin Keane’s successful assault on the Flat jockeys’ championship meant he had the most rides on the Flat in the final quarter of 2017. He had the same number of rides as Lynch, 166, 18 more than last year’s runner-up Pat Smullen.
Once again, Gordon Elliott had by far the most runners in Ireland over the final quarter of 2017.
The County Meath trainer sent out 380 runners compared to Willie Mullins’ 196. Joseph O’Brien had 237 and Jessica Harrington had 201.