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Media Release, Monday 8th April 2024:  With just three weeks to go and 100,000 people expected to attend, Punchestown Racecourse today reminded festival goers of exciting plans and enhancements for the upcoming 2024 Punchestown Festival running from Tuesday 30th April to Saturday 4th May.

 

The five day social and sporting highlight is a homecoming celebration of Irish jump racing, sport and culture. With a prize fund of over €3.4 million, twelve top tier grade one contests, season champions like Galopin Des Champs and household names including Willie Mullins, Rachael Blackmore and Paul Townend in action. Beyond the parade ring and into the enclosures the Punchestown Festival is Ireland’s largest sporting corporate hospitality event and will host over 17,000 guests across an impressive array of restaurants, pavilions and suites. The competition on track will be hard fought whilst the style stakes in the prestigious Bollinger Best Dressed, live music, street theatre and Shopping Village appeals to the social element of the attendees.

 

The Four Key Changes for Punchestown Festival 2024:

 

1.Earlier Start Times

The first two days of the 2024 Punchestown Festival will revert to a 2.30pm start from the current time of 3.40pm. Market research shows that around 70% of paying clients would ‘definitely or most probably’ like to see some of the festival days start and finish earlier.

 

 2.Ticket Products and Pricing

Whether it’s a business or a household value for money is particularly important now more than ever. Following a full review of ticket pricing and products there will be a price reduction to €30 for the first three days and €40 for Friday and Saturday of the 2024 Punchestown Festival for advance purchased tickets. There will be an additional €5 per ticket charge for on the day purchases excluding senior, student and family day concession tickets that can only be purchased on the day. As a premium sport and leisure event these prices compare very favourably to similar occasions.

As always group discounts apply and for larger groups it is recommended that they contact the racecourse office directly in advance. The original Flexi ticket will be replaced by the new Choice Ticket that can be used Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. Senior, student and Family ticket concessions continue on a walk-up basis. All children under 14 years of age race for free all season.

 

3.Refreshed Festival Layout

The festival layout will undergo a refresh including the removal of the traditional reserved enclosure divide and the introduction of exciting new features around the parade ring enclosure. The famous Sky Bar, Bollinger Garden, Shopping and entertainment areas will remain as popular as ever with the Southern Enclosure accessible to all. The objective is to optimise the scope of the enclosures, utilise all available facilities which in turn will improve footfall, flow and reduce potential pressure points.

 

4. Enhance & Improve Raceday Experience

This point is neither new nor dynamic as the pursuit of excellent customer experience is an ongoing process. The enhancement of the race day visit will go hand-in-hand with the new layout. The Punchestown demographic is a diverse one with varied tastes and requirements for a memorable customer experience. Alongside our catering and service partners, we aim to deliver a selection of great quality food and beverage options with efficient, friendly service in comfortable surroundings. Whilst costs have increased across the board for product and services every effort has been made to minimise the impact on the customer.

 

Conor O’Neill Punchestown CEO explained the theory behind the strategy: “We say it time and time again that people make Punchestown, so it is those very people who have shaped and informed this plan and it is this plan that will help us deliver the best possible Punchestown experience we can to our customers who are the backbone of our business. Now we need support with feet on the ground and people through the gates. If it doesn’t work for the customer it ultimately won’t work for Punchestown, so I hope we’ve got the balance right as we look ahead to welcoming friends old and new to the 2024 upcoming Punchestown Festival.”

 

The 2024 Punchestown Festival will take place from Tuesday 30th April to Saturday 4th May. For full information please visit www.punchestown.com

*ENDS*

Editors Notes

Punchestown Festival 2024 Advance Ticket Prices

The QuinnBet Grand National Trial Increases to €100,000 with Listed Status

 

Thursday 1st February 2024: Punchestown Racecourse and QuinnBet are pleased to announce that the QuinnBet Grand National Trial will carry a new six figure increased prize fund of €100,000 as the race is promoted to listed status.

The three and a half mile stamina test will be the feature at the home of Irish jump racing on Sunday 18th February. The listed €100,000 QuinnBet Grand National Trial is one of the centre pieces of QuinnBet’s national hunt sponsorship strategy in Ireland and the 2024 running is the second in a three-year deal.

