For this week’s Association of Irish Racecourses’ column, we checked in with a man who won’t be having too many opportunities for a Sunday lie-in anytime soon, dual racecourse manager, Andrew Hogan.
Andrew manages both Cork and Tipperary racecourses and is looking ahead to a busy month of great racing in both counties. He said: “It’s a great position to be in really, I thoroughly enjoy it. Thinking about the big days ahead brings home to me that I am as excited today as I was when I started out in my current roles. I’m working with two great teams and you couldn’t put a value on the local support we receive.
“The pandemic has starved enthusiasts of going racing, and I believe people will have a greater appreciation for the social and sporting opportunities available to them and their families in their local area too as we recreate our lives post-Covid. The team is ready, the vibes from both communities are good, and we are certainly aiming high for our upcoming fixtures.”
Tomorrow’s meeting dubbed ‘Super Sunday’ at Tipperary is shaping up to be a cracking National Hunt day at Limerick Junction, with no less than three graded contents on the card. The Grade 3 races include The Joe Mac Novice Hurdle, The Horse and Jockey Hotel Hurdle and The O’Dwyer Steel Dundrum Novice Steeplechase. Speaking of the meeting, Andrew said: “We are so looking forward to this weekend as it is the first real opportunity we have had to get crowds in decent numbers back to the course. We have worked hard to ensure that everyone who attends racing for the jumping action on Sunday or the flat racing on Monday will be very comfortable.
“A fantastic marquee facility will offer food and beverage options for all patrons, while our indoor hospitality options will be available to those with vaccine certificates. So, whether your preference is for indoor or outdoor hospitality there will be no shortage of comfortable options to choose from at either fixture.”
On Monday, Tipperary will host an all-flat card featuring the Group 3 Coolmore U S Navy Flag Concorde Stakes. This race always throws up some interesting types and the support of the sponsors on both days at Tipperary was something Hogan was keen to stress. “We’re very fortunate to have such supportive and loyal sponsors here in Tipperary and I would like to thank the Horse and Jockey Hotel, O’Dwyer Steel Dundrum, Coolmore Stud and McGrath Oil Emily for their continued support.”
On Sunday, October 17th, Cork Racecourse Mallow takes centre stage with another exciting fixture, The Co-Op Superstores Raceday. This will be the course’s very first jump racing fixture open to the public since Covid restrictions were put in place. Andrew said: “It is going to be a fantastic day. The entire team here at Cork Racecourse Mallow is very excited about it. It really marks the return to the jumps for us and to have decent crowds back too will be brilliant.
“It is always a well-attended and locally-supported fixture, especially with the Co-Op Superstores sponsorship, and the feeling on the ground in Mallow is that people are really looking forward to that day out at the races more than ever! We also have live music and the shuttle bus is back in operation.”
This year Halloween falls on a Sunday and ideally coincides with racing for Andrew and his team again at Cork Racecourse Mallow. The feature race this time round on the all-jump card is the Paddy Power Cork National, always a brilliant spectacle and traditionally the standout race at a meeting that attracts a good crowd and creates a real buzzing atmosphere.
Tickets must be booked online in advance of all of these fixtures. To book your tickets go to www.tipperaryraces.ie and www.corkracecourse.ie.
By Leo Powell.