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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

 

 

Mullins in tip-top shape for Punchestown after surgery

Galopin Des Champs leads power-packed team for “end of term” carnival

VIEW MULLINS PREVIEW VIDEO HERE

Willie Mullins has pronounced himself fit for action ahead of the Punchestown Festival, following a successful hip operation three weeks ago.
Mullins has enjoyed spectacular success at the traditional conclusion to the Irish jump racing season and reports that most of his top guns will join him in making the journey from Closutton to Punchestown from Tuesday to Saturday, April 25th-29th next week.
The champion trainer – he will be crowned top dog for the 17th time – was speaking in a wide-ranging online interview (attached) in which he touched on a range of topics not confined to but including his admiration for stable jockey Paul Townend, starting protocols, his 93-year-old mother Maureen’s “incredible appetite” for the sport, and why he has a picture of triple Ladbrokes Champion Stayers’ Hurdle winner Quevega inside his trademark Fedora.

His Punchestown team is headed by Galopin Des Champs, who is on track for a possible reunion with Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Bravemansgame in the Ladbrokes Gold Cup, a race offered further intrigue by Henry de Bromhead committing another Cheltenham victor, Envoi Allen to taking part. Energumene, Impaire Et Passe, El Fabiolo and Lossiemouth are other Cheltenham scorers aiming to complete a high-class double, having emerged from their exertions in better nick than their trainer, who was quite lame at Prestbury Park and had an operation scheduled upon his return.

“I was in Tramore the other day and I’m on the gallops every morning,” Mullins declared. “I’ve missed very little time. “It’s fantastic what surgeons can do nowadays. I was amazed. Three weeks ago (Monday) I went in, and they kicked me out of the hospital on Wednesday morning. I was back on the gallop the next morning. I missed a few mornings; I did a little too much early on. When I came off the painkillers it soon settled me back! But it’s coming along nicely so hopefully I’ll be well able for Punchestown.”

He has spoken before of his rich memories of going to Punchestown as his legendary father Paddy brought a slew of stars from Doninga, and of his admiration for the “amphitheatre” of racing.
“It’s a nice time of year preparing for Punchestown. It’s like then end of term, when you’re going to school, you’re looking forward to the last exam and getting away for the summer holidays.
“From the time we were kids growing up, Punchestown was the end-of-season festival but it’s grown so much. The vast quality of the races, the huge prize money, the way that management are able to keep the ground safe for good horses. It’s a credit to the organisation. “Punchestown is a tremendous festival. It’s lucky that it’s a little later in the season. It usually get the weather, gets grass, gets everything. It’s set later in the afternoon when people can get to the races and enjoy themselves. It’s got a huge amount going for it.”

He describes his Cheltenham yield of six winners as “fantastic,” while noting that there was some external expectation that he might double that tally given he was sending his biggest team. But winning the Cheltenham Gold and Queen Mother Champion Chase, as well as a number of key novice events that suggest he has the next crop covered, left him very satisfied.
Champion jockey, Paul Townend was hailed for his ride on Galopin Des Champs in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but it paled in comparison to his heroics on board I Am Maximus in the Irish Grand National.

When Mullins commented on tactics deployed on Facile Vega at the Dublin Racing Festival in February, it was interpreted as criticism of Townend but that wasn’t how the boss saw it and he leaves no doubt about how highly he rates and values his man. “I didn’t call it criticism at the time. I just thought it was a tactic that didn’t go right. Put it the other way around. What I asked him to do on I Am Maximus in the Irish National, I had tied him down to instructions because he’s a particularly awkward horse that doesn’t like going right-handed. I’d asked him to go down the inside so he could keep horses on his outside the whole time but after a circuit, Paul changed his mind. He did the exact opposite and went down the outside and it worked.
“In Cheltenham, Paul was a jockey in the Gold Cup. In Fairyhouse, Paul was a horseman in the Irish Grand National. All he’d gleaned from pony racing, from hunting, from just riding, he put into use on I Am Maximus. I thought it was a fantastic ride. Whatever we thought about Galopin Des Champs in the Gold Cup, I thought his riding in Fairyhouse was excellent, something top drawer.
“I always think a good jockey is a guy that can pull a race out of the fire and win on horses that he shouldn’t win on. That’s the difference between great jockeys and good jockeys, I think. And he pulled that one out of the fire. That was an absolutely extraordinary ride.”

