AQUATABS INLINE PARTNER WITH PUNCHESTOWN IN RACECOURSE FIRST
World’s leading water purification system becomes official water partner at the home of Irish jumps racing
MEDIA RELEASE TUESDAY 7TH FEBRUARY 2023 – Aquatabs InLine, the world’s leading water purification system, is delighted to become the official water partner at Punchestown Racecourse following the installation of its closed-water system throughout the main and visiting stable yards in January this year.
To launch this unique partnership Aquatabs InLine will sponsor the famous P.P. Hogan Cross Country chase at the Grand National Trial Day on Sunday 19 February.
Punchestown Racecourse is the first track in Ireland to install Aquatabs’ InLine water system in the stable yards. The simple-to-install, low-cost, water purification system cleans a minimum of 360,000 litres of water and is the ideal solution for large race yards and race tracks.
Brought to the market by Kildare-based, equine solutions company, ARKequine, Aquatabs® is synonymous with supplying clean water around the world. Owned by Irish company Medentech, Aquatabs® kills microorganisms like viruses and bacteria commonly found in water and ensures Legionella is eliminated and biofilm remains under control.
ARKequine’s Kirsty McCann, Nutritional Manager, says “Water is very much the forgotten nutrient and we at ARKequine are working hard to change that. Our aim is to raise awareness of the importance of clean and plentiful water in racing and the home of Irish jumps racing is a great place to start that conversation ”.
Rosie Keary, Managing Director of Aquatabs InLine says “Aquatabs, a leading authority on human drinking water for nearly forty years are delighted to partner with ARKequine to bring the science and expertise behind our human drinking water brand to the equine sector. Sponsoring the famous P.P. Hogan Memorial chase in celebration of a unique partnership while highlighting the importance of clean, pure water makes for an auspicious beginning!
Leona Hughes, Sales & Sponsorship Manager at Punchestown says, “We are constantly looking for innovative ways to enhance and improve the race day experience at Punchestown for everyone from racegoers and industry staff to, in this case the stars of the show, the horses. A huge volume of water is used in the stable yard each race day so it is essential that we provide the best quality that we can and that is where the ARKequine’s Aquatabs InLine system comes into play”.
The ARKequine Aquatabs InLine PP Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase will be the opening contest on this high quality seven race card on Sunday 19th February. Runners and riders will make their way to the start of the famous three mile cross country course for a 1.10pm start time.
- ARKequine is an innovative equine healthcare company based in Kildare, Ireland
- ARKequine is the exclusive distributor of Irelands’ water treatment system, Aquatabs, Germany’s derbymed nutritional supplements, Germany’s Derby’s horse-care products, high-performance nutritional feed and supplements from ACME in Italy, and hygiene products from Staldren in Denmark and Simply Steam in the UK
- ARKequine, Newbridge Industrial Estate, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, W12 YF63, Ireland.
- Phone: 045 433552 (IE) or 01292 800022 (UK) Email: email@example.com
- ARKequine www.ark-equine.com
Press Release Thursday 19th January 2023: Punchestown Racecourse, along with QuinnBet, is delighted to announce a new and exciting sponsorship agreement of the QuinnBet Grand National Trial race on Sunday 19th February. This will be the first in a three-year deal that will see QuinnBet as title sponsors of the €90,000 Grade B stamina test over three and a half miles.
Since launching in August of 2017, QuinnBet have grown rapidly in the Irish and UK iGaming sector, providing hugely competitive odds across Irish and UK horse racing and other major sports. Whilst the QuinnBet Grand National Trial is the centre piece of their activation at Punchestown, this is further supported with an extensive branding exercise at the racecourse over the next three years. Race goers can look forward to promotions and interactions to celebrate the inaugural running of the QuinnBet Grand National Trial. Stay tuned to the QuinnBet and Punchestown’s social channels for an exciting race day experience competition, not to mention some expert advice from QuinnBet’s very own Racing Analyst Gerry Shannon. On the day itself, the QuinnBet team will be on-course to welcome the first thousand racegoers through the gates with QuinnBet merchandise and gifts.
