Festival of Racing proceeds - but with no fans or corporate guests

Making the announcement of a new sponsor of Down Royal’s November Festival of Racing are Emma Meehan (left), chief executive of Down Royal Racecourse, and Nicola McGeady, head of PR at Ladbrokes

THE north's biggest festival of horse-racing will go ahead at Down Royal next week - but without the thousands of spectators and corporate guests which make it one of the biggest business events on the sporting calendar.

Bookmaker Ladbrokes will continue as headline sponsor of the long-established two-day Festival of Racing on Friday and Saturday October 30 & 31, where there is a total prize fund of €423,500.

Emma Meehan, chief executive of Down Royal Racecourse ( said: “Racing behind closed doors is a very different experience but a step in the right direction for horse racing’s road to recovery, providing live coverage for racing fans and competition for those livelihoods that depend on the sport.

“Without the continued support of our principal sponsors, this most prestigious of race meetings would not be taking place. I'm grateful to Ladbrokes and WKD for their ongoing support of the Festival and I also extend my gratitude to our other fixture supporters Lough Construction, Rainbow Communications and Tayto.”

Shane McLaughlin, managing director of Ladbroke Services Ireland, said: “These are challenging times for everyone, but racing can provide a welcome distraction and we are really looking forward to the Saturday’s running of the Ladbrokes Champion Chase, with the winner taking home €125,000."

Brendan Loughran, head of business unit Ireland at SHS Drinks, which owns the WKD brand, said: “We're delighted to be sponsoring the €60,000 Grade 2 Hurdle on the Friday, one of the highlights of the Down Royal Festival.

“The industry has worked hard and adapted in order to keep its people safe and provide regular fixtures, and we are proud to be assisting Down Royal to deliver world class racing.”


Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access