Aintree didn’t yield the same dividends. He watched events unfold from his sofa, including the disruption caused by protestors, and could only glean from the pictures what the rest of us did but feels the authorities deserve praise for how they handled the situation. The starting procedures are a source of frustration, however.
“In flat racing, if you don’t go into the stalls, you’re withdrawn but I think a lot of jockeys maybe cynically hold up starts when they haven’t a good position.
“Is there a case for a race being advertised at quarter-past five, if you’re not there at quarter-past five with your horse, that’s your problem? The starter shouldn’t have to wait for you unless there’s a real problem. To me, they should be ready to go and facing the right direction. Too many jump races are stopped with a false start waiting for a horse that has no intention of going. Even if he does go in the end, why upset 25 other horses or 30 horses for one horse? We’ve had plenty of horses over the years like that. You get your chance to line up and if the rest of them are in the right order, let them go.”

And what about that photo of Quevega, spotted as he doffed his hat in acknowledgement?
“I always keep a photograph of Quevega in my hat,” he exclaims with a hearty laugh, before explaining. “It’s just a business card I have in case someone picks up the wrong hat. My details are on the other side of it. I was flabbergasted the detail that you could see from that far away. But sure why wouldn’t Quevega be in my hat!”

A GUIDE TO WILLIE MULLINS’ PUNCHESTOWN RUNNERS 2023

GALOPIN DES CHAMPS (Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup)
“He’s in great shape. We’re aiming for Punchestown since Cheltenham. I didn’t have any worry about his stamina until about four furlongs out (in Cheltenham) when I said, ‘Right, now,’ when what I was convinced about was gonna happen or not. I just took his novice hurdle form to mean he would stay three-and-a-quarter miles easily as an older horse. I didn’t have any fear about him staying all year. I was surprised myself how much doubt crept in as they rounded the top of the hill.
“But Paul seemed to be going well at all stages. The only little blip was at the third-last where he brushed the top but the minute he did that, Paul just pulled him together, got him in behind the others, gave him just a little bit of time to recover. You could see Paul’s body language telling you, ‘This fella’s got plenty in the tank.’”
“JANIDIL is other one that could go there so hopefully we’ll be nicely represented.”

ENERGUMENE (William Hill Champion Chase)
“I was particularly pleased how he did it in Cheltenham. He’d been working like that at home. We were all a little disappointed when he disappointed at the rescheduled Clarence House Chase but I think we learned so much that day which meant he was a very good winner of the Champion Chase. The white fences might have upset him, we sharpened up tactics. I think he’s a fair sort to do what he did two years running and in the manner he did it in Cheltenham.
“Those ground conditions are very helpful to him as well. He probably won’t get those in Punchestown but if he does get wet weather, he’s going to be very difficult to beat with a clear round.
“We have GENTLEMAN DU MEE in that race and he won’t be hanging around at the start. That’s his nature and Energumene can follow away. Paul has the confidence to do both. I imagine, looking at the field, we could have four runners in the race with BLUE LORD and CHACUN POUR SOI taking their chances.”

STATE MAN (Paddy Power Champion Hurdle)
“I was happy with him at Cheltenham. He will run here. He’s in good form. We’ve SHARJAH, VAUBAN and ECHOES IN RAIN in the race. We will see whether Echoes goes for the Coolmore Irish EBF Mares’ Champion Hurdle or not. She could be a difficult ride over two and a half miles but ratings-wise, she would look the one for that, with Love Envoi the biggest challenge if she were to come but that looks the race to go for. In the same race, BRANDY LOVE would probably prefer to go left-handed but I think she’ll improve a good bit on her Cheltenham run.
“But back to the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle, State Man’s in good shape. There’s no Constitution Hill so hopefully he’ll be the one to beat there. Possibly VAUBAN needs a longer trip and we’ll give him a good shot at the flat later in the season to see what he can do there but the plan will be to go to Punchestown first.”

