Although there are both Flat and jumps tracks at Fairyhouse Racecourse, it is known as one of the best National Hunt courses anywhere in Ireland.
Situated north of Dublin, Fairyhouse is an area that has been hosting horse racing since 1848 officially and is best known these days for staging the Irish Grand National every Easter.
- Address – Fairyhouse Racecourse, Ratoath, County Meath, Ireland.
- Owner – HRI Racecourse Limited.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
There are two tracks at Fairyhouse catering for Flat and National Hunt racing, the latter featuring many more top races each year.
Fairyhouse is wide and galloping in nature. The track is more or less square in shape, a mile and six furlongs in length and right-handed. There is a slightly uphill straight of around three furlongs which gives horses plenty of time to sort themselves out.
Flat Track Analysis
Jockeys report back that Fairyhouse is very in nature, level for the most part, and benefits horses who like to race at or near the front of the pack.
The draw doesn’t seem to be too important in the minds of riders here, though over shorter sprint trips a higher draw is needed for hold-up horses.
Right-handed, square of course, Fairyhouse is a wide and galloping jumps track of some 1¾ miles.
A steady uphill run meets the horses on the side of the course running away from the stands, though they run downhill in the back straight.
Like the Flat track, there is an uphill run to the line over a three-furlong straight but horses of all types have won around Fairyhouse with no real biases being discovered.
Jumps Track Analysis
Much like before on the level, jumps jockeys again feed back that Fairyhouse is a lovely track to ride. Galloping, which suits so many riders and their mounts, the course here is trustworthy and seen generally as easy to ride.
Despite all of this, the fences at Fairyhouse are very stiff and provide a great test of a jumper, so inexperienced novices and bad jumpers cannot be followed here with confidence.
Visiting Fairyhouse Racecourse
Most people tend to arrive at Fairyhouse by car. When there, numerous parking options are made available and all parking is free.
How to Get to Fairyhouse Racecourse
From the Dublin area, drivers should take the N3 from the city heading towards Navan. After passing by Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, head along the road for around six miles on the M3.
Take exit 5 in the direction of Ratoath and Fairyhouse. Follow the signs for Fairyhouse before turning right onto the R155 for another two miles. Fairyhouse Racecourse is on the right-hand side and is well signposted.
The 105 Bus Eireann service stops right outside Fairyhouse Racecourse, linking racegoers with the track in a convenient way.
Dublin Airport is only a half-hour drive away to the north west, providing air links to and from London, Leeds, Manchester, Donegal, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bournemouth, Inverness, Aberdeen and Newcastle.
Where to Stay
Fairyhouse is pretty rural, so the best option if you are travelling in to watch the races is undoubtedly to stay in Dublin before heading up to the track.
Major Events at Fairyhouse
Fairyhouse keeps itself pretty busy, but the highlight of the year is definitely the Easter Festival which takes place over three days.
During the festival, the Irish Grand National is the main event, a race won in the past by the likes of Burrows Saint, Bobbyjo, Desert Orchid and Arkle.
These are the top races at Fairyhouse each year, in National Hunt racing season order:
|Race||Type/Grade||Distance||Time of Year|
|Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle||4yo+, Mares Only, Novice Hurdle, Grade 3||2m2f||January|
|Bobbyjo Chase||5yo+, Chase, Grade 2||3m1f||February|
|Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle||4yo Only, Hurdle, Grade 2||2m||February|
|Gold Cup||5yo+, Chase, Grade 1||2m4f||Easter|
|Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final||4yo+, Mares, Hurdle, Grade 1||2m4f||Easter|
|Festival Novice Hurdle||4yo+, Novice Hurdle, Grade 2||2m54f||Easter|
|Dunboyne Castle Novice Hurdle||4yo+, Novice Hurdle, Grade 2||2m||Easter|
|John and Chich Fowler Memorial Mares Chase||5yo+, Mares, Chase, Grade 3||2m4f||Easter|
|Juvenile Hurdle||4yo Only, Hurdle, Grade 3||2m||Easter|
|Irish Grand National||5yo+, Handicap Chase, Grade A||3m5f||Eater|
|Brownstown Stakes||3yo+, Fillies & Mares, Flat Race, Group 3||7f||July|
|Royal Bond Novice Hurdle||4yo+, Hurdle, Grade 1||2m||December|
|Hatton’s Grace Hurdle||4yo+, Hurdle, Grade 1||2m4f||December|
|Juvenile Hurdle||3yo Only, Hurdle, Grade 3||2m||December|
|Drinmore Novice Chase||4yo+, Novice Chase, Grade 1||2m4f||December|
About Fairyhouse Racecourse
Fairyhouse Racecourse is best known as the home of the Irish Grand National, a race that along with its English and Scottish counterparts is hugely important on the staying chasers’ scene.
As well as hosting some of the best chasers to have ever graced the turf in Gold Cups and Irish Nationals, Fairyhouse was used as the training ground for l’Escargot who went on to win the Irish Grand National against the great three-time Aintree National winner Red Rum.
Fairyhouse is one of a clutch of racecourses owned by then HRI, Horse Racing Ireland, which is the governing body. Formerly, Fairyhouse was managed by Dick Sheil with ownership moving from Fairyhouse Club Ltd.
It goes without saying that horse racing, especially the December meeting featuring the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle and the Easter Festival featuring the Irish Grand National, take centre stage at this venue. But they are not the only events to take place.
Each Sunday whenever there are no race meetings pencilled in, Fairyhouse Racecourse opens up as a market for people to sell produce. Items for sale include arts and crafts, fruit and vegetables, electrical good, equine equipment and more, making it important to the local economy.
Car boot sales and music events also take place at the site, with the future looking pretty secure for one of the most popular horse racing venues anywhere in Ireland.