Welcome to our official guide to Downpatrick Racecourse. In this section we explore this jump racing racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 3 Downpatrick Racecourse Map
- 4 Downpatrick Racecourse Address
- 5 How to Get To Downpatrick Racecourse
- 6 Hotels
- 7 Best Downpatrick Races Betting Sites
- 8 Main Races and Meetings
- 9 Downpatrick Racecourse Weather
- 10 Other Events at the Course
- 11 Summary
- 12 Other Racecourses
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 righthanded, covered eleven furlongs. All events that unfold here are National Hunt races, featuring six fences before a single-furlong final straight.
While the fences are low and considered easy to clear, the track is hilly with many peaks and drops. 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 may 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.
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 Address
The official correspondence address is:
24 Ballydugan Road
How to Get To Downpatrick Racecourse
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also, check out the fantastic range of brilliant hotels available via Booking.com below:
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:
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
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
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. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply
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 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply
New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days. Full T&C's Apply
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. 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
Main Races and Meetings
Downpatrick Racecourse operates ten racedays throughout the year, opening its doors in March and concluding in October.
A standard annual fixture list 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 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 meet, 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 – 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 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:
Other Events at the 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.
Our team as of July 2020 have reviewed these racecourses that are also worth a visit:
- Aintree Racecourse Guide
- Ascot Racecourse Guide
- Ayr Racecourse Guide
- Bangor on Dee Racecourse
- Bath Racecourse Guide
- Beverley Racecourse Guide
- Brighton Racecourse Guide
- Carlisle Racecourse Guide
- Cartmel Racecourse
- Catterick Racecourse Guide
- Chelmsford City Racecourse Guide
- Cheltenham Racecourse Guide
- Chepstow Racecourse Guide
- Chester Racecourse Guide
- Curragh Racecourse Guide
- Doncaster Racecourse Guide
- Downpatrick Racecourse Guide
- Dundalk Racecourse Guide
- Epsom Racecourse Guide
- Exeter Racecourse Guide
- Fakenham Racecourse
- Ffos Las Racecourse Guide
- Fontwell Racecourse Guide
- Galway Racecourse Guide
- Goodwood Racecourse Guide
- Great Yarmouth Racecourse Guide
- Hamilton Park Racecourse Guide
- Haydock Racecourse Guide
- Hereford Racecourse Guide
- Hexham Racecourse Guide
- Huntingdon Racecourse Guide
- Kelso Racecourse Guide
- Kempton Park Racecourse Guide
- Leicester Racecourse Guide
- Leopardstown Racecourse Guide
- Lingfield Park Racecourse Guide
- Ludlow Racecourse
- Market Rasen Racecourse Guide
- Musselburgh Racecourse Guide
- Naas Racecourse Guide
- Navan Racecourse Guide
- Newbury Racecourse Guide
- Newcastle Racecourse Guide
- Newmarket Racecourse Guide
- Newton Abbot Racecourse Guide
- Nottingham Racecourse Guide
- Perth Racecourse Guide
- Plumpton Racecourse Guide
- Pontefract Racecourse
- Redcar Racecourse Guide
- Ripon Racecourse Guide
- Salisbury Racecourse Guide
- Sandown Racecourse Guide
- Sedgefield Racecourse
- Southwell Racecourse Guide
- Stratford Racecourse Guide
- Taunton Racecourse Guide
- Thirsk Racecourse Guide
- Towcester Racecourse
- Uttoxeter Racecourse Guide
- Warwick Racecourse Guide
- Wetherby Racecourse Guide
- Wincanton Racecourse Guide
- Windsor Racecourse Guide
- Wolverhampton Racecourse Guide
- Worcester Racecourse Guide
- York Racecourse Guide