KLASSICAL DREAM (Ladbrokes Champion Stayers’ Hurdle)
“KLASSICAL DREAM is the one that can go back to Punchestown and win it (for the third year in a row). We didn’t know whether we were going to make it or not to Cheltenham but we thought his work was good enough. We took our chance. I think you’ll see the real Klassical Dream in Punchestown.
“It’s great to see ASTERION FORLONGE and MONKFISH coming back. Those horses had long breaks and have little turnaround from Fairyhouse to Punchestown and that’s a big negative for me. If they ran a good race, I’d be very happy. WHATDEAWANT is probably just not good enough. I’d be sticking with Klassical Dream.”

LOSSIEMOUTH (Ballymore Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle)
“I was particularly worried when LOSSIEMOUTH hit what appeared to be the front (in the Triumph Hurdle). She took off with Paul at the top of the hill. It’s a long way out for a mare to be in front. She took over herself from Paul and I could see Paul wondering, ‘I don’t want to stop her but I don’t want to let her go either,’ and he did fantastically well to manage her at what would have been five furlongs out and keep enough in reserve to finish the race.
“We haven’t missed much with her this season. Christmas, Dublin Racing Festival, Cheltenham. That’s a lot on a filly and she’s not the biggest filly in the world but she has a huge constitution so hopefully, we ask for just one more day. There’s no reason to say that she won’t give it. She’s just so laidback, I don’t think racing or anything fazes her or takes too much out of her. She’s really top class.

“GALA MARCEAU will definitely go. BLOOD DESTINY was a little disappointing in Fairyhouse and maybe should have another go. I think he hasn’t shown his best to us and may need another year with summer grass under his belt. GUST OF WIND should have another go as well. I think ZARAK THE BRAVE is going to be ready to run. He’s a nice type. He showed a lot and then got a colic during the season and we had to put him to one side. But he’s a horse to keep an eye on.”

NOVICE HURDLERS
IMPAIRE ET PASSE, FACILE VEGA, GAELIC WARRIOR and IL ETAIT TEMPS are all ready for action. I very seldom change the way I do things. When you look at Facile Vega and Impaire Et Passe, you’re probably going to separate them between the KPMG Champion Novice Hurdle and the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle. DIVERGE comes into the KPMG Champion Novice Hurdle after the form of Liverpool big time. Gaelic Warrior might want a longer trip and could be one of the Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle. HUNTERS YARN was probably a little disappointing. We’ll see how they work this week and look at it but they’re ready for action.
“I don’t have any negatives about CHAMP KIELY for the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle. Facile Vega might come into the reckoning there (although) I’m not too worried about him over two miles. I always thought his dam Quevega had plenty of speed to win over two miles and I think she did earlier in her career in Punchestown but we always went down the longer road with her because we had Hurricane Fly and Annie Power around that time. This fellow has plenty of speed. We saw that in Cheltenham, he was so fast down between the third-last and the second-last. He’s not short of speed. It’s just using it, just the way the race worked out in Cheltenham. Like all our novices, they’re usually entered in both the two and a half and the two, or else the two and a half and a three and it’ll be one or the other.
“Gaelic Warrior is one that could come in for the two-and-a-half-mile race. Impaire Et Passe, no problem for him doing two and a half around Punchestown. We ran him over two miles in the Moscow Flyer in Punchestown before Cheltenham and the speed he showed in Cheltenham was fantastic but then again, that was against two-and-a-half-mile horses. NICK ROCKETT was very good in Fairyhouse. I might just leave him now. He’s in great shape but there’s a right shine to him after he did in Fairyhouse and whether I need to run him again, I don’t know. We’ll be well represented in it again.
“EMBASSY GARDENS and PARMENION are other possibles for the Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle. SEABANK BISTRO is one for it and SHANBALLY KID is one I think hasn’t given his best yet. Embassy Gardens and Gaelic Warrior are probably the two best. Embassy Gardens is a horse that could be improving as we come into the Spring so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he’ll run a big race there. Gaelic Warrior is a horse that probably needs to go out in trip. He shows plenty at home here. He did win the two-mile handicap in Leopardstown but I think he might be better off once he goes out in trip and maybe gets over a fence as well.”

