Punchestown to get €3 million facelift after 2022 festival
When the roars of the crowd fade after Punchestown Festival 2022, the racecourse will begin preparations for an ambitious €3m transformation of its facilities to maintain the highest standards of racing at the venue.
One of the goals of the development is to accommodate more Flat racing - which returned to Punchestown for the first time in 18 years in 2020.
The current track layout will be extended to create a new 1-mile start for Flat races which will mean races on the Flat of up to that distance being run with one bend into the home straight.
This newly constructed area would also be used to start National Hunt races and topsoil will be harvested from the Punchestown complex to ensure consistency of ground quality.
Blackhall Racing Company, which is the trading name for Punchestown, aims to widen the existing home straight at the track by 35 metres.
A new irrigation system at the racecourse will also be installed and three new reservoirs with the capacity to store up to 90,000 litres of water are to be constructed.
The works will be completed in two phases, with phase one beginning in June and focusing on widening the track in the home straight.
Phase two will involve the track extension.
A deadline for the delivery of the upgrading of the irrigation system has been set for October 31, 2024.
A new ambulance track over a length of 1,890m is also in the plans.
Extensive landscaping and planting of shrubs will also be included for an overhaul of the famous racecourse. A maintenance and storage shed of 3,500 sq.m gross floor area will also be built as part of the project.
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has agreed to provide capital development grant aid of €1.2m or 40% of the cost of the works.
Suzanne Eade, CEO of HRI, said: "The proposed projects at Punchestown Racecourse will significantly aid both National Hunt racing and Flat racing at the venue. It will expand track capacity, ensure a high quality watering system with sufficient local water reserves and upgrade the ambulance roadways.”
Conor O’Neill, CEO of Punchestown Racecourse, said: “We look forward to starting this important next phase in the development of Punchestown racecourse after this year’s much anticipated Festival meeting. The demand for additional races saw Flat racing return to Punchestown for the first time in 18 years in 2020.
“A new racing line will create further possibilities for Punchestown to host additional Flat fixtures throughout the season should the need arise, whilst also expanding our capacity to stage National Hunt racing.
“The addition of significantly enhanced reservoirs and a state of the art watering system were also key Punchestown priorities from a sustainability perspective.”
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.