The QuinnBet Grand National Trial is considered a key stepping-stone for Irish and Grand National contenders. Recent winners include the Gordon Elliott trained Death Duty in 2022 whilst 2021 winner, The Big Dog, went on to win both the Munster National and Troytown Chase for trainer Peter Fahey.
Looking forward to the upcoming QuinnBet Grand National Trial, CEO Stephen Kelly said: “Punchestown is renowned the world over as the home of national hunt racing in Ireland and we are delighted to be sponsoring the Grand National Trial over the next three years at this iconic racecourse. Whilst only at the beginning of this journey, we already know that both companies share a similar ethos when it comes to focusing on customer service. We pride ourselves on offering great value, fair promotions, and excellent customer care. To be on the ground interacting with racing fans at such a renowned venue as Punchestown is further enhancement of this philosophy and we very much look forward to the 2023 QuinnBet Grand National Trial On 19th February”.
Leona Hughes, Punchestown Sponsorship Manager welcomed the QuinnBet team to the home of Irish jump racing: “It is a pleasure to host QuinnBet as they launch their premium racing sponsorship in Ireland. Our first port of call with a new sponsor is to establish why they want to sponsor and who they need the activity reach. It became clear very early on that QuinnBet are very much about the customer experience and based on that alone we knew the partnership would be a good one. On behalf of the Punchestown team we would like to welcome QuinnBet and look forward to working with them over the next three years to maximise the benefits of being a feature sponsor on what promises to be an action-packed day of racing and entertainment”.
The QuinnBet Grand National Trial takes place on Sunday 19th February 2023 and is the feature on a high quality eight race card. In addition to the feature, there will also be the always-thrilling cross-country race and the much-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 tickets from €15pp include a complimentary race-card. Highly reviewed Race & Dine Packages from €89pp with child friendly options are also available. First race will take place around 1pm – subject to change.
Visit www.punchestown.com/fixtures/ for full details.
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
Carlow, Cork, Kildare, Laois, Limerick and Meath racing yards among winners
Staff from the racing yards of Jim Bolger, Gordon Elliott, James Fahey, Michael Halford, Eoin McCarthy, Michael O’Callaghan and Robert Tyner’s have been crowned winners in the 2022 Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned out league. The categories are based on the number of runners each yard had during their season. Each yard wins €3,000 to be divided among staff.
On the Flat, Jim Bolger’s team based on the Carlow/Kilkenny border won category A for a second time with 72 best-turned-out horses from 279 runners. Successful in 2021, staff from Michael Halford’s yard in Kildare won 85 best-turned-out competitions from 216 runners to win category B, while Michael O’Callaghan’s staff on the Curragh won category C with 37 best-turned-out horses from 119 runners.
Over jumps, Gordon Elliott’s staff are the category A winners for the second year in a row. The team produced 160 best-turned-out horses from 1,196 runners to top the category.
Staff from Eoin McCarthy’s yard in Athea, County Limerick won 74 best-turned-out competitions from 193 runners to win category B.
James Fahey’s yard in Stradbally, County Laois and Robert Tyner’s team in Kinsale in County Cork share the spoils in category C, dead-heating with a hugely impressive 30 best-turned-out winners from just 64 and 82 runners respectively. They share the €3,000 prize-money. James Fahey’s team also won their category in 2021.
The Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned-out league saw participating racecourses record their best-turned-out winners at each of their fixtures. The best-turned-out winners were aggregated and the yards were categorised by their number of runners in the season.
John Osborne, Equine Welfare & Bloodstock Director at HRI, said: “Once again the best-turned-out (BTO) league has rewarded excellence in horse care while highlighting the high standard across the racing industry. We are delighted to see that over 280 different yards won a BTO prize during the year and the feedback is that it is getting ultra-competitive among yards. We have repeat winners from 2021 in the Elliott, Bolger, Halford and James Fahey yards with new category winners from Michael O’Callaghan’s, Eoin McCarthy and Robert Tyner’s. It was especially exciting to see the dead heat between James Fahey and Robert Tyner’s in the last few days of the competition.”
The Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned out league was established in 2021 by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) to recognise and acknowledge the high standards of care and attention racehorses receive, particularly from stable staff.
The Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council (ITWC) was created in 2020 to help HRI with the formation of initiatives to enhance the care and welfare of our horses.
PKRF Record Breaking Year for Fundraising
‘The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund Charity Race is the most important race of the festival because it is the race the makes a massive difference to many lives’.
- 2022 was a record-breaking year for the PKRF with a total of €115,502.29 raised.
- Participants in the Punchestown Charity Race raised €93,576.55 which is in itself a record in 31 years of the event.
- Leinster and Ireland rugby player James Tracy raised an additional €21,925.74 with the February Freezebury Challenge.
- This put the total raised at a phenomenal €1,702,677.29.
As a result of these funds the PKRF has managed to support the following projects this year:
- A Pilot Peer Support programme for all kidney patients in Ireland. This program will offer vital counselling and associated supports to kidney patients and their families who are dealing with all the various issues and concerns that unfortunately is all part of being a dialysis or transplant patient.
- Established the James Tracy/Kidney Beam Exercise programme for all dialysis & transplant patients, which will enable all patients to access free, online, live and on demand exercise classes, specifically tailored to all different levels of fitness and specifically for kidney patients.
- Continued research into Polycystic Kidney Disease in partnership with the Irish Nephrology Society under the guidance of the Irish Research Council.
- Continued our support for our Art Therapy programmes for Dialysis Patients in Tallaght & Waterford Dialysis Units.
- Continued our support for our Sports Program for Dialysis & Transplant Patients.
- Organised a trip to Lourdes for one young Dialysis patient and a carer.
James Nolan, Chairman of the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund reflected on a momentous year: “So many people deserve huge thanks for making the charity race such an unbelievable success. The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund enjoys the privilege of being permitted to run during the Punchestown Festival. Great credit is due to all the team at Punchestown who make our race day so special, as well as all the staff at I.H.R.B who so generously volunteer their services on the day and also the staff at H.R.I. & R.A.C.E. who ensure everything is run correctly.
We are very grateful to all the owners and the trainers who have given continued support over 31 years by allowing horses to run. We would like to acknowledge the various forms of media, whose coverage of the PKRF Race in whatever way, is hugely important both to our charity and to all those people awaiting life-saving transplants; you all give hope to so many others by raising the profile of Organ Donor Awareness in Ireland”.
In hosting the final Grade 1 race staged in Ireland this side of Christmas, Punchestown will be welcoming one of the most exciting prospects in the National Hunt ranks as Galopin Des Champs kick starts his season.
Off the track temperatures are set to reach proper National Hunt racing range but on Punchestown Racecourse’s famous green rolling hills the heat will be turned up a notch by Galopin Des Champs as he prepares to show off his Gold Cup credentials. The dual Grade 1 winning novice chaser, who was also successful in Grade 1 company over hurdles at the 2021 Punchestown Festival, Galopin Des Champs has seven potential rivals as he bids to give Willie Mullins a fifth straight win in the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase. Haut En Couleurs and the Cheltenham Festival winning Stattler are on the same mission to extend Willie Mullins’ winning streak to five in the John Durkan Chase, but the 2m4f Grade 1 has been a happy hunting ground for a variety of trainers over the years.
Patrick Mullins is focussed solely on his father’s crew and the champion amateur rider who assists his father in Closutton had an upbeat bulletin today. “This has been a lucky race for us in the past,” Mullins reflected. “This looks an ideal starting point for Galopin Des Champs and we’ve been very happy with him at home. Hopefully he can continue where he left off last year.”
Mullins added: “The race is probably a little bit on the short side for Stattler but options are limited and it will be a nice place to get his season up and running and work forward from there. “Haut En Couleurs is obviously a good bit wrong at the ratings but we will take a closer look at the race in the coming days and we’ll see if he runs or not.”
Household names decorate the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase roll of honour. Native Upmanship, Florida Pearl, Beef Or Salmon, Kicking King and The Listener were all heroes of yesteryear, while more recently Min made the race his own with a hat-trick from 2018 to 2020 after Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Don Cossack and Sizing John had lit up Kildare in December.
