A scene from Kilbeggan races

Historic two-day race meeting at Kilbeggan

Kilbeggan Races will host its first ever two-day meeting next week.

Horse racing is continuing behind closed doors and organisers are hoping that, as the vaccination rollout continues, the public will be allowed back to race meetings in the summer.

It's more than 180 years since the first Kilbeggan race meeting was held in 1840 and much has happened in that time. However, it will be a unique occasion for the racecourse with a two-day race meeting for the first time, as part of a record year of 10 meetings in 2021.

The meetings will be held on Thursday, April 22, at 3.20pm and Friday, April 23, at 4.55pm.

Paddy Dunican, manager, is very positive about this year’s meetings and racing at the track. He said: “2021 is off to a great start for us at Kilbeggan. Firstly, we are delighted that Horse Racing Ireland has granted us an additional race meeting on April 22 to create a new New Spring Two-Day National Hunt Race Meeting.

"Secondly, former winners at Kilbeggan  went on to win three of the biggest Steeplechase races in Britain and Ireland; Put The Kettle won the Champion Chase at Cheltenham, Freewheelin Dylan won the Irish Grand National and Minella Times won the Aintree Grand National.

"This is a great boost for the quality of horses racing in Kilbeggan. The significant improvements to our track is attracting better quality horses, which is creating more competitive and exciting racing for our fans.”

In order to keep up the momentum, further improvements will take place in 2021. The committee is fitting the steeplechase jumps with Easyfix aprons, which are padded with a cushioned surface, to create safer jumps for both the rider and the horses.

In addition, a new all-weather sand surface trackway is developed for the horses going out on the racetrack. With 10 race meetings granted for 2021 there is every reason to be positive.

Kilbeggan has been celebrating the Randox Aintree Grand National success of Minella Times, a previous winner at the course as well as that of three-time Kilbeggan winner Freewheelin Dylan in the Irish Grand National.

Henry De Bromhead’s Put the Kettle On ridden by Rachael Blackmore, blitzed, the opposition at Cheltenham in the Ryanair Chase. The horse had already won his Beginner’s Chase at Kilbeggan in  May 2019.

Three races on the Friday meeting are being named after the three champions to congratulate the winning connections.

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