Fairyhouse is one of the top horse racing destinations in Ireland. It is based in County Meath, north of Dublin. The place boasts of modern facilities and has a great reputation which has helped it grow into a popular tourist destination. It attracts some of the biggest horse racing stars.
Aside from modern facilities, the Fairyhouse racecourse hosts high-end National hunt action in winter and flat meetings in summer. In addition, there are races taking place every month except August.
With that short introduction, let’s dig deep into the course’s history, layout and meetings.
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Fairyhouse racecourse history
The first race in Fairyhouse racecourse was held in 1848. Since then, the racecourse has grown tremendously. The inaugural races included the point-to-point racing under the Ward Union Hunt, initially planned to be held at Ashbourne. The last-minute switch was made because Hunt members saw great potential in the racecourse.
In 1870, Fairyhouse racecourse held its first Irish Grand National event. This was a big deal that was the start of Fairyhouse racecourse’s upward trend in popularity. Sir Robert Peel won the race, and 167 sovereigns were awarded to the connections.
Most of the notable moments on the racecourse have happened during the National Hunt. This is especially true for the 1929 Hunt, where Frank Wise won. It was a great achievement because Frank Wise had lost three fingers and rode with an artificial leg.
Later in 1999, the course underwent a great makeover. Two grandstands were made, which paved the way for the establishment of other modern facilities. Finally, in 2000, the racecourse hosted the Witness music festival for the first time and later went on to host it three more times.
The flat course has similar characteristics to the jump course. As such, it’s also best suited for gallopers. However, you should pay close attention to the draw during short races. Being on the inside can prove problematic for the hold-up horses who often get stuck on rails. In such cases, it is wise to start fast and ride prominently.
The National Hunt course is square-like and about 1.75 miles long. It’s right-handed and has a steady climb across the stand followed by a steady descent right before the uphill finish. This finish doesn’t require effort, and any horse can win coming from the back or middle of the pack. But while there’s no positional tactic needed, the horse needs to be a good jumper to conquer the stiff fences.
Fairyhouse main racing events
As mentioned, the Fairyhouse racecourse has meetings every month except for August. Below are some of the races you can catch here.
Underwriting Exchange Gold Cup
This is a National Hunt steeplechase that’s only open to horses over five years. It is run for 4,023 meters and has sixteen fences for horses to jump over. It is a Grade 1 meeting held on Easter Sunday, and that’s perfect for novice chasers.
The cup was previously under Irish Distillers sponsorship. However, since 2021, Underwriting Exchange has taken over.
Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final
This is a Grade 1 race in the National Hunt hurdle where horses jump over ten hurdles. It is open to mares over four years and above and is run for 4,023 meters. It’s ideal for novice hurdlers and takes place every year in March and April.
In 2004, it was a Grade 3 meeting, and in 2013 was upgraded to Grade 1.
Irish Grand National
This is a National Hunt Steeplechase that’s open to horses above five years. It is run over 5,834 meters and has 24 fences. It’s scheduled for every Easter Monday.
Royal Bond Novice Hurdle
This is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race that’s only open to horses above four years. It is run over 3,219 meters and has ten hurdles. It is ideal for novice hurdlers and is scheduled between later November and early December.
Hatton’s Grace Hurdle
This is yet another Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race that’s open to horses above four years. It is run over 4,023 meters and has 12 hurdles. The race takes place every year either in late November or early December.
The event was created in 1994 and got its name from Hatton Grace, a popular jockey who has won the Champion Hurdle three times.
Drinmore Novice Chase
This is a National Hunt Chase that’s open to horses above four years old. It is run over 4,023 meters and has sixteen fences. It is ideal for novice chases and is scheduled to take place between late November and early December.
This is a Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase that’s run for 5,029 meters. It has twenty fences and takes place in February.
Where to bet on Fairyhouse races
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Online betting sites
Aside from watching live races, horse racing offers a thrilling experience in betting. In the process, you can win some money too. You can either find a local bet shop from your popular betting company or do it online to place your bets. Of the two, online betting is best for the following reasons.
- Convenience – you can place your bets from anywhere in the world and at any time before the race starts
- Better odds – unlike traditional betting shops, online betting sites have fewer overheads. As such, they need smaller betting margins to remain profitable. This allows you to enjoy great odds and offers all year round.
- Sign-up bonuses – online betting sites are the recent craze of the betting world. Many techpreneurs are setting up these sites and competing for the same market. To get a slice of the cake, they all have to sweeten their deals. In the process, they offer new sign-up offers, and great welcome bonuses that can potentially turn into loads of cash.
How to get to Fairyhouse racecourse
You can take the 105 Bus Eireann Bus to the racecourse.
You can get a taxi online from Dublin to the racecourse.
From Dublin, take the N3 to Navan, pass Blanchardstown shopping centre on the left, proceed 6 miles to M3, and then take EXIT 5 for Fairyhouse. From here, follow the signs to the Fairyhouse racecourse.
If you love watching and betting on horse races, then you should try Fairyhouse racecourse. You can be sure to catch a thrilling race any time of the year except for August. Even better, if you decide to get there physically, you will have an easy time accessing the racecourse from different directions.