In this week’s Association of Irish Racecourses column, as the Winter Festival at Punchestown takes centre stage, we’re already planning the next big one as we catch up with the team at Fairyhouse Racecourse to see how things are shaping up for their upcoming Winter Festival.
Book in advance, come early and dress appropriately are the top tips for racegoers planning to visit the County Meath track for the BARONERACING.COM Winter Festival at Fairyhouse, with Racecourse Manager Peter Roe commenting “The reality is that the covid protocols that we are working with during this interim phase of the reopening are quite time consuming. We have to capture all patrons details for contact tracing purposes and it can be tedious on arrival. For this reason, we are strongly encouraging as many of our valued patrons as possible to pre-purchase their tickets online, it removes all that hassle as the data collection requirements are facilitated at the point of sale and it will make for a much more enjoyable customer experience on arrival for everyone even those who cannot pre-book for whatever reason who want to arrive and pay on the day.”
Very much pitched as a festive weekend of racing there will be a wide variety of seasonal food and beverage offerings available throughout the facilities to try to disperse the crowds and keep everyone safe.
Sense of fun
The highly-anticipated Christmas Jumper Competition, sponsored by Dunboyne Castle & Seoid Spa, will take place on Saturday, November 27th and it is sure to bring a real sense of fun and festivities to the weekend. To take part simply wear your favourite Christmas Jumper to the races and one of the many scouts on duty will select finalists and choose a winner from the crowd. Well worth dressing up for, the overall winner will receive a fantastic spa break at Dunboyne Castle.
Speaking of jumpers, it is important to note that for the most part the raceday experience is predominately an outdoor event at the moment. The team at Fairyhouse Racecourse have made every effort to put lots of outdoor seating and a marquee in place to ensure racegoers enjoy a comfortable experience, but wearing ‘plenty of layers’ is never a bad idea in November nonetheless.
Hospitality has never been more attractive with Roe commenting “The Bobbyjo Bistro is completely sold out on both days, and we have limited availability in the Ballyhack Room at €75per person. The Bumper Bundle and all admission tickets can be booked online.”
Title sponsor Bar One Racing’s, CEO, Barney O’Hare, said “As has been the case for the last number of years we are delighted to be associated with what is generally accepted as the best jumps’ card pre-Christmas. Bar One Racing is delighted to support Fairyhouse and Irish jump racing.” Other top industry suppliers involved in sponsorship at the festival include Jim Ryan Racing Services and EasyFix.
Roe added “We are very grateful to the trainers who have been so supportive of Fairyhouse in the run up to this festival. I think it’s very important to acknowledge it. We received the most hospitable welcome at Willie Mullins’ for our launch, it was truly remarkable and how the entire industry works together and supports one another. It is just brilliant.”
“This is the most important National Hunt racing fixture at this stage in the season and, personally, I can’t wait to see our Fairyhouse darling Honeysuckle go for her seventh success here and her thirteenth consecutive career victory.”
For further information on all the racing and to plan your visit go to fairyhouse.ie.
By Leo Powell