Leopardstown is one of the jewels in the Irish racing crown, the track based close to the heart of Dublin city and staging top class action both on the Flat and over jumps.
The course, built by Captain George Quin and modelled on Sandown Park, was completed in 1888, and is a mere five-miles south of the Dublin city centre, ensuring it offers the perfect setting for racegoers hoping to sample brilliant racing combined with a visit to Ireland's capital city.
Here's our guide to Leopardstown racecourse.
|What||Dublin Racing Festival|
|Where||Leopardstown Racecourse, Foxrock, Dublin|
|When||Saturday 3rd – Sunday 4th February, 2024|
|How to watch||bet365 Sports Live Streaming, ITV, RTE & Racing TV|
Leopardstown is the premier dual-purpose racecourse in Ireland, boasting action from the top drawer, both on the Flat and under National Hunt rules throughout the year.
The spring includes key Classic trials for both the Derby and Irish Guineas, while there's lots of Group-race action across the summer months, much of it taking place on midweek evening cards.
The centrepiece of Leopardstown's flat season is the Irish Champion Stakes, a raceday which now makes up one half of Irish Champions Weekend in September alongside the Curragh.
Over jumps, there are two major festivals at Leopardstown that form key parts of the Irish season.
The track stages four days of Christmas racing from December 26th onwards, with lots of Grade 1 contests, including the Racing Post Novice Chase, the Christmas Hurdle, the Future Champions Novice Hurdle and the three-mile Savills Chase.
Arguably, pride of place, however, is now reserved for the Dublin Racing Festival, a two-day weekend meeting held at the start of February that now houses both the Irish Champion Hurdle and the Irish Gold Cup – races that were previously run a month apart – among its haul of Grade 1 action.
Neatly positioned between Christmas and Cheltenham in March, the DRF was only established in 2018 but it has rapidly become a key stop-off on the Road To Cheltenham.
The flat circuit at Leopardstown is a wide, left-handed oval track of around a-mile-and-three-quarters. The course is fairly level except for a slight rise from the last bend and the turns are easy, essentially making it a galloping track. They tend to get racing a long way from the finishing line and that tends to make the races real strong tests of stamina.
The left-handed jumps course is also wide in nature and a-mile-and-three-quarters in length. The jumping tests are fair, though three of the fences in the back straight are close together and that can catch out some less experienced chasers.
The inner hurdles course is rather sharper in character than the chase track and tends to provide a significant test of tactical speed. The wide nature of the track at Leopardstown helps to ensure that 'hard luck stories' are less prevalent here.
As well as the top-class action on the racecourse, Leopardstown prides itself on offering the best of post-race entertainment for its patrons.
The Live at Leopardstown series runs throughout the summer and has a reputation for bringing the best International and Irish acts to the stage.
There are a wide selection of ticket options and A La Carte Dining is available in the 1888 Restaurant, while more informal Summer Party packages see fans located in the Leopardstown Pavilion.
Leopardstown hosts 23 race days across the year in total, including both National Hunt and Flat racing highlights, and its location just south of Dublin city centre, at the foot of the Dublin mountains, makes it a perfect racing destination.
The Dublin Racing Festival also provides post-race entertainment and in 2023 a record crowd of 34,591 people descended on Leopardstown to celebrate the best that Irish racing had to offer – many of them visiting from the UK.