Wexford Racecourse is a National Hunt racing venue in Wexford, Ireland, in an area that has seen forms of horse racing since the 1870’s.
Located way down in the south-east, Wexford is famous for having made huge decisions which have changed racing on the track forever.
Firstly, in 2015, when the direction was changed meaning runners began to go left-handed instead of right-handed. The following year in 2016, the track halted its previously popular Flat racing meetings to begin its life as a jumps-only venue.
- Address – Wexford Racecourse, 5 Selskar Street, Wexford, Ireland.
- Owner – Sports (Wexford) DAC.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
Wexford is left-handed, at least now, undulates throughout and is of a rectangular shape. The track is only around nine furlongs around, making it pretty sharp. Speedier types are definitely favoured here, with those racing near the front tending to do better.
Each steeplechase circuit features six fences, just one of them being on the home straight. Given the layout, horses to have proven speed at similar tracks should be noted by punters, while if you’re using stats then reliable speed figures are what to look out for.
The track’s change in layout to left-handed from right-handed is still relatively fresh, so there may be more intricacies to be worked out.
The feedback from jockeys since the change however has been positive. The finish is now uphill, which is better for all, with the track apparently riding a little fairer than before meaning fewer worries for punters.
The undulations around Wexford make it difficult to water, something that can keep the track fast which adds to the sharpness mentioned meaning speed is often of the essence.
Visiting Wexford Racecourse
While simply being there to watch the races is the key motivator for the majority of Wexford racegoers, the track is proud of its food options.
Wexford happily caters for hen and stag parties, while it also offers corporate menus, group buffets and more.
How to Get to Wexford
Getting to Wexford by road is simple enough. The track sits only 1km from the town of Wexford, opposite to Wexford General Hospital on the main road to Waterford.
To get there; exit the N25 at the New Ross roundabout. From there, head towards Wexford which is signposted, as is the racecourse which is only 1km away and on your right.
There is a railway option too. The Irish Rail service running between Dublin and Wexford stops four times per day. Stops also include Bray, Wicklow, Gorey and Enniscorthy on the way.
A local bus service runs up to 17 times a day between Wexford Station and the nearby Wexford General Hospital, providing easy access.
Where to Stay
Though some people may choose to stay around the coastal areas, there are enough hotel rooms, rental properties and B&B’s to cater for racegoers within Wexford.
About Wexford Racecourse
Though racing had taken place around the Wexford area for much longer, it was in October 1951 that things changed for good here.
Then, a new track was opened at Bettyville with the stands built now offering great views for the public and all modern facilities. Though an official figure wasn’t recorded, it is estimated that around 17,000 people attended the first meeting which is quite a feat.
The first race on such an important day in the course’s history was at 2pm, the majority of those 17,000 people having paid to be there at 10 shillings for men, 5 for ladies and half a crown for those going into the outside enclosure.
From that point on, the track didn’t rest on its laurels and has been improved, developed and refurbished several times over the decades.
That work continues to this day. Two furlongs were added to the track and the racing direction was changed from right to left-handed. A reservoir was moved in order to aid the widening of the east side of the track, also allowing for better irrigation of the racing surface.
Further track widening was undertaken also, allowing for the rails to be moved meaning fresh ground for the second day of a two-day meeting. Stabling, weighing room and other horsemen’s facilities have also been upgraded.
With the undulations making it hard to water the track effectively, the surface has been levelled meaning the make-up of the track has changes markedly over the years. Frankly, it’s nice to see a racecourse doing something different and not being stuck in the past.