Tramore Racecourse

Published: 08/10/2013

Located just a kilometre outside the seaside town of Tramore in County Waterford, Ireland, Tramore Racecourse conducts both jumps and flat races. It is noted for its tough, right-handed, undulating track, which covers a distance of one mile with a descent to the final turn and a stiff, one-furlong uphill climb to the winning post. A total of eleven fixtures spread out intermittently over the year in April, May, August, October and New Year’s. The four-day Mid-August Festival is the course’s biggest event.

A Long History of Development

The earliest known racing in Tramore took place on the beach back in 1785. The contest became so popular that by 1807 the locals organised a six-day meeting there in mid-August, and it has remained a tradition to this day. Soon after the railway arrived in 1853, Lord Doneraile and James Delahunty established a new racecourse at Riverstown. Although a race committee led by Martin J. Murphy renovated the seaside facilities in 1888, stormy seas frequently disrupted the racing, causing the course to be moved to its present location at Graun Hill on the outskirts of Tramore in 1911.

Over the years, Tramore Racecourse has attracted its fair share of great horses and riders. One of the more interesting stories told of the course is how Carlingford Castle trained for the English Derby at Tramore in 1983. Trainer Liam Browne had the horse gallop round the track “the wrong way round”—left-handed—because he believed the circuit closely resembled the unique gradients of Epsom Racecourse. The tactic very nearly paid off big as Carlingford Castle ran second that year to the Derby winner Teenoso ridden by Lester Piggott.

In the 1990s, ownership of Tramore Racecourse transferred to a group of local racing enthusiasts, who quickly set about a €5 million refurbishment of all facilities. The work was completed in 1997, providing race-goers with a state-of-the-art venue. Among the many improvements was the creation of the Graun Hill Suite, a beautifully finished, multipurpose function room that can accommodate from 160 to 250 people with a private bar, catered dining and panoramic views of Tramore Bay.

At the turn of the new millennium, Tramore Racecourse hosted the very first race meeting held in Europe—the Mean Fiddler Handicap Steeplechase. A record crowd of 11,000 turned up to see the race won by No Problem, trained in Cork by Gerard Cully, owned by Tommy Cronin and ridden by Waterford jockey Shay Barry. Two years later, Tramore became the first racecourse in Europe to use the Euro currency, and in 2005 the first Listed race was conducted on the track—the Wilf Dooley Handicap Steeplechase.

Racing in Tramore Today

Having celebrated its Centenary Year in 2012, Tramore Racecourse is looking forward to even greater days ahead. In addition to the four-day Mid-August Festival, the two-day New Year`s Eve/Day Meeting has become a tradition as the place to enjoy end-of-year festivities and start the New Year in style. Family Fun Afternoons also provide an opportunity to keep children amused while taking in the excitement of racing.

For food and beverage on the grounds, options include the 500-seat Inside Track Bar, which recently added a large conservatory, and the intimate Owners & Trainers Bar, which overlooks the parade ring. There’s also the newly refurbished Guillamene Lounge, which has its own stage and is located at the rear of the Inside Track, and self-service and take-away restaurants are available, too. The cost of adult general admission is €10 (€15 in August), €10 for OAPs and students, and free for accompanied children under the age of 16 years.

Published on: 08/10/2013

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