A no-deal Brexit will have massive consequences for the horse racing scene in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Irish horses have been performing better in recent years than ever before in the big UK events. If a no-deal Brexit goes through, it will be much harder for horses to move from one nation to the other, which does not bode well for the sport’s future.
Big consequences coming
Some of the largest festivals for racing, such as the Aintree Grand National, Royal Ascot, and Cheltenham, all depend on Irish horses coming over and doing well. They make the races a lot more competitive and draw more interest from the racing-mad Irish public.
The number of people going to these events from Ireland will also diminish. Estimates are that over 10,000 Irish people go to the Cheltenham Festival every year in March. If there is no Irish interest in the horses running as a result of lack of movement, those visiting numbers will drop significantly.
What is a no-deal Brexit?
With the deadline fast approaching for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, there are concerns that the UK and the European Union will be unable to reach an agreement.
That would mean a hard landing for the UK if they do not reach a deal before they leave. The political strife in the United Kingdom during the negotiation process has not helped matters.
If there is no deal, there will not be a 21-month transition period. Businesses, consumers, public bodies, etc., will have to deal immediately with the exit from the EU. Companies would have to pay external EU tariffs, which will lead to rising prices.
Certain EU countries may no longer do as much trade with the UK and manufacturers could leave the region so they can still benefit from freedom of trade with other EU countries. Immigration rules for those living and working in Britain and in the EU will become much stricter.
A lot of EU subsidies would be taken away–and then there is the serious issue of the Irish border. A hard border could be created to separate the South from the North, which would cause all kinds of trouble if this were to happen. While some are sure that a deal will be reached before deadline day, others are not so optimistic.
Racing industry woes
The racing industry is already suffering greatly outside of the UK and Ireland. These regions are the last strongholds of the sport. The lack of a deal could be cataclysmic for the sport.
Every year, tens of thousands of horses move across the continent. Currently, this is a very easy process because of the EU. However, once Brexit arrives, it will become a massively difficult task. Even getting permission to send a horse to the UK for a one-off race will be problematical.
Horse trainers, owners, sellers, and buyers are all worrying that no deal will be made and that they will be left to pick up the pieces. They have no indication as to what they can expect, with their businesses being turned upside down with less than three months to go.
All horse racing stakeholders can do now is sit and wait to see what happens. Whatever the case may be, the horse racing industry in the UK and Ireland is set for a rude awakening.