Punchestown Festival

5 Days of Jump Racing Every April / May

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Punchestown Festival: the premier jump racing fixture in the Irish calendar

Located in the village of Eadestown, near Naas in County Kildare, Punchetown Racecourse is best known for hosting the premier jump racing fixture in the Irish calendar, the five day Festival meeting held at the end of April or beginning of May each year.

Established in 1824, Punchestown has been in use in its current format since 1861, and soon grew in popularity. A major redevelopment in 1998 upgraded its facilities to the layout largely in use today. It is also home to the only Cross Country banks course in Ireland.

Special coaches from Dublin City Centre and the airport and shuttle bus services to and from Naas are laid on for the Winter Festival and the main spring Festival.

Punchestown Racecourse

punchestown tracetrackWhile Punchestown does host a couple of flat race fixtures, it is predominantly a jumps track and is due to stage 21 days of racing throughout 2024, from three days in January, right through until New Years Eve.

Punchestown is a right handed, galloping  track of virtually 2 miles around making it one of the largest in the country. Undulating in nature, but not overly stiff, it has a slight, but steady climb over the final five furlongs to the home straight.

There are 11 fences in a circuit on the chase track. The fences are considered very fair – good jumpers should have few problems negotiating them. The hurdles track is sharper, particularly the inside track which tends to be used for smaller winter meetings.

Punchestown also has a cross-country course with a variety of banks and other obstacles. The cross-country course is a long and twisting one with both left and right handed turns.

Aside from horse racing, the track has been used for several other purposes over the years. Many music Festivals have made use of the wide expanse of land notably the Oxegen festival between 2004 and 2011. Notable acts to have appeared there include AC/DC, Eminem, Radiohead and Bon Jovi.

In 2008 Punchestown played host to Jamboree 2008, Scouting Ireland’s first National Jamboree. Closer to its normal use, it was the home of the European Three Day Eventing championship in both 1991 and 2003.

Punchestown Festival attracts the cream of Ireland's horses, jockeys and trainers

With a prize fund of over €3.4 million for Spring Festival, this 5-day social and sporting highlight attracts the cream of Ireland’s horses, jockeys and trainers.
Figures below show the last 3 years (to April 2024) ordered by number of winners — courtesy of At The Races.

