The office parties are over, you’ve opened all your presents and had your fill of turkey and ham. What next? Why not head to Dublin for the Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival. This 4-day event is a great way to spend a few days of Christmas. There’s no shortage of top class Dublin hotels, so after a ‘flutter’ at the racetrack you can party into the night.
Leopardstown is located about 10kms south of Dublin City centre, near Sandyford and Dun Laoghaire. This is a beautiful setting at the foot of the Dublin Mountains with Killiney Hill in the background.
The racecourse is easy enough to get to especially if you’re travelling by car. Once you reach the M50, head south towards Carrickmines and the M11. If you’re coming from Wicklow or Wexford along the M11, then you’ll need to travel north along the M50. From either direction you can turn off for Leopardstown at Junction 15 for Carrickmines.
If you’re travelling out from the city centre you can take the Green Luas Line as far as Sandyford (a journey of about 22 minutes from Saint Stephens Green) and Leopardstown Racecourse is not located too far away from there. On special race days there’s even a complimentary shuttle bus from the station out to the racecourse.
Firstly a little bit of history. Having been completed in 1888, Leopardstown Racecourse has been at the forefront of both Irish horse racing and of European horse racing ever since. The facilities at the course have been upgraded throughout the year and now there are 24 privates suites, the Leopardstown Pavilion and a number of bars and restaurants which include Fillies Café Bar, the Silken Glider Restaurant, the Paddock Food Hall, Club 92, Madigans and a few others.
Leopardstown Racecourse hosts 22 racing meetings throughout the year that include a mix of National Hunt and flat fixtures. The final run of the National Hunt starts on Saint Stephens Day and runs for 4 days in total. If you’re plan on attending all 4 days, then you can get a festival ticket that gets you into a reserved enclosure each day for just €95. The first race each day starts at 12.25 (this is subject to change though).
Day 1 of the Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival 2007 is the Durkan New Homes Day on Wednesday the 26th December. This day features the Durkan New Homes Novice Chase (Grade 1) & the Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1). The most important race of the 7 race card is the Durkan New Homes Novice Steeplechase which has a value of €100,000!
Day 2 of the Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival is Paddy Power Day. This day includes the Dial A Bet Chase (Gr.1), the Future Champion Novice Hurdle (Gr. 1) and the Paddy Power Handicap Chase (Gr. B). The big race of the day is the €190,000 Paddy Power Handicap Steeplechase that usually has a full field of 30 runners.
Day 3 of the Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival is The Lexus Chase Day. The Lexus Steeplechase of €200,000 is one of Ireland’s premier Grade 1 events. In 2002, 2004 and 2005 the irrepressible Beef or Salmon dominated the race. Last year The Listener, ridden by Daryl Jacob, won the race by a staggering 8 lengths.
Day 4 of the Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival is Bewleys Hotels Day. The bewleyshotels.com December Festival Hurdle has proven in the past to be a major event preceding Cheltenham. Many a fine performer here has gone on to win Cheltenham, including in 2005 when the 3rd place finisher, Newmill, went on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham three months later.
There are many other fine facilities at the Leopardstown racecourse including the Leopardstown Golf Centre that includes an 18-hole pay and you play course and a 74 bay floodlit driving range. The driving range is actually located in the middle of the racecourse. There’s also an all weather chipping and putting green for perfecting the short range aspect of your game.
If you plan on staying for the 4 days then you’ll be looking for somewhere to stay. Why not have a look and book one of our Dublin hotels that’s either close to Leopardstown Racecourse or has easy access to the course.
The handiest Dublin hotel is probably The Beacon Hotel, which is a 4-star hotel in Sandyford and is just off the M50.
In Stillorgan which is a neighbouring suburb of Sandyford you can find the elegant 4-star, Stillorgan Park Hotel. The very luxurious 5-star Radisson SAS Saint Helens Hotel is located on the Stillorgan Road.
Because the racecourse is very convenient to the Green Luas Line, then any of the Dublin hotels with easy access to the Green Line would also be a good bet. For example the first three stops of the Green Line are Saint Stephens Green, Harcourt Street, and Charlemont.
At Saint Stephens Green there’s the 4-star O’Callaghan Stephens Green Hotel.
The 3-Star Harcourt Hotel is located on Harcourt Street and Russell Court Hotel. There is also the Jackson Court Hotel that is a 2-Star.
And also at Charlemont Place we have the luxurious Hilton Dublin Hotel, a popular 4-star hotel.
The advantage of these hotels is that you can head away into town and have a good night out with your winnings.
If you’ve any queries about hotels in Dublin don’t hesitate to contact us by leaving a message in the comment box below.