Limerick Racecourse will stage the first Grade 1 race to be run in Munster following the announcement that the Greenmount Park Novice Chase has been upgraded in time for the Limerick Christmas Festival. The race, over a distance on 2 miles and 31/2 furlongs, will be run with an increased value of €90,000 this year and will be televised live on RTÉ.
The race will be the centrepiece of the St Stephen’s Day card and has been run as a Grade 2 since 2002. In recent years it has been won by subsequent Grade 1 winners Sir Des Champs, Gilgamboa, Outlander and Bellshill.
Patrick O’Callaghan, Manager of Limerick Racecourse, said: “We are delighted that the Greenmount Park Novice Chase has been upgraded to Grade 1 status. Over 20 years ago the Board of Directors had the foresight to develop a new Grade 1 facility at Greenmount Park and now we will have Grade 1 racing to match. The Greenmount Park Novice Chase has always been a distinctive race with notable winners in recent years. St. Stephen’s Day is a highlight on our racing calendar and we are expecting some top-quality runners due to the improved status and increased prize money on offer. The aim has always been to have Grade 1 racing here and it is testament to the Board and all the team that this has been achieved.”
In a further boost to Limerick, a new Listed hurdle for mares will be added to the card on Munster National Day on Sunday, October 14. The Listed Maurice Power Solicitors Mares Hurdle furthers Horse Racing Ireland’s commitment to improving the programme for mares and fillies.