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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.