There has been racing at Tramore’s seaside track since 1912. A dual-purpose venue, Tramore hosts several meetings throughout the year with both Flat and National Hunt horsemen and women complimenting the track.
While the New Year’s Day meeting is very popular and features a big chase race, the major meeting of the year of the four-day August Festival. The Festival has grown in popularity throughout the years with many owners, trainers, jockeys and punters coming from far and wide to see the show.
- Address – Waterford & Tramore Racecourse, Graun Hill, Tramore, County Waterford.
- Owner – Waterford and Tramore Racecourse Company.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
Tramore’s track layout is a tight affair. Keep the various details of both the Flat and National Hunt tracks in mind before betting on races there, especially during the August Festival.
The Flat track is right-handed, sharp and undulating. The entire circumference of the Flat course is only seven and a half furlongs, making it as tight, however a clockwise version, of many American tracks.
The individual turns are very sharp indeed. As such, many horses do not act properly around Tramore and some course specialists are known. The straight is only a furlong and so, despite being uphill, doesn’t give horses much time at all to change the finishing order once rounding the bend.
A key thing to note about Tramore is that starting stalls aren’t used, so some horses handle flag starts well while others struggle with that.
Flat Track Analysis
It is no surprise to learn that jockeys to have ridden Tramore see it as very much a specialist track. It is certainly unique among Irish racecourses.
Tight to ride around and very unusual in nature, there are some ridges to tackle and an uphill finish but still the speedier types are more likely to do well if ridden correctly.
Much like at Chester in England, balance is key here perhaps even more so than speed, which is exactly why certain horses do come back and do well as they have the natural attributes required.
Direct feedback from jockeys confirms that, on good ground or faster, speed is the most important factor that we can judge as punters as horses tend not to come back to the field easily given the layout.
On rain-softened ground however, the playing field is narrowed just a bit. Some do come from the back and as long as they are in position before heading to the final bend, that uphill finish can make ranges change a fair bit on softer going.
The jumps track is of course right-handed again, undulating, and even tighter than the Flat course at around seven furlongs around which presents quite a challenge to National Hunt horses in itself.
The turns are tight and hard to negotiate, and once more despite a couple of climbs the jumps course generally favours more handy types including natural front-runners.
There are just four hurdles on each circuit; one on the side of the course before the turn to the back, one in the back straight and two on the run to home. The steeplechase course has five fences; two on the side, one down the back and two more in the straight.
There is a long downhill run to the penultimate fence, while the run-in after the last is only 160 yards.
Jumps Track Analysis
The feedback from jump jockeys to have ridden regularly at Tramore is that it is possibly the hardest track in Ireland to ride.
Clever riders remain patient on the downhill run after climbing away from the stands, as some horses can do too much and lose the advantage of handling the layout and racing handily.
Jockeys need to be bold when riding here. While the fences aren’t the most difficult, races can be run at quite a gallop so horse and rider must remain switched on.
Naturally, course specialist horses and regular Tramore riders do best of all here. Paul Townend, Rachael Blackmore, Danny Mullins and Darragh O’Keeffe have each ridden plenty of winners at Tramore in the past few years.
Visiting Tramore Racecourse
As well as going to the races, visitors here should take a wander around Tramore itself.
A seaside town, Tramore these days is popular with surfers and those indulging in other water sports owing to the large, sheltered bay as well as the numerous accommodation options available.
How to Get to Tramore
The track is less than 10km from Waterford Airport using the R708 and R675, though a better option for many would be Dublin which is 190km to the north. From there, simply head south on the M9 straight towards Waterford. Tramore and the racecourse will be clearly signed.
Wexford is 72km to the east using the N25, Cork is 122km south-west on the N25, while for Limerick (131km) and Tipperary (91km) are reachable using the N24.
Where to Stay
As mentioned above, Tramore has plenty of hotel rooms, B&B’s and rental properties available. It is well set up for visitors as a traditional tourist town.
The ever-popular August Festival is Tramore’s biggest meeting of the year.
The festival features four days of excellent racing action, and while the very best horses in the country may not be on show, some of the top trainers and jockeys certainly will be.
Tramore puts on a show for everyone. If horses aren’t a visitor’s main interest, then the bars, restaurants, and other amenities will keep everyone happy. The current schedule for the August Festival is:
- Day 1 – Thursday – HRI Ownership Day.
- Day 2 – Friday – BBQ Evening.
- Day 3 – Saturday – Style Evening.
- Day 4 – Sunday – Waterford LGFA Race Day.
Naturally Saturday is the biggest day of the festival – the Style Evening.
Prizes are on offer for racegoers, so those attending are encouraged to dress up. On the track there is a seven-race card, all on the Flat, with a Rated Flat Race the main feature.
Traditionally lots of entertainment is also put on by the course, including live music in all areas, a DJ in the paddock and the Festival Marquee being made available.
About Tramore Racecourse
The first racecourse built for the Tramore area was completed in 1785. Racing was conducted on the Strand and became very popular very quickly with both residents and tourists. By 1807, Tramore already had a major festival with a six-day event held in the town each August.
Numbers were good in the early days, but took a further boost from 1853 onwards when the railway line from Waterford was completed. Race meetings were bigger then than ever before.
In 1880, a new racecourse was opened using reclaimed land and over the next few years more facilities were added take make it a bigger and better attraction.
In 1911 however, the racecourse and associated attractions were flooded out. Repairs were impossible and so a new racecourse was needed. It was to be built at Graun Hill, a little further from the sea, with that location still used today.
The August Festival still pulls in major crowds in its current guides, more than 200 years after the first race meetings were held in the town.