The newly listed contest is, as the name suggests, an ideal fact-finding mission ahead of both the Irish and Grand Nationals. Recent years have proven happy hunting ground for the Gigginstown House Stud and Gordon Elliott team. In 2023 Coco Beach led home a maroon one, two, three with 2022 winner Death Duty in the runner spot followed by stablemate Defi Bleu. The QuinnBet Grand National Trial is firmly established as one of the highlight handicap chases on the Irish calendar  with former winners such as the Peter Fahey trained, The Big Dog, progressing on to win both the Munster National and Troytown Chase. Since launching in August of 2017, QuinnBet have grown rapidly in the Irish and UK iGaming sector, providing hugely competitive odds across horse racing and other major sports.

Looking forward to the upcoming QuinnBet Grand National Trial, Niall McPartland, QuinnBet Head of Sponsorship & Commercial said: “QuinnBet is delighted to renew the sponsorship of the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Punchestown in 2024 and beyond! This is our second consecutive year to sponsor this race and we are very proud to continue our association with the home of Irish jumps and our sponsorship of Irish racing. The Grand National Trial is considered a key stepping-stone for Irish and UK Grand National contenders. The impressive prize pot of €100,000 will attract a strong field for the 2024 QuinnBet Grand National and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank HRI for their support of the race and Punchestown sponsorship manager Leona Hughes and the team for their assistance in ensuring the success of showcasing our brand at this iconic venue”.

Leona Hughes, Punchestown Sponsorship Manager “It has been a pleasure to work alongside the QuinnBet team across this three-year deal. We are always aiming to improve and progress so the increased prize fund and promotion to listed category is great news and will go a long way to further enhance what is a feature handicap race on the Irish calendar. We had a lovely crowd here for the 2023 renewal so hope to welcome the same again for an afternoon of quality racing with plenty of chase races on offer”.

The QuinnBet Grand National Trial takes place on Sunday 18th February 2024 and is the feature on a high quality seven race card. In addition to the feature, there will be listed and novice chase action along with the highly-anticipated return of the Up The Yard Stable Staff Challenge. The enclosures, restaurants and bars will be buzzing with Race & Dine clients, music, children’s entertainment and more.

Advance ticket prices from just €15. First race 1.35pm (subject to minor change). Visit www.punchestown.com for further information, hospitality and ticket options. For more information

ENDS

About QuinnBet

Founded in 2017, QuinnBet is a rapidly growing brand in the iGaming sector, providing a hugely popular, licensed online sports betting and casino platform in the UK and Ireland. Visit their website for more info www.quinnbet.com

For Further information please contact:

Manuela Bologheanu, QuinnBet head of Brand and PR, Manuela.bologheanu@quinnbet.com

 

 

We are delighted to introduce a new initiative at Punchestown called The Full Circle Series. In an age of super yards and fierce competition, this series provides an great opportunity for the horses in the competitive 1 – 130 category and their respective connections to compete for a big prize at a feature festival.

Aimed at two and a half mile handicap hurdlers rated in the region of 130, the series will consist of ten qualifiers, five UK and five in Ireland.  The qualifiers will be held between December 2023 and March 2024 before coming Full Circle back to the grand final on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival, Tuesday 30th April 2024.  The first six horses to finish in each leg will qualify for the grand finale with a prize pot of €60,000.

Richie Galway, Punchestown Racing Manager outlines the thinking behind the Full Circle Series: “There are two main objectives for this new series. Firstly we acknowledge just how high the standard of racing is in Ireland at the moment. Hopefully this series will give the smaller trainer and owners an opportunity to compete for a huge pot on a feature day on the calendar.” Galway continued: “Another key reason is to reinvigorate the essential involvement of UK trained and owned horses at Punchestown. We have been fortunate enough through the years to have amazing support from throughout the UK so we have qualifiers across all regions. This is an extraordinary opportunity for a horses at a certain level”.

 

THE FULL CIRCLE QUALIFIERS

 

FULL CIRCLE SERIES DETAILS

The Full Circle is a 10 race series that will take place across the UK & Ireland with the final being held at the 2024 Punchestown Festival.

