A Guide To Down Royal Racecourse

Down Royal Racecourse is one of the two racecourses in Northern Ireland, located just 16km south of Belfast. It is a popular destination for horse racing enthusiasts, attracting thousands of visitors every year. The racecourse is known for its scenic surroundings, as it is situated near the historic village of Maze and Lagan Valley Regional Park.

Down Royal Racecourse hosts racing events all year round, making it a great destination for avid racegoers. The course has a rich history, having been opened in 1685. It has since undergone several renovations and upgrades, making it one of the most modern racecourses in the UK. With a capacity of 11,000, the racecourse is equipped to accommodate large crowds, making it an ideal location for corporate events and other functions.

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Location and History

Down Royal Racecourse is located in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, just 16km south of Belfast. It is one of only two racecourses in Northern Ireland, the other being the Ulster Grand Prix.

The racecourse has a long history, dating back to the 17th century when the first recorded race meeting was held at the site. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the racecourse was a popular venue for horse racing, and it continued to hold regular meetings throughout the 20th century.

Today, Down Royal Racecourse is a modern facility that hosts racing all year round. It is home to some of the most prestigious races in Northern Ireland, including the Ulster Derby and the Ladbrokes Champion Chase.

Facilities and Amenities

Down Royal Racecourse offers a range of facilities and amenities that cater to the needs of all visitors. Whether you’re looking for a luxury experience or a general admission ticket, you’ll find everything you need at the racecourse.

For those who opt for a hospitality package, there are a variety of suites available, each with its own private bar facilities. These packages offer a premium experience, with excellent views of the track and top-quality food and drink options.

If you’re attending the racecourse on a general admission ticket, there are plenty of food options available on site. From fast food to sit-down restaurants, there is something for everyone. You can enjoy a variety of cuisines, including traditional Irish fare and international dishes.

In addition to the food options, there are also a range of bars and beverage stations located throughout the racecourse. You can enjoy a refreshing drink while taking in the exciting atmosphere of the races.

For those who need to take a break from the action, there are also plenty of seating areas and restrooms located throughout the racecourse. The facilities are well-maintained and clean, ensuring a comfortable experience for all visitors.

Overall, Down Royal Racecourse offers a range of facilities and amenities that make for an enjoyable and comfortable race day experience. Whether you’re a seasoned racing fan or a first-time visitor, you’ll find everything you need at this top-class venue.

Horse Racing Events

Down Royal Racecourse hosts a variety of horse racing events throughout the year. The racecourse is known for its high-quality racing and attracts a large number of spectators. Here are some of the most popular events:

  • Ulster Derby: This is the most prestigious race held at Down Royal Racecourse. It is a Group 2 flat race that takes place in June every year. The race is open to horses aged three years and above and has a prize fund of £100,000.
  • Christmas Festival: This is a popular event that takes place over two days in December. It features a number of high-quality races, including the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase and the Grade 2 Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle.
  • Summer Festival: This is a three-day event that takes place in July. It features a number of races, including the Grade 2 Ulster Oaks and the Grade 3 Mares Handicap Hurdle.

Other notable events held at Down Royal Racecourse include the Northern Ireland Festival of Racing, the JNwine.com Champion Chase, and the Magners Ulster Derby.

It is worth noting that Down Royal Racecourse also hosts a number of non-racing events throughout the year, such as music concerts and food festivals. These events are a great way to experience the racecourse in a different way and enjoy a fun day out.

Betting Options

Down Royal Racecourse is one of the most popular horse racing destinations in Northern Ireland. It offers a wide range of betting options for both novice and experienced bettors. Here are the most popular betting options at Down Royal:

  • Win Bet: This is the most popular type of bet where you choose a horse to win the race.
  • Each Way Bet: This is a combination of a win bet and a place bet. You choose a horse to either win the race or finish in the top three.
  • Place Bet: This type of bet is where you choose a horse to finish in the top three.
  • Exacta Bet: This is a type of bet where you choose two horses to finish first and second in the correct order.
  • Trifecta Bet: This is a type of bet where you choose three horses to finish first, second, and third in the correct order.
  • Superfecta Bet: This is a type of bet where you choose four horses to finish first, second, third, and fourth in the correct order.

It’s important to note that the odds for each horse will change as more people place bets. This means that the earlier you place your bet, the better odds you will receive.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to do your research before placing a bet. Look at the horse’s past performance, the jockey’s track record, and the weather conditions on race day. This will give you a better idea of which horses are more likely to win or place in the race.

Bet TypeMinimum Bet Amount
Win Bet£2
Each Way Bet£2
Place Bet£2
Exacta Bet£2
Trifecta Bet£2
Superfecta Bet£2

Remember to always gamble responsibly and within your means. Horse racing should be a fun and enjoyable experience, so don’t let betting ruin it for you.

