Kilbeggan Races – Evening Meeting Friday 12th May


Since 1902 the Kilbeggan May races, was the traditional start of the racing season at Loughnagore, until recent times. It brought people home from around Ireland and even from Britain. This Friday evening, on the 12th May at 5.15pm, the second fixture of the year will be expected to bring a large crowd from far and near to enjoy the great spectacle that is Kilbeggan races. The April meeting brought increased attendances and this Friday is expected to bring even more with three sponsored races on the card.


As Paddy Dunican, Manager said “Our first race meeting in 2017 got off to a brilliant start. We had a big crowd and we experienced a 5% increase in our attendance on last year’s race meeting. We had big fields of horses with very exciting and competitive racing and our last race on the evening finished with a dead heat between Ben Brody and Lambs Lane”. 

Aside from hard work and attention to detail the success of the Kilbeggan racing team could be due to “Hidden Charm” and “Creative Talent”, but coincidentally this was the name of the first two winners on the card. The latter was a local winner for trainer Andrew McNamara, when well ridden by Paul Townsend to win at 5/2. McNamara had just had a winner a few days before with Val de Ferbet. The other very popular winner was Lucky Pat trained by the inimitable Dot Love, he ran Stonehall Jack and the other’s into the ground, to record his third success in three races at Kilbeggan. This brought back memories of course specialist Liberty Counsel, who went on to win the Irish Grand National for the great trainer. Lucky Pat will surely be running in the Midland’s National in July. Gordon Elliott had a double with Fridaynightlights and Isabella Liberty, who both went on to run at Punchestown.

Interestingly, Willie Mullins trained Airlie Beach to win three races at Kilbeggan in 2015 to 2016. This same horse was 2nd to Apples Jade in the Grade 1 Mares Champion Hurdle ahead of top novices Karalee, Whiteout, and Augusta Kate. The winner may well win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2018. Please note all Willie Mullin’s horses at Kilbeggan in the novice hurdles and the bumpers, as you could be looking at a champion or winnings in your pocket. 


Racing for the specialist is about large fields, competitive races, a few favourites winning, bringing the joy of success. This is what you will have next Friday. The Westmeath County Council are sponsoring the feature races, which is the Belvedere House, Gardens & Park Handicap Hurdle of €20,000; the Sean Hughes Memorial Park Hotel Beginners Chase of €12,500 generously sponsored by the Mullingar Park Hotel and the Irish Stallion Farms Handicap Hurdle sponsored by the EBF. Aside from the lovers of racings, you should take a deep breath and savour the warm atmosphere of the crowds, the laughter, the cheering, the tinkle of glasses, the shouts of children, the music, and realise you are amongst friends. What more could you ask for on a Friday evening? Make sure to arrive early and remember the first race is at 5.15pm.

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