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!
Find out more about Downpatrick Racecourse:
- 1 Overview of Downpatrick Races
- 2 History of Downpatrick Racecourse
- 3 Downpatrick Racecourse Map
- 4 Downpatrick Racecourse Address
- 5 How to Get To Downpatrick Racecourse
- 6 Hotels Near Downpatrick Racecourse
- 7 Best Downpatrick Races Betting Sites
- 8 Main Races and Downpatrick Race Meetings
- 9 Downpatrick Racecourse 2022 Fixtures
- 10 Downpatrick Racecourse Weather
- 11 Other Events at Downpatrick Course
- 12 Downpatrick Racecard
- 13 Summary of Downpatrick Racecourse
- 14 Ireland Racecourses Alphabetical
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 in a historic town, 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.
The 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 lookout 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
Below is a map of Downpatrick Racecourse:
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 address for Downpatrick racecourse is:
24 Ballydugan Road
How to Get To Downpatrick Racecourse
To ways to get to Downpatrick races are:
- 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. It is one mile from the town centre.
Unfortunately, options remain comparatively limited without travel in this historic town.
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 Booking.com for a range of hotels in Northern Ireland:
Best Downpatrick Races Betting Sites
At British Racecourses we often recommend betting online and via mobile betting 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 online betting websites:
18+ New Customers opt in, deposit and bet £5 at odds 2.00+ on Horse Racing within 7 days of registration; excludes cashed out bets. Get 3x £10 Free Bets, set events only at odds 2.00+. Free Bets expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs Apply, see below. | begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsiblyFull T&C's Apply
New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required.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.Full T&C's Apply
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
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
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
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first racing bet loses. Wagering: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Sports bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Full T&Cs apply. #AdFull T&C's Apply
18+ New customers only. Opt in and place a £10 qualifying bet on Horse Racing at odds of 2.00+ within 7 days of registering; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 3x £10 Horse Racing Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00+. Plus, a £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw a max of £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs Apply, see below. Please Gamble Responsibly.Full T&C's Apply
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
Min Deposit £10 and bet on sports. Full T&Cs apply.Full T&C's Apply
New UK customers only. £10 Min Deposit. 100% matched free bet on your first deposit of £10. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bets. Debit Card deposits only. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+. BeGambleAware.org. Bet The Responsible Way.Full T&C's Apply
The online bookies all made our list of the best horse racing betting sites.
Main Races and Downpatrick Race Meetings
Downpatrick operates ten national hunt 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 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 Races.
- 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 2022 Fixtures
The current Downpatrick race meeting dates for 2022 are:
- Sunday 20th March – “Randox Ulster National” Raceday
- Friday 6th May
- Friday 20th May (Evening)
- Saturday 11th June – Festival Saturday Raceday
- Sunday 12th June – Festival Sunday Raceday
- Wednesday 13th July
- Sunday 7th August
- Monday 29th August
- Friday 16th September
- Friday 7th October
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 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.
You can also of course purchase a racecard from the track which carries much of the same useful information.
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:
- Ballinrobe Racecourse
- Bellewstown Racecourse
- Clonmel Racecourse
- Cork Racecourse
- Curragh Racecourse
- Down Royal Racecourse
- Downpatrick Racecourse
- Dundalk Stadium
- Fairyhouse Racecourse
- Galway Racecourse
- Gowran Park Racecourse
- Kilbeggan Racecourse
- Killarney Racecourse
- Laytown Racecourse
- Leopardstown Racecourse
- Limerick Racecourse
- Naas Racecourse
- Navan Racecourse
- Punchestown Racecourse
- Roscommon Racecourse
- Sligo Racecourse
- Thurles Racecourse
- Tipperary Racecourse
- Tramore Racecourse
- Wexford Racecourse