Horse Sense

Renowned for its atmosphere, most notably ‘Cheltenham roar’, festival is annual ‘Olympics’ of National Hunt racing during which hundreds of millions of pounds are gambled. Irish jockey Ruby Walsh has won ‘top jockey’ (most winners) six times in last ten years. In 2013, Irish trained horses produced a record breaking 14 winners to Britain’s 13. While both National Hunt and Flat racing take place all year round, broadly important time for National Hunt is in winter when ground is softer. For Flat, it’s during summer when ground is firmer. horse_sense_022Racing supporters may have a preference for one ‘code’ over other, with jump racing followers arguing that winner of a jumps race has obviously achieved something more than just good breeding. A fast horse is a product of gifted parents.But speed alone will not get you around a jump track, where a moment’s loss of concentration can take you out of race. Irrespective of your preference – by way, mine is jump racing (there is no greater spectacle than sight of a horse you backed clearing last) – a day at races in Ireland is like no other. With backdrops of spectacular scenery, for atmosphere, excitement and pure craic, you cannot beat an Irish race meeting any time of year. But don’t forget when you get there – stand close to rail and close your eyes…

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