Ian Fortune

It’s already been a wonderful week for those involved in Irish greyhound racing with Bresbet confirmed as the new sponsors of the Easter Cup and the release of season two of the #BehindTheTrack docuseries.

Both announcements came as a shot in the arm (excuse the pun), but the good news doesn’t end there. It’s no secret that the past two and a half years have been tough for those involved in the sport but there is plenty to be optimistic about.


Sheffield based firm, Bresbet are relatively new to the market but they have made real strides in the bookmaking business and it should come as no surprise that their targeted sponsorship includes greyhound racing.

Founded by long-time greyhound owner Nic Brereton, the firm has sponsored numerous top events in the UK in recent months and their decision to sponsor in Ireland should be seen as a sign that we are doing things right.

They will be welcomed to Shelbourne Park with open arms and seem likely to arrive with a bang as this year’s Easter Cup has the potential to be one of the very best of modern times.


Of course, they are not the only new sponsors to Irish greyhound racing in recent years.

Gavin O’Mahoney’s Jag Building Services should be commended for their continued support of the game since arriving with a splash over two years ago, at a time when many were deserting the ship.      

Only last year Matchbook joined the sponsorship ranks with their backing of the hugely successful Irish St Leger, while the likes of Denis Linehan Solicitors, O’Leary’s Driving School, Casey Caravan & Camping, SIS, RPGTV and so many more continue to back our sport.


These are on top of our existing long-term sponsors which include Boylesports and the Sporting Press. They have both been through thick and thin with us as an industry. Boylesports support of the Derby and Champion Stakes can’t be valued, while the Sporting Press can boast the longest unbroken sponsorship of an event as they continue to back the Oaks.

We should also mention the Friends of Cork Greyhound Racing, who have sponsored the Laurels for the past three years and, ahead of the 2021 decider, announced their intention to make it five years. It was a wonderful initiative, that ensured the Laurels maintained its status as one of the truly great events, and one that should be applauded. 


Apart from becoming a new sponsor, Racing Post Greyhound Television have also further cemented their commitment to Irish greyhound racing, announcing their intent to double their coverage of Irish greyhound racing in 2022.

Last year, the channel broadcasted from Ireland ten times, excluding their Sunday service from Mullingar. This year’s they have committed to nineteen with the likelihood that it will increase to a minimum of twenty.

At a time when terrestrial television scarcely acknowledges our sport, we should support RPGTV and all they do to bring the very best greyhound racing into our living room.


The aforementioned #BehindTheTrack #OurGreyhoundsOurLives docuseries returned on Monday and the IGOBF have really struck the right chord.

Gone is the defensive, almost apologetic, tone from the opening season with this year’s series focused more on promotion of our sport.

The opening episode featured ‘Ireland’s Fittest Family’ and Tommy O’Mahoney spoke so well. His words were typically on point and he set the tone for the remainder of the series. Again, I would urge you to watch, and soak up, every episode, while also sharing them far and wide on your various social media channels. I can promise you, some of the episodes to come are real gems.


From a racing point of view, 2021 was another typically superb year. As with any year, the highlight was the Boylesports Irish Derby and the interest it generated can’t be underestimated.

The Shelbourne Park Twitter handle alone generated 1.1million impressions from all over the world during the five weeks.  

The success of the Night of Stars and its new form, the RCÉ Winter Racing Festival, is also worth shouting about. The weekend generated huge interest and some incredible racing last year. Hopefully, it will continue to grow as a concept with RPGTV’s coverage of both nights of the festival in 2022 likely to help achieve that aim.

There was also real engagement in the Ag Rásaíocht Le Chéile over the weekend of November 12th and 13th. It was a wonderful idea and really did prove a success. The weekend gave us the opportunity to remember those loved ones we have lost as well as celebrating our friendships on track. I’m glad to report that plans are afoot to run it again this year but there will be more on that in the future. 


It's occasions like Derby final night, the Winer Racing Festival, Ag Rásaíocht Le Chéile and the numerous big nights around the country that prove we can still attract crowds.

The roll out of a targeted ad campaign in the past few weeks should aid us in getting people back to the track.

Be it radio ads, print media or a targeted campaign on social media, hundreds of thousands of people will hear about our sport. That will certainly help increase the traffic through the stiles but the best way to advertise our sport is by word of mouth.

Tell your friends, your family, your work colleagues the truth about greyhound racing. Tell them about the excitement, the fun, the characters, the dining experience and the memories that can be created at the track.  


There is certainly plenty to be thankful for in our sport.

Yes, there are many areas where we need to improve but, sometimes, it’s best to focus on the positives. As a sport, as a community and as an industry we can be proud of what we have achieved through a tough couple of years. Now let’s push on and make greyhound racing the attraction it should be.