Friday, 4 October 2019

Irish Racecourses: Dundalk

Irish Racecourses: Dundalk StadiumDundalk [Dalgan's fort] is a town of County Louth, Ireland. It sits on the Castletown River, flowing into the Dundalk Bay. It is near the border of Northern Ireland between Dublin and Belfast in the province of Leinster. 

Horse Racing and Greyhound Racing is held at Dundalk Stadium. This is Ireland's first all-weather race track opening in August 2007. It cost 35 Million euros. 

Local transport 

Dundalk is located 52 miles North of Dublin. The racecourse is just one and half miles from the town centre of Dundalk. 

Bishop Court's airport is about forty miles away. 

Flat racecourse:

Dundalk is a left-handed course covering ten furlongs with a run in of two and a half furlongs with an up hill finish. A low draw is an advantage over 5 - 6f.   

National Hunt racecourse:

The turf course was closed in 2001. The racecourse dated back to 1889.

Contact details:
Ladies at Dundalk
Dundalk Racecourse 
County Louth

Tel: 353 42 937 1271 
Fax: 353 42 937 1271 



Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Irish Racecourses: Galway

Galway horse racing fun
Galway Racecourse, also known as Ballybrit Racecourse, is situated in the village of Ballybrit in Co. Galway, in the West of Ireland, less than four miles northeast of Galway city centre. The racecourse stages just three meetings or, in other words, just twelve days racing, each year, but is synonymous with the Galway Races Summer Festival, one of the most celebrated race meetings in the world. 

Staged over seven days in late July and early August, such that it coincides with the August Bank Holiday in Ireland, the Summer Festival features an eclectic mixture of moderate, but dog-eat-dog, Flat and National Hunt racing. That said, the two feature races of the week, the Galway Hurdle and the Galway Plate, are worth €300,000 and €250,000 in prize money, respectively, so they typically attract numerically strong, top-class fields, with capable contenders from both sides of the Irish Sea. Aside from the Summer Festival, Galway Racecourse also stages a three-day meeting in September and a two-day meeting in October, which coincides with the October Bank Holiday. 

The steeplechase course at Galway is a right-handed, undulating diamond, just over a mile and a quarter in length, with seven, moderately stiff fences to a circuit and a two-furlong, uphill run-in. The hurdle course, which is situated inside the steeplechase course, is sharper in character, with six hurdles to a circuit and a shorter run-in, of just over a furlong. 

Heading away from the stands, the course rises to its highest point before falling sharply towards the home turn, but the final climb to the winning post is probably the stiffest in the whole country. Jockeys, naturally, allow their horses to ‘freewheel’ down the hill but, on the steeplechase course, the last two fences come in quick succession and the second-last, in particular, often catches out horses carrying too much momentum. Galway is a deceptively difficult course to jump around, and to ride, so it is no surprise that course specialists – horses and jockeys – emerge. 

Similar comments apply on the level; Galway is on the turn almost throughout and, despite the stiff finish, unless the going is heavy, tends to favour horses that are ridden prominently. Consequently, races are typically run at an end-to-end gallop, so Galway is no place for horses with stamina concerns. A low draw, next to the far side rail, may prove advantageous over seven furlongs or a mile. However, in large fields, which are commonplace, hold-up horses may have difficulty threading their way through weakening horses, from off the pace, on what is a tight enough course in any case. As over hurdles and fences, course specialists abound.

Loving The Atmosphere at Galway Races

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Irish Racecourse: Naas

Naas Racecourse, Ireland
Naas Racecourse is situated on the outskirts of Naas, the county town of Co. Kildare, in the Mid-East Region of Ireland, less than half a mile east of the town centre and approximately 23 miles southwest of Dublin. Still known, rather unfairly, as the “Punters’ Graveyard” – a myth no doubt perpetuated by the proximity of a cemetery to the home straight – Naas stages 15 Flat and National Hunt fixtures throughout the year. 

The highlight of the National Hunt calendar at Naas is the Slaney Novice Hurdle, run over 2 miles 4 furlongs in January. The race was upgraded to Grade One status in 2015, since when it has been sponsored by Lawlor’s Hotel, but had previously been won by subsequent Cheltenham Festival winners, Gold Cygent and Mikael d’Haguenet, not to mention 2016 Grand National winner Rule The World. The 2019 winner, Batteloverdoyen, is currently a top-priced 5/1 second favourite for the Ballymore Properties’ Novice Hurdle, the same race won by Mikael d’Haguenet in 2009. 

