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Historic Thyestes is an early season highlight

In this week’s Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) column, we’re catching up with Gowran Park in Co Kilkenny to see how Preparations are progressing ahead of their upcoming Goffs Thyestes Day which takes place on January 27th.

Gowran Park is one of Ireland’s leading racecourses and is located only 15 minutes from Kilkenny city. The excellent hospitality facilities make the picturesque venue the perfect location for a great raceday experience.

Goffs Thyestes Day is a traditional race day for many horse racing fans across Ireland, and a great early meet-up occasion for many.

Taking place on a Thursday, in late January just adds to the ambience as people take a day off work and children get time off school to attend. In fact, for years many local schools used to close as they knew attendance would be so limited due to the race day.

The Thyestes Chase was first run in 1954 and is over a distance of three miles and a furlong complete with 17 fences. Goffs have sponsored the race day for the last nine years and the prize fund is a generous €100,000.

Willie Mullins is the trainer who has been most successful in the race up to now, with seven wins under his belt. Last year Gordon Elliott’s Coko Beach claimed big race glory and the entries suggest we can expect a very competitive race next week too.

The event and the raceday is fast approaching, and with a restricted attendance permitted at the time of writing, tickets are selling fast. Please note, these restrictions could be subject to change following NPHET’s advice to the government and the possible easing of restrictions.

The race day is one of the highlights in the local calendar and it would be great to have a crowd there on the day to give the staff and track officials a boost. The day took place behind closed doors last year and we all know that it’s the patrons who create the great race day atmosphere. Either way, the show must go on and the first race will go to post at 12 noon.

While all of the AIR member racecourses endeavour to ensure that patrons have a great day at the races, they have had to make several changes to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone following all strict government guidelines. Therefore, please make yourself aware of changes by way of the track’s website and social media channels prior to arriving at the racecourse.

At Gowran Park next week, for example, this is a ticketed event and you must ensure that you enter a valid email address as all tickets will be e-tickets and will be sent to your email address once purchased online. All ticket holders must provide valid photo identification to match the name on your ticket on arrival before being admitted. If you do not bring photo ID, this will result in no admittance.

Indoor dining options are available once patrons provide evidence of their Vaccine Cert or a valid certificate of recovery. Unfortunately, the complimentary shuttle bus from Kilkenny City will not be available this year. Finally, although it also goes without saying, please do not attend any racecourse if you have any Covid-19 symptoms or if you have tested positive for Covid-19 in the 14 days prior to the race day.

For further information on all the racing and to plan your visit go to

The Association of Irish Racecourses sends their best wishes to the board of management at Gowran, racecourse manager Eddie Scally, and all his team at the venue. It is sure to be another resounding success.

By Leo Powell,

Irish Field. 

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