Sunday, 14 April 2019

Irish Racecourses: Tramore

Irish Racecourses: Tramore
Tramore Racecourse, a.k.a. Waterford & Tramore Racecourse is situated on the northern outskirts of the seaside town of Tramore, in Co. Waterford, in southeast Ireland, less than a mile from the town centre. Tramore Racecourse plays host to eleven days racing, under both codes, between January and October, but is best known for its four-day August Festival, which includes three National Hunt fixtures, usually on a Thursday evening, Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, and a Flat fixture on the intervening Saturday afternoon. 

Aside from the August Festival, the most notable fixture at Tramore is that staged on New Year’s Day, which features the Listed Savills Chase, worth €30,000 in added prize money. In a particularly classy renewal in 2019, Willie Mullins saddled a 1-2-3, headed by Al Boum Photo, in the Savills Chase. 

The steeplechase course at Tramore is a right-handed, undulating oval, approximately seven furlongs in circumference, with five, easy fences to a circuit and a run-in of less than a furlong. Heading away from the stands, the course climbs, but falls again for a long, downhill run to the second-last fence, followed by a short, uphill finish. The turns are sharp, favouring horses that race prominently, and the idiosyncratic nature of the course often gives rise to course specialists. 

Similar comments apply to the flat course, although the absence of starting stalls can an additional complication for the horse – and jockeys, for that matter – with little or no experience of flag starts. On the whole, well-balanced horses with plenty of tactical pace far best at Tramore, although when the going is on the soft side, it is possible for hold-up horses to come from on the pace. Nevertheless, the tightness of the course simply does not suit some horses at all, and even those who do act on the course must be intelligently ridden if they are to prevail.