9th July 2023
Belllewstown Racecourse was the place to be seen over the weekend as thousands thronged to the historical Co. Meath racetrack to enjoy the best of competitive summer flat and national hunt racing.
Beautifully situated high on the hill of Crockafatha with magnificent views of the mountains of Mourne to the north and the Irish sea to the east the tradition of summer racing on the hill dates back centuries with the first record of racing here dating back to 1726. Since then, this event has become a highlight of many people’s summer calendars with the colour, style, and buzz of racing on the hill hard to beat.
Under inclement weather conditions racing got under way on Thursday evening with ‘Currraheen Princess’ ridden by Andrew Stanley winning the Indaver Ireland Handicap after an extremely close finish.
The weather gods were smiling on Friday evening as racing and fashion went hand in hand in glorious conditions as the track hosted their annual most stylish person competition. Judged by Joanne Mallon of Ribbon Rouge Boutique there were fantastic prizes on offer including a VIP weekend experience at ‘Tankardstown House’ which was won by Geraldine Shalvey with best dressed couple going to Paddy and Martina Meade.
Minister for justice Helen McEntee was on hand to help present the winning trophy to the owners of Esquiline who had travelled over from America to see their horse win the Irish Stallion Farms EFF Fillies Maiden. The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Bellewstown man Robert Whearty as he entered the parade ring on board ‘Franno’ having won the Div2 Prizm Handicap.
Ice Cream and cold beers continued to be the order of the day on Saturday with another large crowd flooding through the gates to soak up the sizzilin summer evening atmosphere. TG4 were on hand broadcasting live from the track with ‘Wouldn’t You Agree’ landing a surprise victory in the big race of the day the Bar One Racing Bellewstown Handicap Hurdle. The final race of the three days was won by ‘Intense Approach’, ridden by Alex Harey and trained by the Stamullen based John McConnell Racing.
Commenting on the three days of racing on the hill Bellewstown Racecourse chairman Jack Gogarty stated that he could not have been happier with how the three days of racing had gone. “We’ve a very long tradition of hosting top class racing here on the hill and the last three days did not disappoint. It was fantastic to see the massive crowds that turned out especially on Friday and Saturday and the atmosphere was second to none. I’d like to thank all the race goers who came out and supported us and our sponsors, owners, trainers, jockeys, stable hands, and grounds staff, without whom racing would not happen. It’s a big effort putting on an event like this and we pride ourselves on trying to improve facilities each year with our new parade ring a prime example of this. Without the team’s support, led by our general manager Kevin Coleman, this would not be possible. We hope everyone enjoyed themselves and look forward to seeing people back on the hill soon”.
If you missed out on the racing don’t fret Bellewstown are hosting more racing on the hill on Tuesday and Wednesday evening 29th and 30th August as well as Wednesday and Thursday 27th and 28th September. Pencil it in your diaries now!
Photos: @suzannecollinsphotography 087 245 6657