Horseracing at Markopoulo racecourse in Athens comes to an abrupt end

Horseracing at Markopoulo racecourse in Athens comes to an abrupt end

Horse Races SA, the company that won the contract to organise horseracing in Athens in 2016, issued a press release in English language Greece's Markopoulo Park Ceases Racing - BloodHorse on January 30th, 2024, announcing that the company will stop organising racing at Markopoulo Park with immediate effect, and will return the Markopoulo property to its owner, ODIE SA, within two months.


Horse Races SA states that it is entitled to walk away from its commitment to Greek horseracing if there are fewer than 300 racehorses registered with the Greek Jockey Club. Currently the number is just 172.


For some time, the numbers of horses running in races Markopoulo Park, which was set up as the centre for the equestrian events in the 2004 Olympic Games, have been very low.


At no time since it took over the management of the racecourse in 2016 has Horse Races SA been able to maintain or set up a thriving horseracing industry in Athens. Horse Races SA blames force majeure for the decline and collapse of horseracing in Athens. However, many in Greek horseracing consider that a basic lack of knowhow and competence has led to a series of long-term catastrophic failures by the company, and has now destroyed the livelihood of the considerable numbers of people working in horseracing and related industries in the Athens area.


Horse Races SA states in its press release that it will take various measures to protect the interests of people affected by the closure of racing at Markopoulo Park. Based on the performance of the company over the last eight years, protection offered by Horse Races SA may not be worth much.