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Case Studies / Policy Development

Securing the future of Down Royal Racecourse

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MCE worked with Down Royal to ensure a necessary legislative change in the Horse Racing Order (1990).

From the initial idea to project delivery, MCE delivered a range of services

Project Summary
The Horse Racing Fund, which is administered through the Horse Racing Order (1990), was designed to support horse racing in Northern Ireland, but when DRPR commenced operation of Down Royal Racecourse in January 2019 it was no longer entitled to this funding.

MCE planned and undertook a public affairs campaign, which included stakeholder briefings and a presentation to the AERA Committee in the Northern Ireland Assembly, to secure this legislative change required to secure the future of this premier sporting venue.

This legislative change saw Down Royal once again be eligible for support through the Horse Racing Fund, and these payments being reinstated.

Legislation changed
Legislation
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Access to the Horse Racing Fund reinstated
Access
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Engagement with key political stakeholders
Engagement
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The Challenge
To secure a legislative change to the Horse Racing Order (1990), securing access to the Horse Racing Fund for Down Royal Park Racecourse Limited.

The Horse Racing Fund was designed to support horse racing in Northern Ireland, but when DRPR commenced operation of Down Royal Racecourse in January 2019 it was no longer entitled to this funding.

The challenge was to change the Horse Racing Order.

Our Solution
A public affairs campaign that included one-to-one briefings with key political stakeholders, a letter campaign, and a presentation to the Committee dealing with the legislation in the Assembly.

Virtual briefings and site visits were conducted with each of the political stakeholders identified. Additionally, letters were written and sent to the relevant Minister and Committee members.

The team at Down Royal was invited to attend the Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee to brief members and answer questions. In order to prepare for this, MCE ran a mock committee with the Down Royal team.

The Results
The amendment to the Horse Racing Order, the Horse Racing Bill, received Royal Assent on 2nd February 2022.

Following our successful engagement with politicians we achieved our legislative aim – the required changes to the Horse Racing Order (1990).

As a result of this, payments from the Horse Racing Fund to Down Royal Racecourse were reinstated.