Tramore Racecourse Guide: Races and Facilities

Getting to know Tramore Racecourse

Tramore Racecourse has been described as “where the turf meets the surf” due to its coastal location in Waterford, Ireland. The course is a Grade Two racecourse and features a right-handed track on a roughly seven-furlong (1400m) circuit, and the times of completion for the circuit can vary massively depending on conditions.

Tramore has hosted racing in some form or another since the 1700s, and the race meets that took place here back in the day used to be on the beach! In fact, until the early 1900s, this was the way it remained, resulting in some very challenging conditions as you would imagine.

Tramore races have now taken place at the current course for over 100 years. In recent years, there have been more types of events that have been held at the course on race days, including concerts.

This is a historic location and has a significant role in the history of Irish horse racing, Waterford’s stunning views make it a very popular course for people to visit.

Tramore racing events past and future

Tramore hosts 11 different meetings over the course of the year, each with many different races taking place. There are sometimes other events sprinkled in with the normal calendar. The races are a mix of Flat and National Hunt and draw crowds from the local area as well as further afield.

The most notable of all the events is the four-day August Festival, which is popular with racing fans all over the UK. As previously mentioned, the stunning 80-acre setting on Waterford’s coastline makes it one of the most beautiful meets of its kind.

There is also an annual New Year’s Day Meeting which has numerous events, including the Listed Holden Plant Rentals Chase and the Savills New Year's Day Chase, as well as the David Flynn Construction Maiden Hurdle. Winners at the 2024 New Year’s Day Meet included Quais De Paris ridden by Paul Townend and trained by the iconic and successful W P Mullins.

The August meet in 2024 will take place between 15th and 18th of August and feature some of the finest horses and jockeys in the UK.

A brief history of horse racing in Tramore

Tramore has been associated with racing for centuries, and when you see the course and the vibrant meets that go on, this is self-evident. The earliest record of Tramore holding races was in 1785 when Bartholomew Rivers, a local resident of the area, started to hold races along the strand. This included an annual race that often had shifting sands and caused trouble for jockeys and horses alike.

Throughout the 1800s, there were times where the racing stopped, sometimes for decades, but locals always knew that horse racing was possible there and that it was part of the culture. In 1807, there was even a full six-day festival held there.

In 1854, there was a huge boost to the area as the railway opened. This meant that it was possible for horse racing enthusiasts to come from further afield. This railway also helped the local area to become more of a holiday destination, as it still is today.

In 1890, the lease of the course was bought by Martin Murphy, a local businessman who turned the course into a much-enhanced location. He added street lighting, a hotel and even a golf course, but there was damage from the sea in 1911 and the course had to be moved to its current location.

Fast forward all the way to 1997, and a consortium bought the location and turned it into an even more modern and advanced racecourse. They invested millions in the course, turning it into a racecourse fit for modern life as they tried to revive the glory days of the course from the 60s and 70s.

Tramore Racecourse facilities and facts

People who visit Tramore Racecourse today will find that it is packed with state-of-the-art amenities, many of which have been updated in recent years. As standard, people visiting the course can enjoy free car parking, and many different facilities you would expect, such as wheelchair access and disabled toilets.

The owners have thought about much more than this though, with many indoor facilities including a fully licensed bar and even an outdoor play area for family visitors to take advantage of. It is really designed to be a full day out for people rather than focusing solely on the racing.

Recent developments have included new local partners being added to the catering offering, with the bar supplier The Kazbar bringing a selection of premium spirits and other drinks. The Vee Bistro is a food partner providing excellent local food.

There is also a suite for those who wish to enjoy the luxury side of racing. The Graun Hill Suite has table service, bar facilities and television screens. There are a range of packages people can buy depending on the event.

Some of the best bet options at Tramore

Tramore can be one of the less predictable courses, certainly in terms of the time it takes to get around. The conditions can vary massively depending on the weather. This is partially due to the location being so close to the sea.

The right-handed track is roughly 7.5 furlongs with some sharp turns and an incline onto the straight. This can cause some challenges for the jockeys as well as for the horses, and a high level of control is needed.

This has been described by many as a specialist track, and there is a key characteristic that is required from a horse — balance. Some horses that are known to be very balanced have excellent odds of winning here and tend to do so time and time again.

For first-time bettors, check if the horse has featured at a race at Tramore before and see how they performed. Certain styles and abilities really suit the Tramore course. If the ground is soft, horses can really come off the pace, but when the going is quick, the quickest horses usually do very well.

It is always a flag start at the course, so check if a horse is used to that before backing it. On top of this, it is well worth exploring the jockeys and their history with the course. As with a lot of specialist courses, they will probably do a lot better if they already know the course and what to expect. Those who are brand-new to it might struggle a little, so this can make it unpredictable how they will take to the course.

Trivia about Tramore

Let’s explore some trivia about Tramore and Tramore Racecourse, both for fun and for some insight into the races.

The record for the fastest time was set by Rotten Row when the going was good. It took place on 17 August 2023 and the time recorded was 3m 40.9s.

Over the last three years, the most successful jockey has been D J O'Keeffe, who has ridden 45 times and had 10 winners as well as 18 places in that time.

Horse racing at Tramore is older than the first record of a church, which was built in the early 1800s.

Both Tramore's sand dunes and back strand were recently designated as a Special Area of Conservation by the National Parks & Wildlife Service.

The area is known for its surfing. Locations that are great for the hobby in the area include Tramore itself, as well as Kilmurrin Cove, Dunmore East and Annestown. This has led to the nickname for the races as “where the turf meets the surf”.