Known also as Cork Racecourse Mallow, this venue is one of the best dual-purpose race tracks in Ireland, located at Mallow, around 21 miles north of Cork.
It’s very fitting too that this track is in Mallow. The racecourse sits only a few miles away from where the first ever steeplechase took place, Cornelius O’Callaghan and Edmund Blake famously racing each other on horses from the church at Buttevant to the church at Doneraile all the way back in 1752.
- Address – Cork Racecourse, Killarney Road, Mallow, County Cork.
- Owner – Cork Racecourse (Mallow) Limited.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
Cork boasts excellent Flat and National Hunt tracks, both being well supported by trainers and jockeys within the industry.
The flat track at Cork is a right-handed oval, flat in nature with no discernible lumps and bumps. There is a 1¼-mile inner track and a 1½-mile outer track.
Cork is seen as being fair in nature, with not too many excuses in running over the years.
There is a relatively short straight after the final bend, while the chute allows races of five and six furlongs to take place on a straight course.
Flat Track Analysis
The flat nature of Cork Racecourse, according to jockeys, means that quicker horses are better suited. Those able to jump out and go forward will usually hold an advantage.
The mile-and-a-half start is in front of the stands just before the line and from there, a low draw is often seen as an advantage as those being forced wide on the first turn can often struggle to get into position.
Those racing close to the pace, or making it, do tend to do well on the round track in general. On the straight course, jockeys report that those drawn high against the stands side are better off when the ground is fast. When the ground is soft, winners can come from basically any part of the course.
One good bit of advice from Cork riders is to be aware of confirmed hold-up horses on the straight track when the ground is fast. Fields tend to group tightly together near the rail and offer no quarter, meaning those attempting to come from the back often meet trouble with their race run before the final furlong.
The jumps track is once again right-handed and flat in nature.
The chase course is one-and-a-half miles round, much like the outer hurdles course, with the inner hurdle circuit being one-and-a-quarter miles round.
Although nice and flat, the jumps course is pretty galloping which keeps it generally very fair, with no specific type particularly favoured.
Each chase circuit has eight fences; one on each side, three along the back and three in the straight. The run-in is around a furlong after the final fence and generally offers enough time for closers to have a proper chance.
Jumps Track Analysis
Jump jockeys at Cork tend to report that the track is fair and galloping.
Despite this, others have said that prominent racers have had some more joy, as the track isn’t too stiff and so doesn’t allow hold-up horses that much of a chance to come back but the stats don’t necessarily back that up.
The fences aren’t reported as being too stiff, though when betting in a chase there should never be a time when you’re happy to back a suspect jumper anyway.
The ground generally stays fair here according to jocks. There are no real extremes of ground reported very often, so even when the ground is described as ‘soft’ it’s never a true slog and those with any form on easier going will get through it.
Visiting Cork Racecourse
Cork Racecourse Mallow sits right on the banks of the Blackwater. A wonderful place to visit, the track hosts some top races Graded events some excellent Flat races.
How to Get to Cork
There are various ways to get to Cork. If you’re driving, the track is situated 21 miles north of the city of Cork. Heading from Cork, rake the N20 and go beneath the railway bridge at the roundabout in Mallow. From Dublin and Waterford, use the N72 and N73.
Cork Airport is 27 miles from the track and so is easily accessible too. The airport is just 45 minutes away by road.
Many racegoers use trains to get to the track. Mallow station sees services from Cork, Dublin, Killarney and Tralee. From the station, the track can be accessed by a free shuttle bus. The bus runs before the meeting and again once the meeting is over.
There is also a good bus service from Cork to Mallow. Buses run every hour, meaning you can stay in Cork and shuttle into the track on race days.
Where to Stay
As mentioned above, the best thing to do is to stay in Cork. From there, you can drive into Mallow or use the once-an-hour bus service to access the track. Hotel rooms are plentiful in Cork.
Major Events at Cork Racecourse
Cork features several top races each year over both codes. The best of them are:
|Baroneracing.com Chase*||Chase, 5yo+, Grade 3||3m||April|
|Munster Oaks||3yo+, Fillies & Mares, Group 3||1m4f||June|
|Platinum Stakes||3yo+, Listed Race||1m||August|
|Give Thanks Stakes||3yo+, Fillies & Mares, Group 3||1m4f||August|
|Cork EBF Novice Hurdle||4yo+, Novice Hurdle, Grade 3||3m||November|
|Cork EBF Novice Chase||5yo+, Novice Chase, Grade 3||2m4f||November|
|Lombardstown Mares’ Novice Chase||4yo+, Mares Only, Grade 3||2m1f||December|
|Hilly Way Chase||5yo+, Chase, Grade 2||2m||December|
|Cork Stayers Novice Hurdle||4yo+, Novice Hurdle, Grade 3||3m||December|
*This chase is always known under a sponsor’s name, which can change from time to time.
About Cork Racecourse
Cork Racecourse Mallow, as we know it, was founded back in 1924 but racing has been known to take place for many, many years in the area before that. Racing of one form or another in fact has taken place in and around Mallow for hundreds of years.
As we mentioned, an important part of racing history comes from this very area. Very close to where racing takes place today at Cork Racecourse, the first known steeplechase was run in 1752, the riders basically using church steeples as their start and end points while jumping obstacles along the way, forming what we now know as steeplechase or simple ‘chase’ races.
Cork is known as a family-friendly venue. The racecourse has a permanent playground within the venue and there are many activities put on for children and families during the course of the year.