The Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) column this week is all about racing over the Christmas break. Christmas traditions for a lot of families includes a day at the races, a day out that has never looked so inviting!
These are ticketed events and pre-registration for contact tracing will be in place. Indoor dining options are available where patrons must provide evidence of their Vaccine Cert or a valid certificate of recovery. A day at the races means fun for all the family. Whether it’s a tradition your family is revisiting this year or a new experience you’re trying out, there is a great line-up to choose from.
The Leopardstown Christmas Festival runs from 26th to the 29th, with exciting National Hunt racing and course-wide entertainment. The festival features seven exciting Grade 1 races over four days and to compliment the racing they provide a range of gourmet food offerings, bespoke bars and lounge areas creating a luxurious environment in which guests can enjoy a great race day. Family Day is also an action-packed day of thrilling racing, live music and free on-site entertainment for younger racegoers to enjoy.
The Limerick Races Mr Binman Christmas Festival also runs from December 26th to the 29th, with four days of thrilling National Hunt racing showcasing some of Ireland’s finest equine talent. This includes the feature race of the day, the Grade 1 The BoyleSports Faugheen Novice Chase. There are a wide range of packages available for the whole family to enjoy, with live music after racing each day. So make sure you stay around and soak up the post-racing atmosphere.
Boxing Day at Down Royal Racecourse on December 26th. It’s their final fixture on this year’s racing calendar, with Metcollect Limited taking on title sponsorship for the second year. This particular meeting is one of the most popular fixtures in Down Royal’s calendar and has become a hugely popular tradition for people who are looking for a fun day out and some fresh air following the Christmas Day festivities.
New Year’s Eve at Punchestown is a family favourite for many. Ladies traditionally go free on New Year’s Eve but please note ladies you will still need to register for a free ticket online. There is a trackside hospitality package available which offers an all-inclusive experience at the home of jump racing, with a delicious four-course lunch starring alongside the on-course action. First race approximately 12.45 with complimentary festive treats for early arrivals.
Tramore Racecourse January 1st meeting features the Grade 3 Savills New Year’s Day Chase. Why not get the New Year off to a winning start at the Deise venue? This popular fixture offers the unique blend of national hunt racing, a great atmosphere, lots of food and beverage options and ample indoor and outdoor amenities available, offering racegoers a comfortable and safe New Year’s Day experience for all the family to enjoy.
Finally, New Year’s Day at Fairyhouse features the Grade 3 ‘John Fowler Memorial Mares Chase’. Always a firm favourite with the locals, it is the place to be on January 1st to meet and mingle in a fun, social and predominantly outdoor setting. This meeting offers the perfect excuse to get spruced up and out and about for a festive flutter or two with friends and family in a low-risk social environment.
Remember it’s not too late for last-minute Christmas Gifts for the racing fan in your life with tickets, hospitality and vouchers to annual memberships and merchandise all available online, AIR Members have you covered!
The Association of Irish Racecourses would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas.
By Leo Powell