THIS week, on behalf of the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR), we caught up with racing photographer Pat Healy who is also chairman of Listowel Races.
At the Co Kerry venue they’re building up to their June bank holiday meeting. Though the fixture has been on the racing calendar for the past two years, this is the first opportunity for some time that the public can attend. It was cancelled in 2020 and the following year it was run behind closed doors.
With the long-range weather forecast looking favourable this could be the jumpstart the team in Listowel have been patiently waiting for.
To celebrate the crowds return to the track, Listowel has introduced a welcome back admission rate of €10 for everyone attending the opening meet of the three-day fixture. As always, children under the age of 12 go free when accompanied by an adult.
Where else would you want to be but at Listowel Races on Saturday, Sunday and Monday afternoons throughout the June bank holiday weekend? There is something for everyone on the menu, with Saturday and Sunday being flat cards and Monday is a National Hunt fixture.
New caterers Excellent Choice, who went down a treat with racegoers at Killarney’s May Festival, will be serving lunch and finger food options in the Hugh Friel Stand. Hospitality bookings must be made in advance with Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021-4319398.
In February, the oldest section of the stabling facilities at Listowel Races were damaged. It was a major blow to the track and 65 boxes had to come down. That block of stables will be replaced with new stabling over the coming months. For this June fixture there will be some Cheval Liberté temporary stabling in place to facilitate all runners.
Blessed with a range of sponsors over the three days, the European Breeders Fund Race on Saturday will be one to watch closely. On Sunday the Brosnan family have kindly sponsored the Croom House Stud Race and Monday will feature the John J Galvin Steeplechase.
A touching sponsorship during the fixture is a race in memory of the late Betty McGrath. Pat Healy commented: “Betty was a very popular lady, a great supporter of Listowel Races and the proud owner of a busy floristry in town.
“The sponsorship has been organised by a group of friends and local traders in the town of Listowel and she would’ve love it! Furthermore they are sponsoring the best hat competition in her memory. Betty was super stylish and won the competition herself back in 2019. This is a very different and most fitting tribute indeed.”
Listowel Races secretary Brenda Daly told this column: “We’re really looking forward to the fashion stakes on Sunday when Emily O’Donoghue (@FashionablyFortyish) will be tasked with the tough job of judging the best dressed ladies in attendance. The winner will walk away with €500 cash and the runner-up and best hat prize winners will take home €250 each.”
With highs of up to 20 degrees forecast for the June weekend, the situation will be watched closely by racecourse personnel and Val O’Connell who is the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s clerk of the course at Listowel.
For further information, to book tickets and for links to Excellent Choice Catering where hospitality suite package information is available and bookings can be made, visit www.listowelraces.ie
The Association of Irish Racecourses wish Brenda, Pat and all the directors and staff at Listowel the very best for their upcoming meeting. It’s wonderful to see it finally come to fruition and with the public back at the racecourse again. Ciarraí Abú!