Tipperary Racecourse Guide

The summer course of Tipperary hosts National Hunt and flat racing between April and October. Sometimes both disciplines feature at the same meeting but many of the 12 annual racedays, they are solely restricted to one or the other.

It’s one of three racecourses found in County Tipperary along with Clonmel and Thurles. For a long while it was known as Limerick Junction Racecourse but it formally changed its name to Tipperary Racecourse in 1986.

Map

Swap Start/End

The Course

Tipperary’s left-handed oval course is largely flat throughout and is one known for being a particularly speedy place to run at. There is a straight track which joins the main circuit allowing five furlong races to take place in a straight line. On the sprint course there isn’t much draw bias except when the going is soft as there can often be slightly better ground in front of horses drawn out wide. Conversely, for extended seven furlong races, a low draw is preferable as the first bend approaches shortly after the off.

Although it’s possible to make up ground off the pace on the flat course, this is something less rarely witnessed on the chase and hurdles course. The chase course is furthest inside of the two making it a little sharper but it’s still a pacey track with fences that ride well. Despite races taking place in the summer, the ground is known to get very testing at times and you will see some horses really struggle after some extended rainfall.

Major Races

Tipperary’s Super Sunday in October is when many of its highest quality races take place, both on the flat and over the jumps. The biggest flat race on the day is the Group 3, Concorde Stakes, an extended seven furlong test won in 2016 by Jet Setting who had been auctioned for £1.3m just months before. It’s not the only Group 3 flat race to take place at the course though, as the Fairy Bridge Stakes, contested in August, was promoted to the this level in 2012.

Back to Super Sunday and there are three graded National Hunt races scheduled for the big occasion. Over hurdles there is the two mile Dolores Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle and the Istabraq Hurdle, run over the same distance. The latter was previously known as the Tipperary Hurdle but in 2014 it was changed to honour the legendary Istabraq who won the first three renewals, not to mention the three Champions Hurdles at Cheltenham and four Irish Champion Hurdles! The third of the trio of graded contests is the Like A Butterfly Novice Chase, a two and a half mile Grade 3 race named after JP McManus’ horse, although the Irish Champion Hurdle winner never actually competed in the race.

Visiting

There’s a mix of afternoon and evening fixtures at Tipperary but ones in the evening tend to feature in the first half of the full schedule.

  • Dress Code: Smart wear, suitable for the weather is encouraged but there is no strict policy racegoers must adhere to.
  • Ticket Prices: Meetings held during the week cost just €10 for adults and €8 for OAPs and students – a real bargain. For weekend fixtures, there is an increase in price, with general admission for adults costing €15 and €12 for OAPs/students. Children under 18 are admitted free regardless of what day the meeting is on. Adult admission can be purchased online as well as at the course on the day for the same price. Also available to purchase online is a Punters Pack which includes admission, racecard, a €5 bet and €5 food voucher all for €20/€25 (midweek/weekend). Finally, there are a range of restaurant options on offer starting at €30 for the BBQ menu and rising to €50 for the Premier A La Carte menu.
  • Membership: Adult membership costs €100 for the year at Tipperary while students and seniors pay €70. You’ll be able to enjoy every raceday from the members’ bar which overlooks the finishing post and pre-saddling area while also choosing from a €5 food or tote voucher for each and every fixture. On top of this members will get the chance to attend almost 20 reciprocal meetings and go on special trips to stable yards and stud farms.
  • Getting There: Tipperary Racecourse is the only racecourse in Ireland to be located adjacent to a train station so using public transport couldn’t be any easier. From Limerick Junction railway station, which has links to Cork, Dublin Heuston and Limerick, you are a very simple five minute walk from the course. If travelling by car instead, the course is located on the main road (N24) just north of Tipperary Town. Get the train and have a drink we say! A responsible one (or two) of course!
  • Parking: Free and ample parking is available for every meeting. Those who arrive earliest will get the spaces nearest the turnstiles.

History

March 27th 1848 marks the first recorded race meeting ever to have taken place at Tipperary. In those days however, racing took place in Barronstown, just south of its current location. For the first ever meet, there was only one bookmaker in attendance and he wasn’t taking any bets on the racing, opting to operate a roulette table instead! Racing continued here for many years although there was a gap between 1872 and 1881 due to an outbreak of small pox

Racing at Barronstown wouldn’t continue for too much longer upon its return as a consortium led by T Gardiner Wallis wished for a new course to be created at Limerick Junction. In September 1916, his vision was finally complete and the opening meeting saw some keen trainers in attendance including Senator J.J. Parkinson, Charles Moore and Stephen Grehan.

Over the years and especially in recent decades, many great horses and future champions have visited Tipperary. Dylan Thomas, Bushranger, Yesterday and Heatseeker all made their racing debuts here before going on to bigger things. Locally bred High Chaparral, a horse who collected over $5m in prize money during his career, broke his maiden at Tipperary, the race before he won the Racing Post Trophy.