Down Royal makes festival comeback

Down Royal has announced its intention to host its two-day Festival of Racing at pre-Covid capacity levels, a first for Irish racecourses.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 11:00 am
Pictured, left to right, is Emma Meehan, chief executive of Down Royal Racecourse and Nicola McGeady, head of PR at Ladbrokes
Pictured, left to right, is Emma Meehan, chief executive of Down Royal Racecourse and Nicola McGeady, head of PR at Ladbrokes

With Ladbrokes as the lead sponsor, the famous two-day Festival is the highlight of the racing calendar at Down Royal and marks the official start of the National Hunt season.

The festival has an exceptional role of honour including great chasers such as Kauto Star, Beef or Salmon, The Listener, Looks Like Trouble, Florida Pearl and Don Cossack.

Friday 29th October will see the richest hurdle race in Northern Ireland take place – The WKD Hurdle – while the Ladbrokes Grade 1 Champion Chase will run on Saturday 30th. A prize pot of €125,000 ensures that the Ladbrokes Champion Chase entices the cream of runners and riders.

Emma Meehan, chief executive of Down Royal Racecourse, said: “We are delighted to be bringing our much-loved Festival of Racing back to the level it has previously enjoyed and are thrilled to have Ladbrokes on board once again as our lead sponsor.

“The most prestigious of our race meetings, the Ladbrokes Festival will see us welcome back a bigger crowd following relaxation of Covid restrictions. On the day, punters should bring the relevant proof of double vaccination, or of a negative antigen test result to ensure they gain entry to the complex.”

Nicola McGeady, Ladbrokes head of PR, said: “Ladbrokes has a long and proud association with top-class horse racing and we are thrilled to be back at Down Royal. After a tough year for everyone we are looking forward to seeing a bigger crowd once more, along with what promises to be a weekend of top-class racing.”

Friday 29th October will see the richest hurdle race in Northern Ireland take place – The WKD Hurdle, with a prize fund of €60,000. The Grade 2 Hurdle has attracted a wealth of talent to Down Royal Racecourse over the years including AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh, Davy Russell and Sean Flanagan, with last year’s race won by Rachael Blackmore riding the Ian Jardine trained Bedrock.

Brendan Loughran, head of business unit Ireland, SHS Drinks, which owns the WKD brand, said: “WKD is delighted to be continuing its long and proud association with horse racing at Down Royal. The Festival of Racing is a highlight in the racing and social calendar and we’re thrilled that WKD is once again sponsoring the Grade 2 Hurdle.”

For full details on the Festival of Racing or to book tickets please visit www.downroyal.com.