Downpatrick Racecourse

Welcome to our official guide to Downpatrick Racecourse. We explore this Northern Irish jumps racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!

Downpatrick Racecourse Guide

Overview of Downpatrick Races

Northern Ireland may not be blessed with an abundance of racecourses but quality certainly triumphs over quantity. Take Downpatrick as an example. A historical venue operated under the auspices of Horse Racing Ireland, Downpatrick is a premier location for National Hunt racing in Northern Ireland.

Located in the scenic rolling countryside of County Down, Downpatrick Racecourse is found under a mile from the town centre of the same name. Steeped in history, Downpatrick is a popular location for tourists during the summer, many of whom attend the June Festival at the racecourse.

The track itself is narrow and right handed and is eleven furlongs around. All events that unfold here are National Hunt races, featuring six fences per circuit. While the fences are generally on the small side and easy to clear, the track itself is hilly with many peaks and drops – like a horse racing rollercoaster. This final straight is entirely uphill, meaning that stamina is a must for a competing horse. The narrowness of the track makes overtaking challenging though, so look out for a horse with great acceleration. Taking an early lead and front running can also be invaluable.

Downpatrick is a relaxed racecourse with no formal dress code, though smart casual is the least expected in an unofficial capacity. Several racedays include prizes for appropriate attire, so it’s always worth dressing to impress. Keep the County Down weather in mind, too.

History of Downpatrick Racecourse

Downpatrick is the oldest racecourse in Ireland, with an illustrious history to match such as a status. The first equestrian events in the area took place in 1685, and the venue that stands today was built over 150 years ago.

Previously, Downpatrick was home to both Flat and National Hunt racing. Flat options were gradually phased out over the decades though, and the final race of this ilk was run in 2009.

Downpatrick does have one other significant claim to fame. Byerley Turk, a foundation stallion for thoroughbred horses, competed in the area in the late 17th Century.

Downpatrick Racecourse Map

Downpatrick Racecourse Map
Map courtesy of At The Races.

The course is narrow and right-handed with a relatively short 11 furlongs per lap. It is a tricky and undulating course with many rises and falls, the nature of the course tends to suit more nippy horses rather than traditional long striding and galloping types.

Downpatrick Racecourse Address

The official correspondence address is:

Downpatrick Racecourse
24 Ballydugan Road
Co. Down
Northern Ireland
BT30 6TE

How to Get To Downpatrick Racecourse

  • By road – if you prefer to drive, take the M1 Southbound from Belfast, exiting at Junction 6 onto the Ballynahinch. From here, take the A24 and then the A25 – this is the road that hosts Downpatrick Racecourse. If driving from Lisburn, take the Laganbank Road toward Saintfield, then turn off at the Ballynahinch. Follow the same instructions as above from here.
  • By Train – alternatively, travel into Lisburn. This is a comparable distance to Belfast, and also offers a route into Downpatrick via public transport. It’s also the closest train station. Downpatrick Railway Station is a heritage monument, so not suitable for travel to visitors attending the races. You could always take a taxi from Belfast or Lisburn, but this is not going to be a cheap option.
  • By air – Belfast is the closest city to Downpatrick, found some 23 miles away. This makes Belfast the best airport to fly into if this is your choice of travel. It will take around an hour to travel to Downpatrick by bus from Belfast, with the racecourse a brief stroll away from the bus station.

Hotels Near Downpatrick Racecourse

As Downpatrick Racecourse is quite a distance from major transport links, you may want to stay local when attending a race meet. Unfortunately, options remain comparatively limited without travel. There are a handful of accommodations available to you, though. Denvir’s, for example, is a charming inn located in the town centre, just a mile from the racecourse.

There are also numerous small, family-run B&Bs in the area if you search around. As small enterprises, these locations do not have personal websites. You’ll be taking a chance on making a booking, “sight unseen.” If this makes you uncomfortable, base yourself in Belfast and continue your onward journey in the morning. Check out for a range of hotels in Northern Ireland:

Best Downpatrick Races Betting Sites

At British Racecourses we often recommend betting online and via apps. This is because you can often get the best odds, great offers when signing up and you can place bets quickly and safely without having to queue.

