Ballinrobe Racecourse - LeoVegas

Ballinrobe Racecourse

Location and History

Ballinrobe Racecourse is nestled in the picturesque town of Ballinrobe in County Mayo, Ireland.

One of the oldest racing venues in the country, Ballinrobe's history of horse racing dates back to the 18th century.

Its long-standing tradition has made it a cherished spot for horse racing enthusiasts, but there’s certainly a lot more to it than just providing entertainment in terms of watching racing.

The racecourse is unique for being the only one in Mayo and is frequented by local and visiting patrons alike. Set against the scenic backdrop of the Partry Mountains, the racing experience at Ballinrobe is not just about the thrill of the race, but also the breathtaking natural beauty surrounding the track.

Ballinrobe hosts both flat and National Hunt races, providing a diverse range of events that cater to various interests in the racing community.

The evening meets in particular are extremely popular, offering spectators a delightful blend of sport and relaxation as the sun sets. Ballinrobe is a track well-known for the quality of its food and drink stands, and the friendliness of the staff working there as well as for top-class racing.

A highlight of the racing calendar is the Ballinrobe Festival, which typically takes place in the summer. This festival attracts all of the top Irish trainers and jockeys, elevating the competitive spirit and excitement of the races.

Ballinrobe Racecourse offers far more than just horse racing; it provides an immersive experience that combines sport, tradition, and the serene beauty of the Irish countryside.

In terms of transport links, Ballinrobe Racecourse is straightforward for both locals and visitors to access, being well-connected to major Irish towns and cities.

By car, the racecourse is easily accessible via regional roads, with ample parking facilities on-site. The drive will take you roughly 50 minutes from Galway, four hours from Cork and just under three hours from Dublin.

For those relying on public transport, buses serving the broader Mayo region frequently stop in Ballinrobe, making the racecourse a short journey away. While there isn't a direct train link to Ballinrobe, nearby train stations, like Claremorris and Westport, provide good alternatives, with taxis or local buses completing the final leg to the racetrack.

The scenic drive through Mayo's countryside adds charm to the journey, getting you in the mood for the upcoming racing.

Types of Racing at Ballinrobe and Notable Races

Like most Irish tracks, Ballinrobe is home to both flat and jump racing. It is a slightly elevated right-handed track that boasts that incredible scenic view we have already mentioned. Ballinrobe is described by At the Races as:

“A right-handed oval track of about a mile, with a run-in of not much more than a furlong. While the back straight is uphill, the closing stages are downhill, and speedy types are favoured. Six-furlong races are run around a sharp turn. This is a tight track.”

Between mid-April and mid-September, it hosts 10 race meetings, with the highlight being the two-day July Festival made up of both flat and jump racing.

Ballinrobe has seen its fair share of historic racing moments over the years, including former Cheltenham winner Doran’s Pride winning its first-ever race there back in 1993. The track was also the venue for Tiger Roll to win for the first time over fences here in May 2016.

Tiger Roll of course, went on to become a double winner of the Aintree Grand National (2018 and 2019) and a five-time winner at Cheltenham.

Heroes at Ballinrobe

Let’s look at the jockeys and trainers who have taken a particular liking to the Ballinrobe course over the years by winning on numerous occasions, or having an impressive strike rate..

Top Trainers

  • Mrs John Harrington and Ms Joanna Morgan lead the way when it comes to flat racing, each having trained 13 winners here. They boast strike rates of 17% and 19% respectively.
  • If the great Aiden O’Brien has a very respectable strike rate of 37%, that’s nothing compared to Paddy Twomey. Of the six horses he has sent out to run at Ballinrobe, there have been five winners - a strike rate of 83%.
  • Over jumps, Gordon Elliott has had the most winners here with 50 from 359 (13% strike rate) while Willie Mullins has the best strike rate of all, at 29%.

Top Jockeys

  • The late Pat Smullen won here as a flat jockey on 50 occasions, the only man to get to a half-century of wins.
  • No jockey has yet been able to get to 50 wins when it comes to jumps racing. Ruby Walsh got to 49 before retiring while Barry Geraghty and P Townend managed 35 and 34 respectively.

Ballinrobe Trivia

  • In 2023, Ballinrobe won the Racecourse Award at the Irish Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards, sponsored by Godolphin. John Flannelly, Manager of Ballinrobe Racecourse, said:

“We are delighted to receive the Racecourse Award this year. We are continuously working to provide the best quality facilities for the racing industry at Ballinrobe. It is wonderful to be recognised by the stable employees for our efforts and we are looking forward to opening our new catering facility for stable staff and trainers in 2024’.

  • To celebrate a century of equestrian excellence, Ballinrobe Racecourse unveiled 'A History in the Making' – an exquisite anthology capturing the essence of this iconic County Mayo track through memoirs, rare photographs, intriguing historical tidbits, and behind-the-scenes glimpses. Curated by the renowned local historian, Averil Staunton, this book chronicles the journey of the racecourse to its present locale, retraces its transformative milestones, and pays tribute to the legendary horses and jockeys that have graced and triumphed at Ballinrobe over those first 100 years.

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