Dining and Hospitality

Down Royal Racecourse offers a range of hospitality and dining options for visitors. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious dining experience or a more casual meal, there’s something for everyone.

If you opt for one of the hospitality suites, you’ll enjoy a private bar facility and a dedicated team of staff to cater to your every need. The suites offer stunning views of the racetrack, making for a truly unforgettable experience. A virtual tour and price guides for each of these venues are available on the course website.

If you’re looking for something more casual, there are plenty of food options available on site. The Bar Bistro Down Royal Park Golf Course is a popular choice, offering a range of dishes to suit all tastes. There are also plenty of food stands located throughout the racecourse, offering everything from burgers and hot dogs to sandwiches and salads.

For those looking to make a day of it, there are a range of hospitality packages available. These packages typically include admission to the racecourse, a meal, and a drinks package. Prices vary depending on the package you choose and the size of your group.

It’s worth noting that hospitality packages and dining options can get booked up quickly, especially during peak racing season. We recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

Tips for Attending Down Royal Racecourse

Attending a race day at Down Royal Racecourse can be a thrilling experience. Whether you are a seasoned racegoer or a first-timer, here are some tips to help you make the most of your day at the races:

  • Plan ahead: Check the Down Royal Racecourse website for the race schedule and ticket prices. Consider booking in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Dress appropriately: Dressing up for the races is part of the fun, but make sure to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. Comfortable shoes are a must, as you will be walking around a lot.
  • Arrive early: Give yourself plenty of time to get to the racecourse and find your way around. Gates usually open a few hours before the first race, so arrive early to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a drink or two.
  • Bring cash: While most vendors at the racecourse accept card payments, it’s always a good idea to bring some cash with you, especially if you plan on placing bets.

If you are new to horse racing, here are some additional tips to help you navigate the day:

  • Study the form: Take a look at the racecard and familiarise yourself with the horses, jockeys, and trainers. You can find helpful tips and analysis online, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide which horses to bet on.
  • Set a budget: It’s easy to get carried away with betting, so set a budget for yourself and stick to it. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun!
  • Explore the racecourse: Down Royal Racecourse has plenty of facilities to keep you entertained between races, including bars, restaurants, and live music. Take a stroll around the course and soak up the atmosphere.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your day at Down Royal Racecourse is one to remember. Good luck and have fun!


Down Royal Racecourse is a popular destination for horse racing enthusiasts in Northern Ireland and beyond. With its rich history, stunning location, and top-class facilities, it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re a seasoned punter or a casual spectator, there’s something for everyone at Down Royal.

From the annual highlight of the Down Royal Festival to the regular fixtures throughout the year, there’s always a chance to catch some exciting racing action. And with its location just a few miles from the city of Lisburn, it’s easily accessible by road and public transport.

If you’re planning a visit to Down Royal, be sure to check out the course map and familiarize yourself with the layout before you go. And don’t forget to take advantage of the many hospitality options available, from fine dining to casual bars and restaurants.

Overall, Down Royal Racecourse is a must-visit destination for anyone with an interest in horse racing. With its unique blend of history, tradition, and modern facilities, it’s a true gem of the Northern Irish sporting landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key features of Northern Ireland racecourses?

Northern Ireland is home to captivating racecourses, with Down Royal Racecourse standing out for its rich history and premier racing events. Down Royal, located in Maze, County Down, offers both National Hunt and Flat racing, making it a pivotal part of the Northern Ireland racecourses scene.

Where is Down Royal Racecourse located, and how can I get there?

Down Royal Racecourse is situated just southwest of Lisburn in Northern Ireland, accessible by road, train, and bus. Detailed directions and transport options, including shuttle services from Belfast, are available to ensure visitors can easily find their way to the racecourse.

Can you provide a list of Down Royal racecourse fixtures for the upcoming season?

Down Royal hosts a range of fixtures throughout the year, including the prestigious JNwine.com Champion Chase in November and the Ulster Derby in June, amongst other notable races. For a comprehensive and up to date list of Down Royal racecourse fixtures, it’s best to check the official racecourse website.

Where can I find Down Royal race tips to enhance my betting experience?

For the most informed Down Royal race tips, consider online betting sites and trackside bookies for insights. Many online platforms offer detailed analyses and tips for races at Down Royal, providing punters with valuable information to make informed bets.

What amenities and services are available at Down Royal Racecourse?

Down Royal Racecourse offers an array of facilities for racegoers, including diverse food and drink options, hospitality packages, and betting kiosks. The racecourse also hosts special events like Ladies Day, adding an extra layer of excitement and style to the racing experience.

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