Punchestown Racecourse

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Punchestown Racecourse
Punchestown races 2009.jpg
Punchestown races 2009
LocationCounty Kildare, Ireland
Date opened1875
Course typeFlat
Notable racesBoylesports.com Champion Chase; Punchestown Gold Cup; Ladbrokes.com World Series Hurdle; Rabobank Champion Hurdle; AES Champion 4YO Hurdle
Official website

Punchestown Racecourse is located in the parish of Eadestown, between the R410 and R411 regional roads near Naas, County Kildare, in Ireland. It is known as the home of Irish Jumps Racing and plays host to the annual Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival. The racecourse itself is right handed with an undulating hurdle and steeplechase track. The hurdle course is one mile six furlongs in distance while the chase course is 2 miles. Punchestown Racecourse also has the only cross country banks course in Ireland.

As well as horse racing, Punchestown hosts several music events, including the annual Oxegen festival, while AC/DC, Bon Jovi and Eminem are among the artists to have played sold out concerts on the racecourse. In 1982 Rory Gallagher played to over 16,000 people supported by U2, Phil Lynott, and Simple Minds. this was part of Hot Press fifth Anniversary.

Dick O'Sullivan has been General Manager since 2003.[1]

Punchestown Festival[edit]

The Punchestown Festival is the major horse racing festival of the Irish National Hunt Season and is usually held annually in April. The Punchestown Festival is held over five days, between Tuesday and Saturday inclusive. It is seen by many as the Irish version of the Cheltenham Festival and is run in a very similar format.

The major races at the Festival are the Champion Chase, Ryanair Novice Chase, Champion Hurdle, World Series Hurdle, Herald Champion Novice Hurdle, Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle, Growise Champion Novice Chase, Champion Four Year Old Hurdle, Champion INH Flat Race and the Punchestown Gold Cup.

Punchestown is also the home of Ireland's best known International Three Day Event. Run under the title of "Punchestown International Three Day Event and Horse Show," the annual event incorporates a CCI*** Three Day Event, National Showjumping and Showing as well as a Young Event Horse Class. Punchestown hosted the European Eventing Championships in 1991 and 2003. The 2008 event was cancelled at an early stage due to problems with the ground.


Punchestown Races were reorganised and reconstituted as "Kildare and National Hunt Steeplechases" in 1861. The first day of the 1868 meeting attracted 1 spectator.

Notable races[edit]

Month DOW Race Name Type Grade Distance Age/Sex
January Saturday Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle Hurdle Grade 2 2m 5yo +
February Sunday Tied Cottage Chase Chase Grade 2 2m 5yo +
April Tuesday Growise Champion Novice Chase Chase Grade 1 3m 1f 5yo +
April Tuesday Punchestown Champion Chase Chase Grade 1 2m 5yo +
April Tuesday Herald Champion Novice Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 2m 5yo +
April Wednesday Punchestown Gold Cup Chase Grade 1 3m 1f 5yo +
April Wednesday Champion INH Flat Race N H Flat Grade 1 2m 4yo-7yo
April Wednesday Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 3m 4yo +
April Thursday World Series Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 3m 4yo +
April Thursday Ryanair Novice Chase Chase Grade 1 2m 5yo +
April Friday Punchestown Champion Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4yo +
April Friday Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4f 4yo +
April Saturday Champion Four Year Old Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4yo only
May Saturday Mares Champion Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 2m 2f 4yo + m
October Thursday Buck House Novice Chase Chase Grade 3 2m 2f 4yo +
October Thursday Grabel Mares Hurdle Hurdle Grade 3 2m 2f 4yo + m
October Thursday Daily Star Chase Chase Grade 3 2m 7f 5yo +
November Sunday Craddockstown Novice Chase Chase Grade 2 2m 4yo +
November Sunday Morgiana Hurdle Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4yo +
November Sunday Florida Pearl Novice Chase Chase Grade 2 2m 6f 5yo +
December Sunday John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase Chase Grade 1 2m 4f 5yo +

Music events[edit]

As well as horse racing, Punchestown is a noted venue for its music festivals. These include Creamfields - held in 2000, 2001 and 2002; the Ozzfest - a few times; Witnness - held in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003; and the Oxegen festival which was held there from 2004 until 2013.[citation needed]

Maximum capacity for concerts is usually 80,000 people.[citation needed]

Eminem played two dates there in 2003, selling out both. They included his first ever Irish concert on 26 June 2003.[2] He did not return to Ireland again until 2010 when he topped the bill at Oxegen 2010, also held at Punchestown Racecourse.[3]

American rock band Bon Jovi played there on Saturday 7 June 2008.[4]

Australian rock band AC/DC played there on 28 June 2009, in front of 69,354 people. The concert was controversial, with long queues, lack of lighting at exits and too few stewards reported, barriers being pushed over and fans, forced into walking 10 kilometres to the concert, later expressing their rage against organisers MCD Productions for failing to ensure roads were clear.[5]

Westlife lead vocalist Shane Filan played at the racecourse as a solo artist in 2017.

Scouting Jamboree 2008[edit]

Punchestown was the site of Jamboree 2008, Scouting Ireland's first national Scout Jamboree from 2–10 August 2008. Bad weather forced the cancellation of visitors' day, with those who were to come being ordered to stay away.[6][7] Thousands of people from around the world attempted to break a world hand-shaking record.[8]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°11′02″N 6°37′48″W / 53.184°N 6.63°W / 53.184; -6.63