DOWN Royal Racecourse in Co. Down has been named ‘Racecourse of the Year’ at a prestigious award ceremony celebrating the best of Irish horse racing.
The winners in the annual Horse Racing Ireland Awards were announced at a reception at Leopardstown Racecourse this week, which was attended by many of the industry’s leading figures. Guest of honour was Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD and guests were welcomed by Chairman of HRI, Joe Keeling.
Picking up the award for the first time in the awards 15 year history, judges said Down Royal was ‘one of the most popular and progressive racecourses in the country. The racecourse has undergone a huge amount of development and improvement over the past decade, and hosts the first Grade 1 race of the jumps season every year’.
Picking up the award, a specially commissioned bronze trophy created by sculptor Siobhan Bulfin, was Down Royal chairman Jim Nicholson and manager Mike Todd.
Mike Todd commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled and the award was absolutely unexpected. It’s rewarding to see our efforts over the last 21 years acknowledged and what we’ve achieved in recent times to develop our festival of racing and flat calendar.
“We’ve focused in recent times on keeping our race attendance strong and buoyant. We sell fun and the racing is a backdrop to a great day out. Down Royal is a vibrant, fun and buzzy place to come watch a spectacular sport.
“We have the first Grade 1 race of the entire race season that sees the National Hunt fraternity turn out at Down Royal and it’s great to have that calibre of horse at our track.”
Horse Racing Ireland Chairman, Joe Keeling, commented: “These awards have allowed Horse Racing Ireland to honour the wonderful achievements of the Irish racing industry throughout 2017. Many congratulations to the many nominees and the deserving winners and I wish everyone in the Irish racing industry continued success in the year ahead.”
The next race meeting at Down Royal takes place on Boxing Day, December 26. For full details go to DownRoyal.com