Goffs Thyestes Day is a very traditional raceday for many horse racing fans across Ireland, and a great 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 many 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. This year’s running is on January 26th.
Thyestes winners read like a who’s who of Irish jump racing. With stars from Arkle to Hedgehunter, from Flyingbolt to Djakadam, it really is “where a horse becomes a legend”.
Champion jockey Paul Townend commented on what he believes makes the Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran such an important race in the National Hunt calendar.
He said: “It’s always very well supported and huge for the local community around here. It’s a brilliant track, always set up brilliantly. You’re always guaranteed to have safe ground and it’s a good tough test of a horse; there’s plenty of jumping and it’s a long way up that straight on ‘Thyestes ground’ – as they call it.”
The feature race on the day is due to go to post at 3.25pm, and is supported by six other races, most notably the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle with a €40,000 prize up for grabs in this stayers’ hurdle contest.
The Thyestes has long been recognised as a stepping stone to the Aintree Grand National, and the Galmoy as a Stayers Hurdle trial for Cheltenham. Entries are always top-class and racing fans are sure to be treated to some excellent National Hunt racing.
Gowran Park general manager Eddie Scally said: “Goffs Thyestes Day really kick starts our season in Gowran Park, and we really appreciate how racing people from far and wide support this day every year in their thousands. The Goffs Thyestes Chase is this region’s biggest and most iconic race, where horses, trainers and jockeys have the chance to put their names in the history books.
“We love to see our winners go on to challenge for Grand Nationals and Gold Cups, but I always remember Ruby Walsh, after winning on Invitation Only, being asked what next for the horse? His reply was simply ‘I don’t know, and I don’t mind; he’s won a Thyestes’. This for me just sums up what the
Goffs Thyestes Chase means to the racing world.”
Henry Beeby, Goffs Group CEO, added: “Goffs is delighted to continue our sponsorship of the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park. Goffs Thyestes Day is a real highlight of the Irish National Hunt calendar, mixing highly competitive steeplechasing with a raceday experience like no other. Many of the biggest names in National Hunt have won the Thyestes over the years, including the most famous Goffs graduate of all time in Arkle, and so this is the perfect platform for Goffs to launch our inspection period for the market-leading Land Rover Sale.”
Gates open at 10.30am, with the first race going to post at 1.05pm. Tickets are available online at gowranpark.ie. Courtesy buses will run from Kilkenny Castle gates at 10.30am on the day, and return to the city one hour after the last race.
The Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) sends their best wishes to the board at Gowran Park, racecourse manager Eddie Scally, and all his team at the venue. Thursday is sure to be another resounding success!
By Leo Powell