Horse & Dog Racing
Horse Racing Ireland is the commercial-semi-state body that was established in 2001 to replace the Irish Horseracing Authority. It will reside at The Curragh in County Kildare. This organization will oversee the future development of the Irish thoroughbred industry and will be responsible for directing, funding and promoting the thoroughbred horse, the operation of the Registry Office and Tote, and its racecourse division. They own a number of racecourses and all run a credit betting service, both on and off-course.
Ireland is renowned the world over for horse racing and the festivities that accompany them. The trainers and jockeys are expertly trained to get the most out of their horses. There are several reasons for Ireland's success in breeding and racing horses. The limestone-enriched pastures provide the best nutrients for the horses. The temperate climate, health and safety standards are the best in the world. None surpasses the horsemanship skills of the Irish. All of these combined make for world-class excitement at the racecourse.
The following is a list of Race Courses:
- Ballinrobe, County Mayo. This is a right-handed oval of 9 furs with a run in of 2 ½ furs, 4 hurdles and 6 fences.
- Bellestown, County Meath, This course is a sharp oval of 9 furlongs with a run of 3 furlongs and an uphill finish, 5hurdles on the circuit
- Clonmel, County Tipperary. This is a right handed oval of 1 ¼ miles with a run in of 2 ½ furlongs and an uphill finish, 6 hurdles and 7 fences.
- Cork Racecourse Mallow Limited, County Cork. This is a round right-handed, flat, level track, ten furlongs inner circuit, 12 furlongs outer circuit.
- Curragh, County Kildare. This is horseshoe shaped with a circuit of 2 miles, a run in of 3 furlongs and an uphill finish. The 5th and 6th furlongs are straight.
- Down Royal, Lisburn, County Antrim. Almost square, right handed galloping track of nearly 2 miles in circumference with a downhill run to the straight and a slight uphill finish to the post, 8 hurdles and 10 fences.
- Downpatrick, County Down. This is a right-handed oval and undulating over the 11 furlongs circuit. The short run is in 1 furlong and uphill, 5 hurdles and 7 fences.
- Fairyhouse, Ratoath, County Meath. This is a right-handed and round of 1 mile 6 ½ furlongs with a run in of almost 3 furlongs and a slight uphill finish, 8 hurdles and 11 fences.
- Galway, County Galway. This is a right-handed and almost rectangular of 1 mile 2 furlongs, sharp decent to the turn in and uphill finish of 2 furlongs, 6 hurdles and 7 fences.
- Gowan Park, County Kilkenny. This is a right-handed oval of 1 1/2m (Chase) and 1 m 3 furlongs (Flat) with run in of 3 furlongs and uphill finish, 6 hurdles and 7 fences.
- Kilbeggan, County Westmeath. This is a right-handed and round of 9 furlongs with a short uphill run in of 300 yards, 5 hurdles and 6 fences on circuit.
- Killarney, County Kerry. This is a left-handed and oval of just over 9 furlongs with a run in of 3 furlongs, all bends cambered, 5 hurdles and 6 fences.
- Laytown, County Meath. Racing takes place on Laytown strand.
- Leopardstown, Dublin. This is a left-handed round of 1 mile 6 furlongs with a run in of 2 ¾ furlongs and uphill finish, 7 hurdles and 10 fences.
- Limerick, County Limerick. This is a right-handed circuit of 1 mile 3 furlongs round and is of an undulation nature with a wide sweeping turn into straight and a run in of 2 ½ furlongs, 8 fences and 2 ditches on circuit.
- Listowel, County Kerry. This is a left-handed rectangular flat track of about 1 mile with run in of 2 furlongs, 5 hurdles and 6 fences.
- Naas, County Kildare. This is a left-handed oval of 1-½ miles with two shoots of 2 furlongs, run in of 4 furlongs with uphill finish, 6 hurdles and 8 fences on circuit.
- Navan, County Meath. This is a left-handed oval of 1 ½ miles with run in of 3 ½ furlongs and uphill finish, 7 hurdles and 8 fences.
