27 September 2021
By Roger Jones
With so much disruption to the horse racing calendar, not only in Ireland but across the planet, it is great to look ahead to some of the exciting meetings this winter and beyond.
One of the major horse racing events taking place is the Leopardstown Christmas Festival and this is one of the biggest horse racing events in the country. The festival will be staged between the 26th and 29th of December at Leopardstown Racecourse, with a total of seven Grade 1 races over the course of the four days. The Royal Rift (at 6/1) is for now the most popular bet, according to Oddschecker website.
Starting on Thursday 26th December, we have the Post Novice Steeplechase, followed by the Paddy Power Steeplechase on Friday 27th December, the Savills Chase on the 28th and the Matheson Hurdle on Sunday 29th December. The betting odds will be live as soon as the racing cards are confirmed and predictions will be out, both online and in the racing press.
They are just some of the highlights of the four days of high class racing at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. The organisers are hopeful tickets will be available to the public and horse racing fans will be able to attend the event and cheer on the runners and riders.
Thankfully, horse racing wagering will be available online for those who cannot attend in person and live streaming will also be an option. In fact, there are sure to be some special bonuses on offer during the Leopardstown Christmas Festival at a selection of online bookmakers, so why not take advantage of some of the promotions and back your favourite horse? You can also compare odds at a variety of online sportsbooks and bet live.
Leopardstown Racecourse may be one of the most famous in the world but there are plenty of other top racecourses in Ireland. Cork Racecourse Mallow is a good example and there is a lot of horse racing to enjoy throughout the autumn and winter. Starting with the Co-Op Superstores Raceday on Sunday the 17th of October through to the Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase Raceday on Sunday the 5th of December, there is much to look forward to at Cork Racecourse Mallow in the lead up to Christmas.
In terms of Christmas festivals, Leopardstown Racecourse is not the only track in Ireland hosting a special event and the Limerick Christmas Festival will take place across the same dates. Starting on St Stephen’s Day, which is one of the most popular dates in the Irish horse racing calendar, the Grade 1 Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase is the pick of the races. In addition to the horse racing, there will be food and drink served throughout the event, plus live entertainment after the action has finished on the track. You can buy tickets (adults €20, seniors & students €15) on their official website.
Moving to Thursday the 27th of December, the Limerick Racecourse plays host to the Grade B Tim Duggan Insurance Memorial Steeplechase and Friday the 28th of December is Ladies Day, with the Sunway Holidays Most Stylish Lady competition always attracting a lot of attention.
Looking further ahead to the spring and summer months and there is plenty to catch the eye in the horse racing calendar. The Punchestown Festival at the end of April comes with huge sums of prize money and in 2022 there will be a prize fund of over €2.8 million, which is sure to attract some of the top racing talent from across the country.
For those who enjoy watching Europe’s finest in action, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival takes some beating. The sportsbooks love this event and you will see plenty of promotions and great odds in the build-up. The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival is due to take place on the 24th, 25th and 26th of June 2022 at The Curragh Racecourse, County Kildare.
The Irish Derby is the standout race and many of the top horses from the 2,000 Guineas in Ireland, England and France plus the English and French Derbies often compete in the race.
You must go back to 1866 to find the first running of the Irish Derby, such is the rich history of event and it was won by Selim.
Irish racing is going to be spectacular over the coming months and into 2022, with plenty of high class racing and tremendous events to enjoy.