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Naas deserves to host more races


Champoleon ridden by Nina Carberry. Picture credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Champoleon ridden by Nina Carberry. Picture credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Champoleon ridden by Nina Carberry. Picture credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

WHEN I was parking up at Naas Racecourse, it felt like it was something that I hadn't done in ages ... probably because I hadn't.

A fixture hadn't been held at Woodlands Park since November 9, so it was good to be back eight weeks and one day later, but it was strange to realise that there was such a gap between meetings.

Considering the acres of ground that Naas has at its disposal and the fact that despite the deluges of rain we had over the past week or so, the ground held up quite well for Sunday's meeting, it's a bit baffling how the fixture committee don't see it right to squeeze another meeting into that time frame.

Naas is a good jumping track, a track that no trainer would be afraid to bring a good horse to and indeed, during their six National Hunt meetings in 2013, a total of nine Grade One winners ran there – not bad for a track that doesn't host a Grade One itself.

Indeed, it has pretty much all you need. It's easily accessible and from a horse point of view, the stable yard has recently been renovated and in general the facilities are at the higher end of the scale.

At the recent HRI Awards, Naas was awarded the most 'family friendly' racecourse in Ireland and that's certainly not a bad thing.

All in all, it's just hard to know why a good jumping track like Naas can find itself without a meeting for such a lengthy spell of time, while, for instance, Navan were able to race five-times in the same period.

Now, there's not a thing wrong with Navan, who themselves host some top-class jump racing and have an equally good stable yard and facilities, but should they have five meetings – three in three weeks – in the same period where the likes of Naas have none?


Indeed, by the last meeting at Navan on December 21, the race limits had been reduced to just 18 runners as the track was taking a bit of a hammering. This Sunday Navan returns and the meeting will be back to 30-runner fields.

Surely Naas could have staged one of those Navan meetings to give Navan's ground a bit of chance to recover, if nothing else.

Of all the racecourses, though, it is hard to believe that Naas has just 15 scheduled fixtures in 2014, while Cork, Gowran Park and Navan all have more.