Saturday, June 15, 2024

What’s been happening in the racing industry around the world | Topics: NYRA, Keeneland September Sale, Racecourse Media Group, Horse Racing Ireland, Brian Kavanagh | Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

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Suzanne Eade: The new boss at Horse Racing Ireland. Photo: Accounting and Business Magazine

The weekly TRC industry digest – a round-up of the international racing news from the past week.

 

Kavanagh’s successor at Horse Racing Ireland

Europe: Suzanne Eade has been named as the new chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), succeeding the governing body’s long-serving chief executive, Brian Kavanagh, who will take up a new role as the Curragh CEO in November after 20 years at the helm.

Eade, from Dublin, has been chief financial officer at HRI since 2015 and will take over from Kavanagh in September. Before joining HRI, she worked as a finance director at Boots Ireland, as well as holding senior roles in the multinational sector, including with Procter & Gamble and Gillette.

Her appointment was recently notified to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and is expected to be confirmed shortly by the Minister, Charlie McConalogue.

Famed broadcaster Harvey Pack dies at 94

North America: U.S. racing is mourning the death of 94-year-old Harvey Pack, the racing personality and broadcaster famed for his Pack at the Track TV reports as well as fronting shows Thoroughbred Action and Inside Racing.

Pack was a Manhattan-based syndicated writer in the 70s and spent a fair amount of his time at tracks in the state at a time when tv and radio reports were somewhat perfunctory. He devised the idea of a highlight reel condensed into a 30-second spot, called Pack at the Track, which utilised his character.

The idea was first sold to WNBC and was so popular with fans that NYRA hired him in 1974 as Director of Promotions and Special Events, where he spent the next 25 years and where he created and hosted The Paddock Club at Belmont and Saratoga.

Dave O’Rourke, NYRA President, described Pack as a “visionary” who was “an authentic voice and an innovator who turned a lifelong passion into a career”, as well as becoming one of racing’s “greatest advocates and ambassadors”.

Pack’s NYRA business card described him as ‘Doctor of Equine Prophecy’. Longtime broadcast partner at NYRA Andy Serling remembered that he “knew horse racing and made it a lot of fun to watch”.

Keeneland rejigs September schedule

North America: Keeneland has updated and adjusted the format of its September Yearling Sale to take place over four sessions on September 13 through 16, based on the total number of inspected yearlings.

In an effort to position the largest number of horses before a deep audience of domestic and international buyers, it is holding Books 1 and 2 consecutively befofre a dark day on September 17.

A press release reads: “We are keenly aware that the goal is to create a consistent format year to year. We are committed to meeting that goal, and to ensuring a stable market place for buyers and sellers alike.”

5-year extension for RMG’s rights at 35 tracks

Europe: Racecourse Media Group (RMG) has agreed British racecourse licence extensions for audio-visual and data rights for a new 5-year term, covering 35 racecourses for their LBO rights and 33 racecourses for all other aspects of their media rights, including streaming.

It means the likes of the Randox Grand National Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Cazoo Derby Festival, Qatar Sussex Stakes and the Juddmonte International Stakes will remain in RMG’s portfolio until at least 2029.  

Roger Lewis, Chairman of RMG, said, “This is a pivotal moment for British racing. The RMG racecourses, with a unity of purpose, have created business clarity and confidence for years to come. The certainty which this landmark, long-term agreement provides is very special for everyone involved in British racing.”

It was, however, not all good news for the dedicated media rights holder. Newbury Racecourse has not renewed with RMG and has signed a 5-year deal with Sky Sports Racing to show all 29 annual meetings on the channel from January 2024.   

Elsewhere in racing …

North America: NYRA has announced its stakes schedule for the Belmont Fall Meet. More here

Europe: Apprentice jockey Michael Pitt, 19, has been found dead in Berkshire, England. More here

North America: Millennium Farms owner Ro Parra has confirmed that he is returning to a focus on racing that will include a small, select broodmare band. More here

Europe: Newmarket trainer Amy Murphy is hoping to name a racehorse in England football manager Gareth Southgate’s honour after the Euro 2020 tournament. England play Italy in the final at Wembley in London on Sunday. More here

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