On the Flat, the Group Three Blue Wind Stakes, run over 1 mile 2 furlongs and open to fillies and mares aged three years and upwards, is the seasonal highlight. Occasionally, the Blue Wind Stakes serves as a trial for the Oaks at Epsom the following month and in the past has been won by the likes of Banimpire and Pleascach, both trained by Jim Bolger and ridden by Kevin Manning, who won the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot and Irish 1,000 Guineas and Yorkshire Oaks, respectively. 

The steeplechase course at Naas is a left-handed oval, approximately a mile and a half in circumference, with eight, fairly stiff fences to a circuit and a run-in of just over a furlong. Despite its dubious nickname, Naas is a wide, galloping track, with a stiff, uphill finish, which suits long-striding, staying types, but is nonetheless renowned for its fairness to all types of horse. The home straight, which features two plain fences, is over half a mile long but, despite the stiff finish, horses held up off the pace may still find it difficult to make up the required ground on the leaders. 

On the Flat, a chute at the top of the home straight allows sprint races, over five or six furlongs, to be run on a straight course which, in recent years, has been levelled in the first three furlongs or so to create a more even surface. Races over seven furlongs and a mile also start on a chute, this time at the top of the home straight, and a run around a left-hand bend. Even so, the draw plays little part in such races, except on soft ground, when jockeys tend to make a beeline for the stands’ side rail in the home straight, so a high draw is advantageous.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Irish Racecourses: Limerick

Limerick racecourse, Ireland
Limerick Racecourse, a.k.a. Greenmount Park, is situated in Co. Limerick, in the Mid-West Region of Ireland, approximately five miles southwest of the county town, Limerick. The course was opened in 2001, as a replacement for the historic Greenpark Racecourse, nearer the city centre, which closed in 1999 after 130 years. 

Indeed, Limerick has the distinction of being the newest turf racecourse in the country and, nowadays, stages 18 Flat and National Hunt fixtures throughout the year. Twilight meetings staged, under both codes, at Limerick Racecourse in May, June, July and August are extremely popular, but the annual highlight is the four-day Christmas Festival, which starts on St. Stephen’s Day, or Boxing Day, and includes the Grade Two Greenmount Park Novice Chase. Other notable National Hunt races run at Limerick include the Munster National Handicap Chase, in October, Limerick E.B.F Mares’ Novice Hurdle and Dawn Run Mares Novices’ Chase, in March and the Dorans Pride Novice Hurdle, in April. On the Flat, the Listed Martin Molony Stakes, worth €26,550 to the winner, is the most valuable race of the season. Interestingly, the 2018 winner, Sir Erec, is currently favourite for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. 

The steeplechase course at Limerick is a right-handed oval, approximately one mile and three furlongs in circumference, with seven fairly stiff fences to a circuit and a run-in of approximately one furlong. The course is essentially galloping in character, but heading away from the stands runners must negotiate a fairly sharp turn into the back straight, which climbs steeply and features five fences, including two open ditches, in quick succession, before running downhill into the home turn. The home straight is three-furlongs long and slightly uphill for the last two furlongs, so jockeys must be wary of asking horses for an effort too soon on the downhill stretch. That caveat aside, the finish is, essentially, fairly easy, so horses granted an uncontested lead can be difficult to catch. 

On the Flat, front-runners are similarly favoured when the going is on the fast side, making it difficult to make up ground from off the pace. However, softer going places more emphasis on stamina and the early leaders regularly come back to the rest of the field.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Irish Racecourses: Curragh

The Curragh Racecourse
The Curragh, County Kildare, Ireland. A flat open plain of almost 2,000 hectares. It's actually between Newbridge and Kildare. 

The Curragh is synonymous with Irish horse breeding and training. 

The Curragh Racecourse - known as The Curragh - is the most important in Ireland. In fact the meaning of the name means ''place of running horses''. 

The first recorded fixture took place in 1727. However, racing was held on the plains long before. This course is recognised for a number of Flat races including: 

  • Irish 1000 Guineas    
  • Irish 2000 Guineas
  • Irish Derby 
  • Irish Oaks 
  • Irish St Leger 

All Group 1 race of the highest caliber. Over 40 notable races are held at this course. I very much doubt any racecourse in the world has a higher number. 

