Horse racing with bets – a veritable institution in Britain – could be coming to Portugal very soon.
Ricardo Carvalho, the president of Portugal’s league of horse-racing owners and breeders, has told Lusa that if all goes according to plan, the new reality could be just “two or three years” away.
What needs to happen first is that people start betting on Portuguese horses racing abroad. This would generate a fund that could be used to construct race tracks in this country, which he predicts could make up to €300 million for the economy per year, as well as create as many as 6,000 jobs.
For the time being, Carvalho explains there are only 200-250 racehorses in Portugal.
But if the industry was encouraged, he sees a scenario where there could be as many as 10,000 horses running in races as many as three times a week.
He went so far as to say horseracing was a “huge industry that is not being made use of in Portugal”.
“The raising of horses will create new jobs, including breeders, ‘jockeys’ and vets. There is a whole machine operating behind horseracing. We are pushing for horses to be bred in Portugal to power the employment that the country so badly needs,” he told Lusa.
As Portugal has never bred racehorses before, Carvalho said the idea was to use English thoroughbreds that would be imported and bred here.