WITH mild weather forecast, it is expected that as many as 40,000 people will attend the annual four-day race meeting at Greenmount, Patrickswell, starting on St. Stephen’s Day.
Manager Russell Ferris and 130 staff will be working all out to ensure patrons enjoy the Christmas meet at which over 34,000 dinners and 95,000 pints are expected to be consumed. There will be around 2,000 enjoying corporate hospitality in the splendid facilities at the modern track.
“In the past we have been savaged by ice and frost but the long term forecast for racing is very good with mild weather and we are keeping our fingers crossed,” said Russell, who took up his job as general manager in 2009.
The Limerick racing festival has a long tradition going back to the old track in Greenpark, South Circular Road. St Stephen’s Day is the big day with thousands of people, including many home from overseas, attending and meeting up with people they have not seen in years.
With seven races from 12:30pm each day, there is a full day’s entertainment which can be reached by shuttle bus that leave from a number of locations in the city each day. General admission prices for the for days will be €20 for December 26 and 27 and €15 for December 28 and just €10 on the December 29 the final day. A four-day admission pass can be purchased online for €50.
The first two days are generally hectic but added facilities including a new marquee will ensure more comfort then ever at the venue.
With live music on the first three days many will be staying on to celebrate over the holiday period. Jason Fallon will be back at the races this Christmas to entertain the crowds with his lively musical performance.
The racing is very competitive and the Grade 2 Greenmount Park Novice Chase takes centre stage on the opening day. It is a top class race with the likes of Mr Cracker, Imperial Call, Hi Cloy and One Cool Cookie having won recent renewals.
Other highlights of the festival include the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase, won in 2010 by local horse Questions Answered and the Grade 3 Doran’s Pride Novice Hurdle.
Visit www.limerickraces.ie for details of shuttle bus services with Mike Hynan Coaches from Limerick city and surrounding areas. Russell adds, “The anticipation and excitement surrounding the 2011 Christmas Festival is infectious, we have suffered at the hands of mother nature over the past two seasons and because of this there are so many people who have missed out on their annual pilgrimage to the festival.
“The value on offer this year for pre booked packages is second to none and I would advise everyone to have a read through the new website as you are sure to find something that suits your budget and taste.”
n For a preview of the action at Limerick over the Christmas, see page 15 of LeaderSport for Colm Kinsella’s verdict