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Gowran Park Racecourse

Published on: 20/11/2016

Gowran Park Racecourse is approximately eight miles east of Kilkenny, 80 miles south of Dublin and 29 miles north of Waterford. The venue is surrounded by a beautiful woodland park in the County of Kilkenny, Ireland.

The Racecourse hosts National Hunt and Flat racing on its right-handed track which covers a distance of one mile and four furlongs and features a three-furlong uphill run-in. The racing calendar at Gowran Park Racecourse comprises of 16 fixtures per annum, starting in January and ending in November. The Thyestes Handicap Chase is the highlight of the season and takes place in January.

In 2014, Gowran Park Racecourse celebrated its 100 year Anniversary. Over the years, the establishment has been home to many first-time events. In 1952, Ireland’s first ever racing commentary took place at the course. In 1966, the first Tote Jackpot was broadcast at the venue. Ireland’s first ever televised horse race was broadcast from Gowran Park. During its 100 years of jumps and flat racing, the venue has welcomed countless horses from the famous local training centres. The Thyestes Handicap Chase derives its name from a talented horse named after the Greek God, Thestes. The steeplechase event started in 1954 when Mr. John McEnery of Rossenarra Stud donated a prize trophy to the race which was won by his son on Thyestes. By 1930, Thyestes became the third-best two-year-old horse in Ireland, but sadly, just one year later he retired through injury.

The Thyestes Handicap Chase quickly became popular with many first-class jumpers such as the famous bay gelding Arkle who went on to win three Cheltenham Gold Cups in the mid-1960s. Flyingbolt was another top-class horse who raced at the event before going on to win the Irish Grand National in 1966. In later years, Hedgehunter and Numbersixvalverde both won the Aintree Grand National a year after enjoying success at the Thyestes Handicap Chase. World-class trainer Paddy Mullins and his sons operate locally and between them have schooled four winners of the Thyestes since 2000.

Over the years, Gowran Park Racecourse has introduced many other important events into its racing calendar such as the Grade 2 John Mulhern Memorial Hurdle, the Grade 2 Red Mills Trial Hurdle, the Red Mills Chase, the Listed Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes and the Grade 2 PWC Champion Chase.

Gowran Park Racecourse has been continuously providing excellent horse racing since the turn of the century. Victors, Hedgehunter and Numbersixvalverde who both won the Aintree Grand National also achieved additional success at the Thyestes Handicap Chase. World class trainer Paddy Mullins and his sons train locally and have schooled four winners of the Thyestes.

Gowran Park underwent extensive renovation works in 2003, with help from Horse Racing Ireland. The €3.5 million project included a new Grandstand and improved parade ring and stable yard. The Rooftop Restaurant boasts spectacular views over the racecourse and there are numerous bars on site, as well as a self-service area and the exclusive Helen Sheane Suite which can accommodate several hundred people. There is also the Ladbrokes Bookmakers On-Course Betting Office and Tote betting facilities.

Racecourse admission fees usually cost €15 for adults or €10 for OAPs and students. Children under 18 years of age can enter free of charge. There are several package options which include a race card, restaurant reservation, use of a private bar, Tote betting facilities plus a free ride on the shuttle bus from the centre of Kilkenny.

Published on: 20/11/2016 © Bet Bind