Ballinrobe Racecourse is the only racecourse located in scenic County Mayo in the western part of Ireland. It is also one of the only four racecourses in Connaught and is a dual-purpose course as it hosts both flat races and national hunt (horse jumping) events. Located almost 31 miles from Galway City, Ballinrobe racecourse is predominantly a summer racecourse and one of the most popular in the region.
The racecourse hosts around ten racing events from May to September, while most of the races occur in the evening around 5:30 pm, attracting many locals and tourists alike. Ballinrobe was voted the Racecourse of the Year in 2012 by the Irish Racegoers Consultative Forum.
Interested in learning more about the amazing Ballinrobe racecourse? Here is a brief insight into the racecourse’s history and facilities.
Ballinrobe Racecourse History
Horse racing has been popular in Ballinrobe for hundreds of years, as the earliest records can be traced back to almost 250 years. The racecourse held its first racing event at Rathcarreen in 1921. However, before 1921, race meetings were held at other locations around the town, while the earliest records of horse racing events in the area can be recorded as far back as 1772.
Since it was established, not much has changed on the racing track. However, the facilities for the racegoers are another story. Since 1992, the racecourse has undergone various changes, particularly after the damage inflicted to the spectator stand during a storm.
There was a time when the racecourse was on the brink of closure due to limited funds and resources, but that is all in the past. Thanks to its enthusiastic committee, who strived hard to revive the course, the racecourse received development grants, and the local community also chipped in to help. Since then, the racecourse has made great strides and progressed impressively.
Ballinrobe Racecourse Facilities
Ideally located almost one mile from the town in a natural field, the racecourse is set before the beautiful Lough Carra, giving a country vibe. The overall ambience of the racecourse with its charming countryside vibes, lively atmosphere, and laid-back attitude is a true reflection of Ireland.
As suggested earlier, the racecourse has undergone tremendous development work in the 1990s to improve the facilities for the racegoers. The most prominent facility was a new modern grandstand that could accommodate around 1800 people. A boundary wall was created around the property, and new turnstile gates were added. In line with a focus on facilitating the spectators, new sanitary facilities were added to the recourse with the addition of a new toilet block.
The restaurant in the arena was revamped, while two bars were also established. Around the time when the new developments were underway on the racecourse, Tote Ireland took it upon itself to add a new Tote building to the facility, while the previous makeshift arrangement for a tote facility was discarded. The entire enclosure was improved in terms of infrastructure so private bookmakers could benefit from the development.
The next leg of the racecourse development plan included the addition of new jockey and steward facilities. Stable facilities were also improved, with a capacity of around 108 horses. The racecourse also features efficient veterinary services for horse care.
Moreover, facilities were added to cater to the corporate sector, including the establishment of the famous restaurant Coranna, named after George Moore’s famed racehorse. A press room was also added with broadband connections to cater to various event requirements.
Ballinrobe Racecourse Guide
Ballinrobe racecourse is right-handed and oval. It is about a mile in circumference with a run-in of about 200m. The back straight of the racecourse is slightly elevated, while the closing stage is downward. Races of 1200m run around a sharp turn, giving the advantage of a low draw. Of course, we cannot deny the importance of speed; however, it is imperative that the jockey can control and manoeuvre around the last corner with a sharp turn. Failure to do so will result in them being slung wide.
As far as jump racing on the Ballinrobe is concerned, there are two tracks to pick from. A new extension has been added in parallel to the old track back straight. The new extension allows runners to take the final turn at a more convenient angle than the sharp final turn in the original track, which favours horses running in the front. The obstacles for jump racing are not very challenging, and it is mostly the runner’s capability to manoeuvre the final sharp turn which can make all the difference.
Ballinrobe racecourse continues to make strides with its ongoing improvement and development work on the facilities for the comfort and enjoyment of the racegoers. With a beautiful ambience, and a buzzing atmosphere on racing days, Ballinrobe racecourse offers an unforgettable experience. Whether you are looking for some betting action or want to enjoy a race, this Irish racecourse is surely worth checking out.
Which racing events are held at Ballinrobe Racecourse?
Owing to the small size of Ballinrobe racecourse, it does not feature many high-grade races. The most prominent races are the Mayo National and the Coranna Handicap Hurdle, which have prize money of €30,000 each. Both the races are held in late May, usually in the same meeting.
What is the ticket price for Ballinrobe racecourse?
The ticket fee for the racecourse is €15 per person with a discount for senior citizens and students.