A thriving racing industry with twenty-six racecourses, a fixture list packed with prestigious races and some of the world’s most successful horses, trainers and jockeys.
Ireland also boasts a thriving horse racing industry, in addition to its famous breeding industry, and is home to some of the world’s most famous trainers and jockeys. There are twenty-six unique racecourses, spread throughout Ireland. Racecourses are primarily turf tracks, however there is one floodlit all-weather polytrack at Dundalk racecourse.
The turf Flat season runs from March until November and there is a Flat winter championship staged at Dundalk. National Hunt racing, more commonly known as Jump racing, takes place all year round but its main season runs from November to April.
Flat racing is run over distances ranging from 5 furlongs (1000 metres) to 18 furlongs (3600 metres) and Jump racing is run over distances ranging from 16 furlongs (3200 metres) to 33 furlongs (6600 metres).
Some of the world’s most prestigious and valuable Group 1 races are staged in Ireland, including Irish Champions Weekend, Irish Derby, 1000 and 2000 Guineas, The Oaks and Irish St. Leger. Ireland is famous for its world class racing festivals such as Galway and Punchestown, which attract crowds of almost 100,000 people to each.
Betting is available on all racecourses with a choice of independent bookmakers and the Tote. Prize-money was €56.8 million in 2016 . Minimum prize-money per race is set at €9000, and Irish prize-money ranks amongst the highest in Europe (average per race).