Limerick Racecourse is one of the many horse racing venues in Ireland to host both Flat and National Hunt racing.
Sitting within Limerick, the current track opened in October of 2001 when it was the first purpose-built horse racing venue in the country for 50 years.
Limerick Racecourse’s current location is in fact the seventh different location to host the sport in Limerick since the 1790’s. The previous course at Greenpark closed in 1999 after racing for 130 years.
- Address – Limerick Racecourse, Greenmount Park, Patrickswell, County Limerick, Ireland.
- Owner – The Limerick Race Company.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
Many established jockeys had been used to the track over at Greenmount Park, however the newer venue has had plenty of racing now and is well established itself allowing us to learn all its quirks.
Limerick is right-handed with each circuit of the course being one mile, three furlongs. The track features a steep climb on the second half of the back straight, before taking runners downhill leading to the straight which is three furlongs in length. There is a slight rise to the winning line, meaning stamina comes into play.
Flat Track Analysis
Flat jockeys report that Limerick is very different to ride depending on the weather.
When the ground is fast, pace really comes into play. A low draw is also a big help, apparently. Things can be rather easy and indeed quick from the top of the hill on the far side of the track, making it hard to make up ground even in the straight.
When the rain comes however, things are different. On softer going, those at front come back to the pack in the straight more often than not and so patience and stamina are required.
The National Hunt course is known to be galloping in nature. A right-handed track, the jumps course like the Flat surface is a mile and three furlongs around in total.
There is a tight turn after the winning line before a sharp rise in the back straight, leading once more to the downhill run to the turn and the three-furlong home straight. The final two furlongs of the straight features a rise to the line.
Each circuit contains seven fences, with five of the seven all featuring down the back and coming in quick succession. The hurdles track is to the inner, while there is a run-in after the final obstacle of just about one furlong.
Jumps Track Analysis
National Hunt trainers and jockeys have reported that they think Limerick can actually be very tricky for horses.
The climb on the back straight can be quite the test with experienced riders looking to give their horses a rest around there if possible, as without that they will struggle to see out the trip at Limerick, especially when the ground is on the soft side.
Some jockeys look to boot their horse home on the downhill stretch which sounds wise in theory, however few get home from that point owing to the rise towards the line. Riding for pace may work now and again, however most jump jockeys ride for stamina here.
Limerick is a famous old place and well worth a visit either side of the races. The city was Ireland’s first National City of Culture in 2014, its cultural events being shown in various parts of town.
Theatres, concert halls and the popular Limerick City Gallery of Art are all worth visiting along with the racecourse.
How to Get to Limerick Racecourse
The racecourse is very close to the M20, so has easy access for motorists.
From the centre of Limerick, the track is just 12km southwest. Use the M20 to Patrickswell then turn off and follow signs for the racecourse.
Limerick is a good 2½-hour drive from Dublin using the M7, while the nearest airport is Shannon. From the airport, use the N19 and N18, the track is 36km away.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of rooms available in Limerick itself which is a short taxi ride from the racecourse.
Biggest Races at Limerick
The better races to take place at Limerick are all over the jumps, namely:
|Dawn Run Chase||5yo+, Mares Only, Novice Chase, Grade 2||2m6f||March|
|Limerick EBF Mares’ Novice Hurdle||4yo+, Mares Only, Novice Hurdle, Grade 3||2m||March|
|Fergus O’Toole Memorial Novice Hurdle||4yo+, Novice Hurdle, Grade 3||2m5f||October|
|Faugheen Novice Chase||4yo+, Novice Chase, Grade 1||2m3½f||December|
|Dorans Pride Novice Hurdle||4yo+, Novice Hurdle, Grade 2||3m||December|
About Limerick Racecourse
Limerick has had seven different racecourses down the years but in this era, most people will remember the story beginning at Greenpark.
Greenpark Racecourse was a popular venue and in fact hosted a visit of John F. Kennedy in 1963 alongside some competitive racing.
The venue wasn’t without its problems though. Flooding was rife, and as more cards hit the road in the 90’s congestion was also becoming a major problem and so it was decided that a brand-new racing venue was required for the area.
The spot was identified at Greenmount, close to Patrickswell just outside of town, with the land being purchased in 1996. With ground broken and work well on the way for the new track, Greenpark closed in 1999.
Racing continued in the area, when 11 acres of the site the racecourse sat on were sold to the Irish Greyhound Board who built the Limerick Greyhound Stadium, opening eventually in October 2010.
The new horse racing venue at Greenmount opened for business in 2001, the inaugural meeting attracting a crowd of some 18,000. The operators have never looked back since, with many a fine horse gracing the turf at Limerick.