Naas Racecourse

Published: 14/10/2013

Located in the heart of the “Thoroughbred County” of Kildare, Naas Racecourse is just a mile from the town centre of Naas and 18 miles from Dublin City. It hosts both National Hunt and flat racing on a left-handed oval track that covers a distance of 1½ miles with two shoots of two furlongs and a run in of four furlongs with a stiff uphill climb to the winning post. A total of 15 fixtures are conducted throughout the year, featuring racedays in every month except September and December. Key events include three Grade 2 jumps in the winter and the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes in May.

Quality Events for Thoroughbreds

In its Gaelic translation, Naas Town is famously known as the “Meeting Place of the Irish Kings.” It is quite likely that races were conducted in the area during the Middle Ages as entertainment with feasting afterwards. It was not until 1922, however, that the Naas Races Company was formed and work began on the creation of a new racing venue for County Kildare. After more than a year in development, Naas Racecourse opened in June of 1924 and conducted its first meeting.

In the years since then, a number of prestigious races have been added to the Naas Racecourse schedule. Among National Hunt events, February’s Johnstown Novice Hurdle takes place over a distance of two miles with eight hurdles to be jumped. Established in 1989 as a Listed race, the event was promoted to Grade 2 status in 2003. It is complemented on the calendar by two other Grade 2 winter races: January’s Slaney Novice Hurdle (since 1998) and February’s Nas Na Riogh Novice Chase (since 1995).

Among flat races, the Listed six-furlong Fillies’ Sprint Stakes for two-year-old thoroughbred fillies is the main event in June, established in 2002. It was briefly run as a Group 3 event in 2006~2010. Nowadays, the only Group 3 event at Naas Racecourse is May’s Blue Wind Stakes. Open to thoroughbred fillies and mares aged three years or older, it has been run over a distance of one mile and two furlongs since 2001 and is named after Blue Wind, the Irish-trained winner of the Epsom Oaks and Irish Oaks in 1981.

A number of outstanding horses have competed at Naas down through the years. Chief among them was the great Arkle during the 1960s, as well as the renowned Mill House, the 2004 Champion Irish 2-year-old Damson who won at Royal Ascot, and quite a few Cheltenham Festival winners, including Dorans Pride, Danoli, Imperial Call and Go Native. Another was Ragusa, winner of the 1963 Irish Derby and Eclipse Stakes. Meanwhile, jockeys who have done well at this course are Johnny Murtagh and Kevin Manning, and top trainers here include Aidan O’Brien and Jim Bolger.

Racing at Naas Today

Meetings of special interest to racegoers range from the Bank Holiday Family Days in June and August with their bouncy castles, clowns, and face painting to the BBQ Summer Nights offering great food plus live music after racing. Another occasion of note is the Birdcatcher Race Meeting in October, which has been established as the Naas Racecourse Ladies Day, featuring awards for Best Dressed Lady.

Facilities at Naas Racecourse have been recently upgraded. There are now three bars on the grounds: the Tote Bar and the Guinness Champion Bar, both located inside the Grand Stand building, plus the Opera Hat Bar and Snack Area, where light snacks, coffee and tea are served. For dining, there’s the carvery restaurant offering both hot and cold meals as well as the Panoramic Restaurant, providing four course silver service meals, CCTV, private Tote facilities, a bar and easy access to the bookmakers arena.

For adults, general admission costs €15, which includes a free €5 Bookie Betting Voucher. OAPs pay €9, inclusive of a free tea/coffee, and all under-18s and students under 26 receive free entry. On Family Days, a discount package for two adults with children is available for only €20. Note that there is no dress code at Naas Racecourse, and it is recommended that guests dress for the weather.

Published on: 14/10/2013

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