Winter Racing in a New Light


The traditional heraldry was afforded to the champions at the close of the Irish flat season in November 2011 at Leopardstown.  The Flat Champion’s were crowned and the flat season in terms of the 2011 programme ended with the usual pomp and circumstance.  However, with one curtain closed another one opened at Dundalk on Friday 11th November with the inaugural winter all-weather series commencing at the Co. Louth venue.

Siobhan McTigue, Sales Director of The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Johnny Murtagh (Jockey) and Niamh Murphy, General Manager of The Crowne Plaza Hotel

The all-weather facility at Dundalk came sharply into focus at the end of 2009 with the dearth of turf racing.  There was no turf racing in Ireland from 25th November and 12th December 2009.  During that period, Dundalk was the only track operating in the country.  The weather also played a fundamental part in Dundalk’s polytrack garnering attention for it’s underutilisation given the demise of turf racing due to ongoing postponements in the early stages of 2010. The solution: to split the flat season into two, the summer season with the traditional all-Ireland close and a winter all-weather season allowing Dundalk to stage it’s own ‘Winter Championship’ for the leading protagonists and an extension of the flat racing programme in Ireland for those horses and trainers and riders who wanted to engage with it, and to date the entries have substantiated the need.

Michael Halford (Trainer), Siobhan McTigue, Sales Director of The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Niamh Murphy, General Manager of The Crowne Plaza Hotel and Edward Lynam (trainer).

This is good news for Dundalk town and good news for the racing industry as a whole, as Jim Martin, Chief Executive for Dundalk states: “The series of additional Friday evening fixtures at Dundalk in January, February and March means that there will be a consistent weekly horse racing product to showcase during an otherwise bleak period in the year. This is good news for the town of Dundalk, the Flat racing industry and good news for the betting industry, with additional employment and earning opportunities created in all sectors.” This series is continuing to date every Friday under lights at Dundalk Stadium offering an evening of horse racing followed by greyhound racing thereafter.  This series continues until late March when the 2012 flat championship will start again at The Curragh after Cheltenham. The Stadium is currently offering a dining special for January/February at €30pp combining admission, race card and a four course meal in the glass fronted ‘Champion’s Restaurant’ overlooking the horse and greyhound tracks. For further detail, please check out: www.dundalkstadium.com or call +353 (42) 9334438 begin

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