All pics: Donal Foley
IT WAS another memorable day at Gowran Park, our home of racing that always tends to put its best hooves forward on big race days.
Goffs Thyestes Chase programme is always special. Last Thursday was no different and if anything was one of the great days at the picture postcard venue.
The weather man or woman changed his or her now common snarl to a smile as the rain taps were turned off, great news for Gowran Park that already experienced its fair share of downpours.
It was what some might have termed a soft day, thank God, bright but breezy, and, most importantly, dry.
The light wind was a contrary sort of a lazy breeze that would go through you rather than round you.
But overall there was little to or nothing to moan about unless of course you have just lost shirt to one of the many turf accountants at the course.
It is history now that trainer Gordon Elliott, who had six runners in the Goffs Thyestes Chase, hit the jackpot with seven-year old 7/2 favourite Monbeg Notorious that ran a great race for jockey Jack Kennedy and ended with 11 lengths to spare, winning a €100,000 pot.
Local trainer, Willie Mullins horses failed to impress and to add to his woes, Thyestes champion trainer, Gordon Elliott added to his tally as he battles for the title of champion National Hunt trainer.
Food and drink facilities at Gowran were booming as a bumper crowd enjoyed every minute of a seven-race card that provided some great entertainment.
As usual organisation was splendid. General Manager Eddie Scally and his team had to be delighted as at stages earlier in the week weather threatened to prove a spoilsport.
But thanks to the brilliant work of Gowran Park staff, a course that was understandably soft, looked really brilliant and there were no rancour from owners or trainers.
As bookies battled to fill their satchels and punters did their best to empty said holdalls, adults from a wide area of the country had a party.
But perhaps it was local and not so local youngsters who had the best time of all as many of them were enjoying their first big race meeting as they enjoyed a day off from school.
Goffs Thyestes Day is more than a champion event on our racing calendar. It is a feast day of racing, an al fresco extravaganza to rival the very best, a great opportunity to once more show window one of the finest racecourses in the country.
Here, for your diary, is the full programme of races for Gowran Park this year:
Here for your diary is the full calendar of events at Gowran Park this year:
Saturday, February 17, National Hunt, Red Mills Trial Hurdle Chase and Red Mills Chase Grade 2; Saturday, March 10, National Hunt, Shamrock Handicap Chase Grade B; Sunday, April 29, Flat, Victor McCalmont; Wednesday, May 9 (Evening), Summer Flat Series; Wednesday, May 30 (Evening) Summer Flat Series; Monday, June 4, Summer Flat Series; Saturday, June 23, National Hunt, Ladies Day; Sunday, June 24, Family Fun Day; Saturday, July 28, Summer Flat Series; Wednesday, August 15, Flat, Hurry Harriet; Wednesday, September 5 (Evening), Summer Flat Series; Saturday, September 22, Flat, Denny Cordell Lavarack and Landwades Stud Stake; Friday, October 5, National Hunt, Mucklemeg Mares, Bumper Listed and Pat Walsh Memorial Hunt; Saturday, October 6, National Hunt, PwC Champion Chase Grade 2 and Kilkenny Racing Club Hunt; Monday, October 15, Flat, South East Students’ Day; Saturday, November 24, Annual Racing Club Dinner.