Flat racing:

The Curragh is a horseshoe-shaped course win a circuit of 2 miles and a steep uphill run in of 3 furlongs. The sprint distances over 5 -6f 
is straight. Low draw is favoured in sprints, while high numbers on round course.    

Contact details:

Curragh Racecourse 
Women watching at The CurraghCounty Kildare

Tel: 353 45 441 205
Fax: 353 45 441 442

Travel information: 

The Curragh racecourse is about 30 miles from Dublin (Dublin-Cork-Limerick road). It's 9 miles from Naas and just 2 miles from neighbouring Newbridge. 

Over 30 pick up locations by coach £25 pp (racecourse admission an return coach) 

You can buy a combined racecourse and rail ticket at Dublin station (Heuston Station) for all weekend meeting. 

The nearest airport is Casement some 20 miles away. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Irish Racecourses: Punchestown

Irish Racecourses: Punchestown
Punchestown Racecourse is situated on the outskirts of Naas, the county town of Co. Kildare, in the eastern part of the Irish Midlands. Punchestown Racecourse is, in fact, less than three-and-a-half miles from Naas Racecourse but, unlike its near neighbour, exclusively stages National Hunt racing. Punchestown hosts 17 National Hunt fixtures between April and December, with notable races including the Grade One Morgiana Hurdle, the highlight of the two-day Winter Festival, in November, and the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase, in December. 

 However, Punchestown is synonymous with the Irish National Hunt Festival, commonly known as the Punchestown Festival, which is staged over five days in late April and early May and brings the Irish National Hunt season to a close. The Punchestown Festival is one of the highlights of the Irish sporting calendar and features no fewer than 12 Grade One contests, including the Champion Chase, Champion Stayers’ Hurdle, Punchestown Gold Cup and Punchestown Champion Hurdle, not to mention the fascinating La Touche Cup, run over 4 miles 1½ furlongs on the only cross-country ‘banks’ course in Ireland. 

The main steeplechase course at Punchestown is a right-handed, undulating oval, approximately two miles in circumference, with eleven, moderately stiff, but fair, fences to a circuit and a run-in of approximately one furlong. The course is galloping in character, with a steady climb throughout the final five furlongs, which affords staying types an opportunity to find their stride. 

The hurdle course, laid out inside the main steeplechase course, is only a mile-and-three-quarters in circumference and, consequently, much sharper in character. The bend at the end of the back straight is particularly sharp and, on the whole, the course favours horses that race handily. 

The cross-country course consists of a twisting, turning circuit, three miles around, with left-handed and right-handed bends. Horses must negotiate a series of idiosyncratic obstacles, including banks, fences and walls, before returning to the racecourse proper and a single, regulation birch fence between them and the winning post.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Irish Racecourses: Ballinrobe

Ballinrobe Racecourse, Ireland
Ballinrobe is the only racecourse in the town of County Mayo. The oldest town in Mayo dating back to 1390. Known as town of the river Robe. 

In 2006, the Census detailed a population of 3,682. 

A thriving market town, a gateway to both Galway and Castlebar. Ballinrobe lies 48 km north of Galway. EU Membership saw 25% of the population coming from overseas. 

A bustling livestock market - only one of two marts - in the County of Mayo takes place every Wednesday. While the Ballinrobe Agricultural Society holds an annual show at the end of August or early September. 

Ballinrobe has a long tradition of horse racing. With race meetings going back as far as 1774. The current race track at Keel Bridge has been there since 1921. It is located one mile from Ballinrobe town centre on the main Castlebar road. Just 24 miles from Carnmore Airport. 

Ballinrobe is a dual-purpose course for Flat and National Hunt racing. The course is elevated with an exceptional view of the whole track. The facilities where updated in 1998. 

The racecourse was awarded best racecourse in Ireland 2012 by Horse Racing Ireland. 

The Flat Course:

A right handed oval course of nine furlongs with a run in of just two and half furlongs. Over 5 and 6f high draws have an advantage. 

National Hunt Course

A right handed oval course of nine furlongs and run in of two and a half furlongs. There are four hurdles and six fences on the circuit. 

Ballinrobe Racecourse 
Keel Bridge
County Mayo
Tel: 35392 41811
Fax: 35392 41869