Kilbeggan Racecourse Guide

The heart of Ireland is where you will find Kilbeggan Racecourse. It is largely a National Hunt course but it does include the occasional flat race here and there.

With only eight fixtures per year, Kilbeggan is far from the busiest racecourse in Ireland but when racing is on, you can expect a large and lively crowd to be in attendance.

Map

Swap Start/End

The Course

The undulating and sharp right handed course at Kilbeggan is not the easiest to navigate. This is especially true of the hurdles course, furthest inside, which is particularly tight. There’s plenty of turning to be made on the nine furlong circuit so being stuck outside is not where you want to be. After exiting the looping final turn, there is an uphill run-in of approximately three hundred yards to tackle.

It’s not a course that suits many horses, those who are gallopers or prefer to sit deep will regularly struggle. Quirky types who enjoy the changing nature of the course and horses that are handy tend to be the ones who perform best. It’s a place that can produce course specialists so it’s always good to look out for a horse who has gone well here in the past.

Major Races

The biggest race held at Kilbeggan is July’s Midlands National Handicap Chase. The race was increased in length to three miles, one furlong in 2013 and it regularly attracts fields into double figures. With prize money exceeding €45,000, it is the richest race to take place at the course all year and it’s able to attract a good level of chasers as a result.

Visiting

All but one of Kilbeggan’s fixtures fall in the evening which is partly why it’s consistently able to lure in a good-sized crowd.

  • Dress Code: There is no dress code you need to be aware of at Kilbeggan. The course is seen as a big social occasion for many though so you will see plenty of people dressing smartly, especially on days that issue prizes for the best dressed lady.
  • Ticket Prices: A saving of €5 can be made when purchasing tickets online in advance, reducing general admission to €10 from €15, which is the price on the day. Students are able to able to enjoy a reduced rate of €12 on tickets purchased at the turnstiles. If you are looking for a gift idea then an admission ticket, valid for any meeting can be purchased for €15. Group discounts (10+) are available and groups also have the option of upgrading to the summer party pack at €22 per person which includes admission, a racecard and a drinks and meal voucher.
  • Membership: Annual membership is not currently advertised at Kilbeggan.
  • Getting There: The completion of the M6 motorway now means that the racecourse can be reached in around an hour from Dublin. There are few public transport connections available, so going by car is by far the most convenient way of getting yourself to Kilbeggan.
  • Parking: A good number of free parking spaces are available.

History

The first race in Kilbeggan, a Challenge Cup, was organised by a group of local gentleman to take place on 9th March 1840. It was a race worth 40 guineas and 10 pounds and it initially lasted for 15 years, taking place on several sites in and around the town. After a break, it returned in 1879 as part of the first official meeting at Ballard on a patch of land owned by the Locke Family who owned a distillery in Kilbeggan which is still used today.

Racing only last six years at Ballard but it was revived once again in 1901 and the new location has remained the home of Kilbeggan racing since. Unlike the years preceding the move, racing has taken place very consistently, with the only break coming during World War Two. Following the war, there were some serious monetary concerns at the course which continued for over a decade, not helped when the Racing Board withdrew their financial support.

Things turned around markedly at the start of the 1970s though thanks to the introduction of both National Hunt events in 1971 and sponsored races two years later. With finances growing much healthier, the course was able to purchase the racecourse land and open a new complex in 1990, the same year it won a Racecourse of the Year Award.

Further improvements were to follow including the surfacing of the concourse area, extension of the enclosure, developing and widening the racetrack and the opening of a £1m pavilion in 1999. The number of fixtures has also increased as prior to 1992 the course was only holding three meetings a year. An increase in fixtures saw a large boost in the number of annual spectators going from 24,000 in 1995 to 50,000 in 2000.