Fairyhouse Racecourse

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Fairyhouse Racecourse
Horse Racing at Fairyhouse.jpg
Horse Racing at Fairyhouse, 2013
Location Ratoath, County Meath, Ireland
Date opened1848
Course typeMixed
Notable races Irish Grand National
Official website

Fairyhouse Racecourse is a horse racing venue in the Republic of Ireland. It is situated in the parish of Ratoath in County Meath, on the R155 regional road, 3 kilometres (2 mi) off the N3. It hosted its first race in 1848 and since 1870 has been the home of the Irish Grand National steeplechase. [1]


The racetrack itself is a one-mile and 6.5 furlong right-handed circuit, with a 2.5 furlong straight and a slight uphill finish. The main business of Fairyhouse racecourse is betting on the races known traditionally in parts of Ireland as turf accountancy. Admission to Fairyhouse race meetings is free to under-16s along with various other promotions such as concession rates for OAPs and seasonal festivals (i.e. Winter Festival, Easter Festival etc.) [2] It also hosted the first three Witnness music festivals from 2000 to 2002 inclusive.


Fairyhouse hosting the Witnness music festival in 2002 Witnness.JPG
Fairyhouse hosting the Witnness music festival in 2002

Fairyhouse hosts both the Irish Grand National and Irish Gold Cup and races have featured Desert Orchid, Prince Regent, and Persian War among others. [1] The course was the training ground for l'Escargot, a winner of the Irish Grand National against famous racer Red Rum. [3] The Powers Gold Label Stand and Jameson stand were reopened following refurbishment in 1999 and Fairyhouse is described by Meath Tourism to be "firmly established as one of the most modern facilities in the country, providing an outstanding level of comfort and service." [1] The Irish Grand National is run every Easter Monday and currently sponsored by Jameson Whiskey. [4]


Fairyhouse is owned by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and was managed by Doneraile man Dick Sheil, a graduate of Warrenstown Agricultural College and UCD from 1999 until October 2006, one year after ownership passed hands from Fairyhouse Club LTD owing to financial difficulties. HRI viewed Dick Sheil as a tremendous asset to the course having brokered considerable sponsorship and managing many major meetings. [5] The course was overseen by a caretaker manager for almost a year and on 1 October 2007 the position was filled by chartered accountant Caroline Gray who had worked for the HRI finance department for five years previously and was described as an "innovator" by HRI. [6] The Powers Whiskey sponsorship is backed up by the Irish branch of Pernod Ricard, a sponsorship existing since 1960 and the longest sponsorship in Irish racing. Fairyhouse General Manager Caroline Gray credits this sponsorship for making the Irish Grand National what it is today but the term is due to end in April 2010 and future sponsor is currently uncertain. [7] Wet weather often affects Fairyhouse and Ireland had been experiencing the worst flooding on record in 2009.

Notable races

MonthDOWRace NameTypeGradeDistanceAge/Sex
JanuarySunday Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle HurdleGrade 32m 2f 4yo + m
FebruarySaturday Bobbyjo Chase ChaseGrade 23m 1f 5yo +
FebruarySaturday Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle HurdleGrade 22m 4yo only
EasterSunday Underwriting Exchange Gold Cup ChaseGrade 12m 4f 5yo +
EasterSunday Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final HurdleGrade 12m 4f 4yo + m
EasterSunday Festival Novice Hurdle HurdleGrade 22m 4f 4yo +
EasterMonday Underwriting Exchange Hurdle HurdleGrade 22m 4f 5yo +
EasterMonday Dunboyne Castle Novice Hurdle HurdleGrade 22m 4yo +
EasterMonday John and Chich Fowler Memorial Mares Chase ChaseGrade 32m 4f 5yo + m
EasterMonday Tayto Hurdle HurdleGrade 32m 4yo only
EasterMonday Irish Grand National ChaseHandicap3m 5f 5yo +
EasterTuesday Normans Grove Chase ChaseGrade 22m 1f 5yo +
JulyWednesday Brownstown Stakes FlatGroup 37f 3yo + f
DecemberSunday Royal Bond Novice Hurdle HurdleGrade 12m 4yo +
DecemberSunday Hatton's Grace Hurdle HurdleGrade 12m 4f 4yo +
DecemberSunday Bar One Racing Juvenile Hurdle HurdleGrade 32m 3yo only
DecemberSunday Drinmore Novice Chase ChaseGrade 12m 4f 4yo +

Non-racing events

On a Sunday, when there are no race meetings, Fairyhouse opens as a market selling local produce ranging from saddlery and tools to fresh vegetables, arts and crafts products and even electrical goods. The market also accommodates car boot sales. [8] The course is also a premier venue for musical

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Coordinates: 53°28′48.59″N6°27′40.83″W / 53.4801639°N 6.4613417°W / 53.4801639; -6.4613417