Gordon Elliott won the race previously with the aforementioned Don Cossack and his challenge relies on the Gigginstown-owned pair of Conflated and Fury Road this time around.
Joseph O’Brien’s four-time Grade 1 winning Fakir D’oudairies will be aiming to add his name to an illustrious roll of honour, while the Mouse Morris-trained French Dynamite will return to Grade 1 company after a fine effort in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham last month.
Grade 1 performers aren’t confined to the Grade 1 titled race at Punchestown on Sunday as Appreciate It, Flame Bearer and Highland Charge all feature in the William Hill Beginners Chase. The William Hill Mares Novice Hurdle sees Deeply Superficial and La Malmason among the notable inclusions. Durkan Chase day action gets underway from 12.30pm with advance ticket discounts available on www.punchestown.com
Back By Popular Demand: Up The Yard Challenge 2023
Punchestown racecourse is delighted to announce the return of the Up The Yard Challenge Race for Irish stable and stud staff on Sunday 19th February.
First introduced in 2017, the concept was to host a challenge race to provide an opportunity for stable and stud staff to achieve the ambition of riding not just on the a racecourse but t the home of Irish jump racing.
Event organiser and Punchestown Sponsorship Manager Leona Hughes explains the thinking behind the initiative: “Most who work in horse racing usually have a dream to ride in a race at some stage. Ireland is full of brilliant jockeys. It’s such a competitive industry and we all know some talented horse men and women who ride out every day but for whatever reason didn’t go on to become jockeys. The Up The Yard Challenge gives them a chance to take centre stage and show everyone what they can do.” Hughes continued “We encourage anyone who always wanted to ride on the track to check out the qualifying criteria and then be brave and get nominated!”
The Up The Yard Challenge will take place after the last official race on Sunday 19th February 2023 over a distance of around one mile and seven furlongs. Yards and studs around the country are asked to nominate riders that meet the criteria by 16th December 2022. From the nominees a final list of sixteen riders and four reserves will be selected. All selected riders must qualify to take part by completing a one-day charity race assessment at the RACE centre in Kildare. This is organised directly by Punchestown and the RACE team.
The inaugral running of the Up The Yard Challenge took place in 2017 was won by Louise Magee on Taglietelle representing the Gordon Elliott team. Camilla Sharples on Markhan landed the spoils the following year for the same Cullentra establishment with Jimmy Finn’s stable taking the 2019 honours.
The Up The Yard Challenge is part of Punchestown’s continued commitment to Irish Stable Staff as explained by Leona Hughes “We are delighted to bring back this race. We’ve had plenty of interest and enquiries over recent years but for obvious reasons we couldn’t hold the race until now. We work alongside the stable staff and wherever possible we would always try to source a sponsor for the stable yard canteen to ensure that everyone working that day gets a complimentary meal. In addition, we recently worked with Midland Travel who very generously sponsored an amazing prize of a trip to Paris next summer for someone working in the yard over the Winter festival weekend. At the festival Red Mills hosted pop-up interactive zones with prizes and giveaways in the yard. It’s all part of on-going programme which will hopefully include upgrades to facilities following our current major track project which is taking up available resources but we are always planning for the future here at Punchestown.”
Up The Yard Challenge Race Checklist
The Rider Criteria:
- Nominated riders must be 18 years of age and over.
- Nominated riders must not have ridden under rules on the track/point to point in any jurisdiction prior to the event.
- Riders must be 12st or under with an allowance of 5lbs for mares.
- From the nominees, twenty riders will be selected. There will be sixteen participants and four reserves.
- Riders must qualify to ride by passing a charity race one-day competency assessment in January at RACE in Kildare. This will be organised with the riders by Punchestown.
- Nominees must be submitted by email with sign off by the trainer whose yard the rider will represent.
Nominations (including name, date of birth, contact number, nominating yard) for riders that meet the above criteria must be submitted by Friday 16th December to Leona Hughes on firstname.lastname@example.org
Entries for Day 1 Winter Festival
Entries for Day 2 Winter Festival
Stable staff on duty at the upcoming Punchestown Winter Festival will not only enjoy lunch compliments of Midland Travel but will also be in with a chance to win a trip to Paris next summer thanks to Ireland’s leading provider of travel and sports package trips.
