The stage is set at Limerick's Greenmount Park for the highly anticipated renewal of the Grade 1 Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase on St. Stephen’s Day. The Gordon Elliott trained Hardline ridden by Keith Donoghue was the winner on the opening day of the Mr Binman Christmas Festival last year in what proved to a be thrilling race against odds on favourite Getabird.
34 horses have been entered in the feature race this year which boasts a prize fund of €100,000. Willie Mullins has 13 horses entered including former champion hurdler Faugheen. The 11-year old was a convincing winner when he made his first start over fences in Naas in November and proves an exciting prospect for the Novice Chase at Greenmount Park. Faugheen is no stranger to the track, having won the Liberty Insurance Novice Hurdle (Grade 3) in 2013.
Melon, Laurina and Tornado Flyer are other notable entries from the Clonsutton yard while the 2018 winning trainer Gordon Elliott has Samcro and Champagne Classic among the entries. Fakir D’Oudairies is an exciting prospect for the Grade 1 from Joseph O’Brien’s yard and the race is shaping up to be the race of the season given the calibre of horses entered.
Mr Binman returns as title sponsor of the four-day festival which commences on Thursday 26th December and runs until Sunday 29th December. The waste recycling company will also sponsor the Mr Binman Handicap Steeplechase on St. Stephen’s Day. Mr Binman, which employs over 130 people in the region, services over 35,000 household customers and 3,500 commercial clients in Ireland.
This year, Limerick Racecourse has committed to greatly reduce waste on site by using ‘green’ suppliers and compostable materials at the Mr Binman Christmas Racing festival. From 2019 all materials given out on site such as cups, bowls, napkins, cutlery etc. can either be re-used, composted or recycled. Mr Binman will also be providing clearly signposted bins with compost and recycling facilities for all racegoers that attend the Limerick Green Christmas Racing Festival.
Patrick O’Callaghan, General Manager of Limerick Racecourse said “We are delighted with the calibre of entries for the Matchbook Betting Exchange Grade 1 Novice Chase on Stephens Day. It would be great to see a rematch of Fakir D’oudairies and Samcro so soon after the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse earlier this month; add in Faugheen who has form here at Limerick and this could be the race of the season.”
The racing action gets underway each day from approximately 12:30pm with seven races and a free return bus service to and from Limerick city. There will be entertainment post racing each day with Tiny Giants on stage on the first two days and DJ after racing on the 28th and 29th. The Sunway Holidays Festive Most Stylish Lady competition takes place on Saturday 28th December and the festival ends on Sunday 29th December with our annual Festive Family Fun Day with lots of entertainment on offer for our younger race goers.
The feature race on each of the four days of the festival will be televised live on RTE. With over 40,000 patrons expected to attend, the Mr Binman Christmas Racing Festival promises to be one of the most exciting festivals in recent years. Ticket sales for 2019 are extremely strong and patrons are advised to call the office on 061-320000 or book online. The Turnstiles will be open at 10:30am each day of the festival with general admission prices at €20 on the 26th and 27th December and €15 on the 28th and 29th December. For more information please visit www.limerickraces.ie