Who attends the Punchestown Festival? The good news is whilst you don’t need to have any racing knowledge you do need to know how to enjoy yourself! Punchestown people are a pretty diverse crowd. Racing fans, fashion followers, groups of pals, corporate players, locals and those who travel from afar make up the 130,000 annual attendance.
Racing Need To Know: The five day Punchestown Festival is a pretty big deal on the sporting calendar. It is the grand finale of the jump racing season and attracts the best horses, trainers and jockeys from both sides of the Irish Sea. With a massive prize fund of over €3.2 million, 12 Grade 1 contests and a total of 36 races festival goers are guaranteed a feast of rematches, epic battles and thrilling finishes.
All about Timing: Gates open at 12 each day. Hospitality guests are expected for lunch at 1pm. All facilities including over 12 bars, four snack bars, coffee docks, food concessions and the Street Shopping are available from 12.30. First race at 3.40pm (2.30pm on Saturday), last race 7.15pm (Tues/Weds) 7.45pm (Thurs/Fri) and 6.45pm (Sat). bars close around 9.30pm.
TUESDAY 30 APRIL BOYLESPORTS CHAMPION CHASE DAY
The opening day of the festival is one for the real racing fans with three brilliant grade 1 contests featuring the Boylesports Champion Chase. Festivities get underway throughout the enclosures with live music, great food and wonderful style.
WEDNESDAY 1 MAY CORAL PUNCHESTOWN GOLD CUP
The jewel in the crown of the entire event and probably the Irish jump racing calendar. The Coral Punchestown Gold Cup takes centre stage on day two. Live music, fashion and the brilliant atmosphere spills out from bars and venues throughout the enclosures.
THURSDAY 2 MAY LADBROKES CHAMPION STAYERS HURDLE DAY
Stamina is the name of the game on day three with runners and riders lining up for the Ladbrokes centrepiece. The famous and historic La Touche cross country race never fails to deliver a thrilling finish despite the challenges of the four mile test. The original racecourse sale is hosted by Goffs in the winners enclosure after racing.
FRIDAY 3 MAY BETDAQ CHAMPION HURDLE DAY
The penultimate day of the Festival is considered by many to be the social highlight of the event. On the track current, past and potential champion hurdlers meet in the BETDAQ feature whilst the Bollinger Best Dressed Lady is unveiled on the main stage.
SATURDAY 4 MAY AES FESTIVAL FAMILY DAY
Festival Saturday is the ultimate wrap party for the Irish jump racing season. Festival goers of all ages travel from every corner of Ireland and beyond to celebrate the achievements of Irish jump racing. The racing fans of tomorrow are entertained in the Junior Jockey Club Fun Zone whilst the season champions are crowned in the winners enclosure.