As part of their continued backing of Irish racing, long-standing supporters Midland Travel return to the home of Irish jump racing with a generous package focusing on the hard working stable staff team members at the upcoming Punchestown Winter festival.
Midland Travel will be sponsoring the stable yard canteen for the duration of the event ensuring that racing yard staff can enjoy a complimentary selection of hot dishes, tea, coffee and snacks. Furthermore, the centrepiece of the Midlands Travel package is their generous offering of a wonderful prize for two people to visit Paris next summer. The trip includes return flights, three nights bed and breakfast in four star accommodation and more. Stable staff on duty on 19th and 20th of November will have the opportunity to enter the free draw on either race day.
Stephen Bernie of Midland Travel explained the background to the package “Some years ago we were involved with a new initiative at Punchestown called the Up The Yard Challenge. We sponsored the prize for the winning rider of the inter-stable race”. Bernie continued “The whole idea of focusing on the hard working stable staff really appealed to us. We felt if anyone deserved a nice holiday it was them! When the opportunity arose to be involved in the Winter Festival we were delighted to take part and look forward to assisting the brilliant horse men and women of Irish racing when it comes to planning their well-deserved holiday at the end of the season”.
Leona Hughes, Punchestown Sponsorship Manager said “Midland Travel deserve so much thanks for this very generous sponsorship of the yard canteen and donation of such a great prize. We know that outside of racecourse staff, the teams from yards around the country are the first to arrive on site each race day and in many cases the last to leave. Some have long journeys ahead of them before returning to the yard to look after the horses before themselves. They are long days so to make sure everyone has a nutritious meal at some stage is important. We are constantly planning on improving and upgrading facilities. Recent plans were delayed due to the pandemic but we hope to focus on industry facilities going forward”.
The 2022 Punchestown Winter Festival takes place Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November. Featuring grade one, two, listed, rated and cross-country racing the two day fixture is quality start to finish. Action gets underway at 12.30pm on day one and 11.45am on Sunday. Live music, free children’s entertainment, tasty food options and shuttle bus after racing make up a great day out. Advance ticket deals available on www.punchestown.com
Punchestown Winter Festival Quick Guide:
When: Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November 2022
Time: First race/last race 12.30 & 4pm Saturday. 11.45 & 3.50pm Sunday.
Tickets: €15pp in advance includes free racecard on arrival. €20 on the day. Seniors and students can purchase for €15 on the day. Children under 14 years FREE. Visit www.punchestown.com
Make Your Day: Live music and bus service into Naas after racing both days.
Dining: Race & Dine packages in restaurant or private suite from €52pp.
Hay Café and The Feedroom for carvery lunches, light snacks, pastries and barista coffee.
The Playroom – Free indoor child friendly room with games, activities, movie corner, face painting etc. This is not a crèche facility and a parent or guardian must supervise children please.
More: For the best info follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Get the best deals when you sign up to our newsletter. Visit www.punchetsown.com or call the team who are happy to help.
Punchestown racecourse are delighted to welcome Kildare based landscaping firm Oak Lodge to the sponsorship panel ahead of the 2022 Punchestown Winter Festival on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November.
The Oak Lodge Landscapes Craddockstown Novice Chase takes centre stage on the opening day of the winter feature at the home of Irish jump racing. The grade two contest over two miles holds a €36,500 prize fund and has been a happy hunting ground for high quality champion chase contenders. Previous winners include the Alan & Ann Pott’s owned top class duo Sizing John and Sizing Europe with the great Moscow Flyer featuring even further back in the roll of honour.
Whilst Waterford trainer Henry de Bromhead has an excellent strike rate in the Oak Lodge Landscape Chase, it is Gordon Elliott who will bid for a hat trick of wins having landed the spoils with Felix Desjy and Reviere D’etel in 2020 and 2021.
