HRI can today announce that it will be scheduling five additional National Hunt meetings in March in light of the continuing very high demand for opportunities to run in maiden hurdles and following the Government announcement of continued Level 5 restrictions earlier this week, which means that Point-to-Point racing will not resume until after April 5 at the earliest.
All five meetings will be run under the full Rules of Racing with standard broadcast coverage and integrity provision, including the comprehensive and strict HRI Racecourse Covid Protocols which continue to serve the industry so well in ensuring a safe environment for participants.
The five dates are as follows:
Friday March 5 Fairyhouse (inside track)
Monday March 15 Punchestown (inside track)
Saturday March 20 Wexford
Monday March 22 Navan
Wednesday March 24 Tipperary
The Fairyhouse and Navan fixtures will comprise largely maiden hurdles while subject to demand the fixtures at Punchestown, Wexford and Tipperary will be for horses eligible to run in Point-to-Points and holders of a Point to Point Handlers Permit may enter and run horses at these fixtures.
The race programme for the Fairyhouse card (March 5) will be published today, with four races initially programmed to allow for multiple divisions within an eight-race card.
The IHRB will be consulting with Point-to-Point handlers today to identify the most suitable races for the first meeting targeted at Point-to-Point horses at Punchestown on Monday 15 March, with the publication of a programme of races to quickly follow to assist with handlers’ preparations.
It is envisaged that this first Punchestown fixture will comprise an all-bumper card with a variety of distances and age/sex restrictions, with the future programmes being subject to the demands of the horse population. All bumpers targeted at Point-to-Point horses will be worth €8,000 each with standard prize money payments to the first six, and entries and declarations will be processed and published through Horse Racing Ireland as normal.