The best of Irish jump racing talent, those who have flown the flag campaigned and most importantly won on the biggest stages in recent months, now return to the home of Irish jump racing to bring the curtain down on yet another memorable National Hunt season.
The Punchestown Festival will be staged from Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th, and final preparations are well underway for one of Ireland’s favourite social and sporting events. This meeting is, in essence, a celebratory occasion as we welcome the jump racing Fraternity for the grand finale.
Among them will be break-out stars and seasoned campaigners, champions-elect and newcomers. With 40 races, including 12 at grade 1 level and over €3.3 million in prize money on offer the quality will be top-drawer. Minimum race values are set at €15,000, with hurdles locked in at a minimum €20,000. Grade A handicaps carry a purse of €100,000 and grade B races come in at €50,000. All features have a €300,000 value.
The hard-working track crew at the Co Kildare venue, led by Sean Ryan is currently laying out over eight miles of white rail. This will be moved daily to provide six metres of fresh ground, essentially a fresh track each day of the festival. Some two hundred and ten metres of fences have been built and packed by hand with 6000 bundles of birch used to create the necessary hurdles. It’s tough graft for them but the track is the jewel in the crown, and a great source of pride.
Memorable parties are made up of the magic mix of a unique venue, delicious food and drink, top class entertainment and most importantly the guest list.
Punchestown is proud to retain the title as Ireland’s largest corporate sporting event. This is where two worlds collide as business runs in tandem with a relaxed fun-filled day.
Over 17,000 corporate hospitality guests will enjoy delicious seasonal produce during the week. With over 800 companies involved as sponsors, clients and event partners, the Punchestown festival truly plays host to commercial Ireland making the final week of April a fruitful one for business.
The cross-channel campaign to attract people and horses is a key contributor to the success of the week. The presence of English runners adds to the racing interest and also boosts viewer and streaming numbers. In 2019, British raiders enjoyed their most lucrative Punchestown festival to date.
A two-day visit to the home of Irish jump racing including flights and hotel still comes in at less than €250 when visitors avail of pre-event ticket deals and accommodation partner offers.
With such an influx of people to county Kildare, benefits spill over into the local towns and villages. Accommodation partners Killashee Hotel, Barberstown Castle, The Osprey and more, includingthe the world famous Adare Manor complete the experience.
A visit to the races at Punchestown does not begin and end on the racecourse. Champion bumper sponsor www.RaceandStay.com are the experts in Punchestown packages, with all-inclusive hotel and hospitality packages at the click of a button. All in all, the Punchestown festival is big business and it kicks off in a matter of days.
The Association of Irish Racecourses would like to wish AIR Chairman and Punchestown CEO, Conor O’Neill and all his team the very best of luck for the week. For further information, and to book tickets or race and dine packages visit www.punchestown.com.
By Leo Powell