Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden recently visited Chepstow Racecourse to see how Horse Racing in Wales is recovering following the Covid pandemic, and to hear about aspirations for future growth.
Wales’ three racecourses received more than £1.6 million in emergency funding from the Welsh Government’s Spectator Sports Fund, which was introduced to support venues when sport had to be played behind closed doors to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
Overall, the Welsh Government invested over £20m in racecourses, sports clubs and national organisations across 7 sports to help them through periods of the pandemic, when the necessary restrictions prevented spectators from attending matches and events.
The investment safeguarded hundreds of jobs in the sport sector, provided financial stability for the sports supported and protected grassroots sport from the potential consequences of the overall impact on revenue budgets.
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden said:
Like many other sports, horseracing has faced a challenging two years. So I was very pleased to learn about the real difference our Spectator Sports Fund made to racecourses in Wales.
We’re all very aware that throughout the pandemic sport has been severely affected, which is why we acted quickly to deliver the Spectator Sports Fund to the sports which would suffer a hit to their revenue as a result.
I’m very pleased that the future is now looking much brighter and that we can hear hooves thundering on our racecourses once more. I hope we can work with the British Horseracing Authority to maximise the opportunities to further grow this industry in Wales.
Phil Bell, Executive Director of Chepstow and Ffos Las Racecourses, said:
The period of hosting race meetings behind closed doors was a difficult one for all concerned, and we were grateful for the support of the Welsh Government through this time and in the months since. The Welsh horseracing community punches well above its weight in what it achieves within the sport more widely, and we look forward to working with the Welsh Government to further promote the sport and encourage both racegoers and owners to consider coming racing, or having horses trained in Wales.