Each qualifier will be a hurdle race over a distance of between 2 miles 2 furlongs and 2 miles 6 furlongs for horses within the (0-130) rating band.

The first six horses home in each qualifier will be eligible to enter the grande finale.

The Full Circle series final will be run over 2 miles 4 furlongs at the 2024 Punchestown Festival.

Five Full Circle qualifiers will be hosted at specially selected tracks in the UK with the remaining five taking place at Irish courses.

The qualifier races in the series will take place from December 2023 to March 2024.

This series begins (launch) and ends (finale) in Punchestown. It travels The Full Circle.

 

For further information please contact the Richie and Sean on racing@punchestown.com or call +353 45 897704

IT’S SUMMER IN TOWN TIME

When – Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June 2023

What – A fun and relaxed weekend of racing with live music, BBQ, childrens entertainment, sports coverage and shuttle bus into Naas after racing.

First race – 2.30 Saturday and 2.15 Sunday (if there is an additional race racing may commence half an hour earlier. This will be confirmed at 48 hours before the race day)

Tickets – Buy in advance to save €5 per person and get a free racecard on the day – €15. On the day tickets – €20. Family deal on the day is €25 for two adults and ‘smallies’.

Food Options – BBQ Box and The Feedroom Cafe will be open both days with a selection of hot and cold dishes, barista coffee, delicious bakes and snacks.

Beverages – The Loft Bar, Madigans Bar and Pop Up Bars will be serving throughout the day. ID may be requested.

Elevate Your Weekend – The famous Race & Dine package with delicious four course lunch overlooking the track is the ultimate treat for just €89pp. The Punchestown Private Collection offers a variety of exclusive suites with various dining options for your special occasion.

 

 

Punchestown racecourse invites you to join the end of season celebration with a two day mini-festival taking place on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June.

The Summer in Town meeting will have a relaxed, laid back festival vibe with special entertainment planned for each day. On Saturday 10th June there will be live music, buzzing bar scene, full sports coverage on big screens and of course great racing. All activities will be centered around the parade ring, horse walk and champions garden with delicious BBQ meal deals prepared and served by Lily and Wild. Younger racegoers will love the free fun zone in The Playroom with games, activities and face painting. The famous Punchestown Race & Dine packages are proving as popular as ever with The Watchhouse restaurant nearing full capacity and suites busy with special occasion celebrations. For customer’s convenience a Naas shuttle bus service will be in operation after racing for just €5 per person.

Day two of the Summer In Town meeting will see the focus shift to families and community. In addition to an afternoon of  great racing action there will be children’s entertainment, games, face painting, bunting and picnic benches, The Ptown Ice Cream Van, The Playroom and up-close access to horses and jockeys. Early in the day Fit Club @ Punchestown takes place with €2,000 cash on offer in the inter club fitness fundraising challenge.

Punchestown supporters and festival goers will be interested to visit the exhibition of photos that have been chosen as finalists of the Punchestown – More than Horses photography competition. This initiative was run in association with Bermingham Cameras during the 2023 Punchestown Festival. Photography students, enthusiasts and club members were invited ‘to attempt to capture Punchestown in a photo where the subject is not necessarily the horse but more about the people, place and occasion”. Over fifty photographers took part throughout the event and the overall winner will be selected on Sunday 11th June.

Looking ahead to the Summer In Town mini-festival Punchestown CEO Conor O’Neill said “There is a real end of school term feel about the Summer in Town mini-festival. Punchestown mirrors the school year. We kick off in September, have a few big tests through the winter and then the business end of the season is the festival followed by a relaxing and enjoyable end of season party before the summer holidays. A lovely summers weekend at Punchestown would be a wonderful way to thank everyone for their support during the season and we really do look forward to seeing friends old and new on June 10th and 11th”.

Following the Summer In Town fixture, the home of Irish jump racing then takes the traditional break until mid-September when racing returns with a flat meeting before getting back to business in mid October for the jump season proper.

 

 

 

 

An  additional fixture has been announced  for Punchestown on Tuesday, May 23

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has announced there will be an additional meeting at Punchestown on Tuesday afternoon, May 23. This meeting is one of the three floating fixtures that were kept in reserve when the 2023 fixture list was published in order to meet the demands of the horse population at specific times of the year.

