Jockeys becoming “accustomed” to riding the track at Dundalk was cited as the main reason the total dropped to 71, down 25% on the previous year.
Turf Club Chief Executive Denis Egan explained: “The main reason for this is that riders have become accustomed to riding the track with the false rail at the turn into the straight, which was introduced in 2014.”
The report, which covers a multitude, including stewards’ enquiries and appeals, drug/alcohol testing of riders, drug testing of horses, and licencing issues, also revealed that of 56 cases heard by the Appeals Body and Referrals Committee, 61% were wholly or partially successful.
Three thousand three hundred and fifteen horses were tested for prohibited substances, and all bar five proved negative. Breath tests on a total of 974 riders all yielded negative results, while 168 riders were drug tested and three were found to positive, two containing metabolites of cocaine and one of Bisoprolol.
Of the issuing of trainers licences, Egan added: “The most significant statistic is that the decline in trainers’ licences seems to have bottomed out, which could indicate the worst is over. A further indication is that that there were small increases in flat licences (full and restricted) and in dual restricted licences, though the number of national hunt restricted licences continues to fall.”
Egan also pointed out that “for the recovery in this area to take hold, the number of horses in training will have to start increasing, which did not occur in 2015.”
Irish steeplechasing, the report posited, is going through a ‘golden era’, revealing more chasers with handicap ratings of 140 or above than at any time in the past.
However, there was a 16.5% decrease in the number of runners in point to points, mirroring a fall in the number of hunter certificates registered (37% lower than at peak).
The fall rate per ride in flat racing decreased by 0.3%, and Turf Club Senior Medical Officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick revealed that only 11 of the 34 falls occurred during racing, and only one resulted in concussion.
In National Hunt racing, he revealed there were 14 concussions on the racecourse, with six of the 14 riders passing their concussion test after six days, which is the minimum stand-down period.