Wednesday 6 March 2024

Irish Racecourse: Roscommon

Roscommon Racecourse is situated in Roscommon, the county town of County Roscommon, in the Western Region of Ireland. Roscommon stages nine Flat and National Hunt meetings between May and September, but all but the final meeting of the year are held in the evening. Indeed, that final, afternoon fixture features the most notable National Hunt race in the Roscommon calendar, the Grade Three Kilbegnet Novice Chase, run over an extended two miles. 

On the Flat, the Listed Lenebane Stakes, run over an extended 1 mile 3 furlongs in July, is the most prestigious race of the year at Roscommon, worth just over €45,000 in added prize money. In recent years, the Lenebane Stakes has been won by the likes of Quest For Peace, who went on to win the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot and the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood, before being campaigned in Australia, and Panama Hat, who was subsequently just touched off in the Grade Three American St. Leger Stakes at Arlington Park, Chicago. 

The steeplechase course at Roscommon is a right-handed rectangle, approximately a mile and a quarter around, with five, easy fences to a circuit and a run-in of two hundred yards or so. The three-furlong home straight rises steadily throughout, but the course is otherwise fairly flat. The turns, especially the turn out of the back straight, are sharp and, on the whole, the course favours horses with sufficient pace to race prominently. That said, Roscommon is considered a fair test for most, if not all, types of horse, with no particular bias one way or the other. Similar comments apply to the flat course, where tactical speed can be advantageous, but there is little or no draw bias, even over shorter distances.