Waterford & Tramore Racecourse will host a series of events to mark its special birthday throughout 2012, starting with a “Welcome the New Century” New Year’s meeting on December 31st and January 1st.
The celebrations throughout the year will involve ‘reeling in the years’ by remembering the dozens of horses and heroes who helped shape the racecourse’s rich history, with exhibitions of old photographs and characters from the past coming back to Tramore to recount old times.
The first racing in Tramore began on the beach in the popular Co Waterford seaside town back in 1785. According to Racecourse General Manager, Sue Phelan, Waterford & Tramore Racecourse is steeped in history and has a proud racing tradition.
“It was so popular with the locals that a six-day meeting was first held there in mid-August in 1807. The August Festival meeting continues to be the highlight of the racing calendar in the South East to this day,” said Sue.
Under Martin J Murphy, the racecourse company established the current course at Graun Hill on the outskirts of Tramore in 1912, where racing continues to this day. “We have become known as a great place to celebrate the New Year. The first race meeting of the new millennium in Europe was held in Tramore on January 1st 2000 when a record crowd of 11,000 turned up. The Euro was introduced on New Year’s Day 2002 and the bookies at the track that day had great fun putting it to the test for the first time on a racecourse!“
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland said: ‘Tramore is one of the true gems among Ireland’s 26 racecourses, very much at the heart of its community, yet appealing to race-goers from far and wide as well as the many tourists who visit Tramore at all times of the year. Everyone in racing wishes them well and applauds the ‘can do’ spirit which has kept racing alive in the area for centuries,” he said.
Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Pat Hayes, said Waterford and Tramore Racecourse is not only a key economic driver in the region but an invaluable social hub for racing fans and those who just love a day out, particularly families.
“Racing in Tramore has always been about a lot more than the sport. It has been a great meeting place, a fantastic place where people continue to socialise and meet. It has a very loyal clientele and it will be great to see those who may have drifted away from racing for one reason or another over the past years come together again, visit Waterford and Tramore and rediscover what makes this track, this meeting and the people behind this track so special.”
Waterford & Tramore Racecourse is one of only a few in Ireland that races throughout the year, with 11 meetings on the calendar. The highlight of its racing year is undoubtedly the four day August Festival, which offers an exciting programme of Flat and National Hunt racing, attracting great crowds and playing host to all the big names in the racing industry.
Tramore has always been well supported by the racing fraternity. Waterford racing dynasties like the Widgers, Kielys, De Bromheads have all tasted success at the track over the years whilst famous horses include Leap Frog, Skymas, Greasepaint and Sackville.
As apprentices, Kieran Fallon, Tom Queally and Joesph O’Brien have ridden around the undulating, tight circuit making it look easy, whilst top jockeys Seamus Heffernan, Fran Berry, Ruby Walsh and David Russell are generous in their praise for the way they are looked after on race days and rarely miss a meeting.
Throughout the Centenary year, the Racecourse will be given a “new look” with an improved entrance, upgraded stable yard, along with a refurbishment of food and drink areas. The Racecourse was taken over in 1997 by new shareholders. The entrepreneurial directors, which include Music Impresario Vince Power, Dawn Meats’ Peter Queally and champion trainer Willie Mullins, continue to invest further in its infrastructure to create a legacy for the future racing population.
“We look forward to welcoming old friends and making new ones over the year ahead, kicking off with a big party on January 1. Thousands of race horses have celebrated their birthdays at Tramore over the last 100 years, as all thoroughbreds mark their birthdays on Jan 1. We are planning an extra special celebration for them this year,” said Sue Phelan.
“People from Tramore and beyond have really got behind the Centenary theme by sending us memorabilia and old photos that tells the Tramore ‘story’ through the ages and it now seems that everyone has a Tramore story to tell, which we look forward to hearing throughout the year!”
Each meeting in 2012 will have a special theme:
• New Year’s Meet, Dec 31st/Jan 1st – Welcoming the New Century, officially launching the Centenary Year with commemorative race card.
• April 14th/15th – Honouring the Tramore Horses & Heroes, launching the memorabilia and new Racing App.
• June 1st/2nd – Summer “Outdoor Tramore” Festival, with outdoor cinema screenings and a Turf & Surf Barbeque.
• August 16th/19th – Vintage @ The August Races with four days of Vintage style,
• October 11th – 100 Years of Racing Celebration with a Centenary Awards night
For more details contact:
Sue Phelan, General Manager
Waterford & Tramore Racecourse
051 381425 / email@example.com
Neans McSweeney, MD Media,