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Calling all groundstaff

The Groundstaff Association is set to host an education day on Tuesday next, October 25th, at the Curragh Racecourse.

The event promises to be an informative one and is open to all groundstaff working at racecourses across Ireland. It is free to attend and pre-registration is not required.

This education day will provide attendees with the chance to find out all about the Association’s plans for 2023, along with providing some exciting demonstrations and valuable networking opportunities. The aim of the event is to assist racecourse groundstaff, providing them with a space where they can all get together to network and share their knowledge with one another in a peer-to-peer environment.

The Groundstaff Association hopes to see all the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) 26 members’ groundstaff on the day, and to whet the appetite, here is a resume of the day’s schedule.
10.00 – 10.30; Arrival with tea and coffee provided
10.30 – 11.30; Machinery demonstrations by John Deere
11.30 – 12.30; Tour of new Curragh Racecourse facilities
12.30 – 1.30; Lunch
1.30 – 2.00; “Liquid seaweed applications on racecourses” with Tony White of Turfcare
2.00 – 2.30; “Wetting agents for the racecourse – an overview” by ICL’s Colman Warde
2.30- 3.00; “Sustainable use of pesticide regulation – update” with Declan Kealy from the Department of Agriculture
3.00 – 3.30; “Climate change – weather patterns”

The Groundstaff Association was established in March 2017, led by former head groundsman at the Curragh, Pat Webb, and a committee was formed.

Vincent Eivers is now chairman of the group, and he is foreman at Bellewstown, and former head groundsman at Navan. Cathal Flannelly, foreman at Ballinrobe, is secretary. They are joined by Sean Ryan (Punchestown), Donal Curtis (Navan) and Perry Power (Tipperary and Cork).

To support the objectives of the Association, they have assistance from Horse Racing Ireland’s Colin Kehoe, and from Damian McLaverty of the Association of Turfgrass Professionals Ireland (ATPI). Their objectives focus on knowledge sharing and networking, education, staff retention and increasing the recognition of the role of racecourse groundstaff within the industry.

For further information contact Vincent Eivers on (087) 8210124.

Irish Pony Club theme at the Curragh
Racing takes place at the Curragh tomorrow, Sunday October 23rd, where racegoers will be treated to an Irish Pony Club themed raceday.

The objective of the initiative is to showcase horseracing to Pony Club members.

One of the most exciting aspects of the initiative is a jockey skills training course that takes place at the Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE) in Kildare town, with 10 Pony Club members taking part. The overall winner, who will be announced at the races, will receive a week of work experience with a leading trainer, together with a private jockey coaching session with a RACE instructor.

A jockey skills display will take place on the track after the last race, with an emphasis on style and skill.

All under the age of 18 will gain complimentary admission to the raceday tomorrow when accompanied by an adult.


In addition to an eight-race card, there is a packed programme of entertainment during the afternoon, which includes a special musical ride performance by the Island Pony Club.

Presentations will be made to members of the pony eventing and show jumping teams who won recent gold medals for Ireland.

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