If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:

  • 888 Racing

    888 Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30

    New customers only – Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F – A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market – Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) – Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days – Free bet stakes not included in returns – Deposit method and withdrawal restrictions apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • bet365 Racing

    Bet365 Horse Racing

    #ad. New Customers Only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • MansionBet Racing

    Mansion Bet Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £20

    New customers only, min deposit and bet £10 (£20 if E/W bet) from UK Debit card only. Paypal not accepted. Min odds evens (1/5 per multi selection). 2 x £10 Free Bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned, no cash out.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfred Racing

    Betfred Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30 IN BETS

    New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. Doesn’t apply to customers who place their first bet on the Virtual Grand National. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Coral Racing

    Coral Horse Racing

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. PayPal and certain deposit and bet types excluded. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Mr Green Racing

    Mr Green Horse Racing Logo
    BET £10 GET £10 ACCA BET

    New players only. Qualifying bet(s) must have minimum odds of 3/1 and must be settled before triggering free bet. Free Bet must be used on an accumulator with 3 or more selections. 18+.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • William Hill Racing

    William Hill Horse Racing Logo
    BET £10 GET £30 IN FREE BETS

    New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Ladbrokes Racing

    Ladbrokes Horse Racing

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Unibet Racing

    Unibet Horse Racing Logo

    New customers only. 18+, Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • BetVictor Racing

    Betvictor Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £40

    18+ New Customers only. Deposit, opt in and place a £10 qualifying bet on Horse Racing at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 3x £10 Horse Racing Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater. Plus, a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • Mr Play Sport

    Mr Play Sport
    BET £10 GET £15

    18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit: £10, max £15 bonus, valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at a min. odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets no eligible.

    Full T&C's Apply

  • BetBull Free Bets

    Betbull Casino Logo

    New users only. Min deposit £20. Place qualifying bets of £20 to £100 in first 7 days after deposit to unlock free bets. Free bet rewarded as 4 free bets that total first deposit amount. Min odds 1/1, 3+ legs & expire in 7 days. Winnings credited in cash. Full T&Cs apply.

    Full T&C's Apply

Main Races and Race Meetings

Downpatrick Racecourse operates ten race meeting throughout the year, opening its doors in March and concluding in October. A standard annual fixture list and race meeting fixtures for Downpatrick Racecourse will resemble:

  • March – The great curtain-raiser of racing in Downpatrick is the Ulster National Day. The titular race is the main event of this meet, acting as a practice run for the Irish Grand National (handicap chase) for many jockeys and boasting prize money of €50,000.
  • May – Downpatrick takes a break in April but returns in May for two racedays. The first is a daytime event that unfolds on the first Bank Holiday Monday of the month. The second is an evening meeting, usually on the Friday preceding the second Bank Holiday.
  • June June sees two racing meets unfold over back-to-back over a single weekend during the middle of the month. Referred to as Festival Saturday and Festival Sunday, these are daytime events that are followed by live music in the evening. The June Festival is considered the jewel in the crown of the Downpatrick Racecourse
  • July Family Fun Raceday takes place every July at Downpatrick. In addition to seven races of the race meeting – including the Irish Jockeys in Support of Downpatrick Racecourse Maiden Hurdle – free activities to keep younger visitors entertained are included in the price of admission.
  • August – August sees two major events at Downpatrick. The first is Style Sunday, where dressing to impress is positively encouraged. The two final races award prestigious luxury holidays to the Most Appropriately Dressed Lady and Best Dressed Man, respectively. Ladies Day also takes place this month, with similar rewards available. The contents here, again tied to the final races of the meet, include the Ladies Upstyle Hair Competition and the Most Stylish Hat and Accessories Competition.
  • September – The solitary event of September is dubbed Get Ready for Autumn. Unfolding mid-month, this meet features seven races and live music after the final event of the day.
  • October – Downpatrick concludes its racing calendar in early October with the End of Season Raceday. There’s a party atmosphere at this meet, ensuring that the season draws to a close with a bang.

Always confirm that events have not been cancelled, postponed or amended before travelling to Downpatrick. All race meets, fixtures and competitions are subject to change due to a wide array of external circumstances.

Downpatrick Racecourse Fixtures

The current Downpatrick race meeting dates for 2022 are:

  • Sunday 20th March 2022
  • Friday 6th May 2022
  • Friday 20th May 2022
  • Saturday 11th June 2022
  • Sunday 12th June 2022
  • Wednesday 13th July, 2022
  • Sunday 7th August 2022
  • Monday 29th August 2022
  • Friday 16th September 2022
  • Friday 7th October 2022

Downpatrick Racecourse Weather

Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for Downpatrick Racecourse, Northern Ireland:

Other Events at Downpatrick Course

You will not find events unconnected to racing at Downpatrick Racecourse unless invited to a private function. The venue is available for hire, however, and most race days are lengthy affairs that spill into the night. Live music performances following races are a common occurrence at Downpatrick.

Downpatrick Races

Summary of Downpatrick Racecourse

A unique national hunt flat in Northern Ireland, Downpatrick is an uphill and downhill tight right handed track. Whilst the racing isn’t always of the highest quality it is also well attended and well contested. The main event is the Ulster National and you will find a race meeting from March to October. We love this quirky track at British Racecourses, it is definitely worth a visit

Ireland Racecourses Alphabetical

Here is a full alphabetical list of Irish racecourses, as you can see there are lots of options and racecourses spread across the entire country: