Three Days Of Racing In Killarney This May

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The Legend of the Lakes…Legend has it that the warrior chieftain O’Donoghue of Ross Castle, Killarney, still glides his great white steed across the Lakes of Killarney. On the first morning of May every seven years he rises from the lake on his magnificent white horse followed by beautiful maidens. Today the Month of May is more associated with horses of a modern kind, as Killarney hosts the first of its three summer race meetings. Killarney Race Course is set against the backdrop of Ross Castle and Lough Lein. The first race meeting begins with family day on Sunday May 12th, followed by evening races Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th. Riding the white steed ‘Bridget’ is Race Course Manager, Philip O’Brien and Marketing Manager Megan Daly-Tyrrell. Photo Valerie O’Sullivan

THE white flag is being unfurled as the spectacular Ross Road track in Killarney – acknowledged as the most scenic in the country – prepares to host three days of top quality racing.

The action will get underway on Sunday, May 12 which has been designated a special family day out and nothing is being left to chance to ensure that children – and the young at heart – are well catered for.

The first race will be at 1.35pm and a feast of high quality National Hunt racing is on the cards as well as free entertainment, fun-filled competitions and music with some terrific prizes to be won.

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Monday will be an evening meeting with the off timed for 5.05pm and the eagerly awaited highlight will be the high-profile Killarney National which this year will feature an increased prize fund of a whopping €70,000, thanks to the generosity of new sponsor TOTE Ireland.

Tuesday’s racing – a flat card – will also be an evening meeting with the first race timed for 5.20pm and it has been designated as a special night at the track for those involved in the hospitality industry with special discounts available for all hard working hospitality staff.

There will be a very impressive overall prize fund of €450,000 for the May meeting and some of the superstars of the sport will be in Killarney over the action-packed three days.

When it comes to racing festivals, Killarney simply has few rivals in terms of excitement and a top quality venue and it came as no surprise to punters when the course was voted number 13 in the top 20 racecourses in the world by the Racing Post.

Like the legend of O’Donoghue, the story of racing in Killarney is rich and colourful and the tradition dates back to 1822, while the present racecourse, set against the backdrop of Killarney National Park, was opened in 1936.

The May festival meeting is the first of three planned for the summer and the other dates for the diary are July 15-19 – with the hugely popular Ladies’ Day planned for Thursday 18th – and August 21-24 with Ladies’ Day on Saturday, August 24.

The races have a great deal to contribute to Killarney with the three annual festivals bringing more than 80 races over a total of 12 days. The conservative estimate is that the races are worth in the region of €6.2 million to Killarney with an additional €1.6 million in prizemoney.

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