This meeting will close for entries by 12 noon on Thursday May 18 with declarations to run to be made by 10am on Sunday May 21.

The race programme details for this meeting will be published in due course and the time of the first race will be at 1.45pm.

Advance bookings save €5. €15 admission on the day.

 

Punchestown Returns with The Homecoming Festival

**Download Festival Fact Sheet**

Media Release : They’re coming home! The winners, the heroes and the champions return to the home of Irish jump racing for the grand finale of the season as the 2023 Punchestown Festival returns from Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th April.

Organisers anticipate an attendance of 110,000 people across the five-day event that attracts visitors from throughout Ireland, the UK and further afield. The main attraction is the prestigious top-class racing that showcases the very best of Irish racing talent including Rachael Blackmore, Willie Mullins , Henry de Bromhead and Paul Townend. Visiting trainers from the UK are an integral feature of the festival with regulars such as Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and new comer Olly Murphy sending horses across. A fully subscribed sponsorship portfolio of 50 event partners delivers an impressive prize fund of over €3.3 million on offer across forty races including twelve grade one contests. The entries for the flagship races are now closed and feature equine superstars including major festival players Galopin Des Champs, Energumene, Bravemansgame and Envoi Allen.

People make Punchestown and key to all great celebrations is the combination of guest list, live entertainment, delicious food, amazing style and this is where the Punchestown Festival delivers in spades. Over 17,000 hospitality clients from 795 companies, 158 of which are UK based, will enjoy delicious seasonal menus prepared and served by 60 chefs, 420 catering staff and 280 bar staff. Catering for this number means large scale and three tonnes of fresh vegetables, over 60 kilos of artisan cheeses and 15,000 portions of petit four desserts and canapes will be enjoyed over the five days. Throughout the pavilions, bars and enclosures the atmosphere builds with live music, street theatre and DJ sets running alongside shopping village and full entertainment programme.

The Bollinger Best Dressed competition is one of Ireland’s most prestigious style contests in the country with finalists chosen across the first four days progressing to the final on ladies day, Friday 28th April. Open to all, the fresh take on race day style encourages racegoers of all ages to be creative, sustainable and brave in a bid to win the ‘money can’t buy’ prize to Paris and The Bollinger Chateuax in Champagne region. An all-star cast featuring some of Ireland’s most popular style names make up The Style Council who will select the winners.

As one of Ireland’s largest events the Punchestown Festival is big business bringing a massive boost to the local economy with over €25 million generated through tourism, leisure and associated spends. However, the event also plays a significant community roll working alongside local GAA clubs and charities to generate funds through volunteer schemes and fundraising initiatives. The Punchestown Kidney Research Charity race, now in its 32 year, has raised close to €2 million and is joined this year by charities Barretstown, Samaritans, Cara Girls Project and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.

Punchestown CEO Conor O’Neill looked ahead to the event: “The Punchestown Festival is a combination of so many moving parts. A showcase of Irish sporting excellence, one of the largest corporate events in the country, a huge social occasion, an essential fundraiser and a gathering of 100,000 people of all ages, urban and rural who will share in a memorable experience. People make Punchestown and we look forward to welcoming friends old and new to the home of Irish racing for the last week of April”.

 

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Shona Dreaper, Punchestown Racecourse

Contact: 045 897704 or sdreaper@punchestown.com

 

No-repro Fee images – https://we.tl/t-RJBYK6NqvW

Social Media Assets – https://we.tl/t-62fmsDzTh0

 

Event Notes:

The 2022 Punchestown Festival takes place from Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th April.

Tickets from €35pp are available at www.punchestown.com Pre-booking is advised.

Discount group deals are available online.

Concession senior and student tickets are only available to purchase on the day.

Contactless payment available throughout the venue. Cash accepted but visitors are advised to collect cash in advance of their arrival to avoid queues.

 

 

 

Energumene will have five rivals in the William Hill Champion Chase as he bids for a second consecutive Cheltenham-Punchestown double following declarations for Tuesday’s opening leg of the five-day Punchestown Festival, which boasts prize money of €3.3m throughout the week. Tony Bloom’s brilliant two-mile chaser would be winning at the festival for the third year in a row were he to prevail but his trainer, Willie Mullins has certainly not spared him in terms of opposition.

