Tag Archives: punchestown

Tote backing Punchestown Gold Cup

Tote Ireland are to sponsor one of Ireland’s top staying chases, the Punchestown Gold Cup. The race will now be called the thetote.com Punchestown Gold Cup, promoting Tote Ireland’s online pool betting website. The 2012 Gold Cup is valued at €140,000 with a lucrative €85,400 going to the winner. The race has been highlighted as a possible option for 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run and will as usual attract all of Ireland’s leading staying chasers.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Dick O’Sullivan, manager of Punchestown said: “We are delighted to welcome the Tote as title sponsors of the Gold Cup on Festival Wednesday. The race will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the Festival week and we were delighted to see that it remains a possible target for Long Run. We also look forward to continuing our long standing relationship with previous Gold Cup sponsor Diageo, who will continue to play a major role throughout the Festival and will sponsor The Grade A Guinness Handicap Steeplechase on Festival Wednesday as well as the very last race of the Festival on the Saturday each year, as they have done so for the past seven years. Saturday’s race is in aid of The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund and Diageo donate €15,000 to the charity each year as part of the relationship.”

Dryden Geary, marketing manager of Tote Ireland said: “The sponsorship will give us an ideal opportunity to introduce new customers to the exciting pool betting opportunities available on our website http://www.thetote.com and to reward our current account holders for their continued custom.”

The 3m 1f Grade 1 Gold Cup is the flagship staying chase of the Punchestown Festival and takes place this year on Wednesday 25th April 2012, when Ireland’s top racehorses will compete for a €140,000 prize fund. Entries for the Gold Cup close on April 4th 2012 with potential challengers including Nicky Henderson’s Long Run and Riverside Theatre, Quel Esprit for Willie Mullins, Quito De La Roque for Colm Murphy and Rubi Light for Robbie Hennessy.

The 2011 Punchestown Gold Cup had a thrilling finish which saw the Tom Doyle ridden Follow the Plan triumph for Oliver McKiernan ahead of the Dessie Hughes trained Vic Venturi, with Cheltenham 2012 Champion Jockey Barry Geraghty on board.

Punchestown Festival vital for Kildare economy

The Irish National Hunt Punchestown Festival generated a record €59.8 million contribution to the economy of Kildare and its surrounding regions in 2011, according to an independent economic benefit analysis report carried out by NUI Maynooth.

The findings of the report demonstrate that the Punchestown Festival has successfully withstood the wider economic downturn and continued to grow over the last number of years in part by expanding to become a five-day festival – from four days – and attracting a near record 95,061 visitors in 2011.

The attendance was boosted by an increase in international visitors predominantly from the UK which accounted for over 19,200 visits last year, up 23% since 2005. In total, €24.8 million was spent by visitors on accommodation, food and entertainment in the locality with an average spend per person of €261.

The increase in overseas visitors has enabled the Festival to continue to make an important contribution to local providers of accommodation, with 73% of visitors choosing to stay in hotels and 17% in B&Bs. The average stay in the area by visitors of three nights, with a remarkable 9% of guests staying for six nights or more.

The additional footfall contributed to a significant increase in the overall spend inside the racecourse of €21.4 million, the equivalent of an average spend per person of €368 on betting, food and drink and other items.The massive crowds in 2011 also spent €6.6 million on travel costs to and from the racetrack.

The economic analysis has provided data on the pre-Festival spend by fashion conscious female racegoers revealing that a remarkable €7 million was spent on attire and clothing. The average spend per female on attire prior to attending the festival was €196. The spend correlates to a separate finding that almost as many women as men are now attending the Festival with females accounting for a very significant 45% of the overall attendance.

Commenting, David Mongey, Chairman of Punchestown said: “With a tradition and heritage dating back almost 200 years, the Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival remains first and foremost an annual cultural and sporting event of great significance for the people of Kildare and its surrounding areas.

“But we are delighted to welcome this report by NUI Maynooth which shows that the Festival is generating €12 million a day. It is extremely heartening and encouraging that even in the face of a severe economic downturn that the Festival is delivering a very substantial economic dividend to Kildare, its surrounding areas and to the wider economy.”

The findings are part of an economic evaluation report undertaken by Professor Rowena Pecchenino, Head of the Department of Economics, Finance & Accounting, and her team at the NUI Maynooth. The findings of the report were derived from a comprehensive survey of 1,100 racegoers throughout the five days of the Festival last year.

Commenting, Professor Pecchenino, said: “It is clear from our findings that the Punchestown Festival makes a very substantial economic contribution annually to Kildare and the surrounding areas. The direct economic value of the 2011 Festival was estimated at about €60 million although another €9 million – €12 million could be added to account for the indirect economic or expenditure multiplier effects.”

Attendance at the Festival is underpinned by a loyal core of racegoers, just over 51%, who attend every year, while efforts to reach out to new visitors accounted for 33% of the overall attendance. Just over half of visitors were under the age of 44, with the 35-44 years category the single largest cohort at 21.6%, followed by 45-54 years at 20.7%.

The income profile of attendance at the Festival reveals it has a very broad and diverse socio-economic appeal with 63% of racegoers possessing a gross annual income of €54,999 or less, while 10% of attendees had an annual income in excess of €100,000.

The 2012 Punchestown Festival takes place from Tuesday 24th to Saturday 28th April. For further information please visit http://www.punchestown.com

Boylesports day at Punchestown

Sunday’s Boylesports.com Chase Day at Punchestown is sizing up to be a great sporting event with both Sizing Europe and Big Zeb confirmed for the feature race of the day.

The much anticipated clash of the top two-mile chasers goes to post in the Grade 2 Boylesports.com Tied Cottage Chase at 2.55pm and with only one other challenger in the form of Oliver Brady’s Imperial Shabra.

Last season Sizing Europe appeared the dominant force of the two when landing the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March only to be overturned by Big Zeb in a thriller at the Punchestown Festival in a race also sponsored by Boylesports. So far this season both have impressed on their respective outings although this will be their first meeting of this campaign.

Sunday’s quality seven race card is considered a Cheltenham trials day with one of only two Irish run Pertemps Hurdle qualifiers, the Grade 2 Racing UK Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle and the spectators’ favourite, the Glenfarclas PP Hogan Cross Country Race taking place.

Commenting on the effects of the current cold snap Punchestown racing manager Richie Galway said: “The covers have been down since Tuesday. It’s a labour intensive initiative but if it is the difference between racing going ahead or being abandoned it is well worth the effort. It takes a team of 20 men a full day to get the covers into position. Galway continued by saying “The hurdle and chase tracks are currently raceable and we are confident, based on the forecast, that there won’t be any problems for Sunday. The cross-country track is run over such an expanse it is not feasible to cover it. At present there are a small number of areas that are unraceable, however, if the milder temperatures arrive as forecast and given that we have moved the race to late in the day we are very hopeful”.

Directly after presentations are made to the winning connections of the Boylesports.com Chase full televised coverage of the RBS six nations match between Ireland and Wales will be available throughout the enclosures.

In addition to top-class racing action there will also be a full schedule of family entertainment with The Eadestown Spring Show running alongside the sporting action. Kildare GAA star Emmet Bolton will be on hand to take part in a penalty shoot- out with some of the top jockeys in the parade ring. A full craft fair and field day games programme will be underway in the trackside unit with all proceeds going to the Eadestown GAA and Parish Fund.

Official prices from Boylesports.com for the Boylesports.com Tied Cottage Chase:
4/6 Big Zeb
5/4 Sizing Europe
100/1 Imperial Shabra

The first of seven races goes to post at 1.20. Admission is just €10 or €7 students and seniors. All children under 14 race for free.