Roscommon Racecourse Guide

Racing has been a large part of the small county town of Roscommon for many years. The racecourse lies just outside the centre of the town, close to Roscommon Castle, a 13th century Norman build.

Nine fixtures take place every year here, including both flat and National Hunt racing. They are scheduled to run between May and late September/early October, falling on either a Monday or a Tuesday.

Map

Swap Start/End

The Course

The right-handed oval flat course at Roscommon measures one and a quarter miles around and features a run-in of three and half furlongs. Although there isn’t a strong draw bias, the course does favour those who ride prominently, due in part to its sharp nature. Even with a slight rise to the finish, it’s still a track which is more a test of speed rather than stamina.

Much like for flat racing, jump racing takes place on a sharp track and this favours handier types. Ability to take the corners well, particular the penultimate one, is probably the most important thing. Jumping ability is less important as it’s a fairly easy place to clear the obstacles. Overall Roscommon is considered a pleasant and fair course for both hurdles and chases and there is no major draw bias.

Major Races

The Kilbegnet Novice Chase is the highlight National Hunt fixture of the year at Roscommon. It is scheduled to run in late September or early October and has enjoyed Grade 3 status since 2007. The two mile contest often welcomes some talented horses and it stands as the most valuable jump race to take place at the course.

The most lucrative race of them all however is the Lenebane Stakes, a listed flat contest which takes place on the first day of the July meeting. It was introduced in 2006 when it started out as a 10 furlong race but it was increased to its current length of a mile and half the following year. It sees some useful middle distance runners compete but horses that have previously won a Group 1 or 2 race are not eligible.

Visiting

Races at Roscommon will take place in the evening as standard, usually there is just the one afternoon meeting per year.

  • Dress Code: There is no formal dress code but dressing up is encouraged on Ladies Day with large cash prizes awarded to the best dressed ladies.
  • Ticket Prices: Entry tickets can be purchased online and then either printed off or displayed on your smart phone when arriving at the course. Adult tickets cost €15 and student/OAPs tickets cost €10. For anyone looking for an upgraded ticket, for €30 there is the ‘Ros Special Package’ which includes admission, a racecard, a two course meal and a €10 betting voucher. The fees mentioned are standard prices valid for all meetings and there are no charges when purchasing tickets online in advance. If you have purchased a student/OAP ticket online, ID may be requested upon entry.
  • Membership: For access to all of Roscommon’s nine annual meetings, annual membership can be purchased for €90 for adults and €55 for students/OAPs.
  • Getting There: Public transport users should head on the train towards Roscommon Town station which is a stop on the Dublin Heuston/Westport line. From the station you are just a short taxi journey away from the racecourse.
  • Parking: Free parking is available for each and every meeting right beside the racecourse.

History

The British military were the first to organise a meeting in Roscommon, doing so in 1837 when they had a base situated in the town. It was only in 1885 when racing officially began however and it is something which has occurred ever since bar a 12 year break either side of World War II (1936 to 1948). In the beginning, the course only held one meeting a year but as decades went by the number progressively increased to the nine currently on offer.

Roscommon remains a relatively small course and its facilities reflect that. That said, it’s a pleasant enough day out and offers excellent value all in all.