NOVICE CHASERS
“EL FABIOLO and DYSART DYNAMO have come out of Cheltenham well. SAINT ROI might run in the Barberstown Castle Novice Chase too. He seems to have come back fine from Aintree and we might roll the dice and let him take his chance. It’s a big prize and he won’t be doing anything else after that.
“El Fabiolo looks like he could be the real deal and could be the one contending for championship honours next year. We just hope we can keep him right, keep him sound. The type of performance he put in was fantastic. He’s a real nice prospect to have in the yard for next season.
“Dysart Dynamo can be his own worst enemy but a lot of people like that in a horse too, that he’s so exuberant and loves his game. I’m hoping as he gets older or gets a bit wiser, he learns how to settle and temper his enthusiasm. But of course sometimes, half his ability might be in his enthusiasm, especially for two-mile chases and he’s always a horse to be afraid of in one of those races. One day he’ll put it all together and maybe put in a huge performance.
“We’re well represented in the Dooley Insurance Champion Novice Chase. JAMES DU BERLAIS could go out to three miles and RAMILLIES could. APPRECIATE IT disappointed me a little bit in Fairyhouse. It might be too much coming back again. However, we’ve nothing left to lose and maybe we’ll just let him go there and take his chance. He’s a fair sort, I think, on his day. You’d have thought going up to two and a half miles should be enough for him. Sometimes horses lose their form and he might be one of those. Maybe he wants a trip but he wouldn’t be going there fresh. That race is going to be a tough race. He’s going to be one of the higher-rated horses in the race but a lot will depend on what he does. One bit of work will do him, maybe two. He seems to be fine. He was fine after the race, eating and drinking so that’s usually enough and we’ll let him take his chance.
“SIR GERHARD might go for a shorter trip. ALLEGORIE DE VASSY might go for a shorter trip.”

RACE &STAY AT PUNCHESTOWN INH FLAT RACE
“We’ve got a nice field of horses here. BALLYBURN was very impressive when he won the other day. Very hard on himself but I think he’ll be better off next time. DANCING CITY is a horse that I think is improving me. IT’S FOR ME is good enough to be in the field. RATH GAUL BOY’s performance when he was second to John Kiely’s horse (Champion Bumper winner A Dream To Share), we were a little bit disappointed on the day but his form looks well now. TULLYHILL looks a fantastic horse. When he won, he looked above average. WESTERN DIEGO is a nice type and WESTPORT COVE is another nice type. I’d imagine Ballyburn, Dancing City, It’s For Me, maybe Western Diego would be the top ones there. We’ve plenty to throw at it thankfully because it’s always a good sign that you might have novice hurdlers coming on for the following season.”

Osprey Hotel is the place to be before and after the races once again for 2023 and is bigger and better than ever, this year the 4-star hotel in Naas has lined up another fantastic week of entertainment to coincide with the Punchestown Festival 2023.

As a sponsor of Punchestown with the growing Osprey Avenue shopping village at the festival, this year the hotel is pulling out all the stops to make 2023 the best one yet.

A complimentary shuttle bus will be running regularly each day from the hotel to the festival before and after the races.

A new addition this year is the star studded Punchestown Preview from 12 – 2pm on Tuesday 25th April in partnership with the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund in the refurbished Osprey Ballroom, a great way to start the week hearing from RTE broadcasters, racing pundits and jockeys. Enjoy some delicious carvery options, while enjoying a pint and soaking up the atmosphere for the start of the festival, before you head for the track for an amazing day of racing.

After hopefully a successful day at the races, there is plenty of reason to return to the Osprey Hotel afterwards and soak up the atmosphere and witness the great entertainment on offer.

Live entertainment will be on each evening in the Osprey Bar, grab a drink and absorb everything the hotel has to offer. New for 2023 is the addition of our SilverStream food truck in our courtyard with a post race BBQ on Thursday 27th April.

On Friday night the Osprey Hotel hosts the Ultimate Festival Finale to a packed house, our DJ’s will entertain in the lobby, restaurant and bar while the ticketed ‘ULTIMATE FESTIVAL FINALE’ event takes place in the ballroom featuring for 2023, none other than ‘SPRINGBREAK’ and includes full access to our courtyard stretch tent, food truck and outdoor bars.