The soon-to-be 17-time champion trainer also saddles open Grade 1 winners Blue Lord, Gentleman De Mee and Chacun Pour Soi, the latter announcing himself as a force at the festival in 2019 when galloping to victory in the Barberstown Castle Novice Chase, which was won two years later by Blue Lord. That season, Chacun Pour Soi added the William Hill Champion Chase to his record and he finished runner-up last term to Energumene. Gentleman De Mee missed out on Cheltenham and will be the freshest of the quartet as a result and while Mullins admitted in his Punchestown preview this week that it would be hard to see Energumene beaten on his favourite soft ground, Gentleman De Mee’s seven-length defeat of Blue Lord in the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown in February illustrated his ability on a sounder surface. He is the likely pace angle in the race.

Henry de Bromhead’d Magic Daze is also likely to be prominent and travelling exertions excepted, should be relatively fresh too having been left at the start in the Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham. She had been an impressive winner of a listed mares’ chase at Naas before that. The declaration of Rebel Gold is an interesting one and trainer Pat Foley admits that he is chasing some prize money with a progressive horses who he expects to see the best of next season. Foley has enjoyed a tremendous campaign, scoring at a strike rate of 19 per cent and Rebel Gold has been his flagbearer, winning the Dan & Joan Moore at Fairyhouse before securing the Grade 3 Newlands Chase at Naas with Denis O’Regan in the plate on each occasion.
The Aughabeg trainer learned his craft by the side of his late father, Tom and enjoyed some wonderful occasions at Punchestown, a track where the People’s Champion, Danoli scored three times. He cuts a realistic approach to his current star’s prospects.

“The original plan was to go to Fairyhouse for the Grade 2 but we just got a bit of a setback,” said Foley today. “After he won in Naas, Denis said it’d be no harm to give him an entry in some of the good races as they can cut up a little bit. So maybe it’s all for luck. “He had a slight muscle strain so we didn’t want to take the chance on it in Fairyhouse but we’re quite happy with the horse now and we’ll let him take his chance. The most realistic goal is probably to finish fourth but even if he finishes sixth of the six, you’re picking up prize money and on ratings, we are the lowest rated horse in it. If he’d had a proper clear run, I’d be going there hoping to beat one or two of them but we’re not going to be in any way disappointed wherever he finishes.
“We’re really looking forward to next season with him. He definitely improved this season. He’s a big, backward horse. It was my own mistake last year, trying to step him up in trip and make him a stayer, where he’s really an out-and-out two-miler. We’ll be keeping him at that trip and in graded races.

“I remember Danoli going to Punchestown and it’s been a lucky track even for myself since I started. The horses have been doing well there. It’s lovely to be going there, even if it may be a step too far for him this time, but it won’t do any harm to let people see you have a horse good enough to compete in some of these races. If he puts in a decent run we’ll all be very, very happy.”
The KPMG Champion Novice Hurdle is the first of the festival’s 12 Grade 1s and five horses have been declared, with Supreme Novices’ Hurdle second and third, Facile Vega and Diverge, as well as Dublin Racing Festival Grade 1 winner Il Etait Temps representing Willie Mullins, while local trainer Oliver McKiernan saddles No Looking Back. Gordon Elliott’s Found A Fifty completes the field, with the fit-again Jordan Gainford getting the leg up. “Things just didn’t work out for Found A Fifty at Aintree,” said Elliott earlier this week. “He’s a very talented animal and we didn’t see the best of him there and he’s one to be very excited about for the coming seasons.”

