Clonmel Racecourse

Published: 08/10/2013

Clonmel Racecourse is located in Powerstown Park, a scenic wooded setting in the town of Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland, where it hosts both National Hunt and Flat racing. The right-handed, undulating track measures 1¼ miles in length, featuring a stiff uphill finish. Clonmel’s calendar is heavy with jumps fixtures in Autumn and Winter and quiet in Summer. Among the dozen meetings conducted annually, the major race here is November’s Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase, which is contested over a distance of two miles and four furlongs.

A Highly Popular Racing Venue

Racing has been conducted at Clonmel Racecourse for over 150 years. Nestled in the Suir River Valley between Slievenamon to the north and the Comeragh Mountains to the south, it is a particularly charming site for racing in the dead of winter and has long attracted interest among racegoers from Cork, Killarney and Limerick as well as locally. The course record crowd is 5,900, and roughly 30,000 come to the Clonmel track each year.

In the mid-19th century, admission was free to spectators. However, as racecourses evolved into commercial entities, Clonmel’s owner Villiers Morton Jackson had the park enclosed and began charging the public two shillings for entry. For their patronage, he provided spectators with access to a grandstand and protection from pickpockets by hiring detectives keep the place free of criminal elements.

In 1987, a Supporters Club was formed at Clonmel Racecourse. Presently, over 300 members have joined. Their purpose is to promote racing by obtaining sponsorships, increasing prize money, improving amenities, and encouraging local interest and involvement. As a result, in 1992, the Morris Oil Chase was inaugurated over a distance of three miles. Two years later, the race was shortened by half a mile, moved to November and came under the sponsorship of Clonmel Oil. As a Grade 2 National Hunt event, the Clonmel Oil Chase has attracted top quality jumpers over the years, including such winners as four-time champion Dorans Pride in 1997~2000, Beef or Salmon in 2002 and War of Attrition in 2005.

In 2009, extensive refurbishment of facilities was carried out at Clonmel Racecourse. The Club Stand can now accommodate 1,000 people whilst the Grand Stand has a capacity for 3,500. It is not unusual to have 120 or more horses running in a single meeting, which usually consists of six or seven races with 30 minute intervals in between. Such big fields assure the general public of some quality action on racedays.

Racing at Clonmel Today

The cost of admission is normally €15, including Sundays and Clonmel Oil race day. Tickets can be purchased at the gate on the day or in advance online. Discounts are available on bulk ticket purchases as well as for senior citizens with valid pension books and students with a valid student cards. Children under 14 years of age are admitted free of charge. For €85, a single annual membership in the Supporters Club can be obtained, which includes admission to all 12 of the course’s fixtures plus use of the Clubroom and its viewing balcony with complimentary tea and coffee.

Among the current facilities available to racegoers at Clonmel Racecourse are three bars: the T.A. Morris Bar situated under the main grand stand; the glass-fronted Club Stand Bar with its great viewing facilities; and the Supporters Club Bar with its own balcony overlooking the winning post. The restaurant under the Club Stand provides hot dinners, sandwiches, pastries, etc., prepared by Masterchefs Hospitality, one of Irelands leading catering companies. There is also a snack bar adjacent to the Parade Ring, which offers a selection of fast food, soup, sandwiches and pastries.

Published on: 08/10/2013

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