Down Royal Racecourse Guide

Down Royal Racecourse is one of only two tracks in Northern Ireland, lying just 16km south of Belfast, it holds racing all year round and has some of the biggest races in the Irish schedule on its many festival cards. It is the venue for the first Grade 1 chase of the year, which is seen as the beginning of the jumping season in Ireland. Situated near the city of Lisburn in Co. Down, the track surrounds Down Royal Park golf course, which is an 18-hole parkland course renowned as one of the best Northern Ireland has to offer.

If you are driving, the course provides free parking to any patrons who need it. Heuston Station is the nearest rail station to the racecourse and you can even find buses here that go directly to the track. In terms of buses, the Belfast Bus Company operates buses from College Square North, which depart an hour and a half before each race. After the race, that same bus will take you back to the city centre an hour after the race has completed. Belfast has the nearest major airport and is located just 27km from the course.

Map

Swap Start/End

Ticket Prices

General Admission prices for the course are £10 for adults with concessionary pricing for old age pensioners and students dependent on the race day - it is best to check this for each individual race on their official website. Children under the age of 12 may attend the races at Down Royal for free.

The Course

Down Royal is a right handed, square track just under two-miles in length and is quite undulating inside the final mile with a slight uphill finish. There are ten fences to a circuit with four of them coming in the final four furlongs and a run in of less than a furlong. Uniquely to courses in Ireland, if a chase is run over more than two miles, no fence is jumped more than once. It is a wide galloping track and on the chase course, riders tend to take the widest route possible in search of the better ground which lies to the outside. There is no particular bias about where to be as winners can come from anywhere depending on the tempo of the race and conditions on the day.

There is a chute for races run at 5 furlongs and these are run on a constant turn right up until the closing furlong so a horse needs to be well balanced to enjoy running over this distance at Down Royal. On the round course, there is plenty of turning to do also, so you need a horse with plenty of pace - although it is not completely conducive to success, as races can often change late on due to the quirky nature of the course. A low draw is key because of the constant bend throughout the majority of the circuit.

Major Meetings at Down Royal

Down Royal hosts 12 fixtures each year with the highlight on the flat being the Ulster Derby and Oaks, which is run each June. The feature of the year is the two-day festival meeting in November, which has a total of four Graded National Hunt races with the JNwine.com Champion Chase being the highlight.

Dining and Hospitality

Raceday hospitality packages vary depending on what day of racing/festival is in progress. There are three hospitality suites available along with numerous private suites available on any given day.

  • Moscow Flyer Suite
  • Beef or Salmon Suite
  • Rainbow Communications Suite

A virtual tour and price guides for each of these venues are available on the course website. Outside of these suites, there are various facilities for dining and drinking across the course which are guaranteed to satisfy any requirement you may have during a race day.