Welcome to our official guide to Leopardstown Racecourse. In this section, we explore this great jump and flat racing Irish racecourse in detail, looking at its history a guide to the track, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
The only racecourse in Dublin, Leopardstown Racecourse is situated six miles south of the city centre at the foot of the Dublin mountains. Leopardstown is arguably Ireland’s prime location for horseracing.
Leopardstown Racecourse hosts both National Hunt and flat racing with a calendar of over twenty race days a year. The course is busy through all seasons and hosts Grade 1 events throughout the year. The track at Leopardstown Racecourse is a wide, left-handed oval measuring a mile and three quarters. It is almost entirely flat aside from a small rise at the last bend. It’s quite a stiff track, and horses here need stamina and to be strong. Leopardstown track is often underestimated and as such it’s no surprise that only the best of horses and jockeys compete here.
Leopardstown Racecourse is quite a venue, with much more than just horseracing happening on site – it’s practically a little town all to itself! A golf course and clubhouse is situated right in the middle of the track, and alongside the grandstands you can find restaurants, bars, designer shops, fitness centre, a nightclub and Leopardstown Pavilion. It is well frequented by both Dublin locals and tourists, racing fans and otherwise.
The Leopardstown Racecourse Hall of Fame reads as a who’s who of Irish racing, with honours including the likes of Tom Dreaper, Vincent O’Brien, Pat Taaffe, Arkle, Dawn Run and Levmoss.
Leopardstown itself is a small village whose name translates as ‘home of the lepers’, due to its nature of being a suburb where leprosy victims were moved to in the 14th century! Now a residential suburb for all, it sits in the county of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.
Leopardstown Racecourse was built in 1888 by Captain George Quin, who modelled the course meticulously on Sandown Park Racecourse in England. Many of the staff, whilst of course they weren’t around at the time of the course’s conception, have had their roles handed down through family ties, so remain closely linked to the heritage of the course.
Being the premier horseracing venue in Ireland, the course can boast some notable visits and races. King Edward VII and Princess Alexandra visited the course in 1907 and it has remained a firm favourite amongst the well-heeled from both sides of the Irish Sea.
Main Races and Events
Leopardstown Racecourse plays home to over twenty race meets annually, year-round and in both National Hunt and flat events. The biggest and most notable of race days is undoubtedly the Irish Champion Stakes, a group 1 flat race run over one mile and two furlongs. The event was established in 1976 and although was briefly moved to Phoenix Park, is run annually at the course in September. It is one of the World Series of Racing and attracts a sell-out crowd year-after-year.
The Dublin Racing Festival similarly attracts a good attendance and is held every year in February. It’s much more than just jump racing, too – you’ll find cultural events, local food and drink stalls and live music and art performances across the weekend.
How To Get To Leopardstown Racecourse
About six miles south of Dublin city centre, Leopardstown Racecourse is easily accessible by both road and public transport. Car parking on-site is free but does become busy on race days and so plenty of time should be given to allow for traffic queues.
Dublin’s LUAS tram service runs to a stop in nearby Sandyford, which is a short walk away and served by shuttle buses on major race days. The nearest rail station is Blackrock, which is a DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) service, and similarly has shuttle buses serving the site on event days. Dublin Airport is around an hour’s drive away and runs a direct bus service to the course.
There’s ongoing speculation as to the refurbishment of a closer LUAS station, that was built in the 00s but has yet to be properly opened. At time of writing, there are no definitive or public plans to open this and have it serve the racecourse.
Hotels near Leopardstown Racecourse
Leopardstown isn’t a big enough town to offer lots of accommodation, but there is one hotel – the Clayton. A reasonably priced mid-budget hotel, it has restaurant and gym facilities but gets very booked up around race events. The nearby IMI Dundrum hotel is more modern and comes in around the same price, similarly with a fitness centre on-site.
Most of those travelling to Leopardstown Racecourse from further afield choose to stay in Dublin, as of course, hotel options are plentiful there! Chain hotels in the city include Radisson Blu, Best Western, Key Collections, Hilton and Travelodge. There are also lots of traditional Irish guesthouses and B&Bs, particularly around some of the residential suburbs and the Temple Bar area of the city.
Betting Shops Local to Leopardstown Racecourse
You’ll find Tote and regular betting facilities on-site at Leopardstown. The Tote Hall also offers free Wi-Fi and free phone charging facilities for those looking to place their bets online.
Away from the course, the nearest betting shop is a branch of Paddy Power, but there are also branches of William Hill, BoyleSports and Ladbrokes nearby. Dublin has branches of almost every chain betting shop you can think of.
As a multi-purpose venue, Leopardstown Racecourse hosts more than just horseracing. A farmer’s market with local produce is held on-site every Friday and attracts a good crowd. A music festival takes place at the venue every summer, and is currently sponsored by Bulmer’s Cider. This sees attendees travel even from abroad to visit and in previous years has featured headliners including The Boomtown Rats, The Human League and Johnny Marr.
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 Leopardstown:
LEOPARDSTOWN VALLEY WEATHER
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