Down Royal Races

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Horseracing has always enjoyed royal patronage hence the long held nickname of the 'sport of kings' but there are some courses for which royal connections are at the root and ongoing status of the course. Among those which bear a justified royal tag is of course Royal Ascot but there is another in Northern Ireland whose origins, history and ongoing appeal is very much that of a classic regal arena and that is Down Royal Racecourse.

Free Horse Racing Tips, Click Here! King James II is first credited with founding a royal charter in 1685 for horse breeding in County Down and when George II offered a purse of £100 for a King's Plate race in 1789 the die was cast. The race is still run today as the Royal Plate in the same arena and still benefits from Privy Purse contributions, forming just a part of the incredible canon of Down Royal races.

The racecourse certainly has history and traditional racing culture seeping from its every pore but is not for resting on its laurels. Rather, Down Royal races are greater in number and form bigger attractions than ever before. This enduring and incremental success story is due to the investment in the course in both finances and in a local pride and local support.

While improvements in the facilities attract a wider cross section of racegoers, increased attendances mean bigger purses, the best horses and better standards of racing for all.

The buzz created by the strong local following of Down Royal races is infectious and the course draws keen race fans from all over Ireland and Britain to its most famous meetings and events. Part of the appeal for travellers is the convenient location of the course which is just 4km from the town of Lisburn and 16km from Belfast, just off the main A1 road which connects Belfast with Dublin. Regular train services link Belfast and Lisburn too.

Most Racecourse in Ireland feature both National Hunt and Flat race fixtures, with an emphasis on one over the other. At Down Royal however, both are represented by the very highest standards of competition.

The Summer Festival is the key flat racing event with the highlight being the Ulster Derby. Held over three days, the festival provides an excellent opportunity for enjoying some superb racing and a fun day out as part of a summer holiday in Co. Down and Northern Ireland. Come November it is time for the National Hunt to shine and shine it does with the two day Northern Ireland Festival of Racing.

The highlight of the November meeting is the Grade I James Nicholson Wine Merchant Chase. Locally bred horses Florida Pearl and Looks Like Trouble have won the race with the latter horse also tasting success in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Other prominent races of the November festival include the Killultagh Properties Chase and the Anglo Irish Bank Hurdle.
Down Royal Races, inside rail

Down Royal Races, winner In existence only since 1999, the November meeting's rapid rise to international acclaim is in a large part down to the commitment shown by the strong local support of Down Royal races but the challenging track plays its part too, undulating over its 1 mile 7 furlong length and ending in an incline which demands real strength, endurance and stamina.

Adult admission to Down Royal races is very afforable with concessions available for OAPs and students. Children under 14 get in for free. A fabulous family day out which won’t break the bank there are hospitality options too for those who prefer the exclusivity and luxury provided by a private box or suite and some first class race day dining.

Hospitality at the Races probably isn’t as expensive as you think! “Do it in style”, there's nothing nicer than being waited on royally during your day at the races!