Michael Boyle, General Manager is eagerly awaiting the arrival of this years festival:

“We are delighted to continue our sponsorship with Punchestown Festival for 2023. Even more so this year as it’s such an exciting time at the hotel at the moment with so many positive things happening within the team and hotel property. We were delighted to complete the refurbishment of our public areas with the full refurb of our bedrooms due to commence in the coming months. We recently celebrated being awarded ‘Great Place to Work’ accreditation along with receiving Silver status through our sustainability endeavors with Green Tourism. The team enjoy the week so much, welcoming back our regular racing guests and the general buzz and atmosphere makes it the most anticipated week of the year at Osprey and we can’t wait”.

For full details visit www.ospreyhotel.ie or follow on their social media platforms.

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.

 

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:

  1. Nominated riders must be 18 years of age and over.
  2. Nominated riders must not have ridden under rules on the track/point to point in any jurisdiction prior to the event.
  3. Riders must be 12st or under with an allowance of 5lbs for mares.
  4. From the nominees, twenty riders will be selected. There will be sixteen participants and four reserves.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 lhughes@punchestown.com

 **ENDS**

 

 

 

 

Up The Yard Challenge Race Checklist

 

Dates: 

16 December – Submit eligible nominees to lhughes@punchestown.com

20 December – Notify 16 riders and 4 reserves who are drawn to take part

24 & 26 January  – RACE assessments pre-arranged with riders by Punchestown

February – Riders to contact valets to arrange race safe standard equipment. Contact details supplied.

13 February 12 noon – Deadline for entries to lhughes@punchestown.com or 045 897704

17 February – Declarations

19 February – Up The Yard 2023

 

The Rider Criteria:

  1. Nominated riders must be 18 years of age and over.
  2. Nominated riders must not have ridden under rules on the track/point to point in any jurisdiction prior to the event.
  3. Riders must be 12st or under with an allowance of 5lbs for mares.
  4. From the nominees, twenty riders will be selected. There will be sixteen participants and four reserves.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 lhughes@punchestown.com

 

Race Conditions 

PUNCHESTOWN – SUNDAY, 19th FEBRUARY, 2023
CLOSING 12 NOON MONDAY 13th FEBRUARY

The Up The Yard Challenge Race
(This Race will adhere to the Rules of Racing)
For four years old and upwards which have run at least three times under the Rules of Racing or the I.N.H.S Rules, of which at least one of these runs must have been since 1st February, 2022 (Point to Point Steeplechases excluded)
About 1 mile 7 furlongs
Weights: 4-y-o 11st 11lbs
5-y-o and up 12st
Fillies allowed 5lbs
Penalties – (to count from 1st January, 2022)
Winner of a *race to carry 3lb extra for each race won.
(Maximum penalty 9lb)
*Including any race under any National Hunt Rules or Rules of Racing

Riders: To qualify as a Rider to participate in this race you must you must pass a Challenge Race one day Competency Assessment at R.A.C.E.
Riders shall not have ridden under any Rules of Racing in any jurisdiction previously on the racecourse to be eligible.
It is strictly subject to attaining the above qualifications that a Rider’s entry will be accepted.
N.B. The mandatory percentage deductions shall not apply to this race. A horse which has won a Private Sweepstakes shall not on that account incur a penalty or be debarred from claiming any allowance or from taking part in any race. Horses that run in this race do not lose their eligibility to run in Point-to-Point Steeplechases.
The winning Rider will receive a Perpetual Cup
The groom in charge of the winning horse will receive €100 and the groom in charge of the best turned out horse will receive €100
Please note that the Organising Committee reserve the right to accept or reject any application.
No horse shall be permitted to wear Blinkers, Visor, Hood, Eye Shield, Eyecover, Sheepskin Cheekpieces or any similar device.
Horses that require to be led to the start will not be permitted to take part.
NOT MORE THAN 16 RUNNERS WILL BE PERMITTED TO RUN IN THIS RACE. IN THE

 

 

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.