Wednesday, July 30, 2008Contact: Tamarisk Doyle, PR/Promotions Manager
087 2936357
Ireland publishes '09 fixtures list

The Irish racing fixtures for 2009 were released today (Tuesday 29th July) by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI). The key points in relation to the 2009 Fixture List are:

Total Number of Fixtures

  • The total number of fixtures has been increased by five from 350 to 355
  • The number of permanent turf fixtures has been increased by four from 322 to 326
  • The number of all weather fixtures at Dundalk has been increased by one from 25 to 26
  • No fixtures have been allocated to Tralee, or to the Curragh after July 26th 2009
  • The number of “floating fixtures” is unchanged at three (these are additional meetings which can be programmed at short notice and are provided for within the annual prize money budget)

    All Pattern race moves will need to be approved by HRI’s Programmes Committee and then ratified by the European Pattern Race Committee.


  • Listowel’s Whit weekend Festival has been expanded from two to three days, with the addition of a Saturday afternoon to their existing Sunday & Bank Holiday Monday programmes.
  • Killarney will take over the traditional Tralee dates and run a new four-day Festival from Tuesday evening 18th August to Friday evening 21st August.
  • Galway’s September Festival has been moved a week earlier into late August and has been expanded from three to four days, so that it will now run from Saturday evening 29th August to Tuesday evening 1st September.
  • Fairyhouse’s Easter Festival will revert to three days (from Sunday-Tuesday) with a non Festival fixture on the Wednesday. This will see a significant strengthening of the race programmes on all three days of the Festival.
  • Punchestown will once again run a five day Festival from Tuesday April 28th to Saturday May 2nd.

    Start/End of the Seasons

    Flat – The Flat season will start at Dundalk on Friday evening 27th February, although the races on this card (including a couple of bumpers) will predominantly be aimed at dual purpose horses (a number of Cheltenham contenders ran at the equivalent meeting in 2008). There will then be a three week gap before the next flat fixture on Friday evening, 20th March.

    The removal of several early season all weather fixtures, which were not well supported by either the horse population or racegoers in 2008, has allowed for three additional Wednesday evenings to be created in November 2009. This will facilitate racing twice a week following the conclusion of the turf flat season, as sought by Dundalk following last year’s experience. The flat season will then conclude at Dundalk on Friday evening, 27th November, one week earlier than this year.

    National Hunt – Due to the later date for the Punchestown Festival next year, the national hunt season will end on Saturday 2nd May, one week later than in Britain. This also means that any horse losing its novice status at Punchestown will still remain a novice for the 2009/10 British national hunt season.

    Saturday Evenings

    There are nine Saturday evenings scheduled for 2009, which is one up on this year but still below the previous highest total of ten. Tipperary has lost its Saturday evening in July, while the two new 2009 dates are Galway on 29th August, as part of an earlier and expanded four day Festival, and Dundalk on 7th November to coincide with the running of the Breeders Cup in America. This will facilitate the opening of off-course betting shops throughout Ireland on that evening.

    Commenting on the 2009 Fixture List, Brian Kavanagh, HRI Chief Executive said: “Given the developments in relation to Tralee and the Curragh, 2009 was always going to be a challenging fixture list. That said, I believe that the HRI Fixtures Committee have produced an exciting schedule of racing with a small increase of five fixtures overall. A first ever Group 1 race for Naas, new Festivals for Listowel, Killarney and Galway, significant changes to the Autumn all weather programme and a move to Thursday evenings for Leopardstown’s summer fixtures are the main features. Whilst the balloting situation has improved somewhat this year, continued focus on this area is necessary and HRI will therefore continue to place an emphasis on staging quality racing at times and venues that best suit the racegoing public.”