Punchestown Top Jockeys

Jockey Runs Wins Prize Money Strike-Rate P/L
P Townend 40 16 €1,100,698 40% -€0.50
M P Walsh 49 10 €221,100 20.41% -€12.26
D E Mullins 48 7 €173,100 14.58% €8.53
J J Slevin 43 7 €315,000 16.28% €32.13
Rachael Blackmore 57 6 €72,600 10.53% -€44.40
J W Kennedy 36 6 €174,603 16.67% -€9.16
B J Cooper 29 5 €161,400 17.24% -€4.25
B Hayes 22 5 €114,900 22.73% €2.48
D Meyler 18 5 €103,200 27.78% €7.00
D J O’Keeffe 54 4 €41,100 7.41% -€27.34
Jockey Runs Wins Prize Money Strike-Rate P/L
P Townend 83 46 €1,711,199 55.42% €10.24
J W Kennedy 102 20 €254,101 19.61% -€0.56
M P Walsh 104 18 €179,403 17.31% -€37.80
S F O’Keeffe 102 9 €117,000 8.82% -€5.75
D J O’Keeffe 136 8 €115,800 5.88% -€63.50
D E Mullins 125 8 €155,402 6.4% -€90.95
J J Slevin 102 8 €77,699 7.84% -€49.63
D N Russell 38 8 €81,001 21.05% -€18.24
Rachael Blackmore 104 7 €354,600 6.73% -€51.69
B J Cooper 61 7 €63,000 11.48% -€28.00
Jockey Runs Wins Prize Money Strike-Rate P/L
Mr P W Mullins 41 17 €241,500 41.46% -€4.19
Mr J J Codd 32 4 €26,400 12.5% -€28.04
Miss J Townend 23 3 €93,000 13.04% -€10.82
Mr H C Swan 29 3 €22,200 10.34% -€27.81
Mr D O’Connor 30 2 €69,000 6.67% -€14.63
Mr J L Gleeson 18 2 €69,000 11.11% -€14.77
Mr B O’Neill 22 2 €15,600 9.09% -€11.25
Mr R W Barron 9 2 €18,000 22.22% €29.00
Mr D G Lavery 15 2 €66,300 13.33% €15.00
Mr D McGill 5 2 €15,600 40% €13.00
Jockey Runs Wins Prize Money Strike-Rate P/L
L F Roche 6 3 €22,501 50% €64.50
D P McDonogh 9 2 €16,799 22.22% -€1.90
C T Keane 13 2 €15,600 15.38% -€2.25
R C Colgan 10 2 €21,600 20% €37.00
D McMonagle 9 2 €19,199 22.22% -€1.25
C D Hayes 12 2 €16,500 16.67% -€1.00
C P Hoban 5 2 €18,000 40% €19.00
W M Lordan 5 2 €16,200 40% €2.67
R P Cleary 14 1 €10,201 7.14% -€12.75
W Joyce 6 1 €6,000 16.67% -€2.75
Jockey Runs Wins Prize Money Strike-Rate P/L
Mr J W Kenny 10 3 30% 2.00
Mr T Hamilton 8 3 37.5% 1.00
Mr R James 6 3 50% 2.30
Mr B Lawless 6 2 33.33% 5.00
Mr S E O’Rourke 9 1 11.11% -5.00
Mr B O’Neill 8 1 12.5% -6.20
Mr P A King 7 1 14.29% -6.00
Mr J L Scallan 8 1 12.5% -3.00
Mr L J Murphy 8 1 12.5% 1.00
Mr H D Dunne 6 1 16.67% -2.00

Punchestown Top Trainers

Trainer Runs Wins Prize Money Strike-Rate P/L
W P Mullins 146 32 €1,582,197 21.92% -€31.20
G Elliott 92 12 €304,203 13.04% -€47.19
H De Bromhead 96 10 €149,100 10.42% -€61.65
J P O’Brien 28 5 €109,800 17.86% -€15.75
E Bolger 45 4 €33,300 8.89% -€28.75
M Brassil 13 4 €257,100 30.77% €26.88
Peter Maher 48 3 €33,600 6.25% €8.00
M F Morris 14 3 €68,700 21.43% €15.91
T M Walsh 13 3 €25,800 23.08% €7.25
R Tyner 8 3 €22,800 37.5% €11.50
Trainer Runs Wins Prize Money Strike-Rate P/L
W P Mullins 232 68 €2,342,102 29.31% -€13.87
G Elliott 267 37 €428,402 13.86% -€78.05
G P Cromwell 111 14 €106,501 12.61% -€41.56
H De Bromhead 121 10 €404,101 8.26% -€39.69
Mrs J Harrington 52 6 €72,000 11.54% -€20.83
J P O’Brien 52 5 €54,000 9.62% -€35.00
P J Rothwell 89 5 €38,700 5.62% -€39.50
P Roche 39 5 €46,201 12.82% -€13.42
N Meade 57 4 €85,200 7.02% -€27.75
Peter Fahey 63 4 €109,501 6.35% €3.20
Trainer Runs Wins Prize Money Strike-Rate P/L
W P Mullins 73 20 €388,500 27.4% -€27.89
G Elliott 52 8 €108,600 15.38% -€20.85
G P Cromwell 8 3 €21,300 37.5% €13.25
E Mullins 8 2 €12,000 25% €2.00
N Meade 7 2 €30,300 28.57% €2.00
C Byrnes 6 2 €18,000 33.33% €32.00
H De Bromhead 6 2 €19,501 33.33% €23.50
S R B Crawford 23 1 €9,000 4.35% -€1.00
Peter Fahey 8 1 €6,600 12.5% -€7.25
T Mullins 8 1 €6,600 12.5% -€5.50
Trainer Runs Wins Prize Money Strike-Rate P/L
J P O’Brien 21 4 €40,798 19.05% -€12.53
Mrs J Harrington 22 3 €20,460 13.64% -€6.00
G Elliott 9 3 €180 33.33% €2.50
M O’Callaghan 6 3 €23,701 50% €14.75
G M Lyons 7 2 €15,600 28.57% €4.75
J S Bolger 13 1 €10,201 7.69% -€11.75
S Lavery 12 1 €12,000 8.33% €0.00
A P O’Brien 9 1 €7,200 11.11% -€4.00
A McGuinness 5 1 €8,100 20% €0.50
J C McConnell 15 1 €6,000 6.67% -€2.00
Trainer Runs Wins Prize Money Strike-Rate P/L
Colin Bowe 19 3 15.79% -9.50
Matthew Flynn O’Connor 4 2 50% 7.00
Denis Paul Murphy 9 1 11.11% -5.00
Peter Maher 6 1 16.67% -4.20
J J Hanlon 6 1 16.67% -5.00
Sean Thomas Doyle 8 1 12.5% -3.00
Donnchadh Doyle 7 1 14.29% -6.00
Liam Kenny 5 1 20% 1.00
G Elliott 5 1 20% -3.20
Colin S McKeever 4 1 25% 2.50