The Oak Lodge Landscape connection is a local one with founders and directors Cathal and Samantha Kavanagh based in the Naas area. Oak Lodge was established over 20 years ago and the family run firm employs five team members with this number fluctuating greatly during the busy summer months. Originally domestic and private projects accounted for a majority of the business however, as owner Cathal Kavanagh explains, economics intervened: “During the financial crash people’s priorities changed and gardens were no longer high up on the list of household spending. Like many businesses we had to adapt to survive and ever since our company has strived in the commercial landscape maintenance market. We have national retail clients who’s properties we manage in addition to business parks and commercial settings alongside our domestic services”.
Offering some background to today’s sponsorship announcement Kavanagh continued: “I have been racing at Punchestown for as long as I can remember. It is a place that is close to us both literally and in the sense that we’ve enjoyed many great day’s there through the years. Getting involved and sponsoring was something I’ve always intended to do and now we’ve made it happen. We look forward to enjoying a Punchestown race day from a different angle when the Oak Lodge Landscapes Chase gets underway”.
Punchestown Sponsorship Manager Leona Hughes welcomed the Oak Lodge Landscapes news: “Cathal, Samantha and the Oak Lodge team are a wonderful addition to the Punchestown sponsorship profile and we look forward to partnering with them as they step into a sponsorship role here. Local business and community is a fundamental part of the Punchestown ethos and it is all the more special when the people involved have a personal connection to this special place. We thank Oak Lodge Landscapes for the wonderful support and look forward to working alongside them to provide a memorable Punchestown experience”.
The Punchestown Winter Festival takes place on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November. In addition to the grade one Unibet Morgiana Hurdle and the grade two Oak Lodge Landscapes Craddockstown Chase there is an excellent support card of listed, graded and cross country action on offer across the two days. Racegoers of all ages are catered for with complimentary children’s play area for families however, those that may have outgrown the face painting stage can enjoy delicious dining, live music and bus transfers to Naas after racing. With a keen focus on value, the home of Irish jump racing is offering discounts and complimentary race cards for those who book in advance on www.punchestown.com
The first race goes to post approx 12 noon Saturday and 11.45 Sunday. gates and public dining venues open one and a half hours before racing.
For further information please contact:
Punchestown Marketing and Communications Manager
Phone: +353 (0) 45 897704 or email email@example.com
Punchestown Returns with The Great Comeback Festival
Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th April.
*Advance ticket sales up 80% * Hospitality Sold Out * 2020 Price Freeze *
*Big Business – 50 event sponsors & 800 companies involved *
*UK attendance increase despite Brexit in the interim*
Punchestown racecourse returns with The Great Comeback Festival from Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th April and all indications show that this could be the largest attendance in the events modern history with crowds of up to 137,000 expected over five days.
A prize fund of €3.6 million ensures that the biggest and brightest stars of jump racing will go to battle on the track at the season grand finale. History makers and record breakers like Rachael Blackmore, Willie Mullins, Paul Nicholls OBE, Henry de Bromhead and Davy Russell will present a showcase of horse racing in front of an appreciative Punchestown Festival crowd for the first time since 2019. Amongst the equine all-star line-up is racing darling and dual champion hurdler Honeysuckle, along with Allaho, Energumene and UK raider Clan Des Obeaux who will bid to win back to back Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cups. The first of the 40 race programme including 12 grade 1 contests gets underway on Tuesday 26th at 3.40pm and concludes with the 31st running of the Punchestown Kidney Research Charity race on Saturday evening. Gates open 12.30 each day.
The impressive sponsorship portfolio at Punchestown is fully subscribed with 50 event sponsors and partners listed. Leading bookmakers Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill are title holders of feature races each day. Sean and Bernardine Mulryan’s Ballymore are front and centre on festival Saturday 30th April. The media, property, financial, hotel and tourism and construction sectors all feature among the corporate support line up. A majority of the flagship deals are three-year arrangements and offer an excellent commercial footing as the event rebuilds for the future.
