Horse racing at Down Royal is scheduled to take place behind closed doors later this month, with confirmation that Ladbrokes will continue as headline sponsor of the long-established two-day Ladbrokes Festival of Racing.
Set to be staged on 30th & 31st October, a no-spectators policy is still in place, along with strict protocols designed to safeguard staff, officials and participants alike.
With a total prize fund over the two days of €423,500, Friday 30th October will see the WKD Hurdle as the feature race with a race purse of €60,000, while the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase will run on Saturday 31st with the winner taking home €125,000.
Ladbrokes Festival of Racing
Emma Meehan, Chief Executive of Down Royal Racecourse said: “These are unprecedented times for us all and over the past seven months the Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the horse racing industry.
“We have a tough time ahead before normal business can resume and we are in a position to open our gates to punters, but for now the safety of our staff and competitors is of the utmost importance.
“Racing behind closed doors is a very different experience for everyone involved but it is a step in the right direction for horse racing’s road to recovery, providing live coverage for racing fans and competition for those livelihoods that depend on the sport.
“Without the continued support of our principal sponsors, this most prestigious of our race meetings would not be taking place. I am so grateful to Ladbrokes and WKD for their ongoing support of the Festival during this challenging time for businesses. I would also like to extend my gratitude to our other fixture supporters; Lough Construction, Rainbow Communications and Tayto.”
Shane McLaughlin, Managing Director, Ladbroke Services Ireland, said: “These are clearly challenging times for everyone, but racing can provide a very welcome distraction for people and we are really looking forward to this year’s running of the Ladbrokes Champion Chase. We are a passionate supporter of horse racing in Ireland and the Ladbrokes Champion Chase always delivers a top-class contest.”
Brendan Loughran, Head of Business Unit Ireland, SHS Drinks, which owns the WKD brand, said: “WKD is delighted to be sponsoring the Grade 2 Hurdle at Down Royal. This is one of the highlights of the two-day, Down Royal Festival and it attracts a wealth of racing talent. The industry has worked hard and adapted in order to keep its people safe and provide regular fixtures. WKD is proud to be assisting Down Royal to deliver world class racing.”
The first race will take place 12.40pm. For full details on the Ladbrokes Festival of Racing please visit www.downroyal.com