Punchestown Racecourse in County Kildare is widely known as the home of National Hunt racing in Ireland. Located just 20 miles outside of Dublin, racing began at the track back in 1824.
The track hosts several Grade 1 races throughout the season, including the John Durkan Memorial Chase in December, won in 2018 by Willie Mullins-trained Min and the Morgiana Hurdle, a race won by Mullins for the last eight years with the likes of Nichols Canyon, Hurricane Fly and Faugheen.
Punchestown also brings the curtain down on the jumps season in the UK and Ireland with the star-studded Punchestown Festival, featuring 12 Grade 1 races as well as the famous La Touche Cup over the cross-country course – the only one in Ireland. The festival also provides a chance for smaller trainers to have their day in the sun, with plenty of low-grade races with lucrative prize money.
It hosts arguably the best Supreme Novices’ Hurdle trial, with the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle in January often throwing up several winners at Cheltenham. Horses such as Kicking King, Douvan and Vautour have all landed the spoils in the Grade 2 hurdle before going on to further successes at the major spring festivals.
Punchestown also hosts the Grade 1 Dublin Chase, a race usually used as preparation for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. Sizing Europe won the race in 2012 and 2013 for Henry De Bromhead while Moscow Flyer was a famous double winner in 2003 and 2005.