Often described as the highlight of the National Hunt Season, one of the top racing festivals in Ireland will be taking place in Kildare’s Punchestown Racecourse. Punchestown Festival 2018 starts on Tuesday 24th April and continues until Saturday 28th. There will be 38 races over the five days, with record breaking prize money of over €3 million.
Punchestown is wheelchair accessible and whether your three or one hundred and three you are sure to have a great day out. Enjoy some family fun at their dedicated AES Family Day on Saturday 28th. Additionally, you will find a wonderful shopping village, live music and an electric atmosphere. The brand new ‘Hunt Stand’ is being launched within the reserved enclosure at Festival 2018, which has been branded as the ‘social hub’ of the festival. This exciting new build includes delicious eateries, a chic new Bollinger Bar and a buzzing Festival Bar. This is a racing festival not to be missed.
Tuesday is Champion Chase Day
On Tuesday 24th, the fun begins with the Boyle Sports Champion Chase Day. The gates open at 12 with the first race off at 3.40. With three grade 1 races including the Boyle Sports Champion Chase, the number of champions on show will be incredible. Expect the atmosphere to be phenomenal as the festival gets underway.
Win in the Style Stakes
The Punchestown Festival is not just a highlight of the racing calendar. Fashionista’s from all over Ireland will descend on the racecourse for one of the most stylish events of the year. The Bollinger Best Dressed Lady Competition takes place each day with the daily winners moving forward to the grand finale on Friday 27th. With a top prize of a fabulous trip to France at stake, fashion may just take precedence.
Gold Cup Wednesday
Wednesday 25th is Coral Punchestown Gold Cup Day. The renowned Coral Punchestown Gold Cup will be under starter’s orders at 5.30, but expect a top quality fields throughout the afternoon also. With two other grade 1 races, in a jam-packed schedule, you will be spoilt for choice.
Thursday at the Festival
On Thursday 26th the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle is the feature race. Taking a 3 mile tour around the racecourse, this will test the stamina of the horses and spectators alike. But first be sure to catch the Friends First Cross Country Steeplechase for the La Touche Cup over the legendary ‘banks’ course. With drops and double banks, log fences and birch rolls, not to mention Ruby’s Double, there are plenty of thrills and spills on this rollercoaster of a cross country. You will be amazed at the skill of the jockeys and the majesty of the horses who take on this ultimate challenge.
Friday, Champions of Style & Jumps
Friday 27th is BETDAQ Champion Hurdle Day. And it’s also Bollinger Best Dressed finale day. You can expect the style to be magnificent, both on and off the course. Punchestown always attracts a glamorous crowd. But as well as fabulous fashion, there will be the highlight of the BETDAQ Champion Hurdle for those whose interests lie more with all things equestrian.
AES Family Fun in Punchestown on Saturday
Last but not least, Saturday 28th is the AES Festival Family Day . So expect lots of street theatre and live music. The entertainment in the Junior Jockey Fun Club is free and includes bouncy castles, face painting, pony rides and a disco dome. On the racecourse, another race over the Banks Course will ensure that young racegoers will be in their element. As the Carry an Organ Donor Card Punchestown Charity Sweepstakes brings the festival to a close for another year, you will be so glad that you took the entire clan racing. These are the family days where memories are made.