Irish Horse Racing Betting
There hasn’t been much in the way of good news for racing fans this week but some was forthcoming when Horse Racing Ireland confirmed racing on the Emerald Isle will continue behind closed doors, for now.
The HRI decision, made with full government backing, means racing is set to carry on in Ireland with strict social distancing rules in place.
The schedule has been rejigged to ensure no ‘double fixtures’ are in place while all meetings will take place during afternoon slots. Ireland now has a race meeting scheduled each day until March 29th.
As usual, racing from Ireland will be broadcast on the dedicated Racing TV channel but there’s also a bonus for UK viewers as the ITV cameras will offer four races from Thurles on Saturday afternoon, to be broadcast live on ITV4.
Bet on Irish Racing
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Grade 3 Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase Tips
Saturday’s feature contest is the Grade 3 Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase over 2m2f, due off at 3:10pm.
Trainer Henry De Bromhead and Cheltenham Festival-winning rider Rachel Blackmore could harvest more success here with Capuccimix, a 5/1 chance for the Thurles race.
He had finished second to subsequent Grand Annual winner Chosen Mate at Gowran Park in January prior to recording a smart success at Naas earlier this month and looks a chaser with the potential for success in this £33,000 contest.
Randox Ulster National Tips
On Sunday the action switches to Downpatrick where the feature is the Randox Ulster National, a race which was first run in 1939 and has a long and illustrious history.
Caughoo won the 1945 and 1946 runnings before taking victory in the 1947 Aintree Grand National, while more recently Pineau De Re won at the Ulster track in 2013 when he was trained by Philip Fenton and 12 months later he gave trainer Dr Richard Newland and jockey Leighton Aspell glory on the biggest stage of all as he held off Balthazar King to win the Aintree version.
The Ulster National at Downpatrick holds a unique spot on the calendar, being the last ‘National’ before Aintree in April.
Jumps racing in Ireland differs somewhat from that in Great Britain in that there is less quantity. Routinely, Irish jumps meetings take place on Saturday, Sunday and Thursday through the National Hunt season.
Where the British season peaks with Cheltenham and Aintree, Irish jumps campaigns are aimed towards the Punchestown Festival – the last of the three major spring festival in the UK and Ireland.
Punchestown is a five-day meeting that takes place in late April into early May, beginning on the final Tuesday in the month and running until Saturday.
There are 39 races including no fewer than 12 at Grade 1 level and a total prize pool of over £3.2m is on offer for the 2020 Punchestown Festival. It is not the only major spring gathering in Ireland.
Irish Grand National
Easter Weekend is the traditional slot for the Irish Grand National meeting at Fairyhouse. The action begins at Fairyhouse on the Saturday and culminates with the Easter Monday running of the Irish Grand National.
2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Irish Grand National, a stalwart at the heart of the Irish sporting calendar and one of the three main spring ‘Nationals’ alongside those run at Aintree and Ayr in England and Scotland respectively.
These two festivals are long-established and are the highlights at Punchestown and Fairyhouse, two of Ireland’s best-known jumps courses. The third of those is at Leopardstown, a track situated close to the heart of Dublin City centre.
Leopardstown plays host to the Winter Festival over Christmas, a four-day meeting crammed with Grade 1 action and big-field handicaps that marks the midpoint in the jumps season.
More recently the Foxrock track has become known for the innovative Dublin Racing Festival, which takes places on the first weekend of February and has quickly established itself as a pre-Cheltenham fixture of some importance. The two-day meeting has already created a track record of producing subsequent Cheltenham Festival winners and it appears set to go from strength to strength.
Most major bookmakers in the UK allow punters to live stream all Irish racing for as a little as a £1 stake per race, opening up a host of action from the likes of Punchestown, Fairyhouse and Leopardstown to the more picturesque Irish tracks at Tramore, Killarney and Listowel and many more.
Look out in particular for the Harvest Festivals that take place at the last-named duo during August and September for a real feel of Irish jumps racing in its natural environment.
*Odds subject to change.