The official website of Irish Harness Racing Association

Trotteur Francais Breeding Initiatives 2020

The IHRA Breeding Committee has completed a five-year strategic breeding programme for Irish Trotteur Francais mares and their future progeny. The following initiatives will be come into effect immediately and the IHRA are greatly appreciative of the financial contributions made by Le Trot in this respective. The schemes below will be reviewed in early 2024. Please find full details of all such initatives on the link below.

Covid-19 Members Update…..

The following update was emailed to members recently.

As we write to you today, the 2020 season should be heading into its eight week of its commencement of the 2020 season, but unfortunately like all other recreational and sporting the events in the country, the Irish Harness racing calendar has fallen foul to the Covid-19 restrictions, currently in place by the HSE. Given the current situation, the IHRA are doing whatever can be done to look after our employees and our stakeholders.  We also realize the predicament for our owners and trainers that race at our tracks and the anxiety of not knowing what the near future might hold. It is in this spirit that we try to shed a little light on what may be possible.

The IHRA board of directors, along with its committee members have been tirelessly convening over the past number of weeks to discuss the situation and as many of you are aware, the season opening has been postponed until Sunday 10th of May, should the current restrictions be lifted in any way for the sporting events in the country. The IHRA intends to race behind closed doors for the first four weeks of racing in Portmarnock as intensive safety and security measures will have to be put in place. This will allow the IHRA to primarily begin our season and will secondly be the associations effort to cease the spread of this extreme and in some cases fatal virus. The committees are working on a contingency plan in the event of running behind closed doors and all stakeholders will receive a copy of this document once finalised. The IHRA are currently planning and designing a new streaming service of all our races so that all regular attendees at our race meetings can watch all the action from the comfort and safety of their own home. The sub-committee working on this project are hopeful that project will come to fruition and details of this service will be published should it be financially viable for the association to do so.

Our fixtures have suffered already with the first eleven meetings at Portmarnock, Annaghmore & Cork abandoned. The annual Inchydoney beach races has been cancelled, whilst the Red John Memorial in Lyre on June 13th & 14th is now rescheduled for August 29th & 30th. Should the restrictions be extended after 5th of May, the IHRA racecourse committee will review all other future dates and make amendments where necessary.

Finally, the IHRA have submitted a document to the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, on their request regarding Emergency funding as a direct result to the ongoing restrictions and their impact on the Irish Harness Racing sector. To conclude this update, the IHRA board of directors, its committee’s and employees would like to reiterate in no uncertain terms that we are working to getting tracks open but only when its safe to do so. Owners and trainers need to race, and we would like to race too, but for now we must adhere to the guidelines set forth by the HSE.

To keep updated, please refer to or our dedicated social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts for all related news on this matter.

RJM Date change

Due to the Covid 19 crisis, the RJM Committee have no option only to postpone the event scheduled for 13 & 14 June Following negotiations with the land owner, sponsors, IHRA subcommittees, we applied and were granted the dates 29 & 30 August

We appreciate that this may clash with high profile meeting in the UK, but unfortunately this can not be avoided due to the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in

We thank you for your understanding and support and look forward to welcoming you all to Lyre in August In the meantime – Stay Safe


Easter Office Hours

The IHRA office will be open only on Wednesday and Thursday of this coming week. Sorry for any inconvience casued.

Mike Hurley RIP

The IHRA would like to sympathise with IHRA Cork track stewards, Martin & Christy Hurley on the death of their brother Mike. Our thoughts are with you and your family at this time. A private funeral will take place under HSE guidelines and a memorial mass will be held at a later date.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

DAFM 2020 Equine Technical Support Grant

The IHRA has received confirmation of further funding through Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine’s Equine Technical Support & Equine Breeding Schemes Project for 2020. The total funding received by the Department is €35,146 for specific projects outlined in our submissions earlier this year.

The first of which is the upgrading of our current IHRA website to encompass new features such as access for our members to our studbook, a results database incorporating our Lynx photo-finish software and an online payments page for race entries and stakes races.

The IHRA also received funding towards the RDS Dublin Horse Show Information stand. The show, this year in July, allows the IHRA to promote the sport and our breed to a wider audience and has been very successful for the industry since we joined the tradeshow arena with our fellow Horse Sport Ireland affiliates.

The largest part of funding is towards integrity of the sport, with €28,420 being allocated by DAFM, and added to our original spend for this sector, gives the Integrity & Welfare Committee a budget of €55,000 for the forthcoming season. As part of this budget, the IWC, intends to increase the number of post samples to over 300 and pre samples to 400 and all confirmatory analysis of samples will be sent to LCH in Paris. Further to race day pre and post integrity sampling, the IWC will expand on their testing procedures into the out of competition testing sector of the sport. This will involve the visit of IHRA stewards and a veterinary surgeon to carry out tests and inspect the animals onsite, in several licenced premises on a random basis. This will help ensure that all mares and stallions are consistently performing on their own merits outside of the racetrack and will uphold their standards at the racetrack also. The WTA (World Trotting Association), with which the Irish Harness Racing Association is a member have vowed to increase the number of out of competition testing and it is the Irish Harness Racing Association’s ambition from 2020 to deliver on this pledge and uphold the international agreement taken on these tests.

This increase in our integrity budget will provide stability and grow confidence in our breed. It will allow for more stallions to stand at stud, more mares to be covered and more foals and yearlings being born and more horses to be trained. It will help protect our sport and our horse for future generations going forward. 


Portmarnock Raceway

Due to the most recent Covid -19 HSE guidelines and restrictions Portmarnock Raceway is closed with immediate effect and until further notice for all racing and workout related activity with the exception of horses stabled on site.

Any persons found in breach of this ruling will be subject to penalty

Covid 19 Update

The IHRA sub committees met over the weekend and have decided to postpone the opening date of the 2020 season to Sunday 3rd May. This decision was made to protect the safety and well being of all our members and stakeholders. The committee’s will continue to meet on a weekly basis to discuss matters arising from harness racing and will continue to review the opening date.

We are confident that we will resume racing on Sunday 3rd May, provided no further restrictions will be put in place by the HSE. 

Entries will open online on Sunday 19th April and to ensure a smooth flow within the office, we would like to remind all trainers and owners to please send in a copy of your flu vaccinations to us in the coming days. along with completing the online licence renewal form which is available in our online forms section of the website, which is located on the left hand side of the home page.

Further to protect our staff, the IHRA office will close today, 24th March until further notice. However Donna will be contactable via email and telephone (10am -11.30am) each day. Any applications relating studbook matters or general post will not be dealt with until our staff  are safe to return to the office and the HSE restrictions are lifted.

For any further updates, please check both our website and social media platforms. 


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