Summer racing draws to a close at Tipperary Racecourse, as they hold their ‘Season Finale’ meeting on Tuesday. Lying next to the Limerick Junction railway station, just two miles north of the town, the first recorded meeting at the racetrack was in September 1916.
The course stages both codes of racing, and is ideally placed to attract some of the very best trainers in Ireland. Over the years many equine greats have run at the track. In 2002, High
Chaparral and Hawk Wing both won maidens here. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Dylan Thomas started out at the track. Not to be outdone, many jumping stars have also competed there, with the great Istabraq successful on two occasions.
They held their highest profile meeting at the weekend. ‘Super Sunday’ as it’s known provided a mix of quality flat and jumps racing. The valuable Group 3 Concorde Stakes over 7f was won by Dermot Weld’s Big Break, whilst Rebel Fitz outclassed his opponents in the Istabraq Hurdle. Michael Winters’ talented nine-year-old has put together an incredible run of success, winning 18 of his 28 races under rules.
Away from Tipperary races, the region is a positive hotbed for the sport in Ireland. The famous Coolmore Stud operation can be found just a stone’s throw away, near the village of Clethard. Along with elite flat trainers in Aidan O’Brien and David Wachman, the area homes several of jump racing's best.
Charlie Swan, Edward O’Grady and Mouse Morris are all familiar names residing at Co. Tipperary. Morris’ stable lies near the village of Fethard, to the east of Tipperary and just a few miles north of Clonmel. A trainer since the 80’s, his first stable star came along early, when Buck House burst onto the scene. His win in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1986 was a major success for the yard. Twenty years later ‘Mouse’ trained War Of Attrition to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, his greatest success.
The relationship with owners Gigginstown Stud has continued, and with further big-race wins. First Lieutenant has become one of the best staying chasers in training. A winner at The Festival in 2011, he also had Grade 1 success at Aintree in the Betfred Bowl Chase of 2013.
Though Tipperary’s season may be coming to an end, jump racing fans in particular have plenty in the region to sustain their enthusiasm. With Clonmel, Limerick and Thurles a short gallop away, this truly is a part of Ireland not to be missed.