In recognition of the fortifying support and goodwill received by the Punchestown team from clients, sponsors, members and racing fans, Punchestown management committed to a price freeze at 2020 levels despite costs increasing by between 20% to 40% across the board. The level of anticipation ahead of the great Comeback Festival is evident in pre-event bookings with advance ticket sales up over 80%. The Punchestown festival is Ireland’s largest sporting corporate entertainment occasion and the sold out sign went up some weeks ago with waiting lists in place for last minute cancellations.
History maker Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle will be in action in the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle Friday 29th April.
Punchestown CEO Conor O’Neill looked ahead to the event: “It’s so good to be back. Interest is through the roof and everyone is keen to gather and celebrate. We say it repeatedly but people make Punchestown. We cannot explain how much it meant when so many sponsors committed to three-year deals back in the uncertain times of 2021, hospitality clients rolled over their bookings and money on account since summer 2019! We were one of few businesses that offered our members a full refund and I think three or four out of almost 600 availed of the offer. This is a testament to relationships we build and how we like our customers and clients to feel they are part of this special place. Like everyone, we are really feeling the increases in the cost of doing business but we committed to honouring our 2020 prices and know that what we do over the next five days will lay the foundations for the next five to ten years.”
Punchestown is big business with roughly 912 firms directly and indirectly involved. Despite apprehension about the impact of Brexit, the UK market has not only maintained but increased and accounts for much of the €25.2 million spent in the local and national economy with hotels, restaurants, visitor attractions, transport providers and retailers all enjoying benefits of the mass pilgrimage to the home of Irish jump racing.
Whilst the top quality racing takes centre stage, the Punchestown Festival is also renowned as one of the most colourful stylish events on the Irish social calendar. Over 17,000 hospitality clients from 802 companies, 163 of which are UK based, will enjoy delicious seasonal menus prepared and served by three catering companies, Aramark, Lily & Wild and Brook involving over 60 chefs, 420 catering staff and 250 bar staff. Three tonnes of fresh vegtables, over 60 kilos of artisan cheeses and 15,000 portions of petit four desserts and canapes will be enjoyed over the five days. Attendances are expected to reach record levels at Punchestown this week for The Great Comeback Festival.
Throughout the enclosures wonderful style will be at the forefront as the Bollinger Best Dressed Lady competition injects colour and glamour. One of Ireland’s most prestigious style competitions takes place from Tuesday with daily winners progressing to the grand final on Ladies Day, Friday 29th April. Festivalgoers and style seekers are invited to arrive early and make their way through the retail area on Osprey Avenue to the Style Quarter in the Bollinger Lounge and Garden. Alongside this venue is The Hunt Stand home to the famous Sky and festival bars and gateway to the pavilions and trackside lawns.
People make Punchestown and family and community feature strongly as always. The Ballymore Family day has been the success story of the festival with crowds reaching 36,000 in 2019 with children accounting for over 8,000 of this number. Socialisers and parents looking for an adult day out need not worry as there is a dedicated family fun area in the northern enclosure as the usual location is still required for HSE services. Community is intertwined with the festival and local GAA clubs Ballymore Eustace, Eadestown and Naas are involved in a stewarding capacity and receive donations to their club fundraisers.
The famous Bollinger Best Dressed competition takes place from Tuesday to the grand final on Ladies Day, 29th April. The overall winner will enjoy a money can’t buy trip to Paris and chateaux Bollinger in the champagne region.
Perhaps the most important race of the entire week, given that it makes such a difference to so many lives, is the Punchestown Kidney Research Charity race that acts as a curtain closer to the festival and indeed the entire jump racing season in Ireland. The remaining official charity partners include Kildare Autism Network, the Clongowes Wood College Duck Push, Cara Girls rescue Centre, Irish Wheelchair Association, The Irish Injured Jockeys fund and Samaritans.
Finally and very importantly the weather forecast for the week ahead appears favourable and mostly dry.
The 2022 Punchestown Festival takes place from Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th April. Tickets from €30pp are available at www.punchestown.com or on the day itself, however, the racecourse advice is to to purchase in advance.
Discount group deals are now sold out. Concession senior, student and teen tickets are only available to purchase on the day. There will be contactless and cash payment throughout the venue but visitors are advised to collect cash in advance of their arrival to avoid queues.