A gem on the Irish racing circuit, Bellewstown Racecourse and its meetings go back for centuries. The first record of racing in the area was 1726 and it has continued ever since on an annual basis in the summer.
Only two race meetings each year are hosted here. The festivals in July and August show off both flat and jumps horses.
- Address – Bellewstown Racecourse, Collierstown, County Meath.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
The track at Bellewstown is of a rather simple design and layout. The jumps course is a straightforward left-handed oval, sharp in nature, while the flat track is the same but with a chute for five-furlongs races, as well as those over 1½ and 1¾ miles.
Racing around the left-handed oval at Bellewstown on the flat, fields start one-mile races on the back side almost directly opposite the winning line. Five-furlong sprints begin in the chute as the runners take in a slight dogleg left entering the straight.
The track is slightly undulating, with the final two furlongs being uphill.
Flat Track Analysis
Those having ridden the track speak of the need for balance as well as pace. There is a certain camber to the course as well as tight turns which can make it difficult for those without balance, especially given the likely fast pace.
With that in mind, those up on the front end usually do best as long as they can hold their position. An inner draw in the low numbers is naturally seen as a positive, though the straight is a good leveller so it’s not about avoiding horses with higher draws necessarily but more about hoping they aren’t simply forced wide when it counts.
The dogleg feature on the five-furlong sprint track presents issues. The fact that the field is always on the turn means getting a low draw and staying up with the early pace can be absolutely crucial.
A key point about Bellewstown is that there are no chases here, only hurdle races. Races are known to be fast and firm with the track on rather high ground, although despite it suited quicker types there is three-furlong uphill run towards the line.
Each circuit features five hurdles; two on the far side and three in the straight with none placed on the bends.
Jumps Track Analysis
The jumps track has an ever so slightly wider line around what are generally tight bends, making it a little easier for hurdlers than flat runners.
The long straights also help to ensure that there is time for runners to sort themselves out, making the track pretty fair all round.
Despite the tight bends and potential for fast ground in July, hurdle races don’t always go to front-runners so keep that in mind.
The track tends to make runners and riders want to go off a little too quick so that, along with the long uphill straight, means front-runners can be caught. An experienced jockey on a horse that doesn’t necessarily need to lead can be the way to go.
Visiting Bellewstown Racecourse
A fascinating place to visit; Bellewstown race meetings in the summer take place right on top of the beautiful Hill of Crockafotha.
Within the enclosure there is always a terrific atmosphere with regulars and tourists alike, and tickets are never overpriced.
The track is not too far from Dublin or from the coast, so many racegoers opt to combine a trip to Bellewstown with a trip to the big city and then a visit to the beach to round things off.
How to Get to Bellewstown Racecourse
Bellewstown is around 11km south of Drogheda using the M1 and then Platin Terrace. It’s also 35km from Dublin Airport, using the M1 most of the way.
Where to Stay
There aren’t too many hotels in the immediate vicinity, though there are more than enough rooms up in Drogheda. Many one-off visitors will choose to stay in Dublin, though there is no scheduled public transport between the two.
Major Events at Bellewstown
In terms of ratings and prize money, none of the races at Bellewstown will match up to those being featured at tracks such as the Curragh or Leopardstown.
They remain incredibly popular though, these being the best of them in the summer months:
|Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden||Maiden, 2yo Only||5f||July Meeting|
|Handicap||Handicap, 3yo+||5f||July Meeting|
|Irish EBF Sires Series Maiden||Maiden, 2yo Only||1m||July Meeting|
|Fillies and Mares Handicap||Handicap, Fillies & Mares Only||1m||July Meeting|
|Bellewstown Handicap Hurdle||Handicap Hurdle||2m1f||July Meeting|
|Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden||Maiden, 2yo Only||1m||August Meeting|
|Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle||Maiden Hurdle||2m4½f||August Meeting|
About Bellewstown Racecourse
Without knowing for certain when racing truly began at Bellewstown, the first recorded races featured in the August edition of the Dublin Gazette.
This was way back in 1726 and in 1780 George Tandy, brother of the famed Napper Tandy and at the time the Mayor of Drogheda, encouraged King George III to sponsor a race there. The event was valued at an impressive £100 and was called His Majesty’s Plate.
Located right on the Hill of Crockafotha in County Meath, Bellewstown Racecourse is in a grand location and as well as entertaining racing offers visitors awesome views of the Mountains of Mourne as well as the Irish Sea.
Traditionally, just two race meetings take place each summer at Bellewstown and that may be the case in the future too. From 2022 however, four meetings were scheduled at the track beginning much earlier than normal in April.
A terrific atmosphere was created at Bellewstown on September 30, 2021 when Frankie Dettori made his only visit to ride at the track.
Dettori was there to honour his long-time friend Barney Curley, organiser of the legendary Yellow Sam betting coup at the course back in June of 1975. The ride was to raise funds for Direct Aid for Africa, a charity set up by Curley.
Following the script beautifully, Dettori’s mount Trueba was prepared expertly by Johnny Murtagh and won on the day with the crowd roaring as the Italian legend hit the front and began looking through his legs for dangers from behind.