Clonmel Racecourse Guide

With great views and a lively atmosphere, Clonmel Racecourse is a great place for a social outing. You will also see that the course is commonly referred to as Powerstown Park as this is where the racing takes place.

There are typically 12 fixtures spread throughout the year, including both Flat and National Hunt racing. Most begin in the afternoon but during the summer months, meetings are held in the evening.

Map

Swap Start/End

The Course

Clonmel’s right-handed oval flat course runs downhill before rising towards the line making the finish a stiff and challenging one. Prominent runners usually have the energy to defend their position in the final stages on good going but on soft ground, they often tire and horses from further back can pick them off. During races of one and a half miles or less, a low draw is beneficial as there is a lot of turning to be done and a prime position around the bend can save precious energy.

Much like on the flat course, it’s the hills that usually make the difference for jump racing. Horses which need too much encouragement to climb the hill rarely finish the race high up. Once again, front runners should be favoured but anyone running too quickly can get caught out by the second-last fence which lies on the downhill section. Course specialists are seen here although not quite to the same extent as some other places and all in all it is a fair challenge.

Major Races

Early in the year and the Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle is the one to look out for. Having held Grade 3 status since 2013, it’s a high quality race which was won by former RSA Chase champion Don Poli in 2015. This marked Willie Mullins’ fourth winner in this race since its inception in 2003 and the trainer also went on to win the following two renewals.

Towards the other end of the year, in November, we see Clonmel’s biggest fixture of the year, Clonmel Oil race day. One of the day’s most major races is the Grade 3 T.A. Morris Memorial Mares Chase which has seen some classy mares in the past including Vroum Vroum Mag. The star of the show however is the Clonmel Oil Chase. The two and a half mile event has crowned some wonderful champions such as four-time champion Dorans Pride, Beef or Salmon and Sizing Europe.

Visiting

Fixtures at Clonmel are typically held on Thursday but there are usually a couple that feature on different days of the week over the course of the year.

  • Dress Code: In common with most Irish courses, Clonmel doesn’t have any strict requirements regarding dress, so racegoers are fine wearing whatever they are comfortable in.
  • Ticket Prices: General admission costs €15 for adults, €10 for students and pensioners while under 18s are admitted free of charge. On occasions, a special ticket is offered as an alternative to standard admission. For the summer BBQ race evening for instance, the upgraded €25 ticket covers admission, a racecard, a €5 tote bet, a BBQ meal and a bottle of cider. There is also the option of admission along with food in the racecourse restaurant. The cost is usually €38 or €40 and on top of the dining experience you will be given a racecard and €5 tote bet.
  • Membership: It costs just €90 to join the Supporters Club at Clonmel and whilst there are only around 400 people currently a part of it, it’s a great option for race fans. Aside from admission to the 12 yearly meetings, members also get to participate in a tipster competition, go on organised trips to other racecourses, have access to the clubroom with its complimentary refreshments and be give two guest badges for a selected meeting.
  • Getting There: The racecourse is very handy for public transport users as both the rail and bus station are based just half a mile away. Driving isn’t much less convenient as the course is situated beside the easily accessed Clonmel bypass.
  • Parking: Ample free parking is available at every meet, further improving access by all means.

History

Clonmel Racecourse’s beginnings date back over 150 years ago and it has never strayed from its current scenic location between the Comeragh Mountains and Slievenamon. In the early decades, racegoers were able to enjoy the racing free of charge but commercial interests, as ever, soon took over and owner Villiers Morton Jackson introduced an admission fee of two shillings.

The money raised through charging spectators helped fund a new grandstand and was even used to hire detectives to keep pickpockets away from the premises. We imagine they dispensed their own local justice rather than calling the police but who knows? In 1987, the Clonmel Racecourse Supporters Club was created, helping to promote the racecourse, encouraging local interest and additional sponsorship.

The course underwent major redevelopment work in 2009 which included enlarging the Club Stand so that is could shelter 1,000 guests. The grandstand was also improved and now has a capacity of around 3,500. Today, races at Clonmel are known for their big fields, it’s not unusual for a days’ racing to see over 120 horses feature.

That can lead to some frenetic action and whilst picking the winners might not be easy, you can be assured of a great day at Clonmel!