Irish Horse Racing Tips
Ireland is the country most synonymous with Horse Racing in the world. Pound for pound, Irish racing is the best in the world with some of the biggest and most successful flat racing and jumps yards in the industry. Irish trainers and jockeys also crowd out the top of the rankings and the pedigree of the horses bred here are second to none.
Irish Horse Racing is steeped in history with today’s races tracing back to the 1800s. Here we give you our top Irish Horse Racing Tips for the famous Irish Racing events and tracks on the Emerald Isle.
Top Irish Horse Races
Irish racing and British racing grew up together, so many Irish races are copied across from Britain (including a ‘Cambridgeshire’ in County Kildare and a ‘November Handicap’ that is rarely in November). In line with Britain, the Derby is Ireland’s premier Flat race, over 1m4f at the Curragh in late-June. These days it is held in the evening.
Irish Champion Stakes
The biggest race on Leopardstown’s Irish Champions Weekend in September, the most packed fixture in the Irish horse racing calendar, this 1m2f contest is often one of the strongest middle-distance races in Europe. It is often used to launch raids on the Arc, British Champions Day or the Breeders’ Cup.
Vincent O’Brien National Stakes
Named after the legendary trainer, this race is the first of the big end-of-season juvenile contests. It is run over 7f at the Curragh in September. The winner of either this race, the Dewhurst or the Jean-Luc Lagardere generally spends the winter as 2,000 Guineas favourite.
Moyglare Stud Stakes
Britain and France’s biggest races for two-year-old fillies are over a mile, which gives this 7f Group 1, which is run on the same day as the National Stakes, a unique place in the calendar.
The Irish answer to the King George VI Chase at Kempton, this 3m Grade 1 at Leopardstown tends to set the pecking order for the Irish challenge on the Cheltenham Gold Cup. British raiders tend to be those deemed too slow for Kempton.
Irish Champion Hurdle
One of the big races at the new Dublin Racing Festival, but a long-standing championship event in its own right. As might be imagined, it sets out the Irish team for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Punchestown Gold Cup
The feature race of Punchestown’s end-of-season spectacular in April/May, this race places slightly less emphasis on stamina than its Cheltenham namesake.
Top Irish Racecourses
Home to many of Ireland’s premier Flat races, including 10 of the 12 Group 1s. It is galloping, with a very slight uphill finish.
The biggest dual-purpose course in Ireland. A reasonably flat track, it is fairly galloping in nature when it comes to the Flat, but is rather sharper as a jumps course. The hurdles course in particular tests speed, while there is only one fence in the home straight before the winning post.
Tends to share top-billing with Leopardstown during the jumps season. It is a more galloping track and a fair jumping test (Irish fences are a little easier than British ones, in general), with a rise for the last half-mile or so.
Home to the Irish Grand National on Easter Monday. Offers one of the stiffest jumping tests in Ireland, with five fences in the last half-mile or so. It is also used for the Flat.
Horse Racing in Ireland – Facts
Irish horse racing fixtures roughly mirror those in the UK. Horses and racing are a bigger part of Irish culture and, over jumps, amateurs compete on a similar footing with professionals more often.
While the Irish Group 1 races on the Flat are subject to the rules of a Europe-wide Pattern committee, this does not exist over jumps. As such, Ireland has a significantly higher number of Grade 1 jumps races than might be expected. Some such races would not be deemed of Grade 1 quality in Britain, where the rules are a little closer to the Flat.
The nature of racing in Ireland is similar to Britain. A majority of races are falsely-run, but the best races tend to attract big fields and are more likely to be run at a true pace. Irish results tend to be fair.
How to bet on Irish racing in the UK
Which bookmakers offer betting on Irish Horse Racing?
All bookmakers in Britain will offer odds on Irish racing. Many of them, such as Paddy Power and Boylesports, are actually based in Ireland. Odds will sometimes be available a little later than on British races, but in general Irish racing can be bet on much the same as races in Britain.
Irish Horse Racing Odds
Irish horse racing betting is very similar in style to British racing. Odds offered on the track, especially in big-field, lower-grade races, tend to be have more bookie-friendly margins, so it is especially important that punters take a price.
Where to find Irish Horse Racing Results
Irish horse racing results are to be found on most UK horse racing sites. The Racing Post offers the most in-depth service, providing ratings and post-race analysis to the same extent as in Britain.
How to watch Irish Horse Racing from the UK?
Racing TV has had rights to Irish racing since 2019. The big meetings are often shown on RTE in Ireland.
How to stream Irish horse racing live
For those who do not have Racing TV, many bookmakers and the Racing Post offer a live streaming service on all races for those who have had a bet. This can be from as small an amount as £1.
Is there any Irish horse racing today?
Irish racing has temporarily been suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis. In normal times, there is generally one Irish meeting a day, between five and seven days a week. The blank days tend to be in the early part of the week. There will always be at least one meeting scheduled on Saturday and Sunday.
How many racecourses are there in Ireland?
There are 26 racecourses in Ireland. Two of them, Downpatrick and Down Royal, are strictly in the United Kingdom, but for the purposes of racing are treated as Irish.
Are Irish horses the best?
Pound-for-pound, Ireland performs the best of all racing countries on the world stage. This is mostly down to a handful of powerhouse yards: primarily those of Aidan O’Brien on the Flat and Willie Mullins over jumps. These top stables tend to crowd out competition within Ireland.
What is the oldest horse race in Ireland?
While racing has been held at the Curragh since the 17th Century, the formation of the races we now see in Ireland came much later. A version of the Irish Derby has been run since the 1810s, with the current format established in the 1860s.