There are six contestants for the Grade 1 Dooley Insurance Champion Novice Chase, which sees Willie Mullins stepping Appreciate It up to three miles for the first time since winning a point-to-point when in Pat Doyle’s care five years ago. Derek O’Connor rode Appreciate It that day and he was also in the saddle when the then Ellmarie Holden-trained Sir Gerhard scored through the flags but Mullins decided to give him a try at three miles for the first time under Rules as well, to see if he can rediscover his hurdle form over the larger obstacles. James Du Berlais and Classic Getaway complete the Mullins squad. Emmet Mullins has an intriguing runner in Feronily, who has been campaigned aggressively all season, despite only winning his point-to-point – again under Derek O’Connor – last November. Since then, the Paul Byrne-owned six-year-old has been third in a Grade 2 bumper, made his hurdling debut when fourth in a Grade 2 hurdle and then finished runner-up on his chasing debut at Grade 3 level a fortnight ago. Journey With Me also has a chance for the in-form Henry de Bromhead yard, coming into the race off a good Grade 3 victory in Naas having previously been just touched off by subsequent Cheltenham victor Impervious at Punchestown.

The 2023 Punchestown Kidney Research Fund Rider Line Up

The 32nd running of the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund Charity Race takes place at 6.40 pm on Saturday 29th April at the Punchestown Festival. To date, this race has raised over €1.7 million for kidney projects.

From an initial 71 applicants the final list of 25 lucky Jockeys for the “Have the conversation – Say YES to Organ Donation” PKRF Charity Race was released today. The 25th and final Jockey to make the cut was Hannah Smullen – and she is sure to draw a huge following. Hannah is the daughter of the late Pat Smullen and will appropriately ride for the Dermot Weld stable. The 20-year-old from county Offaly is studying Law at Trinity College  and said she was so excited about having her first race at the Punchestown Festival.

The 2023 Punchestown Kidney Research Fund Rider Line Up

In no particular order:

  1. MARGARET KILROY – Representing county Westmeath. Director of sales at Nordics UK and IRE.
  2. DEAN RYAN – High performance coach. Took part in Corinthian Challenge.
  3. RAYMOND LOFTUS – Rides out in Gordon Elliotts mad keen to have his first ride on racecourse and has a huge gang of supporters coming to watch.
  4. EDDIE TOBIN – Carlow’s Eddie Tobin ensures Jessica Harrington’s record of having a runner in the “Kidney” Race every year since Jessy rode Banker’s Benefit for John Fowler in the first running of this Charity Race back in 1990..
  5. TRIONA BURBAGE – County Laois part of the Jarlath Fahy racing team. Always involved in horses. A dream come true to ride at Punchestown
  6. KEITH HEDDERMAN – Keith Hedderman complete the Kildare quota and the latter has won Senior County Football championship medals with Moorefield and is from the well- known Newbridge Meats, which is a local family business.
  7. KAITE MCMANMON – works in the RACE academy and has access to some top training skills!
  8. ALFONSO VIDAL – representing Brazil! Works for trainer Oliver McKiernan. Won rally cross motor races in his native Brazil.
  9. PAUL DEMPSEY – Three day event rider, took part in 2016 and has been training in Gavin Cromwells.
  10. EIMEAR SMULLEN – Kilcullen local and one of two sisters taking part has been riding out in Denis Cullen’s yard.
  11. SINEAD SMULLEN – hair stylist to the stars, well Kildare ones at least! Trains with Denis Cullen
  12. JOHN MOLLOY – Runs the busy Molloy & Sherry Transport company but is really excited about being a jockey for a day
  13. FIONA AHERN – From the sunny south east in County Wexford and looking forward to the experience.
  14. JAMIE KAVANAGH – Another from the point to point stronghold county of Wexford.
  15. CIAN FENELON – Wicklow man. Was at Ptown in 2022 washed out of it didn’t affect him as he blown away by charity race and applied the day after. Studying law and criminology
  16. KATE MACKLIN – flying in from Italy to take part.
  17. PAUL BELL – Kilcullen local and Double Championship winning GAA football star Paul Bell who is back after enjoying the experience in 2022 with huge help from Gordon Elliott.
  18. RONAN WILSON – represents Wicklow and his own well known food business Dun Luain Foods
  19. AOIFE MARTHA KIERNAN – County Meath trained as a nurse, rides out in Noel Meades. Inspired by patients she met in Tallaght Hospital
  20. MICHAEL PURCELL –  Aunctioneer from Dublin rides out in Durkans. Doing it for a best friend Karl who is on the list for a transplant.
  21. ELAINE BROWNE – Galway woman. Agri Consultant. Ran half and full marathons and 70 k iron woman in denmark. Fittness shouldnt be a problem.
  22. MAURICE MCCARTHY – From Fylde in Lancs UK. Rode in 2016.Previous winner of Newmarket Town Plate. Family and friends travelling from UK To support.
  23. KILLIAN RYAN – Thurles man. 23 year old accounts manager CS Pharma. Making his racecourse debut.
  24. JOY BENNETT –  From Malahide in Dublin. Daughter of Dave Bennett who received a kidney transplant a year ago to the day of the charity race.
  25. HANNAH SMULLEN – 20 year old student from county offaly is studying in Trinity college. Hannah is the daughter of former trainer and amateur jockey Frances Smullen and the much loved and missed Pat Smullen.

