National Hunt Racing Fixtures
The National Hunt season builds up from November to the two major UK festivals, the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National and these are the best horse racing you can see anywhere in the World. There is Cheltenham Gold Cup as the feature of the Cheltenham festival which is run on the Friday which is the last of the four days of this festival. The Grand National is the main race at the Aintree Festival and this is a great spectacle for the viewing public.
The highlight of this Punchestown racing calendar is the 5 day long Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival which takes place from Tuesday 28th April – Saturday 2nd May 2009 and will host 32 top class races. Last year’s Festival was the most successful to date and attracted a record breaking 106,000 race-goers over the five days while offering 3million Euros in prize money.
The opening day Festival features is the Grade One Kerrygold Champion Chase won last year in stunning fashion by Paul Nicholls trained Twist Magic There is also a further two Grade One races – the Champion Novice Hurdle and the Ellier Developments Chase.
This is the famous Guinness Gold Cup day and features Ireland’s richest Grade One chase, won in 2008 by yet another Paul Nicholls trained horse, Neptune Collonges. The most popular betting race of the week also takes place on day two which is the Grade One Paddy Power Irish National Hunt flat race; the world’s richest bumper
The feature race of the third day is the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle. This third day also hosts one of the great Punchestown traditions with the Cross Country Avon Ri La Touche Chase – the race which saw “Oh Jackie” lead the field home in style last year.
This is Ladies Day at Punchestown and serves as a celebration of all that is great in Irish national hunt racing. The enclosures are filled with those who love fashion and style and is a perfect day for race-goers to get all dolled up and maybe win the best dressed awards. The big feature race of day four is the ACC Bank Champion Hurdle won last year by Nicky Henderson’s “Punjabi.
This is only the second year that has seen a day 5 at the Festival. It is a very popular addition as it attracted over 20,000 race-goers in 2008. The feature race of this fifth day is Ireland’s richest handicap hurdle valued at €220,000 and which is sponsored by Ballymore Properties.
King George Chase
The King George Chase is held at Kempton Racecourse on Boxing Day every year and is the second most prestigious race run over 3 miles in the country. Only the Cheltenham Gold Cup carries more prestige. It is raced over 3 miles and 18 fences and usually attracts a similar field to that of the Gold Cup itself. The Paul Nicholls trained Kauto Star has won the race for the last three years and he will be hoping to emulate the feat of the legendary Desert Orchid, who has four wins in the race and one second place.
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