Racing in Ireland
Horses waiting to go in the start gate.

Racing in Ireland

Totally different yet totally the same

I was blown away by my time at both the Curragh and Leopardstown Racecourses. Until my trip to Ireland I had only experienced horseracing in North America and though I knew there were differences between racing in the UK/Europe and North America I was not prepared the amount of differences. 

Below are my findings.

If you want to see more photos from The Curragh and Leopardstown click on the red.

The Track

The Curragh  The Curragh Racecourse is a very wide turf track for thoroughbred race hroses

  • Turf
  • Two-miles
  • Horseshoe-shaped
  • Uphill finish
  • Run to the right
  • Five and six-furlong races are run on the straightaway
  • So wide, it’s split into thirds with removable rails to preserve footing for future race days
  • Flat racing only

Leopardstown

Leopardstown Racecourse

  • Turf
  • One mile and six furlongs
  • Oval
  • Uphill finish
  • Run to the left
  • Flat races as well as National Hunt, hurdles and steeplechase

The Horses

  • 95% – of horses wore quarter marks
  • 90% – had banged tails
  • 50% – were braided
  • 50% – wore colourful browbands

The Jockeys

  • Taller
  • Heavier – by no means fat
  • I know several factors go into weights of jockeys but on the surface this is what I found
  • Jockey’s weights on average at The Curragh and Leopardstown 126 – 140 lbs
  • Jockey’s weight on average in North America 115 – 123 lbs

The Pony Horses

  • There aren’t any
  • A handler has the pleasure of leading horse and jockey to the edge of the track where they are set free
  • Most canter towards the starting gates quite happily, but of course there are always one or two that get a little stuck and need a hand

The Valets

  • There aren’t any
  • Jockeys carry their own saddles and equipment

The Parade Ring

This is where things got confusing. 

The Curragh

3 parade rings

1st – the nameless parade ring

1st  – no name from what I understand

  • Walked to the right
  • Hand walking and tacking up

 

2nd – Pre-parade ring

2nd – pre-parade ring
  • Walked to the right
  • Hand walking and tacking up
  • cool out after the race

3rd – Parade ring

3rd – parade ring
  • Walked to the left
  • Jockeys, owners and trainers meet
  • Jockeys get on
  • Top four horse cool out and photos taken
  • Winners circle
  • Jockeys, owners and trainers chat again

Leopardstown

2 parade rings

Pre-parade ring

1st – Pre-parade ring

  • Walked to the left
  • Hand walking and tacking up
Parade ring

2nd – Parade ring

  • Walked to the right
  • Jockeys, owners and trainers meet
  • Jockeys get on
  • All horses cool out
  • Winners circle
  • Jockeys, owners and trainers chat again

The Bookmakers

  • Digital totes
  • Colourful umbrellas
  • Math
  • I didn’t even try

“Riders Up”

  • No one says, “Riders up”
  • A bell rings when it is time for the jockeys to get on

The Programs

  • They are called racecards
  • All one word
  • I feel like it should be two words
  • But I can’t spell so…
  • Colourful
  • Glossy paper

The Meets

  • There are race days
  • There are race weeks
  • There are not months of racing at one track

All photographs are the work of Horse Sport Destinations

error: Content is protected !!