Racing is a sport that many people enjoy and that Ireland excels in. It also doubles as a social occasion with no equal as it affords visitors a special taste of Irish life. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned racer or just a curious soul looking to have a good time in Ireland, there is a range of races that’ll get your heart racing from the National Hunt to the Flat Horse Racing at Limerick racecourse.
Limerick Racecourse has a perfect combination of horse racing history and world-class modern course facilities that make it a go-to destination. Every year, it hosts 18 race meetings. In addition, you can choose to attend a bank holiday, an evening or a weekend race meeting. And the beauty of Limerick Racecourse is that it grants children free admission to every race meeting plus free on-site entertainment and a well-equipped playground.
Limerick Racing Tips
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With that said, let’s take a deep dive into history, courses, and race meetings at the Limerick Racecourse.
The first-ever Limerick racecourse was established in 1790. In the two centuries it has been around, it has been in 7 different venues, including Bruff, Rathkeale, Lemonfield, Ballinacurra, Newcastle, and Green Park.
Green Park has served as the racecourse venue for 130 years and was closed in 1999 following the City’s growth and expansion. This saw Limerick racecourse find a new home in its current location, Greenmount Park. It’s 6 km from the city and sits on 400 acres.
Greenmount Park’s topography was perfect for an unobstructed view of the racetrack. However, the fact that it had a 27.5m drop across it posed a major civil challenge during construction since only a 12.0m drop across 70m was needed. To meet this requirement, a lot of cut and fill was done across the ground to prepare for specialist surfaces, great drainage, infrastructure, and roads.
The developments done at the Greenmount Park racecourse have offered Limerick a chance to be one of the best horse racing facilities in Ireland. The driving force to be the best came from the fact that it was a new racecourse project in over 60 years. As such, the design team powered through the construction obstacles to achieve all possibilities that the rare opportunity presented them.
Their efforts paid off when the inaugural meeting in 2001 attracted 18,000+ people. And year after year, Limerick Racecourse becomes an even bigger deal.
This is a right-handed course measuring 1m 3f around. In the second half of the back straight, the circuit has a tiring climb followed by a descent to the closest stands.
The state of the ground largely determines the flat races at Limerick racecourse. It helps if a horse has a low draw and can keep the pace. If not, it becomes hard to catch up, especially after the top bend.
This circuit is similar to the flat race circuit but with six hurdles and fences. The horses that dare to make their move too early often get caught out on the hill in the final stretch. While the fences aren’t the hardest in the horse racing space, it’s not the easiest track since 5 of them are close to each other on the back straight.
Limerick main racing events
Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase
This is a Grade 2 meeting in the National Hunt novice chase that’s open to 4+ years old mares. It’s run over 2m 6f and is run in March. Its first run was in 2002, and in 2003 it achieved Grade 3 status. In 2014, it was elevated to Grade 2.
Dorans Pride Novice Hurdle
This is also a Grade 2 meeting in the National Hunt novice hurdle. Horses race over 3 miles and jump over 14 hurdles. It is run in December, and its debut was in 2003. The race is open to all 4+ years old horses.
Faugheen Novice Chase
This is a Grade 1 meeting in the National Hunt race. It is run over 2m 3.5f in December.
Limerick E.B.F. Mares Novice Hurdle
This is a Grade 3 meeting in the National Hunt novice hurdle race. It’s open to mares aged four and above and is run for 2 miles. The race is run yearly in March.
Fergus O’Toole Memorial Novice Hurdle
This is a race under the National Hunt novice hurdle race and is open to all horses aged four years and above. It covers a distance of 2m 5f and takes place in October.
Where to bet on Limerick Races
Online betting sites
While some people prefer local betting shops, we recommend going to online betting sites. If for nothing else, the convenience and security it offers. You can pick your phone and place a bet in seconds regardless of the time and where you are, provided you have an internet connection.
In addition, most online sites are heavily regulated and adhere to strict security protocols to keep you and your money safe. Also, unlike local betting shops, online betting sites have the added benefit of live betting, competitive betting odds, bonuses and promotions, and fast deposit and withdrawal times.
How to get to Limerick Racecourse
Limerick Racecourse is only 6 miles south of Limerick City. Travelling on the M20, it’s on the 4th exit. If you drive yourself, you’ll be pleased to note that there are 2,000 parking spaces. This is a lot, but it’s advisable to arrive early before they fill up during race days.
Alternatively, you can take a taxi from Limerick City.
Limerick Station is on Parnell Street and is only 15 minutes from Limerick Racecourse.
Shannon Airport is 15km from the racecourse.
Limerick Racecourse has come a long way despite ground challenges over the years. Today, it’s one of the famous destinations in Ireland. It has modern amenities, including facilities for people living with disabilities. It’s also easy to access it from the city by road and train.
Given the steep nature of the course, jockeys have to be cautious to maintain the right pace given the ground conditions. It may not be the hardest course to run, but it has unique challenges that make watching races a blast.