THE FINAL countdown to the nation’s biggest festival in jump racing gets underway with a day of racing at Warwick that celebrates the best of the Emerald Isle.
The Irish Day at Warwick Racecourse this Sunday (March 8) kicks off the start of the Cheltenham Festival week, which also coincides with St. Patrick’s Day.
It is expected to attract an influx of Irish racegoers heading to the region for next week’s popular Festival.
And due to early demand, the racecourse has opened up an additional restaurant to accommodate punters keen to enjoy a week of top-quality racing at both Jockey Club courses.
Huw Williams, general manager of Warwick Racecourse, said the Irish Day was once again proving to be a hugely popular warm-up to The Festival.
He said: “Warwick has a proud reputation for being a strong proving ground for future stars of The Festival and this year is no exception in our first season as an all-jumps track which is being very well-supported by owners and trainers, and racegoers.
“Our Kingmaker Chase Day is regarded as one of the leading trials for The Festival. Its feature race was famously won by Long Run in 2010 before going on to beat the legendary Kauto Star and Denham to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following year.
“This year, the meeting yielded a trio of winners who now have their eyes on Cheltenham glory including Vibrato Valtat and Glens Melody who are among the favourites in the Arkle Challenge Trophy and the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle respectively.
“It will be exciting to see how they get on and whether local trainer Dan Skelton, the recently-appointed ambassador of Warwick Racecourse, enjoys success in what would be his first visit to The Festival.”
The gates for Irish Day will open at 12.10pm with the first race at 2.10pm and the last of six on the racecard at 4.50pm. Admission is £20 for adults on the gate or £18 if booked in advance online. A special Emerald package is available in advance only which includes admission, racecard and a pint of Guinness for £20. Admission is free for children aged 17 and under.
Further information and ticket details can be found at warwick.thejockeyclub.co.uk