Punchestown is one of the most famous racecourses in Ireland and the Punchestown Festival is its biggest event. The course, founded in 1875, is located in County Kildare and is considered to be the home of Irish jumps racing.
The Punchestown Festival is the last big NH meeting of the UK and Irish calendar. Taking place at the end of April and start of May each year, the Punchestown Festival really helps the season end in style.
It is essentially the Irish Cheltenham and regularly sees around 40 races. With 12 of those at the top Grade 1 level in 2019, there was over €3m up for grabs and that huge prize pool always attracts many of the stars of the jumps racing game.
Racing at the Punchestown Festival takes advantage of the late season scheduling by starting later than many meetings. The first race is at 3.40pm on Tuesday to Friday, while the action starts at 2.35pm on the Saturday, the last day of the fixture. With the last race of the festival at around 7.45pm, Punchestown is great if you have to work and means you can still take in most of the action.
Biggest Races at the Punchestown Festival
Almost all of the 39 races are classy affairs and all are worth watching and having a bet or two on. However, the biggest races, all 12 Grade 1s, can be seen below:
- Growise Champion Novice Chase – Grade 1, 3m1f
- Punchestown Champion Chase – Grade 1, 2m
- Herald Champion Novice Hurdle – Grade 1, 2m
- Punchestown Gold Cup – Grade 1, 3m1f
- Champion INH Flat Race – Grade 1, 2m
- Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle – Grade 1, 3m
- World Series Hurdle – Grade 1, 3m
- Ryanair Novice Chase – Grade 1, 2m
- Punchestown Champion Hurdle – Grade 1, 2m
- Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle – Grade 1, 2m4f
- Champion Four Year Old Hurdle – Grade 1, 2m
- Mares Champion Hurdle – Grade 1, 2m2f
Punchestown really is an amazing occasion and offers those horses that maybe didn’t quite hit their straps at Cheltenham one last chance at glory. On the other hand, for those that did the business in March there is the chance to really set the seal on a fine season with a Cheltenham/Punchestown double.
Either way, for those who love betting on jumps racing Punchestown is not to be missed.