Fast Facts

Principal organisation: Horse Racing Ireland (HRI)
Racecourses: 26
Registered thoroughbred foal crop of 2019: 9,295
Thoroughbred racehorses in training: 8,949
Most famous race: Irish Derby , run in late June/early July
More information: Above figures taken from Horse Racing Ireland sources, including the HRI Factbook 2019

Business in the Community (BITC) initiatives

The likes of Horse Racing Ireland and Godolphin support local schools through Business in the Community (BITC) initiatives.

Godolphin Flying Start

Godolphin Flying Start is a two-year, full-time management and leadership training programme that specialises in the international thoroughbred racing and breeding industry. It offers trainees the opportunity to gain experience in Ireland, where its head office is based, as well as the UK, US, Australia and Dubai.

Irish National Stud – Irish Racehorse Experience

An immersive experience that takes visitors through the lifecycle of a thoroughbred racehorse, including the opportunity to ‘race’ their horse using state-of-art simulation technology.

Horse Racing Ireland – Racing Juniors website

A platform where children can learn more about horses in a kid-friendly way.

Horse Racing Ireland – Racing Juniors Racecourse Education days

An opportunity to build links between racecourses and their local communities and to encourage an affinity with horses among the younger generation.

Racing Academy & Centre of Education (RACE) – Junior Academy

An onsite programme for children aged 10-16 whose ambition is to become a jockey. No riding experience is required.

RACE – Mobile Unit

A purpose-built vehicle, complete with racehorse simulator, audio-visual equipment and marketing and promotional material. which enables RACE to engage young people across Ireland.

RACE – urban equine projects

Long-standing links exist between RACE and Fettercairn Youth Horse Project (Dublin), Cherry Orchard Equine and Training Centre (Dublin) and the Moyross Youth Academy (Limerick). Read more about the Moyross Youth Academy and RACE urban equine project in this case study.


Third-level bursaries are offered by many thoroughbred industry participants to support students in equine-related programmes, as well as young people from local communities who wish to pursue a discipline that’s not related to the industry.

  • Twenty-one bursaries are available to students studying equine management at Enniskillen Campus. These financial bursaries are provided by leading equine businesses and ancillary organisations.
  • The Godolphin Bursary for students at St Paul’s Secondary School, Monasterevin, is awarded to a student who intends to continue to full-time study at an institute of technology or university in Ireland, or at an equivalent institution overseas.

The thoroughbred industry offers opportunities on the main Irish careers information portal.

Student/school tours

Many thoroughbred industry organisations offer tours of their facilities to primary, secondary and tertiary level students.

Third-level student race days

These events take place at several Irish racecourses, including Leopardstown which attracts more than 10,000 students each year.

Work placements

Many thoroughbred industry establishments facilitate work placements for second- and third-level students, and young people involved with urban equine organisations.

Horse Racing Ireland – Racing 25

An initiative that helps racing fans aged 18-25 experience special racing moments.

HRI - Race Behind the Scenes

An opportunity for the public to get an insight into racehorse ownership through video interviews, demonstrations and webinars.

Hurling for Cancer Research 

An annual charity hurling match between teams of horseracing professionals, sports stars and media personalities which has raised over €1m for The Irish Cancer Society since it began in 2012.

Irish Champions Weekend – The Curragh Thoroughbred Trail

This unique event allows racing fans to go behind the scenes at many of the leading training yards, stud farms and world-class equine hospitals based on the famous Curragh plains.

Irish Thoroughbred Marketing – Irish Stallion Trail

An annual showcase for the Irish thoroughbred breeding industry, with stallion farms across the country opening their doors to breeders, racing professionals, and racing fans on two days in January each year.

Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council

Established in 2020, the Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council has eight members from all parts of the thoroughbred industry. Its purpose is to advise the Horse Racing Ireland Board on matters of equine welfare.


The Irish thoroughbred industry strives to be a good neighbour and supports local communities by sharing its facilities with groups such as parkrun (Naas and Wexford racecourses).

Ballinrobe Racecourse – GAA team sponsorship

In 2016, Ballinrobe became the official sponsor of the Ballinrobe senior Gaelic football team.

The Curragh Racecourse – For the Love of Kildare campaign

A campaign that supports local enterprises during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Equuip is the education and training department within Horse Racing Ireland (HRI). The equuip strategy has three areas of focus: working to attract new people to join the thoroughbred industry by showcasing available opportunities; developing people to grow their skills and industry careers; and supporting employers.

HRI – Employment Guide for Horse Breeding & Racing Sectors

A comprehensive industry resource of good employment practices produced in conjunction with the Workplace Relations Commission. Learn more about the employment guide in this case study

HRI – intern programme

An opportunity for students to gain industry experience and be mentored by experienced professionals, enabling them to develop practical skills and a competitive edge for when they enter the jobs market.

HRI – Education and Training Grant

Available to everyone who works in the Irish racing and breeding industry, the grant forms part of equuip’s commitment to providing access to employee education and training opportunities.

Irish National Stud – breeding course

The aim of the course is to educate young people for a career in the thoroughbred industry, and many graduates have gone on to fulfilling roles in stud farms throughout the world, racehorse training, bloodstock sales, insurance and the media.

Irish School of Farriery

Located at the RACE Campus, the Irish School of Farriery provides structured training for farriery apprentices through an Advanced Certificate Craft – Farriery (Level 6 NVQ).

ITBA Next Generation Apprenticeship Scheme

This scheme aims to attract young workers to the Irish thoroughbred industry and provides wonderful opportunities for career development in a rewarding industry.

RACE – Trainee Jockey Course

The Trainee Jockey Course (Level 4 NVQ) is a 42-week residential programme which prepares participants for a full-time job as an exercise rider and the prospect of a career as a jockey.

Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards (GSSSA)

These awards recognise and reward the hard work and dedication of stud and stable staff, acknowledging the huge contribution they make to the Irish racing industry.