The Irish National Hunt Festival

One of the biggest racing events of the horse racing season at Punchtown Racecourse is swinging into action this week, namely the Irish National Hunt Festival. This historic and anticipated five day event will once again see thousands of spectators and horse racing enthusiasts flocking to the racecourse, and some of the best horses in the industry will be there to thrill the crowds.

There has been some controversy involving the racecourse in recent years, including the possibility of closure, but over the last three racing seasons it is clear that the track has been able put the bad years behind and is moving forward strongly. Punchtown has been bustling with activity lately, in preparation for the Irish National Hunt Festival. Looking at ticket sales, organizers estimated that some one hundred thousand people will be attending over the five days.

To ensure that race-goers do not go hungry, there will be more than a thousand catering staff, seventy-five chefs, fourteen kitchens, twelve thousand bottles of champagne, more than six tons of beef and more than enough lamb and salmon to satisfy everyone’s hunger needs. With the expected twenty thousand spectators a day attending the Irish Hunt Festival, it is hoped that the Saturday will be a family day, as children have always been encouraged to attend the festival with their parents, and there is a professional crèche available at the racecourse.

Tuesday, the 22nd of April 2008, will be Kerrygold Day at the festival, as well as opening day. Guinness Day takes place on Wednesday; on Thursday is Ladbroke Day; ACC Bank Day will be on Friday; and the final day on Saturday, 26th of April 2008, will be Ballymore Day. Two of the favorite races of the festival, especially amongst the locals, are The Bishops Court Cup and the La Touche Cup. The Bishops Cup especially is one of the most supported races, as farmers and locals in the area bring their everyday work horses and compete in this amateur race, which is fun and entertaining to watch. In between the bumper racing schedule that has been confirmed for each day of the festival, activities and attractions will be held throughout the festival, such as the famous fashion competitions, boasting very handsome prizes this year.

The Irish National Hunt Festival is bound to be an exciting and successful event this year with spellbinding racing, good food and excellent facilities that includes a bar, medical facility, wheelchair facilities and beautiful grandstands. It is definitely going to be a week of fun and excitement, as Kildare fills up with visitors who travel to participate in one of the most prestigious horse racing events of the season.