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€3.5m for Ballinrobe Racecourse

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Ballinrobe Racecourse manager John Flannelly
GOOD NEWS Ballinrobe Racecourse manager John Flannelly is delighted with the announcement of funding from the HRI. Pic: Keith Heneghan/Phocus

€3.5m for Ballinrobe Racecourse

Michael Duffy

THE rapid rate of progression at Ballinrobe Racecourse continues unabated, with the news  this week that Mayo’s only racecourse is to receive a major funding boost from the board of Horse Racing Ireland.
The new works approved at Ballinrobe consist of a significant track extension, which will see the addition of a second back straight comprising some 4½ furlongs, and a new gateway and racecourse entrance off the main Ballinrobe to Castlebar road.  The overall Ballinrobe development plan, including the already completed weighroom building, will cost in the region of €3.4 million, of which grant aid of €1.9 million will be provided by HRI. The works are due to be carried out in 2007/2008.
Commenting on the current development plan, Ballinrobe Manager, John Flannelly said everyone involved with the course was delighted that HRI had approved additional funding for the development programme.
“It’s a huge boost for the course. The developments that have taken place over the past number of years at the racecourse have greatly improved facilities for racegoers, jockeys, stable staff and all involved in the racing industry.
“This additional funding will be an enormous help and will allow us to develop the sense of arrival at Ballinrobe by creating a proper entrance to the track, while the addition of a second back straight will provide the racecourse with much-needed additional racing ground. We look forward to working with HRI on this project over the coming months,” said Mr Flannelly, who added that the announcement was recognition from the highest level of the great work being done by the whole committee at the track.
“The facilities available at the course are now almost unrecognisable from ten years ago and it’s now all systems go for the 2007 season, which starts on Wednesday, May 2,” added Mr Flannelly.
Welcoming the new developments, John O’Donoghue, TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism said the Government’s commitment to funding of the Irish horse racing industry through the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund had enabled this programme of capital development. 
HRI’s Chief Executive, Brian Kavanagh said that Ballinrobe and Killarney, who have also been given substantial funding, are hosting nine and eight fixtures respectively this year.