Friday 20 July 2018

Family fun is a racing certainty

The ultimate playground awaits all at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival, writes General Manager Peter Roe

Fairyhouse General Manager Peter Roe
Fairyhouse General Manager Peter Roe

Peter Roe

Welcome to the 2018 Easter Festival of Racing at Fairyhouse, the home of Ireland's favourite race the BoyleSports Irish Grand National on its traditional Easter Monday slot. The iconic race is now worth €500,000 and has become Ireland's richest jumps race and the third most valuable between here and the UK.

The 2017 winner of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National Our Duke typified what is great about this race. It was a first win in the race for Meath jockey Robbie Power and Kildare-based trainer Jessica Harrington, however the story of the winning owners, the Cooper Family syndicate, made national headlines. The syndicate comprised of four family members originally from Coolrain on the foot hills of Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Laois.

Racing enthusiasts can look forward to one of our best festivals ever with a host of leading performers from both sides of the Irish Sea battling it out for over €1.55m worth of prizemoney.

Fairyhouse is long established as a place where dreams come true, horses become champions and add to their lore. Arkle, Flyingbolt and Fortria were among those that followed up Gold Cup or Champion Chase triumphs at Cheltenham with spectacular feats of weight-carrying around Ballyhack and its environs in the Irish Grand National. 

You tend to know what you have as an owner or trainer when you leave Fairyhouse for the first time. It is a proven nursery. 

Prince Regent won the Irish Grand National in 1942, the first of Tom Dreaper's record 10 victories in the race. World War II prevented Jimmy Rank's gelding from challenging for the major cross-channel prizes in his pomp but he still claimed the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1946 as an 11-year-old. 

Bobbyjo (1998) and Numbersixvalverde (2005) are two winners that went on to be triumphant at the following season's Aintree Grand National. Last year's winner, Road To Respect ran a cracker to finish fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year on unsuitably soft ground. 

There were plenty of graduates from the Fairyhouse academy that travelled to Cheltenham with significant prospects of glory and quite a few of them rubber-stamped their qualities, and that of Fairyhouse as a producer of champions. And the evidence just keeps stacking up. You cannot beat Fairyhouse form. 

But Fairyhouse is not just about racing this Easter Weekend as we prepare the ultimate playground with fun, excitement, food, music and great atmosphere for everyone as well as a funfair and playground to keep the little ones happy and especially for families as all under-16s are free!

We look forward to welcoming you to our festival and it has never been easier to come and visit us by car, bus or train - just check out our directions on www.fairyhouse.ie. It'll be our pleasure to have you with us.

Irish Independent

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