This week’s Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) Column is dedicated to the Christmas Festivals at Leopardstown and Limerick and St Stephen’s/ Boxing Day at Down Royal.
Racing at Leopardstown and Limerick takes place from Monday the 26th to Thursday the 29th inclusive. Kicking off the Leopardstown festival on Monday, the grade one Racing Post Novice Chase is the feature on a seven-race card, with the first race going to post at 12 noon.
There will be a host of entertainment to enjoy on the day, including The Paddy Power Winning Line Tipster Panel and live music after racing from the Daft Punk Tribute.
The Paddy Power Chase Day is set to be a crowd pleaser on Tuesday, with over €1.4 million in prize money across a seven-race card. The card features the Grade 1 Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase which has been won by superstars such as Chacun Pour Soi, Douvan, Sizing Europe and Moscow Flyer, the Grade 1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle and the Grade B Paddy Power Chase the most valuable Handicap Chase over the Christmas period.
Day Three is Savills Day, and the highlight is the 3m Grade 1 Savills Chase. The feature race is a key indicator of the best staying chasers in Ireland and is the target for all the leading yards. The style competition gets under way with The Benetti Menswear Style Awards. There will be prizes up to €7,000 up for grabs across both male and female categories.
Early arrival is advised as registration will take place in the marquee from gates open.
The Christmas Festival draws to a close on the 29th of December with the Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle.
This race is associated with some of the greatest 2m hurdlers of our time – Istabraq (Four-time winner) Hurricane Fly (Four-time winner) and most recently 4 time winner Sharjah.
Springbreak will light up the stage, getting the whole crowd dancing in the marquee after racing to close out the week. Thursday is also Family Day, with a range of fun activities for the whole family young and older to enjoy. It’s worth stressing that Children U12 go FREE! For further info and to book your tickets, packages and membership visit www.leopardstown.com.
As featured in last week’s column, Christmas Racing at Limerick attracts racegoers from all over Ireland, with top-class racing and plenty of off-track entertainment to enjoy over the four days.
Feature races include the Grade one Faugheen Novice Chase on Monday 26th, the Grade 2 Dorans Pride Novice Hurdle on Tuesday 27th, the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap on Wednesday 28th and the Grade 2 Sporting Limerick Hurdle on Thursday 28th. For further information and bookings visit www.limerickraces.ie.
Boxing or Stephan’s Day at Down Royal Racecourse on December 26th is their final fixture of the year, with Metcollect Limited taking on title sponsorship for the third year running. This particular meeting is a hugely popular tradition for people who are looking for a fun day out, with great racing following the Christmas Day festivities.
Don’t forget children under 14 go free when accompanied by an adult ticket holder.
Last Minute Gifts
Dont Panic, if you are reading this on December 24th and still haven’t bought that Christmas gift.
It’s not too late to shop online for the racing fan in your life – the Association of Irish Racecourses have you covered, with tickets, hospitality packages and vouchers to annual memberships and merchandise all available on individual racecourse websites.
AIR wishes all racegoers, Irish Field readers, racecourse boards, staff and their families a safe and Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
By Leo Powell