Thursday, 29 October 2020

Irish Racecourses: Clonmel

Clonmel racecourse
Clonmel is the largest town in County Tipperary, Ireland. 

It name means ''honey meadow or honey vale'' most likely related to the richness of the soil in this fertile location. This town in the province of Munster has a rich history noted for its resistance against the Cromwellian army (1649 - 53). Oliver Cromwell led the forces of the English Parliament. 

The town lies on the northern bank of the River Suir, flowing from Tipperary to Waterford. It's source coming from Devil's Bit Mountain situated in the Comeragh Mountains.  

The Census of Clonmel in 2016 detailed a population of 17,140.     

St Mary's Church remains one of the architectural features of the town, built in the 14th century.  

The annual Clonmel Junction Festival (from the first weekend of July, lasting nine days) is very popular. It features several international acts.

Powerstown Park is the horse racing venue for Clonmel Racecourse, two miles from the town centre. Public transport via train is available to Clonmel station.

The nearest airport in under thirty miles away at Waterford. 

St Mary's Church, Clonmel

It hosts both Flat and National Hunt racing. Horse racing dates back to 1913. The course often has over 120 horses running at each meeting. 

It was refurbished in 1998. 

Flat Racing:

Clonmel is a right handed oval of 1 and a 1/4 miles with a run in of 2 and a 1/2 furlongs, with an uphill finish. 

National Hunt Racing:

Clonmel is a right handed oval of 1 and a 1/4 miles with a run in of 2 and a 1/2 furlongs, with an uphill finish. There are six hurdles and seven jumps on this circuit. 

Contact details: 

Clonmel Racecourse 
Davis Road 
County Tipperary

Tel: 353 52 72481
Fax: 353 52 26446



Friday, 28 August 2020

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. 

Sunday, 23 February 2020

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.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Irish Racecourses: Fairyhouse

Fairyhouse horse racing
Fairyhouse Racecourse, billed as “Home of the Irish Grand National”, is situated near the town of Ratoath in Co. Meath, in eastern Ireland, approximately 14 miles north of Dublin. Fairyhouse stages Flat and National Hunt fixtures – a total of twenty – all year ‘round, but is better known for the latter, in particular, the Easter Festival, which features two of the most important races in the Irish National Hunt calendar, the Ryanair Gold Cup and the Boylesports Irish Grand National. 

The Irish Grand National, run over 3 miles 5 furlongs, was inaugurated in 1870 and, although a handicap, its roll of honour since World War II includes such luminaries as Arkle, Flyingbolt and Desert Orchid, as well as Aintree Grand National winners Rhyme ‘N’ Reason, Bobbyjo and Numbersixvalverde. Elsewhere in the National Hunt calendar, the two-day Winter Festival staged in early December, has also risen to prominence in recent years. Day two of the Winter Festival features three Grade One contests, the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, Royal Bond Novice Hurdle and Drinmore Novice Chase. 

The steeplechase course at Fairyhouse is a right-handed square, a mile and three quarters in length, with eleven, unforgiving fences to a circuit. Notwithstanding the stiffness of the fences, the course is wide, galloping in nature and does not, generally, favour one type of horse over another. Heading away from the stands, the course rises, before falling in the back straight and rising again in the home straight, which includes a run-in of about a furlong. The undulations are gentle, though, so the course does not present a searching test of stamina and, aside from usual luck in running, horses do not, necessarily, need to be in the right place at the right time to win. 

On the flat, Fairyhouse plays host to just one Pattern race, the Group Three Brownstown Stakes, run over 7 furlongs, in July each year. Formerly staged at Leopardstown, the Brownston Stakes was transferred to Fairyhouse in 2009 and, since then, its roll of honour has included the likes of Emulous Fiesolana, who both went on to win the Group One Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. 

Unsurprisingly, the flat course shares many of the characteristics of the steeplechase course and is, on the whole, fair to all types of horses. However, horses that like to race on, or close, to the pace typically fare best at Fairyhouse; hold-up horses, especially those drawn low, on the far side, in races over six or seven furlongs, may find themselves short of room next to the rail in the home straight, in which case luck in running is important.

A Day Out at Fairyhouse Racecourse

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

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.