THIS year, 2021, marks 100 years since the foundation of Navan Racecourse and the Meath track has exciting plans in place to mark this milestone on Ladbrokes Troytown Chase day, the flagship jump meeting tomorrow Sunday, November 21st, due to be broadcast live on RTÉ television.
Farmer and local auctioneer Albert Lowry’s vision of establishing Navan Racecourse came to fruition in 1921 and on September 16th, Navan Racecourse, then named Proudstown Park and built at a total cost of £20,000, opened to much fanfare.
The Simonstown Plate, worth £83, was the first race on the card.
Since then, many equine stars such as Arkle, Flying Bolt, Dawn Run, Yeats, Moscow Flyer, and Tiger Roll have graced the racecourse over the years and Navan Racecourse has established itself as one of the premier racetracks in Ireland where the very best horses, jockeys and trainers compete on a stage viewed by racing fans in Ireland and the world over.
In 1921, then named Proudstown Park, Navan Racecourse is built and completed at a total cost of £20,000.
On September 16th, 1921, Proudstown Park opens to much fanfare. The Simonstown Plate (worth £83) was the first race on the card and was won by Bachelor’s Mark for owner Albert Lowry, trainer Mr Dawson and ridden by J. Patman.
On March 3rd, 1949, jockey, Martin Molony achieved one of the great riding feats at Navan when riding five successive winners.
On January 20th, 1962, the incomparable Arkle landed the first victory of his career in a three-mile novice hurdle at Navan Racecourse. He went off at odds of 20/1.
On October 9th, 1963, Arkle was back again when easily winning a one-mile, six-furlong flat race.
Just half an hour later, his stablemate Flyingbolt won his National Hunt Flat Race.
Dawn Run delighted fans when winning her chasing debut at Navan in November 1984. The Champion Hurdle winner, and subsequent Gold Cup winner, breezed to an easy success.
In 1990, Cloughtaney, for Paddy Mullins, became the only horse to win the Lismullen Hurdle three times.
In 1997, Richard Lyttle was appointed the first full-time manager of Navan Racecourse.
In 2001, Lyreen Wonder won back-to-back Troytown Chases, with Arthur Moore now holding the record of five wins in the race since 1960.
The great stayer Yeats, for the Coolmore team, won his second Vintage Crop Stakes in 2008 under Seamie Heffernan. He went on to be a four-time Gold Cup hero at Ascot.
The Arkle Pavilion officially opened in February 2007 as part of a total €8.3 million capital investment in Navan Racecourse.
Racehorse legend, Tiger Roll completed both his prep runs at Navan Racecourse ahead of winning back-to-back Grand Nationals in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Trim jockey, Colin Keane took his superb 2021 season to new heights at Navan on August 28th this year by recording the fastest ever century of winners on the flat in Ireland on board Barretta.
Navan’s birthday celebrations will include the unveiling of a commemorative plaque to honour the racecourse’s special anniversary by Navan Racecourse chairperson, trainer Noel Meade.
Navan Racecourse is donating 100 sapling trees to Meath County Council for the Navan town area including schools, housing estates and parks. These trees will be native Irish deciduous trees and represent Navan Racecourse’s long-standing involvement and commitment to the local community.
The Winter Village will be in situ for the first time for Ladbrokes Troytown Chase day and Navan’s birthday celebrations and will include a 100th anniversary ‘walk down memory lane’ feature wall, displaying a collage of images from the last 100 years of racing at the track.
The Winter Village aims to provide a continental market atmosphere with retail stalls, festive food treats and beverages, and entertainment, complimented by additional covered seating areas so visitors can enjoy the experience comfortably.
This special race day will also include the Newbridge Silverware best dressed competition where TV fashion stylist Marietta Doran will act as celebrity judge. The best dressed winner will walk away with a stunning Newbridge Silverware 44-piece EPNS cutlery canteen and a €1.000 cash prize.
To continue the historical theme, a 20-piece vintage car show will take place in the car park and racecourse enclosure.
Live music throughout the day and after racing in the marquee is also on the cards.
Navan Racecourse manager, Aidan McGarry, commented: “My team and I are very proud to celebrate Navan’s 100th anniversary and we are pulling out all the stops to ensure a fitting birthday celebration on November 21st that reflects the important historical, cultural and sporting role Navan Racecourse has played in Co Meath and to the wider racing community in Ireland throughout the past 100 years.
“We look forward to welcoming lots of racegoers to the track on Sunday for a very special race day.”