Gowran Park Racecourse is located close to the town of Gowran and is about 13 km from Kilkenny City, Ireland. The racecourse held its first meeting in 1914. The Thyestes Handicap Chase which is run each year in January heralds the start of the racing season at Gowran Park. The first running of the Thyestes Chase took place on January 20th 1954. Gowran Park hosts 16 race meetings throughout the year featuring both National Hunt and Flat Race meetings.
The racecourse is situated on the grounds of the former Annaly Estate once known as Gowran Castle. It has been home to horse racing for over a hundred years. The Annaly Estate, which extended to over 300 hectares, was surrounded by a wall which was over 7km long. The original wall forms part of the boundary of the racecourse which is set in wooded parkland making it one of Ireland’s most picturesque racecourses. The course is a right-handed undulating track with an uphill finish.
Major improvements in recent years have taken place with the support of Horse Racing Ireland. These improvements included the upgrading of the stable yard parade rings. The new grandstand was opened in April 2003. Gowran Park is also home to an 18-hole golf course. The par 71 course extends over 53 hectares and 5 holes lie within the racecourse boundary.
The first ever broadcast of a horserace in Ireland was made from Gowran Park in 1952. The Thyestes Chase is named after a racehorse which was bred by Major Victor McCalmont of Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny. Major McCalmont presented the Thyestes trophy to Kilkenny Show where it was won by a horse owned by Mr John McEnery of Rossenara, Kells, Co Kilkenny. The Thyestes trophy has been won in past such famous horses as Arkle, Hedgehunter and Number six Valverde.
Gowran Park racecourse, Co Kilkenny, held its first race meeting in the year 1914 On This Day.
Hedgehunter by James Qualtraugh
Races Gowran Park with John Paul Whelan TD and KK TJ Reid by Sean Kelly MEP on 2016-03-03 10:26:54