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Punchestown Racecourse
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Punchestown Races Guide

Punchestown is the home of National Hunt racing in Ireland and the location for the major end-of-season festival that concludes the campaign.

The five-day Festival in late April-early May is the last of the three major UK and Irish spring meetings, following on from Cheltenham and Aintree.

Punchestown hosts an array of Grade 1 jumps races throughout the season and, currently, is used exclusively for National Hunt racing. 

Here is our guide to Punchestown racecourse.

WhatPunchestown Festival   
WherePunchestown Racecourse, Co Kildare
WhenTuesday 30th April – Saturday 4th May, 2024
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, RTE & Racing TV

Key Races at Punchestown


  • Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle
  • Punchestown Champion Chase
  • Punchestown Gold Cup
  • Champion Novice Hurdle 
  • Champion INH Bumper
  • Champion Stayers Hurdle
  • Punchestown Champion Hurdle
  • Ryanair Novice Chase
  • Champion 4YO Hurdle
  • Mares Champion Hurdle
  • Morgiana Hurdle
  • John Durkan Memorial Chase

Punchestown Races can be dated as far back at 1861, while by the middle of that decade fences and hurdles were first introduced, and recorded attendances had grown to some 40,000.

It is known as the home of Irish jump racing and plays host to the annual Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival in late spring. 

That five-day meeting is laced with Grade 1 contests, including the Punchestown versions of the Champion Chase, Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle.

They also replicate the major races from Cheltenham, with Grade 1 novice contests over hurdles and fences, a top-tier contest for the four-year-olds and a prestigious champion bumper. 

The festival at Punchestown routinely runs into the opening days of May and the Saturday is the final day of the Irish season, when the champion trainer and jockey are crowned. 

Away from that marquee meeting, there are lots of major racedays through the season, including the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle and the John Durkan Memorial Chase – two of the key pre-Christmas contests run on Irish soil.

Track Layout 

Punchestown is a right-handed, galloping, undulating track with a steady climb through the last five-furlongs to the winning post and it is widely considered a fair test of jumping ability.

There are eleven fences on the two-mile circuit and the tests wouldn't be considered stiff, though track knowledge is quite often an advantage for jockeys. 

The two hurdles courses are located inside the chase track, emphasising the sheer volume of ground on the site at Punchestown, and it has some tight bends to be negotiated before a long run-in. 

The famous cross-country course is a long and twisting one over a variety of banks and other obstacles and it makes for interesting viewing, with turns that are both left and right-handed.

Visiting Punchestown

Punchestown Racecourse is located in the parish of Eadestown near Naas in County Kildare. 

The Main Grandstand is host to the Archive, Loft & Sports Bars, while Punchestown also have the Members Bar for any Punchestown Members in attendance at racedays. Eating facilities at each raceday include the Hay Café and the Feedroom self-service restaurant.

As with other Irish racecourses there is no formal dress code for attending Punchestown, smart casual is advised with a caveat to be sure to dress for the elements. The racecourse advises that 'it can be cold, wet & windy during the winter months but that's nothing a good coat won't fix!'

In 2023, the anticipated attendance was for 110,000 people across the five-day festival event that attracts visitors from throughout Ireland, the UK and further afield to Co Kildare.

The Punchestown Festival is billed as a 'homecoming' for the Irish talent that may have succeeded in Cheltenham or Aintree, but it is also hailed as a chance for British raiders to come across the Irish Sea and compete for top races and prizemoney at the home of Irish National Hunt racing. 

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