Punchestown's New "Hunt Stand" Opened in 2018

Named in keeping with its hunting associations, epitomised by the fox in its logo, Punchestown’s new three-story trackside Hunt Stand is positioned overlooking the final furlong of the famous Kildare course opened its doors in 2018. This 4,000m2 stand boasts an outdoor terraced grandstand to accommodate 3,000 people, plus indoor associated bars, restaurants facilities and kitchen areas, capable of accommodating some 1,500 guests.

Punchestown Trackside Hospitality

Beyond the parade ring and into the enclosures the Punchestown Festival is Ireland’s largest sporting corporate hospitality event and will host over 17,000 guests across an impressive array of restaurants, pavilions and suites.

Hospitality options at Punchestown include private box hire, plus a choice of no less than four trackside restaurants in the main, panoramic and new Hunt Grandstands.

  • THE WATCH HOUSE – A restaurant offering panoramic views of the track
  • LA TOUCHE – A bistro styled restaurant
  • PUNCHESTOWN PAVILION – Located trackside with tables seating groups of up to 10 people and serving a four course menu. Live music is usually laid on after racing.
  • FESTIVAL PAVILION – Provides a five course menu with wine, plus buffet style snacks during racing. Bar is open until after the last race.
  • THE CORINTHIAN – Part of the new Hunt Stand offering a boutique style restaurant and a balcony overlooking the fina furlong of the track.
  • PRIVATE SUITES – Available on the top floor of both the Panoramic and Main Grandstands with private balconies, each suite caters for between 20-50 guests with buffet style catering and bars open throughout the day.

What to Wear at the Punchestown Festival

While there is no obligatory dress code at all Irish race meetings, unlike Royal Ascot or the Epsom Derby, and you won’t be turned away if you arrives in jeans or chinos, most racegoers still opt for a ‘smart but casual look’, espefically at the more prestigeous Irish Racing Festivals,  such as the Punchetown Festival in April / May.

There is often, however, a prize for the ‘Best Dressed Lady’, especially on ‘Ladies Day’, and the ladies certainly do not disappoint. This may of course be driven by the fact tat here is usually a very nice prize on offer. You could, for example, win an over night stay in a swanky hotel + a cash prize, not to mention getting your photo in the local papers.

So don’t hold back, get out your glad rags on and go for it, but be prepared for the weather with sensible  shoes and a hat that won’t go chasing after the horses at the finish line.

Best Dressed Lady @ the Irish Derby Festival

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