Navan Racecourse

Published: 14/10/2013

Located at Proudstown near Navan in County Meath, Ireland, Navan Racecourse hosts both National Hunt and flat racing events under the auspices of Horse Racing Ireland. The left-handed oval circuit, which covers a distance of one and a half miles with a run in three and a half furlongs, is noted for its wide sweeping bends and a stiff uphill finish from two furlongs out. The track also features a straight sprint course of six furlongs. The race calendar offers 16~18 fixtures throughout the year, except August, with the €85,000 Grade 2 Troytown Chase in November as the most lucrative event of the season, while December’s Grade 1 Navan Novice Hurdle is the most prestigious.

Many Opportunities to Shine

The first race meeting ever held at Navan Racecourse took place in 1920. Since then, the venue has made a name for itself by attracting some of the best horses in the land to an array of top class events. In 2001, a record attendance of 5,128 showed up to the track, and there is every reason to believe the property will become more and more popular in the years ahead, especially noted for its line-up of jumps used by trainers as tests for championship races.

For example, Moscow Flyer raced to victory at Navan before going on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in 2003. The following year saw Navan winner Brave Inca claim the Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novice Hurdle and Hardy Eustace take the Smurfit Champion Hurdle, both at Cheltenham in 2004. Top trainers at this course during the past several racing seasons include Aidan O’Brien out of County Tipperary and Dermot Weld based in County Kildare.

Among the many big opportunities for trainers and their horses at Navan Racecourse are the Tara Hurdle, Fortria Chase and Lismullen Hurdle, all of which are worth €50,000. The latter, which takes place each year in November, was originally an amateur contest, but it was opened to professionals in 1992, gained Grade 3 status in 1994 and was promoted to the Grade 2 level in 1997. Among jockeys, Paul Carberry has been a dominant force in this race, winning on five occasions between 1993 and 2009.

Another Grade 2 National Hunt hurdle race of note here is the Boyne Hurdle, inaugurated in 1987 and run over a distance of two miles and five furlongs each February; in recent years it has been sponsored by Ladbrokes, with a purse of well over €30,000. And April’s Listed Salsabil Stakes now has a prize pool of €49,500 thanks to sponsorship by the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund.

The biggest attraction each year at Navan Racecourse is the Navan Novice Hurdle in December. This €70,000 National Hunt race in mid- December covers two miles and four furlongs. It was first run in 1999 as a Grade 3 race, and earned its Grade 1 status in 2004. It draws many of the season’s top novice hurdlers as a warm-up to contests at the Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals later in the season.

Racing in Navan Today

Significant investment in the course and generous prize money attract large crowds to see top-class racing. However, Navan Racecourse also has numerous themed racedays, such as Family Days, with lots of activities for all the family, as well as summer evening meetings in June and the much anticipated Ladies Day of the Troytown meeting in November.

A wide range of dining, hospitality and corporate entertainment is available at Navan Racecourse for two to 1,000 people. The Boyne Suite is the most popular restaurant for bookings and private hospitality suites can be reserved for up to 40 guests. There’s the Troytown Public Bar, recently refurbished, to provide racegoers with ample seating, numerous flat screen CCTVs and Tote betting, while the Arkle Pavillion is open exclusively to owners, trainers and members.

General admission costs €15 for adults, €9 for OAPs and students, and is free for children under 14 years of age. The silver-service Bective Restaurant also offers a dining package for €47 per person that includes admission with VIP Access to the Owners, Trainers & Members Bar, a three-course luncheon with tea/coffee, a racecard and a table for the day. There is no formal dress code at Navan, although visitors are encouraged to dress smart and for the weather.

Published on: 14/10/2013

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