Ultimately the message from James Nolan, Chairman of The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund is to please have the conversation about Organ Donation with your family and loved ones.

Please don’t take your Organs to Heaven – as Heaven knows we need them here on Earth……

For more information please contact James Nolan at 086/2349919 or visit www.pkrf.ie

O’Brien aiming for slice of the action with bargain buy in €75,000 Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final

After claiming significant prize money through the qualifiers, Terence O’Brien is aiming to add a “cherry on top” by targeting a tilt at the €75,000 Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final, which takes place on Wednesday, April 26th, the second day of the prestigious Punchestown Festival.

The Carrigtwohill trainer has been a regular participant since the series’ inauguration and his Ik’s Man is among 19 potential contenders for the final on Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup day. A €9,000 purchase at Tattersalls Ireland’s June Derby Sale in 2019, the Walk In The Park seven-year-old has been a good money-spinner for connections by being second in a couple of the qualifiers and making that initial outlay of €9,000 back from his three outings in qualifiers to date.

“The series is a great opportunity for horses that were bought at the sales under the €30,000 or €45,000 mark,” declares O’Brien. “It gives us a chance to be competitive in maiden hurdles all year. The final is another cherry on top if you can qualify for it, to give owners an opportunity to land at the festival on a big day. “We’ve won a few of the races before and were placed a good few times. The prize money is very good and it’s a brilliant series for the small trainer to be honest with you. “Ik’s Man has had three runs in the series and been placed in a couple. We’ll head to Punchestown. We’ve a good few owners involved in him and I’m sure they’ll all be delighted for a day out. If he just improves another little bit, he’ll hopefully be in the shake-up again.”
Now in its fifth year, the series was designed to create opportunities for horses bought for €45,000/€30,000 or less at store sales in Ireland and the UK, thereby giving owners and trainers an opportunity to claim some of the €395,000 in prize money on offer throughout the series.

To enter the €75,000 final at the Punchestown Festival, EBF eligible horses must have run in one of the 16 qualifiers and have not won a graded or listed race.
Paul Nolan’s Sandor Clegane is the highest-rated acceptor, having achieved a mark of 141 following a number of consistent runs, following up his Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle victory at Punchestown in November with two placed efforts at Grade 1 level, most recently when just a length and a quarter shy of Albert Bartlett victor Stay Away Fay at Cheltenham.
Peter Fahey, who certainly has the Midas touch having won the last two renewals with Surprise Package and Ambitious Fellow, is represented by Rocco Bay, triumphant in the Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle at Limerick last May. He was last seen in behind Hands Of Gold in a Naas qualifier and the promising Arthur Moore-trained five-year-old is another possible runner.

Dual winner Senior Chief is an interesting entry for Henry de Bromhead, while the Noel Meade-trained Nucky Johnson is a course victor who would be competitive if lining up. It is a field that speaks to the enduring quality of a series that has consistently produced top-grade alumni.
Three Card Brag certainly fits into that category. The son of Jet Away actually had Sandor Clegane and Nucky Johnson in second and third when scoring in a red-hot Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle at Galway last October.

He has been highly tried by Gordon Elliott since then, finishing placed in two graded events before getting back on the mark in Fairyhouse. His most recent run was in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle, where he finished fifth, four and a half lengths behind Sandor Clegane. Elliott understands the value the series, with recent Irish Grand National runner-up Gevrey among its graduates.
“The Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series is a definite option for Three Card Brag,” said Elliott. “The only thing is maybe on better ground he might prefer to go a bit further than two and a half miles but it’s a great pot and a great initiative and I love to support it wherever I can. “It would be nice to win the final at some point. I haven’t done so yet but we’ve had some nice horses come through the series like Gevrey, who was third in the final a few years ago and he was second in the Irish National a couple of weeks ago so it’s a great series.”

