Another very popular racecourse to visit in Ireland is Roscommon, situated only 75km away from Galway and 145 west of Dublin.
Racing has been scheduled here since 1885 when the first meeting took place, and now the track hosts both National Hunt and Flat racing throughout the year. While fixtures are limited, they remain well attended and well supported by owners and trainers.
- Address – Roscommon Racecourse, Racecourse Road, Carrownabrickna, Lenabane, County Roscommon, Ireland.
- Owner – Roscommon Racecourse Company Limited.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
Both Flat and National Hunt racing is staged here, so it pays to know the intricacies of both tracks.
Roscommon is a right-handed track, just under one and a quarter miles in length and featuring a run-in after the final bend of three and a half furlongs.
The turns here are quite tight meaning low draws and speed types are sometimes of use to punters, though all in all Roscommon is known as being very fair so don’t get too hung up on running styles.
Flat Track Analysis
Roscommon riders have fed back that the track is indeed sharp to right, quick in nature somewhat, but again pretty fair so it seems jockeys agree that many types can win here. Jockeys have noted that the draw is less important over shorter trips.
The National Hunt course at Roscommon is once again right-handed of course, about 1¼ miles around and is pretty much flat aside from some ridges down the three-and-a-half-furlong straight.
The turns are once again fairly tight, though fences on the chase course are generally pretty easy.
There are just two fences down the back and three up the straight, while the hurdles course features three flights down the back and two on the straight.
Jumps Track Analysis
Roscommon has often been noted as a popular summer jumping track with jockeys. They mostly feed back that it rides very fair, so again don’t get too hung up on looking for frontrunners or hold-up horses.
The bends are tight, as noted by riders too, though the track gets good feedback overall and the obstacles aren’t seen as very testing at all.
Visiting Roscommon Racecourse
Whether Flat racing is your thing or the jumps tickles your fancy more, Roscommon tends to be one of the more popular venues to visit for racegoers.
The racecourse has a little bit of everything with the basics certainly all taken care of; free car parking, free WiFi and a number of quality food and drink outlets to help the day become a major success.
Roscommon has two large stands for racegoers to get a look at the action, along with a viewing platform accessible to wheelchair users.
On busier days you can find anything up to 60 bookmakers standing at Roscommon, something that helps to keep prices honest on track, while you can also bet on the Tote meaning all bet types are offers and all types of punters well catered for.
How to Get to Roscommon
The majority of people wishing to attend meetings at Roscommon will be using the road network, which we have covered. Simply follow these basic directions from any of the towns and directions listed, then follow signposts for the racecourse itself:
- From Dublin – head west along the M4 and M6, then go north on the N61 at Athlone. The journey is around 145km.
- From Castlebar – go east along the N60 with the journey being around 85km in total.
- From Sligo – head southwest along the N4 and N61 for 84km. Follow signs for the track.
- From Galway – go northeast from the town around 77km, using the N63.
- From Mullingar – go west along the R392 for approximately 64km.
- From Longford – head for 30km along the N63 west.
- From Athlone – drive 30km northwest up the N61.
As well as these routes, you can get to Roscommon Town via train. The area is served by the Dublin Heuston to Westport line. The station is then only a swift taxi around away from the track, taking minutes.
Though Dublin serves more routes, the closest airport to Roscommon Racecourse is West Airport, Knock. The airport is less than an hour’s drive away via the N83 and N60 towards Roscommon.
Where to Stay
There are rooms available in and around Roscommon, so don’t worry too much about that. The fact that Galway is less than 80k away however offers other options on race days.
Roscommon’s Biggest Race
The biggest, richest and most famous race at Roscommon nowadays is the Kilbegnet Novice Chase. The race is run over two miles and is often won by a decent novice.
In fact, 1996 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Call had his very first race in the Kilbegnet, running third to a certain Sound Man who himself subsequently won two Tingle Creek Chases.
About Roscommon Racecourse
The very first horse racing meeting recorded at Roscommon Racecourse was staged in 1837. It was organised and run by the British military as they had a base in the town in those days.
Racing was made more official in the area in 1885 and has been going ever since, though there was a period from 1936 to 1948 when no racing could take place.
Though still a rarely used course in comparison with many, Roscommon has moved from hosting one race meeting per year to nine these days, all coming within the period from mid-May to late September or early October, even over jumps.
Given its popularity within the sport, Roscommon demands respect and is well supported by some of Ireland’s top owners, trainers and jockeys across both racing codes.
Though no major Graded or Group races take place at Roscommon, many a promising maiden or novice runs here early in their career with plenty going on to reach the big time.