- Punchestown, County Kildare. This is a right-handed oval of 2 miles with run in of 3 ½ furlongs, 8 hurdles and 11 fences. Also a Bank course of 3 miles.
- Roscommon, County Rosscommon. This is a right-handed oval of 1 ¼ miles with run in of 3 ½ furlongs, 6 hurdles and 6 fences.
- Sligo, County Sligo. This is a right-handed oval of 1 mile with run in of 2 furlongs and uphill finish, 4 hurdles and 5 fences.
- Thurles, County Tipperary. This is a right-handed oval of 1-¼ miles with run in of 1-¼ furlongs and uphill finish, 6 hurdles and 7 fences.
- Tipperary, County Tipperary. This is a left-handed oval of 1 ¼ miles with run in of 2 ½ furlongs, 6 hurdles and 6 fences.
- Tralee, County Kerry. This is a left-handed round of 1 mile, 2 furlongs with a run in of 2 furlongs, 5 hurdles and 7 fences.
- Tramore, County Waterford. This is a right handed, undulating oval of 8 furlongs with a descent to the turn and a 1furlong uphill finish, 4 hurdles and 5 fences.
- Wexford, County Wexford. This is a sharp right-handed rectangular track with a short run, just over a furlong, 5 fences and 4 hurdles.
So you want to go to the dogs do you? You have a choice of a variety of Greyhound Racing Tracks in Ireland. The newest reconstruction has taken place at the Greyhound Stadium in Cork, with state-of-the-art technology in luxury and betting. It is the first Greenfield development in 40 years.
The origin of the Greyhound dates back a few thousand years where pictures of similar dogs have been illustrated on walls of the tombs of Egyptian royalty. Even the ancient Arabs appreciated the speed and beauty of the graceful Greyhound. In England, royalty could only own the Greyhound for hunting or pets. In America, the Greyhound was introduced in the 1800's to help farmers control the jackrabbit population.
Greyhound tracks with starting traps and artificial lure, first built in America, were met with huge success. Shortly thereafter greyhound racing was to play a role in the sports' life of the Englishman, and then was introduced to Ireland. Today, greyhound racing has developed into an industry of sport, with support services and grand entertainment value.
Bord na gCon, the Irish Greyhound Board, is the commercial semi-state body which oversees the sport in Ireland - regulating licensing, permits, trainers, bookmakers, and implementing the rules of racing. The board oversees seventeen licensed tracks in the Republic of Ireland. Nine are privately owned. Northern Ireland has three privately owned tracks. One of the important functions of the Board is the welfare of the dogs.
Ireland is unique in the world of Greyhound Racing. Many of the owners and trainers have dogs as their family pets where individualized care is of extreme importance. Many people derive their income from this industry. Owners and trainers utilize it as a hobby. Bord na gCon monitors throughout the country, ensuring the kennels and stradia maintain the highest standards in care of the dogs.
When a young greyhound begins its racing career, it goes through a series of trials to evaluate its ability. Generally speaking, a dog reaches his peak at three years old. Categories to consider when betting on the dogs are their class, current form, early speed, trap draw, and value for the money. The racing manager will enter the dog in whatever grade he feels gives the dog the best chance.
Greyhound Racing has gained in popularity over the years. Today the traditional owner / trainer has to work along side of the 'Syndicate Owner'. Bord na gCon works in licensing trainers and selling the dogs to the syndicate.
If this is your first trip to the greyhound track, don't bet all your holiday money for one night's entertainment. Dogs, like people, sometimes have off days. A typical Greyhound Race involves six days and averages 480 meters. Usually there are eight to ten races per evening at fifteen-minute intervals. Racing surfaces usually consist of sand circuits.
Some of the Greyhound Tracks in Ireland include:
- Mullingar Greyhound Stadium, Ballinderry, County Westmeath, Racing takes place on Tuesday and Saturday at 8:00 PM.
- Shelbourne Greyhound Stadium, Dublin. Racing takes place Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8:00 PM.
- Lifford Greyhound Stadium, Lifford, County Donegal, check locally for days and time of operation.