Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Irish Racecourses: Dundalk


Dundalk [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:


Dundalk Racecourse 
Mullgrove 
Ballymascanlon
Dundalk 
County Louth

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

Website: http://www.dundalkstadium.com/

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Saturday, 20 March 2021

Irish Racecourses: Thurles


Thurles Racecourse is situated less than a mile from Thurles town centre, in County Tipperary, in the Shannon Region of Ireland. Thurles is, in fact, one of three racecourses in County Tipperary, but unlike Clonmel and Tipperary, a.k.a. Limerick Junction exclusively stages National Hunt racing. Thurles also has the distinction of being the only privately-owned racecourse in Ireland, having been in the Molony Family for at least four generations since 1911. 

Thurles Racecourse stages eight National Hunt fixtures between October and March. Notable races include the Grade Two Analog's Daughter Mares Novice Chase, run over 2 miles 4½ furlongs in January, and the Grade Two Kinloch Brae Chase, run over the same distance in late January or early February. In recent years, two winners of the Kinloch Brae Chase, Don Cossack in 2016 and Sizing John in 2017, have gone on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. 

The steeplechase course at Thurles is a right-handed, undulating oval, approximately a mile and a quarter in circumference, with seven, moderately stiff, fences to a circuit and a run-in of approximately one furlong. The course rises steeply throughout the back straight but falls, equally steeply, towards the final bend and the two-furlong home straight, in which the final two fences are situated. On the whole, the course is sharp in character, favouring horses that race on, or close to the pace, although those who do too much in the back straight may pay for their exertions later on. 

Above anything else, Thurles is renowned for its extraordinarily free draining soil which, even in the depths of the Irish winter, rarely becomes very testing and is almost always raceable. Thurles has received almost universal praise for its ground conditions, with trainers safe in the knowledge that they will not overface young, inexperienced horses, while the steep hill in the back straight provides useful insight for those heading to the Cheltenham Festival.





Saturday, 16 January 2021

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.




Friday, 15 January 2021

Irish Racecourses: Fairyhouse


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




Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Irish Racecourse: Naas


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.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Irish Racecourses: Clonmel


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. 

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 
Clonmel 
County Tipperary
Ireland 

Tel: 353 52 72481
Fax: 353 52 26446

Website: http://www.clonmelraces.ie/  

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Friday, 1 January 2021

Irish Racecourses: Cork


In the province of Munster, Cork is the largest southernmost county of Ireland. It is Ireland's second largest county with a population of over 500,000 people. 

Cork boarders four counties: Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary & Waterford. It contains the Golden Vale pastureland with West Cork one of the major tourist destinations, especially its rugged coastline and megalithic monuments. The county has mountain ranges, the highest point being Knockboy (706m) on the Shehy Mountains which border Kerry and accessed from Priest's Leap.      

Cork has an impressive coastline with beaches and sea cliffs and peninsulas including Beara, Sheep's Head, Mizen Head and Brow Head. The latter being the most southerly point of mainland Ireland. There are many islands off Cork coast including Fastness Rock which lies in the Atlantic Ocean about seven miles from the mainland.

Cork Racecourse Mallow - because it is held at Mallow, County Cork) stages both Flat and National Hunt racing fixtures. 

It is located just over 20 miles north of Cork and about 40 miles from Limerick. 


The first steeplechase - between to churches steeples, from Buttervant to Donerail - took place in 1752, down the road from Mallow. Cork Park was lost in 1917 but in 1924 racing at Cork commenced under the control of Lieutenant Colonel F F MacCabe. 

Following a £7 million refurbishment, the racecourse re-opened in 1997.

The three-day Easter Festival is the highlight of Cork Racecourses' sporting calendar.

Contact details:

Cork Racecourse (Mallow) Ltd
Mallow
Cork 
Ireland


Tel: 353 22 50210/50207

Fax: 353 22 50213 

The racecourse is located 1 mile from Mallow town. Mallow is accessible by bus or train from Dublin. Stop at Cork for Mallow. Best get a taxi from Mallow Station to the racecourse. 

The nearest airport is Cork, which is 4 miles away from the course.  

Flat racing:

Cork is a right-handed level track with an inner course of 10 furlongs. The outer circuit is 12 furlongs. There is a draw advantage on sprints for high number. However, over 7f it pays to be dawn low. There is no real advantage over one mile although stall one seems to do well.  

National Hunt racing:  

Cork is a right-handed level track with an inner course of 10 furlongs. The outer circuit is 12 furlongs. There are eight jumps per circuit with three in the home straight. 

Website: http://www.corkracecourse.ie/

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