Nessa Joyce, Irish EBF Manager, said: “The Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Series has gone from strength to strength in a short period of time, thanks to the support of the many trainers and owners who make it a key target each year. This season 70 different trainers campaigned 119 EBF eligible store-bought horses in 16 qualifying races, with an average auction price of just over €14,000, so there is great anticipation to see who will win the €75,000 final next week. The Irish EBF board would like to thank all the connections for supporting the series and special thanks goes to our sponsorship partners Connolly’s RED MILLS for their continuing generous support.”

Gareth Connolly, CEO Connolly’s RED MILLS, added: “We are proud to sponsor the RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Series for the fifth season and are looking forward to the €75,000 Final at Punchestown next week. This series has provided a platform for horses in the that middle segment of the market to compete for good prize money, with each of the qualifying races worth €20,000, thus supporting the owners and trainer who take part in the series. “The series has contributed greatly to the stimulation of the middle market, and the stats show how it has promoted healthy competition, fostering growth within the industry. As a company dedicated to the wellbeing and nutrition of horses, we recognise the importance of investing in events like this and to promote the industry that supports our business all year round. We want to thank the team at the Irish EBF and Punchestown for being such great partners and thank also all the trainers and owners who have run horses in the series since it was launched in 2019.”

For Further Information:

Jane Davis, Head of Equine Marketing, Connolly’s RED MILLS
Goresbridge, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny
M: +353 86 3490681, E: jane.davis@redmills.ie  Twitter: @REDMILLShorse

Last Thursday riders from the 32nd PKRF Charity Race, that will take place on Saturday 29th April,  were invited to Tallaght Hospital where they were met by Dr. Catherine Wall, Renal Physician.

The group visited the Heamo Dialysis Unit and had the opportunity to chat with some of the patients there. They got to see and hear about life on dialysis and the restrictions and limitations that go with that. This first hand experience was an amazing insight to how their fundraising efforts are making a huge difference.

James Nolan, Chairman, Punchestown Kidney Research Fund spoke about his own experience on dialysis, receiving the Gift of Life from his sister Catherine and on to riding in the PKRF Charity race at Punchestown. Here is a brief summary of what PKRF Charity Race organiser James Nolan and his team have managed to achieve in the past 18 months:

  1. Continued research into Polycystic Kidney Disease in partnership with the Irish Nephrology Society under the guidance of The Irish Research Council.
    2. Support Art Therapy programs for Dialysis Patients in Tallaght & Waterford Dialysis Units.
    3. Support Sports Program for Dialysis & Transplant Patients.
    4. Organised trips to Lourdes for Dialysis patients.

In 2022, the PKRF partnered with the Irish Kidney Association to set up a Pilot Peer Support Programme to help kidney patients and their families. This support network is for patients and their families who are starting out on the road to dialysis or looking at the possibility of a life-saving kidney transplant. This support network enables people to reach out and connect with a trained volunteer to discuss their concerns about dialysis and transplantation.

Last year also saw the PKRF commence the James Tracy/PKRF Beam exercise & well-being programme for all kidney patients in Ireland.  Typically physical activity levels for kidney patients can be low with high levels of sedentary behaviour. The James Tracy/PKRF program enables kidney patients to access online, live and on-demand exercise classes. These classes can help improve the physical and emotional well-being of kidney patients as well as providing access to educational health videos and renal dietary advice which is so important for kidney patients.

The James Tracy/PKRF programme is suitable for patients at all stages of kidney disease including pre-dialysis, dialysis as well as transplant and is free for all kidney patients to use. We know this program will have an immediate positive effect of the lives of all kidney patients.

Ultimately the message from James Nolan, Chairman of The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund is to please have the conversation about Organ Donation with your family and loved ones.

See you at Punchestown. For further information please visit www.pkrf.ie

Follow on Instagram – @punchestownpkrf