Yes, it was much hyped and well advertised, with much financial investment in the project, but it has to be admitted that the inaugural staging of the Dublin Racing Festival was a success.
The two-day festival attracted a total of 26,136 patrons, with over 14,000 at the South Co. Dublin venue on Saturday – a very substantial crowd for a Saturday afternoon meeting in Ireland.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins saddled seven winners during the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival and along with his stable jockey Paul Townend, finished the weekend as the Lep Inn-sponsored leading trainer and jockey.
Mullins saddled a Grade 1 winner each of the two days with Mr Adjudicator on Sunday adding to Footpad’s impressive opening day success.
There were two Grade 1 successes for 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Joseph O’Brien, and one each for Gordon Elliott, Jessica Harrington and Henry De Bromhead.
Discussing the success of the event, Leopardstown Racecourse Chief Executive Pat Keogh said:
“It’s a new concept and is very exciting and we could not have been happier with the way year one has gone. So much thanks is due to the owners and trainers who supported the festival with the very best of their horses, because the quality on the track was phenomenal.”
Keogh noted the fact that many visitors attended from overseas, stating:
“Most importantly I would like to thank the thousands of people who turned up and enjoyed the Dublin Racing Festival this weekend. The support we have received from people in the locality, from all over Ireland, and from Britain, has been fantastic.”