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Fairyhouse Racecourse

Published on: 20/11/2016

Fairyhouse racecourse, which can be found near to the town of Ratoath in the county of Meath, is one of Ireland’s first-class horses racing venues. Some 20 events are organised at the racecourse each year, the highlight being the Irish Grand National which is scheduled within the three-day Easter Festival. Fairyhouse racecourse is a right-handed track which covers a distance of one mile and six furlongs with an uphill run to the finishing post.

Fairyhouse Racecourse held its first race meeting in 1848. The inauguration of the first Irish Grand National steeplechase took place here in 1870. A horse named Sir Robert Peel claimed victory for the event and received a prize worth 167 sovereigns. Today, the race fixture offers a bounty of over €250,000, the biggest cash prize in the whole of Ireland. Over the years, the Irish Grand National has accrued many curious an interesting stories. Take for instance the 1929 edition, when a horse called Alike won the race under jockey Frank Wise, who had a wooden leg and was missing three fingers. Alike’s trainer, Jim Dreaper had an amazing record at the track and achieved many triumphs including seven consecutive wins between 1960 and 1966. The most successful horse ever in the race was Brown Lad, who achieved three victories during the 1970s. From 1954-1966, top jockey, Pat Taaffe, enjoyed six Gran National wins.

In 1964, a new weighing system meant that the renowned horse Arkle was carrying two-and-a-half stones more than his competitors. However, he still claimed victory by a length.

Fairyhouse Racecourse hosts other important races throughout its racing calendar. A number of flat racing events are organised during the summer months, such as the Class 3 Brownstone Stakes. Winter events include the Bar One Hattons Grace Hurdle and January’s Grade 1 Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase. As an introduction to the Irish Grand National, two Grade 1 events were scheduled into the Easter calendar. One is called the EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Final and the other is known as the Powers Gold Cup.

The Irish Grand National has been sponsored by Ladbrokes since 2011. The event is one of the most prestigious in Irish sport and is often referred to as “the people’s race”. It attracts huge numbers of race goers from all over the UK and beyond. Visitors can pay for general admission, purchase a Punters Package, or upgrade to the Arkle Package which includes a table and a fine dining menu. Adult prices vary depending on the event chosen but children under 18 years of age can enter free of charge. There is free parking available as well as private hospitality options. The venue also hosts a Bistro, several restaurants, and numerous cafes and bars on site. In fact, there are facilities and price options to suit a wide range of pockets.

Fairyhouse Racecourse is also home to one of Ireland’s biggest Sunday Markets. There are hundreds of different stalls offering locally grown fresh produce, saddles, electrical wares, and arts and crafts, to name just a few products. In the past, Fairyhouse has also hosted an Irish Music Festival.

Published on: 20/11/2016 © Bet Bind