Down Royal Racing

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Horse racing in Northern Ireland has a very long and noble history. Horse breeding in Co. Down was founded by Royal Charter from James II in 1685 and the Down Royal Corporation named as a result. Racing began in the historic town of Downpatrick and then by royal appointment at the present Down Royal Racecourse in 1789 after George II donated £100 for a King's Plate race.

Free Horse Racing Tips, Click Here! This race still runs today as part of the Down Royal Racing calendar and now known as the Royal Plate continues to be part funded from the Privy Purse. A course well named, Down Royal racecourse is a superb venue steeped in history and with a reputation for outstanding horseracing that is enhanced year on year.

Continued investment in the course, both in attracting the best horses and in improving facilities for racegoers has reaped rewards for the course with record attendances, bigger purses and a fantastic atmosphere for all Down Royal racing fixtures. The long held enthusiasm for horseracing in Co. Down means a strong local presence on and off the field and the numbers are swelled by racegoers from Britain and Ireland keen to be a part of the phenomenon which is Down Royal racing.

The course is located 4km from the town of Lisburn and 16km south of Belfast, easily reached from the main A1 road south to Dublin and by rail to Lisburn.

Both Flat racing and National Hunt fixtures are staged at the course and unusually, both are represented by top class racing. The highlight of the Flat season is the Ulster Derby, part of the three day Summer Festival, while the Northern Ireland Festival of Racing showcases the best of the National Hunt season in November.

The flagship race of the meeting is the James Nicholson Wine Merchant Chase, a Grade I event worth £150,000. Previous winners have included Florida Pearl and winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Looks Like Trouble, both of which were bred locally. The success of the November two-day meeting is perhaps surprising given that it was only introduced in 1999 but it is indicative of the passion for racing in Co. Down that it has become something of an overnight sensation.
Down Royal Racing, inside rail

In addition to the main chase, further races of note over the two days include the Anglo Irish Bank Hurdle and the Killultagh Properties Chase. Another factor in the success is the track used for Down Royal racing, which is an undulating right-hander of one mile and seven furlongs, offering plenty of challenges for horse and rider. This is especially true of the stamina sapping uphill finish which makes for incredibly thrilling race climaxes.

Down Royal Racing, winner Terrific racing and first class facilities are all well and good but can count for little if the entrance costs are prohibitive.

With large attendances and great local support, admission into Down Royal is free for children under 12 and so is within reach of anyone who wants to experience the thrill and fun of Down Royal racing and perfect for a family day out in Co. Down.

The course may be old but there is no shortage of contemporary food and drink options. A self service restaurant, cafe, and fast food outlets provide the food while there is a choice of bars for refreshments. Corporate facilities are also available and found within the first floor of the grandstand where there is a VIP suite with a capacity for up to 130 persons, seated at tables of 10.

Private marquees can also be erected to cater for groups of between 10 and 1,500 guests and all hospitality supplied comprising CCTV, private bar and Tote betting.

Hospitality at the Races probably isn’t as expensive as you think! “Do it in style”, there's nothing nicer than being waited on royally during your day at the races!