Down Royal Racecourse

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Coordinates: 54°29′28″N 6°07′12″W / 54.491°N 6.120°W / 54.491; -6.120 Down Royal Racecourse is a horse racing venue near Lisburn in Northern Ireland. The most valuable race run there is the Champion Chase, run at the Northern Ireland Festival of racing in November. The most valuable flat race to be run there annually is the Ulster Derby.

Racing has been taking place on the current course, at Maze near Lisburn, since, the early 18th Century on land donated by Arthur Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire, but the history of Down Royal goes further back to 1685 when King James II issued a Royal Charter and formed the Down Royal Corporation of Horse Breeders. In 1750 King George II donated £100 to run King’s Plate and to the present day a race named Her Majestys Plate is run in July over 1 mile 5 furlongs with the prize money contributed to by the Privy Purse.

Although actually in the United Kingdom, racing at Down Royal comes under the authority of Horse Racing Ireland as horse-racing in the British Isles is divided on a Great Britain / All-Ireland basis.

In October 2018 a dispute arose between the owners, Merrion Property Group, and the track operators, Down Royal Corporation of Horse Breeders. The Corporation announced that it would cease operations at the end of 2018 while Merrion, who had apparently met criteria set by a land tribunal to evict the tenants, stated that they would run the course from 1 January 2019. Some reports suggested that the course would close.[1] In January 2019 the operation of the course passed to Merrion Property Group.[2]

Notable races[edit]

Month DOW Race Name Type Grade Distance Age/Sex
June Saturday Ulster Derby Flat Handicap 1m 4f 190y 3yo
November Friday Down Royal Mares Novice Hurdle Hurdle Grade 3 2m 4yo + m
November Friday WKD Hurdle Hurdle Grade 2 2m 4yo +
November Saturday Champion Chase Chase Grade 1 3m 5yo +
November Saturday Skymas Chase Chase Grade 2 2m 4f 5yo +


  1. ^ Forristal, Richard (17 October 2018). "Down Royal future plunged into uncertainty after management dispute". Racing Post.
  2. ^ "'It has been a real baptism of fire taking over Down Royal... but we achieved it together as a team'". Belfast Telegraph. 19 March 2019.

External links[edit]