Denis Egan, the CEO of the Irish Horse Racing Regulatory Board (IHRB), has stated that he will step down from his job on September 30, 2021.
Egan joined the Turf Club in 1995 and rose through the ranks to become the organisation’s CEO in 2001. In 2018, he turned the Turf Club’s regulatory arm into the IHRB, becoming the new body’s CEO.
Egan has also been responsible for the global representation of Irish horse racing as a member of the Executive Council of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, the International Harmonisation of Raceday Rules Committee, and the European Horserace Scientific Liaison Committee.
Irish racing success
“Irish racing has an enviable reputation worldwide, both for its fairness and integrity, and has enjoyed huge success at home and around the world,” Egan said of his decision.
He continued: “I am proud that the Turf Club, and more recently the IHRB, has had a significant role to play in this regard. I believe we now have a strong platform in place to build and grow for the future and I believe the time is right to hand over to a successor to take the organisation to the next level.
“I would like to thank the Members of the Turf Club and the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee and particularly the staff of the IHRB for their professionalism and indeed their support down through the years.”
Drug use in racing
In an interview with the Racing Post, the outgoing CEO stated that his decision to step down early had nothing to do with the ongoing scandal over drug use in Irish horse racing, which influential trainer Jim Bolger described as the sport’s “number one problem.”
Both Egan and Bolger, as well as other Irish horse racing representatives, have been invited to testify before the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee over claims of drug usage and cheating in the sport, which was only allowed to resume in May after a month of hiatus due to COVID-19.
“The timing of this announcement is related to the early retirement scheme and is being made well in advance to provide an opportunity to put in place a recruitment process so that a new CEO can be ready to take over the reins when practicable,” Egan said in an interview with the outlet.
In response to his colleague’s retirement, Harry McCalmont, Chairman of the IHRB, said: “Denis has made a huge contribution to our organisation, and indeed to the Irish horseracing industry in general both at home and abroad.
“He is highly regarded throughout the world of horseracing and has served the sport well both in Ireland and internationally.
“Announcing his decision now allows us to identify his successor in a planned way and we will commence this process soon. While we are sorry to see him leave, we fully respect his decision and would like to wish him well for the future.”